Did the right see the Irish disaster coming?
But I do think Guido misunderstands my argument about Ireland and right-wing economic dogma. He suggests that I am “pushing a myth that low tax rates brought Ireland down”. Off target I’m afraid. As I said in the blog, I think the two root causes of the Irish meltdown were banking excesses and low interest rates set by the European Central Bank.
The point I was trying to make in my original post was that much of the UK right allowed its obsession with fiscal tightening to eclipse its euro-scepticism over the past year when Dublin was slashing public spending.
I cite as evidence this blog from Guido himself last December in which he argues that, in the wake of Brian Lenihan’s emergency budget last December: “Guido thinks Ireland will bounce back faster than the UK”. Not a mention of the euro straitjacket or the costs of the bank bailout.
Guido maintains that he predicted disaster all along. Well, I’ll take his word for that.
Yet the twists and turns of right-wing commentators are of limited importance. What’s much more worrying is this now notorious article from George Osborne in The Times from 2006 in which we are told “Ireland stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in long-term economic policy-making”. No mention of the euro. No mention of a property bubble. No mention of crony capitalism. Just blind cheerleading for a deregulated, low-tax economy.
Gordon Brown gets deservedly slated by right-wingers for his hubristic belief that he abolished boom and bust and his failure to regulate the banks. Funny that they don’t lay into the Chancellor for getting Ireland so desperately wrong – and making the similar error of mistaking a credit bubble for sustainable growth.Tagged in: banks, Brian Lenihan, Dublin, euro, guido fawkes, ireland, single currency
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