January 6, 2010

Iceland shows importance of putting people before banks

Posted in Banks · 382 comments ·

Yesterday the, largely ceremonial, president of Iceland stood up for what is right. He decided that it was not democratic for the Icelandic government to insist that the Icelandic people pay foreign depositors who deposited money in Icelandic banks that subsequently went bust.

The president refused to sign the parliament’s bill, which would have penalised the Icelandic people for the mistakes of the executives of the Icelandic banks. He concluded that this was not reasonable as the banking mess was not the fault of the average Icelander. Iceland will have a referendum on the issue now.

This move implies that Iceland might jeopardise its access to IMF funds as well as definitely knock back its aspirations to join the EU.

The official line peddled by the international bureaucrats is that standing up for the small guy undermines Iceland’s credibility. However, the president decided that if credibility in the eyes of the foreign investors comes via hoodwinking the average Icelandic citizen into footing the bill for a mistake the financial markets facilitated, then it was better to be not credible.

This type of credibility undermines democracy and the basic idea that the government represents the people. In so doing he has stood up for something which is now, sadly, profound and unusual in modern politics — he is championing the interests of the small man in a small democracy.

At the press conference, President Olafur Grimsson referred to a petition which raised signatures from thousands of ordinary citizens who were set against bailing out the banks at the people’s expense. The petitioners went on to argue that foreign depositors (mainly Dutch and British) took out deposits in Icelandic banks because the banks were offering interest rates that were much higher than in the UK or Holland. In economics the iron rule is, the higher the return offered, the higher the risk offered.

The Icelanders are simply saying that your investments have nothing to do with us and, therefore, the solution to the depositors’ dilemma is not the immediate concern of the average cod fisherman from the Westman Island or any other part of Iceland for that matter.

In a country where the president occupies a similar position to our own, this was only the second time a president has ever declined to sign a parliamentary bill.

The Icelandic story is a mirror image of Ireland’s. However, unlike the Irish case where the average person is being asked to pay the bondholders of the banks — the creditors who speculated on such gems as Anglo Irish Bank — the Icelanders are taking a different tack.

They have decided that the people — not the elites or the “insiders” — must decide. This country clearly is a proper democracy; not one run by politicians who are part of an insider group up to their teeth in property and who can’t see that they represent the people, not the elite.

In its most simple terms, Iceland is a country with a banking system attached. In contrast, Ireland is a banking system with a country attached to it.

In the past five years, the Icelandic banks behaved precisely like our own. They lent to anyone and anything but, in the main, they lent to their mates. When they ran out of Icelandic deposits, they borrowed abroad to finance their expansion. They issued debts and when they could no longer issue enough debt, they took in deposits.

When the system crashed, the foreign depositors and the bondholders got caught. You can rightly ask what in God’s name were English depositors doing putting their life savings into Icelandic banks that they had never heard of?

Now let us move to the ramifications of the Icelanders’ democratic stance. Officials are aghast. According to the men who run the Department of Finance here, if we were to do something similar and negotiate a deal with our foreign bank creditors, Ireland would be declared a pariah. They claim interest rates would rocket and the world would shun us.

If their view is right, interest rates in Iceland should have jumped yesterday on the news of a referendum. But they didn’t — Icelandic interest rates hardly budged from their present 7pc.

By the way, when I was in Reykjavik last May interest rates stood at 15pc. Yes, they are high, but interest rates in Iceland are coming down in line with inflation, as any basic economic textbook would predict.

More significantly, long-term interest rates, which gauge the long-term risk in a country, have also fallen to 7pc in Iceland.

This means investors believe there is no real extra risk in Iceland in the future. My guess is that Iceland’s credit rating will rise on this news, not fall.

The reason for this counterintuitive stance is the same reason John Maynard Keynes argued against reparations being imposed on Germany after the First World War. Keynes argued that if you impose the debts of a past regime on a new regime, the economy and politics will suffer.

In a similar vein, the Icelandic president has decided that it is unfair to lumber the average citizen with the sins of Iceland’s financial generals. The specific case in Iceland involves one bust bank, but has ramifications for the whole country. Foreign depositors are owed €3.8bn by Icebank.

The EU stipulated that the average Icelandic citizen should pay €12,000 each to cover this. The EU and the IMF said further aid to Iceland is dependent on this deal. This president has stated that if the price of this EU and IMF help is penalising the citizen, then it is a price so high that it must be passed by referendum. In short, the outsiders (the citizens) should not be forced to bail out the insiders (the banks).

In their president, the outsiders in Iceland have a champion. Who champions the outsiders in Ireland? Who in our political class shouts stop, enough is enough? Who is prepared to say there is a difference between right and wrong?

Finally, who has the courage to point out that, in financial terms, far from being penalised, Iceland is being rewarded by gradually falling interest rates.

In Ireland we can’t tell the difference between right and wrong, and worse still, we are not even getting the supposed financial bonanza for being “good boys” and siding with the international bankers. We are still paying nearly twice as much as Germany to borrow money.

Iceland is showing our politicians another way. These are not easy decisions — and it would have been much better if the country had never got into this mess — but at least they are dealing with it. Similarly, it would have been better if we never got into this mess too, but here we are.

Iceland proves that there is an alternative — are any of our politicians, from the President down, prepared to listen?

  1. Free Minded People —

    To the West and feel the Atlantic Ocean clear your head .I have said before that our Spiritual Sanctuary is in the West where the mind feels free and human spirit rises above all else before you. Iceland and Ireland are both Atlantean and so are the people and we in Ireland are not continental as we might think we are and Dublin is not a place of peace and tranquillity. Our cousins in Iceland came from the West before they became Icelanders and they brought with them their own mindset of independence and radical ideas and thinking that have formed their nation to be what they are today.

    This mindset originally came from the care free atlantean way of life where the experience of the journey rose above the speed of the arrival at the terminal/port.And this is Life and this is Democracy and this is what we believe we Proclaim to be as Irish on this Island of ours .This is also our Republic as we saw it at the turn of the century .

    The Icelandic President has in his honourable elected position done a great civic deed by declaring a Referendum in Iceland and for the good reasons stated.

    His decision rises above all else and in doing so lifts his people higher above than any other democracy has shown in recent times .His decision is a landmark in international governance and finance and will be studied by many nations in years to come.

    We need to follow his example and the example of the people of Iceland and we must do so NOW.

  2. shtove

    Good day for democracy, but let’s wait for the referendum!

  3. Colin_in_exile

    David, fantastic article!

    I hope McAleese reads it and weeps. Shame on her for signing into law the NAMA bill.

    The lines, “In its most simple terms, Iceland is a country with a banking system attached. In contrast, Ireland is a banking system with a country attached to it.” is the best analysis so far of where we are.

    • roc

      Do you think?!

      You only have to listen closely to what comes out of McAleese’s mouth to realise that she is only a bleating platitudinous puppet. Just because she is a little reminiscent of Mary Robinson does not mean that she has the integrity, intelligence, or courage of that fine woman.

      Unfortunately the common people will have to look elsewhere for their champion.

      • Colin_in_exile

        The common people have been brainwashed by the meeja into sympathising with Lenny. The irony is Lenny is going to ruin the lives of the common people via his pet project, NAMA.

        • I agree with you completely Colin. I have twice tried to post comments to 2 Irish Times articles describing Lenihan as some kind of latter day saint who had saved the Irish economy to suggest this is ridiculous whatever sympathy we may have for his plight. I used no abusive language but keep having muy comments rejected. I couldn’t find any real negative comment under either article yet this doesn’t tally with what I hear from colleagues or friends. No free speech, blasphemy laws, official meeja message with no disobedience or naysayers tolerated. We’re rapidly becoming a police state.

          • wills


            The press coverage on his illness on RTE is a disgrace.

            There are hundreds of citizens with illness of this type and no private insurance and nothing on the media giving them coverage.

            ANd for the man to say he can give more of his time too NAMA now that he is ill and not going around the country is barmy.

          • G

            @ wills – agree with you completely – these same people, on waiting lists, without health insurance just had their stress levels increased, and their financial resources cut, this ‘Minister’ has all the benefits from his status and salary, think it highlights the growth in the gap between rich and poor, those who give the lash and those who take it.

        • brum mayo

          In complete agreement with you on Lenihan,I smelled a rat from the day the “furore” broke to the ham-fisted spin operation leading up to the “arrival of the statesman” horseshite with more soundbites than st tony on acid

          • Say any of this to a journo and you’ll be vilified though. You’ll become overnight the most thoughtless, meanest, nastiest, selfish person ever just for deigning to suggest that he wasn’t doing a great job and we don’t have to pretend he was because he’s ill. The whole thing reminds me of a Sean O’ Casey play. How little we’ve progressed ideologically.

    • Ruairí

      President McAleese has been remiss in her duties. It is clear that she at the very least fell into the sins of omission camp much as Vincent Browne labelled Cowen as doing as Minister of Finance. Personally though, I doubt if anyone who makes high office is intellectually or emotionally unintelligent enough not to be able to read the true winds…

      • coldblow

        I seem to recall, in his book “They F*ck You Up”, the psychologist Oliver James asserting that from his own experience most political high achievers suffered from severe personality disorder.

        • G

          once heard Pat Kenny say live on his radio show that he didn’t know the meaning of ‘neoliberalism’ – think that sums up the ‘group-think’ mentality – and this guy is regarded as being strong on current affairs. Same guy did obsequious interviews with Cherie Blair and other sorts so what does ‘one’ expect.



    Seeing as Sean F hasn’t been questioned , it is safe to conclude nobody will be doing time for the various financial trickery we are going to pay dearly for.Lenihan is lapping up sympathy from all quarters, you would think he was the first person to be diagnosed with cancer.Yet another example of how spineless the Irish electorate are.Lenihan is useless, lacks financial acumen and practises a continuauation of the same failed policies that have been no better than when Ireland was part of the UK.Fat chance of Ireland follwing Iceland, they don’t export their people, that is the difference!.

  5. Malcolm McClure

    David: There is an inconsistency in your logic here. You say: “In economics the iron rule is, the higher the return offered, the higher the risk offered.” Hang on a sec. Even in Las vegas, the house guarantees to pay out on high risk wagers. The Iceland banks by contrast had established a ponzi scheme whereby there was no way that the house could ever repay their debts.
    It is not simply a case where the poor little guy stands to lose out if the banks fail; the entire country had been making whoopee throughout the previous decade, so they were collective culprits, just like the Irish share collective blame for the mess here.
    Iceland’s ill-gotten gains wre largely invested in UK and Eurolandia. Thus their assets still remain in banks there. Who can blame Alaister Darling if he freezes those assets pending a negotiated settlement. What we have at the moment is a Mexican Standoff with an Icelandic Madoff.
    Guess who’s gonna wind up in Boot Hill?

    • Original-Ed

      “just like the Irish share collective blame for the mess here” – they shouldn’t, we’re not a communist state. I certainly didn’t benefit from the excesses here – why should I be punished for exercising good judgement, while our government behaved in a feckless manner.

      • wills




        THis original ed is what all of this is all about.

      • Malcolm McClure

        Original-Ed: Ideology has nothing to do with collective responsibility. As long as Irish people continue to look around for someone to blame, whether Politicians, Bankers or Developers, we will continue to wallow in a state of denial.

        Whether or not we voted for any of the crew in the Dail, whether we were wise or foolish in our investments and whether we were too busy making a living to notice that the economy was over-heating, none of these absolve us from collective responsibility for what was being done in our name.
        As well as sins of commission, there are sins of omission. You can’t just stick your head in the sand with a sign on your back: ‘Not my fault, Gov!’

        Until we overcome our characteristic silent denial of individual responsibility: ‘Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no Evil’, the excesses of the State, the Law, the Church, the Banks and the Developers will continue unabated.

        • Malcom – this is good stuff.

          And I hope we use this crisis well so that we can rebuild without the encumbrances of the Church; re-define our politics; get over the historical baggage we still get sur-charged with. In short lets be responsible for ourselves – as we can pass same onto our children.

        • tony_murphy

          I agree Malcolm, Irish people have to take collective responsibility – yes we all didn’t indulge, but the majority let it happen. We knew it was happening. The majority voted Fianna Fail into government a number of times during the boom. Many (including myself) didn’t pressure TD’s to stop the madness.

          I have written to some TD’s in recent weeks – registering my disapproval of NAMA etc..

        • G

          That’s all fine and dandy Malcolm McClure if it was actually held up to child like scrutiny.

          This isn’t as clear cut as you make out, we are being forced to pick up the tab for something we had no say in and (including myself) had no involvement in property or making the money off the backs of others.

          What’s more the money we have been forced to cough up is paying Banksters bonuses and the banks are back to their profit making ways (see US and Britain), this is also a far from equitable deal, we have seen how the budget has been implemented and who it is hitting. We also see that those involved in wrecking the State have not been held accountable, indeed, an enquiry has been rejected, very democratic.

          People don’t have their heads in the sand, in fact, people have never been more aware of the injustices in this society.

          Time we nationalised the banks, end their rackeetering, elect a new government, re-implement regulation and get our house (pardon the pun) in order.

          Writing a blank cheque for delinquents without any strings attached certainly strikes me as inappropriate. People are rightly outraged, people who exercised correct judgement and who in a properly functioning democracy might actually be running the country not commenting on a website!

          • Malcolm McClure

            G: “making money off the backs of others’ is what commerce is about, the world over, and always has been. The customer can always vote with his feet and take his custom elsewhere. When I buy something I sometimes wonder whether I am the customer or whether my custom has been bought by the shopkeeper though his situation, advertising, ambience etc. Who is exploiting who?
            Bonuses are the slush that is left after we have all had fun in the snow. They are mostly earned by clever drudges who’d rather be doing something interesting and need a lot of incentive to stick with it.
            Most of us still have our heads in the sand to judge from the demeanor of FF backbenchers. If they had any spine they could soon put the house in order. They remain flaccid as they know that their voters are supine sheeple.
            In a properly functioning democracy, people who exercised correct judgement would soon realize that the way to fix matters is to get themselves elected, not just by commenting on a website.

          • Ruairí

            Well said G.

            Even when the levies were emergency introduced last year, they said that they couldn’t use the tax system because there wasn’t enough time, blah blah blah.

