Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Anybody for President but Pat Cox!

Pat Cox, an Irish MEP for fifteen years (1989 - 2004) and president of the European Parliament for two years (2002 -2004) has now set his sights on the Irish Presidency. 

It is well to remember some of Mr Cox’s connections and just to remind you of some of them, have a look at this old blog on Politics.ie; 

Is this person suitable for the position of President of Ireland?

Anyone for a "Stop Pat Cox" Campaign?

Monday, 23 May 2011

What does it take?

Four short months ago Michael Noonan, called the IMF-EU deal “a downright obscenity”, now he tells us that “Europe has been very good to us . . . They’re actually treating us very well.”

The same Fine Gael that endlessly plugged five-point plan suggested that Ireland might have no choice but to “write down the value of the bonds in the Irish banks” now blithely informs us, via Noonan, that “that debate is over”, that ‘there is no stomach’ in Europe for burning the bond-holders.

And Joan Bruton and the Labour party are strangely quiet on the issue now that the ‘old guard’ of Labour have parked their rears in ministerial seats.

But, more ominously, the people are also very quiet as stealth tax follows stealth tax and the promised change from FG/Labour turns out to be a change for the worse. Do we get what we deserve in the end?

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Government determined to make working people pay

Believe it or not, the €70 billion we’re putting into insolvent banks is €38,000 for every person at work in the Irish economy. If we add €35 billion for NAMA, it’s €57,000 for every worker.

A worker on the average industrial wage will pay €260,000 in tax over a working lifetime. It would therefore take all the tax paid by more than 400,000 workers over their entire careers to pay for the bank bailout alone. Even if we’re wildly optimistic and assume that we’ll eventually get back half of the €105 billion; that still leaves 200,000 of us working our whole lives to save the euro and pay off the gambling debts of a private elite.

It simply cannot be done without reducing us to absolute poverty. The FG/Labour government is determined to make working people pay but we should shout ‘we can’t pay and we won’t pay’ – and call for a structured default now.

Friday, 20 May 2011

More broken promises – remember?

Irish voters were promised a special Treaty Protocol on (a) Neutrality, (b) Irelands right to decide its own company taxation and (c) the constitutional position on abortion, in the next EU Treaty.
At the time it was thought that this would be the EU Accession Treaty for Croatia or Iceland. Now to establish the ESM, (a) the Lisbon Treaty will be amended and the amendment ratified by all EU Member States and (b) The ESM will be established by a treaty among the euro-area Member States binding the EU Member States signatories.

The Government and the Opposition parties that foisted the Lisbon Treaty on the Irish people have an obligation to tell us why it is impossible for them to have the promised Protocol now. As well as this promised Protocol itself, the Government promised during the 2009 Lisbon Treaty referendum that it intended registering the agreement to give Ireland a Protocol with the United Nations in New York. Has this been done? If not, why not?

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Thousands protest in Madrid today over the economic crisis – but why are we so quiet?

Thousands of Spaniards have defied a ban on demonstrations and mounted a protest camp in the heart of the Spanish capital to express anger at political parties and the country's handling of the economic crisis.

The crowds packed Madrid's Puerta del Sol square this morning and pledged to stay there until after municipal and regional elections this weekend. The Madrid electoral board had banned the demonstration because it could influence the elections Sunday.
Similar demonstrations have been held in other Spanish cities.

The protests are a spillover from countrywide demonstrations last Sunday and have triggered a lively debate throughout the country, something that we badly need. 

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

I wasn’t asked ………

The European Union plans to open an office in Benghazi, Libyan town in insurgent hands, to facilitate assistance to the Transitional National Council.

Lo ha riferito il capo della politica estera dell'Ue, Catherine Ashton.
EU foreign minister, Baroness Catherine Ashton said; "Intendo aprire un ufficio a Bengasi, in modo da poter spostarci verso la gente... per sostenere la società civile, per sostenere il Consiglio nazionale di transizione", ha detto Ashton al Parlamento europeo, aggiungendo che il sostegno Ue include aiuti per il settore della sicurezza, riforme e istituzioni."I intend to open an office in Benghazi, in order to move towards the people ... to support civil society to support the National Transitional Council," Ashton told the European Parliament, adding that the EU support include aid for the security sector reforms and institutions.

