Friday, January 20, 2012

Maggie

I saw the movie The Iron lady last night. As a history and politics fan I must say that I was highly disappointed. I suppose I would recommend that people see it given the enormity of the film but be warned, Gubu World readers will find it a let down. The fact that the film intensely irritated me has nothing to do with politics or the Thatcher persona. I was simply annoyed at the style of the film. I was very excited about seeing a movie on the life of one the the 20th centuries most interesting characters. Instead, over half of the movie dealt with how Thatcher was dealing with old age. To be blunt, there is nothing unique about growing old and dealing with the passing of loved ones. We will all go through this if we're lucky. There is something very much unique about being Britain's longest, most controversial, arguably most successful and first female Prime Minister yet the movie kept flashing forward to the 2012 Maggie sitting around her London Apartment hallucinating about her dead husband. I found this utterly pointless and became very frustrated when the movie began to explore interesting events such as the Falkans or the IRA hunger strikers only to flash forward to 2012 after only a few minutes.

Anyway, that's my rant over. But I do think that the occasion is worthy of my own brief analysis of Thatcher, which is unique given that I hold fairly conservative views but am also a proud Irishman from a Northern Catholic background. I look back at Margaret Thatcher's 11 years in Downing Street and I admire her for it. It is clear that in the 1970's Britain was descending into mediocrity. By taking on the unions and confronting the Keynesian ethos that was over running the nation she reversed Britain's post war downward trajectory. I'm not going to get into a discussion about the merits of her economic philosophy except to say that her belief in free markets clearly affected her world view and is the main reason she found a partner in Ronald Reagan. She shared Reagan's view that coexistence with the USSR was not the goal. In this respect she was undoubtedly on the right side of history.


Her legacy on Northern Ireland is not as clear cut. She stood up to the IRA which should be commended. However she continually rejected outreaches from constitutional nationalists in the north and in Dublin. Even worse was her tendency to show off to hardliners and unionists by making statements that she was never going to be able to stand by like when she said that Northern Ireland was as "British as Finchly". Her general attitude in my view made the conflict more difficult to solve. She had an ally in the late Garret Fitzgerald who was fiercely anti provo but whom she instead preferred to humiliate by publicly rejecting all of his proposals. Of course this attitude was never sustainable and she had to do a complete u turn which culminated in the 1985 Anglo Irish Agreement, a settlement which caused the likes of Ian Paisley to call her a "wicket traitor". Her stubbornness was perhaps understandable given that Republicans had killed close friends of hers like Airey Naeve (an incident which the movie actually does portray quite well) and came astonishingly close to wiping out the whole cabinet at Brighton. But her hard line approach can hardly be credited with bringing the conflict to an end, and as commander of British forces she does bare responsibility for elements of collusion that occurred between British forces and loyalist paramilitaries. However sometimes we Irish can get a little caught up in our own affairs. The implosion of the USSR was a monumental event in world history and of much greater significance than Northern Ireland. Margaret Thatcher's role in it guarantees her place in history as one of the great historical figures of the 20th century.

17 comments:

builder man said...

For us in the UK Thatcher was a very
divisive figure. I ran my own business for over 30 years and the best times were under a Labour gov.
When she came to power she destroyed
a third of Brit. industry and my
business suffered badly.Internationally her alliance
with Reagan made so many bad decisions that the world is still
suffering from them now. Afghanistan,Pakistan, as you mentioned Ireland and the violent
break up of the Soviet Union. There
was a great opportunity for it to
evolve under Gorbachev to a free
democracy. Evolution is always better than revolution. As you are
going to Ukraine this summer,and if
you are prepared to investigate off
the beaten track, you may well find
this a good illustration. Here are
a few facts of Ukraine's transition
from Gorbachev's Soviet era when
the people had secure jobs and housing and a reasonable way of life.1. Only 35% of the population
believe things are better now than
in the Soviet era. (Pew Research Center). 2. Corruption is amongst
the highest in the world.3. 15% of
the population have left since 'independence'.4. Alcoholism amongst children is the highest in
Europe.5. Spread of HIV highest in
Europe.6.Now only regarded as 'partly free' by Freedom House.
There have been no hostile tanks
in Ukraine since WW2 so even in the
Gorbachev Soviet era you would not
have seen them or barbed wire. If
you want to see lots of that go to
occupied Palestine! I am not wanting to diminish the many Ukrainians, who are a hospitable
people, who are making valiant
efforts to improve things. One such
I was involved with is helping the
street children of Kiev, to be
found at www.newbeginningscharity.org.uk/content/projects.htm in case you are
interested. I hope you enjoy your
stay in my wife's home country and
good luck Ireland!
off the beaten track

Paul said...