            All of that could have been retrospectively balanced / smootherd over the following two tax returns. But this has not been catered for.

            We already have a tax system that is there to ensure that the complexities of fair distribution of burden are well teased out and then implemented. Together with checks and balances in the system such as benefits and means testing. But instead, we have blunt instruments in use all over the place!
            Malcom, we are all collectively responsible for our country and its direction. we are not all collectively responsible for whatever remits are handed down to us from above; democratically elected government or not. There are suh things as ‘mores, there is such a thing as natural justice. Just because a law is enacted by our legislative bodies, does not mean it is a just law. In fact, it does not even mean it is constitutional. It merely means, at that point in time, it got past the Dail and then past the President. I am sure we all know of laws that have subsequently been found to be in question and unconstitutional.

            Being in denial means death and decay for an individual, a society or a group. But so does building castles on sand. If we do not have an equitable redressing of blame (economic sanction) where it morally belongs, then we are storing up further problems and rot in our society. The future? Increased poverty, robbery, murder, suicide, emigration etc etc. You readers who believe the Cowen mantra that anger is not a solution cannot see that anger and despair comes from a lack of being listened to. A lack of fairness.
            This is not a rant PhilRuss1 (Interesting choice of nickname by the way, are you taping me too? HaHa), this is a clear statement that if we don’t send out the right signals that risktakers get rewarded and risktakers also can get terminally burned, then we are telling their opposites, savers and the prudent, that ALL bets are off and the rules of the game don’t apply any more.
            Some of the posts here regarding Iceland’s predicaments are naive, in my opinion. The world is a big place. If the Icelanders don’t pay Britain and Holland, then politicallay and diplomatically they’ll get roughed around. But financially? They’ll have 5Bn more of their own money to better negotiate with other lenders. They’ll also have a unified and highly motivated people. The President has jsut given those 300,000 citizens back their nationality. Becuase the reality is, Europe doesn’t give a shit about them. If they have something europe needs or wants,they’ll be admitted. Anyone who doesn’t think so, doesn’t study the BUSINESS of politics sufficiently.

          • wills

            Malcolm -

            ‘who is exploiting who’.

            Simple. The individual with the greater ability to exercise sado masochism with minimal consequent self damage and to be able to exercise sado masochism rationally i submit is the exploiter in any given trade where exploitation is afoot.

          • Malcolm McClure

            Wills: “who is exploiting who?’
            Is it the plumber with €100 call-out charge?
            The union boss discussing the next strike?
            The Banbridge plasterer earning a king’s ransom daily in Dublin? (no longer?)
            The FAS boss visiting NASA?
            I’m sure we all have our favorite examples.
            What the vast majority of people want is a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s (steady) employment.
            Nothing fancy. Can we make that a national objective?

    • Ruairí

      @ Malcolm: -”It is not simply a case where the poor little guy stands to lose out if the banks fail; the entire country had been making whoopee throughout the previous decade, so they were collective culprits, just like the Irish share collective blame for the mess here.”
      I have to take issue with this Malcolm. I and many others did not make whoopee during the Tiger years. I waited for a housing crash, a turning of tables and, although that is coming in a limited degree, I will not be getting the full rewards of my patience while I will also be salted by collective sharing of guilt taxes that you seem to aver I am in some way liable for? I am sure you intend to mean that does who gained should suffer a clawback via market or at least similar mechanisms? Do you? You hardly meant that the Irish population as a whole should collectively pay for something that not all of them gained from, or at least didn’t gain in equal measure? Now come on Malcolm.

      And Philip, I am surprised. You mention the C and R and say that we are different as we have an economy. Really? strip out the MNCs and the SMEs solely dependent on them for demand, and what have we? I would venture that we have very little more than Iceland does, per capita. Plus Iceland has much lower energy input costs than us, no?

      • Ruairí

        Apologies Philip, PhilRuss1 below, I meant. Thought you had been sniffing gas alright!

      • Ruairi – we can go around to every country in the World and strip out everything – and what do have left? An over-evolved bunch of apes?

        But what good is that going to do.

        • Ruairí

          Still sniffing gas I think. That reply makes zero sense.
          You maintain that we have a vastly superior economic engine to that of Iceland, even if we strip away that which we cannot control, such as MNCs and also the domestic demand they generate.
          Please, expand on this scintillating economy that you have uncovered? As far as I have read, the domestic economy is almost terminal, with only the MNCs exports and employment masking the immense frailty.
          I would be interested to see how you position us so far up the self-reliancy food chain? Tell me more.
          All I see are MNCs, retail jobs and public service jobs. What dimension or mindset are you in that you see so much more? Have you been licking LTEV stamps on the QT?

      • Malcolm McClure

        Ruairí: I tried to clarify this in my reply to Original-Ed above. To answer your specific point: During the boom years, you used your undoubted intelligence to game the system. You waited for the housing crash. You will not be getting the full rewards for your patience because you were not more vociferous about preventing the boom in the first place.

        However, you have been an inverted beneficiary of the boom because you enjoyed high rewards while it lasted, and made use of the public works it provided, whilst carefully squirrelling away your nuts for consumption during the winter of discontent.

        • Ruairí

          Malcolm, unless I was to do an Osama Gogarty special or a Padraigh Pearse on it, I don’t think any amount of vociferousness on my part would have slowed the beast down…

          Yes indeed I have my nuts nicely squirreled away!! Bloody cold out there too.

          Problem is, I hid the buggers so well I can’t find them now and it looks like we’re heading into the Spring of discontent……Oh well, I’ll just have to doorstep my local proletariats and see if there’s any cake going……

    • wills

      Malcolm -

      Fair point, but, massive generalization too assert all of iceland involved in a POnzi scam.

      Laws of averages alone will tell us there are icelanders who are not complicit too a state Ponzi scam, as is the case here.

    • The Irish people have a culture of owning their own homes. It was the banks that decided to create a business model that only worked in a high inflation property market and worked tirelessly to keep it so. Indeed the whole Dublin property market was effectively run by cartels. I get to travel around the EU with my job and I don’t think that our quality of life in Ireland was so much better than other EU countries, excluding the accession states. We simply paid inflated prices for everything. Houses, cars, eating out. Sure, some people went nuts but, in effect, we got our first taste of a developed country lifestyle. I don’t think it’s fair to apportion blame to double income householders living in the boonies who just wanted.to reside in a reasonable quality and size house. Is that really so wrong considering the amount of land/capita we have? The only got the debt because it was part of the bank’s biz model. One where a downside was never considered, only a “plateau”.
      The war of words between the UK and Iceland reminds me of the fishing boundaries dispute. It’s very tit/tat. I understand why Darling used the anti-terrorism legislation but it placed Iceland on the NATO terrorist list. That sets a bad precedent. If Iceland wasn’t economically screwed before that point it gave them no room to maneuverer. Then there were the misleading statements about delayed payments to depositors under the FSCS’s “passport scheme”. Again I don’t think it’s fair to blame all Icelandic depositors for the actions of their banks. EU countries are concerned about depositors being paid back the guaranteed amounts to prevent anarchy which is reasonable enough. Another reason which I’m sure is never mentioned is that “If the compensation of depositors … is ensured” the regulators and finance departments are free from prosecution for negligence under EU law. ECJ precedent in the Peter Paul & Others case
      I’m sure that never crosses their minds though.

      • Malcolm McClure

        Shane Dempsey: “The Irish people have a culture of owning their own homes.” Hmmm. Perhaps better to say that since Ireland became the Free State, Irish people have had an aspiration to own their own homes. A good thing too.

        Ownership means having a stake in the community, and requires an equivalence of responsibility with the other stake-holders. It means having something to lose, and prevents fecklessness. That is why a previous era required that only 40 shilling freeholders would be allowed to vote.

        I don’t think the present mess would have been allowed to happen by 40 shilling freeholders.

        • Malcolm: I felt it was OK to make a point about Irish culture that doesn’t go back to the inception of the free state :) I understand that the approx 80% home ownership figure we have now is the result of policies and laws that actually predate the existence of the free state in terms of rural land reallocation. The various housing acts have played their part. Nevertheless, the culture of home ownership is one I’ve grown up with. Me being but a lad!
          I’m not sure that’s why a previous era only permitted those with sufficient assets to vote. Do you not think it stems from the feudal system of governance? Legacy and desire for control rather than insight. You’re also including centuries of such qualified voting rights in the case of the UK where bad laws were passed and stupid wars were fought. Whether people of “quality” :) are voting or not they’ll do dumb things. The laws and regulations are needed to keep them in check. The people of Ireland would not have gotten so indebted so quickly if the laws had limited their mortgages to a reasonable multiple of their disposable income.

        • Deco

          Most people who aspire to owning their own homes – have to admit that the banks own their homes. The euphoria about home ownership made sure that prices were run up, and nobody ends up acheiving that aspiration. A case of ‘crowding out of the market’. The purpose of the euphoria never was to provide everybody with their own home – the purpose of the euphoria was to maximize the property prices, and the ponzi scheme.

          Three cheers for those who dissented and rented !!!! They are now going to own their own home as a result of their ability to see through the hype and their scepticism. This is proof that in a society in Ireland that is rotten with deceit as a result of rampant market rigging, scepticism is the source of freedom and economic vitality.

          • Ruairí

            Dissenters and renters! I love it Deco. In 10 generations, they’ll be saying oh that Rory, his crowd were dissenters and renters, ya know!

            From the man himself, of course http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2009/09/06/dissenters-may-call-it-right-again

            Where strangely, PhilRuss1, David called for the interbank debt to be converted into equity! No need for Nama. Just working banks. And creditors. And value investors. And winners and losers. But enough of that. David McWilliams is only a part-time economist whereas you are…..you are….. a bank shareholder. Nuff said.

    • @Malcolm,

      Don’t blame the Icelandic people as a whole. or the Irish people as a whole.

      Both populations were victims of the scam. A scam perpetrated in both cases by the ‘insiders’ on the ‘outsiders’

      According to Roger Boyes, in his excellent book, ‘Meltdown Iceland’, the financial free wheeling, wheeler dealers responsible for the meltdown in Iceland could fit on one bus.

      We badly need an inquiry here to at least name and shame the perpetrators of our financial mess.

      Roger Boyes wrote his excellent book on foot of renting a place in in Reykjavik for some months and heading over to the university each day to talk to economists and gradually whistle blowers came out of the woodwork.

      We need a Roger Boyes or similar person to coordinate a research project around the fall out here.

      I’m sure developers pursued for their personal guarantees would be very willing to speak.

      Records built up by such a research group could be the basis of an abstract that should eventually lead to a full official inquiry.

      I’m willing as I’m sure many on this list would be willing to contribute voluntarily to such a research initiative, to get at the hard facts that should underlay this debate.

      Our incompetent and corrupt government through the secretive operations of NAMA and their opposition to a public inquiry are hell bent on keeping our prying eyes out of it.

      The government won’t do it, lets begin the inquiry for them.

      Hearings could be based in Trinity or UCD. An agreed questionaire could be offered to attendees willing to cooperate, with hearings before an agreed panel to ask questions based on elaborating answers.

      The more scientific and forensic the inquiry, the better.

      • Malcolm McClure

        cbweb: ‘Don’t blame the Icelandic people as a whole. or the Irish people as a whole.’
        Turnout at the May 2007 General Election was 67%.
        27.6% of the total electorate gave their first preference votes to Fianna Fail and Bertie was elected once again.
        If the stay-aways had voted for a stay-away party, they would have won the election.
        So who’s to blame?

      • Garry

        good to see some people are looking at this without the blinkers of nationalism

        The people of Iceland have an important decision to make. They should do whats best for them.

        But to do that they need to understand exactly what happened; what the settlement is and at least understand where the UK and NL are coming from. With every revelation, my sympathies change, but I do now primary responsibility for the position the Icelanders find themselves in rests with a few dozen household names in Iceland.

        The old joke about one letter and 6 months has enough truth about it that we should be looking at Iceland very closely and seeing how we can learn from them.

        Agree 100% that we need a Turth Comission, televised, and with powers to compel witnesses; and a mandate to question all directors and senior management of all banks covered by our guarantee. And anyone who has had dealings in excess of X hundred million with them.
        And with the then regulator, central bank governor, and ministers/ex ministers compelled to answer questions in public.

        Or else when the real crisis happens here and a guarantee is triggered; those responsible escape in the fog of patriotism.

  6. G

    Tremendous move in Iceland, I am already looking into a trip there, I want to spend my euros in a place that needs it, I want to meet these people and say I stand with you, I hope to get there next month or March, will report back.

    Prior to the Icelandic President’s decision however, a quarter of the population signed a petition requesting him not to sign off on the €5 billion for the UK and the Dutch. The UK disgraced itself, bullying Iceland from the outset and threatening the country with anti-terrorism legislation, woud the UK go all the way and do a Falklands on it?

    It was like the old days of Imperialism, the UK bullying a small and temporarily weakened country. I hope the Icelandic people tell them to go shove it!!!

    Let their Scandinavian brothers or the Russians come to the rescue. The Yanks are awfully quiet, so letting them have a base their for 50 years doesn’t buy you jack sh1t support in Washington. Sure the country got shafted by Icelandic Seanie F’s etc but should the ordinary people suffer the €12,000 debt for man, woman and child?

    At least they have a President in Iceland who is capable of independent thought and action and doesn’t issue meaningless platitudes which mock people’s intelligence.

    G’s top 10 for 2010:

    January — NAMA is blocked by El Presidente after someone slips her double brandy a pill with ingredients from anti-NAMA posters to the D. McWilliams website. Iceland tells the UK to shove it!

    February — Brian Cowen & Mary Harney resign their posts and train for the Dublin City Marathon demonstrating that the impossible is sometimes attainable.

    March — Professor Drumm writes a considerable cheque for the HSE; Eddie Hobbes volunteers in a soup kitchen; Pat Kenny is heckled by the entire Frontline audience (all at once); Bono relocates his tax money back to Ireland; Tubridy abandons the Late Late and becomes a Zen Master in Northern Tibet; Anne Doyle continues to do the 9 O’Clock news!

