Discipline and punish

Enda Kenny's ‘state of the nation’ speech last night was little more than a footnote to the more revealing and fundamental address that he delivered last month to an audience of EU officials, bankers and representatives of the ‘troika’. That speech was, tellingly, addressed not to the Irish people but to the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schauble, and delivered not in Dublin, but in Berlin.

Discover Ireland

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Sour times

I have been so angry for three years. My husband and I have worked hard all our lives. We’re both nearing fifty.

We did all the ‘right’ things. Built our home, raised four kids, paid our taxes, sorted out our pensions, never ran up too much debt, paid our bills.

My husband has not worked since 2008. I am a nurse. I am the sole wage earner in a house of six people, five of whom are over 18 years of age. Two are attending college with no grants or support save from us. Our savings have dwindled away over the last three years; spent on necessities.

The screwed up State we're in

The State of the Nation, I’m afraid, can be summed up in one word - screwed.

We can flesh things out a bit, but that’s the nub of it. Every strategic step taken over the past decade has ensured that the screwing would be comprehensive.

The crisis isn’t about fiscal problems, the public service or German ambitions - it’s about the mountain of debt created over the past couple of decades in a series of Ponzi schemes run by a completely insane financial sector, applauded by the politicians and the media.

The neoliberal assault on democracy

Of course, it is always possible, and very often the case, that the dominant media claims that a “fiscal crisis” has precipitated mass demonstrations, strikes, and new forms of political mobilisation in Greece. Although it is true that there is fiscal crisis, it should not be understood as a periodic difficulty that a country or a region periodically passes through only then to re-enjoy the economic status quo.