students are marching in Dublin. Protesting cuts to government grants and increases in fees. Yesterday the news was all about the military bases that will be closed. And the day before that we were hearing all about the universal housing charges.
Yes, it's budget time again. Hurrah for austerity measures as this small country tries to cut another €6 billion from it's budget.
I listen to the beating of the students' drums as they make their steady march past my current perch, from the campus to the train. Their forces are to join the other schools in the age-old student cry for free education. Meanwhile, back in the reality of EU/IMF bailout, and a government trying to please everyone and no one at the same time, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) has been meeting with the German Chancellor. Press articles about it are rather lack luster... it's not like anything real could come of such a meeting. However, it is worth noting that the press release mentioned "treaty changes".
And that is the crux of my not-so-very-out-there conspiracy theory. Sorry, no aliens taking over the White House, or anything even as exciting as the mind controlling properties of Kellogg's Corn Flakes. My theory is, that this whole time... this endless spring-summer-fall meetings solving the Euro crisis (without actually solving anything) was really all about treaty changes. Adding money to the bailout fund was just a time buying manoeuvre. They need everyone on board before they can jump on the train that will eventually lead to the strengthening of the ECB. And how do you get everyone on board?
Well, I think our friend George W. Bush perfected this particular political maneuver. I refer to it as "frightening everyone into blind submission". Want to invade some random oil rich countries? Keep everyone permanently on red alert.
Want to get rid of a rather sleazy head of state? Have the markets rally at a rumour of his demise. (Please note, that the markets don't need to follow through on that promised rallying after he's actually been dispatched.)
So if you want to have a centralized taxation system? Well then spend a few years being terrified about the markets completely blowing up! Then, slowly, ever so slightly, hint at the ideal solution. As today's press conference has shown... it seems that a more unified European economy is the actual solution to the debt crisis. As for the continuous promises of bailouts and reforms? Well, they're just around to distract, until everyone is ready to accept the difficult reality.
What does the future hold? A fractious Europe teetering on the brink of crisis? Or a unified front of economic power? This is how the future is being presented... and it is up to the European citizens to decide what that future actually looks like.
The photos are of a random roadside monastery and a sleeping cat.