December 13, 2009

Let's grab this golden chance

Posted in Irish Economy · 205 comments ·

If I had the ear of finance minister Brian Lenihan, I’d be telling him not to look a gift horse in the mouth. The British government has this week handed Ireland a gilt-edged opportunity to kick-start the battered IFSC and, with it, the fortunes of thousands of young Irish graduates and workers.

Last Wednesday, the British chancellor, yielding to popular pressure for revenge, announced he would tax the bonuses of high-flying investment bankers. He announced a 50 per cent tax on any bonus over £25,000.This, for most mere mortals, would seem nothing to grumble about until you see what the reality is for those bankers.

When you consider that for the 5,000-odd Goldman Sachs employees in London, the average pay – of which bonuses are the most significant proportion – is »500,000 a year, you can see how this ‘super-tax’ will make them nervous.

While it’s easy to understand the British government’s motives, particularly as the bankers are unrepentant about their role in last year’s collapse of the global economy, the result is that these bankers will simply look to leave London.

These are the most footloose of all workers; their capital is their contact book and their bank’s balance sheet their armoury. They will move to wherever the feel they can work and make money.

Whether you like them or not, these are an asset that many countries can ill-afford to ignore. That is why Luxembourg, Ireland, Dubai, Singapore and, of course, Switzerland have been trying to make sure that financial services are part of the country’s industrial infrastructure.

The British government has given us an opportunity like the one presented to us when Intel, Microsoft and Pfizer were looking for a place to locate outside the United States in the 1990s.They chose Ireland for tax purposes and for the quality and availability of the workforce.

It was ‘win-win’ for us, as we had no real multinational industry so we got all the benefits; we got jobs we didn’t have before, tax revenue we didn’t have before, and spending we didn’t have before.

Now, quite feasibly, we could do the same again, because investment bankers – the ones which drive the economy of London – are the targets of the Labour government. We could be their port in a storm.

The Minister for Finance should seize the opportunity and get on the phone to the head of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan and tell them that Dublin welcomes them and is open for their business. God knows we need a bit of luck and now is our chance to grab it. But why would a big investment bank come here to Ireland? Apart from the fact that its senior employees were about to jump ship because of taxation, what other reasons could there be to come here?

First, in a 24-hour trading business, Ireland shares the same time zone as London and therefore acts as a platform to bridge the Asian markets, which open during our evening, and the American markets, which open during our afternoon.

Second, we have a huge oversupply of commercial office space in Dublin. Any incoming bank could get great property deals, which – among other things – could save us putting these properties into Nama. Equally, we have good links to Europe and the US. God knows Aer Lingus needs some regular business passengers. Ryanair would welcome the challenge too.

The IFSC has the technological infrastructure. The same language helps enormously for employees wanting to move here with the minimum of hassle. Third, the 12.5 per cent corporation tax is attractive for a large investment bank.

While our tax rates will rise this year and next, income tax in Britain before the ‘bonus tax’ for bankers will also be high. Fourth, Dublin and Ireland offers international investment bankers a good quality of life, good schools and a government that is not targeting them exclusively. Why wouldn’t they move here?

Let’s look at this from our side of the deal. For us, it looks like a ‘win-win’ outcome. Think about tax alone. In Britain, financial services companies constitute 25 per cent of total corporation tax. This is a figure of £11 billion.

This obviously doesn’t include the huge amount of tax the employees of these companies pay in income tax, Vat and stamp duty.

For Ireland, even if we were to poach one of the giant investment banks, the contribution to our faltering tax revenue would be enormous. Equally, as we have seen with pharmaceuticals in Cork, once one big name comes to Ireland, others tend to follow. This is know as clustering in economics and it is easy to see how attracting a huge name like Goldman Sachs to Ireland could begin a process where others copy and move some, if not all, of their operation here.

When I worked in investment banking in London, in the 1990s,the majority of my colleagues were foreign. We worked with non-English clients and most of the deals we did were not in Britain but in Europe and further afield. London really only served to ‘host’ the industry.

Most people I worked with liked London, but if they felt the government there was out to get them they would have moved on just as easily to an adjacent English-speaking jurisdiction that was prepared to open its doors to them.

Even if we attracted 20 per cent of the business – about as much as we could manage now anyway – the positives would be enormous. Just think of the prospects of our own workers who are now waiting in our zombie banks for the horrible but inevitable chat with the boss. Because of the stupidity of their top brass, Irish banks expanded rapidly, fuelled only by an unsustainable increase in property. Now many thousands will be laid off as the banks contract.

Where are they going to go? Where are they going to use their skills, if not in new banks that might come into Ireland? This is the opportunity and the IFSC, with its new Luas link, provides a fantastic and obvious home for these highly-motivated foreign bankers. The more of them we have, the more they will need to employ local people with banking acumen. Off we would go on a virtuous circle. This is our chance to do what Brian Lenihan calls our ‘‘patriotic duty’’.

‘‘England’s difficulty, Ireland’s opportunity’’ – wasn’t that what the forefathers of Fianna Fáil used to say?

After all, if the British government is prepared to entice our shoppers to Sainsburys in Newry, then we should be prepared to poach their bankers for the IFSC in Dublin.

  1. paulmcd

    “After all, if the British government is prepared to entice our shoppers to Sainsburys in Newry, then we should be prepared to poach their bankers for the IFSC in Dublin.”

    David, I have grave reservations concerning your suggestions to entice bankers to Dublin. I will leave it to someone else to raise the issue of DEPFA bank which had its “headquarters” in the IFSC, or even to suggest that Ireland should entice drug cartels to set up their European bases in Dublin. I suspect however that the “barons” of Sao Paulo and other exotic locations are already sending emissaries to do their “laundry” in Dublin.

    I will comment only on your final paragraph as, this weekend, I experienced a phenomenon resurgent from the 80s, a consequence of the “carbon taxes”, just introduced, which has nothing to do with British government “enticements”.
    First, you should check the following information relating to petrol prices posted on the web this Saturday:

    People living in Dundalk can today save the equivalent 9 cents a litre on petrol if they go to ASDA in Downpatrick to do their shopping. I have not yet checked for the lowest price in Newry; but the rise in prices in the South will mean that Northern motorists whose decision to head South for a refill was always a “borderline” one, will no longer make the journey. This is a sea change in the space of ONE WEEK.

    Yesterday, out of curiosity, I travelled to Forkhill to Murphys “Costcotter” in the middle of nowhere County Armagh. About 90% of the 40 or so cars there were from the South. My intention was not to buy but simply to observe. It’s not worth buying petrol in Forkhill YET, but the decision has become a marginal one and no one from South Armagh will in future bother to travel specially to Dundalk to buy petrol or diesel.

    I am now alarmed at the prospect of the millions to be lost to the Irish Revenue because of head-in-the-sand decision-making by the FF/Green coalition and the folly of repeating the mistakes of the past.

  2. roadrunner

    A Chara,

    I haven’t heard anyone in government discussing job creation for years. They are too busy trying to put positive spin on tax-increases and welfare cuts.

  3. severelyltd

    Good idea David, but if we are going to invite the British Banks in I suggest we rename the IFSC to Pirates cove.

  4. David,
    Sorry to say but I do not agree that this would be a good move for our financial difficulties
    Inviting Goldman Sacks to set up shop in this country after the chaos they inflicted in the US
    We have enough corrupt bankers in this country without inviting anymore
    anyway for this to work we would need honest government in place and judging from the latest outbursts in the Dail we still have foul mouthed gurrieres running the shop!
    No Thanks

  5. Philip

    Cracked idea that describes exactly why it would be so transient. If London came under any significan t attack, the UK would U-Turn.

    Banking is a utility. We do not need these clowns with their archaic ideas. They are gamblers – nothing else. Far better and more honest to open big casinos here instead.

  6. Robert


    It seems strange that you are using your Sunday column to effectively invite more bankers into the wild west of European finance – i.e. Dublin – especially after only 4 days after the recent budget.

    Is there not something wrong with Ireland taxing bankers bonuses????? Oh sorry, I forgot, FF are in power – the Party who like to do Robin Hood in reverse . . . . . Steal from the poor to provide for the rich.!!!!

    • Ruairí

      I think what david is clearly saying is JOBS CREATION, not saving banks, fostering banks etc etc. Short-term plugging the gaps.

      Were it to work and we did attract a few thousand jobs, it would be an enormous coup. Would the Brits (sorry British) fight back? yes of course. But a government should be doggedly making its way ‘forward’ (ref Brian Cowen) and this rotation of crops, as it were, would seal the leaking coffers and heal some of the psychological wounds of unemployment before they get out of hand and irrecoverable for a generation.

      There are some posters here who are naively feeling that we are stain-free, as a nation, of the woes of America. We are intimately connected with them. And Depfa will not be the only scandal in the Eu , before we’re done. The EU toxic debt pile is only heating up. Does not regulation cover those banks also? Ireland’s internal retail banking is another mattter altogether. Everything goes in cycles and now we’ll have heavy touch, then in two decades or so, light touch again. Its the way of the world.

      Putting morality aside, as this government has shown it can, David is saying that moneybag man Mr Wimpy should now follow through on his amoral code and do the clever thing re the IFSC, especially vis-a-vis the ticking timebomb of perhaps 5000 retail bank job losses.

      Hey if we want to get moral about the state of chassis in the world, we need to buy hammers for Christmas and offer lifts to all comers to Shannon airbase, sorry airport.
      Otherwise, some practical thinking as David outlined today might not go amiss.

      I think job creation, and job preservation, is key and that’s why I believe that there’s merit in what david suggested. Having worked in those circles at a very high level, and well connected, I’m inclined to believe his opinions on such matters are plausible and worth a few moments’ consideration.

      • Ruairí

        David having worked at those levels and in those circles. Me, I’m just an Irish citizen. A little old Irish pleb (I have no personal debt, so I anin’t no slave)

      • wills

        Ruairi -

        Job creation from POnzi scams is a road to nowhere.

        • Ruairí

          Not necessarily true Wills.

          The Chinese play the long game and the short game. In the long game, you are correct. In the short game, incorrect. David is merely saying that this is what Lenihan should follow through on, within his current parameters and mindset.

          I don’t think its something he is simply saying for its own sake. He’s addressing this as a tactic to the Minister, not a strategy. A tactic, get one investment bank, plug a fast-breaching banking employment dam, then move up to the higher strategy when that battle ebbs.

          Sometimes, a little bit of contra-ops is necessary to win a war. Ask the Brits. Dirty war is winning war.

          • wills

            Ruairi -
            If D is merely making recommendations for BL to follow through on i ask this .

            D says in article ‘whether we like them or not, they are an asset we cannot ignore’, they they is investment bankers.

            Investment bankers are non skilled workers.

            Investment bankers add no real wealth to the economy.

            Investment bankers do not produce output in any tangible way.

            Investment bankers are not even middle men anymore due too technology.

            Investment bankers are waster gamblers idle rich and nowhere to go.

            And D recommends they are seduced into Ireland if he where BL.

            This is absurd this kinda journalism if D is doing what you suggest.

            Wasting his mental energies on what he would do if he were BL is walter mittyland and i do not agree this is the case here.

            I read that D see’s investment bankers as assets just like he says in article.

            He did post here 10 weeks ago that these are the guys in the room we all have to work with referring to the farmleigh elitist back slap.

            So, he still holds to that. And i do not agree with this .
            One is offering ‘implied consent’ too all its corruption it brings and oxygenates and whether he likes it or not his actions bear consequences.

            The panel is another absurdity. Its cringe worthy and the POnzi shysters and moochers are in an ecstasy state of sniggering behind his back at him lowering himself doing that muck.

            Its unfortunate but thats life.

          • G

            When will people learn?

            Even after everything that has happened…..the greatest financial fraud in Europe, the second highest household debt in Europe, the greatest financial fraud (from taxpayer to banksters) in Irish history, borderline Failed State status and you support the call to pull yet another financial fast one on one of major trading partners? Not to mind the broader ethical and moral questions………….this kind of ‘business’ we can do without surely….a couple thousand jobs, you can’t be serious? The analogy with covert military ops seems both crass and wholly inappropriate.

  7. ridiculous idea and as wackey as much what you now say , just to have an excsue to put pen to paper and take undeserved fees
    Instead you should write about how the Greens have sided with a Government in bed with seedy property speculators and possible if you read the latest Un report questionable drug dealings ! as mcuh of this black economy cash caught up i dubious developmentst should all be investigated re source of funding !

  8. David’s lost his mojo. We want to kick out all the corrupt banksters and stop their ponzi scheme cold. We need to invest in silver and we have billions worth of gold in the country in counties like Monaghan just waiting to be extracted and smelted into bullion.

    Hoard as much gold and silver as possible. Silver is dirt cheap right now compared to the price it will reach in the coming decade. It is rarer above ground than gold by a ratio of 6:10, once enough ppl realise this the price will shoot up due to the laws of supple and demand.

    So once we have enough of that cheap silver and plenty of refined gold, we can tell ECB and IMF where to go once we paid off our debts with the greatly appreciated silver and gold. With the amount of precious metals remaining we can start a gold and silver standard and be well on our way to the Punt being the new world reserve currency once the US dollar kicks the bucket.

    Simple Simon, that’s all we need to do

    • Ruairí


      we should take a share in all mining activities and extractions. We had that until Ray Burke put the nail in the coffin. But world reserve currency? All the gold ever known in Ireland and possible in Ireland wouldn’t give us PIGS reserve currency status, never mind world reserve currency. It would leave our state coffers much wealthier however.

      If we could wait until FF are kicked out of power before we re-acquire our oil and mineral rights though; as they would just squander it all again on lavish pay and a bubble of some sort. FF stands for Financial Filter.

    • G

      telling ye, guy needs a break for about 2 months…………………..very tired, ill thought out stuff…………..losing interest……………….

  9. wills


    Golden sachs in alignment with AIG are the architects behind the financial fraud mortgage insurance which made possible skyscraper leveraged banking loans and caused the global credit bubble which destroyed the irish economy and you recommend BL seduce s them into using ireland as safe haven.

    You’ve obviously just popped your own PR bubble and de throned any misconceptions anyone out there maybe suffering from.

    Good for you.

    Disagree with article, completely.

    You are either a hypocrite, a dadaist or

    • wills

      or fed up with the attention thats come your way and been under the spotlight as you have been is not something i would envy or seek so i wish you all the best. on your re invention.

  10. adamabyss


  11. Tim

    David, I’m afraid I have to disagree very strongly with your premise, here.

