March 25, 2009

We need a complete break from the ideas of the past

Posted in Banks · 168 comments ·
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IcelandersBar myself, a few dour looking cod fishermen, a delegation from the IMF and the tell-tale opportunistic financier looking for bargains, Icelandair 275 from Heathrow to Reykjavik is empty. This is hardly surprising when you consider we are bound for a bankrupt country on a Monday afternoon.

Out of the window, the true glory of the Scottish Highlands is evident as we head out in blazing sunshine past the Hebrides.

We finally pass the Westman Islands — off the southern coast of Iceland. These were home to Irish slaves, whose descendants, according to a 2001 genetic map, make up 30pc of the Icelandic population. The Irish were ‘Westmen’ and the Norse ‘Ostmen’ — from the East.

Hundreds of men and women were taken from Dublin as slaves by the Vikings to Iceland throughout the 10th century.

This explains the prevalence today of names like Njiall, Brjian and Kjormack. Most Icelandic historians suggest that the Westman islanders may even pre-date the Viking slaves and may have been the descendants of an earlier Irish colony of monks. Indeed, it is thought that the Westman Islands were an ancient stopover for the Atlantic voyages of St Brendan.

It is hard not to feel a certain proximity for these people who may well have been the first nation to experience and host the Irish diaspora!

But the commonalities don’t end there. Today Iceland is in tatters. The country turned itself into a large hedge fund, bet its future on the financial markets, and property, and lost. Each Icelander now owes more than 100 years of income to foreign banks and this money will never be paid back. As in Ireland, an oligarch class hijacked the local economy and mortgaged the next generation. House prices in Iceland went through the roof, driven by foreign borrowing and when everything was made exorbitant, Icelanders borrowed foreign money to buy inflated assets. This is precisely what went on in Ireland but, unlike Ireland, the government who presided over Iceland’s mania and was financed by its proceeds, is gone. So too are the upper echelons of the central bank and the mandarins who oversaw this nonsense. Alas we in Ireland have not rooted out this rotten core — not yet.

You’ve probably heard the joke that the difference between Ireland and Iceland is one letter and six months. Well it’s over half a year since I’ve heard this quip but timing apart, is it a valid comparison?

Yes and no. Iceland has its own currency, which means it took the brunt of the shock through a 90pc devaluation of the Krona. This means its foreign debts are now almost twice as large, but domestic debt has been wiped out. Iceland is now profoundly more competitive than before. When all its foreign debts are renegotiated, Iceland will recover very quickly and the devalued currency will make its exporting industries hypercompetitive. Iceland aims to lock in these gains by joining the euro at a deeply depreciated exchange rate.

Ireland — with our euro membership at a highly overvalued rate — has the same debts but no exporting capacity to generate revenue! I’ve heard politicians talk of the euro being the shield protecting us from an Icelandic meltdown. This is a common refrain from bankers, politicians and the mainstream economic establishment. But it omits to explain why Iceland will recover quicker than Ireland, why its debts are now its lenders’ problem and why it achieved competitive wage cuts without the lunacy of prolonged deflation — with its attendant unemployment, emigration and social problems. Iceland had a five-week deflation; we are going to have a five-year one.

The idea being put forward here is not that we should copy Iceland, but that we should think carefully about what we are about to embark on.

On the banking side, we are going (as this column predicted in November) to have a bad bank scenario whereby a financial skip is set up and all the bad debts of the boom thrown into it. To buy these assets, the State will have to raise money. Given that shareholders have been destroyed and we, the people are major shareholders now in the big banks, the State should invoke the national interest and buy the toxic debt for 5 cent in the euro from delinquent bankers — minimising the outlay and maximising the returns.

This is so straightforward that we have to ask, why the delay?

Why has it taken the minister nearly six months to act? This is a particularly relevant question because without a solution to the banks, we have no monetary policy and without monetary policy, the budget deficit explodes. Currently, the minister is constantly firefighting. The more delay, the more crisis and the less room for imaginative ideas.

On the real side of the economy, a bit of vision would see that we could do more to keep the industrial capacity of the country alive. If this means the State buying up Waterford Glass and SRTechnics and many other companies like this from the receivers at deeply discounted prices (or for free, with payments later), then so be it. This would only be copying the policy of corporate raiders of the past: buy cheap, sit on the asset and sell expensively when the market turns.

In the end, whatever we do today needs to be framed with a view to where we are likely to be tomorrow. If you think that the world will recover, then buying assets cheaply today and forcing the hand of the banks makes absolute sense.

But to see things clearly and to be unencumbered by the betrayal of the boom — when too many snouts were in the trough — we need a complete break from the past both in terms of people and ideas.

Iceland got rid of its cronies and charlatans in six weeks; what are we doing?


  1. SeanOC

    More nonsense David.

    “the State should invoke the national interest and buy the toxic debt for 5 cent in the euro from delinquent bankers — minimising the outlay and maximising the returns.” what a load of craaaap.

    If you had paid any attention to the debate in the US on this subject you would have noted that this approach does not work for banks as it would make the entire system insolvent (immediately). This would leave you and I tax payers paying for it exclusively (and today not over time), AND the only beneficiaries would be the likes of Mr Fingers and his lookalike cronies who would be free to sail into the sunset with their bonus and pensions!

    NO THANK YOU.

  2. JohnD15

    SeanOC: I agree with you to point. It seems poorly thought out and displays a lack of understanding of the banking system.

    I will say that he has a good point about Waterford and SRT – the discount purchase would work there provided that they did not submit to the pressure to over-staff and fund the big pensions?

    • roc

      Who the hell’s going to be buying crystal glass and new airplanes in a severe recession?? Come on.

      • ak8

        Ryanair spring to mind!

      • G

        there is always a market for quality plus the rich and super rich are not hit in the same way as the masses during recessionary periods, indeed, they see great value out there, prices way down on almost everything, they are laughing, that’s the target market in a global sense, new rich in China could be a major market if you can stomach the appalling human rights record but then the Irish gov. is perfectly prepared to allow the US to do whatever the hell it wants on the world stage and it won’t stop the shamrock coming, realpolitik, make you want to vomit.

  3. In order for SRT and Waterford it would be imperative to buy from the receivers as to do otherwise would give the unions the upperhand in any negotiations.

    It would be also better to have a subsidiary of the NTMA (who would ultimately be the only entity that could hold the assets) to appoint board members who in turn would oversee the management appointments.

    The downside of course is whether the unions would feel they have sufficient power to dictate pay standards and continuity of benefits from the old days. They should accept this is a new business with new rules and pay conditions dictated by new management and not a reprieve to maintain the good old days that got them to the current position to be bailed out later on.

    In order for it all to work each employee should have some skin in the game with reduced salaries compensated by an ESOT which would be a tax efficient way to benefit their pension when the time comes and allow for a decrease in the overall day to day costs.

    This would also incentivise those shareholders to take full responsibility to deliver a profitable company for them and for their future. It is important that we think long term and not next months salary, which in the current climate is not 100% guaranteed anyway.

    It is not what your company can do for you, but what you can and should do for YOUR company.

  4. Personally I believe what David wrote is relevant to today .Memories are easily forgotten and we need to learn from the past to know where we are today so we can plan for tomorrow.History repeats itself too .We may not fight with spears now but we do fight and with new weapons that should give us the advantage to win.This is Innovation.
    I would like to take that newspaper story further .
    Westmann Islands are the Irish of the north that sing all our Irish ballads when they socialise .The songs of The Dubliners are very popular so are The Wolf Tones .And they are Lutherans .
    These islands represent the major GNP production capital of Iceland because they work the hardest and their work is more dangerous and innovative.They are mostly fishermen and fish and cod liver oil are their main exports.They believe in their Irish heritage.It may not be what it is now in Ireland but to them it is real sense of a bond they once shared when the Vikings invaded Ireland and took the nuns and monks back with them.The Ocean of the Atlantic bonds with their pasts .You can receive beautiful photos of the island by e-mail from Sigurgeirs Jonnasson mynd@sigurgeir.is for a small fee .You can ask him for photos of the killing fields where the Irish were slaughtered and the mountain peak where an Irish monk met his death because he murdered the brother of Ingolfur Arnasson , the king.He will also send you photos of places where Irish Faeries live on the Island .The Islanders respect their presence.He has millions of photos.

    The basics of Irish Laws have their origins in the Old Brehon Laws that once were practiced in Ireland .The principle of these laws reflect the laws of nature and the views from the people and became ingrained in the laws of Iceland today.
    The colourful puffin bird has been travelling for more centuries than we can remember from Scelig rocks to Lundi ( Puffin Island Westmann ) yearly and it was these birds that inspired the first monks to sail north .
    The laws of the Magna Carta were inspired from the Brehon Laws and a copy of these laws are displayed beside The Bill of Rights in Capital Hill .We should here in Ireland reform our laws to make good the common laws that have now failed us and cost us too much and when we have that job done Logic will once more become a positive function because we as a nation will then have a great new Brehon Law where we can build our new Economic success again.And at that moment we can be proud to display a copy beside the Magna Carta and Bill of Rights in Capital Hill.

  5. MK1

    Hi David,

    Thanks for that quick history briefing on Westman. Interesting, and I’ll take your word on it but my standard of Icelandic history is close to zero!

    > the State should invoke the national interest and buy the toxic debt for 5 cent in the euro from delinquent bankers

    The problem is, and as indicated by another poster(s), is that the banks have so many of these types of debts that if they were to be written down 95% from original book value ALL of our banks would be majorly bust. You see David, we (Ireland) is the financial skip you’ve been talking about!

    We (Govt) are guaranteeing them anyway. The thing is, no entity wants to buy any toxic debt that doesnt give them a return. Private sector will only buy toxic debts at a market rate, which is close to zero if it can be shifted at all. Lehman was 9 cents on the dollar for example. If the Government pays any premium at all it is rewarding those that made the mistakes. Obama is right. There is no magic bullet. There is no formula. The only formula in town is hard work and a generation (or decade) of it as well.