Ted, you pretty much said what I wanted to say about this film. I felt the scenes where MT is shown suffering delusions bordered on being malicious, like the film producers wished to belittle Thatcher. There was far too much of that in the film and it did detract from the story in spite of Meryl Streep's performance.

Interestingly the INLA which murdered Airey Neave was 'led' at the time by Ronnie Bunting, a Marxist protestant who lived in Belfast. Bunting was killed along with Noel Lyttle another INLA member by unknown gunmen in 1980. The journalist Martin Dillon has alleged that plausibly the UK state had a hand in that. Although it is probably more likely that loyalists or even other INLA members were responsible.

Collusion between the security forces and loyalists has always been a red herring, one propagated cynically by republicans. If Brits colluded with loyalists, then they surely colluded with republicans as well. There were active agents in both camps, stakeknife etc. In fact in at least two occasions the prods and provos colluded with one another. As they did when the Mid-Ulster UVF informed the leader of north Armagh PIRA (a notorious assassin with extraordinary luck in British courts) as to the addresses of RUC CID who lived near him. The provos used this info to target off duty police.

It was in the interests of the UVF to supply it as they were smarting after a series of successful operations against the by the RUC- so much for collusion.

Ted Leddy said...

Builder man

I understand that Thatcher was divisive. I am not stubbornly committed to an economic philosphy and recognise that conservative that are obsessed with reducing government spending can sometimes make things worse by taking too much money out of the economy.

However we all know when we are truthful, that too many trade unions have nothing to do with protecting workers. They are lobbyists and their agend is to get the best deal for their members which means as much money for as little work. I admire any person who stands up to such a shambolic set up.

I don't understand your point about the USSR. It did break up peacfully with one or two acceptions. It can hardly be blamed on Reagan or Thatcher that in 1991 Gorbachev sent in the tanks to the Baltic states to prevent them from breaking away. Nor is it the fault of anyone in the west that that Ceausescu would not do the right thing in Romania.

It appears to me that you are making the case for dictatorship over democracy. I don't doubt your Ukrainian statistics but democracy is difficulf. Hopefully soon the Ukrainians will improve in these areas to the extent where they could follow in the footsteps of the Czechs and the Poles and join the real democracies of the EU.

If Ireland progres to the second phase of the tournament I will travel to the Ukraine and I will most definitely be going off the beaten track. In that event you can expect me to pick your brains for advice and suggestions.

Ted Leddy said...

Paul

I have read theories before that Airey Naeve was killed by MI5 because he was on the verge of uncovering corruption within the organisation. I don't give this much credability but apparently the likes of Enoch Powell thought it to be true.

My view on collusion is as follows. The PIRA killed about 300 members of the RUC and 200 members of the UDR during the troubles. I believe that members of these forces regularly colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in order to hit back. I would find this neither shocking or surprising. In the north policemen or soldiers could not execute their enemies so they got loyalist terrorists to do it for them. How widespread that collusion was will probably never be known but on many occasions when loyalist terrorists came to do their handywork, the security forces were MIA.

Collusion is a red herring in the sense that I don't beieve it is a legitimate historical grievance other than for the families involved. The IRA killed members of the security forces regularly, they can hardly complain that they got killed back. But it is still state murder and as we know, it was often innocents that got caught up in this savage cycle. And it is also possible that for purely sectarian motives, some of the local security services facilitated some of the more gruesome attacks against Catholic civilians.

Your point about collusion everywhere is valid. It was a very dirty conflict. We are seeing it here in the Republic at the moment with the Smithwick Inquiry concerning the Jonesborough ambush where it appears that two RUC men were killed by the IRA after a tip off from a mole in the Gardai. However I do believe collusion was most prevalent with the UDR and RUC.

Paul said...

But what evidence is there Ted that 'collusion' was state policy? There is none so it is hardly relevant to Thatcher in any case. It is certainly conceivable that local UDR members did collude and some were convicted of doing so. The fact that the State convicted them of doing so and throughout the 90's convicted more loyalists than republicans does appear to contradict the claim made by republicans that collusion was state policy.

