October 7, 2008

David on questions & answers

Posted in News · 11 comments ·

David McWilliams was on Questions & Answers last night discussing the financial crisis among other topics.
Also on the panel were Joan Burton, Noel Whelan, Alan Dukes & Peter Power.

The program is available to view from the RTE website.
By topic: Was the Government right to bet on the banks?

How should Irish interests be protected?

Should economists be glad we have a recession?

How should we view the US election turning nasty?

Is Aer Lingus right to shed jobs now?

(opens in a new window and requires Real Player).


  1. Greetings!

    This was a quite interesting session of Questions & Answers, although it would have been even more so if the government had been courageous enough to send one their ministers with economic responsibility (Brian Lenihan or Mary Coughlan) onto the panel.

    Personally I watched predominantly to hear David’s analysis and comments, and I was not disappointed. Especially the idea of creating a group of totally independent “Untouchables” to sort out the banks is very good and has my full support.

    Let’s hope that Brian Lenihan is still listening to David, as he was a week ago, on that crucial Sunday.

  2. Ire_in_Exile

    Nice points DMcW-
    “Government intervention, must act with foresight- shock the financial markets” and most specifically “put manners on bankers”
    But there is a deeper problem which could see the government guarantee and every other measure still fail- because these measures have been introduced with tax payers money!
    Bailing out the villains with the last reserves of the robbed.

    To any ordinary citizen, the government have been for some time complicit in an elaborate plot with builders and bankers (supported by the media) to rob the country- and this is what has been done- simple.
    The bankers and builders don’t really give a hoot about the crisis because they have long since squared off the loot offshore- the wealth they accumulated in the boom remains in their hands.
    The success of government action depends on the support and trust of the population, but how much trust is there now that the realisation has finally dawned that they have all been royally fleeced?
    There will be no trust in the government or traditional powers that be for some time to come..and an angry mob will grow.

    Drastic measures are needed in a crisis.
    To restore any modicum of trust the only real sure thing any government should now undertake is to hunt heads!! There should be no delay in punishing those responsible for this disaster (as inevitably a delay means nothing will be done)
    They should round up those responsible immediately, name them, shame them, freeze their assets, return the horded loot offshore to the Nation, jail some, whip some and indeed shoot some.
    That is the only way to teach some lasting manners.
    Only then will the citizens confidence be restored..for without the faith that they live in a secure society where they are protected from above, there will be no recovery of any sort.

  3. jingojonson

    Good performance by David last night however I seriously doubt that the Government will follow
    his line of reasoning re implementation of a Swedish type model for the restoration of the banking sector.

    Too many links between our politicians and bankers. You could already hear the Government TD
    backing off from dealing with the banks from the taxpayers perspective.

    This is a litmus test of the Government and whether they will represent our interests or the interests
    of those who have brought us to the edge of ruin while enriching themselves.

    I have little faith in the Government but lets see…

  4. I can only see one reason why 6 ‘Irish’ banks were heroically protected, whereas the other domestic banks’ loans were not.

    The longstanding connections with our political class is the answer, no? Whatever about throwing a shield around our domestic banking scene, if that were possible, how do you leave effectively domestic banks off of the agenda? Is it because they may have not had as dirty hands in the unholy alliance that waged war here against the Irish people? Maybe the practices of our Irish outfits susbsidiaries abroad will now receive close examination again. Weren’t AIB wholly incapable of running a bank honestly in the US even after similar practices were uncovered in Barings? The shareholders of most British & Irish institutions draw widely from Britain & Ireland at this stage. So why only those banks? And why did the regulator not enforce any regulations in the last 2 years? I’m sure we were assured that stress testing was showing up no issues. Was this only seeking internal stress variables or also looking at Libor and liquidity? Anyone?

    oh please, an aul one who’s been carefully budgeting the little she’s had for 70+ years can easily see through the structural robbery, sorry I mean problems and the simple solutions that would ensure they don’t happen again.