    April — Fintan O’Toole’s ‘Ship of Fools’ is mooted as James Cameron’s sequel to Titanic (possibly gross of 1 billion plus in the first week — all former NAMA money)

    May — David McWilliams and Brian Lenihan kiss and make up, David is suitably rewarded with an honorary biscuit and order of the Ghost Estate (sausage roll man presents award, suitable guests John Allen, Deco, Furrylugs, Malcolm McClure (you may have seen me in movies such as…..) in attendance.

    June — The Apprentice ‘You’ve been Hired’ is setup by the government and run by the indefatigable Bill Cullen, his job is to get the 420,000 back to work, with not an automobile nor product placement in sight, Roddy Molloy is on his right (earn that f**king money) and Michael Neary on his left.

    July — Mary Hanafin, Mary Coughlan, Mary McAleese appear in mid-summer performance (alongside Twink) in the Broad Way production of ‘The Three Hail Mary’s’ (the Pope issues suitably timed one liner: ‘It is how it was’). Americans go wild citing it as a ‘political Riverdance’, ‘A Tour De Force’, ‘Must See’ and of course ‘Awesome’.

    August: Height of summer sees a suitable 4 week recess for all to consider the issues confronting the ‘Nation’ before the ‘winter of content sets in’.

    September: A reinvigorated population (& Dail) emerge pledging to do their ‘patriotic duty’ (a sub-committee is established to draft up the terms and conditions and pledges to report back in the New Year).

    October: Jackie Healy Ray is elected Ceann Comhairle; Joe Duffy is elected Mayor of Dublin; George Hook is elected President of Ireland; Joe Higgins is elected President of Europe; David McWilliams becomes Governor of the Central Bank (you finally made it David!)

    November: Ryanair offers free flights (which are actually free); the Gardai show up when you call them; the County Councils actually grits the roads and footpaths; the price of a pint falls to €2.50; you come out of a hospital feeling better than when you went in; the banks are nationalised; Seanie F. and the lads have a ‘Damascus moment’, give back their earnings to the State and enter a monastery giving thanks and praise (not to the euro).

    December: RTE do a year-in-review with the lovely Sharon and we all wonder over a lovely bottle of vino what next year will bring! The second coming? Ireland as the 33rd team in the world cup?Jim Fahy ventures outside the ‘West’? Roy Keane puts on the green jersey one last time? Bertie declares at a Washington Speakers engagement: ‘I am a Marxist/Leninist till I die!
    (J. P. Mara: Was that Lenihan or Lenin boss?)


    • econarchist

      “The UK disgraced itself, bullying Iceland from the outset and threatening the country with anti-terrorism legislation, woud the UK go all the way and do a Falklands on it?
      It was like the old days of Imperialism, the UK bullying a small and temporarily weakened country. I hope the Icelandic people tell them to go shove it!!! ”

      Iceland has already gone to war with Britain in the Cod War in the 1970s, and won. If Iceland were to join the EU, they would be forced to hand over their fishing rights to other countries, including Britain. That was one of the prices Ireland had to pay for EU membership.

      Apart from David’s article, all of the media coverage that I have come across has suggested that the Icelanders
      would be crazy to risk their chance to join the EU. None of the other media coverage has given any reason why ordinary Icelanders are morally or legally obliged to pay for other people’s gambling mistakes. They might have foolishly borrowed for personal spending, but they were not responsible for multi-billion Euro losses.

      • Ruairí

        Concensus thinking is an awful thing though. They will keep ramming the message home until its accepted.

        Much like the mantra here about there being no money in poor aul Ireland. And the inability to retrospectively apply tax law re windfall gains even though the tax law was retrospectively amended to suit the international Oil Cos by Ray Burke. Call me naive, but how strange…..

      • Ruairí

        Yes, you correctly point to the fact that, once again, david McWilliams has been courageous by writing about something seismic just off our northern shores, something that’s so metaphorical for our and our childrens’ circumstances that it demanded resolute and honest analysis.

        But once again, the same lackey journalist and sunshine economists will only roll in behind this when they TRULY feel a public groundswell behind it.

        Our journalists (in general, editors specifically) also got very comfortable in the Tiger years and just like our political, union, church and social leaders, all effectively used focus group mentality to try to assess what you and I wanted to hear, then soundbite it back to us.

        David McWilliams is that rare thing in any walk of life. An aul black sheep. Funnily enough, all he is doing is his job to the best of his ability. But that key message is chewing gum to the ears of politicians, senior civil servants, bishops, union leaders etc, all who genuinely believe they were elected merely BECAUSE of their greatness, not for that human potential to be continuously and persistently applied to the achievement of the agreed goals of their electors / payers.

        • wills

          Well said ruairi, fantastic.

        • David certainly has reached Godlike status on this website. People seem to get very put out when a bad word is said about him.

          I think he is genuinely concerned with the future of Ireland and I think he has done much this year to get us thinking.

          But it would be very naive of us not to recognise he has to also make a living and that involves a certain amount of sensationalism in promoting his journalism.

          And I admire him for that – cos at a guess I would say his earnings this year could well have bucked the downturn – especially if he qualifies as an artist!!

          • Colin_in_exile

            Wrong again PhilRuss, its not turning out to be a good day for you.

            No one has Godlike status here, not even David. David often takes criticism here, but you wouldn’t know that since you’re a Johnny-come-lately. David has done the country a huge service by making us econmically literate and enriching us with his knowledge and experience.

            No one is forced to buy his books, there’s no subscription to this forum.

            I reject your sensationalism charge. He has been proved right in most of his predictions.

    • Ruairí

      G, some nice jabs and upper cuts in there :-) Well done. Made me smile. I look forward to hearing any more about your trip up North.

  7. David McWm – with all due respect Ireland has an economy; Iceland doesn’t – thats the difference between the R and the C………..

    • Dilly

      Selling houses to one another is not an economy. We have nothing to offer the rest of the world, small businesses that did not have the right connections were treated like lepers, while everyone else jumped into property, either directly or indirectly.

  8. Original-Ed

    I’ve got a feeling that this is the start of something big – asking a citizen to shoulder responsibility without benefit or privilege is something akin to slavery. Having read Shane Ross’ “Bankers” it’s obvious that we’re been treated as such.

  9. Sons of Leases
    We will own nothing after NAMA is enacted into law and all of us will become Mac nA Leases

  10. Contrary Contrarian

    The article is a contradiction and insult to the taxpayers in the UK and Holland who could ultimately be stuck with the tab. Mr McWilliams paints the picture of the small country standing up for the average citizen against the big bad investor world when in fact; they are blatantly refusing to support savings of foreigners while protecting the savings of Icelandic citizens. Would Mr McWilliams condone such actions by a foreign government if a foreign bank got into a similar situation in Ireland? Does Mr McWilliams really support such a precedent where foreigners treated like second class savers and what about the potential ramifications from such actions on savers in foreign banks in Ireland and on the taxpayer? While a similar situation is highly unlikely in Ireland especially given the quality of the foreign banks, it must be noted that implicit government support is among the biggest factors in bank credit ratings. If potential foreign government support was removed the majority of these foreign banks in Ireland would be very weak. While you would obviously sympathise with the Icelandic people given the massive debt burden, it does not excuse government obligations for domestic banks to savers abroad. The fact that Mr McWilliams does not foresee any additional extra risk for Iceland and even anticipates credit upgrades following the latest development in the Iceland saga is just flabbergasting to say the least. The country now faces international exclusion, bailout funds from IMF and Nordic countries are now in doubt while Fitch cut their credit rating to junk. Failing to honour bond obligations is one thing but failing to honour ordinary savings is a whole different ball game and Icelandic people could pay a greater price in the long term for such actions.

    • Seaninog

      Well said, Sir. Well said! You’re gonna like my post below too. This is all populist BS I’m afraid…

    • Dilly

      Dont blame Iceland, blame the system, it has failed.

    • Ruairí

      The savers were not foreigners?? They were saving in their native countries. The bank’s entity was foreign in fact. I am afraid that you have the wrong end of the stick. Why should the Irish government protect savings of UK investors in a BOI or AIB subsidiary in the UK should the whole thing come crashing down? I think your metaphors are totally misplaced.

      How should a market correctly function with your flawed interventionist measures?

      • Contrary Contrarian

        Ruairí you actually have the wrong end of the stick……. Irish govt guarantee British Post Office deposits, because of Bank of Ireland……….http://www.bankingtimes.co.uk/27012009-post-office-savings-guaranteed-by-irish-deposit-protection-scheme
        The other way around for NIB and
        Danske and Danish govt ……. deposits…. What flawed interventionist measures are you talking about!!!! Did you read my comment!!!

        • Ruairí

          Unfortunately, my reply to you last night did not make it through.

          In fact, you have the wrong end of the stick.

          The Irish guarantee and the Icelandic debacle happened in the same week. The Irish guarantee initially only covered Irish domestic deposits (beyond the basic levels pre-crisis) and it was only when the spectacle of Irish banks attracting UK deposits caused great alarm and consternation in Westminster, that the UK raised its deposit protection level, then the non-Irish banks became protected by that umbrella and it became clear that UK Post Office balances managed by BOI became protected in a quid pro quo. After much diplomatic wrangling and consternation on a lower level to that which Iceland received.

          Iceland was not dutybound to protect banking deposits within UK or Dutch territory beyond minimum accepted standards. Your chronology of events and subsequent hindsight is incorrect.

          Shane Dempsey pointed out quite clearly above that this is an issue of regulatory compliance.

          If your theory holds, then we are financially responsible for the losses at Depfa.

          Please do continue that theme for us.

          • Ruairí

            “If your theory holds, then we are financially responsible for the losses at Depfa.”

            Sorry, that should read “If your theory holds, then Germany is responsible for the losses at Depfa in the IFSC. But strangely, WE are being held to account for that. Why is that??

          • Contrary Contrarian

            Ruairí, how are we being held responsible for the losses at Depfa…..!!!!!!!!!.German govt provided billions of guarantees into Hypo Real Estate in which a vast proportion of them were used for Depfa. No Irish govt support was provided to Depfa. Your counter argument reflects you limited understanding on this issue.

          • Contrary Contrarian

            German is reponsible for Depfa, they own it…….Hypo Real Estate, their parent was nationalised by German Govt, the fact that you think the we are picking up the Tab is bizarre. …could you explain why you said such an absurd thing.

          • Ruairí


            my my, you are living out the first part of your moniker quite well ! You’re proving to be more contrary than even me!

            I did not state anywhere that we were the ones who shored up Depfa after the revelations. I said we were responsible. If you had your ears close to the ground, you would know that Germany were outraged with our regulatory faux-pas, firstly in regards to Depfa and secondly with regards to domestic and inter-bank activity.
            Are you clinging so strongly to your invalid position that you would rather pass out disinformation than stand over truth? Our light touch banking regulations, and lack of enforcement thereof also, have caused fury in Europe, both in ECB and political circles.

            Explain your absurd take on this situation. Are you unaware of political and regulatory responsibilty? Or are you a contrarian who actually instead blindly accepts concensus realities foisted on him by the latest powerbroker to take the newsworthiness reins.

            I think you’re viewpoint with regards to the Icelandic government’s culpability and consequent responsibility to foreign citizens is half-baked, emotive and utterly devoid of any common sense, long view or justice.

            Calling your views in this matter absurd would be elevating you to an intellectual, pragmatic and empathetic status you clearly do not deserve.

    • paddythepig

      Contrary Contrarian,

      If the referendum is passed, and the Icelanders decided to default on international savings, any specific thoughts on how this would pan out for them? Any precedents for this?


      • Contrary Contrarian

        HI Paddy,

        Just to clarify, Icesave was a savings branch that operated in the UK but it was not a banking institution in UK….as it was a branch of Landsbanki it fell under the Icelandic guarantee (20K I believe) as opposd to the UK deposit guarantee scheme. The fact that the govt have guaranteed the deposits of Landsbanki but not not Icesave is a very worrying precedent in my view and I am bit disgusted that David McW think it is ok for the Taxpayers in UK to foot the bill. I think Rabo direct is a savings branch and therefore deposits covered under Dutch legislation….so if they went under, (which they wont given there one of strongest banks in the world) the Irish saver would have recourse to Dutch govt…..I imagine we would be pi**ed if they did an Iceland and Irish taxpayers were left footing the bill……..if Iceland fail to repay savings then I imagine they will be shunned by international markets.

        • paddythepig

          I have some sympathy with what you’re saying, and the Rabo example is valid for many people here.

          Am more interested though in how sanctions against Iceland will play out, what the consequences will be for them, and whether we can learn something from this situation.

          Ultimately, what are the real consequences for the Icelandic people if Iceland fail to cough up? Is it reputational, or something more real? These are things they (and we) need to consider.


          • Ruairí

            If I may?

            Its perhaps short-term blackmail regarding IMF help, as Britain can and will affect that.

            Longterm, its political. The world warned Russia not to default, said it wouldn’t get loans for eons. It was sorted out the next year. That’s banking. david has reiterated this reality time and time again. Dooms-dayers would have us believe that no one will take a punt. But risk is just priced in. Our own bonds show that clearly.

          • Outside of simple categories it’s much harder to morally distinguish between bondholders and depositors. The problem lies in who holds the bonds and the impact of default on consumers of retail banking services. Burning bond holders ends up burning pension funds. It may be a few levels removed from the “high street” but the problem will still exist. Morally it’s not a simple case of “screw bond holders” but “protect depositors”. It’s a deep moral dilemma for any government to decide how to deal with this. I’d argue that they need to look to imperatives in the face of choices that appear untenable and morally grey. Governments are responsible to their own citizens, however they need good international relations for finance, trade etc. Accepting the EEA deposit guarantee agreement (min 20K Euro) the Icelandic government have argued from the outset that they put in place a deposit guarantee scheme in line with best-practice and acted responsibly in doing so. The relevant EEA directive states “Whereas this Directive may not result in the Member States’ or their competent authorities’ being made liable in respect of depositors if they have ensured that one or more schemes guaranteeing deposits or credit institutions themselves and ensuring the compensation or protection of depositors under the conditions prescribed in this Directive have been introduced and officially recognized;” i.e. should the government of a state put in place a deposit guarantee scheme their citizens SHOULDN’T be liable for deposit debts beyond the ability of that scheme to pay. That’s my interpretation but it would be ultimately up to the European Free Trade Association Court to make that decision. Neither the UK nor the Netherlands want this to happen. Instead the UK fired ahead with using anti-terror laws. Straightforward strong arm bullying or what some businesspersons call “rough and tumble”. This is surely a terrible situation but moral outrage directed against Iceland isn’t any greater in my opinion than the moral outrage that could be directed against the financial regulatory systems throughout the EU that allowed this to happen or indeed the UK government for strong arm tactics. ICESAVE depositors were offered a contract for investment with a notably lucrative upside. The fine print makes it clear that these accounts are not guaranteed under the UK scheme. If it’s a bad precedent not to pay depositors then I’m every bit as concerned with the precedent that a nation like Iceland (which is tiny) should have to take on a crippling national debt to pay for, at best, gross mismanagement by its bankers. Especially when on the face of it it does not appear that they’re legally compelled to do so no matter how much they’re threatened.
            The EEA regulations and the ECB were not geared to handle a systemic banking failure but one has being brewing for a while. So many hypocrites. The UK really needs to sort out the HBOS fraud investigation (and here)
            and we need to stop pretending that an investigation into our banking sector will damage the credibility we no longer have.

