September 21, 2009

The past can save our future

Posted in Ireland · 101 comments ·

Eight years ago while working for Jack Welch, the legendary chief executive of GE, we were chatting about his parents and upbringing in Salem, Massachusetts. His grandparents on both sides were from Cork and he was talking about how he loved coming ‘‘home’’ to Ireland. I asked whether his Irish ancestry might have been a factor in deciding to locate GE Capital in Ireland.

Welch – the man who single-handedly spearheaded the concept of shareholder value, and was known as Neutron Jack for firing so many people at the behemoth that was GE – got all dewy eyed. He looked and me and snapped: ‘‘Of course it bloody mattered, David,” as if I’d asked the most obvious question in the world. He continued: ‘‘Once Ireland got its act together, we were in as fast as we could.”

GE’s choices at the time were Ireland, Britain or France. ‘‘Where do you think I would put it?” he asked, and chuckled. This is the power of the diaspora. It is also the power of Ireland. If we can provide reasons for the great Irish Tribe to be involved economically here, they will come. It’s up to us towel come them back.

That was what the Global Irish Economic Forum at Dublin’s Farmleigh House this weekend was all about.

There are many reasons to be optimistic about the fusion of the emotional and commercial power of the diaspora with the realities of Irish recovery. There are two outstanding examples of countries which have economically used their diaspora to enhance the homeland, and also to give the diaspora a sense of greater belonging: the Israelis and the Indians.

Israel has built possibly the world’s finest high-tech industry by using its diaspora. In the early 1990s, the Israelis realised that, if the economy was to have a chance of surviving, it needed to start making its own technology, and keeping the intellectual capital. Up until then, they had been a bit like Ireland, happy to allow their engineers to be used by US companies to make good profits in Israel, which were then repatriated.

However, it dawned on the state that they should build their own companies. It all sounded good until they realised few Israelis had done this before. There was no template for taking an invention in Israel and commercialising it, so the invention was on the shelves for sale. They had the brains, but not the road map.

Then they realised that the people who had the know-how were their distant cousins in the US. American-Jewish entrepreneurs in the US who were American first, and Jewish second, were bringing companies in Silicon Valley to Wall Street and floating them.

So the Israelis wanted to bring them to the middle east. The vast majority of these venture capitalists were not religious Jews with a desire to live in Israel. But they did have one thing: an affinity with the country. During the middle of the Intifada, the Israeli state changed its tax laws and began to attract its American diaspora to Israel to build an industry.

Thus began the fusion of Israeli brains and American Jewish venture capitalism, which used its networks – Jewish and non-Jewish – in the US to make these companies world beaters. Now Israel is the third-biggest technological powerhouse in the world after the US and Canada. Today Israel has 4,000 high-tech companies and 100 fully-fledged venture capital companies.

The role of the Indian diaspora in creating the Indian high-tech industry follows a similar path. About 40 per cent of Silicon Valley start-ups in the past 15 years had at least one Indian founder. In the past few years, they have started to follow the Israeli lead and produce, create and locate their companies in India, learning the ropes from those who have gone before them.

We could – and, indeed – will do the same thing. Some 45 per cent of the chief executives of Fortune 500 companies worldwide have Irish surnames. The question is, how do you move from someone who is merely a St Patrick’s Day Paddy, to someone who is really involved with the country? The fact that the person is a St Patrick’s day Irishman or woman is a huge start. This is our in. This is our Jack Welch moment.

Now we need to create a twin-track strategy to maximise the opportunity given to us by our migrant history. One is based on pure self-interest, which is that we have to make it worth their while financially. The emotions of the shamrock need to be bolstered by the allure of the dollar.

Like the Israelis when they attracted the Jewish Americans, the Irish-American executives have to be able to tell investors they will make more money here than they would in the US. This is where the tax system comes in. We will make it as attractive as possible, so that we can create something out of nothing. This lights the fire.

The second is a subtler policy of cementing the bond between us and the diaspora, so that we never let this link slip again. This will take time and patience. We have to create a network whereby we make sure that the children of the diaspora come to Ireland – maybe to school or for a month in the summer, or to college.

The Israelis set up such a scheme, partly paid for by the government and partly by donations from philanthropic Jewish individuals. It brings Jewish teenagers to Israel for a few weeks, not unlike a big Gaeltacht, where teenagers from all over the world come to Israel to learn the language and experience the culture, the food, the history and generally have a laugh. This is precisely what thousands of Irish children do every year in Irish college. Bringing the diaspora children home is the same idea.

The Israelis are smart because they realise they are dealing in those most precious of commodities – memory, emotion and growing up. This teenage experience bonds the children to the country, and deracinated Jews from New Jersey become lifelong allies of the country. Thus it creates yet another resource for the country, an evergreen font of influence, networks and soft power.

This is our challenge. This present crisis is the opportunity we have to reinvent the country. Embracing the diaspora is part of the New Ireland’s foreign and industrial policy. It’s commonsense – and amazing we haven’t done it before.

  1. adamabyss

    It still says ‘Converations’ (sic) at the bottom there, although you corrected it at the top.

  2. noelo

    This is a good idea until the realization dawns that all that would happen there is the “smart men” who creamed the profits off the last boom period would do the same again in the next subsequent boom. When Ireland and the Irish grow up and start acting in the best interests of the nation as well as themselves then maybe this would have a positive outcome. Given the current climate all I see happening is another run on property.

  3. kissane

    I always thought you knew rhe shot!
    If Ge and Israel are to be examples of solving
    the mess then I regret to say you have it all wrong.
    Rather than trying ti expain to you what is happening I will do a novena!!
    All the usual suspects!
    All the usual crooks and Liars.

  4. pcor

    50 Billion would go a long way towards “embracing the diaspora” … seems a much better investment than NAMA …
    The current approach seems most likely to drive younger people to emigration … taking us back to the Ireland of the 1960s or 1980s …

  5. Look not to foreign investors or Diaspora for Irelands salvation!
    The developers are back!
    The recession is over!
    “Treasury holdings” are leading the Parlon posse!
    A non bankrupt outfit Treasury Holdings ( that would be technically bankrupt if it was put into liquidation but is being NAMAD instead ) is spearheading the Celtic Tiger Revival.
    I feel like Alice in Wonderland.Nothing is what I perceive it to be anymore.My head is reeling.But I am happy.Deliriously happy.i knew the Developers would be part of our salvation. Fianna Fail knew it all along.
    Ballymun apartments/regeneration development/ redevelopment /renewal/revival or whatever- going ahead!
    Thousands of new jobs!
    Thousands of new jobs in IKEA too.!
    What great news.Im moving to Spring Cross.I woner how much one of those new apartments will cost.Never mind it will be worth it!
    No more half finished projects
    “abandoned to the field and to the sky ”
    Fully finished projects will replace abandoned projects.
    Clients for these new apartment, retail and office blocks?
    Where is the money coming from to finish? has Anglo Irish opened its vaults, re furbished with all that government money/IOU´s/Euros from Europe?
    The country is dying but the monuments to its demise will all be finished.
    A new Cenotaph for Ballymun today.
    Tomorrow the docklands, next week somewhere else.
    “Build and be damned”
    (dont build and be still be damned)
    Back to normal.Thank God for NAMA., (and Fianna Fail).
    By the way Ballymun IS dead.!
    Long live “Spring Cross”!
    Three cheers for Treasury Holdings and Spring Cross.!
    Jes*s! Goebbels could not make it up..
    (Neither could Lewis Carroll)
    tirnanog33 says Just heard.
    The developers are back! The recession is over!
    Treasury holdings are leading the parlon posse!
    A non bankrupt outfit that would be technically bankrupt if it was put into liquidation is spearheading the Celtic Tiger Revival.
    I feel like Alice in Wonderland.Nothing is what I perceive it to be anymore.My head is reeling.
    Ballymun apartments development/ redevelopment /renewal going ahead!
    Thousands of new jobs!
    What great news.
    No more half finished projects
    “abandoned to the field and to the sky ”
    (I have already written about this outfit ,Johnny Rohan etc.and the Phoenix Magazine has the full and fascinating story)
    Fully finished projects will replace abandoned projects.
    Clients for these new apartment, retail and office blocks?
    Where is the money coming from to finish? has Anglo Irish opened its vaults, re furbished with all that government money/IOU´s/Euros from Europe?
    The country is dying but the monuments to its demise will all be finished.
    A new Cenotaph for Ballymun today.
    Tomorrow the docklands, next week somewhere else.
    “Build and be damned”
    (dont build and be still be damned)
    Back to normal.Thank God for NAMA., (and Fianna Fail).
    By the way Ballymun IS dead.!
    Long live “Spring Cross”!
    Three cheers for Treasury Holdings Johnny Rohan & Richard Barret..and Spring Cross.!
    Jes*s! Goebbels could not make it up..
    (Neither could Lewis Carroll)