    Rather than giving these banksters a tax-haven, we should follow-suit and copy the Brittish government and extort a drachonian tax from our own banks. That way, they have nowhere to hide (if other countries follow), as they gamble with real people’s livelihoods.

    Your proposal feels a little like prostitution, to be honest.

    People who operate as these bankers do have ruined the world economy, ruined our country’s economy for at least two generations and we already have too many of them here. Let’s not invite more.

    Where are the five business-plans from Farmleigh?

    Five businesses, based on the production of something real that can be sold to other countries, instead of gamblers from London?

    I don’t have the answer to our problems, David; but I strongly suggest that this is not part of it. The gambling that investment bankers engage in is not a sustainable business. Sustainable production of useful things is what we need.

    We have great and fertile agricultural land here;

    We are surrounded by water, with fish in it;

    We have zinc, peat and forestry;

    We apparently have lots of oil and gas;

    But we gave them all up.

    Let’s take them back.

    How about writing an article in a National Newspaper about that?

    You have to admit that the reaction would be, at least, interesting.

    • Ruairí

      Tim, I agree fully on what you have written in regards to what we can do. And what is rightfully ours.

      But we must distinguish between retail banking, merchant banking and international financial services.

      I do agree that there is an element of whoring to this but so also is there with all of our pharmaceutical companies who charge one price here (those plants don’t sell directly obviously) and another abroad. With companies like Minelab in Cork who sell at one price here and another abroad. With the American imperial death machine using our airport as a base, also to ship torture prospects.

      We whore all the time. We are not a proud nation. We could be though, I agree with you.

      It must be remembered, and factored in, that David came from that world and so he sees job creation and buzz and dynamism where we only (naively) see 100% criminality. Yes, I think many of the financial instruments are morally dubious and financially hazardous to their weak victims in their leveraged outcomes. But I don’t see any difference between Goldman Sachs and Pfizer or Intel to be honest.
      All business is global and grotty. We can ensure our domestic security through a drastic improvement in banking rule implementation. We cannot police the world banking system though.

      Sure we can make a stand and say that all grotty business is not for us. But we would find a lot of unacceptable corporates on our turf e.g. Aughinish Alumina, most of the pharmas, many of the ICTs (defence connections).

      I fully agree with you Tim that some commentator needs to get to the bottom of the 500BN oil fund (plenty of info on to start), run the numbers, re-appraise the story line and see who in Labourt and who in FF gave it all away, do a 2-page article in a national daily and set the Irish world on fire!! An awful lot of people can’t grasp the oil / gas giveaway. An awful lot of Irish people are very trusting, decent citizens (we are tame pets compared to many country’s citizens) and simply don’t realise that Ireland 2010 does not have to be this way.

      Perhaps there is a cash-laden patriot (concerned citizen or benevolent dictator, I don’t mind at all) who would take out a full-page ad like that corporate w*or* O’Leary did and interfere with the Irish mindset? Takers?

      I think David’s article is a continuation of this week’s theme that this budget was in no way jobs-oriented and that indeed this government has no jobs creation strategy full-stop. If that’s all it cements in people’s minds, then it was one hell of an article.
      For what its worth, I have taken every red cent I have and placed into a Credit Union, plus digital gold. No Irish bank will have my money, unless its a loan I leave em with of course.

      In 2010, people need to get real. We only live this life once (even if you’re into reincarnation, which I am). Justice must be served in this lifetime.
      1. Take your money out of Irish banks and put it into your Credit Unions.
      2. Do not give any money to the Catholic Church, especially not this Christmas. They are a foreign power, secretive and undermining the confidence of the Irish people with every breath they take. They are enemies of individual, community and national freedom. Always have been, in Irish history anyway.
      3. Do not give any money to gas-oriented businesses that link to Shell to Sea or to Topaz, whose privateers profit from the ashes of Shell’s public defences in Ireland.
      4. Act on silly lists that you write. Its soul-destroying when you don’t.
      5. Tell every politician what you think of them on a frequent basis: – emails, phone calls, letters, buckets of water, pints of beer, and make it a Gogarty special.

  12. Malcolm McClure

    David: It doesn’t affect your proposal much but you ought to have made clear that it is the employing banks that have to pay the 50% levy, not the financial whiz kids.

    When I hear about these large bonuses I sometimes wonder what is the purpose of them and why are they considered so essential to the smooth running of the financial system. I have absolutely no reason to suppose that every penny is not immediately salted away in a Cayman Islands account. After all, there are only so many apartments, Porsches and yachts that a person can yearn for.

    Alternatively, is it possible that they function as an under-the-table slush fund that is totally untracable back to the donors and potential beneficiaries of such largesse? Can we be certain that the supposed recipients of bonuses are not using these funds to help launder illicit cash for 3rd parties, or to bribe foreign statesmen, or to obtain insider information that the banks will benefit from? Perhaps for a fee of 10%?
    I find it very hard to believe that there are thousands of guys out there whose honest knowledge and sheer skill can out-perform a falling market to that extent.
    If this alternative scenario is not complete bunkum, then why would movers and shakers used to dealing with the billionaire Mayfair set want to hole up in a concrete jungle beside the Liffey? Get real.

    There’s something rotten in the State of Denmark — and it’s not just the goings on in Copenhagen.

  13. Tim

    Malcolm McClure, so true!

    “I have absolutely no reason to suppose that every penny is not immediately salted away in a Cayman Islands account. After all, there are only so many apartments, Porsches and yachts that a person can yearn for.”

    I am convinced that, whatever it is that we need on this island right now, it is definitely not more of these people.

    I think it is this, though:

  14. Tim

    Folks, before I got distracted by Malcolm’s excellent post, I intended to give this link on the budget:

  15. roc

    Counter-intuitive. Wildly unpopular.

    But there’s no doubt it would be a stiff shot in the arm.

    Mind you it’s possible the patient may have a massive cardiac arrest down the line.

    But there’s not much else to do.

    I think we’ve had enough of a shake up to ensure we carry through on rooting out the systemic political and commercial corruption and mindlessness, and properly improving our productivity and competitiveness in qualitative terms (coming away from the middle men and land dealings and overcharging for rubbish etc.).

    As long as we continue this work in tandem, why not take this opportunity as David suggests.

  16. Lorcan

    Hello all.

    Must disagree with practically all the comments so far on this article.

    Ok, David’s idea is, at first glance, unpalatable, but given this countries current impasse we have little choice but to seize whatever opportunity may come our way.

    Our public finances are in crisis, and they will probably continue to deteriorate in the short to medium term. The public purse needs a shot in the arm, and if there is a chance to attract 5,000 very highly paid workers to the country then we should take it. We may not agree with their methods, or even their business plans, but if the choice is between putting up with a load of over-paid investment bankers for a few years and further cuts to the social welfare payments of the most vulnerable in our society, I would certainly be willing to bite my tongue and give the investment bankers a Cead Mile Failte.

    @Tim (and others) I agree that we have missed (and continue to miss) out on the opportunities afforded to us by our environment.

    But taking advantage of our environmental dividend will take time, especially starting from where we are now. Time is a luxury that does not exist in a crisis and we have to do something to give ourselves breathing space.

    Bring in the highly paid bankers and give our finances the breathing space we need to implement some policies that might actually stop this country being a puppet state at the mercy international finance to pay for our day to day expenses.

    • Tim

      Lorcan, Understand, but, isn’t this still just “being a puppet”?

      “Bring in the highly paid bankers and give our finances the breathing space we need to implement some policies that might actually stop this country being a puppet state at the mercy international finance to pay for our day to day expenses.”

      • Lorcan

        Tim, of course it is.

        But we are where we are. We could completely turn our back on the international financial system, but I fear the disruption that would cause.

        If we instead plan for a situation where we can turn our back on it because we have less need for it, then that would surely be better for all.

        Simply wishing things were different to how they are will change nothing. We can be pragmatic or idealistic. Personally I’m willing to swallow a little of my pride.

        • Tim

          Lorcan, “Ouch”.

          Even if that is where we really “are”, can we surprise the world by going with a new, ethical, system, rather than whoring ourselves?

          Are we really at rock-bottom?

          (I don’t think we are, yet; but, of course, it may take DMcW’s idea and what you say about it to prevent us from reaching the bottom. I accept that possibility – I just don’t like it.)

  17. Danoriordan77

    Alister Darling’s decision to tax the bankers bonuses was a politcial decision in an election year in which Labour are likely to relinquish power – if, as expected, the Tories win the election in May/June you can rest assured that they will reverse this bonus ‘super tax’ law if it risks some kind of mass exodus from The City in London to Dublin – I just can’t see that happening on a grand scale to which david eludes

  18. IMO

    I’m with David on this one.
    - the nay-sayers say that they don’t want investment banks in Ireland because we will have to bail them out – with proper [enforced] regulation we wouldn’t.
    - they would employ a lot of people/graduates, and their expenditure would also create a lot of jobs [sure they won't spend all of their wages/bonus, but who in their right mind does]
    - too much focus on GS. David uses GS as an example of the type of bank to attract. GS didn’t invent the subprime assest and they actually got rid of most of their subprime assets before the crisis hit [not much different to people here who managed to avoid the property bust]

    • wills

      the naysayers which i suppose you are brandishing me as so i can say this i am not saying what you are supposing i am.

      If you could re read my post you will see what i am saying is, at some point one must draw the line in all of this madness and re start anew, and giving succour too glodman sachs is so suspect considering the blood on their hands and the casino gambling banking they’ve unleashed across the banking system.

      GS exploited the GM asset and milked a financial instrument knowingly hedging against a bubble bursting which if you do your sums you will discover they where involved in picking the time of bursting.

    • wills

      Investment banking unregulated, which not taxing bonuses is, has now proven to be a cancer on the free market economy. The writing is on the wall. We are all paying for their avarice and if we stand by and facilitate this sh1t again we will deserve everything they do to us in the future.

      And when one looks at what these lunatic pirates are prepared to do to ‘make money, like, deny food too millions and millions of people through speculative commodity bubbles one can only but have nightmares.

      But, then again, i’m not your yuppie poster here i take into consideration consequences of actions.

    • Ruairí

      @ IMO “[sure they won't spend all of their wages/bonus, but who in their right mind does]”

      The Paddies !! Ourselves. The man in the mirror :-D
      We’re so good at it we even used to spend other peoples’ money. Our leaders showed us the path of wisdom and we followed……
      NO dount though, GS are a vice. Problem is, if we were lucky enough to short-term whore out of it, are they a necessary vice?
      If our government had a jobs strategy and wasn’t doing DJ Leno mixes of Da Property Scam featuring Micky Fingers and his crew, then David wouldn’t be throwing out the bluesky lifebuoys like this.

  19. AndrewGMooney

    As Willem Buiter, who is now the Chief Economist of Citigroup, wrote on his Mavericon blog:

    ‘Financial crises may not be the best time to make friends and influence people, but the Irish guarantee is the most ‘in-your-face’ beggar-thy-neighbour provocation since medieval armies catapulted bubonic-plague-ridden corpses into the cities they were besieging.’

    In this current article David entreats that “this is our chance to do what Brian Lenihan calls ‘our patriotic duty’”. Er, isn’t that what you said about The Guarantee? I challenged you then on narrow protectionism, short-term economic ‘nationalism’. It’s effortlessly easy to challenge you again now. Take this on the chin, cop on to yourself, and give us a serious article on The Tobin Tax…..

    Given the, ahem, aftermath of ‘The Guarantee’, might there also be ‘blowback’/unintended consequences for this latest wheeze?


    Is it really a good idea to cross swords with Alastair Darling again? I don’t think so. He’s the most ruthless man in modern politics. Machiavelli + Sun Tzu in a sober grey suit. And a hard-core Leonard Cohen fan. Scary man. But Ireland is safe as I’m sure Lenihan, although an utter eejit, has learnt his lesson from following your ‘well-intentioned’ but misguided advice in trying to poach bank deposit capacity from Britain during the financial crisis.

    Lenihan will read this ‘Message From Alastair sent via me, his ‘secretary’; and I’d lay bets Lenihan will decline your offer to be next in line following Hank Paulson to be ‘grin-fcuk’d’ by Alastair’s will of iron/rod of steel. No vaseline.,business,alistair-darling-grin-fucked-america-over-lehman-bankruptcy

    Just Google ‘alistair darling hank paulson phone calls’. Read all first page links. You couldn’t make this up! Apparently, Yvette Cooper burst into tears because Alastair wouldn’t play nice over the British budget and screamed “Why do you have to be so macho!”. Hilarious. Here’s the real ‘economic facts’:

    China (pop 1.5 billion) has $798.9 billion US Treasuries. Japan (pop 127.5m) has $751.5 billion US Treasures. The UK (pop 67m) is third in place with $249.3 billion US Treasuries. Way ahead of Gulf States and Caribbean Banking Havens. The City of London and Wall Street are conjoined twins.
    Timothy Geithner isn’t going to allow anything to result in an ‘emergency firesale’ of US Treasuries from any quarter. The British 50% Bankster Tax will raise £550bn. How many $ treasury bills is that worth, Timothy? Oh, and Goldman Sachs US are freezing bonuses, only paying them as 5 year post-dated share options. Alastair said it was either that – or Giethner gets grin-fcuk’d as well.

    As The New Labour Princes of Darkness manouevre Britain towards seeding The Energy Clean’n'Mean Second Post-Industrial Revolution: Is DMcW suggesting Ireland catches hold of the sinking ship/bankrupt FIRE economy merchant banking casion cartel as its’ lifebelt? Straws. Clutching. Drowning, etc. I would imagine the traffic is more likely to be from Dublin to London, given the QE house price perversions underway. Seal bids. Madonna buying the other half of Marylebone to vex Guy Ritchie.

    Lenihans decision to cut welfare for the 20-24′s: He may as well have sent them a ticket for the night boat, just like his Father would have loved to do. Just like DeValera sent to my Father.

    All of the attractions listed for Ireland existed during the boom. Goldman Sachs already have a base in Dublin, they haven’t shipped there en mass and they never will, because they wouldn’t cross Alasdair after he vaporised Lehman’s. That’s how things are done in ‘The City Of London’, which for the record, exists everywhere worldwide. For example: ‘Hong Kong’ is only ‘Hong Kong’ for so long as it operates under the bequest/auspices of The City of London. Once Shangai Chinese Junk law muscles in. It’s over. Just like Dubai. Bye Bye. Mumbai has a chance as I think they have kept British law. Mind you, the British bequest of a plausible framework of government and contract law didn’t help Ireland much, did it?

