So this Standard & Poor geezer who said:
‘In order for there to be a buy-in into what are going to be inevitable tax hikes in order to stabilise the debt-to-GDP ratio, you are going to need new faces in Government . . . This is typically the case in the aftermath of an economic crisis.’
And then the whole world was like, dude, shuck the fut up, because you is like, a credit person and therefore has no business stickin your knowse into Irish politacks. OK, mebbe not the whole world, cos Endor Kenny was like, well don’t you ugree wif him, T’Seach? But Joan Burton was like, git outta here, foreign rating agency.
Sorry, let me slap myself, I’m feeling a bit giddy this morning. Mindful of the need to maintain the impression of a good business climate on the island of Ireland, I shall make my points in list format.
- The man from Standard and Poor’s was making an intervention in Irish politics. Or was he? People might infer from his remarks that there had to be some sort of change in order for Ireland’s credit rating to improve. I would say that his remarks should be interpreted as meaning that there should be no change in Irish politics, but that there should be a purely cosmetic change -the new faces- in order to be able to drive through the tax hikes and social spending cuts. That is, people will inevitably demand change, and they should be given it in terms of ‘new faces’, but there should be no change whatsoever. This is the precise reason why Enda Kenny and Richard Bruton got the horn, saying ‘This would send a clear signal to the international markets that Ireland is under new management‘, Ireland, in their eyes, existing as a corporate state requiring a new board.
- You might say, like Joan Burton, that a foreign rating agency should not comment on the composition of the Irish Government. Fair enough. But its credit ratings are already a commentary on the Irish Government and the policies it pursues, if not its exact composition. And, as per point one, the likes of Standard and Poor’s are quite indifferent to the composition of the government, provided it pursues the policies (generally speaking, low fiscal deficits) it considers congenial to the interests of its clientele (who for the most part are interested in class war, but that is for another post).
- Is the expression of an opinion such a big deal? OK, it’s an intervention, but you would think that Irish politics and global capitalist machinations were two entirely separate spheres of activity, ne’er the twain to meet, when in fact Irish politicians, operating within the framework of the neoliberal state, have bent over backwards to open the hole of the country (if that is not too strained a figure of speech) in the interests of global capital. When the little boy pointed out that the emperor had no clothes, it wasn’t because he was seeing something no-one else could: everyone else knew, they just pretended that they didn’t. This geezer here opens his gob and says ‘oh, Ireland should do it and they’ll probably need to do it like this’: the problem is that he’s ditched the polite fiction that there exists something other than an entrenched neoliberal order in this country. Though I’m not sure if anyone really noticed. Maybe Fine Gael, but as I said earlier, they’re a shower of slavering neoliberal monkeys, so they most likely went hearts a’flutter from a corporate cap’n telling it like it is.
- I know a person who works for Standard and Poor. He is probably the biggest bell-end I have ever met, but I am never one to confuse anecdote with evidence.