    • G

      Excellent post……………….that love in , in Dublin Castle (appropriate venue, a symbol of our past and present slavery)….will lead to very little for those on the dole queues, to say otherwise is disinformation and maintaining the myth of the benevolence of the corporation and the markets, both fascist constructions to my mind and others such as Chomsky, Klein et al…………your position is becoming more clear David, doubt I’ll be posting on this site in the future…

      • wills

        G, I suspect David maybe jumping in here for debate in a hand’s on fashion ‘cos he is ‘piking his own mind’ and for me anyhow’s if this is the case it is a reason for optimism and your posting’s are crucial to resisting the false paradigm’s, please keep with this another while at least.

        • G


          I’m just not sure, praising a former head of GE in my book, is dubious to begin with, I read one of Jack Welch’s books, he talks himself of firing a good few thousand, part of the old rationalisation process, I often wondered about the families of those workers, the thousands of children around dinner tables with father’s coming home saying their jobs were gone, stories you don’t hear and I thought there must be another way.

          Impying that Welch located his plants or whatever in Ireland because of Irish roots is quite simply nonsense, as anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of the corporate world would know, i suspect David knows given his investment banking background, but yet the myth making goes on. The power of the diaspora pales in comparison with the importance of Ireland’s corporate tax rate. Let us at least have an honest discussion, not fanciful notions of corporate people with marginal Irish backgrounds giving a rats ass about Castletownbere, it’s a bit like saying Mickey Mouse has real feelings.

          Equally praising the Israeli system seems absurd, Israel is a satellite state of the US, the economy is largely kept going through US government subsidies and the massive armaments industry, it is also a State which serially abuses international law (as recently indicated by the UN report into war atrocities in the Gaza strip), it has built open prisons in Gaza and the West Bank (please read Tanya Reinhart’s ‘Road to Nowhere’), if that is the kind of State you want to emulate then be my guest, frankly I find it all a bit insulting,

          To fail to mention let alone analyse any of this, strikes me as either massively naive or deliberately misleading and I don’t much time for either.

          I won’t waste my time outlining similar concerns with the much heralded ‘Indian system’.

          We have seen what the corporate environment leads to, ruthless individual competition, massive envrionmental damage, non-existent job security (hence more competition), see Shell and Ken Saro Wiwa, see oil companies fighting with native peoples in the Amazon. see the struggle of the Mapuche in Chile.

          The corporate structure is a fascist structure, utterly devoid of any humanity, motivated soley and without exception by the need for profit, orders arrive top down, it is a failed model which if not abolished will abolish us as a species.

          • Colin_in_exile


            If you leave your hatred of Israel and Israelis to one side for one moment, you might be able to see what we can learn from them.

            Israel is there by virtue of military victories against its permanently hostile neighbours. If you still think that Israel should not exist, perhaps you would support the Turks handing Constantinople back to the Greeks along with western Anatolia, or the Russians handing back Kaliningrad gack to the Germans, or the Americans handing back the USA to the Native American tribes?

          • G

            @ Colin_in_exile

            I find it insulting that you would twist my words to imply I hate the Isreali people. I have great sympathy for the average Israeli, for what they endure and their history.

            This is a common tactic though of those who seek to muddy the waters, next you’ll be labling me an anti-semite, please refrain if you can from such nonsense.

            Neither did I state that I hated the country Israel, what I do have an issue with is some of the policies of the Israeli government, especially when it comes to the treatment of the Palestinians, which in the eyes of international law, are indefensible and certainly disporportionate responses by its military to what it perceives as a dangers/threats to its security.

            The great irony of it all, is that these so called efforts to defend itself through offensive operations make the situation for the Israeli state and in the middle east as a whole more insecure not less, but then that equally applies to the so called ‘War on Terror’ – but as Orwell once said ‘war is peace, ignorance is strength and slavery is freedom’.

            I merely pointed out the obvious naure of the Israeli state-military structure and the enormous subsidies from the US, without which the Israeli state would arguably grind to a halt.

            It is sadly for all concerned a system of oppression (for the Palestinians) and land grabbing.

            Sure Israel as a country has a lot to offer, and the people I am sure are as decent as anywhere else, but the actions of the Israeli state, as we saw on our television screens at Christmas, leaves a lot to be desired, therefore when citing it as some middle east miracle, to not put it in its greater context is to me, unforgivable and inaccurate.

          • Colin_in_exile

            I’m delighted to hear of your great sympathy to the Israeli people.

            I wasn’t making any attempt to muddy any waters or call you an anti semite.

            I’m interested to hear what your definition of a proportionate response is to a country being attacked by rockets and shells from its neighbour a few miles up the road.

            Israel is great friends with USA, so what? So is Ireland.

            I see you are correct when you said that I wrongly called you a hater of Israelis, but you obviously hate the Israeli state which the Israeli people democratically elected to represent it.

  6. wills

    David, on the one hand you write about an oligarchy running Ireland and on the other you write on re – inventing ourselves for the future.

    Surely it’s rather stupid for a person to re – invent and get prosperity flowing again if there are power’s at be / oligarchs as you’ve correctly highlighted standing by to either thwart, seize or wreck.

    Is this silly of me to think this, am i on a different planet, ‘cos i’m wondering here a child can see that if the big bad wolf is in the forest you make sure you keep safe first beyond all else.

  7. Hi Wills,

    David here. Thanks you for all your work here on the site. I am well aware of the contradictions in some of my logic but I also appreciate that the world is not black and white. If we want to get things done we need to do deals with all sorts of people without hopefully, compromising on the one key objective which is to do something positive.

    If that makes sense! All the best and thanks again, David

    • Google tried the ‘Do no Evil’ thing and its all gone a bit Animal Farm for them. Caution advised. But do keep moving forward.

    • wills

      David, thanks for the reply. On the, compromising of ‘doing something positive’ pitfall,.. what comes to mind on this for me is ,”the road to hell is paved with good intentions!”. We must not let our eagerness to do good runaway with itself unchecked. (i’m not judging you have), it’s worth pondering though.

      Can i say, the posters and myself included would be very appreciative on more comments posted by your good self, what you reckon…??

  8. Stiofan

    DMcW, the proposal is quite rational and well presented. Let us import vigorously the intellectual capital and assets needed to rebuild Ireland, but let be exporters also. Exporters of values, beliefs and morals that the small country in the Middle East you use an example cannot imagine. For myself, I would award them pariah status and never deal with their world-beating information industries. I would say that Ireland should never associate with them. So let Ireland rebuild without embracing their military-industrial romance or funding state-sponsored terrorism. Sadly, the IT industries of that little wee country at the end of the Mediterranean have been thoroughly interwoven with the same military that committed and sustained UN sanctioned crimes for the period of 40 years or more since 1967.

    I believe that Ireland can build civilian industries outside the US/UK/Israel military-commercial model. Socrates tells us that all wars are about money. Hopefully the reverse is not true and all money is not about war. Let us find the venture capital we need without fawning to the inhuman power of international finance and those who defend and extend it though foul acts. This means in short, that I believe your idea has great merit, and that we should choose carefully those with whom we deal. One of our greatest assets is the diaspora, and surely another is our history of peace, tolerance and our non-militarised economy.

    Ps. Legal tax dodges for foreign companies are so 1980s. I prefer to emphasise our world-class infrastructures, education and the vibrant energy of our people. That’s the high road.

