April 9, 2009

Let us not forget the current Government caused this mess

Posted in International Economy · 305 comments ·

Being in the factory in China that makes Irish football shirts is a surreal place from which to comment on the Budget. But bizarre as it sounds, sitting here allows the altitude that is necessary to try to see the big picture. Not that this place is conducive to reflection: it is busy, sweaty, noisy and filthy.

All human life is on the street outside, eating, arguing, living and, above all, filling the air with that most Chinese of cacophonies, the great throat clearing and public gobbing Cantonese soundtrack.

But that said, there is a direct link to Ireland, and looking at the Budget through this global angle throws up a few ideas worth considering.

There can have been fewer people in the world happier with Robbie Keane’s equaliser than the young woman who manages this place. Miss May was delighted. She told me that she was glued to the small set in her local hairdresser last week watching the highlights.

She wasn’t that aware of yesterday’s Budget, but the fact that Robbie buried the ball in the Italian net was enough for her to begin to think about a possible factory expansion next winter.

She talked about whether I thought Bulgaria would stumble, and the fact that the Italians looked through already. We chatted, sitting on small stools, listening to the whirr of sewing machines as the workers giggled at the sight of a redhead.

About three months ago, after a miserable affair against Cyprus in Croke Park, I’d set myself the target of finding the factory that makes the thousands of Irish shirts that clothe the Green Army. I wanted to join the dots of the global economy and see for myself why a goal in the last minute in Bari can have a profound effect on the employment prospects of millions of poor workers in China.

Yesterday, on the day of Brian Lenihan’s Budget, my journey is over.

After many calls and false leads from retailers to wholesalers, to dye factories and middlemen, I have finally reached my nirvana. Away in a back street called Station Road, in the small Chinese town of BiLung — the knickers and bras capital of the world where expensive La Perla, Myla and Agent Provocateur lingerie are churned out — lies the factory that makes our shiny, acrylic kit. The workers get €9 a day and the shirts leave this place costing less that €1 each.

The fact that they retail for about €50 at Dublin Airport means someone along the way is doing very well. On either side of the street are dormitories, that house the workers who get bed and board and spend all day in the local internet cafe which doubles as a snooker hall, a bookies and a down-at- heel nail bar.

All the workers are from the same village in the interior of China. They appear happy enough with their lot. They know their Robbie Keane from the Roy Keane; they know their Man Utd from the Tottenham Hotspur; but they haven’t a clue where Ireland is.

And this is the point, Ireland is so small in the overall scheme of things globally that nothing Mr Lenihan did yesterday will remotely affect what happens to the pace of our recovery in the coming years.

In fact, the risk is that it accelerates the downturn.

I am not suggesting that he should have done nothing. In fact, here in China, where chess is very popular, chess players might realise that Mr Lenihan is in a position called Zugzwang, which refers to a carefully orchestrated manoeuvre where the victim is left in a position where he has to move, but any move he makes renders him worse off. He has nowhere to hide.

When all the lines have been scribbled, and all the talk has been chattered, we in Ireland need to accept that the world is in the grip of a violent recession and that we will sink or swim with it.

Let’s look at the big picture. This Government caused this mess. These are more or less the same people who, for their own sleveen ends, destroyed the country. Let us not forget this.

Ireland has bankrupt banks that have been destroyed by a mad bet on property. This mad bet on property was made look convincing by enormous amounts of credit that flooded into the economy between 2004 and last year.

But obviously there was cause and effect. The credit binge was being driven by the banks borrowing from the money markets to inflate our property boom with other people’s money.

This credit binge, not government policy, made the coffers overflow, and the pathetic thing is that the Minister for Finance at the time, Brian Cowen, did not appear to understand this basic economic fact.

What’s worse, the Department of Finance mandarins didn’t understand it either. (In fact, I remember making this crucial point on ‘Questions And Answers’ in 2005, ahead of the Budget, with the then Minister for Finance on the panel, and being told by the host, John Bowman, that he’d had ‘enough of the economics lecture’. This just shows the level of questioning entertained in public in Ireland during the boom years). Now we are paying for our lack of economic rigour.

Writing from China, where trade is everything, it seems that the best thing the minister could have done yesterday was to make sure that Ireland can trade its way out of this mess.

Do nothing to the economy that might make it more difficult for us to make things for sale on the international market. Did he do that?

No, he clearly did not. This is a Budget that raises taxes across the board. And, unlike the suggestion that was made here last week about the banking bailout, where it was argued that we could have done this at zero cost to the taxpayer, the bank bailout will impose enormous costs on the rest of us. The minister could have gone to the ECB and structured a deal. He inexplicably decided not to do so. Make no mistake about it, the economy will contract dramatically as a result of this Budget.

Back in China where trade continues, luckily for Miss May, Mr Lenihan is not the manager of the Irish football team or demand for her wares might be be hit.

Mr Trapattoni knows what is demanded to compete at the highest level with limited resources. Unfortunately, in economic terms, judging by his performance yesterday, Mr Lenihan has shown he doesn’t even understand the offside rule!

  1. So make a move.

    If we all withdraw our cash from the banks backed by the government they fail.

    The problem of the banks is then brought to a head and their hand is forced. What’s more it’s democracy in action, more than can be said for the political process in this country.

  2. cozzy121

    I heard the Government is telling the media not to call the asset management plan a “Bank Bail Out”. Any suggestions of what else it should be called? – “Bank Whip-Around”, “Galway Tent Rescue Plan”..?

  3. G

    Good article, pity it has come so late in the day, this stuff has been going on for years.

    I remember you clearly on Questions and Answers and the slam Bowen gave you, you turned them off because of the ‘lecture’ you were giving them, but in essence what you were saying David was right, but you wouldn’t be the first messenger not to be listened to – I commend you your efforts.

    Your article is yet another tale from neoliberalism, the ‘Man’ making a killing off Irish soccer shirts, the consumer gets fleeced and the worker in dreadful conditions gets a pittance. It is this core issue, this attitude of the ‘Man’ that is killing the planet but then others call it entrepreneurialism or the myth of the self-made man.

    Check out this outstanding article on Dubai which recently appeared in the English Independent, all part of the same whole.

    The Dark Side of Dubai

    • Dilly

      “Your article is yet another tale from neoliberalism, the ‘Man’ making a killing off Irish soccer shirts, the consumer gets fleeced and the worker in dreadful conditions gets a pittance. It is this core issue, this attitude of the ‘Man’ that is killing the planet but then others call it entrepreneurialism or the myth of the self-made man.”

      I was listening to the radio a few weeks ago, and I heard an interesting comment from an American Lawyer being interviewed. He said something along the lines of “If someone tells you, that they are a self made millionaire, you can guarantee that they have ripped people off along the way”.

      • G

        Came across the ‘myth of the self made man’ a while back, heard the phrase, got me thinking.

        Che has some really good writing on it………it opened my mind to that whole area………….you here these things, like Dragon’s Den stuff, but there is always more to it, it is how people make their money off of others, this whole thing of producing for a euro, sell for 49 euro, is that to be celebrated? I find it disgusting, is that ‘business’, is that guy a ‘businessman’, what do these terms actually mean? It seems more and more like legalised theft.

        Like the enforced sales now, these shopkeepers have no shame, sale on sale, prices slashed, and still they make a profit, so they were screwing people all along, the whole system has a bad kharma vibe to it.

        I believe in a fair prices for your work, and I think we all know in our heart of hearts what that is. My father did it all his life, a fair price and his business is sound, clients want him back, they know he is not screwing them, he is an honourable man.

        My barber charges 8.50 for a cut for the last 6,7 years, i asked him about it, he said he saw others charging 12, 13, 15 euro, but he said no, don’t think so………his place is packed, people keep coming back some of his competitors no longer exist. Now that is a good side to the ‘market’ or the power of the discerning consumer.

        House prices and all that other nonsense, screwing people left right and centre………so bloody appalling.

        • Tim

          G, you are right, of course; but that is a wonderful thing to say about your father.

          “Honour” is the missing concept in this banking, big business, free market, globalisation “profits-up-wages-down” mess.

          Why can’t we have honourable people running things? Isn’t it incumbent upon people in positions of responsibility to behave responsibly, with honour and integrity?

          By the time he was four years old, my son was able to identify a dishonourable man and say that he should be removed – why have we not removed these people, when a child could see they have no honour? My boy is nearly 11 now, and cannot understand why these people were allowed to get away with what they have been doing – he watches the news and is disgusted with what he sees.

          Why are more adults not disgusted? Why are more of us not outraged? Out of nearly 2 million workers, why did only 120k turn up to protest on that Saturday in February? Didn’t that poor turn-out show the govt and the big-boys that they could squeeze harder?

          Sorry for so many questions; perhaps I should not ramble, but I am thinking that there might be an answer somwhere in the simplicity of a child’s thinking.

          • Malcolm McClure

            Tim: You ask a good question: “Why are more adults not disgusted? Why are more of us not outraged?”

            We have had a demonstration over 40 years now in the North of what happens when anarchy takes hold. That is the downside of the crash that people want to avoid at all costs.

            I feel very uncomfortable when some contributors to this blog make extreme comments like: “Those who are responsible for it SHOULD be strung-up.” as it tends to incite extremist reactions in some idle browsers and distaste in others. I disassociate myself from such extremism, which underlines the difference between republicanism and constitutional nationalism.

            Most people don’t have ambitions to change the world. They just want to make an honest living in a reasonably secure and stable local environment where they understand the strengths and limitations of their neighbours.

          • wills


            my son,12, is posing the exact same astute comments too.

            I respond to his utter horror with simple story telling explanations, this
            need requires me to distill the complex truth into clear concise facts,.
            may explain nature of my postings. I am well read university wise on these
            issues but no good for the mind of a boy who wants simple answers to
            lets face it simple problems.

            Freud once said nothing comes close to the lust and greed of a childs
            libido, and i cant agree more,.. We all are here to literally mature and grow
            up into full grown adults and an awful lot of people opt out of this equation.

            To grow means hard work. An awful lot of overgrown children equipped
            with tech toys, and combustion engines, and greasy childish charm
            are on the warpath refusing to grow.

            Stanley kubricks ‘the shinning’ is all about this problem at the
            rotten center of civilisation. Jack is in fact an overgrown schoolboy
            who has way too much power at his disposal,. and the movie
            charters his ultimate doom into oblivion at the hands of a hidden supernatural force..

            I believe this is the time we are in here. These over grown polymorphous
            perverse children over stimulated by tv, bad parenting, neuro toxins, and the like and its all come home to roost, and the system has been over
            run by what freud fore warned us on,. the mudslide of occultism.

    • nono

      G said “Your article is yet another tale from neoliberalism, the ‘Man’ making a killing off Irish soccer shirts, the consumer gets fleeced and the worker in dreadful conditions gets a pittance. It is this core issue, this attitude of the ‘Man’ that is killing the planet but then others call it entrepreneurialism or the myth of the self-made man.”

      Very true, no one seems to question the “moral” compass of someone who makes a fortune thanks to what can only be described as slavery (except they’re being paid… a pittance). No, in our society, if you’re a millionaire, you’re a great guy, a model, someone you should try to emulate. I am always weary of those guys because 90% of them got there by either being dishonest (the Madoff types), by corrupting people to change the rules to their advantage (the property developers in Ireland for instance, who paid the government to pass laws that benefitted them) or by enslaving people who have no rights (our “entrepreneurs”).
      Really, there is nothing to be proud of, nothing I would want to emulate. The problem is that our society values wealth over anything else. True values like humanism, honour and honesty have disappeared from the radars.
      In France we have a bling-bling president whose friends are all extremely wealthy. One of

      • nono

        Sorry, sent the comment prematurely by mistake.
        I was about to tell the story of one of his close friends who said to the media that if you don’t own a Rolex before you’re 50, you’re a loser and your life was wasted. This is pretty revealing of what has been the mentality of the past 30 years and what brought us to this economical disaster. Money has become the end of everyhing. Greed has been too prevalent in the western world and I hope that the economical meltdown will bring the ruling class back to its senses (so far, it hasn’t shown much will to change the system in depth).
        By the way, someone earlier mentioned taking the money out of the banks to bring them to their knees. I proposed this back in November on this very forum and I was branded by someone as a “Red”. At least, some people start to see the merit in such a move but it will have to be coordinated and done in mass to have any impact. I wouldn’t go so far as taking the money out uniterally. I would use the threat of doing so as a bargaining tool…

  4. David McWilliams,

    I agree with you that

    “Make no mistake about it, the economy will contract dramatically as a result of this Budget.”

