- 'The most significant threat to our national security is our debt' - Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, US Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27th 2010.
Not North Korea, China, the Taliban or Al Qaeda: debt is the biggest threat to the USA. Britain should wake up very quickly to the debt time bomb Ireland represents to it.
In March 2010 a study by the Bank for International Settlements, a clearinghouse for the world’s central banks put British banks total exposure to Ireland at $222 billion.
In the three years since things have got worse, far worse, in the 26 counties.
The reality is that these figures are not the worst of it for the British state in relation to the 26 counties. This was highlighted in November 2010 when Adair Turner, Chairman of Britain’s financial regulator stated 'the fundamental exposure of the British financial system is to the Irish economy.' The value of UK exports to Ireland in recent years has been greater than the combined value of exports to Brazil, China, India and Russia, the BRIC nations. The import of this is that the BRIC countries are the new engine of world economic growth and have some of the highest rates of disposable income on the planet.
Moody’s in June 2013, released data which showed mortgage debt servicing problems continue to rise in the 26 counties. The 90 day delinquency rate reached a new peak of 18.1% from 17.3% in the first three months of the year. The per centage of loans in the 360 day unpaid category has also risen; it now stands at the level €10.8 billion. The Dublin governments Department of Finance released figures in early July which show that a quarter of restructured mortgages are not having their terms met. The six counties have the worst mortgage default rate in the area under the control of the British exchequer. There was a six per cent drop in consumer spending in the six counties in June of this year.
What is the health of the 26-county economy?. In its “What’s left” survey at the end of 2012 the Irish League of Credit Unions said 61% of people in the state have 100 euro or less at the end of the month once essential bills are paid. Within this group the survey highlighted 1.5 million people have E50 or less a month after paying essential bills.
Emigration is officially at the worst levels since the Famine of the 1840s. Central Statistics Office figures show that 76,000 people left the 26 counties in 2011.The figure is up on 300,000 people having left in the last four years. A subtext to these emigration figures is that this year and next thousands of emigrants will be forced to return due to expiry of short term visas in places such as Australia and New Zealand. Thousands of people who do not want to be here, forced to return and who have no future here is a ticking societal time bomb.
These figures were released before the impact of the Property Tax was taken into account. This tax will take hundreds of euros from families already struggling. Water charges are due some time in 2014. A Broadcasting charge for every household will come into place in 2015.
An April 2013 Central Bank report showed that of the €50 billion owed by small and medium sized businesses in the 26 counties, 50 % or €25 billion is in distress. 70% of employment in the private sector in the 26 counties as a whole is in these SMEs.
Figures from ElectricIreland released in April show that in December 2012, 100,000 customers were in arrears.
May 2013 statistics from the CSO show that the construction industry contracted for the 70th month in a row, nearly six straight years.
One of the most startling statistics you will ever see in relation to economic matters anywhere in the world was released by Eurostat in January this year. According to the agency 42% of the total cost of the European banking crisis has been carried by the citizens of the 26 county state. That translates to 25% of GDP compared to a cost to the Germans of 1.5 % 0f GDP. The population of the EU is in the region of 500 million, 4.5 million of those people have carried over 40 % of the pain. Not going to continue. The 4th Reich has sucked any wealth available in 26 counties to pay for its banksters. This is bad news for the chaps in the City of London.
When RBS failed Ulster bank only constituted 10% of its loan book, yet £12 billion or a quarter of the British states bailout of the bank went towards dealing with bad debt in Ireland. All that has done is avert an immediate catastrophe for the British state to a situation of mere unknown oceans of bad debt to come which no one can quantify.
London was the epicentre of the financial “services” mafia which constructed the smash and grab of the European financial rip off. This is a once in a lifetime rip off though. The impoverishment of large swathes of the European people by the “services” sector means it is a well that can not be revisited anytime soon.
This has serious implications for the British state. The opposition from the British government to the Financial Transaction Tax displayed an embarrassing dependence on the banksters and their friends as a fundamental part of the British economy.
The British state has printed 275billion of sterling to survive since the 2007 crisis hit.
The UK has the second largest debt to GDP ratio in the western world, personal debt stands at 507% of GDP.
North Sea oil revenue has drastically reduced in recent years and the Gulf dictators of places such as Bahrain and Dubai have at most a decade left in their rule. This has serious implications for the British state as Gulf money is in reality bankrolling the British exchequer.
A well planned campaign of Mortgage non-payment and civil disobedience in protest at the economic rape of the people of Ireland could deliver ten, fifteen, twenty Baltic exchange/City of London scenarios in a matter of a couple of years for British state finances. Michael Davitt and Gandhi should be the signposts for Republican activism in the months and years ahead.
Surely it is time for a genuine process of justice, reconciliation and peace which has self determination and economic justice at its core. The peoples of Ireland and Britain have too much to loose. To quote the Royle family “Commonwealth my arse”. Common survival in any kind of viable economic way needs the British state to engage with Ireland in a genuine, open way.