          • paddythepig

            Shane, excellent response. I’ll watch the recriminations for Iceland with interest.

            Lenny actually said something interesting one night on the Frontline, which got drowned out amidst all the shouting and roaring.
            When asked why not allow a bank default and let them fail, he stated “No, this would have disasterous consequences for the funding of the state”. He then went on to say that if he allowed a default, that he wouldn’t be able to borrow to pay social welfare, public pay, health, NDP … and so on.

            So is our disasterous fiscal situation a noose around our neck, stopping the Government taking a more severe position with the bank debtholders? In other words, if we were to let the senior debtholders of the banks go swing, would they (or other related institutions) stop funding our deficit?

            Or was Lenny spoofing?

            Personally, I don’t think he was.


          • Contrary Contrarian

            Hi Shane, I have to commend you on your piece however I would diagree that “Outside of simple categories it’s much harder to morally distinguish between bondholders and depositors”. Deposit holders rank Senior to Bondholders, it is irrelevent who holds the bonds.

  11. FAO Philip Wills Colin et all. I did post a pragmatic pro NAMA piece on ImPerial Spain – which I fear may be lost now we have the Cod War to contend with

  12. Seaninog

    I’m disappointed to read you jumping on this bandwagon, David. I had hoped this sort of populist argument was beneath you.

    First a few facts:
    “This means investors believe there is no real extra risk in Iceland in the future. My guess is that Iceland’s credit rating will rise on this news, not fall”

    Sorry, you’ve called this badly wrong. They were downgraded last night (odd that you hadn’t read the news wires this morning before posting this??) See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/6940907/SandP-downgrades-Iceland-over-failure-to-repay-Icesave-losses.html

    “If their view is right, interest rates in Iceland should have jumped yesterday on the news of a referendum. But they didn’t – Icelandic interest rates hardly budged from their present 7pc”

    Attention to detail. Market makers didn’t move their prices yesterday but he market was offered-only in Icelandic bonds with no buyers. This doesn’t mean the prices haven;t moved. It just means the sellers are trying t give the illusion of no change in the hope some sucker will step in and buy the bonds – those sneaky Bankers at it again, eh?! Honest question for you David: if you believe your stance with such conviction, have you bought any Icelandic bonds for your portfolio recently. I’m guessing not. You know where to draw the line between writing a controversial or populist article to boost your career and profile and actually being silly about it. Good man.

    “Finally, who has the courage to point out that, in financial terms, far from being penalised, Iceland is being rewarded by gradually falling interest rates”

    Subjective view but I think most people would argue they are NOT being rewarded and to suggest this is ludicrous. I’m not sure why you went down this road as while most of the other “facts” you sought to put across might go over the head of Joe Public, surely any reasonable minded individual will call you on this. Late night, old chum?

    Now for the bit that you probably know is true but are too smart to write: like it or not, Iceland and Ireland NEED to bail out their banks.

    Yes, I know they are (or were!) run by despicable characters and they shouldn’t (but may!) get away with but that IS A SEPARATE POINT and to mix the two is cutting off your nose to spite your face. When I hear the unions whine “the government spent billions bailing out Bankers but they won’t save the auto/electronics/farming …” I just roll my eyes. The fact is that a functioning economy NEEDS banks; we don’t NEED autos/electronics etc. Yes, the Bankers messed up and it’s not our fault but let that be our lesson not to let them go so unregulated in the future. What’s done is done. We now need to take action and get on with it.

    The Icelandic president yesterday was, I suspect, more concerned with his populist image and his legacy than the good of the country for as the reaction from the rating agency and the international finance community overnight has shown, he has just made the problem worse. They, like us, depend on international financial markets and to bite the hand that feeds you like that is economic suicide.

    NAMA may not be perfect but it’s the best we have and THE MAIN POINT IS the markets like it. I’m all for healthy debate and I appreciate your points David (bought both your books too!) but I think it’s time to get on Board and stop stirring up the populist anti-Banker sentiment. As you said yourself we’re in the stage of Anger and we need to move to Bargaining. I think articles like this just hold us up.

    And to Johnny Angry who is out there sharpening his quill to respond to my post and call me seven types of excrement for my views, all I ask is that you stick to objective facts as any debate should. I’m happy to take questions.

    • Colin_in_exile

      Welcome Sean,

      We play the ball, not the man here.

      Well, the obvious question is have you a vested interest in NAMA? Do you own bank shares? Do you think we need to have cheaper property, or allow NAMA to interfere in the market to artificially keep prices up? Do you think Fianna Fail are corrupt? How will NAMA bring unemployment down?

      • Seaninog

        Thank you for the welcome.

        My interests or otherwise in NAMA are not relevant to the debate on Iceland’s decision to not repay British and Dutch Depositors. My arguments stand independently on their own. But to save us a lot of back-and-fourth I can declare I have no vested interest.

        Your other questions go off-topic (in a populist way, of course!) to a whole other debate which I’ll happily deal with when that’s the topic.

        • Colin_in_exile

          What’s off topic and what’s the topic?

        • Ruairí

          Seaninog, welcome. You should first of all get up to speed on the basic operations of DmcW though, before casting aspersions his way. i.e. this article was written and posted in yesterday’s Indo; this online version being a day later.

          Are you living in a bubble or are you suggesting that David should alter the content of his online article in the time that has lapsed? I think his article was very on the money for when it was written and then printed.

          • Seaninog

            I assume your question about living in a bubble is an attempt at rhetorical sarcasm. It juxtaposes surprisingly with your aforementioned welcome. Kinda like “Hello. Here’s a kick in the balls”. I’ll be watching you.

            Yes, I think he should edit the article before publishing online (but thanks for the update in how he operates – I wasn’t aware). We’re not talking brain surgery here, just a simple Select –> Edit –> Cut. I can show you some time if the skill still seems too onerous.

            Or at least put in a note updating the facts. Otherwise a falsehood/mis-conception is further propagated (to those who read the Blog but not the Indo) and a discussion start around an incorrect basis.

            My interest here is in a good intelligent debate without the cheap shots that I’m now tempted to count as your hallmark. Colin’s earlier sentiment that “we play the ball, not the man” didn’t last long. Shame.

          • Ruairí

            Thanks Seaninog, for the offer. But I’m not an exhibitionist. I’m actually the lesser spotted non-houseowner crossed with the lesser-spotted non-bakshares owner. Rare breed it seems.
            I do appreciate your fervour in watching my comments from now on. Its kind of thrilling.

            Seriously, I do think before launching into a tirade against David Mcwilliams of all people, you should tread carefully. I mean you no disrespect but claiming you’ve just caught david with egg on his face on your 1st day in the room is a bit youthful, no?
            Hopefully, you’ll be, as the song says “watching you a long long time!”
            I look forward to intelligent contributions from you also; a new lad on the pith always gets a shoulder. Question is, does he get up or ‘watch’?
            Let the games begin……

          • Seaninog

            Ah yes! The “you haven’t been here as long as me so your comments aren’t as valid as mine” argument. Brilliant.

            I can see that if it was intelligent debate I was looking for I may have come to the wrong place. What was the phrase: .22 calibre mind in a .357 magnum world?

            No interest in getting involved with “cyber warriors”.


          • Malcolm McClure

            Seaninog: In your short time with us you have made well thought out contributions which are appreciated. Retire and lurk for a while if you like. and you will find that we all take a bit of stick occasionally. This is a robust debate with contributions from all sorts, which is as it should be. Mostly one doesn’t need a thick skin to survive but occasionally it helps. Please return when you feel like you get the measure of it.

      • Just in case you cant find the piece Colin – and I have to say that my shins are fairly well bruised after some of your posts – I will copy in its entirety. Relevant because we always seem to come back to NAMA

        Here goes:

        Philip – I have bought tears to the eyes of my psycologist whom I have been attending for the last year since the collapse of our economy…..

        In looking at contributions on the website (and they are indicative of the talent that I hope stays with Ireland) it strikes me that much of the outrage is directed at a particular snapshot in time rather than an overall picture – thus the branding of all bankers and politicians are bad…. Even D McW has done this in his analysis of middle class Ireland – because the last decade was not about the fall of the Irish middle classes – it was about the rise (years 2000 – 2007) and the fall (2008 – 2009) of the Irish middle classes.

        Ireland is inextricably linked to the UK and USA for all sorts of reasons – that is reality. And that is a good thing because both countries have shown themselves to be remarkably resilient when the chips are down.

        The historical success of both these countries has in part been based on a strong property market – it creates confidence.

        Somehow over the last 20 odd years USA and UK seemed to think that consumer spending would drive their economies (I think Alan Greenspan has much to answer for) rather than manufacturing – we are humans; we have hands; and we need to make things.

        To add further mischief somehow these countries (particularly the States) compomised its property market by allowing banks to embark upon schemes linked to properties which no-one fully understood – hence the sub-prime crisis which not only threatened the worlds entire banking system; but also undermined the prime property markets – which in turn undermined confidence.

        Ireland as we are all very painfully aware embarked on its own little property cameo and didnt even bother trying to dress it up.

        We need to stabilise the property markets and get them back to being strong so that people feel secure. NAMA may actually help in achieving this because it will provide some kind of regulation – if it is not politically interferred with.

        Probably the most relevent topic I have seen on the web is the link to the Economist’s piece on global unrest. I suspect Philip that you refer to hi-tech jobs going to Asia and Eastern Europe. In the medium term I believe that social unrest is the achilles heel of most of these emerging country which is why Ireland has to stay true to restoring its competitve base as I have argued. The next war may well be India v whatever Pakistan ends up as being. The next political upheaval may well be in China. The country quickest to becoming uncompetitive may be Poland.

        It would be nice to have Capitalism with a smile as Wills says – but had the Free Market doctrine ruled then capitalism was bankrupted in October 2008 – which was what the Republicans nearly let happen – they were too stupid to understand the consequences of doing nothing.

        Ireland’s contribution is NAMA; it stinks but it is the only game in town. I dont like seeing the likes of Irish Nationwide and Anglo Irish apparently getting away with financial blue murder but we are where we are.

        There are 2 massive problems in the World at the moment – debt which can be paid off in time if we can inflate our economies – and the fact that we are over-populated by around 3 billion people. That in my mind makes Ireland a good place to be…….

        • Seaninog

          Well written. Nice post.

        • Colin_in_exile


          Sorry to hear about your shins, this forum has all the passion of a Munster Hurling Final / All Ireland Football Final / Munster v Leinster Interpro / Rep of Ireland World Cup Qualifier, its not a game of tennis in Wimbledon.

          I can’t see what your argument is here, and you do not reference your facts with weblinks for example what scientist has said we are overpopulated by 3bn? How can you say UK & USA are resilient when they are in recession while Germany, France & Italy are not in recession?

          You want property markets stabilised, so do I – I want them to be allowed to bottom out at what I believe is a fair value – 4 times the average industrial salary for an average house.

          A strong property market creates confidence? All I know is that a strong property market puts massive upward pressure on wages, which drives inflation, which makes exports more expensive, which leads to job losses which leads to misery.

          • paddythepig

            Nastase v Smith
            McEnroe v Borg
            Connors v Everybody
            Nadal v Federer
            Federer v Roddick last year

            Leathering the shite out of each other till sunset.

            It’s not all strawberries and cream Colin.


          • Colin_in_exile


            Yes, great memories, but none of them was moaning about their shins being bruised by their opponent.

          • Colin – I cant give you specifics as to who says the world is overpopulated just as I cant give specifics if somoene challenged me to prove the planet Earth is round. All I can tell you is that the planet is round and it is over-populated.

            The UK and USA will have to re-invent themselves and their historical resiliance will enable them to do this. Otherwise we are screwed – as I have argued.

            I think you may be mixing up a strong property market with an over-inflated one; it is a thin dividing line. And sadly in this Country we always seem to want that little bit more than we can afford……

          • Colin_in_exile


            A photo from space clearly proves the world is round. Others are mentioned below.


            10 – 15 Billion is the average range scientists believe is the carrying capacity of the earth for humans.


        • wills

          Phil -

          D is going at the crony network and its lack of ethics and scams.

          • Wills – I dont think we can say that all bankers are w*nkers – just quite a lot of them,

          • wills

            Phil ,

            show me where i typed ‘ all bankers are wankers’.

            You will not find it.

          • wills

            Phil -

            If one is working for the banks it puts one in a compromising situation and what happens next is up to the individual to decide for themselves where they go from there.

            When i’ve never said all working in the banking industry is a criminal.

            What i did post is that NAMA is criminal.

            Which it is.

            NAMA breaks article 45.

            NAMA takes monies from the taxpayer with no remit to do so.

            NAMA is an accessory to a corporate crime.

        • wills

          Phil -

          Let property find it market equilibrium price WHICH IS THE MOST STABLE PRICE.

          • Wills – I havnt looked for it. Dont worry I said it not you; maybe they are just criminals as you have said.

            My point is we cant tar them all with the same brush

          • Lets fast forward to 2015 and take a 10 year review of property prices – 2005 – 2014.

            Here is the question: Was the equilibrium price the average price for the 10 years – or the price pertaining as at January 2010?

          • wills

            The real market equilibrium price is determined by supply and demand finding the price without any market manipulation or rigging etc.

      • Contrary Contrarian

        We all have a vested interest in NAMA!!!!!

