A quick note – which will only make sense if you’ve read Madam Editor’s piece from Thursday morning, channeling Yeats: Was It For This?.
It’s obviously an emotive issue – especially in Ireland – when the loss of sovereignty is threatened. As I was corresponding with an American colleague earlier, trying to give him some sense of context as to why Ireland takes its self-governance more than most, I found it difficult to construct even a single paragraph without having to reference Ireland’s chequered relationship with Britain.
However, the editorial – eloquent and on-the-button as it was – overlooked one salient point: the very concept that Ireland had supposedly retained its sovereignty up until now.
The point was this: why is having to borrow money from overseas sources considered a loss of sovereignty, when such borrowing is what the government – any government – does every time it has a budget deficit?
If Ireland has lost its sovereignty by having to invite the IMF in, it’s not (directly) the fault of the incumbent government, nor is it because of the scale of the loans we’ll get – even if they hit €100bn, it’s only doubling the national debt we already have.
It’s because bankers got greedy and stranded us up the proverbial creek – and that’s both the long and the short of it.