SEAN MONCRIEFF: Time travel may yet help solve referendum riddle

EVEN before the campaign over the Fiscal Stability Compact Referendum thingy had officially begun, it was already clear a No vote would have a devastating effect on what’s left of our economy.

It’s also clear that a Yes vote would have a devastating effect on our economy.

Bailout funds: that’s the key. We’ve been told Ireland will not require another bailout. But just say we did want one, just for the crack, like. Well, we’d go to the IMF or the ESF or M&S, or some other acronym: there’s loads of them. So many, in fact that we’ll have no bother at all getting another bailout that we don’t need.

Or will we? Might it be the case that the Acronym Gang will get so narked with us that they will just let us starve? Of course not, because Ireland defaulting on debts would bring about the destruction of the euro and Europe’s entire financial system.

Or would it? The ESM is going ahead anyway, with or without Ireland’s approval. And we are a tiny country. Nobody in Europe really cares what we think.

Here’s the problem with the debate so far: it’s one of physics. No one really likes this Compact: usually in these campaigns the Yes side do a lot of hand-holding and telling us how wonderful it will be if we give the right answer. This time it’s being presented with all the allure of a root canal. It may (or may not) be something we have to do whether we like it or not.

The problem is the future; what happens after we vote. A Yes may plunge us into permanent austerity. A No may beggar the country. The truth is that no one has a clue. So the only clear option for Ireland is that we build a time machine.

Theoretically, time travel is possible, the only problem being that it requires harnessing an unimaginable amount of energy to make it work. But given the massive volumes of hot air already being generated by a campaign that has only just started, the potential energy source might be literally beneath our noses.

To get it up to the required levels, however, we will have to dial up the pompous outrage to 11, with all sides constantly saying they know how tough it is for people while making wilder predictions about what may happen if the vote doesn’t go the way they want it.

Once we’ve managed to dispatch a mid-ranking civil servant to the future to find out what happens, (imagine the mileage on that job), we’ll be able to vote the right way. Though this doesn’t solve the problem of what attitudes the various acronyms may have towards us in various scenarios. To ascertain this, we’ll have to employ a team of psychics. Or we could just ask them.


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