    If Ireland had any balls, it would have formed a strategic alliance with all the other ‘PIGIS’ and cornered the EMU bullies to get with the O’bama ‘reflate or disintegrate’ audacity of hope model. I’m delighted Greece and Spain are telling the ECB to drop dead. As for the ‘bond markets’ and ‘ratings agencies’. Yeah, they have real credibility.*smirks* Headless chickens with myopic visions.

    Incredibly, in this article Dubai is listed as a threat to The Square Mile. ROFLOL! Dubia is toast. When the Dubai World sukuuk blows up tomorrow and investors find themselves at the mercy of the interpretations of Islamic jurisprudence as to whether they get their money back under Sharia law: I’m sure there’ll be a mass exodus to Dublin, given it’s exemplary corporate governance / government connivance record. As if.
    Yes, I’m sure legions of financiers will flock to Dublin. Just to make it so much easier for Nicholas Sarkosy’s glove puppet Michel Garnier to decimate their crippled casino capitalism without being behind the firewall of The City Of London.
    If Ireland’s corporation tax was a deal-clincher it would have been many years ago. It isn’t. It’s a delusional mass trance/low-self esteem issue. Irish people think they have to be the cheapest kid on the block or no-one will invest. Wrong! It just reeks of a lack of confidence and long-term strategic vision to create and embed durable wealth. Corporation Tax 12.5%? Inappropriate. Let’s say 17.5% tapering down to 15% as GDP stablizes and the economy starts to grow. Or feck off to Dubai and die of thirst when the infrastructure impodes even more.

    It’s the incompetence of Brian Lenihan and his inability to co-ordinate his tax and excise with his largest trading partner and neighbour that is ‘enticing’ Irish shoppers to Newry. Alasdair is too busy riding inept Yanks to bother with such trifles. Get real.

    Oh dear. In desperation David flees to Ireland’s endless existential, cultural and political crises, all of which were embedded in its’ birth-pangs:

    ‘‘England’s difficulty, Ireland’s opportunity’’ – wasn’t that what the forefathers of Fianna Fáil used to say?”

    You’ve asked for it. So here it is:

    “the approaches which the southern Irish ports and airfields could so easily have guarded were closed by the hostile aircraft and U-boats. This indeed was a deadly moment in our life, and if it had not been for the loyalty and friendship of Northern Ireland, we should have been forced to come to close quarters with Mr. de Valera, or perish from the earth. However, with a restraint and poise to which, I venture to say, history will find few parallels, His Majesty’s Government never laid a violent hand upon them, though at times it would have been quite easy and quite natural, and we left the de Valera Government to frolic with the German and later with the Japanese representatives to their heart’s content.”

    quote from Winston Churchill’s VE Day radio broadcast.

    • AndrewGMooney

      typo: British Bankster tax will raise £550 million, not billion. Although The Tobin Tax can and will do that as and when I finalise it for Gordo and Alasdair.

      Mad Paddy From Brum
      20:12, 20/12, 2012

    • wills

      andrew -

      thing is D ought to know all about this stuff due too working in these circles, which makes his article all the more bizarre.

      • AndrewGMooney


        the article is a wind-up, a provocation to see what fireworks are set off. i’d take it with more than a pinch of salt. he’s just being a clever aul clurichaun. Again. But quite amusing as ‘agent provocateur’ to the sheeple readers of the business MSM.

        but, honestly, I kid you not about Alasdair Darling. Don’t fc-uk with him ever again. He’s lethal.

        actually, when we chat he’s more interested in forming a strategic alliance with Ireland to initiate the New Green Deal for The Islands of Britain, Ireland and Iceland. We call it ‘NATO’: The North Atlantic Trade Organisation. But he’s a pragmatist, like me. We both accept Ireland has to have some mass consciousness/mass psychosis event to awake from the thraldom.

        Alasdair is very relaxed about what he calls ‘The Irish Financial Darian Adventure’. Coming from Edinburgh, he has studied the fall of the Scots and can read the runes:

        He introduced himself to me at a Leonard Cohen concert at Edinburgh Castle by saying “Good evening Adam Smith 2.0/Web 3.0. I am honoured. Please can you save us? I recognise you as ‘The Maya’: A non-physical, interdimensional collective focussing of metaphysical intelligence. Please, will you help us? ”

        I said, “I’ll think about it if you buy me a pint”.

        I’ve promised Alastair I will step forward as The Post-Collapse Anglo-Irish Cultural Taoiseach @ 20:12, 20/12, 2012. Venue to be confirmed. The Irish Centre in Birmingham. Whelan’s. Croke Park. We’ll see.


        PS: I’m not intoxicated as I write this. Was it Hunter S. Thompson who said: “I don’t do drugs. I am drugs”. Or was it Bertie Ahern?

        • Ruairí

          Excellent posts Andrew.

          Thankfully there’s spirit in many of us and whether its Churchill and his black dog demons or Darling with his Faustian tendencies, he and any of his ilk would be continuously met with the proverbial, literal and physical (force) Gogarty 101 tactic.

          Parts of your posts read a tad like the incumbent Pope’s apologia. Don’t ever bend the knee to far. Its harder to get back up as you age. There’s a fine line between dangerous pride and bestial cowering. Thankfully, your posts as a plastic Paddy are (I truly hope) as an agent provocateur also!!

          There’s a lot more to David’s articles (always) than meet the eye.

        • tony_murphy

          Thanks for your contributions AndrewGMooney

    • Malcolm McClure

      AndrewGMooney; I doff my cap to the master.
      You have delivered a hammer blow of realism that Ireland sadly lacked. I trust it will be heard by someone in a position to heed and act upon it. McCarthy tried to deliver that message but Lenihan seems to be stone deaf. Where can we find an Irish Darling?

    • Ruairí

      But was Mr Darling protecting the interests of the British taxpayer or, much more Machiavellian, laying waste to a rival of a UK-interest financial power bloc. That seems more plausible to me.
      Since when does a Western government act in the interests of the wider citizenry in the modern era?
      Perhaps Brian Lenihan is catering to a select economic base also and that is why he is sacrificing many smaller lambs, including better tax dovetailing and benchmarking of our closest and largest trading partner. He is, based on his predilections, opting in favour of paths and courses that seem perverse and amateur. Fortunes have already been lost in the property collapse? Can he resuscitate it for long enough for buddies to get out?

      • AndrewGMooney

        Ruairí: I don’t claim to be English or Irish. I’m post-English & post-Irish. A mutant hybrid. And far from being a ‘plastic Paddy’: I’m ‘Even Better Than The Real Thing’. Hybridity is the new Authenticity, etc. Look around Ireland, it’s also mutating/hybridising. Brazilian and Lithuanian enclaves, etc.

        Ruairí, you ask: ‘Since when does a Western government act in the interests of the wider citizenry in the modern era?’ Erm….that’s exactly what Alastair was doing! Using Hank Paulson as a human sacrifice. He’d had a belly full of ‘negotiation’ with the doomed, discredited, utterly dysfunctional and delusional ‘free-market Bush’ regime. Their nonsensical initial ‘give us the money or we’ll turn on the Doomsday Machine!’ response made them a laughing stock in London. Alastair sent a firm message to the incoming Obama / McCain regime that the UK has Financial Weapons Of Mass Destruction. He used one just so there’s no doubt about British resolve to defend itself. The Brits haven’t forgotten the belated Yank entry into battle against the Nazis. As if they’d ever trust them again. Lehmans was a warning shot across the bows. British $ Treasury holdings/offloadings are a veritable arsenal of stealth cruise missiles available for future use if needs be.

        You want Machiavellian? Here’s Machiavellian: Alastair Darling has Wen Jiabao on speed-dial. China won’t dump $ Treasuries en masse, they won’t need to. Alastair will simply suggest Wen ‘influence’ Hong Kong and Taiwan to join the covert, proxy punishment if there’s any future nonsense from the US. I’m sure Japan will remain calm whilst all this unfolds. *smirks*

        Alastair has the US safely contained as far as I can see. In what Eric Janszen of ‘I-Tulip’ calls The Great Game: The US/UK and China all need a weaker currency to reflate/re-shape/export, but it’s got to be a managed race to the bottom with the spoils fairly shared. Looks like the Euro is happy to play the patsy, crucifying the rest of Europe on it’s new Gold Standard of ‘Balanced Budget/Price Stability Paranoia’. Game over. You’re the losers, but thanks for playing, Nicholas and Angela!

        • gadfly55

          China needs a weaker currency? And the Chinese need the Anglo-American financial services, and their debased currencies? More than half of world economic activity derives now from developing nations. Trying to control the flow of money through New York and London has landed us all in this mess, and completely discredited the system with which you appear to be so enamoured. The rest of the world knows a different unit of value must be devised, based on special drawing rights, to create stability in relation to both economic activity and sustainable development. Your portrayal of Darling and the British financial position does not correspond with the recognisable and commonly agreed reality of the situation. In any event, Darling will soon be departed from his office.

          • AndrewGMooney

            gadfly55, thank you for your considered response.

            Yes: China cannot survive without a weaker currency. Just like America. That’s why the future isn’t the G20, but the G2 aka: Chimerica. The Yuan is pegged to the Dollar for dear life, to prevent mass unemployment and revolt in China. Without a resucitation of American consumerism, China is doomed. It’s doomed anyway because it’s ruined it’s Water for short-term ‘competitive advantage’, but I digress too far. This new consumer QE ‘Monster Bubble’ will happen once everyone and his Aunt cops on about the ‘Shale Gas lower-carbon reprieve / miracle bridging technology to ameliorate Cheap Peak Oil to renewables scenario’ which I’ve been outlining on this site as ‘The Corrib Nightmare’ to no avail. If you don’t believe me, an ex-Shell exec, ask any Exxon exec:


            Germany (incubus/succubus) will attach itself shamelessly to another export boom on the back of this consumer QE Monster Bubble v2, having shamefully abandoned it’s responsibilites to Club Med/Sicily In The Rain Ireland by failing to reflate it’s own paranoid consumer free hoarder economy. As an aside, I notice another iteration of Hypo-Real has gone belly up in Austria. Oh dear, Angela….Nicholas will go apeshit. Again. It’s not meant to play out like this, it’s meant to be the Anglo-Saxon who face Madame Guillotine. Greece have missed the point, as usual, and upped Alastair’s ante to 90% Bankster tax, which is a number that sends the wrong signal entirely. Let’s see what the French and German banker tax numbers are, given they’re so tough on casino capitalism. My arse they are. Like a priest caught coming out of a brother, they’re about to be exposed to the light. By Alastair.

            The emerging economy ‘de-coupling’ fantasy is, once again, gaining traction again due to China’s state-managed credit bonanza which will implode. The other parts of the BRIC story can’t function without China functioning. Neither can Oz. Just Google ‘Ordos Chinese empty city’ and get a different perpective from Jim Roger’s fanboy felching of the Chinese. Then Google and watch ‘Is Wal-Mart Good For America?’ A short fiim. exposing the American ‘capitalist’ collaboration with the Chinese Communist regime. When the people Joe Bageant writes about lose their patience and grab their pitchforks, you’ll see my perspective makes sense. Deer Hunting With Jesus! Except they’ll be hunting banksters with military rifles.

            HSBC/Standard Chartered will now ‘sort out’ the Dubai situation to their (British) advantage, shafting everyone else by offering Abu Dhabi some prize assets / baubles to put in the trophy cupboard along Arsenal F.C. When China implodes, they’ll do the same via Hong Kong. Never let a crisis go to waste as Rahm Emanuel said. Or was that Alastair Campbell? No, it was Alastair Darling, the real ‘Prince of Darkness’.

            You call this situation ‘a mess’: Please point to a historical/econonic era that wasn’t also ‘a mess’. Mess is what us humans do only too well, and in the ‘messiness’ of structural collapses new orders of power, influence and control emerge.

            Yes, I’ve asked George Soros to popularise my Green Bancor SDR currency (it’s a post-Keynsian thang, y’all!) whereby the IMF gold is used as a venture capital for a planetary Green New Deal with massive G.Q.E [Green Quatative Easing]. Ann Pettifor is sorting that one out for me under the rubric of The Age of Austerity and the Ecosystem:


            You write: ‘Your portrayal of Darling and the British financial position does not correspond with the recognisable and commonly agreed reality of the situation. In any event, Darling will soon be departed from his office.’ Anyone who imagines The British Realm is in retreat needs to wake up and smell the freshly brewing tea. I’m quite happy for the herd to have their ‘commonly agreed’ group think, on this site and everywhere else. It’s really rather useful. My portrayal of Darling is accurate, in fact it’s subdued. He’s a true political gansta, just ask Fred ‘The Shred’ Goodwin, the supposedly fearsome titan of British corporate life. Alistair didn’t see it like that. LOL! Sir Fred said dealing with The Treasury ‘wasn’t a negotiation, it was a drive-by shooting’. His ‘smart arse’ pension deal has left him as a pariah unable to live in his own house without Police protection. Was that pension deal a ‘mistake’ by Alastair, or did he just hand Sir Fred a loaded pistol to blow his brains out when he’d emptied his career into a black bin bag? Another ruthless ‘grin-fcuk’ from Alastair, who always wear’s a t-shirt with ‘My Balls: Your Chin’ under his sober grey suit, shirt and tie.

            What’s the RTE version of BBC2′s ‘The Thick Of It’? Alastair is much worse than any Treasury tyrant Malcom Tucker. But sweetness and light in public. He’s Malcolm Tucker x 10, he’s The Grin-Fcuker Extraordinaire pretending to be Gordo’s puppet. You couldn’t make it up. As I say: Machiavelli + Sun Tzu = Alastair Darling.

            If the British population wish to, once again, be the turkeys that voted for Xmas, that’s their decision. The idea of ‘Boy George’ Osborne facing down Hank Paulson is an amusing image, but not very credible, hence the Tory landslide scenario is looking increasingly implausible, the polls pointing to increasing suspicion and concern at Tory capabilities. To get back on track, Alastair decided ‘The Project v.2′ needed traitor Tony B.Liar to be put on trial with Dubya, then he wants to get on with a more positive future. The ‘General Election’ voting decision is irrelevant to the real action. It’s all factored in. The New Labout Project 2.0 isn’t just about Britain. It’s about controlling Europe, America, India, China. America. It’s about a C21st post-Colonial ‘empire’ of cultural and political integrity to balance American hubristic arrogance in a multi-polar world. Blair may have betrayed The original Project by being Bush’s lapdog, but it’s The Project 2.0 that matters. And Darling is the Architect and real World Leader Pretend. He’ll happily sittin and and watching a Tory Titanic emerge and sink as he grin-fc-uk’s Osborne from across the aisle. Just wait till he presses the Ken Clarke / UKIP buttons. The Tory and Europe. You couldn’t make it up!