    > gov as corporate raiders

    If the Gov would really operate as a corporate raider they would rapidly lose support from the unions and other voters. Talking tough is one thing but it wont get you votes or co-operation. Think of the eircom share ‘deal’. It made money for the government but was the country happy with that? No. If the government was really smart, it would act like some of those soverign funds, not seek to bail out poor projects, throwing good money after bad (ie: ‘our’ banks), but would instead seek value and return ANYWHERE in the globe. Hands up anyone who things that the best possible investment of 7 billion or so of NPRF money was to shore up AIB and BOI? Was that the best place in the world? Was there a queue of soverign fuds beating down our trying to get a piece of that action?

    You should all know the answer by now – Lance that Boil ! That means, we need to let go of our banks, they are sick. Adminster terminal illness care, a hospice if you like, but they need to be wound down, and other banks brought in. Lenihan is wrong, we dont need the 6 sick banks. We just need banks, and anywhere from within the Euro zone is fine.

    MK1

  6. Aidan

    It time we just stopped all this nonsense the only solution is to nationalize all the banks, they would all be bankrupt in the morning without the state Guarantee.
    Set up a state holding company under the NTMA and bang them all in, if we put aside there unknown exposure to property loans every one of them is a highly profitable institution over time they will make more than enough profits to cover there property losses all they need is time.
    This way any short term borrowing that has to be done to shore up there balance sheets is done by them under a state guarantee.
    All this chaos will pass in time but it would be nice to think that the people to benefit would be US the people of Ireland as we will own these highly profitable banks that can be floated again at a Profit to Ireland for lending these ejits our credit worthiness when theres went up in smoke.

  7. Malcolm McClure

    David said: “On the banking side, we are going (as this column predicted in November) to have a bad bank scenario whereby a financial skip is set up and ALL the (?bank’s) bad debts of the boom thrown into it. To buy these assets, the State will have to raise money. Given that shareholders have been destroyed and we, the people are major shareholders now in the big banks, the State should invoke the national interest and buy the toxic debt for 5 cent in the euro from delinquent bankers — minimising the outlay and maximising the returns.”

    Let’s think about this very carefully, in the light of Prof Chris Carroll’s piece in todays FT: http://blogs.ft.com/economistsforum/2009/03/treasury-rewards-waiting/#more-512 (Paraphrased below)

    (David’s) motivation sounds suspiciously like some of the arguments for the ill-fated Paulson TARP plan from last autumn; but the problem with the Paulson plan was ….. with the idea that the right way to fix that problem (and everything else wrong with the economy!) was simply to have the government drastically overpay to buy up the toxic assets from whoever was foolish enough to have ended up holding them.

    David avoids this by suggesting that the government pays 5 cent in the Euro. But these bad debts can only be characterized as assets if someone, somewhere, is prepared to pay more than 5 cent in the Euro for them. “The private investors currently on the sidelines are not fools and have no incentive to lose money on the deal. It may be necessary to make any bank that participates agree to the sale of ALL their dubious assets, to prevent the kind of cherry picking that has contributed to the shutdown of these markets so far. And there is good reason to be very careful to minimize the possibility of “heads-I-win, tails-the-government-loses” –The problem here is that no-one rightly knows where to place all these debts on a scale of non-toxic to toxic to beyond hope of redemption. –Splitting them into arbitrary tranches is like offering the eventual bond investor a pig-in-a-poke.

    “In addition, there is no pretense now (as there was last autumn) that the resolution of the toxic assets problem is the sole remedy for our economic woes; it is part of a carefully conceived plan including the
    stimulus bill, the housing foreclosure mitigation plan, a plan for reviving the ISEQ, the bank “stress tests” designed to triage the good banks, the salvageable banks, and the zombie banks; and a host of other measures designed to address other aspects of the crisis.” However, acting like Wall Street corporate raiders and buying up failed luxury industries is not a function of government.

  8. IMO

    Why doesn’t the government just change, part or all, of it’s bailout money, preference shares, into ordinary shares and take majority control (75% + 1 share or whatever it is). Given full control they could separate out the ‘troubled’ assets into a ‘bad bank’ thus freeing up the banks to lend again – this would not require any new capital as the govt owns the banks. This ‘bad bank’ would essentially be an asset mgt company as the deposits would stay in these now good banks.

    The majority shareholding would mean that shareholders would keep their stake – debatable whether they deserve it or not but a lot of pensions? and small investors have stakes and retaining a minority stake would mean that they would benefit, along with the govt and taxpayers, in the ensuing upturn in the banks.

    Does anybody know if that is possible, or does the govt have to fully nationalise the banks to be able to stip out the troubled assets?

  9. ah David couldn’t agree with you more about taking a break from the past, yes it’s history and our yesteryears and memories but it is all in the past we of course have to start thinking about not just tomorrow or next Tuesday or the 1st or 7th of April . Now we need a complete new mandate with the support of the average Paddy who earns the average wage of 42 grand funny I know loads earning even less than that and still living here ,unless we are prepared for the hits we are still going to have the old school rugby Mike’s and Big Sherks ( Blondie’s ) running around thinking their position is vital within the company . These too are presently the voters and the ones who gained value in their homes and with blinkered self interests they will of course bully and get away for a while with blaming their juniors but the liquid flow has stopped up stream and over the next quarter of the year those beneath these Muppet’s will have to stand up and with knowledge of Power Point show The Big T in the main Control room how we can move forward if we take the right social decision and fire these old school beer guzzling bluffs .
    But will I buy their debts even for 5 cent ?…. Only if Mr Nationwide gives back his gravy too. I have a better chance of getting a good price on Biffo’s paintings ……….Jesus I wonder is T(im) the Teacher the brush behind these strokes …It;s no wonder The Garda raided TodayFM……
    We are ( well those who walked away four years back ) Living in Real Life Simpsons ,….we are again turning into a laughing stock, we should use this now to Our Advantage…. when they get away with Agreements written on fag boxes We Need A Dictator, or Just ask our Mate Mike RyanAir to rule our nation for a few seasons

    • Caen

      Tell it as it is BrendanW, I couldn’t agree more. One upside to the downturn – tighter cost control / increased competitiveness in the private sector – as this leeching layer of human waste is stripped out. Alas this will NEVER happen in the public sector under any government.

  10. Ruairi

    “Iceland got rid of its cronies and charlatans in six weeks; what are we doing? ”

    What are they doing? As LITTLE as the market will bear. Cute hoorism. There is no vision. Just a longing for the ‘solid’ figures of pre-2008.

    The opportunities presented by this crisis are immense. We can buckle under the potential tsunamis or we can achieve beach-heads and keep on keeping on. That’s if WE are working for the Irish people. WE are not. Or at least, we’ll know it for sure on Budget Day. Surprise us gombeen-men. Surprise us like JFK surprised his handlers. Or reap a whirlwind.

    Opportunities: -
    >To clear the slate in the banking sector of rotten management (Was it Brendan Smith on Week in Politics who flew a kite about the 500k bankster limit not being high enough and increasing the risk that they wouldn’t get the REAL DEAL. !! Gimme a break! Fingleton messed up an opportunity to sell INW for €1.5BN. Slipped through his talony fingers. On what level is that stellar?
    >To clear the unproductive ranks in HSE>> Incidentally, when Qantas are shedding many middle management jobs, why can’t AIB, BOI, HSE etc etc. If there is less funding for EACH govt department going forward (the crude way our budgets are unfortunately drawn up), then surely to God, we need instant redundancies OF MIDDLE MANAGEMENT announced in the budget slaughter? Not just front-line workers.

    To buy back semi-state assets that were flogged under misdirected PD virus contamination. If its socialism for the rich for now, then at least throw us a few crumbs and buy OUR assets back?? Charge private hospitals heftily for leaching (stealing) fully trained work resource from the public sector. The Eircom multi-owner saga shows the ‘black heart’ of Irish oligarchs.

    Throw financial manacles on the bank stakeholders and set them to work in chaingangs building the road to recovery. Surely the polluter pays?? Eh John Gormley? Get on with it. Stop getting Dan to be your bad cop. If we have new concepts such as carbon tax (start with lawnmowers & scooters John, not cars, do some homework), then surely we can nail the banker s& developers while they are on their knees and SWEAT THEM AND THEIR ASSETS! Work them to within an inch of their lives. Lighten the load simultaneously on real wealth producers. Exporters. David points out that this is what a vulture operation would do. Buy low, hold, sell high. What’s not to understand? The government is our piggybank, our moneybags. Then get us some value for money in this friggin melee! BUY EIRCOM at a pittance. Buy what is clearly a cashflow or sales strapped viable entity. Do your patriotic duty Brian Lenihan and you will win a year’s free groceries from me. Starting with some brain-nourishing foods though.

    The Greens are extremely attached to the phrase ‘the polluter pays’. Walk the talk before October pension Shangri-La, o Greenest Ones. It appears as a party that you couldn’t negotiate your way through a room full of strung out heroine addicts.

    http://www.politics.ie/economy/40803-polluter-pays-principle-banking-crisis.html

  11. Cloghogue Rogue

    Grimsby gains from Iceland’s woes By Jeremy Cooke BBC rural affairs correspondenthttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7959788.stm [quote]The containers are our bread and butter [and] these vessels are our jam. It’s marvellous to see them return after 12 years. There’s lots of interest in the fish and good prices. They’re trying to fish their way out of the financial crisis. The cod quota was increased by 30,000 tonnes. They get a good reception, they get a good deal and they get paid very quickly – Steve Norton, the chief executive of the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association[/quote] [quote]Fresh fish in its nature is moving fast, and people get paid fast. Normally fresh fish from the Tomas Torvaldsson is processed and kept and stored. Obviously this way the process is made very very quick, and the money returns faster to Iceland – Orn Jonsson[I know a guy who is the son a a fisherman from the shores of Lough Neagh called Odhran Johnson|;? I wonder is he related to this Icelander in Grimsby

  12. JJ Tatten

    Great stuff David – why don’t you just get on with it and form a political party?