    This is so obviously likely to happen that I am driven to ask why does this government want to cause the economy to contract?

    What advantage could there be for Fianna Fail if consumer spending shrinks and unemployment grows?

    Why wouldn’t the government change course and start fighting for economic recovery?

    Personal gain. Follow the money. That must be it. I’m not yet clear exactly how this works but I don’t think it makes sense to go on regarding Messers Lenihan and Cowen as stupid or thick or dim.

    They must have a clear plot in their mind.

    • gquinn

      “What advantage could there be for Fianna Fail if consumer spending shrinks and unemployment grows?” – This has already happened.

      “Personal gain. Follow the money. That must be it. I’m not yet clear exactly how this works but I don’t think it makes sense to go on regarding Messers Lenihan and Cowen as stupid or thick or dim.

      They must have a clear plot in their mind.” – Maybe they just dont care because they have their millions of Euros in HSBC in a Belgian branch office and their government pension is secure.

    • cozzy121

      The problem is they have NO plan. Remember they are full time politicians, only amateur ministers. They’ve been running a nation full of credit-rich greedy little fools for the last few year and have been getting away with it. Now, when the good times have ended and us little fools are beginning to realise just how poor this nation is, our amateurs and found wanting, totally dependent on what their civil servants tell them, who in turn are totally dependent on saying the things their masters want to hear.
      A truly vicious circle.

      • gadfly55

        Not vicious enough, because the people need to get vicious where it really matters to them, annihilation at the polls, and tax revolt.

  5. gadfly55

    Irish football jerseys don’t create millions of jobs in China, and who makes the 49euro between China and Dublin airport, and where is it stashed. Good article though in atmospherics and basics, but Alan for UCG now has the MInister’s ear who is spouting competitiveness and sound core of exports trading at a surplus, which is then amplified when RTE haul in Sutherland to preach positives including a GDP ratio of 135 superiour to the UK, Germany or anywhere else he cared to mention. Sutherland with his positives spin on how wealthy this country appears to be comparably, and how our balance of payments is positive, and how the diaspora of economists and other financial professionals need to talk Ireland up, because in the board rooms negative headlines are notices, of course represents the elite who have led us into this capitalist Anglo-American nightmare. But these people have not gone away you know, and intend to crank up their carousel on public money while skewering the public service, and the tax payer, that is you and I, the ordinary PAYE slave. The only answer is political change on a massive scale when people are suffering alot more than they are now. These guys really don’t care about human beings, about families, about the decent values necessary to live a good life. They are interested in one thing and one thing only, money, and the time has arrived to defeat them. Tell these Chinese people to go back to their village with their momentary money sack, and look after themselves while they still can.

  6. gadfly55

    Web administrator, you have not changed the clock to BST.

  7. Deco

    Interesting reflection. The goal on Bari might bring work to Chinese labourers, but it brings a real mint to the ‘middlemen’ and the ‘institutions’ who control the process along the way. But the long term consequences of this are a hollowing out of the Irish industrial sector. And it is helped along the way by the scoundrel known as Ahern, who wrote an article in the Sunday Indepedent trying to push sport as the opium of the people. Bread and Circuses,as the old motto went for the Roman Empire in it’s decline. Today we have stimulus packages, and celebrity culture. And our political elite provide both, and respond to our every whim with another ‘measure’ or a ‘photo opportunity’. Our intellectual capacity tells us something is wrong. But if they can get 40% of the electorate, and manage to press the voters buttons, then they can forget about intellectual arguments. There are long term consequences to this. In fact because it has gone on since the mid 80s, it is now increasingly clear that we are meeting them. We have gone from a producer culture to a consumer culture. And we have a political leadership which espouses celebrationism as a means to papering over any dissenters who are poking awkward questions. No party-poopers, lulas in the bushes for them – “sure..if yah lissent to wot they had to say…shur it make yah want to go out on hangh yourself” as the Ditherer once pronounced…..until the dissenters were proven right…and he went for early retirement before he faced his reckoning…..but for his subjects the reckoning will not be softened with an excessive outlandish pension package, or a TDs salary…

    O’Neills – the Irish sports company with a factory in Ballyfermot, and another in Tyrone, have a real fight on their hands. They expect profits to be down this year. But they have not laid off anybody yet-officially at any rate.

    Maybe we should support local jobs ? We have a choice. We do not have to buy into all of this. We can choose jobs in our communities, and in our neighbourhoods. So that our communities will have hospitals and schools. And besides buying jerseys with FAI written on them is doing nothing for ordinary working people in China. It is only lining the pockets of the retail conglomerates. And besides, is there any economic difference between a counterfeit soccer jersey made in China and a ‘genuine/official’ one ? It is very possible that the Chinese workers making counterfeit jerseys get paid better than if the made the ‘official’ jerseys. For one thing the margins would not be as healthy, and there would be more room for the workers to make something. Officially, in the media, counterfeiting is the worst crime imaginable. It affects the celebrity culture – with Bono, Madona, and Gordon Brown condemning it. And the media rowing in behind it. There is an industry that does very well from this ‘brandname’ culture’. This is a sector that makes money from people’s psychology. Afterall the participants would all be losers to some degree, as it provides healthy margins for them all.

    This “value-chain” (sic) is indicative of the entire way Western society has gone. Buying jerseys with a massive markup because of their ‘perceived value’ (thanks to saturation level media coverage, and exhaustive marketing analysis of what cues will get 10 year old boys to become little brats and demand that their parents buy Ronaldo’s jersey). What we are selling is the concept of illusion and escape, wrapped up in media packagaing.

    But what about the workers in “Bally-er” or Tyrone – what do they make of all of this ? Are they enthusiastic about the man united taoiseach trying to do some rabble rousing so as to help out the competition ? Or is he simply endorsing the entire value chain and his mates in the top rung of the FAI ? Are we not back again to the institutional rot that exists in Ireland (and indeed in other Western societies – but we are concerned here about fixing Ireland). We never get told by Bono or the FAI that we should be supporting Irish jobs, or Irish communities. There is something inherently destructive in the entire process. Bur ‘officially’ it is cool. And every media outlet endorses it in several degrees of subtlety. And now as we face this massive debt overhang we should be prepared to support workers and PAYE taxpayers in Ireland. Because if we don’t, every one of us will have to pick up the bill.

    I viewed an interesting documentary by the BBC a few months ago called “The century of Self”. It comes in four parts. I recommend it. It is very educational. It centres on the debate that exists in the field of the study of human psychology. Frued beleived that human psychology should be a study of the mind to improve therapy. His American nephew, Bernays used it as a means to sell people things they did not need with money they had not earned. Well, we know now that many Western countries have been living according to this model for over two decades. And we are one of them. The value system is constantly being re-engineered by media interests to generate a higher degree of consumption. This in turn generates a higher degree of leverage. This is a society where pshychological problems are enthusiastically quenched with retail therapy. The problem is that this does not solve the underlying psychological condition. In fact, I even would go so far as to say, that the psychological condition will get worse. Not this is not to say we do not need goods and services. But we as citizens should be aware of what we are lving with.We are efffectively like Truman Burbank in the Truman show. Only we don’t realise it often enough. But the problem for our society is that these psychological problems just keeping building up. There is no clean out. The current credit crunch is the only time that it has seemed remotely possible. Our social problems are moouting. Substance abuse, social breakdown, status obsession, anti-societal behaviour simply rolls over and is stealdily building. Every problem is accepted provided it improves consumption, and provides somebody with a profit.

    There is no refreshment, no pause – until the financial system says – this is as far as you can go. Which is exactly what ahs now happened. There is an Indian proverb “We must love people, and use things – not use people,and love things”. This is exactly the type of wisdom what is being positively washed out of our thinking. Afterall,it is bad for business. And what is bad for business is bad for the media, the state, etc…

    And there is a deeper problem. As Frued might have pointed out, there is no substitute for real therapy. We have become busy fools, with no peace of mind. I am not optimistic about people becomming intellectual enough to see above this. They are persistently heckled to get into line. Citizens are monitored by marketing teams in a thoroughly effective manner – in case they “stray”. There might be fundamental economic laws that will change that and force them to think up. Well, I beleive there are – and that we have now hit them. And we are in a state of shock. And the ex-Taoiseach tells us that the solution is to sit on the couch and watch soccer. That is exactly the sort of behaviour that will make sure that the institutional rot in Ireland is never tackled. Authority in Ireland wants you to distract yourself, instead of trying to reform the system. The problem is now far to serious for any more nonsense.

    • I saw that documentary a while back and agree wholeheartedly. There are a couple of others also done by Adam Curtis (look him up on Wikipedia.

      Getting people to understand how they are being manipulated is very tough, not the least because you are up against experts in the manufacture of consent.

      The other issue is that if you open their eyes the system falls apart even more violently than it has now, and a new one must be built in it’s stead. That’s a big big task, I’m not saying it’s not worth it, just that once out of the matrix, people would regret taking the blue pill.

    • Dilly

      Everyone should watch “The century of Self”. I saw it a few months ago, I downloaded the Torrent file from the web, and it is also on Youtube.

    • VincentH

      Deco, what is missing in all this movement of factory jobs the the far east and India is that there is no reason if following the logic for the middle class jobs from going the same way. It is all very well having cheap manufacture of shirts but China with India can also hold all the cards in a knowledge economy also.
      And that is what is at the heart if this situation.

      • I met Ms Rupa Naik some time ago. She’s the Executive Director of the AIAI;
        She told me that she has upwards of 2000 Phd’s qualifying every year from Bangalore University alone. With one quarter of the worlds population working for relatively negligible wages. 70% or so under 35.
        We need to learn Hindi or Urdu fairly rapid.

        • VincentH

          Yes Furry lugs, interesting is it not.
          With all this hot and bother over the banks, people have forgotten the overall why.
          The US and most of Europe have not had heavy industry since the mid-eighties. Mittel bought them for a song and closed them down. German cars use Indian steel along with everyone else. And this happy little trip continued for near on 15 years. But now white goods are made there, along with clothes, and FGS hurling balls.
          But the really hilarious thing, the belief, that the economists in China or India along with the business people do not see the inherent weakness. Mathematics are not all that complicated. Nor is that much else the West thinks is their sole mental possession.
          The USA issue with the British Empire had little to do with anything moral.

      • Deco

        Yeah. Actually that is the real issue. And the penny has not dropped yet. Can we compete intellectually ? I think that since the 1960s, and the “revolution” we have decided that intellectual competence was really of secondary importance to self-obsession and indulgence of our our juvenile tendencies. We stopped prizing intellectual acheivement, or even intellectual effort.

        Then we have the performance of our university education system. Can our third level education system, and our young people compete ? Well, sorry to frighten everybody – but I don’t think so. Our students are going to not going to compete with the sheer weight of Asian youth, never mind the sheer determination to acheive progress. Nobody seems to grasp that. And they especially will not compete and be able to function totally in the consumer economy that gets to saturate the population in propaganda (advertising) and the conscious development of a value system that supports commercial concerns(like Ireland and alcohol consumption, the US and fast food,etc).

        If we are going to suceed as a society, then we will need to upgrade our collective intellectual performance. Yet listening to RTE, or reading the Irish Times, is to me what it must have felt like to read the chronicles of the official authorities Rome circa 400 AD. There is never a hint that there might be something seriously flawed in the way we are thinking. The weaknesses are never seen as problematic. Reassurances were provided all the way down. We are told that we are on the right path. The majority of people are being given reassurance. The leadership seem to be completely incapable of responding to the crisis. And there is never a response until the crisis is undeniable. The need for reform is never really taken seriously. The authorities want to preserve their own institutional power, and inflate the currency. The true health of the society is never assessed. The quest for luxury and status has become the prime objective in a society that has lost it’s cohesiveness and is extremely selfish and narcistic. Criticism of a flawed model of human behaviour is seen as dangerous – when it provides the basis for recovery.

        We are in a state of denial of the problems in our societies that need fixing. And they will only be fixed by the conscious effort of free committed citizens. Government programs have failed – because they seem to attract the most useless element of society into admistration and management of the effort. In effect the problem is never solved, because these programs take on a life of their own and become self-perpetuating industries.