        • wills

          I have no vested interests in NAMA.

          WHo the fu@k are you to dictate to me my vested interests.

          You are a fascist.

          • wills

            Of course i am assuming here your ‘WE’ in its use meaning everyone in Ireland.

            If your use is relating to a cosy greedy cartel WE, then strike my post out, i agree.

          • Contrary Contrarian

            I was merely saying that we the people of Ireland have special interest in NAMA.. Jobs, economy etc, because if it fails, which many predict then we are doomed…Am I wrong…..do you want it to fail!!!!!! I resent your dictate comment.

          • wills

            Contrary Contrarian -

            Ok, got your point.

            Surely you read D’s article above.

            D is pointing out there is an alternative too NAMA.

            Chr!st if Iceland can do an alternate route and its miles away from anywhere Ireland can.

            Irish people are been taken for a gang of mugs.

            NAMA is insiders looting the countries silver on the way out the door too the caymen islands.

          • Contrary Contrarian

            Yeap and I disagree, Iceland plan is not an alternative that is economic suicide.

        • Robert

          “We all have a vested interest in NAMA.”

          So we all have a vested interest in bailing out toxic banks – one of which Anglo Irish – which is owned by the Irish taxpayer – is being bailed out to the tune of 30bn (30,000 million) despite having never lent into the real economy . . . . only to their mates in
          in the property & construction sector.

          Now we have the greatest bail-out in the history of mankind – which is based on the predication (bullshit LTEV) that house prices must remain high.

          Who exactly are “We” in anyway?

          • Contrary Contrarian

            We the people who will picking up the tab, tax payers and future generations……..thanks for the rant on Anglo……..feel good t get it of your chest!

          • Garry

            Sorry CC, I see where you are coming from but

            Sure, when it blows up, it’ll affect me and my family. But Ive taken the view that its never going to work… The short term funding for long term debt means somebody somewhere will stop the rollovers

            Still trying to figure out how to put every penny I have into shorting NAMA, How can I make money on NAMA blowing up? There has to be a way…. It has to be thought through, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

            And Im sure the banks that are being recapitalized will be doing the same.

    • StephenKenny

      Just for clarity, the Icelandic government are in a bit of a weird position. Private Icelandic banks – nothing to do with the government – took deposits, and so are unable to fund withdrawal requests. Basically, depositors lost their deposits. At the moment, the UK & Dutch governments decided to reimburse their nationals who’d lost their deposits. OK so far. The UK & Dutch governments decided that the Icelandic government should pay back for this.
      You may argue (and you may not) that Iceland has some sort of moral responsibility, but there is no conceivable argument beyond that. The UK & Dutch governments took unilateral decisions to reimburse their depositors. It was nothing whatsoever to do with the Icelandic government.

      Even so, the fact that Iceland has, at least, held up a subsequent draft agreement to pay the UK & Dutch governments a total of about $5bn is not, in this day and age, anything to write home about, in and of itself. $5bn? It’s not even chump change; the UK wasted more than that on a useless computer system for the NHS.
      It seems very unlikely that it’s the money that’s important.

      I don’t really see why this action would necessarily effect the perceived risk of Icelandic government debt. This isn’t a case of a government defaulting on a debt. The Icelandic government didn’t even agree to it in the first place; it was – to repeat myself – absolutely unilateral decisions on the part of the UK & Dutch governments, which was beautifully defined by the UK government having to use anti-terror legislation to freeze Icelandic assets ( ….shades of the cod war …)!

      You might well argue that not paying the UK & Dutch governments puts the Icelandic government in a stronger position to repay it’s own debts. If they do agree to this payment, it’ll make it far, far, more difficult for them to borrow the money to get their economy going.

      This is, as you say, an essentially political decision, not an economic one, so it’s the financial markets that have reacted irrationally.

      The NAMA debate will go on – I actually believe that’s it’s a dreadful waste of resources at a time when fresh, good quality, investment could really be of benefit. Unless the property market returns to the dizzying heights of a few years ago, it’ll turn out to be another case of socialising private debt. Very bad for the economy, and morally wrong, in my view.

      Finally, the banks. Yes, of course everyone needs banks, that’s never in doubt. The question is, do we need these particular banks? Put them into bankruptcy, get rid of the investors (bond and shareholders), get rid of the management, and sell a restricted form of majority operating interest to a well run German or French bank, for example.
      Alternatively, put them into bankruptcy, transfer their assets to a well run bank, and then let them die.
      There is no particular reason to keep these banks alive. In fact, they are abject failures, and should not be kept alive. Let their bond and shareholders take the pain, not the entire population.

      Very few governments make their debt available to the general public, so I doubt that David McW has any (The US does, I think, but I can’t think of anyone else, beyond retail ‘War Bonds’, or similar).

      As a matter of interest, are there and sectors of the stock market in which you are confident enough to be a buyer? My own view is that it’s too early, but always interested in views.

      • Seaninog

        Excellent post! Very insightful and certainly put the issue in a new light for me.

        Just one point on the purchasing of government debt, while it is not usually actively advertised, any individual ready to pony up the cash can buy bonds of any government assuming he can find someone to sell them to him/her. While not quite as easy as buying shares, it can be done.

        Great post though. Thank you for taking the time!

      • Putting Irish Banks into foreign ownership – I dont think that is very bright.

        Maybe when the Government redeems its stake in the Irish Banks shares could be offered to the people of Ireland in a format where they have to stay Irish owned. Complicated but a good ethos to keep Irish Banks Irish.

        As a screwed Irish Bank investor (for security not greed) I would like to feel not totally wiped out; otherwise if the opportunity arose to invest again then my money would go elsewhere……

        • Ruairí

          I thought you only a few posts earlier stated that you had no vested interest in NAMA? And being an investor in the culpable domestic banks isn’t vested? It would be and is on a TD’s register of interests.

          Why would one or both of our banks in foreign-owned hands be so bad? Run that past me again? Or for the 1st time? it sounds a tad like Seanie Fitz’s anti-them / protestant / London rant. I don’t give a sh1t who owns AIB so long as its functional and honest (as can be) and as long as credit unions fluorish alongside it.

          • Ruairi – I think your ranting may have made you a touch confused.

            Because foreign vested interests are less and less likely to give a sh one t about Ireland. In fact they will quite likely to use Ireland as the disposable bit of paper that peopel use to get rid of the above mentioned excrement.

            We need to re-establish our identity into the future; make this a nice place to live; and stop bemoaning the very air we breathe.

            I am sorry that you think owning a share seems to prevent me from commenting on the forum – I must be a criminal too……..

          • Ruairí

            No so PhilRuss1. In fact your reply leaves neither me nor any other reader clearer as to why we so badly need an Irish owned bank in the cuurent mess we are in? Foreign ownership by better run banks would be a far better proposition.

            Again, I am not ranting. My posts are coherent. You did point out earlier that you had no ‘vested’ interest in NAMA, did you not? Yet you hope to see your bank share values rise again. I do not envy your bank holdings (not at all in fact!!) but you do have a clear interest (like the pig in the breakfast) in seeing NAMA and LTEVs work at the expense of other citizens.
            You expect your capitalistic innocence to be subsidised by other citizens. Might I add that shares do not attract the same level of sympathy as bank deposits. Those seeking security seek bank deposits. Those seeking Tiger gains sought property and bank shares.

            I welcome honest debate but don’t try to paint the ownership of bank shares as some form of widower sainthood. Some people were burned by having pensions in !! ‘blue chip’ !! PLCs. many were in there for the returns. A one way bet. Now don’t be coy and I will also agree to play the ball, not the man. But you did profess to have no vested interest in NAMA. Yet you’re on the plate, ready to be eaten by market reality my friend.

  13. I wrote to the Irish President on the 11.12.2009
    See below
    Dear Madam President,

    The Nama Bill was passed in the Dail this afternoon by 81 votes to 62.
    This is the single biggest fraud perpetrated on the |Irish people and all 81 TD’s that
    Voted for this will be held accountable!
    Nama will buy property loans with a supposed book value of 77 billion Euros, according to the Government
    Brian Lenihan has estimated that the loans are currently worth about €47 billion.
    On what bases could he possible justify this valuation?
    Who exactly is being bailed out, none other than foreign entities with no allegiance to Ireland

    Why anybody would take anything that this person says seriously, judging on his past record and bearing in mind that this person is responsible for the crises in the first place along with his incompetent cohorts !
    By overpaying by €7 billion, the Government hopes to avoid bankrupting the banks
    What a laugh, somebody should tell him that they are all ready bankrupt, (morally, socially, and financially)
    These Banks have in the past stole from their own customers, the revenue and have being shown to be corrupt and found trying to manipulate each other’s shares and yearly accounts
    The Bill will now be sent to President Mary McAleese
    I appeal to you, the President, Mary McAleese
    Not to sign this piece of legislation and as President to protect the Irish constitution which guarantees all the people the right to be heard?
    The 500 green party members had their vote and now the vested interests in the Dail have had their say
    We the ordinary people want to have our say, call a referendum on NAMA
    Demand that this be brought before the people now!


    Mr.Thomas Clarke
    10 Heatherbrook
    Marlton Road
    Wicklow Town
    telephon 040466232
    mobile 0830048350
    This is the reply I got !

    Our Presidency is just another link in the chain that is strangling Irish Democracy
    No sooner has the current president set foot in the Aras she has immersed herself into the game of staying in power and sod the rest of the ordinary people
    What a difference the Irish president sends out the above letter and supports the foreign bond holders but the, president of Iceland stood up for what is right. He decided that it was not democratic for the Icelandic government to insist that the Icelandic people pay foreign depositors
    The Icelanders at least have a true Man of the people in their President
    We on the other hand have yet another stooge for the ruling elite

    • Deco

      This is sadly true. Just another insider. I did not even vote for her once, and she ends up President for 14 years. And Ahern thinks he will follow on.

      Impeach the President. Elect George Hook in her place.

  14. Seaninog – Logic is not infallible and a Nation is above such mindset that you expouse.If you are not on top of the world then you are at the bottom.Our Country deserves a better chance .How dare you.

    • Seaninog

      “If you are not on top of the world then you are at the bottom.”

      Your disdain for logic is noted. I encourage you to look at the middle ground some time.

  15. Exactly seaninog , I believe we have a choice which is more than you can explain.Bring in the music and let it play and dance around the fire .

  16. wills

    Posters -

    Original ed says at 5, this,

    “why should i be punished for exercising good judgement”.


    THis is what D’s article is about.

    And nobody on gods earth can make another person who is innocent pay for something that is absolutely NOTHING to do with them in anyway….

    ….and it is precisely this point that is the point.

    NAMA make people who had absolutely nothing to do with the banks and property speculators scam pay for there greed and speed boats.

    This state of affairs is tyranny imposing itself on the outsiders.

    The iceland president is saying NO too tyranny.

    He may be benefiting from his NO but which ever way one examines this his NO means NO and this is democratic forces standing up too tyranny and i say Ireland must follow in step and say NO to NAMA and its tyranny. That is what it is.

    NAMA is tyranny. FOrget the numbers et al it is tyranny. IT is anti democratic.

  17. paulmcd

    David, Thank you for getting the ball rolling on this issue.

    I believe very strongly that the issue of NAMA should be the subject of a national referendum. It is astonishing to realise that there are people posting here and others reading who believe that NAMA is the only show in town and is the “least worst” (antonym for “most best”, I presume?) option — new Hibernian grammar? The only way I can see for NAMA to “succeed” is for the world to experience a period of global hyperinflation as in the 70s and early 80s when double-digit mortgage interest rates became the norm. Such a “success” would represent a Pyrrhic victory for the pro-NAMA lobby as nominal gains in property valuations would conceal very substantial real losses.

    I have been considering another idea which professional economists might work upon. It ties in with my belief that salaries in the public sector and perhaps throughout the economy should be capped at 100,000 euros. (The Government and the civil service mandarins who are earning 100,000 euros and above would vigorously oppose any such suggestion. However, these are the same people who are championing NAMA.) Why not create National Bonds in units of 50,000 euros to pay for Nama. Everyone earning over 100,000 euros will be obliged to accept these units or fractions thereof in payment for the balance of their net earnings above 100,000 euros. Since these people have the power and believe firmly that NAMA will succeed, they should have no problem in accepting this salary payment in kind. All interest payments on the bonds will be rolled up and absorbed into future salary payments or lump sums due. Also, TDs expenses will be paid in units or fractions of NAMA bonds. I am throwing this idea into the test tube and will try to get back later though I am travelling at the moment and internet coverage is patchy at best.

    • Ruairí

      Paul McD, I like the concept. Those who a re bleating the msot about NAMA ae those who are vested. Those who are bleating against it are often non-vested (I do mean non-property infected, of course we are ALL vested unfortunately).

      This is precisely what a meritocracy would be doing. This would tie in market consequences (good or bad) for those so ‘committed’.

    • paulmcd

      The bonds, I am proposing, would in fact be Bank Bonds to be issued on an emergency basis, for the duration of NAMA, and would come without a State guarantee attached. NAMA would have to succeed for them to retain their supposed value. Similar bonds would take off if we require a NAMA 2. They could be used to INCENTIVISE our bankers. Banking executives, active or retired, would be remunerated in bonds for amounts over 100,000 euros and would also receive bonus amounts in these bonds or fractions thereof. Legislation will be brought forward to ensure that pension “Honeypots” acquired by retired banking executives will be converted to bonds. Whether or not a market can be successfully established in these bonds is a question which must be subordinated to the needs of the Emergency.

      • paulmcd

        The principle of salary amounts in excess of 100,000 euros being paid in bonds would extend throughout the economy to ensure that those who are earning 100,000 euros and above will foot the entire bill for the bailout.

    • Colin_in_exile


      Its a good idea, but call me cynical here……. I think the insiders know that NAMA will not succeed, so they will refuse to accept these bonds as payment in kind. They will blame everything from the current cold snap to Jedward for the failure of the NAMA project. NAMA keeps the insider’s gravy train motoring along for a few more years, and when it reaches the end, they can jump off in golden parachutes!

  18. wills – well spoken . Does that include soccer handball too as in thyierrny ?

  19. wills

    David -

    Bravo. Brave. BAllsy.

    NAMA referendum NOW.

    Will not happen though will it.

    Cos NO will be the answer.

