While the UK are at least debating this, we in Ireland are not even thinking about it.
Back in 1974/75 I met an old German on holiday here. He asked me if I supported joining the then EEC and he took the time to explain to this Irish teenager what it was about. “We rich Germans will give you Irish money so that you can buy yourselves a Mercedes Benz,” was how he summarized it.
Our price to join though was high. We had to give away our fertile under-used fishing grounds all around the coastline to factory ships from France, Spain and Portugal. In return, our agricultural industry, (our biggest indigenous exporter), was subsidized not to produce foods. We had butter mountains and wine lakes to falsely inflate the price of produce.
Money did flow from Europe for key projects like motorways and light rail. Even then though, we had recessions in the seventies, eighties and into the nineties. But our saving grace was that we had our own currency, the Irish Punt. When times got tough we always devalued the punt and this had the duel effect that Irish citizens didn’t buy too many foreign goods but on the flip side, our exports soared because they seemed cheap and we got much needed foreign currency in return.
The switch from a trading block of sovereign nations to a United States of Europe, (the E.U.) was where it went pear-shaped. That move required a common currency and we lost our Punt. To make that move, all that was required was for our snake-oil politicians to pass it in the Dail and they had every intention of so doing. But a teacher up country took a court action against them stating that as it changed our constitution, it required a vote of the people to make the change. There were two EU treaties therefore we got to vote on, the Maastricht Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty, and we voted NO to both of them, (in case you have forgotten). Guess what? We were sent back to vote again with dire threats ringing in our ears.
That was the time I believe that we ceased to be a democracy. We became instead, a plutocracy where all of us became slaves to our political masters. The Irish electorate had spoken but were overruled by the Irish Government. Dress it up any way you like but that’s what happened. At the time of the subsequent bank crash I wrote a letter to the three main broadsheets with my theory about all of this. I had a deep suspicion about the motives of our politicians.
In light of the actions and activities of the Government and their banking buddies, many people are calling for investigations, resignations and punishments for those responsible for the mess we find ourselves in. These calls appear to be rebuffed or just ignored by those in authority. They continue to attack the poor and the middle-classes while still looking after themselves and their friends. Short of a bloody revolution, it’s hard to see anything changing soon.
It’s also hard to understand their lack of remorse, their refusal to account for it all and take responsibility, and worst of all, to see them strut around like peacocks, bloated by their own self importance. Then I discovered what a “sociopath” is.
A sociopath will normally have a conventional appearance, so they do not stand out visually. But then the definition becomes interesting. They are glib and superficial, are manipulative and cunning, have a grandiose sense of self, are pathological liars, they lack remorse, shame and guilt and they suffer from shallow emotions. But it gets better. They are callous and lack empathy, they are irresponsible and unreliable, they lead a parasitic lifestyle, they do not perceive that there is anything wrong with them, they are secretive, paranoid and authoritarian and they have an over riding need to find victims. They have an emotional need to justify their disgraceful deeds so they actually need the victim’s affirmation, respect, gratitude and love. How sick is all that ? Does any of it ring any bells for you ? Are they alarm bells by any chance?
The first 166 names you come up with will probably be the same as mine. It would be an ironic laugh if it wasn’t for the fact that sociopathy is a mental illness that needs treatment. You would not let sociopaths take control of their own cars, much less a bank or a country. Perhaps instead of calling for convictions and imprisonment for our betters, we might show them a little sympathy and instead have them all consigned to a mental home, for their own good and ours,
For the benefit of foreign readers, we have 166 elected representatives in our Parliament. That letter was written over seven years ago and it is as valid today as it was then. So maybe the question should be changed from ‘Should we be in the EU’ to ‘Did sociopaths take us into it in the first place?’
And where does that leave the European Parliament as regards sociopaths?