But that could hardly mean any military involvement?

That’s why we need a referendum on the European Stability Mechanism!

The Community shall not be liable for or assume the commitments of central governments, regional, local or other public authorities, other bodies governed by public law, or public undertakings of any Member State, without prejudice to mutual financial guarantees for the joint execution of a specific project”.
- Article 104b, Maastricht Treaty, 1992.

We have a Treaty under which there is no possibility of paying to bailout states in difficulty”.
  • German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, 1 March 2010.

And before the Irish ‘forced loan’ …..

The euro is in danger – if we do not avert this danger, then the consequences for Europe are incalculable, and then the consequences beyond Europe are incalculable.”
- German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, 19 May 2010.

We cannot allow the bankruptcy of a euro member state like Greece to turn into a second Lehman Brothers […] The consequences of a national bankruptcy would be incalculable. Greece is just as systemically important as a major bank”.
- German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, 18 April 2010.

There is a grave threat of contagion effects for other member states in the monetary union and increasing negative feedback loop effects”.
  • Bundesbank Chief, Axel Weber, 5 May 2010.

Portugal reaches deal with EU/IMF

Portugal announced that it has reached an agreement with the EU/IMF for a €78bn bailout spread over three years. The plan will include €12bn in financial support for the Portuguese banking sector as well as pension cuts, but it is not expected to reduce the minimum wage or cut education or healthcare spending.
The deal also gives Portugal more time to reduce its deficit than was previously planned. The government will have to cut its deficit to 5.9% of GDP, from 9.1%, by the end of the year and to 3% by 2013. Details on the interest rate and on the source of the bailout funds have not been announced. Both decisions are expected to be made soon.
José Sócrates, caretaker Portuguese Prime Minister, suggested that the EU/IMF had recognised that “the situation in Portugal is far from being as serious as in other countries”, a sentiment with which we in Ireland are familiar!

Increasing doubts in Iceland

Iceland’s Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson has voiced opposition to Iceland’s bid for EU accession saying, “Iceland is probably better off with other forms of agreement and connections with the EU than full membership…I am still very sceptical when it comes to the overall benefits of membership”

CGT union warns of discontent at ‘pact for the euro’

Bernard Thibault, head of the CGT, France’s biggest trade union said European unions would be stepping up their protests against the Franco-German “pact for the euro” adopted by eurozone members last month. Te pact aims to strengthen economic co-ordination in the eurozone, including proposals on wage restraint and pension policies.

The pact is negative for workers and counter-productive for economic growth. It has made labour costs the mechanism for exiting the crisis. The systems of social protection are not the origin of the international financial crisis – it is totally illusory to think that increasing social vulnerability will facilitate recovery,” Mr Thibault said.
The European Trades Union Congress, which brings together unions in 36 countries, including Ireland, would “debate new perspectives of mobilisation” at its congress on May 19, Mr Thibault said, including co-ordinated protests.
Meanwhile, widespread protests have erupted in Greece in a violent reaction to government plans for €76bn of fresh cuts and nationalisations. The protests and strikes, which shut hospitals, grounded flights and stopped docking ferries, were timed to coincide with a mission by IMF and EU officials to the country. Demonstrators shouted "Take your memorandum and go" in a marked contrast with Ireland where they walk unbothered around Dublin.

The country's biggest public sector and private sector unions backed Wednesday's general strike, the second this year, to protest against planned sales of state assets; a similar sale in Ireland is assured by the conclusions of the recent McCarthy Report. It was also reported that Greece was close to agreement for "supplemental" EU/IMF loans of €50-60bn to meet its financing needs in 2012 and 2013.

‘Founding Father’ waiting for a miracle

Robert Schuman, an early architect of the European Union, has hit an obstacle on his way to becoming a Catholic saint due to the lack of a miracle.

Schuman, a former French foreign minister was in 1960 dubbed a "founding father" of the Union by the European Parliament in a title recalling the "fathers" of the Catholic church such as St Augustine and St Gregory. The Institut Saint-Benoit, a foundation in Montingy-les-Metz, France, where Schuman spent much of his life, was set up in 1988 to promote his candidacy for sainthood. The foundation believes that Schuman is an "exemplary Christian" both in terms of his personal life and the "holiness of his politics".