    And the insiders convince themselves that the simpleton outsiders will vote NO cos they re simpletons and dont understand so it will be done too them without their democratic consent which means NAMA is criminal and proves we all live in a tyranny cloaked as a democracy.

    • wills

      the ‘insiders’ delusion runs along these lines below…….. (in my opinion)

      “our un limit greed will benefit the system for all.”

    • Ruairí

      Hi Wills, its also partly true what malcolm says though, that many of the ‘outsiders’ did benefit, or were told they benefitted and believe it; despite a world of stealth taxes and other losses to the bottom line.

      I think, like Lisbon II, people will vote for mé féin and therefore NAMA would be passed by the people if it was spun to them that it will rejuvenate house prices. Which of course it will. And we will be seeded straight through to the semi-finals of the World Cup this summer. And Jesus will descend to earth at the solstice pre 2012 and tell us there’s no hell, sorry for the negative motivations etc……

      Reality is that although some outsiders benefitted mildly on the way up, and will too on the way down, that is merely incidental. They just happen to be caught up in the trend of the insiders. And the trend is always your friend.
      I tried to point out before that the scenario of an unmarried mother receiving a house (or a foreign national or refugee or whatever blank you choose to fill) had little to do with compassion but everything to do with who owns the property i.e. a money filter. David’s writings have clearly pointed in this direction re the handover of money from one generation to the next in the great ponzi landscheme.
      The reality is that the Irish Dream demands that those who are committed like the Pig rather than involved like the Chickens must keep this property ponzi scheme UP UP UP. Isn’t that right PhilRuss1?

      • wills

        Ruairi -

        I’ve posted number of times on all levels of society creaming of the POnzi scam top down, i call them Ponzi moochers.

        Insiders are not just at the top, they are at the middle and bottom too.

        Jimmy bloggs (makey up name) re mortgaging his home to but a property in dubai is a classic POnzi moocher low level insider example.

        And they are all in it together and its rabid greed convulsing through Ireland s island of saints and scholars NOT.

        There are then the chislers like me and family and friends who for years sat back and watche this scam take off and for years we all knew the banks were lending only to the insiders too buy in on property gambling and if anyone else looked for a loan were refused and this is another part of this POnzi fascism tale to be told out into the open.

        • Ruairí

          Yes, agreed, you have been pushing this dichotomy for quite some time. And correctly of course. The 2nd house tax was only a small sop to what is required in order to allow the market do its thing and let those off the hook that shouldn’t be on it for others’ stupidity and debts.

    • Ruairí

      Hi Wills, I understood you to mean, by extension here, that NO will be the answer to the referendum on stopping NAMA. i.e. the slim majority WANT NAMA to work. That’s what I find so despondent. The Insiders are many and they want the Outsiders to share their burden. Socialisation for the poor, at the micro level. I think that not expanding this point had John Allen misunderstand me. Apologies for being unclear.

      • wills

        Not at all ruairi -

        I’d say your very clear. Posting is not an accurate science and as colin posted above its not tennis its rugged and thats fair enough.

        This, thing, as furry said last post goes back into the midsts of time and peeling the layers off of it is akin to writing war and peace in a canoe.

        On NAMA i think if it went to a referendum the result would be rigged in its favour. I am of the view point ireland is not a functional democracy since michael collins was murdered.

        I am of the viewpoint that Ireland is a country still back at the day after michael collins murder.

        So, NAMA for example if put too referendum if not rigged maybe passed by a majority cos i aht to think this out loud but i think the majority in Ireland are ‘insiders’ one way or the other.

        This is why living in Ireland is so treachorous if one is putting head above outsider or insider parapet.

        By the way i was on the inside and got ejected out due to my views.

        • Deco

          If there was a NAMA referendum – the people would defeat it. And then Michael Martin would talk about respecting the people’s decision. And within twelve months there would be NAMA 2.0. And for six months beforehand the news would be saturated about the cathastrophe that would befall the land were the Irish so smitten as to reject NAMA a second time. And EL Biffo would scorn the people for questioning the government’s wisdom in having another NAMA referendum. And you would heat every evening of the great things that NAM would bring. About the great disasters that would occur without NAMA.

          In other words the usual horse manure from Gombeen Authority Ireland Inc. NAMA a policy quagmire. A Minister for Finance who is clearly not up to the job based on his “achievements to date” getting a thumbs up endorsement from the insiders because they know he will serve their interests when he talks about saving the economy. It is all a load of pretence. And as long as the pretence continues the country continues to get screwed up in a different manner.

    • Deco

      NAMA is in breach of Article 45. The (useless, pretenscious excuse for a) President signed without even the smallest whiff of consideration. Afterall did this not come from the Party that nominated her for the big job in the Aras ? And was it not going to ensure that her kids would fit into the social strata that she is euphorically a part of with her obsessions of social status ?

      Never mind the politicians. They were elected by a comatose, dozy electorate who were in lemming mode. The media manufactured consent for Lisbon 2.0 – just press the right buttons and the urban middle classes will do what ever they are told by the people that they aspire to becomming.

      Let’s us keep discussing the predicament of the country everyday until eventually critical mass is reached amongst the ordinary people. Until the singularity of stupidity and compliance is undone. And then we will have our saucepan revolution. And then NAMA will be over. And ANIB and all the other decripid cultures on the ISEQ will be rooted out, detoxed out of the Irish model of authority.

      The Irish concept of management has failed. Get real with that.

  20. Ruairí

    Colin In Exile, that must be a Kilkenny hybrid of tennis. old habits die hard round them parts.

  21. Ruairi – your opinion is non inclusive of reality .Outsiders may have benefited in their ordinary day to day normal choices but they did not conceive the ‘malicious intent – Ebola ‘ or acted knowingly that resulted is a fatal virus that is upon us now .Henious crimes by Bankers have poisoned our nation for the rest of our lives unless you believe in yourself and want to be above that and STOP NAMA.

    • Ruairí

      John Allen, I think you have misread me completely. we’re on the same wavelength re NAMA and non-culpability. I believe in collective responsibility but not where mass deception has occurred. I think we are in agreement, no?

  22. When you come to think about it Cowen / Lenihan / Mc Aleece all three are lawyers with that same narrow mindset that only digs deeper and deeper where the rules of court dallyance is only practiced and the NEEDS of the people are ignored or unqualified to understand – Bring in The Clowns they should know better .

  23. Deco

    Iceland shows importance of putting people before banks.

    Interesting headline. Didn’t one of the main Irish political parties say that they were about putting people before politics, and politics before profit. It is a pity a party like that with such noble aspirations never got into control. Oh hold, the party that promised this did get into power, and showed us that this mantra-like all the others was a load of pretensious empty baloney.

    Ireland – shows the importance of putting banks before people. Or maybe Ireland shows the importance of putting insiders before the common good. Or Ireland shows the importance of putting vested interests before the rights of the common citizen.

    Iceland had reform. Iceland is on the recovery. Iceland is not worrying about the brightest of a generation spending their working lives in Australia. No Iceland reformed itself and is mending itself.

    Ireland is still dithering. TV3 are running a euphoria about “de-tox” at the moment. The type of nonsense that you would expect on TV3, after they spent December trying to push a euphoria about partying and indulging in wastefulness. Consent being manufactured. But the fact is that Ireland needs a detox policy.

    Detox the Irish private and public sector of their decripid, amatuerish, wasteful value systems. Detox the nepotism. Detox the lack of accountability. Detox the double standards. Detox the market manipulation. Detox the family outfits and the oligarchies who cling to Irish society like ivy, slowly strangling the host to death killing it.

    Ireland needs a saucepan revolution. Ireland does not need the persistent stram of distractions emanating from the media….Jedward, Tubridy Tonight 2.0, Arthurs Day, Christmas Party time, TV, English Soccer millionaires, Thierry Henri’s hand ball, Minister Lenihan getting cancer, etc… etc…

    We need to face down reality before reality faces down us. Iceland – please tell us – how is possible to organize a saucepan revolution ?

    • Deco

      If you look at Irish literature – you get a them of a system stacked in favour of insiders. For example look at the writings of Frank McCourt. McCourt – surving Ireland is an acheivement if you are trying to live an honest independent decent existence. The gombeens are continually trying to suck you dry. You get the same theme in the writings of O’Casey, or Behan. It is part of the Irish predicament. The system is there to preserve it’s handlers, and to suck everybody else dry.

      • Original-Ed


        Irish literature has always been about misery – no vision, no confidence and hence, no hope. The idea that the national cake was only so big, was widely accepted and therefore, if your neighbour prospered, it was naturally assumed to be at your expense. It must have something to do with our colonial history.
        Politicians love this type of limited society , because they’re the only ones with the knife, everything must flow from them. If you don’t show respect (support financially), you don’t get a slice.

        • Deco

          Ed that reminds me about the joke doing the rounds at the time when the crisis first erupted – circa Sept 2009.

          America has George Bush, Lehman Brothers, Johhny Cash, and Bob Hope.
          Ireland has Brian Cowen, Lehinan Brothers, No Cash and Feck all hope.

          Of course JOD is now “Johnny Cash” in Irish lore.

        • Deco

          Ed – I think it is not that there is no hope, but that hope has already been monopolized. There is a strict set of restrictions to enforce the status quo, and prevent any mobility that will redistribute the wealth in favour of the industrious or the honest citizen, at cost to the gombeen element.

          Irish litreature is about all forms of change except a change in the status quo. If the hero survives, he then emigrates to the US, where he can succeed in a far more meritocratic and positive society, and where he can live in dignity.

    • wills

      Deco, can i throw in there,.

      Soap operas and particularly the fair city dirge.
      Under pants bombers……. complete codswallop.
      Body scans showing peoples genitalia turning airports into porno theatres.
      Oh yea what happened too the swine flu epidemic, oh dear.
      The east anglia global change conspiracy oh no!!

      Hey this is becoming a list, lets see, what else,,
      We’ve run out of grit, sand and salt,.. distraction
      Weather forecasts refusing to tell people whether it will snow or not messing with their heads.

      • wills

        How about slovenia bomb making material slip it in to suitcase get it to ireland,,.. thats a good one that will scare people,,. mmmm what else can we cook up over the new years week,, mmmmmm any takers…

        cant use a pandemic one, been used, cant use climate change, that did not work, eehhhh, i know, lets pretend the martians have landed and show a ufo landing using our new super dooper holographic machine, that will scare the jocks of the dumbed down fools,,, ha haaaaaaaaaa

  24. Original-Ed


    I’ve got shares in Irish Banks and an interest in commercial property, but I know when the game is up, it’s up – they’re no point continuing dig in the same hole – the chances of the Banks returning to anywhere near their highs is zero, they’ll be lucky to survive and the same goes for property. To get both of these back on their feet, we would need to start making things for export, but we’ve depressed that one through over promoting the former two. We’ve now missed the boat and it’s only downhill from here.
    You sneered at the “ Book Club” above, but without these, we’d be in mushroom land being fed shite all day by our politicians and their circle of friends. Remember, sound fundamentals, stress tested, well capitalised and of course, soft landing. Not one of them true – these guys have no vision whatsoever. What’s really worrying is that they don’t know that they don’t know.

    • Original Ed.

      And I fell hook line and sinker for the splurge coming out about how things were under control. In mitigation though no-one foresaw the global melt down which greatly exagerated our predicament.

      I was a massive fan of Shane Ross; David McWIlliams; George Lee (never Peter Mathews I would have to say) 12 months ago. However as the year unfolded I became somewhat more cynical…… but I absolutely respect their right to make the best they can out of a bad situation and they do have good intentions. But their jobs rely on selling product to the public.

  25. Malcolm McClure

    I have just listened to Icelander Gunnarson on the George Hook programme and realized that DMcW hasn’t got the story quite straight.

    David said: ” In a similar vein, the Icelandic president has decided that it is unfair to lumber the average citizen with the sins of Iceland’s financial generals. The specific case in Iceland involves one bust bank, but has ramifications for the whole country. Foreign depositors are owed €3.8bn by Icebank.
    The EU stipulated that the average Icelandic citizen should pay €12,000 each to cover this. The EU and the IMF said further aid to Iceland is dependent on this deal. This president has stated that if the price of this EU and IMF help is penalising the citizen, then it is a price so high that it must be passed by referendum. In short, the outsiders (the citizens) should not be forced to bail out the insiders (the banks).”

    Not so.
    €3.8 billions is half the Icelandic GDP, which would be impossible for 300,000 people to pay all at once, so for political reason the arrangement was to accept the full debt obligation (because UK and Holland refused to test its legality in the courts). Thus Iceland would pay the whole amount whenever its economy grows as it climbs out of recession. They would pay less if the economy failed to grow.
    If UK and Holland didn’t support IMF and EU bailout for Iceland then it would make growth impossible and failure to repay the debt inevitable.
    That is the deal President Grimmason has now scuppered.

    • wills

      also, the icelandic gov had an agreement to start re paying the dosh not until 2016 also.

      Nice cosy arrangement UK offered iceland going forward, hang tough till 2016 and only then sort out the i.o.u. Not bad.

      Iceland s president saw through it though and obviously decided the icelanders are not responsible for a bank run POnzi scam.

    • StephenKenny

      Good old blackmail!

  26. Deco

    So basically as a result of the opinions of the fools in the Department of Finance, Ireland must not become a pariah. It is this policy that keeps Ireland a farce.

    Look, with respect to economically insolvent states – they eventually collapse. If the thing is postponed continually it always much worse. The purpose of a collapse of the banking system is to rid Ireland of the institutional irresponsibility that exists in Corporate Ireland. Contrary to the given opinion of the corporate bosses of Ireland, allowing rich people go bankrupt does not bankrupt a country. Bailing them out with taxpayers money does bankrupt a country.

    Fact : if the ISEQ was dissolved tomorrow morninig Ireland would survive. But if the social welfare system or the hospital system dissolved tomorrow morning we would be in serious trouble. We are approaching insolvency. And we have to decide who survives. We have to think not in terms of the existing (corrupt) hierarchy of Irish society. We have to have a vision of a more accountable and less deceitful Ireland the other side of a massive shake up of Irish society. The political establishment seems hellbent on preserving the gombeen hierarchies in Irish society. But in the end we will have to decide who has to deal with the ramifications of this ponzi-property bust, and who gets to survive intact.