    Crisis, what crisis? If one or two of our banks had fallen, in particular an Ailing Irish Bank, I’d have donated a bung of money to Sightsavers and celebrated. The big banks here destroyed people in the 80′s. They are now going to do it again, with Fianna Fail & Fianna Gael’s explicit permission. For God’s sake, even Sinn Fein, in a daft effort to look financially literate, backed them!! Finish the move. Checkmate the banks please, time is slipping.

    David, the guarantee move was only correct if they now dot the Is and cross the Ts. If not, it was as useful as the Russian Tsar sending 2 million fools out with less than a bullet each per day. That’s about as effective we’ll be against the Hun economy if we get this wrong.

  5. AndrewGMooney

    Breaking News – Reuters – Resignation Speech- 22:30 07/10/08
    UK Chancellor addresses the Irish and Icelandic Nations.

    [Scene: Chancellor in Bowler Hat. Pinstripe Suit. Bulldog at heel. Think ‘Clockwork Orange]

    “Good evening citizens. Fellow Europeans. Erm…I have decided to resign tonight, rather than wait till 7:00am tomorrow morning when the UK ‘Stabilisation and Reconstruction Plan’ will be announced.

    First of all I would like to apologize for inadvertently spreading chaos and disorder in your countries, thereby bankrupting your financial systems. Really sorry about that one….If I may just explain how the ‘Panic in the Post Office’ kicked off.

    It has been a difficult few days for me as the Chancellor of the Ex-Chequer-Book. In fact, it’s been hell, made me all nervy and shaky, snapping at the dog and hitting the bottle. “Whiskey you’re the devil” type of thing. I love a bit of a jig to giddy Irish music when I’m feeling ‘cheerful’, but tonight it’s strictly My Bloody Valentine.

    Anyways: At lunchtime today I popped into the Post Office to deposit some of my wages in an ‘offshore account’ (as you do), and thought my wig and shades disguise had worked a treat. Unfortunately some tabloid scum had followed me and started clicking and flashing and telling all the pensioners who I was and what I was up to. Busted. Big time.

    It didn’t help that I had a Man Utd shirt on with AIG plastered across it. I tried to explain it didn’t mean ‘Allied Irish Group’ but no-one would listen. I tried to pretend I was Wayne Rooney, George Clooney, but everyone knew: It’s Andy Mooney.
    Within minutes there were T.V crews, mobile phone jpegs whizzing all across the Dis-United Kingdom and over to Ireland and Iceland.

    So, that’s how ‘The Post Office Panic of 2008’ started. Within the hour, people all over the U.K were looting ‘Iceland’ because someone started a rumour that someone from Ireland called Baugur ‘owned them’, so they took direct action, filling their trolleys with chicken drumsticks and cheeze feast pizzas to fill their freezers with. And, of course, they were demanding cash from terrified Post Office counter-staff. I tried to reason with a journalist from The Sun but he just sneered ‘Iceland, Ireland: Whatever!’

    It seems, in retrospect, that many UK citizens have a very limited knowledge of geography, despite us spending all that money on Education! Education! Eductation! [sic] Our citizens were unable to distinguish between the Sovereign Nations of Ireland and Iceland, never mind the separate guarantees on respective countries bank accounts.

    When ‘Ice-Save’ closed their banking website pronto to stop looters, all hell broke loose. The Matalan Mobs ‘went postal’ and demanded their ration of turkey twizzlers from their Anglo-Ireland Post Office Accounts and their cash from Iceland frozen food stores. They needed instant liquidity on their lottery ticket and drug dealing funds. They ‘shorted’ The System.

    Someone on telly called Iceland a ‘sinking frozen Northern Rock’ & that just fuelled the frenzy cuz Ireland is an island like Iceland, and the frozen food angle just got too confusing for Little Britain types, the ‘common people’ who, I repeat, ‘went postal’. Then that nutter Putin said ‘buy Iceland’ and everyone thought that meant free vodka so they just ransacked the off-licences.