  13. [...] David touches down in Iceland, he questions the vacuum of action in [...]

  14. gadfly55

    NIce angle on the Irish connection, insofar as these persons were at some time derived from whosoever inhabited this island a thousand years ago. The genetic sources of persons inhabiting this island, considering it was under ice only 20000 years ago, derive from diverse groups, including Norsemen, Angles, Normans who in turn of course derive from Norsemen, and of course, the neolithic tribes from the North Spanish coast who it appears migrated north across the Bay of Biscay, and whose genes are extensively present along the west coast of Ireland. The long term perspective suggests that survival requires isolated self-sufficiency or subjection of tribal loyalty to imperial organisation. Consider the relentless migration of males from this island to the larger island, to Europe and beyond, in pursuit of a better life than the stultifying ignorance and poverty of their circumstance. The Irish have depended upon integration into other societies in furtherance of their goals to make a life for themselves. Effectively, we have continued this through FDI and joining the EU and more specifically accepting the euro. When you are subservient, you follow the rules of the authority. Unlike Iceland, the Irish know when to accept authority, we live in a society dominated by chieftains in all sectors, people who have lifelong positions, often dynastic. Democracy really is too much trouble, it upsets the conservative hum-drum routine the majority prefer. Much better to accept the wisdom of our betters. The mood after the budget will be sullen resignation, leading to general depression. In many ways we are going through the stages of grief. There is a long way to go before we will feel positive about the future, and there are alot more adjustments and corrections to be made. David does not seem to understand that there is no recovery, no going back, only coping with deteriorations, shortages, extinctions, exhaustion of resources, outsourcing, cut-throat competition, general entropy, decay, disintegration and despair. Live Westman islands, get cod. Otherwise, adapt or die.

  15. SLICKMICK

    If we do not leave the Euro , the economy will implode (within 1 year) and Ireland will resemble the Titanic after it collided with the iceberg.Fiddling around with tax rates is a waste of time.The southern border counties should vote to rejoin the UK.Normal service continues here in the land of Nod.

  16. strathspey

    Quoting Slickmick, ‘If we do not leave the Euro…..’
    Where do the Irish get these notions of grandeur from? Rather, we will be lucky not to be kicked out of the Euro. It doesn’t seem to have dawned on many Irish that Europe doesn’t really need Ireland, but my God, does Ireland need Europe. If I recall, Ireland has only in the last two years become a net contributer to EU funding. That means even during the boom years we were sponging off the Germans, not too dissimilar to a third world African country, always out with the begging bowl, crying out for development aid.

    • Ruairi

      That is pure BS strathspey and a tired old myth spun by government after government. Have you not realised how much our fishing industry was worth? And is worth yearly, on a financial contribution basis?

      I’m not anti-EU. Without its legal framework, we’d be a lot less worse off individually here vis-a-vis parents’ time off work, environmental laws etc etc.

      BUT . . . .
      The EU project is, and this is clearly stated EEC and EEA policy, about opening up markets. Ireland was not taken on for the craic. Everyone gets what they want out of a symbiotic relationship. This does not even take into account our bending of the knee on our ‘national interests’ vis-a-vis oil and gas reserves. This begging bowl nonsense says more about your own self-perception than the true economic value of Ireland to the EU market.

  17. Johnny Dunne

    The other night on the TV saw something from a ‘famous’ former private secretary in the Department of Finance. Basically, while TK Whitaker was the man with the plan for ‘Foreign Direct Investment’ as a catalyst to economic growth. It needed the likes of Charlie Haughey to put these ideas into action (it may have been to his personal benefit as well). Bottom line is the ideas for rejuvenating the Irish economy are here, do we have the politician(s) to ensure a plan which is specifically for the benefit of ireland (without diluting with considerations for ‘non contributors’) is set out in ‘meticolous attention to detail’, communicated, resourced with the right people (not same vested interests) and then acted upon quickly!

  18. Ciaran

    Nice article and glad to see you’re not letting the government & the ECB off the hook for its creation of a pyramid property dependent economy. Regarding your question on sorting out the banks “why the delay”, the only answer I can think of is not just that the government is incompetent but it is actually malevolent and protecting its friends.

    I suspect that what we need is protection from our government rather than help from it. Your suggestion of state involvement in private companies is flawed given that we know everything that the state runs is expensive, inefficient and run for the benefit of the unions. No country ever got rich because of its government. We get rich from trade and business. Everything the government does uses up money rather than creates it.

    A taxpayer revolt may be the only way to stop the madness and transform this economy.

    You should check out Peter Schiff as I think you’ve argued in favour of re-flating the bubble by the backdoor a few times now. Maybe an inflationary depression is better than a deflationary one, I don’t know.

    Peter Schiff on CNBC

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOWEddkU8fc

    • Mother of Three

      Please let me know when the ‘Tax payer revolt’ starts. I am sick and tired of handing my money, my business and my employees money over to be wasted by the inept crowd who say they are running the country. Ruining it more likely. If we could cut off their oxygene they might just go away.

  19. Ciaran

    Just regarding SeanOC’s comment above, the banks ARE insolvent. 5 cents on the euro is fair given that we’re propping them up with taxpayers money. Actually, what we need is to set up good banks and leave the others to fail. Failing to nationalise is actually socialising losses and privatising profits.

  20. I believe that the life of the euro is only two more years at maximum because the americans and chinese will devalue theirs together continuously and their combined strenght will break the euro .I am not alone thinking like this.If I am correct then Ireland will not have recovered in the time frame of five years given to them by ECB.
    This may be the final straw in the camels back of no return.
    The weeks ahead may / will send us down a deep hole too.

  21. Philip

    I am WAY out of my depth here. I get the feeling that we are touching a pivotal issue which if not addressed makes all our other musings a complete waste of time. My view has always been that we are caught up in incompetence right across the the spectrum of the ruling elite – from the civil service thro’ the government and then to Banks and legal. Naively, I have a view of incompetence of it being identified and eliminated. How wrong.

    As @Ciaran indicated above, Incompetence is now turning into a malign and selfish self protecting force which is deliberately putting ordinary people is danger. Make no mistake, this is the sort of stuff that could hurt people to the point of being life threatening. It is not just a case of loosing a few bob, maybe even a house or two and wincing a bit. When trade breaks down, society follows.

    We need banks or we are not trading. Any bank will do.

    Question: Why can’t I use a credit card (Visa or similar) from say SEBANKEN? Why do we have to trade using local banks?

  22. mcsean2163

    More talk of SR Technics. Correct me if I’m wrong but SR Tecnics is a privately owned company.

    They’re not closing down, they’re just moving to a more cost competitive country.

    2006
    SR Technics comes under new ownership. A consortium of the three United Arab Emirates-based investors — Mubadala Development, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) and Istithmar World — will be the new shareholders of SR Technics.

    There is absolutely nothing to stop an enterprising individual to take over SR Technics factory, re-employ the staff and compete for the sam business or the state could do it but SR Technics is not for sale…..

  23. Tim

    David, I’m trying, but I still cannot understand why you still want to save the bad banks with the skip, then work at trading what’s in the skip, as well as working at clearing out the bad bankers from the bad banks.

    This seems like alot of need less effort to me, and therefore “inefficient”.

    We are constantly bombardedin the media (and on this site) with spin about the public sector “inefficiencies” and wages being the problem.

    Surely, it was these banks (private sector) and bankers that were guilty of the REAL “inefficiencies”?

    So, trim the fat-cats from the public sector, if ye want, folks (I’m all for those €100k plus “pen-pushers” taking the pain), but, whatever you do: Don’t forget to the “inefficiencies” that have caused the REAL problem, the bad bankers.

    Here is a more efficient plan of action: Do nothing for the banks; take back the €7 billion from AIB and BoI; Allow the bad banks to go bust and we will have, simultaneously lost all the bad bankers with them, without any work whatsoever. Use the remaining good banks for trade and regulate them PROPERLY for a change. We are then only left with that big problem of owning Anglo – that’s enough work right there, with saving it and clearing out its bad bankers (how many have the Brians weeded out so far? Ooops! Am I asking a hard question? Typical of a jumped-up overpaid bloated public service teacher! Pah!)

  24. Diletta

    Hi Tim,

    But if we leave the two major banks to go insolvent AIB and B of I, what implication does that have for Joe Public who has his mortgage with either of these institutions?

    Seems to me that there are a lot of grand gestures often mooted on this site… but the detail of making any of them work would probably
    upset the delicate balance of everything… ie commerce and society generally, and wreak havoc.. For example, looking back, if the government had not issued that bank guarantee on that fateful Monday night (or whenever it was) what would have happened when Anglo went belly up? Would the fear and shock not have immediately transferred to AIB and B of I overnight too? And thereby de-stabilised Ireland as a whole? I mean what choice did the two Brians have faced with that possible level of anarchy?

    • Tim

      Diletta, I confess I do not know “what implication does that have for Joe Public who has his mortgage with either of these institutions?”; perhaps it should mean that they no longer owe the money to non-existent private companies that had failed because they were gamblers. If I fail, financially, due to gambling, I will lose everything – no-one will show me mercy or bail me out.

      I only learned today (on “The Right Hook”), that Alan Ahearne has been hired by Brian Lenihan – explains my weird feeling for the last couple of weeks that Alan had changed his tune and was “courting”.

      Although I feel somewhat vindicated (in my stance against those who blame the Public Service pay bill for our troubles) by Alan’s article today, I am also filled with trepidation by his dire approach to taxes, etc. in the forthcoming budget.