Very few Gardaí colluded with republicans that is certainly true and they like the RUC were a fine force (although the Gardaí were never subject to the same pressure). However they only occasionally pressured the IRA and that appeared to be when it suited them. For instance after the murder of Garda McCabe in '96(and murder it most certainly was the courts only chose manslaughter so the scumbags could eventually be released under political pressure from the executive. There was a substantial increase in co-operation between the Gardaí, the RUC and the Met particularly intelligence sharing. This led to the compromise of the provos entire operation on the mainland and plausibly some successful counter-terror ops in the north. In essence the Gards wanted to hurt the provos and they did. Mark Urban's work 'UK Eyes Alpha' is a source for this. But no I don’t believe that really at any time the Gardaí were pro-IRA. Close-co-operation between them and the PSNI is the ideal counter to dissidents.

Rob Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
builder man said...

To Ted Leddy. Thank you for your comments. I'm only making the case for not treating the most vulnerable
people as being expendable in someone
else's grand plan. Of course I prefer
democracy and freedom but if the transition to it is done thoughtlessly then people will suffer
as they have in Ukraine. We do not have the right to impose our values
on others unless they represent a danger to OUR way of life. The war
on Iraq was another example of Western Imperialism. Did the Iraqi
people decide they would risk the
upheaval, bloodshed and misery in
order to get rid of Saadam? No, the
decision was made for them. I put
this question to Alistair Campbell,
Tony Blair's right hand man, on BBC's Question Time, to great applause from the audience I'm pleased to say. It was based on the
experience of an Iraqi man who came
home from work to find his entire
family, his wife and four daughters
wiped out by an American missile
destroying his home on mistaken
intelligence that Saadam was there.
He is told 'very unfortunate' but
worth it to get rid of Saadam. I
asked Campbell 'if YOUR family was
wiped out in order to get rid of
Saadam, would it be worth it? He
didn't like the question and of course had never contemplated it as
he knew HIS family wasn't to be
considered expendable. I detest
hypocrisy and this is what you get
when you decide for others what is
best for them. As you mentioned my
belief system, it is one of a
Democratic Socialist. I am a firm
believer in Private Enterprise
where those who show initiative,
enterprise and hard work deserve to
be rewarded. I had a small business
for over thirty years and employed
over 20 people who also deserved
recognition for their loyalty and
hard work. They therefore had regular access to the boats and flashy cars, got as part of the company's success! There was a reasonable ratio of my income to
theirs. Mine was more because it was my capital at risk but not
OBSCENELY more as we see today.
I like the EU (with reservations!),
as it is democratic socialism in
construct. The rich put into the
pot and the struggling take out to
build up their economies too. They
can then buy and sell to the others
and everyone benefits. I expect
everyone Irish here will agree
because Ireland received enormous
sums from the EU when it joined.
So if you are NOT believers in that
sort of socialism, then I expect to see a campaign here to pay all the
money back!

Rob Harris said...

There are substantial problems in Eastern Europe but in the case of the Ukraine today Russia acts as if it still rules the place, and is undermining it. The move toward democracy requires more than freedom to vote. It takes a great deal of time to develop a culture of public service and genuine accountability. It can be argued that sometimes it never happens as appears to be the case with so many failed states.

It is also nonsense to suggest the Soviet Empire was already crumbling by 1956 as Builderman suggested on another post. Neither is it true to say that the move toward democracy in Eastern Europe was overwhelmingly negative. Quite a number of nations have experienced considerable improvements since the fall of the communist block. It is certainly not a given that Gorby would have neatly brought democracy to the region either. Even if that was his intent which is debatable, it is far from clear he would have been able to carry out such a massive transition in the face of the political status quo.

builder man said...

To Rob Harris. Your comments as usual
are pretty silly.I didn't say the Soviet Empire was crumbling in '56
but it was in Reagan's time. Stirrings for independence happened
at different stages in different
countries. Poland was early but when
Gorbachev instigated 'glasnost', the
outcomes were inevitable. I said before that for those in the EU it
has been a positive experience,
because the SOCIALIST construct of
the EU helped them enormously as it
did Ireland.My point is that Reagan
was not concerned about the welfare
of the people (like Afghanistan),
just so long as communism was defeated, and in many cases the lot
of the ordinary people was made worse. Twenty years on this is the
record. BELARUS. Dictatorship. UZBEKISTAN. Authoritarian state with limited civil rights and violations of human rights.TURKMENISTAN.Human rights abuses and 3rd worst press freedom
in the world.KAZAKHSTAN. Low levels
of democracy and human rights. Only
one president since independence!
MOLDOVA.Since independence no money
for health care and highest incidence rates of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. 25% of population left.ARMENIA. Graded 'partly free' by Freedom House.
GEORGIA. Ditto. KYRGYSTAN.Very corrupt. MP's murdered. Education cuts for females.TAJIKSTAN. One party state. No press freedom. Poor
health care. Only country in the world where polio is on the increase. The only 'success' story is perhaps AZERBAIJAN where Wiki
says 'Following the politics of
GLASNOST, civil unrest grew and
resulted in calls for independence
and succession.' Exactly the cause
and effect I suggested, nothing to
do with Reagan. Now I know you don't like answering difficult questions like 'what are Israel's boundaries' but what is your position on Ireland paying back all
the money it got from the EU or are you really a SECRET SOCIALIST?