The Vatican's embassy to the EU in Brussels has said however that: "We are still waiting for a miracle. One miracle is required for beatification and two for sainthood." Recently Johanna Touzel, a spokeswoman for Comece, a Brussels-based liaison bureau between the Catholic church and the EU institutions, has pointedly said "it has certainly helped" in past relations that the three top men in the EU capital are Christians.

EU will speak with one voice at UN – Ireland’s independent foreign policy………!?

UN General Assembly has voted to give the EU enhanced Observer Status. EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton said ‘the resolution will in future enable EU representatives to present and promote the EU’s positions in the UN, as agreed by its member states’.
The change means the EU can address UN meetings through its own officials, rather than the country holding its rotating presidency, but does not give it voting rights. The EU has been working to upgrade its status at the UN since its member state governments approved the Lisbon Treaty in 2007.

Would you believe it - Euro-federalists financed by US spy chiefs?

Declassified American government documents have shown that the US intelligence community ran a campaign in the Fifties and Sixties to build momentum for a united Europe. It funded and directed the European federalist movement. One memorandum, dated July 26, 1950, gives instructions for a campaign to promote a fully fledged European parliament. It is signed by Gen William J Donovan, head of the American wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS), precursor of the CIA.

The documents were found by Joshua Paul, a researcher at Georgetown University in Washington. They include files released by the US National Archives. Washington's main tool for shaping the European agenda was the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman was Donovan, ostensibly a private lawyer by then.

The vice-chairman was Allen Dulles, the CIA director in the Fifties. The board included Walter Bedell Smith, the CIA's first director, and a number of ex-OSS figures and officials who moved in and out of the CIA. The documents show that ACUE financed the European Movement, the most important federalist organisation in the post-war years. In 1958, for example, it provided 53.5 per cent of the movement's funds.

The European Youth Campaign, an arm of the European Movement, was wholly funded and controlled by Washington. The Belgian director, Baron Boel, received monthly payments into a special account. When the head of the European Movement, Polish-born Joseph Retinger, bridled at this degree of American control and tried to raise money in Europe, he was quickly reprimanded.

The US role was handled as a covert operation. ACUE's funding came from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations as well as business groups with close ties to the US government.
The head of the Ford Foundation, ex-OSS officer Paul Hoffman, doubled as head of ACUE in the late Fifties. The State Department also played a role.

A memo from the European section, dated June 11, 1965, advises the vice-president of the European Economic Community, Robert Marjolin, to pursue monetary union by stealth. It recommends suppressing debate until the point at which "adoption of such proposals would become virtually inescapable". And that policy has been adhered to ever since!

More expensive electricity - courtesy of the EU?

A single EU electricity market could end up leaving Irish consumers facing extra costs, according to the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). A Review of Irish Energy Policy points out the EU is moving rapidly towards an integrated electricity market, and warns such a development could create extra costs for Irish consumers.
The report’s says that an integrated market will mean greater interconnection between the Irish and other European electricity networks and that; “There is a danger that EU rules could see Irish consumers paying for interconnection, which might end up raising their price of electricity.”

Dail watch on Europe Day

The following extract from a contribution by Sinn Fein TD Pádraig MacLochlainn delivered to the Dail on‘Europe Day’ seems to succinctly outline the party’s position on the EU.

Sinn Féin is proud to be a euro-critical party. While it believes Ireland’s place is at the heart of Europe, it also believes it is the responsibility of Government and Opposition to play a full part in EU affairs and to this end, Sinn Féin has long advocated greater attention to EU affairs in public and Oireachtas debates. However, what marks out Sinn Féin as distinct from the other major political parties in this House is that while we support those aspects of European Union policy that are in the interests of the people of Ireland, we are not afraid to oppose those policies which we believe are bad for Ireland. We do not believe that opposition to aspects of the EU project, whether in the form of directives, Council decisions or treaties, makes us anti-European. Indeed, Sinn Féin argues that when it critically opposes aspects of EU policy, it is on the grounds that these policies are bad for both Ireland and the EU as a whole.
Richard Boyd Barrett of People before Profit Alliance pointed out that;
If this gathering were truly to reflect our current relationship with the European Union, Jean-Claude Trichet of the ECB would be sitting in the Taoiseach’s seat, flanked by the heads of the Bundesbank and the other big European banks, and all the public representatives in this Chamber would be bound and gagged.
Next day, Boyd Barrett was ordered to leave the Dáil chamber after a row with the Ceann Comhairle. Boyd Barrett shouted that it was "abuse" when he was told to sit down during questions to the Taoiseach.