      See here:

      http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0127/1232923367061.html

      • paddythepig

        Tim,

        The growth in the public service pay bill was one side-effect of the bubble, though not it’s primary cause. Ahern, the muppet, with Baldrick as his right hand man, thought the bubble would go on forever, and that he could keep awarding himself pay rises ad infinitum. This was his dream.

        Now that the bubble has burst, it’s side-effects need to be unwound as well.

        Alan Ahearne has basically the right ideas. He has one or two blind spots though. He touts a figure of 10% across the board cuts in the public service wage. He is an academic in UCG. What he should say to Lenihan is “Brian, you and I need to take a major pay cut, say 40%”. This would set a good example. It would also take the burden off the poor sod on 20K a year. Brian might have a coronary, because he is used to the good life. Alan might say to him “Brian, let’s abolish the windbags in the Senate, and reduce the amount of wafflers in the Dail – to set a good example”. Brian would be positively apoplectic at this point, because Auntie Mary would be out of a job, and brother Conor would be under the kosh as well. But maybe he is a patriot after all, and he might listen.

        Ironically, it’s in Alan’s and Brian’s interest that some wages in the commercial sector increase. For example, in MNC, if people can swing more money, that’s good, because that money comes into the country from within the corporation, boosting the overall tax take. Unfortunately, this is a theoretical example only ; the trend – due to globalisation – on private sector wages is sideways or down. That’s if you can hang onto a job at all.

        Still, listening to Alan is a big improvement compared to a few years ago, when Bertie & Baldrick used to hobnob with Dan McLaughlin down in Inchydoney.

        God be with the good old days.

        Paddy.

        • Tim

          Paddy, I know that you are right – up to a certain point.

          But, a pay-cut of 10%, on top of a levy of 1% for me, on top of an 8.1% pesion levy, PLUS an over 48% tax-rate may push me over the edge. I calculate that I would have a higher disposable income on the dole. If this happens, we really will be back to the eighties, when there was a disincentive to work. I may have to orchestrate my own “firing”, just to support my family – because I certainly will not be able to do it on that teacher’s salary with that level of taxation/levy.

          This is why I am fighting FF from within – I must try to prevent them from doing this.

  25. Law Reform Committee – there has been no mention on this body or anything close to it .Yet, I believe unless you want continuing decline in our economy the arrest of it starts with this body of people.Only where there are great laws you will find a great nation.Everything else follows .Until this site recognises this all your suggestions will not stick .
    Now, the members of this body of people are not exactly innovative and require new blood with a cross discipline of expertise to initiate the changes and to make their enactments possible.
    Large investments needed here that will bring forth a new order .Trust then should follow and living once more becomes a norm that we have long lost.
    Forget your budgets , your staff unions, your personal attacks, your economic pronouncements etc they will all blow away …….and very far away ……to a no where .Rise and focus Now.

  26. liam

    A lot of people, including our kind host, talk about what _we_ should be doing. I have the utmost respect for all that has been discussed, but the reality is right now the Irish “Government” does what it damn well likes or what the ECB/IMF will eventually end up telling it what to do.

    We could hope that somehow the “Government” will read these posts and go through some miraculous transformation and awakening and suddenly do the right thing, but performance to-date suggests that this is unlikely to happen. These discussions are largely, are entirely academic unless people are actually prepared to seize power from this bloody shower, and mot importantly it needs a transformation which is irreversable and will ensure that the cronyism and nepotism we have put up with for generations to dissappear forever.

    The system will not change with a change of administration, it has to be utterly reconstructed from the ground up, in a open manner. It changing the motivations of those that are in power by changing the boundary conditions within which people operate, compelling elected representatives to operate at the behest of the public.

    It requires not only a revolution within the party system, but at its heart is a completely new way of thinking within the public sector and Government administration.

    So I’ll toss this in to the pile: Government 2.0

    There is a wealth of information on how new media and the internet can and are revolutionising the democratic process, so I’ll recommend two people who I think have useful things to say on the topic, and can express it far better than I. From the general (Lawrence Lessig’s vision)
    http://blip.tv/file/1868710/

    …to the specific (Tim O’Relly)
    http://blip.tv/file/1868710/

    So watch these tonight instead of Eastenders or the RTE news, it will be time far better spent.

  27. Tim

    Folks, here are the contact lists again; please bombard them.

    Fianna Fail TDs and Senators
    http://www.asti.ie/Budget08/fftdsen.doc

    Green Party TDs and Senators
    http://www.asti.ie/Budget08/greens.doc

    PD (haha) TDs and Senators
    http://www.asti.ie/Budget08/pds.doc

    Fine Gael TDs and Senators
    http://www.asti.ie/Budget08/fgtdsen.doc

    Labour TDs
    http://www.labour.ie/peopleandplaces/irelandmap.html

    Independent TDs
    http://www.asti.ie/Budget08/indtds.doc

    Sinn Fein
    http://www.asti.ie/Budget08/sinnfein.doc

    For all County Council reps:
    http://www.asti.ie/Budget08/coco.doc

  28. Tim

    Ooooh! I got this for posting that:

    Tim | 26 Mar 2009 10:50 pm Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I that because I listed SF?

  29. MK1

    @Philip: yes, there is no reason why other Euro or EU banks could offer banking services here. Some already do (Rabo, Danske, UK banks, etc). But the way the market was, and still is, it was difficult to get market share from the de facto duopoly of AIB+BOI. These banks plus Anglo should have been let go, as should any bank that fails. Thats what should happen with bad banks, and we (government) MAY choose to buy them at a rock-bottom price WHEN they are on their death bed. Its called capitalism folks! Instead we are giving life support to AIB+BOI who have been sucking money out of the economy for decades, a cancer if you will. We need a bankoscopy! Talk about a mess.

    @Tim: “with spin about the public sector ‘inefficiencies’”
    Hi Tim, the problem is not that people are spinning and pushing the line that the PS is inefficient. The problem is that the costs of running the PS have got completely out of line with the incom coming in to pay for it. Thats why cuts are needed. Inefficiencies are there of course and should be dealt with too. We are talking about fundamentals here. To borrow a phrase, the fundamentals are NOT sound.

    Here’s one to ponder for all. If the country is going to borrow 9.5% (of a falling) GDP this year, should the monies be used to pay PS workers or should there instead be a cull of PS workers and the money instead used towards creating real jobs in the private sector that produce goods/services that are bought by other countries?

    If we follow one of David’s arguments that we should be borrowing, then surely it makes sense to divert those borrowed funds into entrepeneurship and the private sector rather than the PS.

    (Btw Tim, I fully agree with you that the inefficiencies in the bank have made our malaise in Ireland particularly bad).

    MK1

    • Tim

      MK1, it may have taken a while, but I can now say this:

      I agree with you, fully; with one caveat: you must differentiate between “civil” and “public” servants in your posts about cuts.

      The former are the “pen-pushing”, office-based ones; the latter are teachers, nurses, gardai, water-workers, sewer-workers, etc..

      Differentiate between administrative and frontline ps workers and I will agree with you.

      Can you do it?

  30. jim

    Are net taxes down because people are reclaiming taxes that were previously paid??? Are some developers claiming back Capital Gains Tax previously paid and offsetting them against present losses and if so is this money finding it’s way into the Banks to cover interest payments on present loans ??? I can imagine also how its a little harder to spot where loopholes are being used in a downturn, but vigilient Governments on the eve of a budget should be mindfull of these practices and dedicate certain staff to monitor/audit transactions to make sure strokes are not being pulled, using the excuse of the present downturn to explain away certain shortfalls.There is no question in my mind but all this footdragging by the Government is providing a window of oppurtunity for certain interests to get what they can out before they have their plug’s pulled.A certain percentage of D4 is relling from present losses and will turn very nasty to stabilise their positions,you can expect intense lobbying of the Government pre Budget.These people will always put personal wealth ahead of the National interest and will without doubt sacrifice the welfare of the most vunerable for their own 30 pieces of silver.Greed is a bast.rd to stamp out in a society.The Country needs people of the highest integrity making decisions at present and its the apparent absence of this that has coloured my postings of late.I dont just blame FF for all of this,as we have seen of late that this Greed has raised its ugly head all over the Country.I have come up with a saying that I hope will be taken on board at this time and its this…..”Beggar my neighbour and you Beggar your neighbour and you Beggar yourself.” Goodnight Ireland and sleep well.

  31. Tim

    MK1, etal, 700 gardai have decided to “give up” already, over these attacks on frontliners. This is a record number in one year. How many of them do you want to “drive-out”, at this time of civil uncertainty? Will Michael (former PD) McDowell’s “yellow-pack” gardai save you in a riot situation? Will his brother, Moore (Media economist) McDowell save you?

    I’ll just leave that with you, to ponder ……….

    ‘night.

    • Philip

      No one is stupid enough to believe we can exist without a PS. But management needs to be applied more rigorously. Forget about private vs PS for a moment. Let’s take a teachers job. It can be in either private or PS. In the PS, if my kid is being thought by a PS employed teacher and he/she is useless, I cannot shift the guy or complain about them. The protective apparatus for incompetence is amazing. In a private school, such a guy would not last a term. This points to the fundamental unfairness in the PS vs Private debate. Unaccountable Vs Accountable. It should not happen. In exceptional circumstances, the principle head is superb and can get the matter sorted while doing a dance with all the PS nonsense. The problem is that PS serves itself, not the people – it’s down to poor management. You need to churn people out of the PS on a 3-5 year cycle. It should never be seen as a job for life.

    • paddythepig

      Tim,

      Those 700 are no loss. They gave up of their own free will ; obviously, they were living within their means doing so.

      There are good and bad guards. There are guards who risk their lives daily, who are brave and diligent, and there are those who hide behind a desk. It’s the same as any other job ; there are good and bad.