    I’m really, truly sorry about the whole ’Chinese Whispers Scenario’ which unfolded across Ireland and Iceland shortly afterwards. All those poor auld biddies trampled in the mud. But it’s not my fault they were watching The BBC rather than RTE which is where they should be tuned into for ’official reporting’ from your government. What’s the Icelandic T.V channel called? It’s not on my crib-sheet. Oh well.
    Obviously, I’m not Chancellor anymore but I promise to pay you all back bit by bit from my dole money, if I’m entitled to any.

    As I was clearing my desk, Peter Mandleson came in to give me a huge box of Belgian chocolates as a leaving present. “Don’t cry, darling!” He said as he gave me a manly hug and a ‘continental‘ kiss. Mwaw. Mwaw. Pink cashmere pullover. Givenchy.

    He’s Chancellor now, so I’m sure he’ll restore order really quickly tomorrow morning. He’s really been a true friend since he got back from Brussels. Actually, in confidence: It was Peter who told me that things were a ‘bit iffy’ with Sterling and I owed it to my wife and kids to stash a bit of cash offshore.

    Once again, I’m truly sorry. I’ve let everyone down. But Peter says not to worry cause he’ll sort the ‘Iceland’ situation out. Or was it the ‘Ireland’ situation? Peter says it’s not my fault, it’s just another example of ‘The Peter Principle’, but I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what all that ‘dollar long, yen short, close pig belly futures’ nonsense is either. But I never wanted to be Chancellor anyway, I just did it as a favour for my mate Gordon, er Prime Minister Brown. Gordon said he’d write all the speeches and I just had to read them out so it seemed a good gig. It all started to go wrong when I went to see Leonard Cohen and the press bastards said the British Economy was doomed because I spent my nights listening to ‘The Future’ with a razorblade in my hand. Not true. I had a length of rope, actually, but the joist gave way.
    [Are we done? Have you got enough footage? Can I go now? Edit it as you like, I’m history. Toast. What? Read the following…ok]

    Finally, I’d like to congratulate your new Taoiseach (pron: Tee-Shuck) on his appointment after today’s coup d’etat. Who’d have thought young David McWilliams would rise so high, so fast? Just a young slip of a lad, yet so poised and confident on screen, not like me mumbling in a Brummie accent and blinking shiftily.

    I apologise unreservedly for the offence and diplomatic incidents I caused. It’s hard to accept I actually typed all those crazy messages on his website like I was Mariah Carey on crack, but I’ve had a firm diagnosis and it’s just part of my ’challenge’. Apparently, it’s partly genetic but it can be triggered by stress. You try being the Chancellor for a week and see if you’ve got any working brain cells at the end of it.

    I’m sure your new ruler will lead the staff of Ice-Save-Eire-Land-Banksy Frozen Foods Ltd to ever more spectacular economic successes and the sunlit uplands of garage-sized freezers groaning with chicken nuggets and left-over Abrakebabra munchies.

    I repeat: This S.R.P will not be a ‘bail-out’, but I’m bailing out. Enough is fc-uk’in enough. The leak to Sky News in the last few minutes that the ‘S.R.P’ is based on a previous ‘Swedish Strategy’ has caused immediate looting of meatballs and lingonberry stocks from IKEA shops across the United Kingdom.

    So, let’s end the show with me singing an Anglo-Eirelandic ditty my mate Mozzer composed one night when he was blotto on potcheen. I just need to fix the capo at the 2nd fret. Ok…

    “Irish blood, English heart, This I’m made of
    There is no one on earth I’m afraid of
    And no regime can buy or sell me

    I’ve been dreaming of a time when
    To be English is not to be baneful
    To be standing by the flag not feeling shameful, Racist or partial

    Irish blood, English heart, This I’m made of
    There is no one on earth I’m afraid of
    And I will die with both of my hands untied

    I’ve been dreaming of a time when
    The English are sick to death of Labour, And Tories
    And spit upon the name Oliver Cromwell
    And denounce this royal line that still salute him,
    And will salute him forever. “ (lyric copyright Morrissey)

    Sincerely yours
    Mad Paddy From Brum.