        • Ex uno disce omnes (Again)

        • Tim

          Deco, excellent. So we are now back to where I started posting a few months ago: “Education, Education, Education” is the most important thing for every age.

          NOT the “location, location, location” stuff of the last 15 years.

        • Rheinmeister09

          Could nt agree with you more. The make up of the government of the day also needs serious reform. Putting people into ministerial jobs that don’t have a basic comprehension of economics or how the health care system works drives me absolutely nuts. People need to be interviewed for these positions, if you don’t have the credentials ie degree, masters, a bucket load of experience in these area’s you don’t get the job. Reduce the number of civil servants that dictate how the country is run and turn the government and therefore the running of the country into a lean machine. But will that happen, I’m afraid not….

    • Colin_in_exile

      Doesn’t anyone see a business opportunity here?

      Book a return flight to China, track down Miss May, offer her €2 for every jersey, buy about 1000 jerseys, stuff them in a few suitcases, come home and sell them for €20.

  8. MK1

    Hi David,

    I agree 100% with the main points of your article. And its not often I am completely in agreement with you.

    Your trip to China sheds light on an example of the global supply chain. In a more efficient world, that 1 euro shirt would sell for a mere 2 euro in target markets. But the world is not efficient. Macro economics indicate that such retail prices should go down, and in a free market they would. But markets are not 100% free and open. There are controlling interests and bottlenecks all along the way. Thats what drives that 1 euro shirt up to 50 euro.

    The conditions of those Chinese workers are highly unpalatable. But they are the lucky ones as they have jobs. Many people in many countries are not even involved in ‘playing’ in the globalised supply chain/game.

    Deco, your point about ‘Buying Local’ is a good one. We really need to do this as a country more than we ever did. Bring back that ‘Guaranteed Irish’ campaign perhaps? Of course, its hard to tell from product labelling what is or what is not local. And which company’s are most beneficial to people living in Ireland. Irish companies could equally be rip-offs and producing less jobs (and Tax) than a foreign company proferring the same product. But we will need to support local jobs, local businesses, etc with our purchases.

    I realise its a xenophobic point, but do we as a country really need non-EU nationals here on work permits? Surely the era of full employability is gone and these visa’s should expire. I realise that may mean the likelihood of a an Irish Ronaldinho dissappearing (or a Brazillian Hurling player). And the same for Chinese students who are here learning english, whereas the reality is that they are really here working and the english is just an ‘excuse’. I have absolutely nothing against Brazillians or Chinese people, by the way, and know people from both countries on a first name basis.


    • Tim

      MK1, “Bring back that ‘Guaranteed Irish’ campaign perhaps?”

      I agree with you, MK1, but I think that the EU rules (Maestricht, I think, but I’m not certain – better “bone-up”) preclude us from re-introducing the GI brand.

      People have to become “thinkers” and do this without an official campaign – which would be illegal under EU rules. Like Deco elucidates, we have to operate in a “smarter” way and buy Irish, thoughtfully, without needing an “official campaign” to lead us – let us lead ourselves, because it is the smart thing to do, rather than because some PR company or Avertising firm exhorts us.

      We can buy a packet of “Clonakilty” white pudding or sausages in the foreign supermarket chain if we want; but that is not even made from Irish pork – as we discovered recently. Alternatively, we can support our local butcher and request traceability (if in doubt, which it should not be) of the fresh meat we purchase, without it ever having been “packaged” and some unnecessary middle-men profiting form wrapping it in plastic, or a box.

      Food should never have been presented that way.

  9. Malcolm McClure

    David: The Jeremy Clarkson style of journalism can be perky taken occasionally, but seems a bit light this week. You apparently haven’t yet had time to digest Lenihan’s cold porridge budget.

    50 years ago most of the shirts sold by Austin Reed, M&S, etc were made in Derry, in conditions similar to those you went half way round the world to see. Fruit of the Loom has only recently closed down in the north west. The economic message you omitted to mention was that instead of the manufacturer getting €1 for each shirt made in Derry the UK government now gets 15% VAT on each €50 Ireland shirt sold in the North, –which is €7.50 to spend on the Derry woman’s dole. Maybe that makes economic sense to someone, but not to me yet. Please explain.

    • Tim

      Malcolm, “I feel very uncomfortable when some contributors to this blog make extreme comments like: “Those who are responsible for it SHOULD be strung-up.” as it tends to incite extremist reactions in some idle browsers and distaste in others.”

      I am sorry if sometimes my comments make you feel uncomfortable – that is not my intention. However, the International court did actually rule on this for Saddam Hussein.

      There are many kinds of tyranny perpetrated upon the people by “their betters”.

      • Malcolm McClure

        Tim: Firstly, you are factually incorrect. It was an Iraqi judge sitting in an Iraqi court that sentenced Saddam to hang. A nice precedent to quote?
        Secondly, Even in Sharia law the penalty for stealing is not hanging but amputation of a hand. Perhaps you would prefer that?
        Thirdly, maybe you’d rather have us go back to the Georgian penalties of transportation for stealing a purse, branding for stealing a sheep and hanging for stealing a horse. –So far as I am aware there has never been a death penalty in the civilized world for financial fraud, certainly never for those who have not yet been tried and convicted. Your comment comes across as though from a latter day Judge Jeffries.
        Fourthly, you are following a different preceding comment by me.

        • Tim

          Malcom, in reverse order:
          I had to post on this comment; the site structure did not allow a response to the “different preceding” one by you.

          I am not in favour of the death penalty for anyone, not even the people who have ruined this country for everybody; my “strung up” comment was meant figuratively.

          I am also not in favour of the Sharia law approach, though a figurative amputation could be found.

          Yes, nice jesuitical nit-pick there! You got me: it was an Iraqi judge; However, we all know that the international court accepted that this would be his fate if left in the hands of the Iraqi court – so I do not think it stretches discourse to argue that they “ruled” upon it.

          Now, please, chill out – I am not the one at whom you could gainfully direct your ire. Try tackling some of those bankers you appear to defend and appease.

        • Malcolm – it was me who first suggested stringing politicians up (at least in this thread), so I take full responsibility for that. Therefore you can let Tim off the hook and I think we would all prefer it if you two just toned it down a little; then again, its up to you – thanks.

  10. severelyltd

    The budget had a clear purpose, pay off any FF connections with the bad asset structure before nationalising the banks all at taxpayer expense .This a controled demolition of the Irish economy and a scorched earth policy. They are gone in the next election and if they can’t have it all then they’ll leave us with nothing. They are the pilot that has put the plane into a nosedive and bailed out with their buddies and their golden parachutes leaving the country to it’s own faith.


    The budget has made things even worse.FF and the rest ain’t got a clue.Our only hope is for 30,000 per annum to emigrate and govt spending and receipts will hopefully align as a result.Our overvalued exchange rate has lead to 1 in 6 of the border population to register as unemployed.How are the bank directors still in jobs?.Expect our income per head to return to 65% of the EU average @ best.

    • Dilly

      Emigration is one of the reasons Fianna Fail are still around today, many of their detractors up sticks and left. P Flynn was delighted.

      • cozzy121

        Don’t forget Pee “negotiated” the very generous terms to the oil companies to access our natural resources. (He told his civil servants to leave the room and hey presto a few hours later the deal was done!).
        What price for a Corrib Gas field giving us cost price gas or Norwegian style royalties now?
        And still we vote them in, we deserve every misery that’s upon us.

  12. Garry

    good article…. oops there goes the job of economic advisor of NAMA….

    The yes men are already on message … .. Goodbodys (who have never seen a pig in a poke they couldn’t recommend buying with somebody else’s money) have suggested a 15% discount on the book value of the assets..

    Whereas given the banks share price performance, offering 15% for these assets would be very generous by the government. The market has already priced these ‘assets’….its in the share price of the banks!!!!

    Let us not forget that our host in telling it like it is has chosen the road less travelled by most “professionals” in this country… Thank you…

    • Deco

      Goodbodys – I do not know….are they owned by BOI, or are they owned by AIB. I think it is BoI – which would be the same corporate entity paying Dan McLoughlin a good salary for all his ‘economic projections’….and even worse they still are….despite the fact that his predictions have been proven completely wrong….and worse positively dangerous…

      I also think that calling it the National ASSET management agency is a bit questionable…..Should it not be more appropriately be called the National LIABILITY Management Agency….Calling these loans an asset is like calling Dan McLoughlin an economist….it can be done….but it is being completely disingenious about their true value…There has to be a reason why the market wants nothing to do with these “assets”……which is a good reason why the taxpayer should equally steer clear of the mess !! Lenihan is still trying to save the property market…he will eventually introduce a property tax, which will be landed on everybody who paying enormous mortgages, and on the national asset base – with shops, factories, farms, creches etc.. getting taxed. He will use to proceeds to bail out the banks who overheated the property market in the first place…It is completely absurd.

      Has anybody heard of capitalist consequences for capitalist misadventure ???? Minister Lenihan evidently has not….It affects plasterers, hardware shop owners, car dealers, lorry drivers, JCB operators, etc.. But it seems to not apply to large capitalist enterprises like Irish banks….

      • cozzy121

        Goodbodys is AIB, Davys used to be owned by BOI, but it doesn”t matter, they are all in the same boat with the same aim – screw the taxpayer by undervaluing the % of toxic loans. The government should be paying only a few cent in the euro for these debts, take a load of pref shares in the 2 main banks & force the others to merge or be thrown to the wolves.
        But they won’t, that would show backbone, and leadership.

      • G

        @ Deco “it not be more appropriately be called the National LIABILITY Management Agency”

        just go back to Orwell and double speak, also reference ‘government’, ‘democracy’, ‘working in the public interest’, ‘to do our patriotic duty’ all those have their own double meaning………..

        As another person wrote, it is about distraction, ‘bread and circus’ for the masses, but my pay cheque can’t be deceived nor can my eyes when I look for it.

        I played no part in the so called ‘boom’, nor did I go off and attempt suicide as Bertie suggested (the viciousness of that comment still strikes me as probably the most appalling of any Irish leader), I saw no mega-profits, no 4×4 land rover or SUV and yet here I am paying like millions of others for a mess that was not of my creation.

        I do have a serious question (like others) about the Irish populace, just what does it take for them to react to all this? I am astonished by the silence.

  13. martino

    MK1-I think running a ‘buy Irish’ campaign would be against some EU law.

    • Dilly

      Yes, they would see it as protectionism, or a return to the mercentile days, when it is really just a fight for survival.

  14. Philip

    5/5 DMcW. You’ll be be the first to be locked up come the uprising. :)

    I see Dan McLaughlin in BoI is saying we need the US to recover or we are all sunk (heavily paraphrased). So, the world is going to be saved when we get John Doe to buy a few more new pair of Levis they do not need. That’s the upshot of all the thinking in the Dept of Finance. When Capt America comes to the rescue, our assets will rise. In the meantime, since there is nothing Ireland can do to save itself, it may as well smash and grab to keep the current banking engine ticking over, because if that goes…the backbone of our economy will disintegrate. What they really mean is that we’d have new kids on the block and their own asses would be out on the street.

    Capt America is not coming and neither is Superman Obama. The vested interests who have hogged the influence of all the main political parties across the world for the last few decades are trying to keep the fiction alive by draining all remaining liquidity.

    • Colin_in_exile

      Dan McLaughlin – now there’s a blast from the past. He must be keeping the head down now. Is he still being employed for his economic predictions? Lets just hope he put all his earnings into BOI shares.

  15. No, the government didn’t cause this mess – the collective greed and ignorance of the Irish people did. Looking for someone to blame is just a cop out. Every single individual is responsible for their own actions. No one forced anyone to take a ludicrous loan. We were better off in the seventies (when the country had no money) when I grew up poor but happy and leaving the country was the best thing anyone could do. Ditto for now. You are never going to solve the problems of Ireland no matter how much you talk yourselves around in circles here, therefore secede from ‘normal’ (for normal read insane) society and let the muppets in Leinster house (or any other government building in any other ‘country’ in the world for that matter) have as minimal an impact on your life as possible. No one is going to live your life for you, its entirely up to yourself to take the global opportunities that now exist, and the fact that they do exist is progress as least on some sort of level, but politics isn’t going to do it, its a scam for odious , greedy and corrupt bare-faced liars to line their own pockets, indulge their vanities and wield their stinking ‘power’ over the heaving masses. Well they aren’t wielding any power over me, let them just try and see what happens and they shouldn’t wield any over you guys either. I bet they just love that you use your time on here for impotent debate instead of getting out on the streets and stringing them all up from the lampposts outside the Dail!