  9. gadfly55

    Your comparisons fail to identify the substantial differences of culture and intellectual capital. The Irish are political animals who talk and get together and dream up schemes, and cooperate to take advantage of those who can’t get their act together. But when it comes to creating something from nothing through sheer intellectual application, from research and development, and testing and trials, etc. this is not the country for very many reasons. As the former Intel chief said, there were 14 reasons they came here, and now only one they are staying, the corporate tax rate. The Irish demonstrate the culture of getting by, of surviving, of the scam, the betting coup, of insider trading, of rule bending, of turning the blind eye, of saying whatever is supposed to be said, and doing what suits your bottom line. The reputational damage to Ireland is now beyond repair for the next 20 years. No one who matters could possibly take this country seriously, and you have already shown us Paraguay with a warning that we could end up there. Without a doubt, the best and brightest are leaving, have left, and will leave forever because this country will never change, regardless of what over-achievers imagine as possible in other countries completely different in the most profound ways possible. In the world of ruthless competition, the system dictates the terms for survival, and we simply do not have enough high quality persons to work as salary slaves without security for global players who control intellectual property, distribution and capital markets. Why don’t you focus on the possible for the greatest number of people as they are, rather than swanning around with egomaniacs.

  10. gadfly55

    Masters and slaves, Barons and serfs, the old order is smashed and now everyone is out for their immediate advantage. There is no regard for the past nor the future of society, only individuals trying to get what they can, however they can with the least pain and worry. We have created too much wealth without creating equilibrium in the world. The long decline of the west, including the Anglo-American axis is inexorable, and being Irish, and anglophone, we are losing and will continue to lose to the Asians who have had practice with civilisation for thousands of years, We will return to Hibernia, the land of winter, beyond reach or interest.

    • gadfly55

      The master class uses relentlessly the paradigm of bourgeois democratic incrementalism to maintain their control of resources including the legal apparatus of the state. For this reason, the people know that political change is delusory because the new boss is same as the old boss. Why, because the real boss manipulates the political leaders through capital, off-shore and globally managed. Things have to get alot worse before the streets erupt, hence the obsessive anti-terrorist apparatus to use against any citizens who might consider upsetting the status quo. The disintegration and social chaos arising from further polarization of the rich and everybody else will be managed by official and private security in the interests of the elite.

  11. wills

    David, ultimately, ‘doing something positive’ is key. Yep. ‘Getting thing’s done’ is an interesting one though.

    Ireland presented our generation with the ‘getting things done’ challenge in the eighties AND we suceeded to a certain degree in making things happen and the celtic tiger wealth revolution was hijacked in ’99.

    The ‘celtic tiger hijack’ is now phasing itself out on the back of the credit bubble popping.

    And we are now back to the same ‘ring a ring a rosie’ of ‘how can we get the economy moving again panto production.

    Now if history has shown us anything it’s beware of repeating mistakes in cycles. And i’m re – thinking the push get the economy moving again. It is ringing false, who’s economy are we getting moving again.

    There is an economy, and it moves in and out of prosperity and some benefit more than others and some get nothing. Now, what’s revealed itself this time in relation to a boom cycle and it’s bust is in Ireland (and other places too) a ruling order prevails and oversee’s the proceedings and both benefit on the boom and benefit on the bust.

    Now, this throw’s up a hard question to which anyone operating in reality cannot avoid, which is, how are my labours and intellect and idea’s and goodwill and living life force contributing to this dialectical process.

    And one must look out on this one ‘cos the slippery forces for ‘myself and myself alone’ who rule, are experts at duping and absorbing into their ‘dennis the menace’ ‘pinky and the brain’ shenanigans the innovators and lighting forces for good. They rely on these guy’s to keep their ruling order in power.

    A classic is the ‘algorithim trading’. MAthematical geniuses recruited from the hydron collider experiment wrote these. And the stock exchange is hijacked ‘cos of them and making GOLDMAN SACHS 40 million a day, pure gambling dream, casino capitalism perfected thanks too smart kid’s coming outta university using their brains getting things done.

    In my estimations, right now, there is only one positive action of any consideration right now this moment that is relevant, that will get things done, and it is STOPPING NAMA.

    I can’t state enough how central the NAMA story is to Ireland’s past present and future. NAMA is the len’s through which all of us will be judged by our maker, in my humble estimations.

  12. gadfly55

    Doing deals with the devil has been the condition of the western economies for centuries. Ireland should find a way out of the relentless prostration before market forces more consistent with its cultural values, which previously were not obsessed with conpicuous consumption and status.

  13. Hi David, I watched your 2 hour discussion on RTE’s web site and to be honest , apart from this been a platform for you to possibly get more speaking engagements considering the money this weekend will have cost I cannot see any of your ’5 business plans’ seeing the light of day.
    My reasons for saying this is simple ,while the event to me seemed very much staged with your nervous laugh when politicians were mentioned , nothing will come when you consider Michael Martin thought this forum would possibly take place every two years which would then just be another talking shop followed by a nice dinner, before retiring to the hotels for the evening.
    All you had to do was listen to the floor to hear how dysfunctional Ireland’s system is form the over lapping of the IDA and Enterprise Ireland to the Universities all battling against each other , and when I heard Mr Riverdance suggest a Irish web site , I had to laugh. Perhaps I am been too harsh here and maybe your behind closed doors meetings were more constructive, but I some how doubt it. Our problem here is the over reliance on construction which our under populated populated country is not able to gain from.
    i have a simple proposal which I have mentioned before here with regard to our connections over seas. Why not let these people come here to develop businesses give them free premises for a year with tax breaks for hiring staff and the option of purchasing property here at a discounted price when they are into year two of their businesses.
    We need to get a manufacturing base here again and instead of looking for help from over seas , we simply need more people to move here.
    As well as tackling our over sized public service.

  14. MK1

    Hi David,

    The forum that was held may have generated a lot of press but I would be surprised if it could by itself produce anything close to a significant shift.

    We have discussed it before and I realise the disapora are one of your “hobby horses”, but I am still of the opinion that we ARE using the diaspora, or as you correctly point out, they are using us. It will continue as long as there is some financial incentive to do so and when a US management team have to choose between any location in the EU.

    With the growth of the EU to 27 states, cheap labour force is not one of them, thats for sure, so we have to compete on other smarts.

    Comparing us (or indeed) any country to Israel is futile. It has a different history than most diaspora-equivalents. We should compare ourselves with Italy perhaps, but more likely with another small country that has english-speaking emigrants to the US and Australia. There is no-one!

    Yes, we are all alone as is every country, and we need to play to our strengths. One of those is native-english-speaking. very useful in an internationalised word. We could have languages IF we changed our education system and put less effort on Gaelige – a language that we only speak. Not exactly export oriented is it?

    David> We have to create a network whereby we make sure that the children of the diaspora come to Ireland — maybe to school or for a month in the summer, or to college.

    I think that that exercise is worthwhile but it is a long-term trickle effect.

    If we are looking for quick hits then reduction of cost base is a key, reduction in salaries, cost of services, etc. maybe we could employ some diaspora as super-consultants that would cut left right and centre and get us optimised based on best practices from around the world. Gerry Robinson types. Was he there by the way?

    No easy answers from this mess we find ourselves in …… the diaspora dont have a magic bullet either.


  15. Peter Atkinson

    You are convinced on this diaspora theory.I was curious to know how many property developers were in the park at the weekend.David you call them diaspora.How many of them are tax “exiles”.A certain Sir Bob was present.The man that branded us a 2nd rate country and wrote a song about it and then gave us two fingers and buggered off.Hardly a model citizen for rebuilding/rebranding.When you mentioned the Indians for one moment I thought you ment Red Indians cause we could do with a few here to fight the cowboys.David, small indigenous home grown business will relaunch this country so its about time we looked inward instead of inviting a load of ex Paddies who ran away when the going got tough.Good luck to them knighthoods and all

  16. I can see considerable and obvious problems with what is being proposed. But there is also opportunity. History has also shown us that there is not a country in the world that didn’t achieve success either by trade or application of armed force or a combination of both. The colonial days of Europe are history and we’re not going to raise an army to conquer the world, so why not leverage what we can? We have no axe to grind nor bone to pick with any other nation and our cultural footprint is disproportionately large, at least in most of the countries that count.

