Let’s say Trump becomes President of the United States. He has promised to make two major decisions that will immediately impact on us. One, he says he’s bringing US jobs home. Secondly, he wants US firms’ cash, in the form of cash transfers or by way of taxes, to go the same way. We call this Trumpit. Should it happen (and who predicted Trump leading the Republican campaign to date?) this would be bad news for Ireland. Our politicians, currently more interested in who’s on the podium on Easter Sunday, should be doing a Trump on it, screaming from the European rooftops, warning the US that if they start imposing trade tariffs and barriers, that it’s a two way street.
The second issue is Brexit. This is far, far more nuanced for Ireland than the commentary from the big business lobbyists both here and in the UK. There are so many ifs and buts. If the UK leaves so much will depend on the terms on which they leave. Sterling could go up – good for them buying our goods, bad for us buying their raw material. The reverse is equally true of our largest trading partner if Sterling were to weaken. Their corporate tax rate (already flagged in their recent budget) could fall further, attracting more FDI to the UK. Their much lower personal tax rates are already a major barrier to attracting our emigres back home from there to here. There are more swings and roundabouts involved than there are in Duffy’s Circus.
It is also sad to continuously hear and read that should the UK go for Brexit that they’ll relocate their financial services HQ’s to Dublin, with the implied provision of thousands of jobs here. Those who peddle this nonsense have no idea about financial services. Those working and living in the City of London want to continue to do so. People who work in the City want to live and work in what is the world’s financial capital. Banks can move capital wherever they like but they won’t be moving job locations if they want to retain their top employees.
No. Forget about crumbs off the rich man’s table. Despite decades and decades of self-imposed and self-destructing economic policies, our own economy, thanks to the incredible tenacity of our 200,000 SME entrepreneurs, has been slowly hauled back – yet again - from the brink. This show of resilience should inform our political masters that, if given the right conditions at home, that Brexit and Trumpit shouldn’t be of huge concern. We have overcome far more and far worse.
The threat is not Brexit or Trumpit. The real threat is at home with our pork barrel politicians trying to cling to power. They’ll offer anyone, anything. There’s already the Luas, now CIE, then ESB and the teachers. It looks like Haddington Road is going down the S-bend. This is not Easter, this is Christmas for public sector unions.