    • Robert


      Never mind “stringing them all up from the lampposts outside the Dail”

      There are some on this blog who attend FF cumann meetings and knock on doors seeking support for those in “Government” at present.

    • Take your money out of the banks they are supporting, fuck them back as hard as they are fucking us!

    • Tim

      adamabyss, “No one forced anyone to take a ludicrous loan.” That is absolutely true.

      The problem is that, even those of us who did not participate in the farce are being FORCED to pay for it.

      Those who are responsible for it SHOULD be strung-up.

      Robert: I am NOT responsible for this, so please stop insinuating. Did you use the link I supplied last night to express your views to the minister for Finance? I hope you did. If not, I am happy to post it here for you again.

    • Adam if you have any spare rooms in Antigua let us know , I’ll bring you over some Irish Beef and a bottle of a fine stout from outside south Cork .
      The majority here like in many countries are blinded by politics but they are not worried as they have big telly’s to stare at now !

  16. Well yes Robert, I see your point but 1. They won’t be knocking on my door, unless they want to fly four thousand miles, and even if they did it would be at serious physical risk to themselves and I’m serious about that and 2. You have to start at the top and work down. Most of the populations of Germany and Iraq got free passes during the processes of de-Nazification and de-Baathification (sic?). What would we call our own (not-going-to-happen) cull – de Muppetication?

    • De-FF-orestation??

      • Lorcan


        Could work well as part of the ‘Knowledge Economy’. We KNOW you are crooks..

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defenestration

          Horse them all out the window. Brilliant. Yet simple.

          • Tim

            Furry, a colleague of mine tells the story of his teacher saying “Diffley, pick a window!”;

            “Why, Sir?”;

            “You’re Leavin’!”

        • Deco

          I am reminded of the joke poster in the current issue of Phoenix.

          Enterprise Ireland is looking for New York’s Financial crooks to come and move their business to Ireland. There is a picture of Bernard Madoff smiling at the top of the poster.

          And at the bottom, Enterprise Ireland makes a promise – ‘Ireland….a location where journalists will not investigate your business or activities, and if they do, and they find out something wrong, and then proceed to make allegations against you, you can sue them for every penny they are worth – for damaging your “good name”.

          As a result Ireland is awash with rumours. There are rumours in different social classes, and different occupational groups. In response we have the “quell the rumours” strategy from officialdom, and from the classes at the top of the hierarchy. The Media is secondary to the rumour mill. Sometimes the rumours creep into the mainstream media – like Today FM and the “drunken politician sketch” or the “Joe Duffy Bank-run” on ANIB. The strange think is that foreign investors with branches in Ireland have an unusual advantage. They are more likely to hire outside the ‘old school tie pool’. Apart from the more meritocratic performance, they have a different attitude to ‘information. Basically they hire people who are more sceptical about the denials. For this reason they take the rumours, far more seriously than the denials. Which might explain to some degree why they don’t trust the D4 establishment, the banks, and the state regulatory authorities. They are effectively better informed – or at not as badly misinformed.

  17. The Eye

    I suspect behind closed doors the Minister did go to ECB and they told him to F off, then I think he went to Gordon Brown who came up with the former regulator for the Bank of England business.
    I don’t agree with David blaming the Gov for our problems, if we are as a people so stupid that we dont know how to vote, we deserve whatever is coming to us .(If I ever hear someone say to me again “My family has always voted FF , so I will vote FF.” Ill punch their lights out).
    My last point is as our passports belong to the Minister of justice, why has Seanie Fitz not has his taken off him and put him in jail and allow due process to take place….after all he cooked the books and deceived the shareholders which is a criminal offence, why is all white collar crime and corruption a 3 day media frenzy and then move on?

    • Tim

      The Eye, so many sheeple have been gradually “corralled” by the media. The TV news they watch, they tend to trust; the newspapers they read, they tend to trust.

      It is difficult to blame these ordinary, decent, people for believing that the world, as presented to them, is real.

      Everyone needs their “Morpheus”.

  18. SpinstaSista

    Easter is coming, so how about a little religion.

    The parable of the five wise and five foolish bridesmaids.

    The economy of Ireland could be likened to ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom at midnight. Five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

    The five who were foolish went to the banks and took out loans they couldn’t afford to buy massively overpriced houses in Ireland and apartments in Spain and Bulgaria, they bought gas-guzzling SUVs to drive short distances and they went shopping in New York several times a year, but the five who were wise lived within their means and were mocked by the foolish for their frugality. But when the global economy faltered, the foolish ran out of credit and the banks had no more money to lend them.

    At midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the Irish economy has crashed and the banks have no more money to give us and we cannot afford to pay them back, go to the two Brians for help!’ Then the ten bridesmaids arose and went to the two Brians.

    The two Brians said to the five wise bridesmaids, ‘We are giving the five foolish bridesmaids nothing and the banks are getting your savings and your salaries because they are entrenched in apocalyptic debt.’

    But the five wise bridesmaids answered, saying, ‘No, this is not fair, lest there should not be enough for us and for the five foolish bridesmaids; why should we, who have been prudent, suffer for the profligacy of the five foolish bridesmaids and the banks.’

    And the two Brians said to the five wise bridesmaids ‘Shut up and put up, what’s yours is the banks and what’s ours is the banks’. And they took all the five wise bridesmaids had and gave it to the banks.

    And the bridegroom came, there wasn’t enough money for oil to light anybody’s lamp so nobody went to the wedding, then all the lights in the country went out and all were cast out into the place of wailing and gnashing of teeth for all eternity.

    • The Eye

      Jesus came back on Sunday, FF wont be coming back.

    • gquinn

      I don’t like that story it sounds to real :-) LOL

      Im just a bit puzzled that if the 5 wise bridesmaid were indeed wise then why didn’t they leave Ireland with all their wealth as soon as the Brians gave there little speech.

      • Colin_in_exile

        Because the other Great lie of the Celtic Tiger years was that Ireland is the best place in the world to live.

        You’re expected to forget about the miserable weather, the congested roads, the rat infested schools, the lack of integrated public transportation, the litter-filled streets, the scumbags, the out of touch judicary, the corrupt politicians etc….. The wise are already in exile!

  19. coldblow

    David, you are “not being helpful” by reminding others of their past mistakes, this isn’t done in polite society (apparently). I didn’t see the programme but I have my own short list of significant telly events burnt into my memory, most of them involving RTE and a fair few of those dealing with the ritual cutting down to size of suitable public figures. So, you are in honourable company – I often wondered why you weren’t in the club and it turns out you had been a member all the time! There’s an Easter theme there, and a Chinese one too, in a Maoist kind of way.

  20. ballbreaker

    So guys being one of the 5 wise brides should one be taking one’s money out of the 2 major banks right now before one gets “royally taken advantage of ” without even getting kissed!
    Seriously this really is a major worry for people who have saved in cash and actually have no other assets.

    • In a recession the advice is always to shop around for the best product at the best price. For a bank, stability is part of the product and considered highly desirable.

  21. There are some incredibly intelligent and eloquent people making superb written contributions on this forum. I reckon a compilation in book form should be released periodically and, talking of education, it should be required reading for every adult in the country, especially every corrupt politician (in other words all politicians), every avaricious banker, developer etc. and every brian-dead consumer who succumbed to the propaganda (advertising) that convinced them to get involved in the pursuit of all the materialistic crap they didn’t need, including the over-priced shoe-boxes, that they think they own, but don’t. Problems are 1. of course this would never happen 2. most people would avoid reading it anyway – Dan Brown novels is roughly the level that most can digest, and 3. even if they did read it, it would be in one ear and out the other and they would still carry on with their disgusting behaviour. There is a big difference between being able to read and being able to comprehend. A little bit of vocabulary is a dangerous thing and makes sheeple look smarter than they really are, plus most people get their vocabulary these days from Cecilia Ahern and not from Dostoyevsky – unfortunately. As you may have gathered, I have very little respect for the common sheeple, even if I am one myself. Greed is getting what it deserves as far as I’m concerned. I may live in the sunny Caribbean (rainy, windy and cloudy today), but it was by choice, not luck, anyone could do it if they had the guts, but they don’t, they run with the flock from the shepherd and then complain when they get fleeced. I do practice what I preach and if you saw how simple my life is out here then you could not disagree with that.

    • gquinn

      I agree.

      The problem is that people are group oriented and they feel safe running with the herd. What you do and Im included in this as well is that we appear to go against the herd which is unnatural to people.

      “Greed and fear will always be in the market place all the changes are the suckers” – Jesse Livermore in 1907.

    • The thing about “Crime & Punishment” is that Raskolnikov reflects on his lot, confesses to his crimes and finds a kind of redemption through penance and empathy with another. Ireland isn’t accurately confessing its crimes yet but we’re getting there in admitting the bank debts are huge, tens of billions (at least) of dodgy loans. There will be penance but will it be enough? Without genuine lifestyle impairment and honest reflection our current generation of business “leaders” may never find redemption. It’s a difficult book but the message is worth learning. Sadly I think you’re right about Sean Q O’Public’s desire to read light fluff. Was Ross O’Carroll Kelly a parody or a grotesque yet accurate description of the truth?

  22. Tim

    Folks, Garry is correct, above:

    “The market has already priced these ‘assets’….its in the share price of the banks!!!!”.

    ..don’t think there is any argument against that……

  23. Tim

    Folks, I think you should all join FF and that would cause an immediate and peaceful coup.

    Don’t “guffaw!”.


    If enough of people joined the party and voted through the views expressed here, things WOULD change.

    If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and BEAT ‘em from within.

    • Tim ….If I get to meet you over these turmoil days , I will on behalf of the Readers and writers …Hit You a Slap for suggesting such a brain less idea ….. You belong back in old Rome …Wake Up . FF are no different than Sicily’s Mafia ….

    • I suspect they’ve beaten themselves. The “FF 23%” will still vote for them but I’m hoping that others who aren’t mentally disturbed or brainwashed might vote for someone else next time around. It doesn’t help that the opposition regard anyone with a brain as an “intellectual” which is a shame for a party that gave us Fitzgerald, Dukes, Yates & Bruton.

    • paddythepig


      There’s nothing stopping you, and thousands of others, deserting the ship, and leaving FF without a grassroots. Then they would be destroyed, along with their gombeen ideology.

      The real question is. Why don’t you desert FF? Explain to us please ; what’s in it for you? You claim to be fighting for your kids, and for the kids you teach, but I’m not so sure. You were laughing and joking with Willie O’Dea at the Ard Fheis, as the country careered towards bankruptcy. If you really want to help the kids, abandon these clowns who are a cancer on our country, and who have sold the coming generation down the swanny. All you are doing is propping these muppets up.

      P.S : AdamAbyss is right. By campaigning for FF, and failing to stop for a second and consider the trainwreck that was coming our way all through the Ahern years, FF supporters up and down the country do shoulder a lot of responsibility for what is now happening.


    • liam

      Tim, I admire your optimism, but that dog don’t hunt. -L

  24. Johnny Dunne

    The government have been badly advised to set up the NAMA announced in yesterday’s budget. We don’t have to borrow more!!

    Bottom line if NAMA buys assets at a ‘discount’ suggested for say €50 billion which have a book value of €90 billion of loans and amounts lent on the balance sheet of banks. That’s €40 billion which would need to be injected into the banks to balance the ‘balance sheet’. The money doesn’t suddenly disappear it needs to pay bank liabilities to depositors and ‘professionally managed’ bond holders.

    So we will need €40 billion to ‘pay’ for these banks ‘losses’ upfront. The money can’t just disappear. This is equivalent to the national debt just a year ago which remained fairly constant for 20 years. We are planning to borrow at least €20 billion this year and looks like this level will continue without cuts.

    The head of the NTMA says it “won’t cost taxpayer’s anything” – does anyone believe this? Real ‘cash’ was lent for these property loans backed by bank capital, deposits and interbank loans / bonds. Depositors and bond holders have to be paid back as fully guaranteed by government.