Ted Leddy said...

Paul

The RUC and UDR were state forces. If they murdered it was state murder. The order doesn't have to come from the very top in order for it to be state murder. Even if the British government had no knowledge of collusion they still bore responsability for the conduct of their forces.

In my view the reason the NI conflict lasted so long is becasue the political will to solve it was missing. It was obviously missing in the north but it was absent from Dublin and London too. This is connected to your point about the Gards.

During the troubles, particularly the early years, the Gardai did not do enough to confront the IRA. In the 1950's the IRA issued an order that all operations were to be conducted in the North and that the security forces of the South were not to be attacked. The Provos continued this policy. As a result the Gardai naturally did not have the same determination to pursue the provos as the RUC did. In addition the truth is that while the vast majority of the Republics people opposed IRA methods, most sympathised with their goal. Consequently, the will was not there for agressive action although the Dublin governments did fear the IRA (a legacy of our own civil war) and acted accordingly on occasion.

The same is true of the British. In the wake of the Mountbatten and other atrocities there would hardly have been much appetite among the British (Army or Government) to investigate claims that the UDR were colluding with terrorists. But it happened, and not just against IRA men, see the Miami Show Band masscare. Again, the will to adress sectarianism and collusion within NI state forces was not there. Responsability for this has to on some level lie with British governments.

In my view, the beginning of the end of the conflict was when John Major and Albert Reynolds declared from Downing Street that both governments would focus on solving the conflict. From then on, the will appeared to exist to bring the madness to an end rather than focus on narrow national interests.

Rob Harris said...

Builderman… and as usual your comments are dishonest. You stated: “The Soviet empire was already crumbling, e.g. In 1956 Poland elected an independent gov.” on Ted’s “Who Should I Endorse?” post. Now if you didn’t mean what that sentence clearly suggests then I recommend that you take some classes to reacquaint yourself with the English language.

Your point about the EU being socialist is wrong, and your attempt at smart-arsery is as retarded as it gets. Much of that money was not used for redistribution but to bring the economy up to speed. The EU did help Ireland but they also benefitted from Ireland joining in various respects, with full access to markets and natural resources. I was amused that you reiterated the old English whine from the 80’s and 90’s that Ireland was receiving their money considering that the English had raped the place for 700 years and left it in fucking ruins, having lost 2/3rds of the populace in the space of 70 years whilst Dublin had the highest infant mortality rate in Europe outside of proto-communist era St. Petersburg.

You are still whining about Reagan re. Afghanistan when I have repeatedly reminded you that the USSR killed up to two million Afghani’s and displace 1/3 of the populace. Who gives a fuck what Reagan’s intent was? I’m not a mind reader and you aren’t either. You should be complaining about the USSR bit that doesn’t suit your tired old hate-the-US-Israel-and-the-West above all else credo.

Like many on the left you suffer from a grave case of cognitive dissonance. Just as you always insist that the West is wrong and all else is pretty much right, you ignore the numerous former-Soviet states that are gradually moving toward substantially better conditions across the board, such as Poland, Slovakia, Estonia, Croatia and Czechoslovakia. It is also comical how you cite Freedom House. How free would they rate these countries under the yoke of the Soviets? It’s part of the nature of the problem that you fail to see that you clearly suffer from a cognitive scotoma after swallowing leftist ideology, hook line and sinker. It is kind of sad talking to folks that have no genuine capacity for critical thought.

I already told you repeatedly where I thought Israel’s boundaries should be. Lies won’t help you cred. I truly believe if we were on the 1940’s you would be bending over backward to defend Uncle Joe. lol

builder man said...