    The way I see it, we have no chance of changing anything if we expect the Government or the political system to take the lead (but its encouraging that at some level at least, they are prepared to facilitate). Having worked in international business development I cannot over sell to you how important contacts are, and enthusiastic, influential ones hugely so. Another thing I have learned is that you bring people with you who are willing and leave the rest behind. So we’ve been shat upon by circumstances, ultimately embodied by NAMA, I agree and I also agree it should still be opposed at every quarter. I’d say that in such circumstances its even more important to press on with a positive attitude and try to also think about what can be achieved. I would rather see individuals, bright University graduates, entrepreneurs etc using what Ireland has despite the perceived disadvantages: cultural, political, whatever, instead of jumping on a boat or a plane and doing it somewhere else.

  17. G

    The most naive article I have read in recent years.

  18. Deco

    David – the key is when you stated { (Welch ) continued: ‘‘Once Ireland got its act together, we were in as fast as we could.” }.

    Well the part that Ireland Inc, or simply Irish society must fix is the bit of getting our act together. We cannot expect these people to take us seriously when we have PNeary types running important parts of the Irish state bureacracy. PNeary and the cronyism factor drives away business and investment faster than a high tax. Even more offputting than taxation on profits is the idea of having to subsidize corrupt institutions. And this is the structural impediment in Irish society. We have far two many ‘economic rent manipulators’ focussed on getting something out of the economy, for no effort. It was the leverage effort. And we should concentrate on the technological sector like the Israelis, and not ponzi financing schemes like the Brits.

    You have shown us the way forward. But I expect it to be a real battle ‘for Ireland to get it’s act together’.

    I work in the technology sector and I will tell you that Poland, the Czech Republic and other East European countries are all trying to get their act together. None of them are talking about NAMA, TINA or any of that nonsense. It is about having everything right for inward investment. Infrastructure. Technical University graduates-with real technical proficiency. Efficient state structures, with an emphasis on reducing corruption and increasing transparency. Lower long term costs. Tax rates. There is no energy being wasted bailing out Seanie Fitz, Liam Carroll types or D4 banking careerists. Current state policy since 2002 and possibly earlier has Ireland going in reverse.

    Everybody on this board knows that these impediments exist. We all know the culture that feeds the gombeen mentality, the insider networking and the nepotism. And we all want to see the fat cut off the unproductive part of the economy that is killing the productive part.

  19. Deco

    Of course the Israelis were fortunate that they did not have a shower of ‘schmucks’ lined up to embarrass the country …..Cullen, Dempsey, Martin, Coughlan, etc….

    I have heard stories about Coughlan being a very effective impediment to any inward investment into the country. Coughlan will have to resign. If John McGuinness thinks he can do better, then let him in there. He might do something about the jobs crisis in the regional centres like Waterford and Limerick which are in real trouble. He could not be any worse. Basil Fawlty would do a better job than Coughlan.

  20. Malcolm McClure

    I am no admirer of Ganley but he said that Article 48 of the Lisbon treaty means that from now on, the EU can quietly and quickly amend the treaties in lots of ways without the need for a treaty and therefore without triggering a referendum in Ireland. Thus it could become anti-Democratic on all sorts of issues.

    It is becoming obvious that we are entering a post-democratic world in which the major corporations and their banks rule the roost.
    Parliaments need to pay attention to voters whose jobs must be protected (the Democratic egg ). Now they realize that it is even more important to cater for the needs of major corporations who provide those jobs (the completely Undemocratic chicken that lays the eggs).
    Thus it seems inevitable that we are heading into a corporatist world. Maybe this is just the price of progress, so long as there are checks and balances, like a universal minimum wage and some kind of social safety net. Will our diaspora ‘angels’ be prepared to accept constraints on their activities? Will they sign up to a Universal Declaration of Social Rights?

    Before police forces were established disputes were settled by the landlord class using the threat of eviction for serious offences.
    In a corporatist world the ultimate sanction will be the loss of credit facilities. We need to think carefully about the possible negative outcomes that might result from encouraging all these heavyweight corporate honchos to organize our society in a way that will maximize their profit motive.

    • G

      @ Malcolm McClure

      “It is becoming obvious that we are entering a post-democratic world in which the major corporations and their banks rule the roost.”

      We’ve been in that world since the Pharohs time, those with power and resources and those without power and resources.

      History of humanity is the history of one small group of people, subordinating, enslaving and dictating to the masses. Whether that be through Imperialism, Colonialism, the rise of the company structure (East India company et al), the merging of corporate and governance structures, right down to your Irish real estate agent, builder, bankster politician nexus.

      It has been the same s**t since time began, those motivated by profit over people controlling the game with dreadful and unforeseen consequences. Those dabbling in the markets, stock brokers fiddling on gas, oil and food prices (the commodities) the virtual ‘trading’ that ruins developing countries and if targeted can ruin any countries exchange mechanism/currency, the shift in power away from parliaments to the hidden market (what say you on that David? Doubt Bono, Jeffrey Sachs or Kissinger would have too much to say), consigns hundreds of millions to real poverty, inequal terms of trade, protection measures for us (the West) (US steel, CAP in EU), open markets and free trade for you (The South) plus pollution of your fishing stocks and rivers, raping of your natural resources, and demand for repayment of debts often run up by dictators and other puppets – don’t worry though we’ll sell you the guns to keep the masses down, and if it gets really bad we’ll send in the paratroopers – French, Belgian, or US, it doesn’t matter because they can all do the job.

      Bring one of those corporate diaspora dudes over, tell him just one thing, that the corporation tax rate has to go up to provide for much needed social services and see how long the little man sticks around, before you know it he’ll be looking for his Polish ancestry only to find his long lost aunt in Kenya or Bangladesh – when this debate rises about the absurd I may tune in again, but until then folks keeping eating the lotus plants, for dreams may yet turn into reality!

  21. Tim

    David, I latch onto your phrase: “soft power”; You are right; it does exist and will be useful – it is a question of degree.

    For instance, while attending the anti-NAMA protest on Saturday with wills, I met a past-pupil of mine (Incredibly intelligent, A1 in english for me and 6 other As – went on to study literature at Trinners).

    She asked me how the cuts were affecting my school and I told her the truth.

    She said: “Obviously, I am against the education cuts and NAMA, but, meeting you…… it means so much more, hits home so much more, when it is my old school that is suffering.”

    That’s your “soft power”.

    There IS an emotional connection from the diaspora, from those who are elswhere… they DO look fondly upon the “Alma Mater”.

    Let’s keep at it! (it cannot hurt).

    Deco, I agree with you.

    Malcolm, Yes. If you look at Articles 113-118 of the treaty, you will see just how fortified the globalisation agenda is in the Lisbon Treaty.

  22. Philip

    David, this is the best article on the Diaspora so far. At least you outline very clearly that we have to get our act together and realise that there has to be something in it for our distant relatives. Certainly on that basis and the fact that we would have more opportunities for the elevator pitch. This makes solid sense.

    I can see how it is very easy to be negative about this concept . But I can see this country tearing itself apart at a time when it needs to be very united (across public and private sectors). Maybe our biggest need is outsiders to work with us to solve what is becoming a national issue rather than a mere economic one. The help of the US in the North is possibly one such example.

    As I see it, issues are no longer just economic in nature. The world is morphing into something very different. Business models are not working and in an attempt to dodge another 1930s depression, I can see government / corporatist coalitions coming into play to bring stabilisation right across the world. Cutting public costs will be untenable meaning creating private/public models with funny money with more watering down of messy democratic processes will be inevitable (and the elite will be running the show). Where will or can the diaspora help us here unless it also addresses these and similar national issues.

  23. How can a Diaspora help when a nation is over priced, over propertied, over valued,and thus the benefit of the once magical ” tax haven” factor is just over and gone and corporate USA is moving on.!
    Do you know every time I look for current affairs news on the few radio/TV channels that exist in Ireland (besides RTE) to give me some challenging news reports I find none. I find Beer belly Cowan being interviewed oh so politely by innocuous and courteous staff who would not know a challenging question if it hit them in the face.
    Why is this incredible NAMA /developers welfare, scam is getting a totally free ride from everybody except Vincent Browne, Shane Ross and Gene Kerrigan.
    (George Lee doesnt count anymore, he is just another politican now ,and everybody knows they are all lyers!)
    Here we all are,docile and acquiescent, like Scandanavian lemmings,save for a few thousand protestors; allowing Fianna Fail to NAMA the nation into commiting national suicide.
    While many people believe that lemmings commit mass suicide when they migrate, this is not the case. Driven by strong biological urges, they will migrate in large groupings when population density becomes too great. Lemmings can and do swim and may choose to cross a body of water in search of a new habitat.( England, The USA ,Australia etc)
    On occasion, and particularly in the case of the Norway lemmings in Scandinavia, large migrating groups will reach a cliff overlooking the ocean. They will stop until the urge to press on causes them to jump off the cliff and start swimming, they then swim to exhaustion and death. Lemmings are also often pushed into the sea as more and more lemmings arrive at the shore.Fianna Fail have amazing expertise in Lemming management. Irish Lemmings are the most docile of all breeds and submit to their fate with little struggle or protest.