    Peter Bacon is a ‘property’ economist not a banker, businessman or accountant — how is he qualified to ‘bet our future’ ? He has recommended an amount to ‘pay’ and the Government have gone ahead with this advice blindly! The reason is so the Banks have ‘capital adequacy’ to start lending again, by default they will need a further injection of capital to match the amount of the loans written off.

    David, could you highlight this recommendation has just asked the government to raise €90 billion upfront. We can’t just buy assets and write-off, loans having an original value of €90 billion (not to mention all the other commercial and residential property loans which are under stress).

    What a naive decision to take a book value of €90 billion loans at a ‘discount’ from the bank’s balance sheet. These are banks assets matched by liabilities, assume even a write down of 33% (conservative based on value write downs in commercial property in Ireland and internationally), that’s €30 billion ‘gap’ which needs to be bridged in order to ‘balance the books’ and not default on the liabilities of the banks guaranteed at the end of September.

    On 2nd October, it was obvious to many here – why not the Central Bank? Minister Lenihan in the Dail categorically said the capital of the ‘covered’ banks is €80 billion (€520 bn assets less €440 bn liabilities). Assume this was on the advice of the Central Bank. This way out and is worse now, complete incompetence in any business. Why has the head of the central bank not resigned ?

    AIB and BOI are both worth less than € 2 billion on the market (believe there is no ‘capital’ left in these banks). Why not nationalise now, even compensate shareholders with €2billion and then go about setting up ‘good’ bank(s) to provide the credit to businesses and individuals. €50 million Enterprise Stabilisation Fund for an economy with a shrinking GDP and no opportunity to borrow more private debt is not enough.

    David, if the banks were left the ECB would need to fund now we are taking ALL the risk no reward !

    The only alternative is to ‘ring fence’ billions to promote indigenous businesses, incentivise through lower taxes, thereby creating income from abroad rather than borrowing privately and 20% of public sector spend. We need a plan to generate economic activity by creating employment and demand for goods/services and commercial/residential property unless there is recovery.

    We don’t have the lever of devaluing our currency to increase competitiveness of exports and comparative costs internationally for operating UK and US multinationals in Ireland.

    Any business person knows increasing costs (taxes) reduces volume of sales (taxes). It seems they are badly advised again by people sheltered from the real world. One ‘new’ bank would do it.

    Two options to get money into an economy — borrow more or sell more. Why not put all NTMA/NAMA ‘resources’ into making sure we can sell more into export markets instead of borrowing for ‘property’ !

    • ah John clear as always , but you ask why has Mr Central Bank not walked yet ?…….sure isn’t it Ireland your livin in bouy !…Thank God and his mother Mary with their only son Jesus not able to get a job buildin things like his dad did …… where will this madness end ?.
      Could Tim really be Biffo’s and Briano’s mole ,..I wonder !

  25. I’d like to take issue with the point of view expressed by The Eye

    “I don’t agree with David blaming the Gov for our problems, if we are as a people so stupid that we dont know how to vote, we deserve whatever is coming to us .”

    This logic generalises the problem and points the finger in every direction. It highlights the extent to which everyone was involved in some way in a culture that turned out to be seriously flawed. It has the benefit of calling on everyone to take responsibility for their decisions and actions.

    However, it tends to ignore the reality of power, and the uneven distribution of influence over the organs of state. Our democracy is not a free market. Successive Fianna Fail leaders, Haughey, Reynolds, Ahern and Cowen have used the levers of state to foster a particular system designed to reward their friends.

    There has, of course, been a trickle-down effect. The property-less people have experienced some improvement in their standard of living. But the ruling class have experienced fantastic wealth creation. Just look at how the property pages of the newspapers have been used to sustain an atmosphere of collective wanting…

    So it’s not fair, or helpful, to blame everyone equally. So many people were manipulated into believing they lived in a system that could enrich them, and enable them to hand on wealth to their children.

    When the Taoiseach was prepared to label those who warned of excessive risk-taking as people who should go commit suicide, how can you blame citizens for thinking such a view was respectable and deserving of respect?

    In order to help build up some sort of constituency for change, some alliance of fair-minded people prepared to do their best to improve things, I suggest it’s best to hold the unholy alliance of FF government, property developers and bankers responsible for causing Ireland’s crisis.

    From such a stance, it should be possible to gather support from, and offer leadership to, people who are understandably confused, angry, betrayed and a lot poorer than they used to think they were.

    Maybe I haven’t ;put the case as well as it could be put, but I hope you understand what I’m driving at, and are willing to support this point of view.

    • That’s a good point. As a basic principle the last Bertie government ostracised economic naysayers as best they could. It took years for anyone in the main stream press to suggest that the economy was overheated despite the evidence on blogs such as this (and academic publications) that some of our economic thinkers had come to that conclusion. People often don’t trust their “common sense” when government tells them a message they want to hear which is endorsed by a range of “wise” individuals. So in that respect I excuse many from the fianna failathon that we’ve had over the past 20 years. HOWEVER, that day is past and we need to realise it for what it is. It said a lot that the people returned a party to power when it’s leader was under such a cloud regarding his personal finances. The Irish care much more about their personal finances than the ethics of their leaders. This is the message for FF. B Lenihan can be as ethical and fair as he likes but the people doen’t want poverty and won’t vote for it. Yet FG’s leader is regarded as a bit of a joke by the electorate. He is not doing enough damage in the Dail to economic policies which are being savaged on this site. All in all, only Richard Bruton and Ruairi Quinn have impressed me with some good comments over the past few months. They give you the impression they have some care for what it’s like for those running (failing) businesses in this recession. It’s a joke that Quinn seems more economically agile than his party’s finance spokesperson. Gilmore is normally good but doesn’t appear to have the necessary grasp of economics.

      Still, whinging aside, if the government stepped down and called an emergency election; would you stand and why?

  26. In Primary schools Teachers facing the class bless themselves with their left hand so the pupils bless themselves with their right hand.This Budget has no direction and needs to be double crossed .

  27. The Romans never came to Ireland until Brian’s Budget and when they first arrived in Britain they moved the indiginous tribes to Wales .Soon when they will arrive in Ireland they will displace everyone in the Pale across the Shannon.

  28. Forum – Part of our national cohesion problem as a people who need to speak their own minds is that we have no Proper Reality Forum that we can call to be an area to meet without fear of libel laws etc .

    • jim

      I nominate Dun Aengus on mid-summer’s day.Just like it use to be .Speaker’s stood in the center with their backs to the sea.Betrayer’s of the Faith were marched over the edge and given to the Atlantic as payment for wrong’s caused.All debts and grievances were settled as the sun set (going down with the sun).This was year end ( suns furthest point north).The new year would begin in full growth with the key harvest following in autumn…..I will offer my case against FF and if Im proven wrong I’ll march myself over the edge.Any taker’s for their defence.??????.M y feeling is I.ll be sitting there on my own singing “watch the sun go down on Galway Bay”.

  29. David ,fair enough at this stage of the game you are allowed some journalist privileges when coating figures ,as how many of your readers will ever get to see China. My business partner down in Guangdong takes home the same wage for selling her selection of chairs and she puts in a six day week but she does not live in a hovel and has the same access to the world via the internet as we do here in Ireland . The difference is Lua is happy with her lot in the sense she could be back in the village and working the land. !
    Our future has to be in Knowledge other wise we will not be able to compete out side of Europe. But with a Government controlled media with local councils propping up the weekly papers presently we are going down a spiral as without proper Straight Leadership we will be paying for the greed of the third generation children of our last revolutionists Pearse the school teacher et al. And our further siblings will be restricted by our ignorance of cycles.
    Now with the first quarter of this year over and 60,000,000,000,000,.00 give or take on our tables . I think it;s time to kick over the tables and meet to see what We can do about this cartel running this country.
    My friends in China while worried about America aren’t worried at all about us , as they have in Guangdong province over 89 million to sell their products to.
    I have seen again this week the Enterprise Board ( another quango racket ) give a grant to an idea I put forward ten years ago.
    The General public like sheep are now while not yet the majority there is a large group of the flock worried about going to the gate at the end of the field.
    My prediction will be in ten weeks time , say July with the extra levy in wage packets and the Family inheritance falling daily , your Paddy man and GAA lads with possibly a few teachers ( though they may not bother as their working year and summer break starts ) will take their money from these AIB ,BOI and the rest of the cosy cabal and for a day or two , not leave their homes or spend a cent.
    … If Gandi could do it and Mr Sun did it for modern China . Why Can’t we bring down Tims friends as along with a few priests They Have been riding us asses (assets ) for some seventy odd years . ….
    I’m off Golfing now ,..so have a good new season holiday

    • BrendanW,

      You write a very interesting comment. It’s great to hear a voice who is connected with China and the spirit of enterprise going on there.

      I would love to hear more from you about how vital ‘knowledge’ is. [I clicked on your name in the hope that you'd have a blog or website.]

      Your analysis of how government in Ireland prevents the community from developing ‘knowledge’ strikes me as well worth hearing more. And I’d like more of the story of how your 10 year old idea was stolen, please.

      As for your hope that a peaceful way might be found to bring down this government, I’m your ally, and you can count me in to the movement.

      As regards your words for Tim, I appreciate your ire. Tim’s had shovelfuls of shit dumped on him on this blog, and he’s stayed aloft. No words of yours will chase him away or into silence. It might not be your way, or the way of many others on here, but he’s fighting the good fight within FF, taking on people whom I wouldn’t dare eat with.

      One man’s tactics are his. If you want to cause FF to collapse, you can hit it straight in the eyes, or you can undermine it by burrowing underneath, or you can ignore it or…

      I doubt you’ve been following Tim’s contributions for long. He’s likely to outstay most of us. And his notion that we should all join FF and take over the party is, I think, amusingly challenging.

      But to return to the point of most substance, please write more about your contacts with China and how we might learn from Ghandi how to overthrow the monster. Thanks. Have a good easter.

  30. ALL LOOK AT THIS from last page http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04032009/watch.html
    I email Ken Black and he is coming to speak in Iceland ,.we should bring him here …I reckon TV3 for the Coup would Air him as he is a top regulator and one cool economics teacher too

  31. jim

    When FF hacks are accused of blowing the boom, the stock answer given to them to repeat is ” we paid down the National Debt ” Martin Manseragh wheeled this out again on Vincent Browne last night.Truth is The National debt was 38 billion in 1995 and had’nt changed by 2007(still 38 billion) until it started to rise again.Truth is the Debt as a percentage of GDP became less.GDP growth was helped in no small measure by the credit bubble associated with the property bubble.In conclusion its fair to say that the National Debt appeared to shrink like a good many things when compared to the unsustainable bubbles.The “good many things” would include integrity.transparency,accountability.Next time you hear that line on National Debt been trotted out ,just say LIAR and walk away.

    • Deco

      There is a term for that sort of answer…’scrapping at the bottom of the barrell’.

      FF will get trounced in June. No MEPs in Leinster or Munser. 1 FF MEP in both Dublin and Connacht-Ulster. Ganley will be smiling and Dick Roche in hiding. Mary Lou will be crowing again-and making an annoyance of herself as usual. Prionsias will get back into his handy number – with lots of help from Tintan O’Fool, the IT, and RTE. But he will be going ape over Ganley getting elected. The foreign media will want to interview Ganley. And he will tell them of the corruption that exists in politics and business in Ireland. D4, the banks, the establishment will go ballistic. The British newspapers will encourage the British to holiday in Ireland, and buy Irish produce.

      And the local elections will send FF into a massive internal power struggle like we have not seen since Haughey v. McCreevy. Massive pressure from below to get demote the wasters …Cullen, Harney, Dempsey, O’Rourke, Hanafin, etc..Each will start talking about their ‘track record’ (the usual attempt at reassurance). An increasing number of people will just not buy into this. Pressure will increase. There will be defections. And the defectors will rally around Joe Behan. There might even be a Joe Behan “organization of exiled FF”. This will embolden Behan – and he will be on the media every week – making his demands directly to the media. Behan will be the Tony Gregory of the Dail – one seat, and all the power. The Greens will want to stay in power. Behan will cause the Greens real problems. The Irish Times, under pressure from it’s sponsors will be digging for dirt on Behan. Cowen will be perplexed in the midst of it all….