    Fingers or “the sick, the old, the unemployed”. In the UK and in Ireland we have a policy of “socialism for the rich, and capitalism for the poor”. It is advocated by two political movements that are very similar in outlook and love of power. Both deserve to be dumped.

    • Tim

      Deco, it is the same “Harney-ideology” that called banks and IBEC “the productive-sector” of the economy and called education the “unproductive sector”.

      This thinking requires much more unravelling, before we can recover and move-on, I reckon.

      • Deco

        The whole thing was a farce. IBEC is NOT a productive sector. The multinationals are productive. The farmers, the fishermen, the blocklayers, are productive. But the aply named Danny Ma COY or Brian Geoghegan ? IBEC represents a collection of parasitic interests that are interested in profit margin maximization and scelping the population. As Senator Shane Ross commented IBEC is bankrolled by the banks and the semi-states.

        IBEC = Collection of Parasitic Oligopolists.

        • G

          IBEC is the overseeer on the slave plantation, giving the wip, keeping the slaves in line, letting the workers know their place, looking after the big house and the profits being made off the backs of others, reducing the rations (minimum wage) because the slaves had it too good for too long, the plantation has become less competitive.

          Animal Farm stuff. Janus faced.

  27. Tim

    Have a look at this:

    “Newspaper reporter” is 184th best job in the country, between seaman and stevedore http://bit.ly/6nSHM1

    “Teacher” is No.116.

    I would put it at No. 1, if they would only let us get-on with it and the resources needed to do it.

    After all, the check-out girl at Tesco does not have to shake a bucket out on the street to raise the money to pay for her till.

    • I see Protestant Minister comes in at no. 96.

      The Priest doesnt seem to have made the rankings at all!!

    • paddythepig

      oh no, it’s Tim the teacher’s union rep’s weekly moan.


    • Garry

      Tim, the country you are referring to is the US… Ive pasted in the reason why teacher ranks so low there, look at the salaries.

      It’s true teachers aren’t valued enough in the united states.

      116 TEACHER Low$33,000; Med$49,000; High$78,000

      Thats USD
      Now Ive also gone to the INTO web site and taken the latest salaries from there. And converted them to USD at current rates for your pleasure

      Low salary (teacher starting out with an honours degree)
      EUR 32,599 + EUR 5,177 = EUR 37776 = $54397

      High, (Ordinary Teacher not a principal for 25 years with reasonable qualifications, hons degree plus another)
      EUR 63,361 + EUR 5,177 + EUR 1,301 + EUR 2,446 = 72285 = $104090

      Rejoice Tim, you’re valued!

  28. G

    Can’t be much of a crisis if the pay of senior civil servants will remain untouched (cleaners and the low paid taking the hit – socialism of risk/debt, privatisation of profit).

    Can’t be much of a crisis if the Taoiseach is making over 200k a year.

    Can’t be much of a crisis if the Heads of the semi-state companies are making in excess of 300-400k.

    Can’t be much of a crisis if Prof. Drumm is awarded €80,000 performance bonus on top of €400k salary.

    Can’t be much of a crisis if the President of UCC (a parochial, mid-size university) continues to make €250k a year.

    Can’t be much of a crisis if the banks will be continually bailed out to the tune of billions (but refuse to inject credit into the system – deliberately creating monopoloistic State capitalism and the greatest transfer of wealth from the taxpayer to private banking institutions).

    Can’t be mich of a crisis when NAMA is being setup to basically keep the property market/prices inflated (despite consumers generally refusing to get back into the game despite the massive PR efforts to hoodwink them a second time).

    Can’t be much of a crisis, certainly plenty of money in the country.

    Don’t buy the lie that there is no other way, no other game in town, there are always options, these lies come from the same deviant minds that have led us to where we are, the application of the most elementary logic indicates they are without any credibility.

    Gerald Celente on Alex Jones show

    As Celente says “we are in a period where anything can happen. Rain in your spending, save and don’t support anything corporate.”

    Don’t buy shares, don’t buy investment property (getting others to pay the mortgage, those who can’t afford their own homes) don’t play the game, don’t keep your savings in banks, avoid products from multinationals, eat less meat (no meat if possible), live simply, look after your family and neighbours, be ready.

    The Obama Deception (some interesting points – make a cup of tea and watch)

    • Tim

      G, you are doing some REALLY good work, here, with these posts.

      • G


        I have learned some interesting things from people too Tim, even from people I don’t agree with :-)

        I tend to adhere to John Adams’ line -

        “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people” – Second US President – 1797 – 1801.

        I still hold out that human goodness and humanity can win out over the wickedness we see all around us.

        As Chomsky once said to me: “The best recommendation is still Gramsci’s: pessimism of the intelligence, optimism of the will. Things have looked very bad before, worse than now, but it’s been possible to reinvigorate popular struggle and commitment the decent ideals that most people have buried within, even if they are concealed.

        That aside, we have only two choices: give up hope and help ensure that the worst will happen. Or decide to assume that there is some hope, and work to make the world a better place. Not much of a choice.” – NC

        I figured my life is not my own and while no saint, I feel the obligation to be on the barricades, one has to fight against the corruption, the global poverty and injustice otherwise what is the point? Work, marry, have kids, retire and die – I don’t think so, if we are not here for one another then why? To accumulate profit, to build property Empires, acquire investment properties – that is a world of greed and chaos, we must rediscover our true human values, this coming period might just accomplish that, at least I hope so. Interesting times.

      • G

        @Tim – Micheal Martin walked past me the other day, looked like the most relaxed man in Ireland, not a member of a cabinet facing the ‘greatest crisis’ in Ireland’s history.

        I just don’t buy all the bluster based on the behaviour of the political and business elite. This is no crisis, at least not of the magnitude being hammered home, more fear mongering I suspect.

        Monty Python – Village Idiot & Idiot Society (see banker mid way through)

  29. Tim

    Folks, remember “that scene” in “When Harry met Sally”?

    Remember “that scene” in “Jerry Maguire”?

    Well, put them together and you get this:



    • G

      Here you go Tim, the renegade economist with Michael Hudson, both excellent in their own right, Hudson has a useful website and good, detailed articles on Counterpunch.


      Like Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ – someday the knock may come at the door, especially with the legislation McDowell signed into law, until then………..

      Irish Examiner – Dan Buckley reporting, 2005

      “US INVESTIGATORS will be allowed interrogate Irish citizens on Irish soil in total secrecy, under an agreement signed between Ireland and the US last week.

      Suspects will also have to give testimony and allow property to be searched and seized even if what the suspect is accused of is not a crime in Ireland.

      Under ‘instruments of agreement’ signed last week by Justice Minister Michael McDowell, Ireland and the US pledged mutual co-operation in the investigation of criminal activity. It is primarily designed to assist America’s so-called ‘war on terror’ in the wake of the September 11 atrocities.

      The deal was condemned yesterday by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) as “an appalling signal of how the rights of Irish citizens are considered by the minister when engaging in international relations”.


    • wills

      Tim -

      This link cuts to the nub,. here we have a small country in the arse end of nowhere standing up for itself to the big boys saying NO, NO the culprits must fit the bill.

      ANd the big boys, the bullies in the school threaten too throw the smallies out of the club. It just goes to show the fact the UK run the international community.

      • Garry

        In the rush to support the little guy, ye have it all wrong.

        Iceland’s enemy is not the UK. The UK are a victim of a scam ran by Iceland’s bankers

        Iceland’s enemy is first and foremost the individual bankers that collapsed with these enormous debts
        and also those who provided oversight and governance of these banks.

        They made a decision to honour the deposit scheme for their own citizens and not honour it for UK and Dutch citizens, so its fair enough for the UK to be very pissed off.

        The enemy is not the foreigner; Iceland has been undone by gross incompetence or economic treason.

        Your reaction must provide great comfort to those here who have managed to bring Ireland to the brink; if they blame the foreigner they may yet escape punishment….
        It shows that the people when roused can be distracted by nationalistic bullshit to attack the wrong targets.

        • G

          Only part of the story. UK & Dutch citizens engaged in the game, invested in banks which they largely knew nothing about, expecting unrealistic returns, the nature of the capitalist game is that you reap ‘the benefits’ and take the hit when it comes. It came but Britain (mainly because Brown is worried about re-election) tackled Iceland is the most brutal fashion i.e. the government and by extension the Icelandic people. You couldn’t dream of the UK tackling a US bank in a similar manner, and how much British money went down with Lehman Brothers et al.

          If we apply your logic then a host of developing countries should demand reparations for colonialism from the UK and the Netherlands. Indians from the slums of Bombay should be paid to fly to Buckingham palace to seize the gems and diamonds mined out of the ground by their forefathers.

          Malayans and other Southeast Asians should surround the Dutch Embassy and demand payback for all the pillage the Dutch engaged in.

          Vietnamese should travel to Washington with their disabled babies (as a consequence of Agent Orange) and place them on the steps of Capitol Hill and outside the White House and demand justice and the prosecution of the MNC’s that provided the technology and chemicals.

          It’s free markets, deregulation, privitisation for you (countries in the South), it is regulation, protectionism, profits and redress for us (Western Countries) – rules of the game depend on which side of the tracks you are on.

          What we see with Western countries and Iceland is double standards of the highest order, sadly it is not an isolated example.

  30. tony_murphy

    Prior to the credit crunch, I would have being annoyed if I had put money into a deposit account and lost it. I’d have being very happy to get 7-10% or whatever IceSave paid. I would never have seen the catch.

    Many of UK councils invested money in IceSave. Surely the UK financial regulator has to take a major share of the blame. They allowed IceSave.

    Good on the Icelandic president for listening to his people and giving them the opportunity to vote on it. I hope they reject entry into the EU as well.

    • Gster

      Maybe I’m completely missing something here. The Iceland Government participated in the guarantee scheme. That was their choice. Via the passport system they are obliged to refund depositors the first €20K of their savings. If the Dutch and UK Governments compensate depositors for savings above that then Iceland should not be held accountable for it. Depositors who had more than the guaranteed amount in and Icesave account knew or should have known the risks, but, should the “greedy” Dutch and UK citizens who put their savings in a bank which paid incidentally the same interest rate that I was getting in Ireland at that time deserve to lose their savings because the people of Iceland don’t want to meet the obligations that their democratically elected Government promised. Mr McWilliams, in his latest book, takes credit for single handedly drafting the government bank guarantee scheme in Ireland for the Finance Minister. Now he is applauding the Icelandic people for encouraging their government to renage on their own obligations with regard to their guarantee scheme. Double standards??? I understand that Icelandic people don’t want to be saddled with €12K worth of debt per person but should the honest depositor with €20K life savings which he believed was guaranteed by a reliable government lose his savings. According to most reports, Iceland is committed to repaying the debt but under different terms. This is understandable considering the terms and their current econimic condition. Lets wait and see…. Its not just the amount of money that is the issue, its the approach. If the UK and the Netherlands write off the debt will other governments follow suit which renders any bank guarantee scheme useless. Mr McWilliams, you take credit for the introduction of the current bank guarantee scheme, are you know saying it’s not worth the paper its written on?

  31. Alan42

    Icelandic people have and are protesting about their situation . Irish people are just complaining on blogs . There is something very weird about Irish people . Two things have happened recently that has really highlighted this for me .
    The first is the reversal of pay cuts for top civil servants . A muted resonse from the media at best . The second is the absolute media spin from FF over Brian Lenihans cancer resulting in a completly over the top out pouring of sympathy and complete backing and support for Minister Lenihan . The media was full of what a wondeful man and Minister for Finance Lenihan is . No real details on his illness which is kind of weird as he has the most important job in the country and cancer can be a very serious illness .

    Basically our Brian can do whatever he likes as Minister For Finance as he is sick and to attack his policies is an attack on a sick man .

    Why are we confusing the Man with the job ?

    Basically I am sorry that he is sick and I hope that he makes a full recovery . However Lenihan does not move in the same circles as you and me and will recieve the best medical care that money can buy either here or abroad . He will not be on any waiting lists or have to worry about his medical card being taken away .

    I am only concerned about his preformance as Minister for Finance and not about him personally .

    I also had to endure a conversation with somebody who is a Labour voter who went to great lenths to tell me that he knew people who know Cowen and what a nice person he is etc etc .

    When the whole place goes belly up will it make us feel better that those who drove us off the cliff were nice or sick ?

    I bet Icelandic people have no idea or care little weather their politicians are nice or not .

    • Colin_in_exile


      Agreed. What would you do if you were still here?

      • Alan42

        Colin , I would emigrate . The country is rotton to the core . There is no opposition . FG are weak and Labour have no clue . AIB is running the DOF and we are pumping billions into broken banks . The place is in a depression , nobody is in the shops and jobs are being lost at an alarming rate .

        I know a builder who is doing most of his work for the banks . All pricing on jobs is being approved by them and he actually deals with them directly now . WTF ? Are they builders now or are they waiting for NAMA ?

    • The statistics for Pancreatic Cancer are something like a 30% chance of being alive in 3 years time; and 5% chance of being alive in 5 years time (from Wiki Wonder).

      The hand of God has not been kind to Ireland in recent months – probably because we rumbled some of his foot soldiers and its pay back time.

      Brian Lenihan is the only person in politics this century to have shown true quality in Ireland. Cometh the hour cometh the man – and it is a savage blow if he cannot survive this.

    • Given the small size of Iceland and its isolation, it’s likely that people in Iceland know their politicians quite well. Agree with the rest of your points.

  32. agentino

    A fantastic article. When are we as citizens finally going to demand a referendum on NAMA

  33. shtove

    I’ve dealt with Robinson and MacAleese: both intelligent and kind women.

    An Irish president is not in a position to decline to sign a bill unless she has legal advice that it may be unconstitutional. If she does have that advice then her duty is to refer to the supreme court.

    The president of Iceland seems to have flown off the handle, and I’m glad he did so. But I wonder if it was a measured response. The referendum option is a bit raw or manipulable, compared to a reference to the highest court.

    I’ve also dealt with Lenihan. Personable, but second rate.