To Rob Harris. I said: 'When Reagan etc. The Soviet empire was already
crumbling, e.g. in 1956 Poland etc.
and in 1980 Solidarity was formed, i.e. the movement towards independence STARTED in 56 and CULMINATED with the crumbling of Soviet influence in the 80's. You have misread the context. On the EU,
if you adopt a system whereby the rich countries help the poorest raise
up their economies, then that is classic Marxism: 'From each according to their ability - to each according to their need.'
As I said before, eventually everyone benefits. It doesn't matter how the money was used to
raise the economy, the important thing is that the money was a gift
not having to be repaid.Ridiculous
suggestion that I am complaining
about the English contribution. I
SUPPORT this system but it is obviously SOCIALIST in construct.
I AGREE with your interpretation of
Anglo-Irish history. The English
(or British) have a lot to answer
for around the world, especially in
Palestine.Powerful groups always
tend to abuse their power and the Irish are not immune, hence their
apology to the Native Americans for
their part in the extinction of
their way of life.To the credit of
the Irish people, it was genuine
and, in historical terms, in a
reasonable time frame. I'm sure that the USSR committed many atrocities in Afghanistan. The point is that Gorbachev tried (and
did eventually) end the occupation'
and wanted with Reagan to help the
people.Reagan's crime, as elsewhere
is that he did not care about the
people because he was blinded by a
fanatical idealogy in the same way
as Al-Quaida and the Eretz Zionists. All the ex-Soviet bloc countries you mention have been
helped by the socialist structured
EU towards freedom and democracy.
The other countries have not been helped much by the West and so often their plight is worse or no better than under the Gorbachev Soviet era. To my knowledge you
haven't informed of your view of
Israel's boundaries but I would be
interested to know.

Rob Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob Harris said...

Builderman, I didn’t misread the context of your claim that the Soviet Empire was crumbling because you cited an event in 1956 besides another in 1980. That is quite clear – it cannot be misinterpreted.

Nonsense, do you think Marx invented the notion of wealth redistribution? There are socialistic notions found in the utterances of characters in The Iliad written by Homer circa 1000 BC. The distribution of moneys was not used for purely socialistic reasons. It was to a significant degree an inducement to join and an effort to upgrade the infrastructure so the country could participate better…. And as I said, Europe got full liberal access to an economy and its resources (e.g. the vast fish stocks of the Irish sea). It was not a fucking “gift” ROFL – the money most certainly came with very many strings attached.

It is not a ridiculous suggestion that you are complaining about the English contribution to the EEC since you echoed pretty much verbatim the old English gripe about Ireland getting lots of their money in a sarcastic fashion. The EU is not “obviously SOCIALIST in construct”. Why do you think they sought to privatise a great deal of industry in Ireland and elsewhere, and enforce free-market rules in all its member states? Bevin is no doubt turning in his grave at your suggestion! lol

I never said the Irish are immune to mistreating others. The Scots were originally an Irish tribe that took Scotland in the 8th Century. I have not heard of any apology to the Native Americans!!! lol

So you are “sure that the USSR committed many atrocities in Afghanistan”. lol You are a funny chap. Here you are repeatedly bitching about Reagan and bringing Israel into the equation when the USSR had killed up to two million people. Compare that to about 40,000 Arabs killed in the numerous wars with Israel versus 22,000 Israeli’s. Gorby ended the Soviet presence in Afghanistan for a number of reasons (including to appease their old allies China and the Islamic world). Yet all you can do is moan about Reagan being an extremist! Sickening. Why don’t you give the birthmarked one a leather medal?

You state: “To my knowledge you haven't informed of your view of Israel's boundaries” Well then that’s another indictment of your lack knowledge. I told you several times on the old thread where we ‘debated’ (I use that word very loosely) for weeks over Christmas, and at least twice on the Eirael blog.

Once again the EU is not a socialist structured entity. It applies some broadly socialistic principles as virtually every modern capitalist governing body does in the world today (even the US) but is not in any way an inherently socialist body. Next you’ll be saying the US are pinkos as well. You cannot claim socialism helped the Eastern European countries. It was the freeing themselves from the socialist yoke of the former Soviet bloc, and then taking some painful steps toward liberalising their economies.

Paul said...

'The RUC and UDR were state forces. If they murdered it was state murder. The order doesn't have to come from the very top in order for it to be state murder. Even if the British government had no knowledge of collusion they still bore responsibility for the conduct of their forces. '

A well-argued point Ted but one that still ignores the fact that the UK state DID prosecute the individuals concerned during that period. So they were responsible for the actions of their forces, holding them to account in court.