      • G

        Brian Crowley will be returned as Munster MEP, but FF by entering another MEP candidate for Munster threaten him, especially in these changing political times, Crowley is popular (not sure why? he kind of smiles a lot and has long hair, so people think him kind of quirky, but anything of political substance seems right wing to my mind)

  32. jim

    Expect some interesting negotiations with asset valuations netween NAMA and the Banks.Example might be values of land in England, now devalued, but offset against Sterling’s devaluation.Issues of Title deeds in Dubai (not usually issued until after development complete).Ground rents to the Queen of England in New York. .Anyhooo Im sure Dr.Bacon would have used His noggin to tease all these issues out while making His submissions.Correct Me if Im wrong but is he a Director of Ballymore Homes one of the biggest house builders in Ireland and England ???????.P.s Remind me again what His expertise is again on sorting out delinquent Banks.Its strange and ironic to think when He produced his report on property before ,nobody in FF paid a blind bit of notice to it.It was shelved like a lot of the reports they commission to stall for time in the hope it will be forgotten about.Maybe they hope that by using Him now it will appear like they have turned a corner and are prepared to change .Sorry Brians I have been watching yer shenanigans for way too long to be fooled by that old ruse.Too many three card tricks ,the punter know’s the game is rigged.Fold up yer TENT and move onn.

    • Tim

      jim, Bacon delivered another report in (I think) the late 90s recommending massive pay-increases for TDs instead of the benchmarking exercise applied to everyone else. Have a look for it, if you can.

  33. jim

    Interesting name NAMA. Hope this Bank bullsh.t does not become our NAM. I have visions of the helicopters taking off from the tops of buildings,carrying the great and the good but this time there not headed for Punchestown or Galway.Before all ye cynics jump in Im sure their not off to England to avail of the 1 year Bankrupcy holiday deal, after all who do ye know would leave Ireland for 1 year to avoid paying any money to the State. OK OK OK ye got me on that last one but Ill be back to deal with ye cynics again.LOL ;-) ;-)

  34. Hyde Park Corner :
    I believe this year will be a great year if we believe in ourselves and be true to ourselves .Life is about more than money and we should learn to sit back and think with a broader base and a deeper sense of well being .Nevertheless, we must not allow complacency to develop and we must learn to think to win for both ouselves and our country.
    I was at the musical Les Misserables last night in London and I witnessed grown up men cry and their spouses become uncontrollable .All through the battling scenes I was thinking what might be ahead for us in Ireland and whether we will live or die and what colour our flag might become.
    What I learned was that in the scenes people had opinions and were able to speak their ideas and agree or disagree and everyone were able to hear first hand what everyone said unlike today where we are gagged and diluted versions released to the readers / public.The NEED to Speak and be Heard without hinderence is now more important than ever to progress.
    A Speakers Corner should be set up in every town and village in the country.

  35. Dun Aengus –
    there is no place in the western Isles that records the oldest sign of an economic activity and progress and that indicates a higher order of life that once was and now is no more.It’s presence predates Ancient Egypt ,Old Testament , and the Adam and Eve Concept .It’s limestone construction shows us that it was part of a land in the East when Life as we know it then arrived from The Americas proving itself to be a part of an older World Order now all lost .
    It’s original circle is liken to The Euro that gave their priestly bankers the zest and spunk to make happen what did make a great economy until their corrupted management became transparent and tetronic divides changed forever the face of their world to be no more.At this moment the West became the East and the East became the West .
    Today , that day is dawning closer and closer and denials are becoming louder and louder because the cracks are becoming more visable and new tetronic plates are appearing that will draw a new line through Merrion Square Space Center and decimate forever what was once another world.
    The dull grey dark limestone now devoid of all life will soon predominate around the remnants of the brown envelopes , silicon breasts ,detoxed acne and steeled space ship quaser keys .
    Only N’Esspresso coffee can maintain some semblance to the memory what was once ‘ A Dream’.

  36. Philip

    No matter what we say here about NAMA or our local version of the recession or our elites etc, I believe it will be overrun by a momentum of events which are likely to wind up in one of 2 directions. (I am assuming that people will remain quiet and compliant as the bitter taste of their budget medicine starts to really make itself apparent from next month – say June onwards).

    Obamanomics works and is starting to show benefit by end if 2009:
    There will be a lot of press that we are all saved and things will return after 2-3 years back to “normality”. Emmigration will increase rapidly and FF will be saved and the usual un-informed ways of Irish society will be maintained. Life goes on as usual. A slightly less US led monopolar world will dominate for the time being.

    Obamanomics does not work:, More job losses in the US. Recovery looks like being a decade or more away.
    Then, interesting times begin for sure. No opportunities anywhere. Emmigration pointless. Export led nations are going to be in a lot of trouble as their industries show an even more rapid decline.
    Power vacuums will appear all over the place. EU will crumble or become officially federalised as a matter of emergency. FF will be in opposition for sure and it could be a time of great social innovation or upheaval.

  37. Deco

    Just realised something about the value chain for “Eircom Shirts”. It is rotten. So much for thinking in the mindset of “wearing the Green shirt”. It has become a complete joke. It is supporting a bunch of parasites who own the value chain between Sweating Chinese workers, and unemployed Irish workers on skid row. And at prices that are an extreme ripoff. Somewhere between the 2 Euro it costs for the shirt in China and the 80 Euro is costs in the shop a lot of people are doing really well.

    It is a sick joke. And we have that tramp Ahern talking about sport, like as if sport was the only form of patriotism. And we know he is a hypocrite. And we know all his funny stories from the tribunal – like when he did not know where 30K came from – er ‘ oh yeah, I remember now, it came from winning at the races’. But if we reform our institutional state then the smugness will disappear from his demeanour.

    Unless the Green shirt is actually made in Ireland. As consumers we have power. Now the GAA have O’Neills making their shirts – with factories in Ballyfermot and Tyrone. And I don’t know about the IRFU. We need to find out. But we do not have to support the corrupt FAI, their corrupt practices, or their sports jingoism. Even Lidl can make ‘similar’ shirts in Germany, and the German taxpayer helped pay for our infrastructure, and the price is not in the rip-off proportions-just no Eircom or FAI badge – which in any case symbolises a rip-off. Though Ahern and his cronies, would not like that.

    Strangely really that Eircom – another bunch of price riggers should also be involved as sponsor – the name on the shirt. The concept of ‘pride’ is used to enthuse people for all sorts of self defeating behaviour. So much for ‘pride in the green jersey’. Pride is a stupid concept. And we need to dump pride, and replace it with intelligent thought, and careful action. Thought that will go outside the spin received from authority in Ireland, or those who have heavy influence through commercial sponsorship or politcal appointees in the media. Action which will support our communities.

    • I’d like to support Deco’s critique of Irish shirts made in China. I didn’t know the GAA shirts were made in Ireland. That’s good.

      But I’d like to know more about the value chain. From 2 euro in China to 80 euro in Ireland, what happens? Detail please.

      I guess the Irish retailer buys the 80 euro shirt for 45 euros from the wholesaler. Can anyone track it back please…?

    • Philip

      When supply chains span across domains where there is an imbalance of human rights and renumeration. Profits aggregrate to the owners of the channels and human rights are averaged down to the lowest overall level. Global industrial growth and consumption has gone totally out of step with the equivalence of laws. This is all a very big global governance issue.

      Making things worse has been media, fashion and the enhancement of individualism and creating a climate of competition not on pricing, quality and innovation, but on bling based oneupmanship. We drifted away from being backroom doers to being show-offs which is 100% compatible with the global supply chain setup as it stands at present.

      We have decontextualised the life of our community from the means by which it is brought to life. Nothing is authentic. With High Definition TV, who cares? A GAA Shirt or Hurley Stick made in China is about as daft as a Samurai Sword coming out of Ballydehob. We are impoverishing ourselves culturally and monetarily.

      That said, I am not calling for an end to trade. But, I think people need to become conscious of what they are buying. Open book contracts are becoming a well known feature for large projects.

  38. Deco

    You can buy Irish soccer jerseys there also. And rugby.

    It says “Factory Shop-Stabane”. It is not ROI, but it is a border town.
    And as far as I know the other balls, sliotars are made in Ballyfermot-Walkinstown. Here are comments I found in Google, people looking for it.


  39. begekel

    Has anybody ever noticed how large fat cartoon characters are always portrayed as being ‘deh stoopid’ with a slow witted voice. I thought that this stereotyping was not a good model for our young people to grow up with but after this latest intellectually deficient effort by our two porky Brians I decided to see if fat people are in fact more stupid than thin people. Lo and behold research does actually show that as people put on weight their IQ drops see here


    Other than the proposal for the a government agency to buy up bad debts which I suggested here two months ago there is nothing in this budget that will solve Ireland’s woes, quite the opposite in fact.
    Perhaps we should include a ‘Slimfast’ allowance in Ministerial perks.

    • Philip

      Assuming the tongue in cheek slant of your comment, there is a lot to be said for your proposal to improve the health of the nation. I actually believe that being overweight leads to depression which in turn leads to a seeking of consolation (food and drink and ciggs) and more fat and ill health etc. It explains the lunacy in the dail. I think their pensions should be stopped because few if any of them will be alive to collect it…even if they retire at 60. The stats are very stark.

      • begekel

        Philip I am semi serious. Barrack Obama and Brian Cowen are the same age. Obama goes to the gym Cowen goes to the bar. One inspires confidence in his people, the other does not. We live in a visual age, appearances matter. I am somewhat embarrassed that Cowen is representing Ireland on the world stage- it gives the wrong impression of Ireland.

      • liam

        “few if any of them will be alive to collect it…even if they retire at 60″

        Hope springs eternal….

    • Deco

      Well…maybe…your idea should be forwarded to the top heavy HSE { now there is a loaded phrase :))) } to see if it digested ?? It will probably be as well received as Dr. Jerry Cowley commentary to a certain government minister on the usefulness of going to the gym.

      The problem with adopting a healthy lifestyle is that there are a lot of social mores in this country, working against it. These are reinforced by a range of commercial interests mostly centred on the alcohol industry. And this is evident in advertising and even discussion on the media. And they are very powerful, very subtle, and very strident in pushing alcohol consumption as far as possible. The subtlety at which they work and support any effort at increased consumption, or throwing doubt at any factor that might decrease consumption is frightening. You will rarely see the media spotlight being given to people who want to reduce alcohol consumption.

      Criticism of takeaways is scaled back, because a fatty greasy takeaway always follows a night of excessive drinking. Incidentally Cowley got thrown off the media for his commentary. Which helped BCF get into Pee’s old seat. That is the way the system works in Ireland. But the people are wising up. Let’s crack it open :)))

  40. wills


    Can you stop mis representing other peoples posts please.

    And for god sakes, dont get all uppity with me too for asking,..

  41. wills


    loved the article. More impressionistic this week, not surprised,
    alot of info to assimilate and get a grasp on,..

    The idea of ‘trading our way out of this’ struck me as rather
    unbelievable that this fact has to be reminded on. It shows
    how far off the radar screen ireland and its economy has gone.

    Ireland is a divided society i would suggest david. A feudal system.
    Feudal lords and serfs. The feudal lords dont want to work. The serfs are overworked. Hence why, the concept of trading into prosperity is lost. The feudal lords only want trade on their terms.

    This means trade preserving the status quo is only permissable.
    THis means trade that benefits the serfs is a threat and must be monitored.
    The threat is great with the info tech revoultion and things got ahead of the feudal lords so they pulled the credit plug to catch up
    and maintain self preservation, the feudal structure.

    The feudal structure is the only show in town with the feudal lords.
    To them money and credit is a weapon to control the system and maintain the staus quo.

    Lets take POnzi ireland inc. as a quick example.

    The financial mess is a consequence of a banking ponzi credit bubble. It sucked masses of people in to debt obligation. This is
    modern day slavery when these debt obligations become a bane of
    life to meet on monthly basis and this is what has happened.

    !00,000s of people ad hoc’d in debt. This was what the objective was.

    The slave needs a master, and the master/slave sets up a feudal system,..

    The banking ponzi credit bubble scam was a FEUDAL ENTERPRISE pogrom. THese guys don give a damn about the
    toxic nuclear waste. All they wanted was to deepen a massive
    section of the pop into debt slavery and if you look at this now look at the evidence now on the table, this is what ireland is facing,..
    debt obligation around every corner. The toxic waste is merely the by product,..

    and the guys that are responsible for it are chuffed. They got what
    they were out to secure, which was a massive seection of the pop
    in debt slavery, and this means the feudal system remains in place,

    …….. or does it……….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. wills


    Ok david on the “wether we like it or not, irelands faith is utterly
    tied in with world events’…….