      I saw one of the bad variety furiously cycling away from an incident last week ; it was quite comical.

      The guards protesting outside the Dail should get back to work.

      Paddy

  32. MK1

    I also meant to write that the Irish banks are not necesarily as Irish as many have been saying. Granted a lot of Irish fund managers, Irish pension funds, etc, owned/own the banking shares as did many private Irish individuals in Ireland, but for both AIB and BOI my understanding is that a fairly high percentage of the share register at any one point in time is held by foreign institutes. So to say that they are Irish banks is a mis-labelling by ministers, media, etc. They do provide services in the Irish market, but lets not kid ourselves, they EXTRACT their pound of flesh and then some. If anything our economy has been HELD BACK by their practices of the past (pre 2000 as well) and indeed present. Does anyone disagree with that? But a nationalised bank IS an Irish bank, no doubt about that. Should we now drop Anglo from Anglo irish Bank. It is THE most irish Irish Bank!

    @Tim
    Hi Tim,

    I dont discern between any worker which is paid by the state, whether they are labelled public servant, civil servant, etc, or work for a quango or a “semi-state”, etc. What are Dublin Bus workers called? I have no idea but for general macro-economic discussion purposes, ALL of the above workers are in the Public Service (ie: jobs paid for by government and funded by taxes from the private sector).

    I fully take on board that there are different types of PS workers, those that work harder, those that are paid less, those on front-line, those that are back office or those without anything to do at all, etc, etc. There are inequalities within the PS. But when anyone has to manage the PS as a whole, and if I or anyone else says that PS costs HAVE to come down, it does not imply that the first people to be hit are those that are working the hardest and getting paid the least. Far from it. I am all for equality, fair teatment of people for effort, a meritocracy, etc.

    And I am fully supportive that we DO need a PS that works, it is an important part of any viable and fair society. It however needs to be cost-effective and deliver. If its bloated and mis-managed, we have a problem, and if it is too big for its income base, we have a problem. I dont blame the individuals within the PS either.

    I agree that we need more Gardai. But should Gardai get double-time on Sunday. Should we have Gardai housed in stations using PULSE one finger at a time and taking 20 mins to input a minor crime where it is known there will be no follow-up or solution but the crime has to be reported for insurance purposes, etc, etc. Surley this could be centralised at a call centre and be 24 hr and much more cost effective. Any 2 yr old would know that! We need Gardai solving crimes and preventing crimes and being tougher. Not “community” policing and turning a blind eye. I know of a town where a car park is littered every night of the week, its a complete eyesore and within eyesight of the Garda station. Do the Gardai ever try to solve this problem? No, they are more interested in doughnuts and coffee! They call it community policing. I call it not giving a damn.

    About the middle income squeeze, yes, that will happen as unemployment benefits, dole money, rental allowance, medical card, etc, push up closer to where salaried incomes are. It can pay people to draw the dole, do a bit of a nixer on the black market, work less and be more well off than staying in a job. One solution is to reduce the perks the unemployed get. Perhaps it should be gradually reduced over time. Remember those long-term unemplyed of 3.x % when we had plane loads of people coming here and getting jobs without even basic english? The reason why we still had unemployment was because many were on the black market, or double or tiple signing. They didnt want a paid taxed job.

    Not much done, a LOT to do, a hell of a lot ……

    MK1

    • Philip

      Excellent point on the banks, the national allegiences are a nonsense – and to be honest, in such a networked business, it may even be inappropriate.

      Getting back to why businesses do not use Rabo or KreditBank or whatever for the day to day requirements in Ireland, is there not some registration they have to undergo here? Seems like another economic rent scam as I would’ve thought the mandatory professional audit of accounts would regularise the matter.
      One Europe me ars€!

  33. Garry

    back to the article…The core message about a break from the past both in terms of practises and leadership may be correct, but the analysis of Iceland strikes me as deeply flawed.

    Iceland threw out its cronies and gansters because “Iceland is in tatters”. The article implies we are in a similar position but we are not, at least not yet. There they faced the imminent possibility of hunger, as companies would not export food to them without payment up front in real money…. (Euros/dollars etc)

    I dont know how much Iceland’s currency was devalued by, David mentions 90%. Fair enough, lets take that… What I dont understand is how David can say foreign debt could have only doubled, and domestic debt has been wiped out… Frankly that doesnt add up, e.g. their domestic interest rates are high and for foreign debt, nobody will loan them money in kronar, most of their foreign debt is in real currency….

    The other notes about joining the euro and exports have some validity but apart from cod, what does Iceland export? And if they join the Euro, guess whose boats will be overfishing in Iceland??? Make no mistake, Iceland are in a very difficult position….

    True they are starting to deal with it but the alternative was to starve.

    We may be facing a situation as serious as Iceland. However its not imminent…Im sure if things get to that state here, we’ll revolt also.

  34. Garry – what dmcw wrote in this article is written in more detail in my book Da Wu Yu Code ( 2006 ) . Iceland has a law that is intact and works for it’s people from the grassroot up and has it’s origins in Brehon Law . My point as always is that we as Irish are unable to exercise / enforce the will of the electorate because our laws have been contaminated by the arrival of the Common Laws and more so because we subsequently were bad law makers and never actually mastered crafting the written intent with a seal of golden approval.The mindset of The Brehon Laws were not crafted properly in our present laws.We need to start from the beginning again.
    Icelandic people respect their laws because they work for them .Unfortunately we cannot say the same.
    Would you do business with a nation with inferior laws?Would you lend money to them as well?Do you know a part of Ireland that is crime free?Why cannot you change the Prime Minister and Cabinet when the majority want that to happen?Why does your government pay millions on Tribunals , is that a reflection on poor laws we have?When you drive around your city how many fear zones do you pass through daily ?
    We are suppose to be a developed country .Now what are we ……….and the answer to that is..we are …..SLAVES.

    • Garry

      I went back thru the article to see if there was any reference to this and cant find any mention of Icelandic or Irish laws. I think to read anything into special powers of Icelandic or Brehon laws is just confirmation bias.

      My own bias is that its only when the shit really hits the fan and stuff cant be waffled away by spindocters that people react. I think Iceland faced an imminent collapse of its infrastructure and society and when people saw this collapse happening in the real world (their supermarket as opposed to on the news) they protested outside parliament until the government resigned.

      But I think the situation in Ireland right now is not comparable to where Iceland was before Christmas where the shops started to empty, anti terrorist laws were threatened against their country and they were absolutely desperate for money to buy essential supplies for their population.

      From what I can make out, we’re still wishing for a bailout from the Germans despite our politicians, public servants etc earning more then their German counterparts.

      • Malcolm McClure

        Garry & JA: I studied the Brehon laws several years ago and concluded that they have nothing to contribute to modern quasi-egalitarian Ireland. They were appropriate for a very rigid hierarchical society in which everyone, (including the Crumb Fox and actual SLAVES, JA) knew their place. For example , the Senchus Mor says of the lowest rank of the nobility, the Aire-Desa chief:
        “His house is 27 feet long and it has a proper backhouse. It has eight beds with furnishings. He has beds for a foster child, a school fellow, man, woman, boy and girl. etc. etc.” It talks about what compensation is due for trespassing bees, etc. (I don’t think this referred to Bankers.)
        Regarding German bailouts of our predicament Garry, I suspect there may be something afoot on the QT, to ensure that the wider financial market isn’t upset. They realize that it is nobody’s interest to let Ireland Inc. sink.

  35. Malcolm McClure

    Perhaps we ARE starting to have some influence here.

    Under the previous topic on Wednesday, MK1 said: that Revenue does very little under its watch to uphold the spirit of the tax laws…

    To which I replied:
    Now that the government owns substantial proportions of the banks, it should be possible for Revenue to get thorough and efficient access to their books and filter through all accounts for overseas deposits in excess of €100,000 (or somesuch); then check out those accounts in detail for tax evasion and money laundering over the past five years.
    The Revenue purports to be on the job, as witness the lists published of publicans, farmers and estate agents who have had to cough up €20,00 or €30,000 back taxes. Surely these are minnows, exposed to indicate that Revenue has claws and is doing something useful? What are they doing about the sharks swimming freely out there?

    Today’s Irish Times reports http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0327/breaking45.htm

    “An investigation into the use of trusts and offsure structures by Irish residents to avoid paying tax is to be launched by the Revenue Commissioners.
    People found to have used trusts and structures to avoid paying tax will face fines and possible criminal investigation.”

    Better late than never.

    • Tim

      Malcolm, I really hope you are right. Congratulations to both you and MK1 ! Though learning alot here, that is not my main interest; generating and developing ideas that might be of use is the main focus for me. If it is truly possible that the contributions to this site may have a positive impact, then everyone here’s time is well spent sparking ideas/suggestions off of oneanother that, in turn, lead to others ideas an new ways of thinking.

      Of course, it is also entirely possible that Revenue woke up when they saw the €4 million in the Italian Job.

  36. We in Ireland had the Golden Circle .In Iceland it started with ‘ The Octopus ‘ controlled by 15 wealthy families and allied to The Independent Party subsequently arrived an opposition that was short lived named ‘ The Squid’ and allied to The Progressive Party .
    Later in 1995 approx after the demise of the squid The Sharks arrived ( wealthy young off spring educated in business/ economics ) and they took over ‘The Octopus ‘.
    Essentially , The Sharks borrowed their way to making wealth and are now no more .