    PS: Angela: The S.R.P will be a declaration of intent. E.U Scrutiny? póg mo thóin
    You think you can drag us kicking and screaming into the Euro? Plot exposed. Britons never, never, never will be slaves….

    [Nurse, the screens!]


  6. Johnny Dunne

    One of the reasons there might be a delay in bringing forward the ‘guarantee’ scheme to the Dail could be the Cabinet are getting ‘lessons’ about the difference between guaranteeing a bank’s assets and their liabilities. I think many politicians are confused about the ultimate risk as none of them on the Q&A panel picked up Minister Power who was saying categorically more than once that that the government had not guaranteed ‘liabilities’ and loans ? They’ve guaranteed €440 billion+ of bank ‘liabilities’ including deposits and the bank’s loans but not the ‘liabilities’ of taxpayers struggling to pay for the overvalued property assets mortgaged to and owned by the banks. The banks have ‘guaranteed’ assets, albeit depreciating at a rapid pace and ALL liabilities thanks to ‘frightening’ the Brian’s into action on Monday! There could be a change tonight with Minister Lenihan saying the government will have an arrangement with the banks to recover ‘charges’ for the guarantee. If this ‘deal’ is not agreed with the each bank, based on the stock value of all the main Irish banks today we could see a quick move to ‘nationalise’ like the UK ?

  7. AndrewGMooney

    Astonishing bun-fight! DMcW aquits himself quite well, even though I strongly disagree with his perspective.
    Very impressed with the dogged terrier skills of Joan Burton in not falling for the ‘national unity’ scam.

    I was struck by how insular the discussion was for a member of the Euro-Zone. No ‘foreign’ input from any of your fellow currency members. Compare and contrast with the German Ambassador on BBC Newsnight.

    Best point is when Citizen Jack McDonnell (?) steps up to the plate in Q1: Was the government right to bet on the banks? [11:15 mins]
    Searching questions, clarity over the limit of the German guarantee, not swallowing the hype.

    Peter Powell, Overseas Development Minister will no doubt be developing cordial relations with the Big Four EU beasts over this unilateral response.

    I sit here awaiting the Churchillian response of the British Labour Government (*rollseyes*). But I think it’s safe to say the changes of Britain entering the Euro other than in a state of abject collapse (Iceland) is unthinkable.

    At it’s first crucial test, the Euro-Zone flunked in the most spectacular possible way. How on earth will The Lisbon Treaty v2 pan out in Ireland now? Whilst it is every countries prerogative to act in it’s national interests, it makes the whole EU integration project seem a risible farce. Those of us in Britain who have tried to maintain a balanced perspective on the pros and cons of joining the club now face an impossible task.

    Make sure the Euros in your pocket are German issue!

    Kind regards

  8. liz ryan

    Can David or anyone else clarify who if anyone is guaranteeing NIB investments? NIB – a subsidiary of Danskebank – say accounts are guaranteed under the Danish government protection scheme, but the Danskebank website says its foreign branches are not protected and will throw themselves on the mercy of the host country in the event of meltdown.
    So NIB savers appear to be totally exposed. Yes? No? What?!?

  9. Shane

    Does anyone think it is a good time to be buying into the banks, or hold till the Germans have their market sorted out first?
    Any Thoughts?

  10. Ruairi

    Shane, if its money you can afford to speculate with, then there ‘could’ be a bounce between now & Christmas. but the system may not be able to completely eradicate the pain on this occasion. Its been on painkillers for 20 years. P/E ratios could go well below 10x and down into 7x territory, back to 1970′s levels, before the bottom is found. This is the advice of a number of online sources. There’s already a number of vested analysts saying that now’s a good time to row in. if like Lorcan Roche Kelly, you fancy a dip and can afford to, go for it as there’s money to be made. Just make sure you’re not taking a bath when you hadn’t intended to! I presume also that you mean Irish banks. The course of their shares is very far from clear, with internal and external factors to allow for. AIB will always come out smelling of roses I suppose(more’s the pity), its all about timing. This guarantee is also implicit government backing for them to take over other ‘national’ interests.

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