    I suggest this…. local industry rules ok.
    I think there is far too much emphasis put on global this and global
    that and global the other.
    All trade comes back to local level, as your article shows.
    Ireland sacrificed local trade unto trans nationalist corporate trade
    and now finds itself lacking in the self reliant area.
    Local trade schools all in self reliance.
    Again back to modern day feudalism here, powers at be dont want
    self reliance imbued into the serfs.
    Hence why, children are educated in plasticated prefabs, and denied proper teaching arrangements across the board.,

    Local trade is a threat to the modern day feudal structure.

  43. wills


    “the gov caused the mess’……,

    I think the gov facilitated the ponzi ireland inc feudal enterprise pogrom, but the cause of it lies somewhere else.

    The cause of it lies in the coupling of easy peasy credit made
    available to greed to let rip in a plunder and pillage session and
    end in debt slavery.

    Who supplied the easy peasy credit,… the banking system,..
    The banking system is an instrument of power.
    It is not a credit utility shop for all.
    The banking system is an instrument of power to self
    preserve a hidden feudal structure for all time.
    History shows,.. the banks net in suckers into debt slavery
    all the time…..,,,, that is the function of the bank,…
    to make debts,.. and turn it into slavery,…..

    • wills

      nama is merely a contract cleaner hired in
      to mop up the mess leftover from the easy
      credit debt enslavement pogrom hatched
      over last 15 years.

    • wills, my point is don’t be a sucker in the first place, then no-one or nothing can reel you in regardless of how they present their worthless mirage of ‘prosperity’. Sure, the banks are an instrument of this flawed and fraudulent system, but tackle and negate the nature of ‘suckerdom’ and they’ll have no one to peddle their nonsense to. I guess it all comes back to education (both self and formal) being the key, as I’m sure Tim and others on here would agree.

      • I’d add dialogue, discussion and debate to that adam. There’s some excellent articles on here.

      • Philip

        I remember once a man in Belfast telling me during the troubles that the sooner we got these gurriers earning money and tied down with mortgages and responsibility, the sooner stability would return to the North.

        Then there was Prof Anthony Claire who wrote that the untethered male was the most dangerous animal to walk the earth. Man, Human Males need responsibility or they become self destructive.

        Could it be that debt may have some upside

        Could it be that banks are a female attack on male freedom? Two sides to everything I suppose :)

        • The overpriced mortgage may be a female attack on male freedom ;-) Dangerous territory here but most of my friends that have bought houses, bought early and overspent to please the missus. There’s the consolation that they bought “a great house” and “bought to live there” but that’s SFA comfort when it’s 50% negative equity and there’s a mansion down the road now going for the price you paid only 2-3 years ago in your quest to get on the ever rising property ladder. A good example I’ve seen is a couple that have been trying to sell for 18 months at 800k and will now accept around 380k unofficially. If we had public disclosure of house sale prices this kind of thing would be obvious. The scale of the collapse would be frightening. As it is we still have to listen to this auctioneering guff and don’t have the transparency required to understand how bad a deal the government are doing on our behalf. The markets have already had their say and deemed the Irish housing stock as junk, in the short term anyway.

          You can be absolutely sure that the price collapse won’t be reflected in the NAMA spend. It’s like the state saying that we don’t have enough individual negative equity associated with over-priced and mediocre housing. Everyone’s getting a top-up, even if they didn’t get suckered into the scam initially.

          • wills


            couldnt agree more…,,,,,

            the idea of the banks and nama coming to an agreed proper
            market bottomed out evaluation on toxic loans is so fantastic
            pure pythonesque territory, the mind boggles and spins and boggles again,,,,

          • Colin_in_exile


            I agree, Miss/Mrs Brown-Thomas has a lot to answer for. Men and Women sin differently. I think we’re suffering from mainly from the women’s sins now. Here’s what the Vatican say;

            “Often the most difficult (sin) men face is lust, and then comes gluttony, sloth, wrath, pride, envy, and greed,”

            “For women, the most dangerous is pride, followed by envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and lastly, sloth,”

            “In convents, women religious are often envious of each other over little things, but when the church bell rings, everyone goes to the chapel to sing vespers,”

            “Monks, however, aren’t often interested in each other and, therefore, aren’t jealous, but when the church bell rings, few take part in common prayer,”

            St. Thomas Aquinas taught that pride is humanity’s greatest enemy because it leads a person to believe he or she is self-sufficient and “hinders a person from having a relationship with God”.

        • wills


          spot on.

  44. Tim

    paddythepig, (and others)

    Although I believe that political activism should require no explanation, and in many respects is a civic requirement in a democracy, I am involved in it because I want to contribute to my community. Many of you may laugh at that, but I am used to it. It is a rather thankless endeavour, but someone has to try to build community, posit suggestions for practical improvements to the standard of living of people. This could be anything from lobbying local politicians to set up recycling bins, to providing proper play areas for children, a local swimming pool, right the way up to lobbying government for better national policies.

    But success in any of this requires a sufficient number of voices to be heard in unison. If insuffient numbers of people get involved, we get nothing from those with power.

    Too few were telling politicians what was wrong during the ponzi-period of the last fifteen years – DMcW was often a lonely voice in the media; a great number of the good people in my local cumman were voicing warnings and quoting David at meetings and passing these concerns “up-the-line” – but insuffient in number to slow, let alone stop, the train. It is sickenning and can be almost soul-destroying to be constantly trying different ways of getting a better message across and not succeeding, but giving up is no solution. People HAVE TO tell our leaders what we want, and not just once in five years at the ballot box (arguably, that often tells them what the people do NOT want).

    Why did I choose to express my political activism within FF?

    Because of Sean Lemass.

    Many of the people in my cumann lived while he lead and would like the party to return to his philosophy of what the party stands for – it has gone astray. It will not be brought back to its positive civic principles by members of the opposition parties; it will not be reformed by non-members who cannot attend the meetings at which policy is discussed and formulated; it will not be changed by people here saying that it should be, or by a mass exodus of the current members with a conscience. It will only be improved by achieving a critical mass of good-thinking members of integrity and honour.

    The collapse of Fianna Fail will do nothing to improve democracy in Ireland – I can assure you, though I have many firm friends in FG and Labour, that they will be no different in their management of our country. If you do not believe me, go to their web sites and look at their respective manifestos for the last election – many of their own members were up in arms about thir policies.

    We already have a severe deomocratic deficit in our country: nearly all our political parties have strayed from their promises, the other is scorned for our fear that they will not change and are only pretending to be at peace. We need a better solution than “Get this shower out!”
    We must stop them from being that “shower” in the first place.

    The only politician that I canvassed for in the last election was Joe Behan TD (now Independent), because he was the only FF candidate that I could, in conscience, support. I “knocked on doors” for no-one else. He is a good man, a principled man; but he has now lost the fight to improve Fiann Fail; he cannot do it from his current position. He has hobbled his political potency. Yes, he will get elected next time for his principled resignation over education cuts and the over 70s medical card, but he has no power to effect change because he relinquished his power to affect policy.

    It’s a shame, because the party in power now does not have Joe Behan’s input and we are all the poorer for that.

    • Robert

      Tim — your naivety is absolutely unbelievable.

      You state that “It is sickening and can be almost soul-destroying to be constantly trying different ways of getting a better message across and not succeeding”. . . . I have news for you. The leadership of FF couldn’t give a toss what you or your other cumann members think. You’re simply idiot cannon fodder who go out knocking on doors whilst supporting the most corrupt political party in Europe that has led Ireland to bankruptcy for the second time in a generation.

      You also state that you “would like the party to return to his philosophy of what the party stands for”. What on Earth are you talking about? FF politicians stand for absolutely nothing except to get re-elected.

      What exactly do you mean by stating that “the collapse of Fianna Fail will do nothing to improve democracy in Ireland”? Are you seriously suggesting that for a healthy democracy to exist in Ireland that FF must be strongest party. Sounds completely undemocratic to me.

      Stating that the opposition parties would be “no different in their management of our country” is a complete and utter cop-out — almost as if you feel FF should be excused from their complete incompetence on the basis that the opposition would be the same. You try and back up this nonsense by stating that “nearly all our political parties have strayed from their promises”. Haven’t FF have been in power for the last 12 years? How have the opposition parties strayed from their promises when they’ve never been in Government during this period to implement them?

      You also state that the honourable Joe Behan “has no power to effect change because he relinquished his power to affect policy”. This is a contemptuous remark. Joe Behan derives from his power from the people who elected him and not from being a member of FF.

      I hope that you don’t teach history or CSPE. Because if you did and my son was in your class I’d phone your principal and ask for him to be removed.

      • Malcolm McClure

        Robert: You are quite right. Although Machiavelli wrote ‘The Prince’ as a satire, it has been adopted as a textbook by Republicans down through the ages.

        The Prince does not dismiss morality, instead, it politically defines “Morality” – as in the criteria for acceptable cruel action – it must be decisive: swift, effective, and short-lived. Machiavelli is aware of the irony of good results coming from evil actions:– “you have to understand this, that a prince, especially a new one, cannot observe all those things for which men are esteemed, being often forced, in order to maintain the state, to act contrary to fidelity, friendship, humanity, and religion. Therefore it is necessary for him to have a mind ready to turn itself accordingly as the winds and variations of fortune force it, yet, as I have said above, not to diverge from the good if he can avoid doing so, –but, if compelled, then to know how to set about it.” See:
        http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1232/1232-h/1232-h.htm#2HCH0018 –Chapter 18 is very relevant in the present context.
        “Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are, and those few dare not oppose themselves to the opinion of the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in the actions of all men, and especially of princes, which it is not prudent to challenge, one judges by the result.”

        There is a timely warning in Chapter 19 to those who would try to undermine the established order: “as experience shows, many have been the conspiracies, but few have been successful; because he who conspires cannot act alone, nor can he take a companion except from those whom he believes to be malcontents, and as soon as you have opened your mind to a malcontent you have given him the material with which to content himself, for by denouncing you he can look for every advantage; ”
        Perhaps some of the malcontents here are indeed fifth columnists?

        • Robert


          The fifth columnists are in FF (the “23 %”) and in Ireland they have festered, like a virus, into every echelon of society.

          In particular they control the media for they who control the media control society at large. Anyone who witnessed the speed at which the Gardai “investigated” Conor Casby/RTE over his artistic satire in comparison to the slap on the wrist Seanie Fitz got would bear testament to this.

        • Tim

          Still defending the status quo……… and those who run it…….

          • Malcolm McClure

            Tim: I hope it is generally understood that there is nothing personal in my comments. They were intended simply to steer the debate away from expressions that some might consider inflammatory and towards discussion of the actual philosophy of modern Republicanism. I have gathered that you are a staunch defender of that political philosophy so I thought you might be able to explain what ‘Fianna Fail, The Republican Party’ stands for in this day and age and why it is better than Progressive Democracy. What distinguishes it from Republican Parties in USA and in France? Did Dev, Haughey and Bertie all walk shoulder to shoulder with Bush, Regan, De Gaulle and Valery d’Estain in search of some nebulous Republican ideal? Which of those did your champion Lemass most resemble? What did he stand for?
            You have invited us to throw in our lot with FF, almost as if it would be like joining ManU supporters club on the basis that it is better than any of the other top four. There is no hope for Ireland unless people show a little more discrimination about political policies than that.

          • Tim

            Lemass is remembered for his tireless work to develop Irish industry and for forging new links between the Republic and Northern Ireland in the 1960s. He is regarded by many in Fianna Fáil (and indeed by Fine Gael Taoisigh Garret FitzGerald and John Bruton) as the finest Taoiseach in the history of the Irish state and as “the architect of modern Ireland.”

          • Malcolm McClure

            Tim: Did you actually write the Wikipedia intro piece on Lemass or just copy and paste it here? If so, it seems like a rather weak committment to the Lemass ideals you are invitinging us to subscribe to.

            I’ll grant you that there was an air of optimism in Ireland in the early 60′s and Lemass played a part in it. Of course he was the man responsible for promoting his son-in-law Charlie H to positions of power, thus establishing the trend of FF political nepotism that has continued ever since.

            But you haven’t explained what modern republicanism actually stands for. It seems to be an empty basket into which any old ideas can be thrust.