  37. Deco

    { Iceland got rid of its cronies and charlatans in six weeks; what are we doing? }

    It seems that these things happen painfully slow in Ireland. The Fingers episode was rotten with cronyism. Fingers has got an outlandish pension. Is there any firm of that size in the worlf that does this sort of thing – except maybe the Russian oligarchs, I can’t think of one. My own proposal now is that Lenihan kicks INBS out of the government gaurantee scheme. In fact it is in Ireland’s interest that INBS get kicked out. Ireland will easily function with the what even the government now regards as the Fingers “personal fiefdom”. INBS is quickly becomming insolvent. Saving INBS will be of more benefit to the British commercial property market than the Irish one. All of the mates of “Fingers” will go to FAS and sign on to do something productive like car maintenance or truck driving.

    Lenihan should use the Fingers treatment to restore Ireland’s self respect and let INBS go into the skip. The depositors can be compensated. Kicking INBS out of the Government protection scheme would protect our credit rating as a nation, and would prevent us from having to pay more money to borrow money.

    It would be a lot cheaper than any tax reduction or curback. And it would show that Ireland means business. It is obvious to anybody ranging to a tourist trying to get from Dublin airport to the West of Ireland, to foreign investors in the Irish stock market that Ireland is mired in all sorts of horse manure. And most of it is derived from the primacy given to petty concerns of useless nepotists in positions of excessive influence.

    We can only do one thing – we can take our business elsewhere. Which is exactly what foreign investors and foreign tourists, and indeed increasingly the young workers of Ireland are doing.

    • Tim

      Deco, I see no reason why your “Fingers treatment” should not be used on the other cesspool banks and bankers. Let’s pick a good one, support it, and let the bad ones fall into their own scepsis.

      Hundreds of thousands of our PEOPLE are now suffering and struggling to survive; Why should one-more-cent be used to prop up the banksters who caused their suffering? Government is currently taking money and benefits from children and old people and handing it over to the banks – this HAS to stop!

      When will we VALUE people instead of banks?

      • Deco

        Fingers and all his mates are effectively sticking their fingers at the people. They live in a culture of nepotism. So basically, it would be a good way to reform Ireland, by starting with INBS and kicking them out of the gaurantee scheme. Compensate the depositors. Sell the mortages to whatever other bank wants them and wind the unsightly mess up. INBS is staffed with neophytes at ever level about the janitorial team. We could reassign the janitors to the OPW to do something.

        Irish society does not need INBS or EBS to progress. Subsidizing these rotten hierarchies of pals is a waste of tax money. Bankers themselves are always calling for rationalization and cost cutting. Let’s apply this to the biggest and most dangerous sector of the Irish economy – the domestic banking sector.

        We know have Lenihan trying to fix INBS, and it is quite possible that Ahern is trying to hold things up so that details like those of the loan to his ex-girlfriend are kept out of the media.

        Do the taxpayers of Ireland a favour. Let INBS sink !!

  38. wills

    @David;

    I Read article and my comments are as follows……

    “an oligarch class hijacked the local economy and mortgaged the real generation”………

    I would ask what kind of a credit production system in operation would permit this to be able to happen.

    “alas we in Ireland have not rooted out this rotten core-”…….

    I would say what kind of a credit production system in operation would allow this organism to grow.

    “its debts are now its lenders problem”…..

    I would say what kind of a credit production system in operation lets foolish borrowing occur for this to happen in first place.

    “financial skip, and all the bad debts thrown in, to but these assets the state will have to raise money”….

    I would say what kind of a production system allows this is it an asset is it a debt is it an asset is it a debt nonsense rule run the earths financial banking system.

    “the state should invoke the national interest and but the toxic debt”

    I would say sorry run that by me again……..,,,,,,, for my welfare my gov should use my tax money and my childrens tax money to go and buy an asset,no, no, a debt, buy a debt ok!!!!!! and check to see the debt is toxic…!!!!! that means poisonous right..,, ok… so i should let the gov go and buy a debt that is full of poison and buy it with my hard earned tax money and….. this is for my own welfare that i back this venture…!!!!!!! ok, …… em …. i dunno are you sure.

    “buy cheap and sit on the asset”

    I would say,….. hang on david is it an asset or a debt or a toxic asset or a toxic debt,…… which is it…. i confused i am spatially disorientated i dont understand my mind is going blank dave,.. stop dave, dave stop,….. daisy daisy im half crazzzzzzzyyyyyyy………

    Okay bloggers i have decided its time to yell the emperor has no clothes,……….

    here it goes…………

    The bank when it transacts a loan with a customer in of the street does it on a fundamental legal principle and it is not what most people have been led to believe.

    The main street bank is a shop just like a clothes shop except what is it exactly they provide or sell….

    Legally the banks are a going concern in the provision of debt.

    When a person applies for a loan they are in legal fact actually asking the bank to MAKE A DEBT ON THEIR BEHALF for them. \

    This is law and this is why the paper money in your hands is considered by the banking industry as an i.o.u and opens the whole of the financial and economic system wide open for ponzi credit bubble boom and busts…….

    • wills

      @bloggers……..

      ……..this is why our economy is in the difficulty it is in,….

      also,…. the banking technicians know this legal principle and its carrot gold importance to be able to get away with the ponzitis epidemic outbreak.

  39. MK1

    Philip: > you need to churn people out of the PS on a 3-5 year cycle. It should never be seen as a job for life.

    I had that discussion with several PS people over the years. I agree with you on that basis that for life experience purposes, people in the PS should be forced to move on and spend at least 5 years in the private sector, the ‘real world’ as it were. A job for life is a dangerous cosy place to be in and prevents personal and human development. People dont mature in all worldly aspects. They become institutionalised and are cosetted.

    I would debate the 3-5 years term though. That is too short. Lets start with 15 years and pare it back to 10, if deemed beneficial, after a review, etc. Maybe in time it will become 5 years or even 3. I am open to learn!

    > is there not some registration they have to undergo here? Seems like another economic rent scam

    Yes, anywhere in our economy where a position of market dominance or asset control is being exploited by excessive profits and inefficiencies and supporting ‘fat cats’ as the public call them, is economic rent. As a small country, we are prone to it. And we have a lot of it. Whither a real market economy …..

    @ Malcolm McClure: “Perhaps we ARE starting to have some influence here.”

    Well I dont know about that, I suppose we can wish. What I do know is that Revenue know an awful lot, more that they can exploit. They are under resourced and under intelligent-capitalised, if you know what I mean. Many are paid pittance. But I know that the seniors can and have turned a blind eye to many lost taxes that have hit them in the face. Ben Dunne anyone? Even Shamrock Rovers! There are 1000′s more. The lost taxes add up to billions over the years and decades, 10′s of billions if not 100′s of billions. This is no small beer and really is serious.

    wills> my mind is going blank dave

    A good 2001 jibe there wills. But a lot of what Dave said does make sense, in the sense that debts can be backed up by assets, and those debts/assets can be bought at a lower price than the debt, and the bought debt/asset can then be sold at some point for a profit.

    Your general tenet I think is that this credit bubble was orchestrated.

    I do think that we had a major credit bubble, and I do think that the banks and the system and other entities have an unfair control (they print/EFT the money after all) over many participants in our globalised economic system, and yes, for many it is slave-like (think of 3rd world people at the bottom of this chain).

    But I dont agree that the current malaise was orchestrated. Indeed, many rich people, part of the system/problem, as it were, have been badly hit. Even the great sage of Omaha, a quiet unasuming chap yet financially ‘cut-throat’ got stung and got stung bad. Many didnt see this coming. It was a tidal wave that many were on and didnt realise it and it broke. So conspiracy theory, I dont buy that.

    wills> I would say what kind of a credit production system in operation lets foolish borrowing occur for this to happen in first place.

    A badly regulated one, a poo systemic global money financial system one, the one that we hae been living in for decades, that one. And due to globalisation over the lat few decades, the effects are also global. If we were a hermit-like internal state, we wouldnt have any credit problems. We wouldnt have BMW’s either.

    MK1

    • Malcolm McClure

      MK1 said: ” Revenue know an awful lot more than they can exploit. They are under resourced and under intelligence-capitalised,”

      ANIB is a basket-case but the government owns it. It is therefore not beyond the wit of man to shuffle the talent to maximize the national benefit in present circumstances.

      I suggest that they shift a dozen bright savvy bankers from ANIB into Revenue for a probationary period with promise of a well-paid ‘job-for-life’ if they can recover a billion each in back taxes over the next 12 months, based on their knowledge of what the golden circle and others have been up to. They could be replaced by a dozen poor performers from the revenue with instructions to sort out ANIB or ship out.

      • wills

        @malc;
        brilliant idea. and i betch ya it wont happen. these people do not want to fix the problems they are outwardly stating.

    • wills

      @mk1;
      My post is getting at the fact that the worldwide credit crunch origins lie within the credit production system all global economies use,.. the loan transaction / banking practice of manufactoring debt method,. and i am asserting that this system is the gateway to the great ponzi credit bubble swindle,… and for some bizarre reason most people seem think ah sure this is all we have and sure we have to make and do and if you clear out management we will be fine, or, if we clear debts into skip all will be fine, and i am suggesting, hey, why dont we do credit production the right way around the way its meant to be done, were everyone wins,…

    • wills

      @mk1;
      appreciate feedback, much thks.

      on the “credit bubble orchestrated”;

      mk1 i am saying,…. the great global ponzi credit bubble swindle was not an accident. When gold standard de-coupled from dollar in 71 and gave way to the dollar world reserve currency system, the technicians were engineering a global fiat paper based world curriencies, this is on record. All economists worth their salt know that this fiat paper is the death blood of ponzi credit bubbles, and so this was set up,.. and why wouldnt they…, they had a chance to do so and grabbed it… their greed won out and the people in the loop made a ponzi credit global system to enjoy the goodies it has subsequently proven to divy up to a select few.

  40. wills

    @bloggers;

    What is amazing me is how is it so many people give the bankers and shadow banking system much faith in them looking after their welfare, when now it is perfectly obvious there is an elite creaming of the printing presses behind the scenes who are above the law and in a place that is a power unto itself, a feudal enterprise system.

