Irish people may be the next to reject Europe's austerity dream
Opinion digest: Irish austerity, gay marriage culture wars, British FBI and Olympic propaganda
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IRELAND'S TURN TO REJECT EUROPE'S FANTASY
GAVAN TITLEY AND JOHN O'BRENNAN ON AUSTERITY
To affirm its loyalty to Europe, the Irish political elite has decided to ignore the European reality that austerity isn't working, say Gavan Titley and John O'Brennan in The Guardian. The coalition government of Fine Gael and Labour has gambled on making Ireland "the poster child for this experiment in disaster denial". Irish borrowing costs remain much higher than those of Italy and Spain, and austerity has done nothing to boost the Irish economy after four years of social misery. The fantasy remains resistant to evidence, but its rejection by French and Greek voters points the way for Irish resistance in the lead up to the 31 May referendum on the EU fiscal treaty. The 'vote yes for stability' platform will have a tough job explaining what 'stability' it can offer and is likely to rely on a fear campaign. But a recent boycott of a new household tax in Ireland shows there are already signs of widespread resistance.
THIS TORCH RELAY SMACKS OF PROPAGANDA
TERENCE BLACKER ON THE OLYMPICS
Nobody likes to be a spoilsport, says Terence Blacker in The Independent, but there is something about the expensive farrago surrounding the Olympic flame "that brings on an attack of pre-Games queasiness". The ritual includes lighting the torch from the sun rays before traipsing it around Greece and Britain to bring the Olympic spirit to those unable to attend. Supporters say it can send out a global message of peace, love and fraternity. But "when sport is used for propaganda purposes, we should all be wary". This week muscular men and nubile girls in ancient costume joined a delegation from the UK, including such representatives of global peace and love as senior managers from Coca-Cola, Samsung and Lloyds TSB. The bizarre combination of phoney mythological nonsense and national smugness was organised by politicians and business people to stoke a fake sense of wellbeing.
IMPORTING AMERICA'S CULTURE WARS HAS BACKFIRED
FRASER NELSON ON GAY MARRIAGE
While gay marriage was being endorsed in the White House this week, it was being quietly shelved in Westminster, says Fraser Nelson in The Daily Telegraph. It wasn't mentioned in the Queen's Speech and isn't likely to be spoken of in the near future. Officially, the Prime Minister is still in favour. But he has been warned that his party would revolt against it. Ultimately, for all its symbolic power, the UK gay marriage proposal is almost irrelevant. The rights conferred by marriage in America are already offered in the UK under civil partnership laws. Those laws were introduced by Labour as a technical change, not an attempt to change society or the party. But David Cameron tried to spin gay marriage as proof of how much his party has changed under his leadership. His approach was closer to the American culture wars. "The Prime Minister will not be attempting such manoeuvres in the future." These days, he needs all the votes he can get.
A BRITISH FBI HAS GOT NO CHANCE
SIMON JENKINS ON NATIONAL POLICING
The government is doing what governments always do in trouble, says Simon Jenkins in The Guardian: inventing a British FBI. Tony Blair tried it twice. Now David Cameron is at it. "It is a great headline but it never works." Numerous past attempts include the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the National Crime Squad, and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca). The latest offering, the National Crime Agency, is Soca under another name. It won't come to anything either. Theresa May has ever growing powers as home secretary, but her desire for her own FBI will not succeed, "since a power greater than her will stop it: the Metropolitan police". The Met has mutilated every past attempt to create a British FBI. The Met's commanders can decide for themselves how many bodies to deploy anywhere, anytime and at any cost to the taxpayer. It's not going to give that up.