Independent TD Luke Flanagan doesn’t mince his words!
I often said in the last few weeks that I could not understand who is and who is not a socialist, but at this stage I know who is not a socialist. The Members on the other side of the House are not socialist. One does not talk about there being some type of moral hazard in an individual defaulting on their debt while simultaneously believing there is no problem with a bank offering money to people it knows could never repay it if anything went wrong.
21% of people in this country, or 735,000, have €70 per month after they pay for everything. Will they be all right in the next couple of years after they pay the new water charges that will be introduced and the new housing tax to be imposed on us by our friends in Europe and the IMF? Our friends in Europe are also talking about increasing interest rates by 1% or, in their language, 100 basis points. That is only another €1,000 gone from one’s income.
Apparently, the difficulties in which we find ourselves are not the fault of Fianna Fáil or the previous Government of which it was a part. Our problems are due, it seems, to the worldwide financial crisis. It did not take those opposite long to turn into the same beasts - and they were beasts - as those who served in government before them. They should be ashamed of themselves.
And an important question from Pádraig MacLochlainn the following day;
The Taoiseach will acknowledge that it will be rather difficult for us to deliver on the goals we set ourselves in the national reform plan while, at the same time, implementing the austerity programme from the EU, the IMF and the ECB. The Tánaiste has announced the diplomatic initiative. Does that initiative involve engaging with the Governments of Greece, Portugal and, potentially, Spain on a counter-offensive to the narrative that exists in northern Europe that the bailout is a result of the recklessness of the peripheral economies when, in reality, the recklessness of major financial institutions in the core states being allowed by the ECB and IMF to lend banking institutions in the peripheral states was the cause of the crisis? What engagements have taken place with those Governments?
Enda Kenny’s less than encouraging reply can be read at; http://www.kildarestreet.com/debates/?id=2011-05-11.228.0&s=EUROPE#g271.3

More lies from Juncker!

Criticism of Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, who heads the Euro Group of finance ministers, for lying about a secret meeting of select EU finance ministers to discuss the worsening Greek debt situation, was widespread last week.

Ministers and their spokespeople across the eurozone had first denied or refused to comment on a widely repeated report which appeared in Spiegel Online revealing that a secret meeting of senior EU officials was held in Luxembourg to consider a Greek exit from the euro. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,761201,00.html

The same officials later confirmed that the meeting took place, but that Greece returning to the drachma was never on the table. Juncker it appeared had invited finance ministers from France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, ostensibly under the aegis of the EU members of the G20 (although the UK, a G20 member, was absent), along with Greece, the European Central Bank and Olli Rehn, the EU economy commissioner. Juncker's spokesman was quoted by Reuters as saying: "I totally deny that there is a meeting, these reports are totally wrong." Later, Enda Kenny said in the Dail that he had ‘not spoken to Mr. Juncker, who called the meeting in Luxembourg at short notice,’

The development comes after Juncker had admitted the week before during a Brussels conference on economic governance that over the course of his career, despite his Catholic upbringing, he often "had to lie" in order not to feed rumours and that economic policy was too important to be discussed in public. "I am for secret, dark debates," he quipped, according to an EUobserver report. German press agency DAPD has quoted him as saying: "When the going gets tough, you have to lie."

Austrian daily Der Standard attacked Juncker as a "master of lies, while Germany's influential Suddeutsche Zeitung meanwhile complained that no one can believe what EU leaders, but particularly Juncker, say regarding the stability of the eurozone any more. Meanwhile, the Greek prosecutor has contacted German counterparts, requesting assistance in tracking down those responsible at Spiegel Online for the initial report.

Blueprint for a federal superstate?