    • G

      sometimes situations go beyond procedures and legalise, the will of the people, who are sovereign, supercede issues, NAMA is a case in point as is the debt issue in Iceland, the President of Iceland just spoke on Newsnight and he was essentially making the same point, a decision of this magnitude needs to be put the people, a referendum is one of the ultimate forms of democracy, I’m glad they gave the markets two fingers and reasserted the role and primacy of democracy, great day, quiet victory out of the ashes of economic turmoil.

  34. Lorcan

    Seems some states do like the idea of bailing out more than just their banks..


    “Kuwait’s government vowed to oppose a move by the parliament to force it to buy all $23.3bn of consumer loans in the country, write off the interest and reschedule the payments.”

  35. Robert

    NAMA staff are to receive NO PAY CUT:


    Not that regular posters here would be surprised by this.

  36. Futuristic Ireland

    A bit of new blood to your discussions which I hope you will all welcome, whether you agree or disagree.

    How is it that a small country like Ireland with a ‘very’ small financial, policital and journalistic elite, how is it that they can have such a control over almost a 4 million population, especially a popultaion that has come back home to their native land over the past 10 years with their own fully qualified expertise and international experiences and lay down and roll over with the NAMA concept, whereas Iceland a country of 330,000 approx people (that by its nature size should be more comprised) how can they be more forceful and organised (25% of their population signed a petition not to enact a law that if passed will stymie their economy for at least a generation). What is the fundamental difference between the 2 peoples, and what can we do to be more like them?
    I’m not talking revolution here but I am talking about us the taxpayer having a real say in what we and our kids will have to pay for over the next 20 years,
    where is the Irish persons ‘Balls’?, I doubt a government could pass a bill such a NAMA and have a little reaction from its people, it wouldn’t happen in England, definitely not in France and its not happening in Iceland, so what’s wrong with us Irish and don’t use the word apethetic! Have I answered by own question….

    • Colin_in_exile

      Welcome Futuristic,

      Here’s my theory; Most Irish people are homeowners, NAMA is perceived by most Irish people as a mechanism to maintain property at an artificially high level, most Irish people only care about themselves and their immediate family, meaning supporting NAMA is supporting their investment in their house regardless of its effect on the rest of society. Its more me feinism than apathy.

    • wills

      traumatic abuse from early age at the hand of sado masochistic culture threaded through all institutions of the state and deeply embedded into family units as a value system holding aloft the individuals with greatest ability to do ultra violence, holding them aloft in adoration and reverence.

    • My other half ran for the local council once. She visited a few hundred houses in a rural constituency. She said that without exception she was asked “what party are you with?” (she was an independent which took some explaining) and “if you’re elected what will you do for me?” (not generalizing to mean the community). Helpful suggestions were made about getting medical cards, planning permission for extensions, resurfacing a road. High-minded stuff like that. Nobody asked about values, ideologies or anything “intellectual”. That’s Ireland. When you wonder why Irish politics is corrupt and stagnant there’s your reason. It’s not that everyone in the country is like that but our political system puts the focus on the parish pump. Irish politicians don’t want anybody looking or thinking about bigger issues. Almost all of our politicians have spent years mired in local politics. They understand the flow of the parish pump but economics, science+technology, knowledge economy and other complex issues leaving them flapping around and mouthing platitudes.

  37. StephenKenny

    The Icelanders are being, assume that they vote for it, deeply rational. The options are these:
    1. Take on a debt equivalent to 50% of GDP, and then take on a lot more debt from the IMF.
    2. Don’t take on this UK/Dutch debt, and be forced to wait for someone to lend.

    The financial services world is very forgiving. When the Russians were considering default, in the 90s, they were warned that western banks wouldn’t come back and lend for a generation. They defaulted. The banks were back the next year.

    This isn’t about economics, or the financial health of the UK or Holland. This is about politics, and the egos of the British & Dutch finance ministers. This is about politicians showing their voters that they’re ‘tough’, and are ‘fighting for the good of the people’.

    All these great countries, and the IMF, getting together to blackmail and threaten Iceland. It’s as contemptible as it is pathetic.

    • Tim

      StephenKenny, Every time the banks think they have a chance of making money, they WILL try! (That’s their “raison d’etre”).

    • wills

      Stephen -

      What i find hilarious is the UK speaking on behalf of the international community in condemning iceland and threatening iceland expulsion from community.

      Who elected the UK as head prefect of the international community.????

      Can anyone answer this question.

      THe meeja all day yesterday this overt threat to iceland from UK..!!!

      It is the colonial master s feet sticking out from under the curtain bullying and threatening and assuming the high moral ground.

      Lets not go into the UK’s financial scamming

      In fact lets do.

      AIG s office in city of london spearheaded the mortgage insurance fraud across the globe. THey knowingly sold toxic infected investments too other countries which exploded the countries credit system toppling iceland in the first place.

      So, given that the cause of icelands woes started in the city of london in the first place if UK want their money back then start at the beginning.

  38. petercice

    Hi guys have been reading Davids taughts over the last number of years and he has been nearly spot on with everything that he writes i have been talking to alot of friends around the country and they are all say why are people not out on the streets protesting to change the government well my opion on this is quite simple.
    firstly the majority of people in the country are exactly were the government wants them streched to the last to pay the bills worried about there jobs stressed about how they will keep the homes so they dont have the time or the energy to look outside there own circumstances to see that we can make a change in the country if we wanted to. The government know this and this is why they will keep pushing down on the low paid, unemployed, middle income families, students as they know these are the majority voters in the country.
    Take for example the last vote for the EU people we told if we dont pass this its bad for the country it will generate jobs for the economy ect ect and as soon as it is passed they come out and say we didnt say that it would bring the economy back this can be check
    We need as a country to begin a new movement of thinking and the generating of a new political taught as through this and the expression of this will be the only way that the normal people of this country can effect change it is the time for us to start to begin the rebuilding of our country not through the status quo but through the development of new ideas politically and economically so that our children are not left with the burden of an inherited capitalist extreme country and were people are placed at the fore of the countries government.
    i have set up a blog page for anyone who is interested in sharing there ideas on this so that some how we can begin to look at what we as people can do
    please feel free to leave your taughts and opinions and see were this may take us

  39. The reason why we don’t have any politicians who stand up for us is because we don’t deserve any as a nation. We elected, as a whole FF into power. FG are no better, Labour are a little better but still spineless.

    Greens live in lala land, Sinn Fein are living 100 years in the past still believing Marxism works. The only ones that are worth a damn are Libertas and look what happened to them. They were they only ones who told the truth about the Lisbon treaty, even when the opposition said they were lying.

    I remember Eamon Gilmore saying he’d let NAMA go through. What good is he? He’s the only good politician Labour have. At least FG have George Lee and Richard Bruton. Enda Kenny is a dumbass who just snipes at the opposition and does a rubbish job at it too.

    As for our president, she reminds me of someone hired by the government to give talks at primary schools to kids. She talks utter poo, wish someone would kick her out and let live off herself instead of off the taxpayer.

    We need strong leaders, but I don’t see any or the will of the people to elect somebody who know what they are doing. At least in the US Peter Schiff is running for Senate in Connecticut and has a good chance of winning.

    • Sean – I agree with your opening paragraph – and as I have argued Ireland needs wholesale change in its political image – essentially to lay down proper divides.

      Fianna Fail and Fine Gael pretty much the same thing – other than their historical baggage prevents them admitting as much.

      I think George Lee will (if he hasnt already) come to the conclusion that he would be better served by remaining on telly – than getting caught up in the party political circus……

  40. Wobble on Ice – texting is considered more dangerous walking on ice than driving a car and this has been learned from bumps recently experienced by many on the east coast in particular.People would rather forfeit their texting while walking because it is too dangerous.

  41. jandal

    Have been playing around with Google Sidewiki; a browser sidebar that lets you contribute and read information alongside any web page.

    You need to have a Google account and Google toolbar (of Firefox Sidewiki addon) installed to post comments but once you have you can comment on any webpage and these comments can be viewed by those with the Google Toolbar installed. Its use is still low-key but growing – might be a nice place to put the ’5s list’ when ready as people can vote ‘useful’ on comments – i’ve already added the first comment to the DoF homepage, also gov.ie and president.ie

    To give you an idea of what page comments look like here’s the one I did earlier… http://i786.photobucket.com/albums/yy142/nickainm/dof.jpg

    I’m sure you can see some leverage here.

  42. Cranium Solstice ( de-iced) – I am not expecting any ‘revelations ‘ until the 15th-16th Jan and expect a good one then -maybe a corporate law enforcement action against a banker – in the meantime while we are still in a moon wobble especially peaking on monday we could have a ‘black monday’ if not the 18th .That is pretty much all this month until last week of Jan.

  43. It was an obvious target, but this is a great article. Will McAleese grow a pair? I think I’m close to the “depression” stage in the Kübler-Ross grief cycle so I’m not too hopeful…

  44. …………….And this is Orlovs 5 Stages of Collapse.


  45. DH

    Nothing like Iceland will ever happen here with that shower at the wheel.

    Seriously, can you imagine anyone of that significance who would stand up and say “enough is enoug”. It should be coming from the Green Party but it seems the price of their power is silence.

  46. Philip

    Nice cracking debate on the site this last day. Seems the ProNamaItes are coming out in force.

    Was chatting to my friend in Warsaw yesterday. Their nightime temperatures are -20C and below. Business as usual. We have a piddling -5C in parts of Dublin today – about the lowest so far – and the country has been locked up for the last 2 weeks and Dempsey is on holidays. The Poles have their act together and have a level of self assuredness we can only dream about. They are in for the long haul – and do not underestimate their ties to the US both culturally and militarily. Claims about ireland’s unique links to the UK and US are overstated.

    Iceland is one of the preferred locations for data centres – Internet and all that stuff that our local gombeens know nothing about – massive growth area – the prime consumers of energy – due to their massive and low cost eco friendly geo thermal reserves. Going to junk bond status merely makes them more attractive. Ireland has no energy reserves and no political will to do a proper job in energy harvesting. Our inputs costs right across most of our meager productive capacity are very high and will be kept that way with NAMA. It will and is currently damaging MNC confidence as we are STILL seen as more expensive than parts of Germany!! Iceland’s economy is vastly superior in terms of inherent capability and independence. Ireland is just a mound of unproductive capital with an oversized public service that still has not figured out to organize a country during times of emergency. A No process/No organisation/ Self serving civil service.

    Banks are merely a utility. They are not fundamental. to running an economy. It is people. FULL STOP. People need energy (which we sadly lack) and a social contract – which is why people bother to obey laws and act as communities – something which is also sadly lacking.

    Investors are gamblers. Caveat Emptor. No guarantees. If you get involved in a startup or any other venture, there are no guarantees. What is unfortunate about depositors is the fact that depositors had their funds incompetently managed and those involved are not before the courts. The system is broken and the icelandic president has called it I think it will precipitate a run on sovereign debt. If the latter happens, then only ones left standing are those with productive capital and energy – their currency will be the strongest. Not good for Ireland…

    On the matter of social contract – I believe this connects well to the Economist’s note on social unrest. The government here has demonstrated a complete disconnect in relation to many social and economic aspects of this country. The childlike censoring of media is but another example. They lack visionary leadership and worse – discourage community involvement by maintaining a closed shop in the civil service and their so-called partnership deals.

    Ireland has to stand on its own two feet. How? I have no idea. Traditionally we relied on the UK and the US. China, India Poland etc are not going away. They now own the skillsets and the innovative talent for the 21st century. Electric vehicles, New Energy generation you name it -they have it and are leaders in it. This is where all your goodies will come from and maybe if we are nice, they may outsource to us. In the meantime we have to survive what may be on oncoming sovereign debt crisis – any ideas?

    • Dilly

      Good article here by Bryan Rich. he thinks it may snowball.

      • wills

        Dilly -

        Any sovereign debt crisis materializing merely means that the gov cannot sell bonds. But central banks will but bonds at all times once the regional gov is on message with the controlling elites agenda.

        Hence why Ireland had no difficulty securing such a massive bond swap too ECB cos Ireland s elites are fully in submission to the hidden agenda so they get un fettered access too the magic money printing machine.

        Ireland s society is a cabal of special interests interlocked with similar boyo’s in other countries and the sets of special interests are all corralled around the levers of power preserving the ‘insider’ zone at all cost, whatever it takes, the ‘insider’ zone must always be preserved, top down, monopolistic capitalism / economic rent seeking system held together by a debt based money system and an education factory system dumbing down the sheeple.

        • Dilly


          Thanks for the info.

        • http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/ntma-plans-to-raise-euro20bn-in-2010-2003656.html

          If this 20bn is destined to service the budget deficit and pay off some sundry maturing bonds (Robbing Packie to pay Paudie), where’s the Bank Bailout money coming from?
          Or are we in for a pleasant surprise with M Linehan telling the banks to go swim??
          Is NAMA the sweeping up of the embarrassment by the true elite with the rest of the boyos left to drown?

          Just a wild thought.

          • Garry

            A government policy to rob Peter to pay Paul can be assured of the support of Paul.
            George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)

            Theres a few Peters who think they are Pauls.
            There was a few at the last budget who’ve had a name change, public servants up to a certain rank…There was a few who fought and won the right to be still called Paul. their bosses..
            And there’ll be more…
            Its great to see the insiders turning on each other as the struggle is on to see who will be last to starve.

          • Dilly

            The circle is closing. It will be interesting to see who gets left outside. who are the plastic elite.

  47. petercice

    hI all,
    as stated above i have set up a new blog to create an avenue for new political and economic thinking within the country i have put up a new post so would really apriciate any and all input and views please feel free to have a look and get involved
    i look forward to the any input good or bad

  48. Paul C

    Enough is enough. The country is ungoverned. Nobody’s in charge. We are serfs to the ruling cabal. The system is broken and the opposition is a joke. It’s time to stop talking & start taking action. Time for a new party. A citizens party for a new republic. David, you’re the leader of a massive tribe. Form a new party and you’ll have legions of supporters.

  49. Question

    Should David McW be entitled to artist exemption from tax on his new book?

    • Deco

      I suppose it depends on whether or not David regards it as a work of fiction.

      But Bertie Ahern’s Authorized official biography is definitely a work of fiction :) According to Matt Cooper it is possible to read all Bertie Ahern’s book, and not have any idea what actually happened. Maybe, in this it is an exact replication of what exists in the ditherers head. Because in the tribunal evidence, we seen the same level of ‘disclousure’.

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