The troubles did go on for too long and the main reason was in part due to the situation being accepted almost as 'normal' by both governments. However there was also a reluctance to actively pursue policies to defeat the Provos instead of containing them. Certainly by the 1990's they were severely weakened and continued pressure (instead of lessened) would have seen them dwindle as ETA terrorism has. Then again had the Brits done that arguably it might have made it harder to reconcile relationships with the South which is vital. As to the loyalists, all they needed really was to be treated as a murder gang. I've said before had Gusty Spence (a murderous yet enigmatic figure) been hanged after '66 few would have taken up his example.

builder man said...

To Rob Harris. I won't waste time with your first para.-I've watched dogs with bones before. Ireland joined the EU in 1973.Between then and 2007 40 billion euros went to Irish farmers.I have some personal knowledge here.For many years I stayed on a farm in Co. Waterford where I was treated like one of the family. Ah-happy days! I did a lot of
building works including:'Can you put
a nice screen fence up there for
me? I can get a grant for that!'
This is from an Irish website (2007). 60 billion euros in funding
since 1973. EU funding has gone into almost every aspect of Irish life;improving transport and communication networks;increasing trade;creating employment;cleaning up the environment;restoring tourism amenities; sustaining country life.For the period 2007-13
Ireland will receive 750 million
euros from the Regional Development
Fund and European Social Fund. Thank goodness for SOCIALISM! Of
course Private Enterprise plays its
part too. An intelligent combination is the recipe for success. Of course joining had certain strings but the benefits far outweighed them. I have seen the same in Poland.Humans are a collaborative species by nature,
so of course ideas of socialism are
natural.It is capitalism, which can
have some virtues, which divides
and exploits people and will eventually, (as in Star Trek!) be
redundant to civilised existence.
A sensible market place ensures a
level of competition that negates
complacency and indolence. No problem with that. Reagan -another
dog, another bone.

Rob Harris said...

Builderman, if anyone commenting on this blog with long could be characterised as a “dog with a bone”, it is yourself with your winding comments that mention every unrelated man and his dog. You can excuse it any way you wish but you still asserted the Soviet Empire was crumbling and cited an event in 1956 as an example of proof. The assertion was as clear as day.

You don’t need to entertain anyone with your stories of staying on an “Irish farm”. If farmers got 40 billion euros between 1973 and 2007, and I state a big “if” because once again you don’t cite your sources properly and are highly selective with the truth, then I state “big deal”. It’s a large sum of money but spanned some 34 years from a time when Ireland was still substantially agrarian so it would have been divided between a very substantial number of people over a very long time.

I already stated that EU funding assisted the country to a good deal but they got a good lot in return as well so it is an example of inducement to join and quid pro quo rather than socialist charity.

Then you state “For the period 2007-13 Ireland will receive 750 million euros from the Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund.” Is it any wonder I view your opinions as a paragon of absurdity? Whether or not that is true, Ireland is bailing out Europe (specifically the ECB and European banks that speculated in the Irish property market) to the tune of tens of billions. It has been “awarded” a bailout with a massive interest rate which the EU will actually profiteer from although it may well come down subsequently. Where is this money coming from? The Irish tax payer! The ordinary man in the street. I’m not one of those moaning shit-head socialists like Richard Boyd-Barrett as I support paying the money back because defaulting would be disastrous. However, Ireland is being hurt by the austerity which is gravely hitting the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in society. What does the EU also want? They want to force Ireland to raise its corporation tax rate as “thanks” for a bailout that is likely to cripple the nation for at least a decade. The attraction of business to Ireland for mainly export markets is the only sphere that could take the nation out of recession and bring some growth so raising the tax rate will skupper all that. Thus Ireland would experience penury due to recession on one hand and crippling austerity on the other resulting in a downward self-feeding spiral. If you were to spew shit about the EU being “socialist” to Irish leftists, they would likely hang you from nearby lamp-post.

BTW I never said Ireland shouldn’t have joined the EU. It was beneficial but the money Ireland received was certainly not a “gift”. Many in England rightly view the EEC/EU with suspicion. It was a self-serving gravy train, its power was inevitably going to trump national parliaments and sovereignty.

Builderman states: “Reagan –another dog, another bone”. You are the only one raging on about Reagan on numerous comments. I merely reminded you on a few occasions that your priorities with regard to criticism on Afghanistan are so deeply skewed that it suggests an inverted sense of right and wrong.