            The Project 2.0 is about ensuring the reprieve that Shale Gas allows ensures we build a bridge to Sustainability during Cheap Peak Oil: Rather than allow the Yanks to waste it all on Canadian Tar Sand fuelled Hummers on their freeways and beer and cheese doodle NASCAR delusions as per Kunstler’s dyspepsia.

            I’m quite happy for David Cameron to foist his ‘Blue Labour’ onto a credulous British public. Either ‘it does what is says on the tin’, or he rips off his mask and reveals himself as the heir and clone of Thatcher. In which case: Game over. He’ll be out on his arse pronto. As the British don’t have the luxury of another ‘class-war tantrum’ episode like hers. They don’t have the North Sea Oil and Gas reserves to bail out delusional Chicago monetarist Pinochet applauding crackpots. Thatcher was a mad, sad abberation. Britain could have had a Sovereign Wealth Fund. So could Ireland. But Thatcher,Blair and Bertie bollixed it. If Darling is soon ‘out of office’: He’ll be in Brussels running the EU whilst the IMF/World Bank is run through his understudy Brown. Both telling Cameron and Osborne exactly what they can and can’t do. Funny scenario.

            What’s this all got to do with Ireland? Well. A fc-uk of a lot. The real ‘Little Britain’ that is the City-State of Edinburgh, London and the South-East is sick and tired of carrying the cost of economically crippled
            dysfunctional regions in the hinterland; including dealing with delusional Scots like Alex Salmond and his ‘arc of insolvency’ fantasies. It is especially sick of the hangover / legacy issues associated with The North part of the island of Ireland also known as Northern Ireland. An economically vibrant Ireland is an essential ingredient in gradually and covertly ‘sharing’ the costs of The North with the Republic of Ireland. The idea that the British take any pleasure in seeing this part of The Project banjaxed by Irelands’ descent into economic purgatory is ridiculous. As is the notion that Lenihan’s decision to fellate Peer Steinbreuck and hoist himself by his own VAT border-shoping petard is anything other than an annoyance and inconvenience to Darling.

            There is a non-trivial risk / emerging possibility that Ireland will totally capsize politically, culturally as well as econonically, with another ‘bi-polar’ shift from mania to pscyhotic depression. Thereby resurrecting its’ Victim Script and blaming The Past for it’s current woes. It’s entirely possible that criminal terrorist gangs who used to call themselves ‘freedom fighters’ will exploit the calamitous scenarios ahead for Ireland.

            David’s current article is walking a tightrope. He’s in danger of falling off it into a credibility-free abyss with this article’s ‘cognitive dissonance’:

            “These are more or less the same people who, for their own sleveen ends, destroyed the country. ” – David McWilliams.

            Is that the politicians or the developer-bankers, David? Or are they one and the same. Are you suggesting Lenihan does a Sir Fred? Alastair will happily oblige. He runs Goldman Sachs now ‘virtually’ via his new bitch, Timothy Geithner. Having handed them Lehman Bros head on a plate, do you seriously think Alastair couldn’t order Goldman to nuke Dublin’s I.F.S.C if so provoked? and so on and so forth. If the ‘border shopping’ issue is vexatious, it’s nothing compared to the more malign possibilities which could be brainstormed by Alasdair’s team if there’s any more ‘cute hoor’ sleveen gaming of the crisis from Dublin. Britain needs to ‘right-size’ it’s banking model. I’m sure there’ll be some losers who will go the FETID route: Failed Everywhere, Try In Dublin. But if I had influence within Ireland, I’d focus on something more productive than gathering up the cast-off detritus of Greenspan’s folly years. Such as ensuring you’ve ring-fenced any and all British depositor funds in Irish Banks and the British Post Office for the Eurozone blow-up on event horizon. You don’t want to have an Iceland event. Ask them what Alastair’s like. When the British Serious Fraud Office reports on Iceland, all the losers there who ‘tried it on’ will be grin fc-uk’d into oblivion. David’s article should be renamed ‘Let’s grab this chance to be grin-fucked by Darling. Again’.

            Having granted the 2 Brians an audience at Birmingham Airport: I’m losing patience with clowns who think they’re ringmasters and one of whom has the temerity to say to me,:”I’ll run this country as I see fit”. You do that, Mr Cowen. I’ll deal with your successor. And Mr Lenihans. I’ll consign your ‘Soldiers of Destiny’ fantasy / delusion to the dustbin of history. 20:12, 20/12, 2012, leading to the real re-birth Rising of 2016. I don’t have time to for eejits. I don’t suffer fools gladly. In fact, I don’t suffer them at all.

            “I’ve been dreaming of a time when, the English are sick to death: Of Labour. And Tory. And spit upon the name: Oliver Cromwell.
            Morrissey. “Irish Blood. English Heart”.

            “I’ve been dreaming of a time when, the Irish, are sick to death of Fianna Fáil and Fina Gael. And spit upon their names: Alongside Cromwells’. And denoune the Tribal Mind that still salutes them. Will they salute them forever?”
            Mooney: ‘An Irish Childhood In Birmingham’
            20:12, 20/12, 2012.

            Adam ‘Darling’ Smith 2.0/Web 3.0 aka:
            Mad Paddy From Brum.
            ‘lyrical-satirical-surrealist-terrorist-memeticist-cultural engineer’

    • JJ Tatten

      Absolutely spot-on AndrewGMooney.

      I think old David has been boiling his spuds in aluminium pans again, judging by the quality of his article.

      However, his reference to ‘good quality of life’, and ‘good schools’ did make me chuckle.

    • Deco

      Andrew – Flash Gordon or Mr. Bean as he is sometimes referred to, is not very capable. He can get very moody, and make all sorts of provocative statements – like when he was going to bully the Icelanders to paying up for the IceSave debacle. But in terms of his ability to analyze a real world situation, he is a disaster.

      In particular Browns entire focus seems to be on winning the PR battle. The crisis gets dealt with after the PR battle in the Gordon Brown book of crisis management. As a problem solving method this is very dangerous. As a means of political control it signifies no willingness to see more accountability.

      The jury is still out on Alistair Darling. I would not believe in somebody’e competence, purely for the reason, that I need somebody to follow, whom I can rely upon to do my thinking for me. I have learnt to do my own analysis. Lenihan got a lot of praise when he became Minister for Finance. But from the start I was sceptical. He was praised because he instituted a form of legal restriction on public comment that was designed to protect the media from the internet. He failed as a Minister for Justice, and he was a lawyer. It was to be expected that he would also fail in an area for which he has no experience. Tony O’Reilly might want Lenihan to be the next Taoiseach – but that does not mean that Lenihan will be good enough to do the job. And he has made gigantic mistakes. We need to examine what they are doing, and not just the spin.

      • Ruairí

        Brian Lenihan is a closet intellectual……

      • AndrewGMooney

        Deco: I trust you are grateful for The Great Irish Deflation you earnestly prayed for. Ask And It Is Given. Careful what you wish for, etc.

        When you say of Gordo that ‘he can get very moody’. Would you have said that of Churchill and his Black Dog? Do you support the disgusting taunting of Brown’s possible depression-medication induced Tardive Dyskinesia? Or spelling mistakes on hand-written letters by a man blind in one eye and losing sight in the other? How would Churchill have fared in a world of 24/7/365 paparazi-Nazis?

        Gordo and Mandelson are very important but are inextricably linked to the B.Liar/Bush betrayal of The Project. Hence, Alastair steps out of the shadows. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Darling isn’t interested in any ‘media’ jury. He’s judge, jury and executioner all on his own. It’s called Leadership as exemplified by the 50% Banker Tax/Slap On The Ass/Arse. This isn’t X-Factor. But Darling is Factor X, the Secret Weapon, as in ‘The Secret’. Just ask Hank Paulson whether Dubya was bitch-slapped into humiliation by Darling. “This sucker’s coming down!” “Unless Nancy Pelosi bails us out cuz the Brits have grin-fcuk’d us good and proper, get down on your knees and beg Nancy, Hank, beg!” said Dubya. Oh, how Alastair laughed over a vintage malt.

        Gordo as ‘Prime Minister’ gave Mr Obama an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet, sister ship to the timbers that are the Oval Office desk. Alastair thought the gift up. Respectful. Historic.
        Trying to assert pack leader status: Obama gave the British Prime Minister a box of DVD’s with the wrong region code (NSTC, not PAL). Inappropriate. Disrespectful.

        Conventional wish-wisdom has it that Obama won this one. He didn’t. He mad an absolute fool of himself. Alastair got his revenge through Michelle by politiely explaining the faux-pas and asking her to spend some time in London with her daughters. Unofficially. On holiday. Which she did, so she could be initiated into The Project 2.0. Which is ‘Education. Education. Education. Adam Smith2.0. Web 3.0 Google Wave. Crowdsourcing. Mobile phones in every Sub-Saharan and Afghan home, etc’. And like the public school educated street thug gangsta rapper he is, he politely told her that her husband had screwed up. He told her that if the world has any future, that isn’t Leonard Cohen’s vision of The Future, then the future begins in London. Then he organised a visit to a London school. Here’s what happened next: ‘Michell Obama’s School Visit In London’

        Having watched this video and imagining the scene as Michelle lays it on the line to Obama: You can be quite sure that O’bama ‘gets it’ about the Brits in general and Alastair in particular. Remember, these guys are mostly Scots, not English. Perhaps Obama didn’t realise the difference, for all his vaunted ‘hybridity is the new authenticity’ kudos. It’s all about respect. Respec, innit? He was grin-fcuk’d good and proper by Alaistair/Gordo over the ‘exchange of gifts’. He won’t make the same mistake again.

        Lenihan. Rosebowl. Shamrock. Whatever.
        Would you like to sketch out the Irish Project 2.0? Is it just a continuation of allowing itself to be a semi-corpse for vulture parasitic corporations, banksters and ‘politicians’ to pick clean until it’s time to up sticks to Poland? Whilst they retire to that golf enclave in Portugal? There’s a ‘negotiation’ to be had with Obama on Cororation Tax / F.D.I but I’m not sure it’s one that Lenihan’s up to. But it doesn’t matter ‘cuz Darling will have it all sorted so that ‘The North’ is kept stable. Alasdair, via Gordo, is about to grin-fcuk the US once more in Copenhagen. It’s all good, y’all. Obama. Spineless on bankers. Spineless on Kyoto 2.0. Team Bush / Obama better shape up fast. Alastair has the patience of a saint, but there are limits…..

        Deco: I don’t follow anyone. I’m my own man. I’m nobody’s ‘fan’. I just here as part of David’s audience. I just offer advice disguised as opinion disguised as ‘mad’ diatribe. I’m a ‘secretary’ in the original meaning of the word. Men in gray suits? I’m the Eminence Grise. And rather than me following Darling: It’s the other way around. He reads this blog, and my private, invite-only blog. I am The Meme Machine. As expounded at length in my response to gadfly55 and Ruairí above.

        Actually, The Project isn’t New Labour. It’s ‘An Irish Childhood In Birmingham’ subtitled ‘The Maya-20:12, 20/12, 2012′: A mass expansion of consiousness / mass extinction event as foretold in the prophecies, etc.

        Michael Jackson. Tezcatlipoca. Alastair Darling. Quetzalcoatl. AndrewGMooney. Nikos Katzantkasis. Christ Re-crucified. Names are for tombtones. All that matters is that The Long Count begins again……

        ‘The real meaning of enlightenment is to gaze with undimmed eyes on all darkness’.
        Nikos Kazantzakis.

        Anyone who’d ever read Zorba The Greek would have realised the Euro was a non-starter. But then, ‘economists’ have Quant equations that prove that what’s happening can’t possible have come to pass…..their models prove it! Reality is..mistaken. I look forward to The Greeks giving The Germans another lesson in ‘full-catastrophe living’ as Jon Kabat-Zinn summarised Zorba. And I look forward to The Germans finally throwing off the shackles of their Post-War PTSD and reclaiming their rightful place at the heart of European culture. That, of course, would include the whole ‘economic’s malarkey.

        Regards. Shamone!
        ‘Mad Paddy From Brum’, etc.

        • wills

          andrew -

          I saw thatcher as a force for free market capitalism in a dark era of collectivism and neo marxism union control over utilities.

    • wills

      Andrew -

      My read informs me ‘no wind up’ merely rudderless.

  20. Wills,

    Why can’t these investors be allowed fail if they lose. Not like the winners of the celtic tiger are complaining that they unfairly earned too much.

    I’m afraid the majority of this nation are ignorant, greedy and leading us all down a path of self destruction

    When will enough of us figure out that Fiat money is a disaster because its all too easy for governments and central banks to print and invent as much money as they like. It distorts the marketplace and leads exposed who believed they were economically safe.

    • wills

      Sean_Kelly -

      It goes back to human psychology i think Sean.

      Economics flows from psychology.

      I can give a substantial explanation but for now i’ll say this on your curiosity.

      In my understanding of why it is that society is in the grip of a paganistic type worship of making money and using scams that end up destroying the fabric of the community i reckon we come back too freuds contention that each person is in a fight to the death internally with what he called the ‘death instinct’.

  21. Wills,

    People will always try to screw others over, not saying everyone is like that but there is a certain percentage. Its in some people’s nature and those good natured don’t understand why the bad bastards do where they do, which is to steal, rape, pillage, murder.

    Its the whole dove vs eagle theory. Imagine a tribal group of doves aka altruistic members and eagles aka thieves, rapists, murderers. Too many doves and one eagle can take out the entire village.

    Another thing is, I believe only a small percentage are leaders. The rest are sheeple who can’t think for themselves.

    I don’t know what the hell is up with David McWilliams, but he’s lost the plot. First he said voting yes for Lisbon was what we should do and now he thinks we should bribe incompetents at best, criminals at worse to take over our banking institutions.

    I say we get rid of all the banks. If enough of us take out all our saving (which are depreciating in value due to currency debasing anyway) the banks don’t have any capital.

    We need to support credit unions and the local community. Local products and businesses.

    As well as that we can use paypal. Screw BoI, AIB, Anglo, TSB because we own them one big time.