Speaking in Berlin on the occasion of ‘Europe Day’, EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said that “one day, [Europe] will need an EU President” incorporating the functions of European Council and Commission President, arguing that “Europe needs a strong face and a strong voice.” Barnier also called for the creation of a single representative allowed to speak on behalf of eurozone countries and for a common EU defence policy. Barnier said that the EU diplomatic service should be called the European Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

On defence he pointed out that ‘we need to move towards a truly European defence policy. 60 years on, work on a European defence community needs to be restarted, if necessary through the “structured cooperation” which is now possible under the Lisbon Treaty. A true military staff structure is required, systematically bringing together research efforts and resources, and favouring European products when purchasing equipment. All of this goes far beyond the necessary, but insufficient, cooperation between France and the United Kingdom, or between Germany and Sweden.

The EU needs to set up a permanent capacity to plan and carry out operations in the way suggested by Poland, Germany and France. All in all, the objective must be that Europe is ready to take responsibility more and more for its own collective defence, but also become a robust and credible partner for the United-States.
The EU has legitimacy in the area of defence, as it does in other areas. This is the belief that has led France, under President Sarkozy, to take up its full role within NATO. Everyone who, like me, believes in the North-Atlantic alliance needs to understand that the balance, credibility and strength of the NATO/EU relationship depend on the political impetus which will be given to European defence. It is an issue of trust, and I would recommend that nobody on either side of the Atlantic underestimate this requirement.

The new Europe needs to be a veritable “Federation of Nation States”. It needs a strong identity and a strong voice. One day a future president of the European Union, whoever he or she will be, should both preside over the European Council and chair the European Commission.

The drafters of the Lisbon Treaty were careful not to rule out this major and symbolic step forward. The individual who would become president of the European Union on a proposal from the heads of state and government could have their power vested in them by a Congress comprising both the European Parliament and representatives of the national Parliaments. 

Irish banks continue to issue bonds to themselves in order to gain ECB loans!

Irish banks’ controversial issuance of ‘own-use’ bonds is set to continue. ‘Own-use’ bonds are issued by the banks to themselves, but are guaranteed by the Irish state, and then posted as collateral to take cheap loans from the ECB. In the past week Irish banks have issued €12bn of these bonds in order to roll over the original ‘own-use’ bonds until August, highlighting ongoing problems in the Irish banking sector.

Is €1.9bn pension levy the first step in pension fund grab?

Financial advisors have warned that the Government's target take of €470m a year from retirement funds would wipe out savings. The ICTU, pensions provider Irish Life and industry experts warned €1.9bn grab was an attack on average earners. The ICTU called for a small levy on top earners as a better prescription.

Latest CSO figures show that among occupational groups, ‘Clerical and secretarial’ (89%) workers were most likely to have an occupational pension and that they were more common among younger workers. Of those workers aged 25-34 who had a pension, 85% had an occupational pension, this compares with 64% of those aged 55-69.

Jerry Moriarty of the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) said the €1.9bn bill could see the start of bigger levies. "We just see it as a tax on working people saving - that's what pension funds are," he said. "The Government thinks that it is just a pot of money and that 0.6% is not a lot, but this is money that people have saved for retirement. It could be the start of something bigger. It's a wipeout, there's no question."
The IAPF said there are fears this is the first step in a line of additional levies on savings including credit union accounts. Mike Kemp, Irish Insurance Federation chief executive, said the levy was onerous, and added: "This levy does not penalise those that are well-off, but ordinary middle income earners."

New laws will be brought in to allow fund administrators to impose the tax, although the IAPF warned legislation may be open to challenge under laws on constitutional property rights.

As we pointed out in our last issue, Irish savers have about €75bn in private pension plans and €93bn in deposit accounts, both of which present the opportunity for a government smash and grab, in yet another move to appease the bond-holders and our masters in the EU/IMF.

Stabilisation Fund chief accuses Commission of inaction on Ireland

The European commission has been accused by Klaus Regling, the boss of the EU's new bailout fund - the European Financial Stabilisation Fund (EFSF), which was set up in mid-2010 to provide funds to bail out euro-member states- of not doing enough to criticise the unsustainable growth of the Irish economy during the boom. Ireland was the first country to be provided with funds by the EFSF.