  41. wills

    @bloggers;

    The owners of the banking system will do anything, anything to maintain the system running along the paradigm of debt manufacture,.. a small elite literally have access to an endless supply of wealth viz a viz controlling rights and ownership of the credit production system,.. and i suggest this system is buckling and wobbling all over the shop and these loopers know it is and are been revealed out into the open in their madness in their delirious attemts to try and stop the ponzi system from coming to an end,.. they are throwing everything at it including proverbial kitchen sink to get it going again,. these guys are desperate ,.. they are seriously on the racks,.. the mote walls are collapsing and they are freaked the serfdom will find out what they have been doing…..

  42. wills

    @bloggers;

    Gov are not incompetent. BANKERS are not incompetent. Look at biffos portraits affair,.. police raided today fm and got what they were looking for in 48hrs, the artists emails for godsakes,…… now did they raid anglos office on such flight of foot….. no,…. biffos portraits shows us they can raid who and when they want too, if they can do it over 2 oil paintings of biffo in the nip they can do it over anglo.. but they did not,..

    • Tim

      wills, Absolutely correct – they know PRECISELY what they are doing; and they are very petulant.

    • Philip

      I wonder if it’s a case of the gardai feeling less intimidated by some nobody who plays a prank. They are bullies by default. But in front of the bankers they quiver.

      • Tim

        Why should they quiver in front of a banker, Philip?

        BrendanW, though the artist is, apparently, a teacher, I am not he; I cannot draw or paint that well ; )

        I applaud his innovation, creativity and ingenuity, though, and would hire him in the morning – if I could. Damned embargo!

  43. Tim

    MK1 (and Philip),
    I agree with the “job-swap” idea; In fact, it is something that I have advocated for many years, given that my work takes me into both sectors at the same time.

    MK1 said: “I agree with you on that basis that for life experience purposes, people in the PS should be forced to move on and spend at least 5 years in the private sector, the ‘real world’ as it were.” This is absolutely true, as is your point about becoming institutionalised.

    On your point about 3-5 years, I can assure you that more than that time-frame is required for real proficiency to be achieved through experience in any job that is worth having – especially if people are not to lose income in order to retrain every 5 years! This would be unworkable for people with family responsibilities, for instance. 10 – 15 years, as you suggest, MK1, would be more apt.

    However, it works both ways. Private sector workers should be (who used the word “forced”?) afforded the opportunity to spend a number of years in a public service job also. Get out of the office, or the company car for a while and get into a garda uniform; get into a school and teach in a classroom – it would require retraining, of course – but I believe that it would be excellent for society and, certainly, for solidarity among workers.

    The problem that I have always encountered is that the people who listened to my idea beyond immediate scorn, were afforded the chance to accompany teachers in my school for a few days, a kind of “shadowing” exercise; within two or three days, they always gave up.

    They cited mental fatigue, lack of patience, poor knowledge level, intense pace, poor classroom management and a danger of throwing a teenager out the window, variously, as their reasons for not wanting a change in career.

    Anyone here like to try? I will arrange it. I love the idea.

    • Philip

      Sorry guys, 3-5 years is my max. People need to learn about the reality of contract for outsourced work and the coming and goings of fashions, fads, technology cycles etc. It is fast paced and the fundamental learning is in understanding the nature of change and going with it. This is reality friends. Welcome to the 21st Century.

      Now, let’s be careful about body of knowledge issues. Being a teacher requires at least 5 years academic training and handholding. You are not just learning about the subject matter yiou teach. 80% will be about psychology of development of youth and the generalities of pedagogy and all that it entails. Ditto for a financial backgrounds and so on. So bouncing from Teacher to Engineer to accountant etc. will take some time. May not be practical. But bouncing an engineer from say the OPW to OveArups or from ANIB to the Revenue commissioners is to be encouraged and made mandatory.

      3-5 years. The European Commission for Expert contracts work on similar terms even down to 6months.

      • Philip

        I think practicing engineers should be mandated to teach a part of the maths and science syllabus to kids. hmmm…might be a bad idea, we would like the kids to leave college with some aspect of their sanity intact.

      • Tim

        Philip, okay ……. so, your idea is limited to movement between the sectors within the same/similar skillset. I am not sure where the “life-experience”/ personal growth that MK1 advocates is going to come from there.

        As for the PS engineer and the private sector one swapping, which one do you think will have a “salary-change-issue”? Hmmmm……..

        Arguably, this touches upon one of the many very real problems of the boom: good engineers were syphoned out of county council planning authorities by the obvious attraction of high salaries offered by the private sector, thus leaving less qualified/unqualified and much lower paid personnel making decisions in the planning authority – often on proposals presented to them by their former superior (Deco’s oligarchy/cronyism, again).

        Now, what do we do? Your idea, as initially presented above, was very simple. MK1 developed upon your idea and I offered a practical, almost case-study testimonial. Whither your idea?

        (btw: “being a teacher” takes a 3 year degree in your chosen subjects -usually two – plus a 1 year post-graduate qualification, not “at least 5″). At that point, you are a novice and only starting to develop your required skills – it will take years of practical experience to become truly proficient. That is why their pay-scale is incremental: starting at about 33k and rising, through 23 years, to 63k. Experience counts in some careers.

        It is not always rewarded adequately.

        • Tim

          Philip, btw: that 23 year payscale is the longest in the whole OECD area.

          • paddythepig

            Ah yes, Tim’s weekly moan that he is not paid enough. If you don’t like it Tim, no-one is forcing you to stay as a teacher ; if you want to engineer your own firing go for it, there are plenty of well qualified people who will happily take your place.

            And another quote from Tim: “As for the PS engineer and the private sector one swapping, which one do you think will have a “salary-change-issue”? Hmmmm……..

            Tim, should that read ? : “As for the PS engineer and the private sector one swapping, which one do you think will have a “job”? Hmmmm……..

            Paddy.

      • Tim

        Philip, “People need to learn about the reality of contract for outsourced work”

        Isn’t this one of the HUGE problems in the HSE?

        Didn’t the government refuse striking nurses a pay rise in 1997, resulting in a mass exodus to Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Irish private sector “Agencies” – requiring Mary Harney (as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, at the time) to “go-fishing in the Philippines for nurses?

        Didn’t the HSE, subsequently, “outsourse” nursing to those same private agencies, paying more money per nurse/ per hour, than they were originally paying them under the public service system?

        Isn’t it true to say that the HSE is still doing the same thing?

        Do you think that “outsourcing” works?

        Look at MRSA and think back to when there was a “Matron” on the ward, who had nurses and cleaners at her command; did we have a problem with “hospital-bugs”? No.

        Now, the HSE “outsources” to contract cleaners who have no “ownership-investment” in the hospital; it is not “where they work”; it is just another “site-call” to be acquitted asap and move on to the next “site”.

        “Outsourcing” does not work because the operatives have no stake in what they are doing other than money. It is an attempt to force market/profit-driven principles on a “service” paradigm – it will never work properly.

        • Tim

          Paddy, public sector engineers have lost their jobs already: several hundred, in fact.

          Perhaps you should consider not being quite so insensitive to them with your constant belief in the media LIE that public servants have “secure” jobs.

          On your other comment: I have never said that I am “not paid enough”, much less “weekly”, as you accuse. I have presented the facts of the payscale for your perusal, if you wish; I am not insisting that you look at what I present – the choice is yours.

          However, presenting information and asking questions should not, in any mature forum, be referred to as a “moan”.

          Interestingly, you have ignored my offer to arrange for anyone to try Philip/MK1′s “Job-swap” idea.

          • paddythepig

            Tim, you chose to initiate a silly comment about the wages of engineers in the public service, as opposed to engineers in the private sector. You did not specify what sort of engineer you were commenting on (civil, mechanical, chemical, software, electronic).

            Your ‘Hmmm’ comment was neither a presentation of information, or a question. It was an opinion masquerading as fact. Based on what figures exactly? It was merely this weeks vehicle for your weekly moan (yes moan) about how undervalued public servants are – which is a central theme to your posts.

            You show little appreciation for the nature of engineering in the private commercial sector. What about the global forces which are driving the wages of engineers down, and the challenges of competing with the technology and services coming from emerging economies. Did you consider these factors before you made your ‘Hmmm’ comment? No you didn’t.

            I find your ‘sensitivity’ to be rather one-dimensional Tim.

            And you continue to conveniently ignore the necessary balance between the income derived from the commercial sector and that which is invested into the public sector. You will need to change your blank cheque mentality now that your political fellow-travellers in FF have left the Irish economy in smithereens.

            I think the job-swap idea has some merit. Though in highly commercial environments, running on a shoestring, there would be no room for embracing job-swap just for the sake of it. In such an environment, it’s dog-eat-dog, and you ‘make a profit’ or ‘hit the dolequeue’. It would be equally difficult I’m sure to replace a highly skilled teacher, with years of experience. Some things are easier said than done.

            Paddy.

        • wills

          HI Tim;

          Apply the ‘market/profit-driven principles on a service paradigm’ idea to credit production and biiiiiinnngoooo tim, banking practice does exactly this, it applies market/profit driven principles on a service paradigm which is what credtit production is’.. a service ..

        • liam

          Tim, While i tend to agree that outsourcing is not managed well in the PS in general, your only argument against it is a rise in reported cases of MRSA. Blaming this on not having Matrons (as the Daily Mail and others like to do) is, I’m afraid, utter twaddle. MRSA wasn’t even discovered until 1961 and major outbreaks didn’t occur until the 80′s. The basic difficulty with MRSA is that it is highly resistant to antibiotics and most biocides (most likely as a consequence of their use) and any suggestion that a Matron with a bucket of water and a mop will sort out MRSA is like saying you can be cured of AIDS with a good hot shower.