    As for mortgages, just drip feed them repayments. What are they going to do, take your house from you? That’s the last thing they want. They want to bleed us dry of as much cash as possible. Most of them can’t go to court over it either, they would be exposed for being crooks haha. Besides, there will be a backlog of court cases soon that mortgage holders will be waiting a lifetime to go to court.

    With whatever money saved, save it in real money aka gold and silver. Silver has far greater potential, its rarer than gold above ground by a ratio of 6:10 and is only €11.80 an ounce at the moment. Though getting coins would be a few euro more than that, still an absolute bargain. It’ll shoot up in value regardless in the coming years.

    If anybody here wants to know how real economics works listen to guys like Jim Rogers and Peter Schiff. Keynesian economics simple doesn’t work, its a bit like Communism, works great in theory but a disaster in reality.

    It appears David McWilliams believes in Keynesian. Perhaps he should open his eyes to Austrian economics that has worked far better throughout history.

  22. Tim

    Sean_Kelly, looks good!

    Let’s keep at it!

  23. ps200306

    David – first sensible article you’ve written in a while… which is why the cohort of nutters and woolly left-wingers that patrol your comments disapprove. Meanwhile, the Swiss have already preempted you.

    • AndrewGMooney

      Ah yes, Swiss prudence, probity and financial stability. That’s old chestnut. Here’s some ‘nutty left-wing thinking’ for you to digest alongside the Toblerone:,1518,583181,00.html

      And this:

      ‘The Swiss National Bank on Thursday announced it would take extraordinary steps to prevent a deflationary spiral, including the purchase of corporate bonds and intervention in the foreign-exchange market to arrest the Swiss franc’s rise versus the euro.’ ‘Their announcement today is aimed at accomplishing two goals at their expense of their neighbors, which is protect their export sector and prevent the economy from falling into a deflation trap.’

      I assume you’ve never been to Switzerland? If you haven’t been, just take a handful of diazepam pills and you’re there. There’s ‘tranquility’ and there’s zombification. Switzerland offers the latter. 24/7/365.

      • Deco

        There was an old joke.
        Switzerland – the country in Europe that has the energy of the South and the passion of the North. Never mind the joke. The Swiss have seen what is happening and are on the case.

    • tony_murphy

      It’s a terrible article IMO. Totally disagree with it.

      Good versus Evil.

      These bankers should not be allowed to generate bonuses like they do. They are like gamblers that just can’t lose. They should not be facilitated anywhere.

      Lenihan did enough damage with his guarantee.

      I don’t understand why Switzerland gets away with it’s banking system

  24. MK1

    Hi David,

    I agree that little old Ireland could try and attract financial businesses as well as their workers to Ireland, but we are already doing that. Depfa being a case point and corporation tax being the driver.

    However, London has been competing as a global financial centre for a lot longer than us here in Dublin (its a pity our decentralisation policy didnt pick Ballydehob but there you go, all roads lead to Rome).

    Whilst such a tax move in the UK may seem draconian, businesses will adjust their pay strategy accordingly to maximise pay staff and retain staff. That will be a lot easier than moving lock stock and barrel to Ireland.

    The threat of financial companies moving from one centre to another is always touted but these companies and people are more sticky than people think. Yes, there is mobility of the people, but the ecosystem is less mobile. Frankfurt is Frankfurt, London is London, Paris is Paris, Geneva is Geneva, Madrid is Madrid, New York is New York, etc, etc, if you catch my drift. And Dublin has been a player with the IFSC in its own little way, little by global standards but fairly big for us, say in comparison to what Beal Feirste has!

    > Where are they going to use their skills

    Sorry, but most workers in financial services dont really have that many skills – its just numbers, adding and subtracting and a few percentages here and there, even so-called ‘exotic’ instruments arent difficult. And thre recent meltdown is a proof of that.

    So no, its not rocket science, which is WHY financial businesses can locate in Dubai, Frankfurt or Singapore, London, Geneva or Ath Cliath, or Mumbai!

    One salient point is that these businesses should not be making excessive profits. Goldmines Sucks (I’m joking!) is by some accounts making excessive profits due to its positioning in the real-time trade steams. Its effectively leaching off the system, and all countries should be interested in preventing this leak rather than taxing it for their own benefit.

    By the way, financial services has as much moral fibre as drug smuggling and prostitution, so its not one of the ‘greenest’ or people friendly sectors to be encouraging, is it? And as a society we get what we sow. Do we really want some of the BS that the London city square mile generates? Thats one Luas trip I would pay to avoid!

    Maybe we should be saying to this offer, “thanks, but no thanks”, not for financial reasons but for societal reasons, which is what we should be optimising, right? I know, its not capitalism or economics …..


  25. G

    This is precisely the thinking that has led the world to ruin.

    Yet another effort to give these guys a ‘safe low tax haven’, we can hardly complain then when Poland attracts away jobs from Limerick, or MNC’s relocate to Thailand, this is all part of the same corrupt game, the race downwards.

    Instead, if the governments of the world could find the political will and introduce legislation that would regulate the banksters and place major blocks on speculative capital, and capital flights, in South Korea ‘business people’ were threatened with the death penalty if they moved capital abroad, according to Stiglitz, this shored up the economy, preventing an economic meltdown.

    This is depressing stuff David, the IFSC should be wrapped up because we can’t play with the big boys, we refuse to regulate, as the FT said, ‘cosy capitalism at its worst’ – instead of the financial services we should aim to create a sustainable economy, with real jobs which contribute to our society and world at large.

    IFSC jobs raised a small amount in tax revenue, but the overall consequences were a massive net negative, this coupled with De Tocqueville’s ‘democratic despots’ has led Ireland to failed state status.

    We need to run over a new page, not go back over old ways.

    Micheal Martin is even talking of creating a financial services centre in Cork, can’t we do better than this bankrupt thinking.

  26. MK1

    I wrote my post above before I read the comments of others. For once I had time and I read them all – so nteresting then to read many similar thoughts such as drugs, prostitution, mobility, London competing, etc, etc, such as in comments from Ruari, AndrewG and Tim plus others.

    I do think that David article was concentrating on ghe job creation aspect rather than on us being a cosy location for a nefarious sector. I cant remember who posted it but it is true that few sectors are squeaky clean, even if they wear white coats such as in Pharma or in ‘clean-room’ Intel plants.

    > Tell every politician what you think of them on a frequent basis: — emails, phone calls, letters, buckets of water, pints of beer, and make it a Gogarty special.


    • G

      “I cant remember who posted it but it is true that few sectors are squeaky clean”

      hardly the basis for accepting the proposal that more bankers/finanical services people is what Ireland needs……….why don’t we try to clean-up our system, is it so impossible? Are we so limited as a people?

      • Ruairí

        Agree G. Hardly limited as a people. No, we have fine potential. But our present leadership is limited. This article is addressed to Brian Lenihan as he finds himself today 14/12/09. Its a tactic, not a strategy.
        I would take Philip’s caveat quite strongly though (about such a win being quickly lost, my old oil co boss used to refer to this as false volume); as tactics that are not part of an overarching strategy are about as good as the laws of chance.

        Of course we must demand high standards of ourselves. But David is being pragmatic and referring to one niche of our economy where a major employment shoe is about to drop: – retail banking.
        A second one will drop when our IFSC becomes uncompetitive due to being technologically behind also.


    The Brits put their faith in financial services 30 years ago and look @ the mess they are in.Sterling is a jelly currency, the cost of housing in the south of the UK is beyond almost everybody and propping up Fred Godwin and his ilk is costing hundreds of billions.Seanie and Fingers mark 2 are the last thing Ireland needs.The channel Islands /Isle of Man are welcome to these parasites.Rubbish article.You Mr Mc are slipping.

  28. Deco

    Here is an update on the Greek Tragedy.

    Greece is stuck between an Acropolis and a hard place. The Greek standard of living, is (to paraphrase Dick Cheny), not up for negotiation. This will infuriate Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels.

    Interestingly enough, once again we have to rely on a news media organization on another country to tell us that financial institutions based in Ireland are exposed to the Greek state bond debacle. This reminds me of the Depfa scandal, when the German media was telling the German citizens about what was happening. And at the same time The Irish Times, RTE and IndoNews Media were looking the other way and completely ignoring what was going on in the IFSC. This was because the Irish media were concerned at the time that it might undermine the ISEQ.

    According to the writer, it seems as Ireland is the second most exposed country in an tragedy that is all Greek to me.

    Greece is about to find out that it will get reduced EU subsidies unless it starts tackling it’s public debt. It is clearly outside the realm of possibility to the Greek government that it can more efficiently organize the provision of social services from the state. The Greek government, suffer from an “Ahernian Delusion”.

    • AndrewGMooney

      erm, it may all be Greek to you Deco, but let me test my understanding on you….

      A ‘left-wing’ Greek govt inherits a ‘right-wing’ Govt whose were mathematically challenged such that their budget sums are pure fantasy. No one at the ECB (or the exposed IFSC) ever wondered how Greece had achieved such wonderful y/o/y GDP growth without ever once bothering to come under the 3% rule. Now Greece has the balls to raise the middle finger and say Eat It! to Axel Weber and Trichet, both of whom can’t stand still long enough to have a heart attack cuz he’s on a plane to Vienna to fire-fight/contain another Depfa blow-up. You couldn’t make this up! No amount of my surrealist verbiage could possible capture the unfolding (un)reality.
      The Greeks of course have now promised ‘urgent action’, as in 3 months of consultations with various factions. That’s Greek time, as in Manana. But then Angela will get all Germanic on Greece’s ass, and just stamp her foot down and take over:

      Poor old Edward Hugh at ‘A Fistful Of Euros’ is in a right old tizzy. Site takes ages to load but great live action commentary on The Greek Tragedy as prelude to The Spanish Euro War of 2010:

      NB: I’m commenting here again in response to Irish invitations / pleas / goads to do so.

  29. Deco

    Intersting article.
    I know of accountants who are packing shelves in supermarkets.
    I know of solicitors who are so desperate for work that they are stopping Eastern Europeans on the street and at Dublin Airport, promising them money if they bring cases against their employers.
    I even heard of a former bank manager collecting shopping trolleys in a supermarket car park.
    Auctioneers are doing nothing. And they are inately skilled at selling a ‘pig in a poke’ scenarios which make them perfect for financial services.

    The skilled professionals at the top of the ladder in London are worth a lot of money to the areas where they live and work. And Brown is a PR oriented leader – basically he mke all sorts of reckless and stupid decisions if it means that he can improve the voter preference in the ‘focus groups’ that New Labour are continually working with to assess their power base.

    We are broke, and we have to be open to any idea that might get us out of this whole. In fact such loadsamoney types might bring life to the completely messed up property market in the salubrious suburbs. And this is better news than having these McMansion properties being taken over by NAMA.

    However there is a Faustian pact aspect to this deal. Do we really know what we are getting ourselves in for ? And besides the German government will be watching any new developments in the IFSC with a microscope. Merkel will not allow the IFSC to start an Age of Depfa 2.0. A quick series of phone calls to Brussels, Frankfurt, and Paris and that will be the end of it. Unless it is done very quietly.

    Besides, I am sure you heard the old joke from years back, when CJH was practically in control of the old Dublin Corporation, in the days of a FF-ILP overall majority where decision making became completely unaccountable…

    ..The mafia came to Dublin, to set up an operation….but they quickly realised that they were no openings for them because the locals had everything under wraps….so they left because they realised that they were no match for the local establishment.

    Do the loadsamoney types have any idea how crooked everything is in this country ? I can see them getting nabbed by our homegrown insider set.

  30. Woooooow , David you must have had one too many beers in Kilkenny on Friday , as You must be Joking ,….Invite these useless gambling clowns over here , they have wrecked the entire system and you want to bring more of them here .
    London is falling apart , let it !.
    The Monetary system as we know it is falling apart , let it !
    Now Governmental debts are been tested and you want these guys to bring their Families over too so they can infest our schools , forget it !.
    This is Not the Economic road we need to go down…….
    Or maybe this is your Comedy script for The Panel and you just got mixed up when filing with your S.B.P. editor !

  31. Deco

    I want you to look a the photograph in the attached link…..and observe the number of lorries in the traffic bound north for the border.

    Not only are the retail sector in Leinster inable to to compete with retail North of the border, but it appears that the ports in the East coast are also incapable of competing with the ports of Warrenpoint and Larne.

    This picture was intended to show us the trail of traffic going north in the morning through Co.Louth. However there is also a serious problem with respect to competitiveness of our ports sector. If anything is it even worse than in retail.

    I estimate that in the north bound lane there are sixty cars, three vans, and five articulate lorries. The vans might be shopping or might be delivering produce (like food) from the South to Northern shops. But the number of lorries appears higher than average. Yet nobody seems to be pointing the finger at the Dublin Ports Authority – which I think controls all the ports north of Arklow. Was it not true that Bertie Ahern appointed somebody to be CEO of Dublin Port, because he was a member of the Drumcondra mafia – even though the said party activists knew nothing about ships or shipping ??

    This is the price that we pay for nepotism and quango-nomics in our economy. Business runs awat from these quangos and their incompetent managment teams.

    And there you see it in a picture.

    • Deco

      The estimate of 20 cars, five lorries, and 3 vans was just for part of the M1. I could not count accurately into the horizon. However I think that it fairly obvious that there is a significant movement to use Northern ports despite the geographical inconvenience.

      It also makes you wonder about what effect the port tunnel is having, as well as the ban on HGVs through the city centre.

    • AndrewGMooney

      I’ve looked at the photo. Squabbles about internal price disequilibriums on the island of Ireland are a questionable distractionat best.
      There’s no amount of Deflation that Ireland could induce/endure that will solve this ‘cost competitiveness’ problem you fixate on without writing down existing debt in a Euro wide Jubilee.

      Having caught the wrong train ticket last year, Germany is going to Exit Emergency Finance asap, then ratchet down the Darling imposed ‘decadent Keynsian stimulated cost-base more, and more, and more and more. Until they finally have the hyper-deflationary disaster that they seem to want/need to balance Weimer. It’s some kind of WW1/WW2 PTSD thing. And now the truth’s out about pimping German ‘neutrality’ to the UK/US Af-Pak, things are getting seriously freaky for Angela. No wonder the Pimp My Merkel taunts!

      ‘Tax and True Nature Of Military Role Taunt Merkel’

      I’d focus on the relative cost of housing between Ireland and Germany and how in hell you’re gonna ‘compete’ against that once Angela and Nicholas banjax the euro-mortgage-funding model via their new Financial Overseer Michel Barnier, so that Ireland can never have a house price recovery. Evva!