During the boom he said that there had been “a lack of budgetary discipline” in Ireland and the European Commission, failed to criticise this sufficiently. Mr Regling was the head of the European Commission’s directorate general for economic affairs from 2001-08.
At the time, the commission considered the very large increases in expenditure to be an excessive stimulus to the economy. These increases were introduced by the then Minister for Finance Charlie McCreevy and implemented in order to ‘buy’ the 2002 general election. Facing resistance from the Irish government of the time and with a lack of support from other EU member states, the commission backed down and Mr Regling halted a censure motion from the Commission. He now says that; “we failed”.
Mr Regling has co-authored one of two reports on the Irish banking crisis.

“Europe Day” rededication demonstrates government priorities – People’s Movement protest.

The People’s Movement held a demonstration outside the Dail on Monday 9th May to coincide with the special “Europe Day” rededication sitting taking place inside presided over by Lucinda Creighton. A wreath was laid in memory of Irish democracy now supplanted by EU/IMF rule.

In a statement the People’s Movement said, “Sociologists call the phenomenon of increased commitment to a batty theory, at the very hour of its destruction by external evidence, “cognitive dissonance.” Such a phenomenon can be guaranteed to be on display during Monday’s “Europe Day” special Dail sitting. As the gloss comes off the “European ideal”, the Fine Gael/ Labour Government and the Fianna Fail Opposition are guaranteed to drop all pretence of political difference and join together in paeans of EU enthusiasm, loyalty and rededication.
It is not unreasonable for those of us not afflicted with the condition to ask members of the Government and the Oireachtas by what insane logic it was decided that it is more important to hold a special sitting of the Dail to launch a EU propaganda week than to give priority to trying to come to grips with the 15% unemployment, massive emigration, collapse in property prices, negative equity for tens of thousands, unsustainable debt burden on the public finances and general economic contraction that threatens social and economic havoc to the country.
Monday’s events will not even scratch the surface at providing solutions to these core problems because that would require asking serious questions about how certain policy positions common to Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail contributed to landing us in our present indebted state.
For example, how wise was it to abolish the Irish pound and join the eurozone thereby abandoning the economic safety valves of an interest rate and exchange rate policy that suited our interests? Also how did the adoption of Eurozone negative real interest rates at the height of the “Celtic Tiger” boom inflate the Irish property bubble with disastrous consequences for our society? And now how are we going to be able to address our problems within the Eurozone and thus without policy flexibility as regards interest rates and exchange rates except by way of unemployment, emigration, austerity and sales of national assets?
The elitist nature of the politics of “Europe Day” is best illustrated at the moment by the united determination of Government and Opposition not to allow the people to decide in a referendum on a measure that would impose an obligation on our indebted State to fork out some €9.87 billion as its contribution to fund a dubious new permanent EU “bailout” Fund from 2013.
The Fund, called the European Stability Mechanism, will do nothing to lessen this country’s economic and social distress nor the pain of last December’s EU-IMF stitch-up. The EU authorities are dead set against a referendum in any EU State on this Fund even though it will mean changes to Treaties that little more than a year ago EU Heads of State and Government were promising would not be changed for the foreseeable future.
The Government case for not holding a referendum is based on the opinion of the last Attorney Paul Gallagher SC. It was the same Mr Gallagher who advised the Fianna Fail/Green Government in September 2008 that a blanket State guarantee of all the debts of Ireland’s private banks was legal and that Irish law required that the creditors and bondholders of the Irish banks should not be touched in view of such a guarantee.
This opinion fitted in neatly with the European Central Bank insistence on a guarantee that no Irish bank could be allowed to fail in case the German and French banks from which the Irish banks had borrowed would not be paid back.
It also opened the floodgates for payments of billions of euros to senior bondholders of Anglo-Irish Bank without any question of them being asked to take a “haircut” or make any sacrifice at all.
It will be fascinating to see how the “Europe Day” enthusiasts twist and turn in their efforts to justify their disastrous enthusiasms best encapsulated in their all too recent pro-Lisbon Treaty, “Yes for Jobs”, and “Yes for Recovery” promises, which are now starkly exposed to be the cons that they always were.