  24. wills

    Ireland’s diaspora are made up of mixed bunch of personalities like any other subset or nexus of people. Some good, some bad, some full of vim and vinegar, some sharks, some snakes in the long grass, some innovators, some charlatans, some spivs, some artists, some neighbourly, some carpetbaggers, some willing, some i’m alright jack., some heading for social welfare. some heading for college, some heading for the book of kell’s, some heading for scellig michael, some bored, some sorry, some returning to the flock, some ready to live by moral code and some looking for an easy ride and some looking for a magical mystical place called Eire and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    That’s it. The diaspora are the same as we.

    I contend we’ve already done the diaspora idea over the last number of years, since say the candle in the window. The diaspora idea / networking internationally is the celtic tiger, under our nose.

    Shall we go at it in a diaspora mark II project.

    YES, but, firstly, when one invites a guest to one’s house one house keeps to make thing’s look welcoming. So, lets do the housekeeping first like before sending out the invitations. That’s all agreed right.

    So, lets housekeep our banking system first, which is only befitting for an erudite host who is concerned with putting the right foot forward first.

    Now, the banks are rotten and NAMA will spring clean the dirt. But, really NAMA is brushing the dirt under the carpet, an ‘ol irish trick. This is not a good idea, because according to a nobel prize economist the banks are just returning to bad business as usual but this time in the full knowledge that from now on they will always be bailed ou of their dr.frankestein POnzi racketeering forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ………….

  25. Tim

    wills, well said.

    • coldblow

      jim, I knew you were based in Australia but thought you were Irish-born emigrant. Anyway, that post of yours of 19 May about Nama. I can’t retrieve it. Could you post it again sometime or give the gist please?

      • jim

        @Coldblow ..I remember Mr.Furrylugs being rather amused at the cat and mouse opening LOL………Its a real game of cat and mouse going onn with a few catch 22’s thrown in for good measure.It work’s a bit like this….1 Irish Banks cannot raise Capital because their Collateral is marked down in value through its property loans(loss in value)…..2.The Banks ability to repay loans is in question because of impaired loans and under performing loans they made in the last number of years…..3. The government is running a large deficit because of the property slumpt and lack of consumer spending etc.4.Ireland’s loss of compettiveness in terms of exports etc. is causing unemployment to rise even though imports are cheaper, because of a strong Euro,(cheaper imports should reduce production costs in terms of materials etc.) ..5 .Ireland cannot devalue the Euro because the ECB controls Monetary policy pretty much…….So the game plan seems to be this..The Government issues bonds to cover its day to day spending which the local Banks buy a good chunk of, helping to solve point 3 above.Next the Banks offload their bad loans to the Government which the Gov,pay for in more bonds helping to solve points 1&2 above. Next the Banks take all these Bonds to the ECB and use them as collateral to raise money to lend and free up credit for Buisness etc.helping with points 4&3&2&1 to varying degrees.So depending on how the ECB values these bonds in terms of collateral against money it is prepared to lend to the banks,will in fact lead to a pointing of a finger by the rest of the World as to the extent of Quantitive easing the ECB is involved in with regard to its lending policies towards Irish Banks and the Irish Government indirectly through its Bond issues.Now under normal circumstances quantitive easing should result in a dilution in the value of the Euro against other curriencies but the catch 22 for the rest of the World is ,if the Euro is Devalued it hands the compeditive edge back to Europe in terms of its exports,particularly Germany and France our big guns so to speak.If the Euro maintains its present value it makes imports cheaper thereby helping China ,US,GB etc…So while the Politicans outside Europe might want to throw a blind eye on the Quantitive easing in Europe,how does the market view these measures both inside and outside Europe.Well were now back to the cat and mouse in Europe with all sorts of bets being wagered on defaults,insurances,etc.Various media and commentators and all sorts of agencies are raising rumours one way and the other trying to have their bets pay off,trying to cash in basically and generate profits as that is the lfe blood of the Markets.The Germans are concerned about QE because of their inherent fears of inflation and hence the banging of their drum politically,but the German Banks who loand a lot of money to Ireland want to get their money back and hence their favouring of these measures.So does Ireland take out a big mortgage with the ECB on low rates now and decide that it can repay over an extended time frame this money as the Economy recovers and Europe moves back gradually to some growth with even a hint of inflation.My guess is that this is pretty much as Cowen and Linehan are reading the situation,what other options do we have at the moment given the various constraints ??????

        • jim

          @Coldblow..thats a copy of the original post from 19th of May last,thats how I saw things panning out.The Banks balance sheets have raised a few eyebrows since then I’m sure you’ll agree.Nationwide is now right up there with Anglo as basket case of the millenium!!!!!.

  26. jim

    Well as I’m sure most of ye know that I’m a member of the Diaspora,Australia to be precise.My two daughters have both gone to Colledge in Ireland,the eldest to UCD and is now back in Perth where She Lectures at a local Colledge.Having said that My eldest did do Her Masters here in Perth. The youngest is still attending Maynooth and lives in a house there,hence My interest in House prices and Rents which I have to stump up lol.My Fathers people moved to OZ after the second world war.Some are in Melbourne,some Sydney,some Perth,still in close contact.My Wife and I were trying to do a tally here Yesterday on the number of Irish people we helped find work for in the last year or so ,we got to about 73 but who knows.They vary from a guy from Athlone who was an Engineer in Galway and left His job,now works in the CBD with an offshore exploration company to a big sappy loveable rouge from Longford (He wont mind Me saying that) who now drives rather large trucks between Perth and Kalgoorlie,so if Yer on HOLS keep well in if ye meet Him lol.Will they go back to Irelan “probably will when things pick up” is the usual answer,but I know from experience that most of them probably wont,but I never say that and usually just nod in agreement.I suppose naturally enough I have no Party affiliation to any Party in Ireland,and can only judge things as an Economist from what I read and hear on the wires as they say.I suppose to conclude its probably accurate to say that twelve months ago I could be considered as 1 member of the Diaspora but now there are an extra 77 plus of us in Perth and the big question that David asks is ” If We here in Perth are prepared to look back to Ireland prepared to look forward to us”????.Goodnight Ireland …Sleep well. JIM.

    • adamabyss

      I wonder if you know Frank Stapleton (not the football player) out there in Perth Jim, a Lucan man? It’s great that you help so many people who need it on their travels. Adam.

      • jim

        Think so..smallish guy,very fit,does alot with kids ,swimming,cycling etc.middle aged.Lucan you say,any skeletons there to poke fun with if we ever meet up LOL.Think His day job is Engineer or something like that.Small World eh!!!.

        • adamabyss

          That’s him Jim! You have described him perfectly! I shall be seeing his brother Willie on Saturday in Lucan, of all places. Flying into Ireland on an unexpected trip, dear God, I don’t know what awaits me, Ireland here I come!

  27. “spearheaded the concept of shareholder value”
    maybe he might spearhead a way to put people before shareholders interest.
    We don’t need anymore self-interest groups dumping their fast profit scams on ordinary people, that along with NAMA where they can dump their losses, and take off.
    David there is a contradiction within your idea of what is best for Ireland and the Irish people.
    You’re either with them or against them. You can’t stand in the middle, and choose what might be okay. Cut the cancer out first, bring the banks, and shareholders, to their knees- nationalize the banks, and start off with the reality of what’s left which is basically nothing, and that is the best place to start instead of sell of our land, our banks, and labour for little or nothing to profiteers.