      Didn’t anyone put that one on the blue-sky thinking awayday whiteboard before they put the NAMA millstone round Ireland’s neck?

      Of course the ruthless Darling soon castrated Barnier, put a fist in Sarkosy’s gob, put a stop to Sarkosy’s boasting that the English were ‘losers’:

      Stop posturing Nicholas and put your ‘draconian’ Bankster Taxes where your loose mouth is, the paucity and weakness of which will give the French people yet another cause to regret your presence in the Elysee Palace. Careful with that jogging, look at poor aul Bertosconi, I mean Bertolucci. Another prize prat.

      Deco: How much is the average 2 bed apartment in a worker drone suburb of Frankfurt, Dusseldorf or Berlin compared to Dublin, Cork or Galway? Until there’s cost equivalence there as well as elsewhere, how can Ireland ‘compete’ with Germany? Lenihan needs to go on RTE and tell his ‘compatriots’ that that’s what ‘internal devaluation/deflation’ really points towards. Or hasn’t he realised this? In what way can house prices go up 1% y/o/y to the NAMA sunlit uplands whilst the wages and salaries required to support those mortgages are going in the opposite direction.

      I’m all ears. J’ecoute……

  32. econarchist

    The worst thing about the tax-cutting race to the bottom is that it reinforces the Irish mentality that we can only succeed by diverting other people’s wealth in our direction. This wealth was created by other people’s brain-power and labour but we fool ourselves that we are one of the world’s greatest exporters of software, pharmaceuticals etc..

    This is just another form of the cute-hoorism and gombeenism that got the country to where it is today.

    FDI by multinationals was originally a good idea to kick-start the economy, but we should have moved beyond that stage of dependency by now. Ireland might be desperate for revenue at the moment but in the long term it would be better off by standing on its own two feet and using its own people and resources to build up its own industries.

  33. wills

    Posters -

    The more I reads this article the more sick it makes me feel,..

  34. A Monk°s Purse –
    We are in the Age of Aquarius where speed and wind communicate faster than before and this progression will increase as times passes. Round Towers were built by the monks to protect their intellectual property and we should repeat that process to build and create wealth.
    I am proposing that – castled in wall round tower – free zone area should be initiated that has no allegiance to country or foe and has the freedom to do only one thing and that is – make money under any rules it wishes and with low taxes.
    Then let nobody cast a stone at the banker when he wears his insignia to fight to death without rules .Then something will have changed and the wind passes by.

  35. Ruairí

    Wills, Andrew G Mooeny, you will both enjoy this snippet from today’s Daily reckoning; perhaps you have read it already (the newsletter predates the website content): -

    “It’s open season on bankers. But the hunters are shooting blanks!

    First, Britain said it would impose a 50% super-tax on their bonuses. Then, Sarkozy said he would do the same thing. Angela Merkel merely said that she found the idea ‘charming.’

    As for the US, the argument goes on. Goldman has tried to head it off with various gestures. Its top man said the firm wasn’t just trying to make money; it was doing “God’s work.” No kidding. We couldn’t make this stuff up.

    How Mr. Blankfein knows what God wants him to do, we can’t tell you. But it was certainly a bold public relations move to suggest it. ”

    If the God the refer to is Mammon, then he will be at home in Ireland. Out with the old (ye old bishoprics and naves) and in with da new (investment banks and Porsche showrooms).

    • Ruairí

      Sorry Andrew G, didn’t mean to subliminally depict you as a Moonie

      • AndrewGMooney

        Your subliminal radar is not awry.

        Yes, I am my own cult, but Fate dictates I will be crucified on a cross of global, religious fame / hanged in Kilmainham gaol, etc.

        Moonie. Mooney. Moonwobble. Moonwalk. MJ is not dead. He was intercepted in the Bardo by yours truly. We are now a Unified Non-Physical Astral Entity.

        Did I mention I danced at the first ever World Irish Dancing Feis in Parnell Square in 1970? I’m sure I did. I came 4th. Because I was English. Some lad from Dundalk walked off with it. How many people in that hall approached me and said ‘you were robbed’?

        I had won EVERY feis I’d been to in England for the previous 2 years. The house, shed and attic were crammed to the gills with current trophies, replica trophies, shields the size of a door emblazoned with medals. It was fun whilst it lasted. But I don’t do ‘disrespect’. I never danced again. I left all that to that Flatley character. And MJ.

        Although I notice the old toes are starting to tap-tap-tap again. Sounds like a bodhran beat. It’s probably nothing. Hope it’s not another war-drum Anthem To Uprising I’ve got to spend all night in the studio dealing with. It’s hard work, this Cultural Engineer / Maverick Genius malarkey.

        Mad Plastic Paddy From Brum
        20:12, 20/12, 2012.
        Whelan’s/Croke Park. Venue T.B.C

        ‘The World Championships first took place in Dublin, Ireland in 1970 at Coláiste Mhuire, a school in Parnell Square.’

  36. Ruairí

    And Wills, more of same, re AIG and Goldman: – the link is here

    “The Financial Times calls it a “war on greed.” But it’s a bogus war. What is really going on is that both sides are conspiring to share money that doesn’t belong to them. The Wall Street Journal, for example, revealed more of the real dealings between AIG and Goldman. AIG had guaranteed billions worth of Goldman’s dodgy mortgage deals. If AIG went down, Goldman would lose a lot of money. So, when the feds stepped in to “save western civilization as we know it,” they were really saving Goldman. Western civilization would have been better off if they had all taken their losses and gone to wherever willing investors and lenders sent them. Instead, the feds put up the taxpayers’ money…and the bankers got their bonuses.

    The show must go on. And now, the government pretends to punish the bankers, the bankers pretend to suffer.


    It does bolster my point however, Andrew G Mooney, that Western governments, in general, are not doing the will of the people.

    Incidentally, Alistair Darling’s Machiavellian proportions will be severely tested in keeping Brittania inside the world’s top 10 economies, according to the same source. We shall see how it pans out. Can’t find that article just at the minute but its in there somewhere!!

    • wills

      Ruairi -

      Thanks for link.

      One thing that strikes me, the reason for BRICs growing faster than all else comes down too them out of reach from investor banksters like goldman and city of london.

      The time has arrived for a line in the sand on syndicate casino financial instrument bubble banking.

      They must be closed down, to invite in to your country is akin too inviting terrorists in and giving them the run of the place.

      D’s article is pretending the last 2 years never happened.

      I still can’t believe what he wrote.

      • wills

        The global investment banks through inside dealing are robbing us all, they’ve buried themselves into the gut’s of the real economy like a tape worm and it is eating everything up.

        I am utterly astounded every day that so few other people are blind to this and cannot see what is actually taken place in broad daylight in front of everybody.

        The banks knew they inflated a credit bubble. They knew it would burst. They knew the taxpayer would be blackmailed into bailing them all out. And they knew they could then start robbing the taxpayer.

        Where does this madness end.

        Bankers taking bonuses from taxpayers bail outs is not capitalism or socialism its out and out theft.

        Where are the police, has anyone been sent too jail.

        Only madoff~

        and D is inviting criminal banksters too dublin.

        You can’t make this stuff up, to quote someone.

  37. G

    This so called ‘chance’ may not be so golden

    The fundamental questions must be asked:

    Who are we as a people? Are we simply fumbling in the global greasy till with very dubious characters? Is everything our forefathers struggled for to be reduced to ‘virtual transactions’ which benefit a few to the detriment of the many?

    Are we intent on building an economy or a society which cherishes its people and looks after those who for whatever reason need a helping hand?

    Are we champions of profit or people?

    Market fundamentalists or decent human beings?

    Are we chasing the bottom dollar or aspiring to a higher existence?

    Our time is finite, sometimes shorter than even we can imagine.

    We have a choice, do we draw a line and say enough of these pointless sheannigans and restore Ireland to some sort of decent moral, ethical, socially democratic footing, or do we as David seems to advocate continue further down a failed track, somehow ‘benefitting’ from attempts by another State to restrict/pull in a system which has brought the world to the financial abyss (the developing world has been pushed into that abyss, but you won’t hear their cries in the compliant media).

    It’s not much of a choice – we have to do the right thing, and that means turning away from the neoliberal model which foists debt on the shoulders of the young, trapping them for life (wage slavery), drives wages downwards, advocates ruthless individual competition, exploitation of people who are cast on the dung heap once their youth and utility have been used up, is that we want? Is that what Ireland has been reduced to?

    If so, then the whole struggle, the whole 800 years, all those risings, all that suffering, all that effort by those who refused to do a deal, refused the Quisling shilling of Empire,but instead sought dignity, liberty and freedom, has been sold off cheaply and wasn’t worth a God dam thing.

    Dam those who make their money like parasites off the labour and suffering of others, those in the international financial system who demand repayment ($25,000 per minute from sub-saharan Africa), the arms traders (major States) whose weapons fuel conflicts and divisions in the poorest countries, who talk ‘peace’ but drop bombs.

    It’s our call, not those in the Dail who talk of pay decreases of 15% but actually take 5%, who make the low paid feel the neoliberal lash, those who created this crisis by sitting on their asses doing nothing or actively colluding.

    • paulmcd


      For anyone who may have been listening to the comparison with Finland on RTE’s Friday night news, I contacted the embassy of Finland today to find out the salary of their Prime Minister (impossible to find on Internet) and have come up with the following figures for comparison without any ADJUSTMENTS, ie, AT-THE-END-OF-THE-DAY Lenihan-Like OBFUSCATION:

      FINLAND MAXimum salary for a Finnish MP = €75,600 after 12 years service = 2.3 x Average Earnings in Finland, 32,000 euros

      FINLAND Minimum salary for a Finnish MP = €70,320 = 2.2 x Average Earnings in Finland, 32,000 euros

      IRELAND: Minimum Post-budget TD salary = €92,500 = 2.6 x Average Earnings in Ireland, 35,000 euros

      Post-Budget2010, Irish TD will be paid 132% of Finnish MP (Average Irish worker = 110% of Average Finnish worker)

      Salary of Prime Ministers (Finland V Ireland)

      Finnish PM = 158,000 euros per annum = 4.9 x Average Finnish Earnings

      An Taoiseach (Post-Budget) = 228,466 euros = 6.5 Average Irish Earnings

      Post-Budget2010, An Taoiseach will be paid 145% of Finland’s Prime Minister (Average Irish worker = 110% of Average Finnish worker)

      The Trade Unions should look at the ADJUSTMENTS in the REPORT and come up with comparable “adjustments” for their members. Public-service workers would do well out of such a review.


      • MK1

        Hi Paulmcd,

        Its useful to use ratio’s based on average incomes, and I think we should do that for all incomes in a country. Its also useful to see the ratio’s in relation to the minimum wage in that country, as well as hours worked per annum, actuals.

        That could be carried out (revenue have most of the data) and with some household surveys and we could compare the same jobs across many countries in the EU. Ratio wise as well as absolute.

        The figures would need to tally gross salary cost, so for us thats employers PRSI which is hefty. Net income less tax is useless to compare as it varies too much depending on what a country provides in services, and it can vary depending on the level of gov borrowing, etc.

        Ratios can be done for social welfare rates as well. Thus on budget day, etc, and in wage negotiations, people are using average + CPI as a basis for the new position. Raw numbers are not a good idea.

        In relation to this I heard no fanfare that the tax credits were left the same and in a deflationary cycle doesnt that mean wage increases for everyone, including Public Sector workers!!


      • AndrewGMooney

        Finland has other priorities than overpaying it’s politicians:

        It prefers to use taxpayer resources to seed future wealth rather than squander it on nonsense. Looking for the next Nokia:

        ‘Game Industry in Finland – The Fastest Growing Sector of the Creative Economy’.

        Finland is the ‘invisible hand’ made visible by Tax-Payer Capitalism with profits shared for all model. Rather than the ‘invisible hand’ of Tax-Fund Capitalists with their Rentier pick-pocketing backstopped by peonage enfeebled serfs.

        Helsinki, Dublin and London must each choose how best to balance hosting footloose parasitic Capital such as to engender long-term symbiotic Capital that bakes a bigger cake with a slice for all. The recipe is to be found in merging my book ‘The Theory Of Moral Sentiments’ with another of my books called ‘The Wealth of Nations’. I am channeling this recipe through Alastair Darling.

        Adam Smith 2.0 Web 3.0 aka:
        Mad Paddy From Brum

      • paulmcd

        CLARIFICATION: The RTE report suggested that An Taoiseach was paid 25% more than Finland’s PM.

        An Taoiseach (Pre-Budget salary assumed, though not stated, by Brian Lenihan in Budget statement) = 285,583 euros = 8.2 Average Irish Earnings

        Pre-Budget 2010, An Taoiseach’s official salary = 181% of Finland’s Prime Minister

        What hope is there for us when the Department of Finance officials – or, RTE Officials? – interpret an 81% difference to be a mere 25%?

        The exact wording on page 27 of the Report: “The adjusted income of the Finnish head of government, which was banded along with the Taoiseach, is only 75% of that applying to the Taoiseach.”

        RTE should have interpreted the above as a difference of plus another one-third in favour of the Taoiseach.

    • Mr G. you are spot on the mark here the fundamentals within the spectra of the Irish ethos and cultural education and political system , is now due not an over haul but a full de commissioning , we only took the bombs from the northen streets the shooters just travelled down south.
      We have been over generations beaten and kept down by some faceless over lord be it church or state and the flock mentality , we knock success and collectively envious when others around go up the social and economic ladder. We enjoy when They fall too , but down it’s a Global Problem
      Our National Media is such an mess even on a production level and the feeble attempt at telling the Truth , they don’t all it gives us is a governmental approved line . Where on RTE do they ever Question the Cost of our elected political class ?, they don’t they are the pay masters and Pat , Gay and Gerry and Joe are mere spokes d.j’s for the public ! and we pay our tv license so They won’t jail us ! .
      If it takes one or two years to get to an election , so be it and US here have to work now for our selves and those around and below us , if we are not to leave our children’s children a debt the day they enter this world . No there is a better way.
      I have now also increased pressure on my local FF TD and I will with the ballot paper take him on next time , As I know I can run a town of 7000 better than the old drunk cute whores we have the length and breath of Ireland .
      We are not Broke as a Nation , we built New York and London our roots take us to Argentina and New Found land we run top Global brands and Pubs across the world . What we have to do is get rid of the lot of them the whole political grouping FF FG Lab, and SF . As when a MANDATE is put forward of a TD salary been just double the average wage , with prison for non compliance .
      This next Decade could be truly one of our most amazing , if collectively within the western nations and Aus ,NZ we work with Africa , China and India instead of competing with.
      The trouble now is our drinking , if we sobered up ( stopped 2 odd years back and took up golf on Seanie’s smart advice one day ) we would see what Biffo and Garlic man are doing , now this lot cannot and don’t really want to fix this mess,
      But we have to get Real , I’m a director also with a new charity based in Nigeria , there while ‘we here know their oil wealth’ down there when Abraham asked how things were back here? ( where his mid wife and three children are for ten years )
      He nervously interrupted me with a laugh and said Moiseur Brendan ,…I have to save my generator. We here forget we have switches and Power at our hands.
      oh and I enjoyed both Vincent and Pat’s efforts this Monday night . !