            For example, classical Republicanism was Anti-Nobility and with the revolution was successful in displacing the aristocracy from positions of political significance in Ireland. During the Celtic Tiger years however, it seems to have established a new aristocracy of Bankers and Developers who have all the trappings of wealth, overseas bank accounts and absentee residences that contributed to justify Irish demands for independence in the first place.
            Hence my puzzled curiosity about what Fianna Fail actually stands for these days.

          • Tim

            That was just a taste from wiki; you can read the rest for yourself. Yes, of course I pasted it; it is a good intro to the myriad reasons I admire Lemass. I cannot take the time to type the entire treatise here, nor would people want to read it.

            You asked, so I, politely, pointed you towards a beginning.

            FF republicanism is still anti-aristocracy (nobility was a misnomer in the historical context to which you refer, I believe; there was nothing noble about the way the rich treated the poor – nor is there still). The mistake you may be making is the assumption that all republicans/FF members agree with/support what the few at the top of the party were doing during the celtic tiger years.

            That is why I referred you to Lemass – he predates that rubbish.

            What I admire most about him (apart from his correct focus on enterprise and industry and education) was his willingness to learn and build and develop in himself: moving from revolution in 1916, through bloody civil war and hating the border, right through to being the first to forge links and dialogue with Northern Ireland in order to create a hope for peace. Some might say that he “turned”; I say that he “grew”.

            You are, clearly, an intelligent and articulate person; why do you pretend to be so obtuse?

      • Tim

        Robert, I am far from naive. I may be still too idealistic for most, believing still in the possibility of change, but not naive.

        It is, however, naive of you to believe that an independent has any chance of implementing policy in Dail Eireann on behalf of the people who elected him – of whom, I am one. In your personal ad-hominem attack on me, you ignore my point that this honourable man, Joe Behan, is the only person I canvassed for. I will give you his number in Killarney next week if you want it and you can ask him, yourself, how much “power” he has now – he will be honest with you; that’s the way he is.

        • Robert

          Are you trying to suggest that FF backbenchers have power?

          They do in their a*se.

          Didn’t Noel Dempsey recently dismiss any view of a FF Backbencher?

          In fact the ones who have wielded the most power over FF over the past 12 years have indeed been independents – Jackie Healy Rae, Mildred Fox and that other crook Michael Lowry (to name just a few!)

          • Please, there’s too much displacement activity on here. Displacement activity is a term used to describe when a person does something in order to avoid the anxiety of doing something substantial. Criticising Tim is nothing but displacement activity, I think.

            Let’s get on with the more difficult task of thinking and expressing thoughts in a clear and coherent manner, please.

          • wills


            are u for real suggesting jackie healy has power…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Tim

            Robert, no; I am not suggesting that, or anything else – I am saying what I am saying in that post.

            Yet again, you ignore what I have actually written and rant at me about something entirely extraneous to my post.

            Please try reading the positives instead of, as it appears, reading: “Tim ….. FF !!!!!! (red mist descends……)”.

        • Colin_in_exile

          As we still live in a democracy, everyone has the freedom to vote for who they like, and support any political party of their choosing.

          If you believe that Fianna Fail will always be in power, much to your dismay, you really should be considering emigrating.

      • wills

        Hey robert,.. the naive policeman….!!!!

        your not tim’s father are you by any chance..
        What business is of yours as to whether anyone on this blog
        is naive. Whats this personalising sh1t going on here,..

  45. A fresh look at what is still a savage budget for the man on the “Killnaskully Omnibus”
    If the grassroots FF have been heard and BL is gradually chipping away at the previously acceptable cronyism, then we might have some chance. The banks are told that they cannot write off the equity losses against tax. They’re hopping and demanding a seat on NAMA. Convicts don’t sit on prison boards. Most of the old guard are gone from the Banks and BL has gone outside the country for a new Regulator. TD’s gravy trains are being derailed by reality. A long way to go but, to take that step back, are we seeing the ascendancy of BL to the leadership. He was definitely caught in the headlights on the run in but seems more clued in than BC. He seems to have reached some temporary compromise with the Europeans, who don’t seem to appreciate that Lisbon is “structurally flawed” in that it is based on the now defunct globalisation theory.
    That being said, what the hell was he thinking by rising diesel? Thats a pure inflationary measure for supply chains in a country bereft of trains.
    I’m in no way turning tail but, to deconstruct the budget, if it had happened last October, it might have been seen as more pragmatic?

    • Tim

      Furrylugs, that’s a more positive look at things than I can muster, at the moment anyway. I agree completely about diesel – I was saying that they should leave that alone for the very reason you cite.

      I hope you are right about the cronyism, etc., and that maybe Brian L has a plan to correct things; I hope he’s not just “window-dressing”.

      (ps.: solar working a treat – 54 degree water every morning and we don’t have the best light yet.)

      • Now plumb it to pre heat your heating circuit. Big oil saving.

      • liam

        Sorry guys, none of that windy-solar nonsense will save us (see the ‘Energy’ Idea). Its probably got to be nuclear. But I guess that’s another discussion for another time……

        In keeping with the positive interpretation of the budget, its a step in the right direction of weaning us off that crap.

        Welcome back Furrylugs.

  46. Furrylugs,

    Sorry, I didn’t realise the old guard had gone from the banks. I can think of about six people who’ve gone. Please, what movements have I missed?

    Also [from my blog]

    No loans for business these days

    What a dreadful situation for business!

    No loans. No credit to oil the flow of goods and services…

    Why? Banks say they are open for business. But business says there’s no money flowing.

    Could it be that bankers think they’ll get no bonus this year? They won’t lend money unless they stand to gain a bonus?

    No bonus, no credit.

    Is that what’s going on?

    If you’ve worked for years in a system and culture driven by the incentive of bonuses, you have the habit of thinking bonus. You’ve forgotten what it was like to work according to a job description: lend money to customers you consider to be a fair risk. All you think about is ‘how much bonus could I earn from this loan?’

    If you’ve been led by directors who earned fabulous bonus, you’ve got used to following the leader.

    Maybe you need a period of time to adjust your thinking and behaviour?

    A year or so sowing seed potatoes and harvesting wheat might be in order before you are cleansed enough to play a role in the bank of the future.

    [reminds me of another battlefield...]

    • A couple of months in an open prison might wake up some of those lads more effectively Paul.
      You’re quite right in what you say. I’m surmising that we may, just may, be looking at the genesis of an Irish version of meritocracy.
      But I stress an Irish version.

  47. wills


    NAMA is a front akin to a hired contract killer to destroy
    Rep Irelands national sovereignty….

    shackling to the irish general serf populace as an unpayable bankingponzi credit bubble blowout debt, n, removal of accountabilityaway from the real culprits,

    a further declining in democracy
    and an ushering in a further rise in authoritarianism and
    subversive influence of the irish banking system over irish life.

    What we are witnessing is the further integration of Ireland
    into a totalitarian global gov structuring run in a feudalist fashion
    by financial elites.

    • As paranoid as this sounds you’re probably right. We’re all going to be good taxpayers and help prevent too much of the fall out from our banking lunacy from hitting the bankers who loaned our bankers the money in the first place.

      We’ll be told that the our European friends are working with us to help us at our time of need and forget they’re motivated by exposure to our banking mess which due to the wonders of cross collateralisation and debt derivatives is ultimately much larger than it appears from looking at 100+k unsold houses. We’ll forget that our property barons got involved in deals across Europe, China and the US. We’ll forget the leverage that a potential collapse of the Euro gives us. In a time where we could be ballsy, we’re being contrite (in the wrong way). Most great business figures have been technically bankrupt at one stage or another. Their greatness is in their ability to turn it around to their advantage. To recognise it for what it is and to renegotiate for future prosperity. Those who capitulate are never heard of again. We have the risk but nobody in government seems to see any opportunity.

      In the absense of a plan which could see Ireland refocus on some positive vision for the future, we may as well default. Anyone else found a new and foreign-owned home for their bank deposits?

  48. wills


    To anyone of interest,..

    we are all entitled to be a member of any political party
    we care to join up with,.. and be respected for…,
    blaming anyone for anothers fu#k ups is brainless, robert, et al/

    • Robert

      Typical – The FFers crowd around each other for support. Suppose you can hardly blame them.

      FYI Wills – Yes Healy Rae held (and still holds) considerable influence – especially during the 1997 – 2002 Govt. Indeed recently (Nov 2008) the general secretary of the INTO (John Carr) called on Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe to make it quite clear that schools within Healy Rae’s North Kerry constituency were not to receive preferential treatment over other schools in the country.

      May I also remind you that the title of this Blog is:
      “Let us not forget the current Government caused this mess”

      Consequently any member of FF who supports the party, who has called on bloggers to join the party and who justifies his support on an absolutely ridiculous basis is certainly liable to questioning in my view.

      • Tim

        Robert, wills did not say that he is a member of FF.

        Healy Ray never held power, rather he is “held” as a joke – the “Ming the Merciless” who got elected. Mildred Fox “did a deal” for a decent road between east and west Wicklow for her support – power? Nope, the road was never built. The only independent I can remember who wielded any kind of power was Tony Gregory (RIP), over Haughey; Gregory actually GOT what he wanted, or most of it, at the time.

        John Carr has sold-out on his members.
        I know the title of the article we are discussing and that is another reason why I am working from within FF for change – you can’t change it from where you are.

        I am always open and willing to accept your “questioning”; but not your blame or anger or insults.

        I fully accept that you are angry; you have been betrayed – how betrayed do you think ordinary FF members feel? But the party is bigger than the few shysters at the top who have betrayed us all and it includes very good and honourable people. Just as not all people are fools, not all FF members are bad.

        • Robert

          Tim – You, I and a million others may consider Healy Rae a joke but Bertie Ahern & Brian Cowen certainly have not. I quoted John Carr’s concern about Healy Rae’s influence on government and you bizarrely responded that “John Carr has sold-out on his members”. The 1997 – 2002 Govt had 77 FF TDs, 4 PDs and 4 independents for support. At any point in time an election could have been triggered by just 2 independents.

          FF do not care about their backbenchers as they’re expected to just shut up and do as they’re told – otherwise they can kiss goodbye to any ministerial career they might be dreaming of. Lick-arsing is the name of the game within FF.

          FYI – Gregory got nothing from Haughey. It was all agreed on paper but an election occurred (Nov 1982) shortly afterwards and FF lost power and so that was the end of that.

          One last point: whenever anyone questions you about FF you talk of them “insulting” you. This sort of childish nonsense should stop.

          If you really want to bring about change you should leave FF immediately and stop voting for them . . . . but you won’t – Because you like talking to the likes of Willie O’Dea at Ard Fheiseanna. You’re easily impressed.

          • Tim

            All incorrect unattested assumptions about me. And I needed to give up my time for the Ard Fheis like I need a hole in the head. I went to try and sell my idea to save teaching jobs, which you also attacked. I am giving up my time next week to try and do the same. What are you doing to try and improve matters, apart from verbally bashing anyone who tells you they are a member of FF and anyone you assume is? Jeez, Robert, try something constructive? Please?

          • wills


            Not that it is any of your business, your assertion
            regarding my political affiliation is incorrect,..

            In ref to tims political loyalties to which you have also
            incorrectly posted on can i just add, in fact i’ve noticed
            how patient his response are in counterpointing quite
            insulting comments,…

          • Robert

            Wills – Go back to your conspiracy theories!

          • Tim

            Robert, really now, …. please consider not sniping at fellow-contributors here?

            wills, like all of us, is just trying to make his point and help our people.

            We may all approach it in different ways, but none deserve to be reviled.

            Can you consider, perhaps, that SOMETHING unites all of us here?

            We ALL were attracted to something David McWilliams said or stands for. That is a link among us. If you consider it a good thing that you were attracted to engage with others on this site, surely you will consider that everyone on this site should be considered “good” to a certain degree?

            Do we all have to agree and come at things from the same perspective for you to be content?

            Try to see the positive, Robert.

          • G

            @ Robert – it is not entirely true that Gregory got nothing, he did get somethings but not as much as was agreed, because as you correctly stated a general election occured and FG and Labour came in.

            Check out Gregory’s last major interview in Hot Press, it obviously was something that bothered him for years as he knew he was near death and yet he still brought up Garett Fitzgerald’s attempts to prevent in-side toilets and houses being built for Dublin’s inner city population, something he said ‘to this day he doesn’t understand’!

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