  28. Water –
    This element is no longer present in our social order of things as we know it to be eventhough we are an island surrounded by it.Water is cohesive and binds together what we put together and holds everything together what we build together.
    Israel has a coded order of things known as ‘ the laws of abraham ‘ or simply being a Jew .It is an emotional bonding discipline that allows all who believe together to be successful together.That is why they are successful .
    Our Nation as we have hacked since The Uprising has lost its sparkle in the Atlantic Ocean .Our Laws are not respected enacted or enforced , our respect between us is gone , our ideals do not exist anymore,selfish greed prevails, our concept of time is no more,cute hoorism prevails, our civil servants are uncivil and self centered,the weak are preyed upon,we are no longer spiritual neither do we have a God anymore , our churches are locked and unwelcoming and do we care ?
    Our politicians are no longer Statesmen and have debased our democracy .Finally we have no Leader .

  29. “Our Laws are not respected enacted or enforced , our respect between us is gone , our ideals do not exist anymore,selfish greed prevails, our concept of time is no more,cute hoorism prevails, our civil servants are uncivil and self centered,the weak are preyed upon,we are no longer spiritual neither do we have a God anymore , our churches are locked and unwelcoming and do we care ?
    Our politicians are no longer Statesmen and have debased our democracy .Finally we have no Leader .”
    Unhappily ,thats a good summary, John: cute hoorism prevails.

  30. Glue-
    Water is a gentle element and can be abused and abuse .When all the water is gone then something more cohesive will replace it .It’s natural.
    Glue is fundamentally water but it has added substances that harden it .Its liken to Rigid Rules that are external to our own incorporating new concepts we have never experienced before and will be toxic to what we once were to become no more .
    Such concepts will incorporate a change in order of things imposed upon us from another land and system of laws .We will see these foreign arms arriving when our eyes are closed and to arrive at our door some early morning silently.At that moment you will become glued and stuck and unable to move and your mind is no longer your own.

  31. I jus heard the 9 oclock news on RTE.
    Glowing reports about “Spring Cross” developers treasury Holdings. Describes them as an “ambitious company” (that they are) and mentions the Battersea power station (including picture of same) telling us that “it has big plans” for this structure (which it has-or had! ).
    Real Estate Opportunities;Treasury Holdings; (REO)- Johnny Rohan & pal Dick Barret. Paid 660million Euros for Batersea Power Station in London wastelands/docklands three years ago. Its good for grazing goats for the foreseeable future.If it were sold today it would likely take a 500 million hit and drive the company (REO) into immediate liquidation!
    30 % haircuts my backside!
    Now who writes the script for the nine oclock news on RTE?
    Is it “ghost written”?
    Is it news or is it propaganda?
    We badly need an independent television station.

    • Tim

      tirnanog33, agreed; We also need the return of Pirate Radio stations, where objective truth can be debated instead of the biased rubbish we keep listening to.

      Heard Ulick McEvaddy (again) on Finucane show on Sunday – you know, one of the first ten guys that Seanie rang when he needed his Golden Circle?

      Why are guys like this allowed to pontificate to us on Radio? Telling us we have to cut public service spending? Rotten cronyism.

      O’Brien on TV telling us to vote this way or that way on Lisbon, when he does not even pay his taxes?

      Why are so few of us protesting against NAMA, when it will protect these guys and slaughter the rest of us?

      Are people brainwashed by the spin?

      Do they realise what’s happening? Are they stupid?

      Do they just feel helpless, even though they do, actually, realise what is being done to them?

      How have people been brought to feel so helpless?

      What can we do to wake them up and get them to stand up for themselves?

      • Tim , I wouldn’t throw in the towel yet , we are a fickle bunch that there is no doubt and hypocritical.
        Back at the start of the year I wrote we will have a winter of discontent , if you watched Pat Kenny’s new show you would have heard Fintan O Toole question why we are still sitting back. The way I see it right now we are just at breaking point , I know several business people who for the last year have been watching their bank balances fall as they have been hoping things would pick up and have been doing everything to hold on to their staff but this winter will see many more of these businesses fold up.
        At 400 million a week in borrowings we cannot maintain this and just watch it may just be the ‘public service’ which will bring down this regime, if the Greens don’t walk in October

    • Yes ,agreed tim. When guys who make a fortune from cronyism with CIE officials and then leave the country and evade a bill of hundreds of millions of Euros in capital gains ;can pontificate and preach on the national airwaves, and get invited to Farmleigh ;there is something wrong with the moral ethos of a country. Cute hoorism replaces patriotism. we need a pirate radio station. no legitimate one would be allowed broadcast the truth.
      Would it survive off coast for even a few months.? I think international communications agreements would see some european navy towing it away.
      What about a good web site located in the USA where free speech is respected.
      Martin Cullens solicitors tried to close me down when I wrote a nice poem about his beautiful PR agent.He didnt though.
      If a few guys want to get together they can take over my site for starters. my skills at youtube satire are pretty limited but I am sure there are some smart guys out there..
      How about an irish “Onion” anybody.?

  32. wills

    tim, it is truly impressive how it is the NAMA debate has remained so nullified and off the political agenda and side lined as if ‘if it happens, ah sure it will work out anyway’,,, definite case of a nation under the condition of ‘stockholm syndrome’, where the kidnapped becomes enamoured too the kidnapper and beguiled and finally spellbound.

    And in NAMA ‘s case its the vested interests who are the kidnappers and the kidnapped – the taxpayer, and some of the taxpayers are not in the grip of the syndrome and trying to get it across that NAMA is suicide. Suicide for the kidnapped not the kidnapper.

    • wills

      Let me start with the central issue NAMA.

      NAMA is been sold as a solution to get credit flowing again.

      So, right of the bat, the vested interests are controlling the debate. For, NAMA is not about getting ‘credit flowing’ again. The banks have access too credit. Gov can organise 54 billion euro loan so credit / cash is available.

      So, what’s NAMA really about. CONTROL.

      So, if the debate is rigged, sheeple are confused very easily and befuddled and lost and they ‘re listening to the likes of BL on ‘frontline’ last night talking in sterness, and feigned authority, and so on and the audience is like, ‘ah sure he does know what he is talking about, and sure he has been sleeping with this problem since sep, and there’s no way would he be able to be so in your face confident if he was not sure, ‘cos, i’m not sure and i couldn’t be in a studio full of authority like that so he must know something.”

      ….and this is the mind trick right there. What BL knows and the vested interests knows is the NAMA debate is rigged and what they know is what NAMA is really all about, so, they are ahead of the posse.

      • wills

        Secondly, so what these con artists do id create what one can term ‘ an illusion of plausibility’, this is critical too stifling debate, pulling the wool over the sheeples eyes and moving forward with their hidden agenda.

        GET to hidden agenda in a sec.

        How do you create ‘illusion of plausibility’.

        a) you present yourself as an authority figure. You preform it, you in fact playact as if you are in charge, literally, playact it.

        b) you go back ad forth in vocalisations from soft to threatening back to soft in seconds, in tonal quality.

        c) you adopt a shiny glint little boy lost look across the eyes’. This is a trick toddlers learn and carry it forward into adulthood. It arouse sympathy even when the predator is holding a knife to ones throat.

        d) you tap into FEAR in the sheep and you trick it into using above tricks to thinking it needs you to look after it, ‘cos it can’t look after itself ‘cos of the bogey man under the bed coming after them.

        • wills

          Hidden agenda. In NAMA ‘s case CONTROL.

          EXplain. THe vested interests are embarked upon a bank robbery. The Gov bond issuance for ECB euros for banks toxic trash is a charade.

          IT is not what the sheeple are been told. Remeber these guy’s have rigged the NAMA debate.

          So, you rig the debate, you control the situtation and you push through your real objective, which in the case of NAMA is a gigantic bank heist by the vested interests. THat’s only one thing, it’s a number of other things too.

          • wills

            Also, the general public exercise a tendency to look upon society as a functioning democracy more or less. They view the politics and day to day business through the len’s of ‘well it’s a democracy we’re in’ pass the sugar.!.

            Now, in reality our society is not democratic. It is not run as a democratic republic. In fact it is a society run along the lines of a ‘type of lawlessness which overtime became an acceptable standard and our republic took a giant step backward toward a hidden despotism and now in post post modern times a dystopia under a culture of violence and this becomes the value system governing forces live by. A stunning reveal for the man in the street.