          The basic problem of the HSE is that its transition from the health boards was a shambles, delivering few if any of the cost efficiencies that promised. If you want to fix the staff problem, that’s possibly easy: anybody studying medicine or nursing in Ireland is compelled either to pay in fees the full economic cost of their training, or to trade off this debt for a minimum, say, 10 years service in the HSE. Mandatory minimum time served is a model the Army use very well already.

  44. jim

    Jebus Malcolm McClure if you put twelve bankers into revenue,you would need to do so under a witness protection programme,with the sort of money were talking about they would need bodyguards 24/7.But your point is well made now that the fox has an open door to the henhouse.Linehan has alluded to the notion that He or anybody else cannot access personal Bank accounts because of some bullshit or other.Im not sure if it’s to prevent large deposit withdrawls or what His reasoning is.My feeling would be to send in CAB under some guise and let them break the ice sort of speak,follow that up with anon.phonecalls/ tipoff’s and open the floodgates that way, keeping the twelve Bankers out of the limelight for their own protection.

    • Tim

      jim, no witness protection program: it would be a great means of culling them and then throwing our hands in the air and saying: “Eh, sorry, lads, the gardai are revolting over what the bankers stole from their pensions”.

  45. jim

    Stay with the money trail and see what does’nt add up. An example of what Im saying is if you take the October projection of 47 billion tax receipts based on the economy contracting from 2008 levels.(we were told thats why the budget was brought forward to oct.to address these concerns)….We now have a projection of circa 31 billion in taxes for 2009, if we are told the economy will contract by 7.5% then where do we get a “16 billion” shortfall figure from, in lost revenues…47 to 31 represents a 33% fall in tax revenue from a previous pessimistic figure.Before ye ask yes I have run the numbers for fall of in demand .housing slump,cross border shopping,etc etc and the shortfall just does not stack.Taxes are being withheld and revenue needs to get the finger out pronto.Borrowing requirements should only factor in real shortfalls and not be used at taxpayer’s expense to facilitate certain parties to consolidate their positions.D4 IS GOING TO HAVE TO ACCEPT THAT IT HAS TO GIVE BACK SOME OF THE GAINS FROM THE BOOM.They have over milked the cash cow to the point of insolvency.What is wrong with the Economists in Ireland ,are they so blinded by the present difficulties that they cannot see even the most glaring errors in tax take.Please David when your finished in Iceland or where ever can you run the numbers for these clowns before the taxpayers gets landed with another bill for borrowing.

    • Tim

      jim, agreed, completely. Follow the money trail. See where it leads. Where did it go? Did it exist at all? Where did the “virtual money” end up? Where is it RIGHT NOW?

      The figures, as you correctly say, do not add up. That’s why.

    • jim

      Cowen needs to go on the record of the Dail before the budget and make it crystal clear.that Ireland provides enough tax incentives in the areas it deems worthy of investment.It’s corpo rate of 12.5% is more than generous and any future attempts by ANY financial advisor to open any loopholes or circumvent in any way proper tax compliance will carry mandatory prison sentences.No more playing with words for commissions,no more wives to Italy bullshit, no more offshore exotica. end of story.

  46. jim

    These guys just cost us a Cystisc Fibrosis unit today.Lets start equating these vultures and scammers with real world results of their shenanigans.

  47. Tim

    Folks, if you have the time, you’ve gotta see this:

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670597577&ref=mf#/note.php?note_id=59743294581&ref=mf

    It’s our PoM tearin’ strips off!

  48. Deco

    { As in Ireland, an oligarch class hijacked the local economy and mortgaged the next generation. House prices in Iceland went through the roof, driven by foreign borrowing and when everything was made exorbitant, Icelanders borrowed foreign money to buy inflated assets. This is precisely what went on in Ireland but, unlike Ireland, the government who presided over Iceland’s mania and was financed by its proceeds, is gone. So too are the upper echelons of the central bank and the mandarins who oversaw this nonsense. Alas we in Ireland have not rooted out this rotten core — not yet. }

    That quotation from David is the essential state of Ireland in 2009. What is even worse is that we have this consensus by everyone who is any way profiting from this culture, to construct/maintain what Shane Dempsey called the ‘veneer’ of Ireland.

    I have just scanned Phoenix magazine. the current issue digs deep into the activities of Denis O’Brien in his effort to control Indo News Media (which itself has oligopolistic market control in the Irish print media). O’Brien has already control over much of the indeendent radio network. Denis O’Brien is a long term Fine Gael backer. Of course, Tony O’Reilly was a big Ahern backer. In any case the media can only be trusted in parts. Most of it is influenced by a political agenda. O’Brien will now instill a new ‘line’ in the hierarchy of Indo News Media. I am very wary of this. It was this sort of behaviour and agenda which had Ahern in control for ten years, and no media outlet questioned his policies. Bearing in mind that The Irish Times was predisposed towards the banking sector, and the property market, the IT offerred no criticism of Ahernian economics. [admittedly this is a contradiction in terms - because economics expertise was completely absent from the Ahern economic policy]. So the people were underinformed. The media did the bidding of the market rigger class, and the neophytes. The IT having made it’s profit, is now switching back to the Labour agenda, in an effort to follow the new mood of the nation, whilst also steering it to their own advantage. And the same time the IT is still positive in it’s about BOI and ILP, with many social connections between the IT and BOI. Fintan O’Toole called ‘ILP is a solid, a respectable institution’ in the aftermath of the multiBillion loan that “matured” after 48 hours. FOT was feeling let down that ILP got involves with ANIB ( a FF/builders bank).

    Second issue that I observed from Phoenix concerning Irish life and Permanent [ILP-TSB]. Phoenix gave us an article in November claiming that ANIB ‘is technically bankrupt’. In January this was exactly what was uncovered. Now Phoenix is stating that were it not for 12 Billion Euro of a loan from the ECB, that ILP would be in serious trouble. Phoenix analyzes all the public statements of ILP, and comes to the opinion that these are unrealistic and overly positive. The ILP rate of expected loan book default is out of line with everybody else. This is the type of predicament that would be regarded by the likes of George Soros as an excellent opportunity to speculate and profit. Regardless of the endorsement of the IT, and FOT, I can see ILP being next in line for bank nationalization – more on the scale of ANIB than AIB. ILP has clearly played a PR stunt miracle. But PR is not sufficient to keep a company in business. The ECB loan is also effectively a market distortion, and a possible breach of competition law. To provide a loan of that scale to AIB or BOI would cost over hundred billion Euro, and would be in all the international business newspapers. How ILP pulled this off remains a great mystery – it is like as if ILP is connected in Brussels in a way that AIB, BOI and indeed the mishap prone ANIB are not. This is an absolute mistery to me – but is seems that somebody in Brussels is looking after ILP.

    This will become a serious problem if ILP craters in the coming six months. With the property crash now moving out of the developer sector, and into the expensive residential suburbs, we can expect ILP to see ILP getting into a fret. ILP is also had ambitions with credit cards, which are the subject of widespread rumours. The IT is doing it’s best to help out in the PR stunt.

    The question, I now ask is this – “in the light of our current fiscal crisis – can the Irish state handle another Anglo sized calamity” ?
    The answer staring me straight in the face is “No”. So now we are heading for an Icelandic scale crisis. The Irish state cannot default on the 12billion owed to the ECB. Otherwise the Euro becomes a joke. We are in a straightjacket. Both our economic independence and our political sovereignty are slipping away. This is the Ahernian legacy. This is far worse than Iceland.

    David is right – we need to do something soon. And being prepared to let INBS, the EBS and ILP go down the drain must be contemplated. They do not provide credit to the productive sector. AIB, BOI, UB and ACC/Rabo do provide loans to the productive sector. Lenihan does not think in the frame of carefully allocating resources where it is essential. So far he has operated a bailout for every banker in the audience approach. This is wasteful. It must be challenged.

  49. Deco

    So far this week there has been one scandalous event every day. The latest news is that Fingers approved a loan to the ex-Toaiseach’s ex-girlfriend. This was personal. The fact that it was “fast-tracked” should be of concern. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2009/0328/1224243621194.html

    Apart from that there is now a real-life soap opera emerging from the Midlands. To some this sounds ridiculous, to others it sounds comic, and to some it will seem a sad debacle. In my mind we should have more frequent local elections and less censorship in the media, so that this sort of thing does not happen in future.
    Thankfully this is going through the commercial court and not one of those useless, ineffective tribunals. So it is fast, and cheaper for the taxpayer. I get the feeling that this will hammer whatever support is left for FF, in the local election. It will also result in FG getting majority control of some provincial local authorities, withold the need of Labour assistance. This in itself could result in more revealations as FG looks for more evidence to turn the screws on FF and get a general election.
    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/courts/it-costs-euro16000-a-month–to-run-my-home-says-tearful-poll-ally-of-cowen-1684806.html

  50. wills

    good afternoon bloggers;

    Can i be so bold as to suggest best to watch out on taking ones time up on events like fingleton and berties wife and regulator overlooks and the rest of it and i bet more will follow on the lead up to april 7,… its all diversions to keep media and the chattering classes and neighbours and busy with idle talk on these spivs thrown overboard,..and so distracted from the real events been hatched behind the scenes. Keeping a close eye on the truth in action at its nexus is key now i would suggest. \Take the biffo portraits fiasco, police were sent in to shut that story down rapidly.

    The ruling powers are in dire straits with this feudal ponzi credit bubble boom and bust enterprise,.. this time around the scam is not functioning along the lines it was engineered to back in 71., this bubble burst is unsettled the power structure behind the fiat currency economy/racket to i would suggest an inordinate degree.

    I am suggesting the ruling oligarchs substratum has gone into some type of meltdown,.. as well as the fiat money economy/racket,.. I suggest the feudal lords who rule over the world industrial base are in disarray.

    Gordon Brown bumbling around the shop on the news last week,..

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