Osborne to help Ireland: a “shining example of long-term economic policymaking”

George Osborne "stands ready" to help Ireland in the midst of economic crisis. It's the least he can do after cheerleading their disastrous economic policies as a "shining example".

George Osborne “stands ready” to help Ireland in the midst of economic crisis. It’s the least he can do after cheerleading their disastrous economic policies.

Reuters today quotes George Osborne ahead of an EU finance ministers meeting:

“We’re going to do what is in Britain’s national interest. Ireland is our closest neighbour and it’s in Britain’s national interest that the Irish economy is successful and we have a stable banking system…”

“So Britain stands ready to support Ireland in the steps that it needs to take to bring about that stability.”

But in 2006, George Osborne wrote in The Times:

A generation ago, the very idea that a British politician would go to Ireland to see how to run an economy would have been laughable… Today things are different. Ireland stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in long-term economic policymaking, and that is why I am in Dublin: to listen and to learn.

The British Chancellor went on to lecture that:

“In Britain, the Left have us stuck debating a false choice. They suggest you have to choose between lower taxes and public services. Yet in Ireland they have doubled spending on public services in the past decade while reducing taxes and shrinking the State’s share of national income. So not only does Ireland now have lower business and income taxes than the UK, there are also twice as many hospital beds per head of population.”

The story now is rather different as Irish unemployment stands at 13.9 per cent while GDP contracted again in the second quarter. Tory cheerleaders including politicians, think tanks, and bloggers praised the Irish decision to reject a stimulus package similar to the policies of Alistair Darling and Barack Obama. They went on to praise Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan’s austerity budget a year ago. Now they say it would all be fine if it wasn’t for the euro or bank bailout. Yet even before the bank bail out, the cuts weren’t working as growth plummeted and the deficit remained stubbornly in double digits.

George Osborne wants to help Ireland in the “steps that it needs to take to bring about that stability.” But with his track record can we trust him to make the right judgment on what those steps might be?

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16 Responses to “Osborne to help Ireland: a “shining example of long-term economic policymaking””

  1. NewLeftProject

    RT @leftfootfwd Osborne to help Ireland– country he describd as a "shining example of long-term economic policymaking" http://bit.ly/blPBp2

  2. Michael Burke

    Good piece. Osborne’s co-thinkers in Dublin have provided a lab-like experiment in the effects of ‘fiscal adjustment’ via tax increases and spending cuts. This not only led to disastrous economic effects, but the public sector deficit has doubled.

    This because aren’t savings, they’re simply cuts, which have a negative impact on growth and therefore depress taxation revenues and boost welfare outlays- even as welare entitlements are slashed.

    What the advocates of similar policies here and elsewhere need to explain, is why the cuts will have a different effect here?

  3. Nath

    I’m not an economist but even I’m aware of the problems that blight Ireland and where they came from.

    On a trip there to visit family I noticed how everyone seemd to be driving flashy cars and were making nice their homes… all on credit apparently. Coupled with interest rates that were too low (EMU) debt spiralled and when the crash came this left the Irish particularly vulnerable.

    Now they owe huge amounts (public and private) and the cost of government debt is rocketing, meaning tax receipts are going on servicing that debt and not on the people.

    Now correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t it cheaper to make JSA (equivalent) payments than to fund salaries? If tax goes up people will not be able to save and spending will decrease, which will reduce economic activity and also reduce tax receipts further?

    It seems to me that for a country that can only afford to continue running upto June that worrying about the quality of services is like fiddling whilst Rome burns. It’s all hands to the pumps and there isn’t space on board for a diversity officer – irrespective of their social value.

    I’m happy to stand corrected but I don’t see how spending more on job positions that will not directly contribute to the economy in this situation is sensible.

  4. Anon E Mouse

    Will – Going back to comments someone made in 2006 is just lazy and you should do better.

    He also stated he was there to learn. Can we assume that in the world of Will Straw people aren’t open to have their opinions changed?

    Would people criticise your dad, Jack Straw, for his CND membership in the past? Of course not – that would be equally as ridiculous as this article.

    The fact is the left is completely rudderless at present and for reasons I do not know Labour seems determined to hold views that may play well to the gallery but I’m afraid the electorate who aren’t listening will simply not vote for.

    I like Ed Miliband, (despite wanting his brother to win) but unless Labour gets a team like (shudder) Mandelson, Campbell etc to renew the party I feel it will be doomed to opposition.

    Being a supporter of Nick Clegg I don’t care but I do want an opposition and movement that is credible and if your article is the best the left can do then that wish is a long way off…

  5. Debbie Reed

    RT @leftfootfwd: Osborne to help Ireland: a "shining example of long-term economic policymaking" http://bit.ly/aSjoSD

Comments are closed.