  33. cozzy121

    David, I really admire your ability to try and help out the same shower of governing idiots who ignored your warnings on the property bubble and their mismanagement of the economy. This shows something that those ff’ers are unable to do – do something for the COMMON good not their own.
    Unfortunately David you’re idea about using our overseas talent can not work – that talent will have to deal with the corrupt governance here. They will propose brilliant ideas, only to have them messed up by the slebheen, back-hander politics of this country.
    It would be best to ask the diaspora for some contact numbers and maybe a place to stay as our next wave of emigrants prepare to leave this failed country.

  34. Wills- we can avoid suicide for the kidnapped when you refer to the kidnapped to be the the ordinary folks.Read again the following what I wrote before and the Bible will show you the way .Love thy enemy for they do not know what hit them.
    Keep them with you all the time and away from the Dail and Oireachtas .In other words allow the kidnapped ( us ) become the kidnapper.:

    This room should refrain from ‘beneign

    masochism’ among ourselves Irish,

    even if we are to define that to embrace

    bankers and politicians .

    Rather instead , we should

    commemorate these moments with all

    our political representatives and hold

    them close to our own hearts and keep

    them away from any ‘houses’ that should

    cause infamy among us.

    Invite them to be among us and keep

    them there indefinately.

  35. coldblow

    While I agree with all the criticisms voiced above (re GE “What’s good for GE is good for America” I’m rereading Gore Vidal and the Israel comparisons have been criticized here before in detail) I thought David’s coup was spectacular. While it wasn’t pleasant witnessing the likes of Denis O’Brien among others it looked like the Govt. heads had been pressganged into some kind of commie reeducation programme. Now I haven’t got the gear for watching the whole thing online, and I wouldn’t know how to work it anyway, so I may have got the wrong idea about what went on – all I had was the RTE News and the Late Late. The most telling line was to the effect that if the establishment don’t make the required change the change will come along anyway and sweep them all along whether they like it or not. We don’t have the luxury of moralizing from the sidelines. That’s not a criticism and I hope to do a bit more moralizing myself before I’m done, but less frequently from now, from the local library, as my employer has issued rules about blogging etc. But I’ll be following the debate here closely.

    On the subject of the Diaspora I’m not alone in wishing I was the offspring of a Jewish concert pianist and a Swedish model, but I’m stuck with Irish, whether I like it or not. So there’s a captive audience. Some Irish (a few only) seem to think that the rest of us envy them and want to be like them to which my reply is: please do me a “$%$^$$” favour!

  36. lff12

    I find this utterly naive. Most people I knew who left Ireland in recent decades did so for one of two reasons: a) they were marginalized socially or b) they were marginalized economically. And sometimes both. Like many people who stayed around but “got lucky” (i.e. found a job) later on, some will nurse a degree of anger and resentment towards an Ireland that did not fulfill their needs. Why should they now be expected and come back to “bail out” the country that uncaringly shat them into the world many years ago, without as much as a kiss goodbye?

    Its a fairly human expectation to have, that if somebody screwed you over in the past, you are hardly going to be expected to come back and help them out in the future. This is where Ireland is so different to Israel. The Judaic peoples were expelled from ancient Israel by other people, not themselves. We shat our own people across the globe, sometimes for our own personal gain. And I deliberately use the faeces metaphor, as that was the level of respect that Ireland had for its “losers” in the past, as is obvious from the stories of the Ryan report and accounts of those incarcerated in Magdalen laundries.

    • G

      @ lff12 – PRECISELY!

      A tale of two countries indeed, if you go, do a Wilde or Beckett on it, stay gone, diaspora notions is handy chit chat in D4, but doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

      A stone’s throw from where I work are people living in Dickensian conditions, children born into utter poverty, playing on streets, chasing each other around the place while cars dash past, we have failed our own people miserable, God help us if we start inviting the supposed masses home to some tea party in the Aras, with everyone commenting on great it is to meet up.

      The diaspora idea should be shelved David in case you miss the next best thing! The Celtic flog, Celtic comeback, Celtic whatever you are having yourself!

      • Colin_in_exile


        Back up the truck there a wee bit please.

        If a child is born into poverty, who’s fault is it? I believe its the mother and father’s fault. If they love children so much, why don’t they wait until they’ve saved some money and can provide a better quality of life for their offspring?

        I don’t have any children. Why? I can’t afford to have any. I’ve no savings, no pension, and still in debt after completing a university course a few years ago as a mature student. Why can’t people think with their minds instead of their genitals?

        Also, why do we encourage single mother family structures? Is this ideal? Why don’t we discourage it? How? By ending the granting of payments to new single mothers. If you take away the financial incentive for single mothers, I’m sure there’d be less children born to them, thus ending child poverty, which is what you want if i’m not mistaken?

        • wills

          colin, i suspect G’s overall point is, if Ireland is serious about ‘getting the economy moving again’ surely the focus of energy must go to fixing the fundamentals first, and the first fundamental is, the kid’s who are living in squalor ’round the corner and the fact that such a reality exists means the society is not a cool modern success but a mutant hybrid of community living and to foster a debate on new ways to seduce inward investment and ideas and dismiss these other realities if infantile fantasy at the very least of it.

          THis is why David’s participation in this Diaspora idea which is being hijacked by the vested interests as they scrounge around for new narraitves too re – invigorate the public into new channels of enslavement is arousing head scratching.

          • Colin_in_exile


            Vested Interests like the bankers and developers can simply point to the welfare culture and welfare fraud going on from cork to donegal on a scale of billions over the last 20 years, and justifiably tell the government that NAMA is morally equivalent to all that. Now, I don’t believe two wrongs make a right, I don’t want to see bankers and developers bailed out whatsoever, but what I’d like to see also is an end to single mothers being bailed out for their lifestyle choices. Why should I pay taxes to support any young woman’s baby? Why can’t they be encouraged to stay in school, find a job, have babies later, and we could all enjoy lower taxes and bankers/developers won’t be able to whinge to the government then.

          • G

            well put Wills, especially final paragraph…………… George Bernard Shaw said of poverty ‘it was the greatest of evils and worst of crimes’

            especially in light of the waste at FAS, triple pensions for Ministers, 200,000 revamp of Bertie’s office so he can video link with God knows who, voting machines, 12 billion overspend on the National Roads project………..the list is endless………..a bunch of rich, corporate ‘Irish-Americans’ getting together to make themselves and the government look good, isn’t going to change a dam thing, especially if the conditions of those families did not improve one inch during the Celtic Tiger period, and it is not just there, look at the disadvantaged areas of Dublin and the calling off of building projects, contrary to the prevailing orthodoxy, resources do not trickle down, they are siphoned off…………………

        • G

          Wonderful stuff Colin_in-exile, you should give Ed Walsh a call, the two of you would get on like a house on fire tacking all those rogue single mothers making a disaster of the Irish state……….but you’ll never hear Ed bite the hand that feeds him………..


          • Colin_in_exile


            You can call me Colin for brevity.

            I have never had the pleasure of meeting Ed Walsh before, an outsider who struggled against the odds to build a University from scratch in a part of the country that is looked down on by the establishment and others. If you have his number, please pass it on, I don’t know if he’d take my call since I know he’s a busy man, but I’ll let you know anyway.

            “Appalling…..” – I’m not here to back slap everyone else into a cosy consensus – thats far too much like our friends in Social Partnership do, but I would be grateful if you could have the kindness to let me know exactly what I said was appalling? And while you’re at it, what has Ed Walsh done to upset you so much? Have you impregnated more than your fair share of Ireland’s finest?

    • Philip

      Ireland is a profoundly un-united race. “Me Féin”, “Cute Hoors”, Shrewdness, Glic, are all aspects of individuals. We survive as guerilas – hell, we practically invented this form of fighting. Snakes in the grass (no wonder we have no snakes -they were crowded out), submarines (we invented those too!). This is the Irish and this is how they survive. We are a nasty shower of inward looking, tough as nails survivors with no ideals other than being adroit followers and back stabbing lynching bstrds. :) Cead Mile Failte me a,,,,

      • G


        I am loath to get into ad hominem attacks, or lower the bar in terms of discussion, so I am drawing a line under our little tete a tete with the following comments.

