This is a comment I left on an Irish Times article analysing the significance of Enda Kenny’s ‘European of the Year’ award by an association of German magazine bosses. The article was titled ‘Kenny’s chance to impress Germans‘.
No better man for the award, in my opinion. When German elites decide to hand out a European of The Year award, what they really mean is ‘European Most Likely To Make German Elites Look Good’ award. Ruling politicians in other EU periphery countries –Greece, Portugal, Spain- have had a very hard time keeping a lid on public discontent with their efforts to obey the demands of the German government and the Troika.The brutal repression of democratic protest on the streets of Athens and Madrid -against the bailout of German banks, paid for by massive human suffering- have made German elites look bad. In Ireland, however, the right wing project of stripping away any vestige of the European social model has been proceeding very smoothly indeed. By 2017, according to IMF predictions, Ireland will be the neo-liberal state par excellence, with levels of government spending way below that of even the United States and the United Kingdom, let alone Germany. Thus the idea that German elites actually give a damn about what the Irish State is paying its political elites in enforcing such a regime is simply the product of a colonised mind. Shouldn’t good pupils get rewarded for their hard work? Next week, Wednesday 14th November, there will be a pan-European general strike, and it will demonstrate that true European solidarity means resistance to the agenda of the German financial bourgeoisie and their confreres and flunkies across the continent. The fact that Ireland’s trade unions are not taking part is doubtless one more reason, from the point of view of Germany’s ‘magazine mavens’, why Enda Kenny should get another pat on the head.