Labour should *not* support a bailout of Ireland by the UK….
At first this position seems counterintuitive especially when I supported the bailout of British banks. However, much has changed since then; not least the simple fact that we have had the previous bailout and lets be frank we haven’t got value for money. All the banks have simply taken our money and shoveled into a hole of bad debt, continued to spend on massive bonuses, and given minimal returns to the wider economy.
I would say the bailouts are largely regarded as the failure they were and that opens up a space to enter into a dialogue about why they failed – they did so because the problems that caused the crisis in the first place simply have not been addressed. They weren’t when we were in office and nor are they being so now and that is an important conversation for Labour to have if it is serious about presenting an economic alternative.
I think the electorate will rightly ask what returns we will get from ploughing money into Ireland. Patching up a fatally flawed system is simply not good value for money and its a sticking plaster over a gaping wound. Why, when we are being asked to pay the price of the ideologically-driven austerity drive should we pick up the tab for another failure on behalf of the finance sector?
Secondly, we should oppose giving money to Ireland because we know who are going to suffer the consequences and that is our comrades, especially those in Irish trade unions who are gearing-up already to fight the conditions that will doubtless be imposed on Ireland. We should have no part of supporting a governments war against its own population in the name of conditions we would doubtless impose.
Thirdly and finally supporting an Irish bailout by the UK will leave us unable to exploit a clear tactical advantage given too us by this government junking its entire economic narrative to rush to the aid of Ireland. If there is no money, if Labour was so wrong to borrow then why now is the government finding the money and capability to borrow? If the UK government participates in a bailout of the stricken Irish economy then it will do so at the cost to whatever shreds oc credibility its economic narrative ever had. However, the only way for Labour to capitalise on that is to be armed with an oppositional and alternative narrative not to be meekly supportive….