    • coldblow

      Get hold of Crotty’s “Ireland in Crisis” and a good history for the historical background. Or read the best imaginative literature, perhaps starting with Kavanagh’s “Tarry Flynn”.

      “everything our forefathers struggled for”, “are we champions of profit or people”, “the whole struggle… has been sold off cheaply”, “are we chasing the bottom dollar?”

      Well the answer to the last question has been “yes” for a very long time in my view. Those who stepped into the colonizers’ shoes stoutly defended their privileges: private property being at the core. People couldn’t wait to emigrate and then inexplicably professed fond memories of “home”. For those who stayed and were propertyless or without a professional or other sinecure life was hard: starvation wages for the dwindling manufacturing workforce or the thin end of the stick as a spalpeen.

      My parents tell me that it was not uncommon for a neighbour to return from a trip to town on a high because a shop keeper had been unexpectedly civil. My mother recalls the IRA knocking on their door one night about 90 years ago and her father refusing to open up – he said they were poor and the IRA had nothing for them. (I didn’t understand that at first.)

      What we are seeing now is the Insiders circling the wagons again, in time honoured fashion. “What we have we hold.” Crotty could see no future for Ireland because of the economic and social reality (I hope he was wrong) but held out the faint hope that if any ex-colony could find an imaginative solution this was the place. David here is also looking for ways to solve it and seems to be putting his hopes in a sophisticated, can-do young generation which we never had before.

      I’m just addressing one aspect of your post, whose sentiments we all agree with.

      By the way, apropos nothing you said here, I think the Church is really a red herring in all this. That review of Tintan’s book struck me as rather confused.

      • G

        will check out Crotty this evening and JJ Lee’s Ireland 1912 – 85, as mentioned in review of O’Toole’s book, which has been well received I believe.

        “My parents tell me that it was not uncommon for a neighbour to return from a trip to town on a high because a shop keeper had been unexpectedly civil. ” – think that says a lot, explains a few things as well.

        “For those who stayed and were propertyless or without a professional or other sinecure life was hard: starvation wages for the dwindling manufacturing workforce or the thin end of the stick as a spalpeen. “- agreed – not so sure about the ‘can do generation’ think it overblown, they will be hitting the planes and ships I sense.

        Do believe in job creation (absolute priority – not of the government though), but not in the financial sector, that is a bust flush, we need to play to our comparative advantage, and that certainly isn’t.

        • coldblow

          I should clarify that as far as I can tell most people were decent, it was the system that was at fault. As I recall Crotty refers to the factors of production being out of sync., land and capital vis a vis labour (then) or something like that. He has examples of job creation costing more than the end product was worth, of capital being made cheaply available to favoured individuals (who invested outside the country), of the costs of attracting FDI etc etc. (This chimes with the view of one blogger who describes the semi-states as being organized primarily for the benefit of their work-forces.) Crotty called for a massive shrinkage of the state, which he saw as the enemy of the people as in all 3rd World ex-colonies, tax on land and property, and a corresponding fixed payment to everyone regardless of other income, plus a sov. default (like DMcW he said that after an initial unfavourable reaction the rest of the world would get over it). I’m sure NAMA would have given him a heart attack.

          On the other hand I’d be in favour of the state taking the initiative to halt the present deflationary spiral, But could you trust an Irish gov. to do this fairly and impartially? Confused? I am.

          DMcW ends his present book with the implied hope that the present younger generation will do things their own way. The Pope’s Generation ends with the hope that energized returning emigrants with experience of the world would transform things. It kind of reminds me of the end of 1984 (faith in the proletariat) but nobody else is coming up with anything better, or indeed with anything at all (see Michael Taft’s latest post on his Notes from the Front blog). All we have at present is the sound of portcullises, and heads, being lowered.

  38. Tim

    Folks, ok; knowing what ire I will receive from “certain quarters” after posting this and nothwithstanding the fact that all FF members receive these emails, not just me, here is my terse reply to (supposedly – though I know he didn’t type it) An Taoiseach’s email to me (it’s underneathe my reply).

    I just think that you deserve to read what is sent to all FF members.

    Here it is:

    No, Brian; this budget will not help the economy – it will accelerate the deflationary spiral that you set in motion last year.

    This budget is not “difficult for everyone”, as you state. It is not difficult for people like you, on high incomes.

    This budget means that I can no longer pay all my bills; It is a matter of about two months until I am pushed, by your salary cuts, levies, etc, into default on my mortgage.

    Your stewardship of our economy is bringing my family to ruin.

    Yours sincerely,

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Brian Cowen
    To: Tim Nelligan
    Sent: Friday, December 11, 2009 2:34 PM
    Subject: Renewing Our Confidence


    This week’s Budget is a crucial step on Ireland’s road to recovery.

    We have to show the international markets that we are capable of getting our economy back on track. Confidence is the gold standard in today’s global economy.

    Our actions are already improving international perceptions of Ireland, and will help us to continue to attract the investment on which we depend. Read some international reactions to the Budget here:

    However, the Budget involves decisions which will, for obvious reasons, be unwelcome to many people around the country. Reducing our deficit, curtailing expenditure, and restoring balance to the public finances will not be easy. This Budget is difficult for everyone.

    These steps must be taken, and taken now. It would certainly not be fair to saddle future generations – our children – with more debt.

    I’m acutely aware of the difficulty and the pain these cuts will cause people. We had to take these difficult decisions so we can move forward again. We do this, not because we want to, but because we must for the good of the country.

    It is a priority for this Party to protect existing jobs and create new ones. The introduction of a new employer PRSI exemption for new employees, which will reduce the cost of creating new jobs, will help to get the economy moving again.

    We are also prioritising projects with the most immediate positive impact on jobs and growth. This Budget is the start of a new phase – where we begin to create sustainable jobs as the global economy begins to pick up.

    You can find out more about how the Budget will affect you and your family and the steps we are taking to get Ireland back on the road to economic recovery here:

    Ireland can come through these testing times. We will be strengthened for the future, having learned the lessons of the unexpected full-scale crisis, both domestic and global, that we have had to face.

    Realism and solidarity will help us through the difficult times, and renew our confidence for the future.

    Yours sincerely,

    Brian Cowen, T.D.
    This email was sent to:

    To unsubscribe, go to:

  39. Tim

    Folks, the email I received today, purporting to be from Brian Cowen (and my reply) are “awaiting moderation” for some reason.

    I don’t know if you will get to read them, as Ronan may decide not to publish or, since ther will be another article on Wednesday, you may by-pass it.

    However, I have tried to let you know what is sent to all FF members.

  40. Alan42

    Every bit of foreign investment that brings jobs ,and tax revenue is to be welcomed .

  41. Allez Les Bleu:
    Sarkozy has capped salaries of French Bankers too .Why was D selective in attracting only British Bankers?

    • AndrewGMooney

      I don’t think many French bankers will be heading for Dublin any time soon. Unless you can persuade Thierry Henry to do a Va-Va-Voom promo for Ireland. Good luck with that one!

  42. A Wheelie Bin :
    In another Time when wealth and transfer technology including printing money in gold were been robbed The Monks decided to castlelise their production units and in doing so protected their future wealth production.They did this by creating round towers with a high out of reach entry point.We need to learn from this and I believe this what D has in mind.
    Should a new concept of Soverign Principality Protected Gold Zones be created in strategic locations with their own laws and independent Financial Regulations ( or lack of it to be precise) we can tolerate the banking lawlessness then .As long as they are not our own retail banks in our money zones.
    This is The Age of Aquarius and the Wind of Change is around us so we need to adapt like the Monks and round the sides instead so they wind passes safely.

  43. Morning all, David here;

    First, thanks for all the comments. I can see that this idea has caused some consternation.

    Well indignation ain’t going to get us out of this mess and a well regulated, proper investment banking industry is an industry worth having. In fact, it is highly likely with global imbalances such as they are, (by this I mean the global current account imbalances), international banking and the movement of money around the globe from countries that don’t want to spend it – the surplus countries (China, Germany, The Gulf and Japan) to countries that do want the cash – (the rest), is going to continue. If the banks are the brokers in this game, which they are, I believe that this is a business worth having. The only question for us is whether we regulate the business properly. Surely this is not beyond us. (I know the cynics will say it is, but we can’t give up on ourselves)

    If indignation is not a policy, neither is retribution the solution.

    I have been relentless in by criticism of the bankers – way before it became fashionable – however, I can see their job creation potential as well as tax raising potential. In Follow the Money, I was highly critical of the “Red Light District of European finance” which we created in the IFSC, catering for every fetish and weird practice…but we can change this. Taking advantage of an opportunity that has presented itself strikes me a a good tactic when the rest of the economy is imploding around us.

    Yours in hope, David

    • Alan42

      Good to see you are back to your positive self and I agree with your article and post . However I have not heard anything much about reversing the light touch regulation that exists in the IFSC .
      Would tighter regulation not put off the banks from relocating here ?

    • G


      If you are reading these posts then you know my stance.

      I firmly believe you are completely deluded. We have proven remarkably well that we are completely incapable of regulation, we couldn’t do then and we can’t do it now.

      Our international reputation is in the toilet, no one in their right mind (as you well know) would touch Ireland in light of events at Anglo and elsewhere, we are a borderline Greece, failed state, too risky by far.

      But it’s not even that – the moral and ethical reasons for not getting involved in the so-called ‘international financial services’ or world speculation coupled with giant property ponzi schemes, are self-evident. It is a cruel and violent numbers game that is enslaving the world.

      Going back into Dante’s inferno is not the course for Ireland, the price of another failure, as we process the current one, is too great for the State (i.e. its people who have to pick up the tab – socialising risk, privatising profit) while the the actions of banksters or the externalities for developing countries (financial exploitation on a massive scale), which are never factored in, are pernicious and despicable, surely we are above such disgraceful machinations.

    • Morning David and all,
      The article caused me less consternation than the way Pat Kenny tried to “spin” the DoF message last night. Lets all be happy, the worst is over, don’t listen to the naysayers. Everytime David tried to finish a point, Kenny jumped to the next topic or Government stooge.
      When are these boys going to understand we have the Internet and access to real time information?
      On that subject, since AIB.IR is tanking and currently stands at 1.12, why won’t the naughty markets accept we have passed all our hurdles, protected our bankers, nailed our peasants to the floor?
      What more do we have to do?
      Round up all the usual negative suspects and intern them?
      Shut down the internet?
      As far as the article goes, I’d be more morally concerned about the level of hi-tech military equipment we export than trying to keep control over some high achieving barrow boys.
      Good to see you dropping in David.

      Merry Christmas to all.

      • Tim

        Furrylugs, Kenny is very rude to many people and he has no interest in the truth;

        therefore, he was always going to be rude to DMcW last night. Now, as for the “plants” in the audience to deflect attention from any truth David let slip: Was that Ulick McEvaddy in the front row? (One of Seanie’s top ten Golden-circle names); and I saw a ministerial adviser that I know, pretending to be in the private sector and saying he has a pay-cut!

    • tony_murphy

      Hi David,

      I believe that people should be remunerated relative to the value they add to society. Many bankers wouldn’t get paid in my world.

      Many bankers are simply parasites.

      The stock market, currency exchange etc is out of control. Investment banks with lots of money and their sophisticated IT based trading systems manipulate everything. The hire Einstein type mathematicians to write sophisticated programs to do this work. The spend their days dreaming up exotic ways of making money for themselves and give then nice harmless acronyms like CDS or SPV. Many add little of no value to society.

      I don’t know if I’m a socialist – but it feels like I’m heading in that direction.

      I don’t agree with a bloated welfare state, where people who can work don’t. I do believe in looking after people who can’t work. I was not a fan of unions, I don’t need one at the moment, if I don’t like my job or I’m not getting paid enough, then I find another better paying job. However, I can now see the value of unions in todays world. Nurses and Teachers need them.

      I do understand that your job is economics, and part of that work involves thinking about job creation and your ideas are much needed.

      While I’m probably very naive – and the whole economy would most likely collapse if my ideas where implemented, but I believe no good can come of money generated by these bankers. They have no morals. I live and work in UK for now, and if I knew when the bankers were leaving, I’d go to Heathrow to wave them all off (assuming they were going somewhere other than Ireland).

      I’d say Ireland is well down the list in terms of international sentiment – probably well towards the bottom. Ireland needs a complete new credible government and banking system.

      If Ireland had a government with good morals, and there was good regulation then I would be more likely to agree.

      • AndrewGMooney

        The cleaners who clean up the daily detritus after the merchant bankers have gone off for a coke/bukkake unwind, will also clean up the mess made by the merchant banker’s ‘risk modelling’. They’ll clean up the mess with their taxes and those of their children.

        ‘Cleaners worth more to society than bankers says thintank’

        Bankers should just drop their pants and take six of the best and leave Darling’s office in silence. They were trusted to play in the chemistry labs unsupervised. They ran amok and have left a trail of stinkbombs all around the school. Clearly they will have to be supervised more closely from now on.

        The politics of Fair Play is not the same as the Politics of Envy and Class War. Just ask ‘incorrigible socialist’ Warren Buffet: ‘I should pay more tax, says US billionaire Warren Buffett’

    • paulmcd

      David, If anyone says: “We are where we are” with regard to Ireland, I hope you will snap their heads off. We are in the situation today where the major US banks either have already paid back TARP funds or are planning to do so. Part of the reason for this is that their major competitors were allowed to fail with a consequent improvement in the outlook for the survivors. Also, over the past year, regional banks catering for markets the size of Ireland have been allowed to fail at an average rate of 2 per week. Meanwhile here in Ireland, Genius Lenihan is trying to rescue all financial institutions. You, and others, have highlighted the outrageous folly of spending billions of taxpayer funds to bail out the bondholders of institutions which are not systemically important.

