Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The use of fear and guilt to force a Yes Vote

In the great song Bu$hleaguer, a b-side on ‘I am Mine’ Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam asks how do they do it – the same song gives the answer – drilling for fear makes the job simple.

Keeping people uncertain of the future and creating fears for the wellbeing of themselves and their families makes them easier to control and manipulate

There is now the implied threat from all the major political parties in Ireland that rejecting Lisbon will cause economic meltdown to follow.

They failed to win the argument in the last referendum simply because the treaty could not be sold in a normal, positive way.
So now fears and uncertainties are being generated based on fear of the collapse of our economic systems.

The use of scare tactics of what may happen to you if you do not vote the way your told by a discredited group of people is downright nasty.

If they want they want me to vote in favor, then they have to give positive reasons, not simply generate a fear to manipulate us at our most vulnerable level.

If there is one thing we have learned from the last US election, is that the electorate can achieve change they can believe in.

President Obama ran a campaign that made the majority of the electorate feel that their opinion was worth something, it bought the sense of empowerment back to a generally disillusioned population.

We have seen a campaign where the desire for change on what the citizens of the US wanted overcame fear mongering.

Yes, the EU also needs change in the way it works, I support the ideals of the EU but change to Europe should be what is decided by the population of the Union, not by a narrow segment who – using abstract political and failed economic theories – wish to impose. We need more democracy and accountability, not less.

Also, lets not forget the politicians in Ireland who will use this fear mongering are the same people that got us into this economic mess in the first place, bailing out the financial institutions who bypassed regulators, using loopholes and – in some cases if not illegal – methods certainly not in the spirit of regulations in a distasteful way of maximizing perceived profits.

Again showing an astounding lack of understanding and judgment, in January 2009 the Irish Government decided to nationalize Anglo Irish Bank.
Irish taxpayers now own a private bank that was suspended on the stock markets with a loss of 98% on share value.
This was despite the prior knowledge of a financial trick used to mask losses.

The way it worked was like this – bank executives took out loans in order to purchase Anglo Irish shares.
Then, the loans are transferred to another bank prior to the end of year-end audits, thereby causing "Loans to Directors" to be understated.

In 2008, the loan to Messers FitzPatrick and Bradshaw amounted to €87 million; but the transfer loophole resulted in the accounts showing only about €40 million outstanding to directors, instead of €150 million.

The regulator said, "While it does not appear that anything illegal took place in relation to these loans, the Financial Regulator was of the view that the practices surrounding these loans were not appropriate.

Now, the people who carry the can for this are workers in the public sector with a levy, a reduction in their income, on their pensions.

Perversely the pension package of Mr. Fitzpatrick and others were in the private sector, and their pensions will probably remain largely un-affected.

This is simply one example of what happens when appointed, unaccountable people are given to much power, and that we end up paying for it.

Voting for Lisbon wont stop this hapening, it may even make things worse.
But it sent such a shock through the Irish economy.

Rather than an example of Government ineptitude, this fear, this economic crisis, has created uncertainty, and this is a way of forcing the Yes Vote !

We joke about Catholic guilt, but there are some aspects that should be looked at.

Society is a complex thing, affected by many historical communal factors.
One that cannot be ignored is religions affect on the way our society works in the past and in the present.

In a tangential way, guilt is fear – whether to suffer for sins in the next life or just the more tangible idea of Karma – that what goes round, comes round, exists in most of us.
92.2% of Irish people have had some exposure, even nominally, to Christian concepts.

As a nation we also have a sense of fair play, and are generally a grateful and compassionate group of people.

We are told that Europe has been good for us, that we should be grateful, that we should afford other European Citizens the general good fortune that we have had, and not to do so is ungrateful and shameful.

I agree that Europe has been good for Ireland.
I agree that others should be given a fair shot at sharing in a European idea.

But I think it would be more shameful, and unfair and wrong to accept the Lisbon treaty as it is, with little understanding of it, eroding the importance of the nation state and create an unanswerable bureaucracy that would pass laws to allow the exploitation of our fellow European Union Citizens.

Erosion of the rights of the Nation State is dangerous, of the worlds top 100 economies, 51 are now corporations!!!

And we have seen where that leads. in bank scandals right across the EU.
Their primary job is to create wealth for their shareholders – by any means necessary - unlike the concept of nation state which is for the improvement of society.

There have been economic downturns before, they will happen again – and the very transfer of economic planning to external, unaccountable bureaucracy and de-regulation has helped cause the current downturn.

As I have explained in previous podcasts and blogs, our fellow Europeans have been denied the right to, along with us, make the choice to change the way our union works.

Like Chuck D from Public Enemy said back in 1990 – Power to the People - Gotta Give us want We want – Gotta give us what We need

Its our choice.

Again, as always – thanks for reading, thanks for reading or listening.

Even if you don’t agree with me – I hope you give some thoughts to the points made

And please let others now about these blogs, podcasts and youtubes.

Citizen Simon - out

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