        I am not one for tackling some of the most vulnerable and decent people in our society (single mothers) who for whatever human reason (s), ended up in their respective situations, contrary to the crass comment made, I have a number of friends who are single mothers and they are a true inspiration to me. My financial situation is similar to your own, therefore my only deep regret is that I can’t support them in ways I would like.

        The circumstances my friends find themselves in, put my daily complaints in the ha’ penny place, and they are in every sense of source of continual inspiration and support to me, despite the herculean issues they must overcome on a daily basis.

        As for your ‘summation’ of Ed Walsh, a man who regularly takes out the drum of attacking single mothers on the national airwaves, without anyone rebutting his comments, well, I find him to be a complete hypocrite and his attacks on that sector of our population most shameful.

        I don’t know all the circumstances of the UL deal, but I know enough to know that there is never one man involved, it was handy to have met Chuck Feeney, a single donor who virtually bank rolled the whole show (I accept there was work, networking and lobbying involved and I accept your point about establishment resistance) but it is common for one man to be given all the credit (and to take that credit), hero worship, or cult of the individual is a common trait in Western State Capitalist countries as it neutralises the work of many people, who remain in the shadows, whenever I hear of the ‘one’ alarm bells ring!

        • Colin_in_exile


          But who asked these women to become single mothers? I don’t doubt they struggle, but why did they choose such a life? If they applied themselves to their studies/work with an equal herculean spirit, wouldn’t the country be much better off?

          Aren’t they blackmailing the rest of society by saying I’ve got a child now, and this child doesn’t deserve to be brought up in poverty, so please hand over the money now?

          If the Ed Walsh radio interview disappointed you so much, did you register this with the broadcaster or Ed himself? Why not put pen to paper and challenge whatever he said that upset you, and see if he replies to you? I’d love to hear what he’d have to say in response.

          Vulnerable? I think Keith Barry would beg to differ with you on that score.

          UL deal? I don’t think Ed ever gave the impression that his achievements were a complete solo run, unless you can include a link to a quote which contridicts this, but from what I gather he was the chief instigator of the whole project from the very start, so fair play to him.

  37. G

    The award winning invesgative journalist John Pilger would seem to agree……………

    “The game is over. Corporatism and a reinvigorated militarism have finally appropriated parliamentary democracy, a historic shift.”

  38. Johnny G

    Im very hopefull afer hearing how the weekend at Farmleigh. I can only see good things to come from it. I am trying to start my own business at the moment ( green energy) but, am afraid of my life about taking the last step. I will be hoping to raise most of the money myself. But, if someone is encouraging Irish people from abroad to invest in companies like mine, well done and keep it moving so it does not become stale!

  39. Tim

    Folks, from twitter contact, Fergus O’Rourke, an early ’70s version of NAMA; but without taxpayers’ money being robbed (and no ECB, either):

  40. Tim

    Oh Dear!

    More economics for me to try and figure out, from Stephen Kinsella.

    What he calls his “new model: dynamic Social Accounting visualization of flows between sectors.”

    Anyone here already know what this means, or can help explain it to me, please?

  41. Philip

    I just do not see where Malcolm M’s democratic egg and undemocratic chick fits in (which for me is THE best description of what has been going on over the last few years)

  42. Economic Loony Tunes :
    The current Moon Wobble began today and will peak on Monday 19th ( maybe a black monday so watch your bank stocks) so we are now living in very very interesting times .If you want to gain from it ‘go slow’.

    Full Moon is Oct 4th and occurs during the wobble moments ahead so this makes everything sureal and more dangerous .It is interesting that the Lisbon vote is Oct 2nd almost the eve of the full moon and that guarantees a great victory by a wide margin for the winning side .I expect our web master to have technical problems from wednesday 28th Sept to Oct 4th .

    Serious undercurrents are happening around us now and how the dice turns up will keep us all guessing and sweating too .
    I do expect a health scare to at least one of our politicians in the weeks ahead.

  43. Philip

    In spite of our protests, we are all true on one thing…whatever about blogging, keep the day job going and the meals on the table. All this call to the streets will be blocked out becasue enough of us are still comfortable and do not want to do anything that might upset that too much.

    I can see a great allure in the Diaspora idea and why the Government may like it. It’s a nice story but a distracting one. Although I am all for leveraging any Pull we get.

    Winter is coming. Iceland’s little stay on repayments is about to be lifted and the doo doo will be hitting fan there. Will Russia or the EU come to the rescue? A tweak of the approved Lisbon treaty will mean they’ll be in by Christmas – and who knows? Turkey anyone?

    We are 2-3 months from what may be THE most difficult period in the public running of this country. Cuts have to come, and frankly the average comfort level may then have dropped just that little bit too much. Unrest, the collapse of NAMA? Banks unwind, followed by more banks around Europe and beyond. If it does not happen here, it’ll be somewhere else. This whole thing is about to collapse – sparked off by the Irish or the Spanish or the Austrians. As Paul Kruger recently indicated, the world economy is betting on a revival of export markets…the trouble is…to which planet. I wonder if the Irish have any cousins among the little green men?

    • G

      Hilarious final few sentences, and accurate, I am sure there are some, those interested in Moon wobbles, who may be available to do some research into the space diaspora or the Moon’s children…….

  44. Tim

    Folks, could it happen?

    Could the murder (yes, it is a “murder”, though a slow-burner) of Keith Barry’s grandad be the catalyst for the resurgence of people-power in this country?

    If Keith follows-through on his threat at the weekend on the Finucane show to call for a general “down-tools” unless the government acts to protect people in their homes (while cutting gardai and McCarthy hoping to close 50% of rural Garda stations!), on a specific day, at a certain time this week; and if the Irish people answer this call and DO it!…….

    … could it happen? Could the Irish people experience “people-power” again?

    Could they re-discover the success of people-power and decide to really try it against NAMA?

    ….. could it happen?

    What would the deceased Mr Barry think of it?

    He should not have died in vain.

    • Colin_in_exile


      Something might happen from Keith Barry’s call to the Irish people, but its got nothing to do with NAMA.

      The problem isn’t even with the law. Its with Law enforcement, the Judiciary, lack of Prisoner Spaces, Amnesty International, Civil Libertarians and all the bleeding hearts out there.

      Why can’t this murder have happened to a Politician’s Father, or a Judges Father? Until it does, we will continue to see welfare state scumbags terrorising the country.

      Sympathies to the Barry family

    • Spot on Colin .I got a visiting card for Mountjoy two years ago (I was with a group of lawyers).
      Horrendous place horrendous conditions horrendous overcrowding.
      There was as many prison officers there as convicts!
      Hundreds of them like a huge scrum in Lansdowne road on on side of rhe building: and hundreds of convicts walking and standing around talking on the other.
      It appears that locking them up in those dark, tiny,barbaric cells for too long was counter protective to harmony .
      There is a ratio of something like one to one (prison officer to prisoner) as a result of the whole situation.
      In modern american prisons I believe the ratio is about 6 to 1.
      Prison officers earn about a hundred grand a year with overtime.
      A modern prison would in theory save billions in wages but then again it would be very costly ro retire these guys early.
      Madness and the taxpayer is screwed. Now you know why every scumbag in the country has little fear. If one is jailed tomorrow another has to get early release to make a place for him.
      As you say, its a pity a few politicians families, fathers or grandfathers etc. are not victims of murders or assaults.Never seems to happen unfortunately.

  45. shtove

    Good article comparing California to Ireland as members of currency unions:

    No good outcome for anyone.

    In my view, the trouble is Ireland will be tempted by the quick fix of a sterling peg. Same old historical mistake. The UK currency is a fool’s paradise, doomed to collapse.

  46. Tim

    Well, now….. Looky there, shtove, how we posted the same lik?

    Serendipity, eh?

    • shtove

      Strange – it’s not a big audience blog.

      Serendipity makes me feel happy. Ireland signing its own death warrant through NAMA makes me feel .. like corruption is destroying itself.

      I don’t care – got out a few years ago, and I wish the worst on the gombeens.

      But I would be sad to see a repeat of the historical mistake of turning to London for solutions, especially with Fascist Brown in control. He set up a photo-opportunity in Washington yesterday, where he was voted the World’s Leading Statesman. Uuuugh!

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