      It won’t surprise me if Anglo and Irish Nationwide will turn out to be the 2 straws which will finally snap the moribund and toothless pussycat’s back.

      Alistair Darling’s measure is being touted as a one-off, and smacks of too little, too late. If only Darling had acted sooner! If only he had introduced a super tax on bonuses in the early part of this decade. With luck the Masters of the Universe would have upped sticks to implode markets elsewhere, sooner. Since we were aping the UK market we might have taken measures to prevent the catastrophe which has happened; though I admit that I am optimistically and unrealistically assuming a Government of average intelligence and with a minimum of foresight here in Ireland.

      • AndrewGMooney

        paulmcd: Alastair Darling was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer on 28 June 2007 by The Project v2 so could not have intervened earlier in the decade. Like Lenihan, he’s a lawyer, and had a ‘learning curve’.

        He was dismissed as a Leonard Cohen depressive doomster for his prescient ‘Storm Warning’ a month before he had to grin-fcuk Hank Paulson and Dubya over Lehman Brothers:

        ‘The economic times we are facing “are arguably the worst they’ve been in 60 years,” he says bluntly. “And I think it’s going to be more profound and long-lasting than people thought.”

        Politics is just poker. Lenihan doesn’t seem to have a full deck of cards, not surprising, given the antics of those around him. He sensed vampires, hence the garlic. He quite rightly asked credible voices for advice, but it appears he decided to ‘cherry-pick’ and absorb a partial, selective message on that fateful night in David’s kitchen.

        Given Britain is still one of Ireland’s most important trading partners, it is unfortunate that he didn’t pick up the phone and have a wee chat before ‘going off on one’ with The Guarantee’. Perhaps he rang Angela and Nicholas? Or Hank Paulson? Who knows…..

        I’m sure Alastair was ‘perplexed’ by this bizarre Guarantee stunt, just as he was ‘perplexed’ to have to deal with the Veterinarian who had decided to become Iceland’s Finance Minister but didn’t understand Finance. Not one bit. When the British Serious Fraud Office releases it’s report on Iceland’s banks, there’ll be some interesting reactions. And riots in Rekyjavik involving a lot more than banging pots and pans. Eva Jolly may have been fogged off, but the British SFO? *smirks*

        Mr Lenihan: I sincerely hope any and all British depositor funds in Irish banks and the British Post Office are covered by appropriate derivatives/CDS’s. Just in case Angela and Nicholas go ‘el plotto losto’ over Greece and Spain, which could be any day now. I’d get the cattle prod onto your ‘Mandarins’ about this. Testicle clamps if necessary. Of course, Alastair will have ‘covered’ this scenario, but that won’t stop him presenting you with the bill all the same. This is poker, after all!

        Thirsty work, this digital sharecropping / blogging. Time for a pint. My work here is nearly done! Oh, and forget any ‘physical response’ anyone out there. If you see me in The Kerryman in Digbeth: Back off, bitches! I always travel in convoy, with Security. Think Uma Thurman. Kill Bill 1/2.

        • paulmcd

          Andrew, He rang Christine, actually, or at least he so declared in an interview with David. He phoned and spoke, so he says, “in French”, to Christine Lagarde, his opposite number in France. Christine Lagarde is a brilliant woman who speaks English better than any of our politicians. I am bilingual. All my experience in the financial world was gained working with French-speaking clients in Paris. The only French person alive, I would NOT address in French is Christine Lagarde. Clever man, our Brian!

    • wills


      Firstly, good to see you jumping on here.

      I think we all agree a ‘well regulated proper investment banking industry’ is worth having. But, we do not have that, nor do UK or USA or europe maybe switzerland. So, we do not have that presently, so ‘we are where we are’ which is an el paso investment banking system out of control.

      We accept that premise i presume, so we must be real what we are facing. The ‘brokers’ are ‘out of control’ and running amok. This is the reality. The bankers are taking us all down the plug hole. The governments are the only hope we have stopping this and doing something about it or, moving public sentiment in a calm rational non mob like fashion.

      RTE frontline last night for me was a turning point. You i’m sure could see how volatile the audience where anytime you uttered anything regarding broken banking and the audience where in the palm of your hand and of course this sort of potential for revolt is dangerous.

      And i was watching it thinking, chr1st D is in a very difficult situation there, he must be very careful not too set off a lynch mob, he also must not let the bankers away with the looting of this country. So, i thought, maybe D’s article above is an indirect cooling down of passions and the like before something barmy kicks off, so i am in total agreement with that if its the case. A lunch mob eruption on bankers is going nowhere.

      The audience in RTE if any indication to go by where volatile and so this cannot be excited any more and must be mollified, so, if you are writing above with this in mind i’m with you all the way on that.

      In relation too bringing investment bankers in and regulating them into an integrated service to open up funds i think this idea may read rational on an economic strictly basis but, unfortunately NAMA has made this more than an academic banking exercise and D you can only see that in the frontline audience and pat kenny’s unease last night.

      So, D, the article in of itself, in an academic in a bubble sort of way is sensible but stand back and ask yourself, are the investment bankers beyond the pale now and above the law cos if they are regulation is impotent which its proven to be outright now. The public have lost faith in the law controlling bankers because the truth is so blindingly obvious now.

      • wills

        …and the truth of it is that investment bankers are calling the shots and instructing the government and like you re asserted last night ‘holding a gun’ too us.

        Why solicit such gangsters. For job’s,.. come on the backstory on all of this has changed. We are all living in a radically different narrative now too say 18 months ago.

        the investment banksters are utterly enthralled too looting now that its been proven too pay out in serious numbers and be bailed out by taxpayers.

        This is a new paradigm we are all in. A post NAMA era of banking tyranny.

        The banks keep brain washing us telling us we will all die if they go broke and dissolve. Yet, they take all the taxpayers monies to pay themselves christmas bonuses.

        Meanwhile down at the bottom of the heap peoples dental allowance is on hold, carers allowance cut, and 20 – 24 years old allowance cut sending them out of the country. That is so obvious that one is, get rid of the animal spirits of youth quick quick.

        The whole notion of inviting investment bankers into dublin docs is so yesterday. These guy’s are not providing a respectable old fashioned banking service. It’s a friggin gambling den funded by our tax monies for financial instrument roulette wheels and these banking gambling addicts are desperate too re boot and get robbing again.

        This is not late eighties yuppiedom, it’s a new paradigm of banking theft supported by a new cultural acceptability ushered in by insidious political correctness and squashing of truth telling as it is.

        Frontline audience last night – check em out. Did it not strike you strange the nature of the audience. Bloated out of their senses on POnzi credit written all over alot of them. These eejits are part of the new banking gambling den values and mooched in on it and the doors closed on their faces and suddenly theirr all over frontline waving their fingers in the air. Look at that blimp fool on from UCD business school, who is this on there mouthing off talking out both sides of his mouth.

        And that eejit with 5 children on given it large to the minister, and if anyone challeneged her on keeping her kn1ckers on they’d be lynched. This is the new culture wars under way.

        The credit junkies offering nothing but fat and waste and pushing for the casino to re open and the rest of us and inviting the casino in here from london merely pours gasoline on the cultural wars money for nothing fire.

        • sirganya

          on Frontline did you notice the uplifting music behind the excerpts from the budget speech. Maybe Mel Gibson was in the edit room that day.

  44. MK1

    Hi David,

    I too live in hope and agree that “red light districting” for financial services is not the way to go.

    You mention that we could do it with better regulation, etc, but dont the financial businesses go to places where regulation is ‘light’? Isnt that why many of them are in London in the first place, because the City is let get on with its “work” as long as they pay their taxes, etc.

    The Russian Oligarchs and many other russian/ukrainian businesses were flooding into London, etc, and the reason why? It is a good place to do business, which translated means light touch, plus “red light districting”. Its Soho for businesses.

    I agree that we should be doing something in terms of job creation and grabbing jobs that could go elsewhere is how we compete at the international level. We need to do this now more than ever as we pay for our over-exuberance.

    Ok, so there may be a few financial jobs. But what else?

    We now need action, not “it would be a good idea to do xyz”.

    We also need to carry out major reform here:
    – public sector (including semi-states)
    – banking sector (retail, commercial, etc)
    – inefficient market sectors, vested interests,
    – etc
    – etc


  45. paddythepig

    If Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and God knows who else set up shop here, thousands of unemployed people would hand in their CV’s straight away, and they’d be right. What a number ; even if you make a pigs ear of things, you’ll be bailed out. Now that’s what I call job stability.

    Beggars can’t be choosers. People have mortgages to pay, and mouths to feed.

    I’ve never met the person yet who, if they are truly backed up against the wall, won’t compromise their principles. Though reading through the posts here, some of the posters on this site think they are made of sterner stuff.

    The spin-off taxes will help pay for the wage demands of our frontline staff.


    • tony_murphy

      Some people do actually stick to their principles and morals. Their is more to life than Money.

      Others are easily bought or had no morals in the first place

      Most people have principles and morals, it would be absolute chaos otherwise. Ireland is lacking severely in morals, which explains the chaos

      I think quite a few contributors are made of sterner stuff

      I put bankers in the easily bought no morals basket

    • G

      It has nothing to do with sterness, how tough, I’m not tough, but I do have an eye on the future and a brain that kicks in around this time of the day.

      It is basic, elementary logic, what’s so good about inviting even more banksters into a country which was triple raped by its home grown assassins, haven’t you noticed the money being pilfered from state coffers to pay off these jokers who have ruined the State with their insane practices and lust for profits (at any cost).

      I’m completely amazed at the attitude of some posters, even after the rollercoaster of the last 12 months people are still advocates of an ‘IFSC revival’ – based on what? People must be pulling my leg or else I am living in a parallel universe.

      A few quid, a few jobs – this is sickening – have people lost their senses, where is the sustainability in re-inventing the bloody IFSC/banking sector? The revenue generated from people paid to avoid tax would be minimal, the risks (AS WE HAVE SEEN) extreme. We would be even more of an international pariah if we leech off the English.

      This is the failed FF/Civil service/Doheny Nesbitt thinking that has landed us in the crap we are in and people, including McWilliams want it resurrected, phoneix from the flames!!!!!!!

      You can call me INCREDULOUS G because this is truly beyond belief.

    • paulmcd

      Paddy, It’s the “God knows who else” I would be worried about.

      No-one has gone into detail about DEPFA BANK, understandably, as there has been so little media coverage. I suspect that the takeover by HYPO was probably engineered by the German government to prevent a total disintegration of the Irish economy with unfathomable consequences for the Euro. As I understand it, DEPFA originated more debt from its headquarters in the IFSC, Dublin, than all the indigenous institutions combined.

      Does anyone have the exact figure?

      • paulmcd

        At the time of the takeover, I estimated the debt as equivalent to THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND EUROS for every Irish household, assuming 4 people per household.

  46. Colin_in_exile

    Hi David,

    I’m enjoying reading follow the money at the moment.

    Its always great to get some feedback from yourself on the forum, so please keep it up.

    I’m out of work for nearly 2 months now, little prospect of finding anything, so I understand your desire to get people back to work, even with investment banks. You know the damage unemployment can do to a good man – written so well in your book, and I salute you in your efforts to end the misery many people here are experiencing.

    Would I be right in assuming the people here who disagree with this current article are in safe employment, or mere steady employment?

    p.s. I’m no longer in exile.

    • wills

      So, if you are out of work you run to the nearest international investment bank and get hired!! LOL

      • Colin_in_exile

        Wrong wills, if you have work you have no idea what it is to be unemployed, unless you have sufferred from unemployment in the past.

        Any employment is good employment at this stage, and you have absolutely no right to veto who gets the chance to find any work of any kind or not, so get off your high horse.

        Cheers Furrylugs.

        • wills

          1) You’ve twisted the words of my comment.

          2) ‘Any employment’ ,, so do you include chinese on shores of Uk picking for cockels in this?

          • Colin_in_exile

            You’ve twisted my words, by any employment, you know I mean any employment in Ireland for Irish people who are unemployed. You know this is what David is talking about in this article – Getting Irish people in Ireland off the Irish Dole and into Irish employment.

          • wills


            So, international investment banks make employment, i see. LOL

          • Colin_in_exile

            David says “God knows Aer Lingus needs some regular business passengers. Ryanair would welcome the challenge too.” i.e. jobs for Irish people in these airlines and support services. ” The more of them we have, the more they will need to employ local people with banking acumen. Off we would go on a virtuous circle.”

            Go figure Wills. Please read the article before you post.

    • WB Home Colin.
      I’m floating the same boat but tipping away with bits overseas.
      Just fillin’ the fridge Boss…..

  47. lff12

    Well the idea would be ok in the short term, but they would not be “new jobs” since presumably 500k+ per year earning bankers would be imported along with the jobs, and the tax intake would not only be favourable to them rather than us, they’d be off like a short to the next country to offer a yet smaller rate and even more of a wild west regulatory regime.

    I think its called the “race to the bottom.”

    What we do need, however, is some kind of emphasis on job creation and maintenance, rather than wage cutting and job losses which is only going to damage what is left of the domestic economy further.

  48. Malcolm McClure

    Mary Robinson in Copenhagen:

    There have been days of protests in Copenhagen by well-meaning activists who do not accept that Carbon Credits trading will alleviate the poverty in the third world. These have been roughly broken up by the police, culminating last night in a police raid on a meeting of the Climate Justice Action party. This was done with water cannon, tear-gas and motorbike raids on the commune of Christiania. The CJA suggest alternatives ‘that provide “real and just” solutions: leaving fossil fuels in the ground; reasserting peoples’ and community control over resources; relocalising food production; massively reducing overconsumption, particularly in the North; recognising the ecological and climate debt owed to the peoples of the South and making reparations; and respecting indigenous and forest peoples’ rights. ‘

    All seemingly bland and worthwhile objectives but not acceptable to the UN organizers of the conference.

    However, when Mary Robinson was asked “Why the silence on human rights, despite hundreds of protests in Copenhagen and elsewhere? ” she dodged the issue, bleating on about the importance of economic and social rights: the right to food, safe water, health and education; she thus directed attention to human rights that were safely far away, rather than condemn violations of human rights on her doorstep in Copenhagen.

    Shame on her. The world is going to hell in a handcart and Holy Mary herself cannot be moved to provide an ethical lead. Is nothing sacred?

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