Rod Liddle

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Just a quick word about our huge contribution to the bailout of Ireland, and the intimations from the government that this loan is a singularity because of our exceptional trading relations with Ireland. That word is “balls”. Ireland is only our fifth most important country for exports and our eighth most important country for imports. Germany, Holland, France and the US buy far, far more of our stuff than do the Irish.

This loan is being presented as something which is in our national interest, an exceptional case. But it is not; we export almost as much to Belgium, which may well be next in line for a handout. I can understand that the Irish may find it easier to accept our generosity if they think we are benefitting from it and that it is a pragmatic decision not connected to our obligations within the EU. But that is simply not the case, no matter how much they might wish that it were. You will note that the US, an almost equal trading partner with Ireland as we are, is not spending a single cent on the bailout. And you will notice soon that we will be bunging cash right left and centre as other Rome-leaning agrarian theocracies within the EU start to crumble.