February 3, 2010

We're all fools if we think recovery plan is patriotic

Posted in Banks · 246 comments ·
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It’s been nearly 18 months since the Government announced its bank guarantee. Anglo Irish Bank was nationalised over a year ago and it is coming up to a year since the Government first mooted the NAMA plan. Yet nothing has actually been done since then. Not a single loan has been transferred to NAMA. There has been lots of talk, lots of bluster and point scoring, but still credit in the economy contracts, house prices continue their slow strangling decline and, most significantly, the rest of the world has moved on.

Why the delay? One interpretation is that our government doesn’t understand that speed is crucial. If we compare our stagnation with other countries that have been faced with national bankruptcy, we compare dreadfully.

Look at what the Swedes achieved in their crisis of 1993 when their property market collapsed along with their banks. In the four months between November 1993 and February 1994 Sweden issued a bank guarantee, set up and transferred all the bad loans to a bad bank, committed state money only after all the private money had been wiped out, let some weak banks go bust, nationalised some big ones and devalued their currency by 40pc!

Sweden took all these decisions quickly in order to save the economy. The financial markets saw that the country was serious about sorting itself out and money cascaded back into Sweden. In a short time the Swedish crisis was over and the casualties were those who caused the problem — the banks and the big landowners. The devaluation allowed industry to recover quickly by becoming hyper-competitive.

So, is the reason for our inactivity the Government’s failure to understand that speed and significant policy change are crucial to getting out of the mire quickly? Or is it that they understand this perfectly, but also cynically understand that if they can brazen it out for another two years they might just be able to run an election campaign on the fallacious myth of taking “hard” decisions?

By adopting the latter tactic, the Government can divide the country between the “insiders” and the “outsiders”.

The insiders are those who have a stake in the society and, therefore, will support a government that is taking decisions that protect their dwindling stake. The insiders prefer the certainty of a tarnished status quo to risking the unknown of a rejuvenated country.

The outsiders are those with no stake in the society, who therefore have most interest in fundamental change. During the boom, some outsiders got inside the tent for a few years, but now they are back outside, in negative equity. They are likely to emigrate or go on the dole as they dutifully did in the crises of the 1950s and the 1980s.

The cynicism of the current approach is that it gives a political party, which is playing the percentages, a chance. On the other hand, it means the recession is longer than it should be. Credit dries up and the country is fixed in a holding position, which is sustainable as long as the Government can borrow abroad and the insiders are kept in a state of nervous anxiety rather than acute fear about their future. This allows the insiders to see the outsiders as, at best, a worrisome nuisance and, at worst, a threat to the insiders’ standard of living. The outsiders quickly become the enemy.

Playing the insider/outsider game allows the ruling party to experiment with what could be described as “ground hurling”. Ground hurling means you keep close to your marker, don’t do anything dramatic and see how the ball breaks. Ground hurling allows a team that shouldn’t have a hope in hell to eke out a win and rob the prize.

Think of this in political terms. We are now faced in Ireland with the pathetic spectacle of the Government protecting the rotten status quo based on the entirely mendacious strategy of political survival rather than national renewal. This starts with the banks. Forget patriotism, self-preservation is the name of the game.

The ongoing public sector versus private sector debate is also part of the bigger insider/ outsider tactic, as it creates false skirmishes. This new conflict is a by-product of the failed “a lot done, more to do” economics of this government. But expediently, this row actually helps the Government because it detracts from the real issue of who mismanaged the economy to such an extent that we ended up here. As smokescreens go, the public/private fight on radio and TV current affairs shows suits the Government.

The reality is that most Irish families are made up of workers who work in both private and public sector. Most families are made up of a small business person, a civil servant, a student, a pensioner, an employee of a private company and someone on the dole. There is no public/private divide.

It is entirely made up to detract from the real issue, which is that the present administration, their senior civil servants, who are supposed to run and regulate the country, and the insiders at the top of the banks and property companies destroyed this economy. This is the one and only issue. But that is not the issue the Government wants discussed so it sets up roadblocks, like the private versus public wage debate.

This is also what the NAMA strategy is based on. The Government argues that it is patriotic to save the banks and the bondholders of the banks because not to do so would undermine the “credibility” of Ireland. What do you think actually undermined the credibility of Ireland? Could it possibly be appalling management of the economy in the past five years?

It is not patriotic to lumber the next generation with the debts of the last. This is not patriotism, it is theft. But for a political power base desperately clinging to power, saving the banks and borrowing to do so is a strategy based on buying time and hoping something will turn up. If it works, Fianna Fail saves itself from obliteration at the cost of hundreds of thousands of extra outsiders being forced — unnecessarily — to go on the dole or emigrate. But they are outsiders, so who cares?

In Sweden of the 1990s, the government took a different approach. It fired those responsible. It nationalised the banks. It made sure all the stockholders’ funds were wiped out before it put a penny of government money into the bankrupt banks. In so doing, Sweden learnt from the disaster. The main lesson is a simple one, which is that the “more of the same” approach is not good enough.

This country needs to be fixed, not patched up. We don’t need tinkering about with the old model. We need to see through the present government strategy. It is not about renewal but is all about keeping its incompetent fingers on the levers of power until something turns up. In so doing, it is aided and abetted by the ECB, which will keep the Irish banks afloat because it is afraid of an embarrassment such as a default within the euro.

The only way it can achieve this is by allowing the banks to mortgage the next generation with more useless borrowing to keep land prices falsely underpinned using the new device called NAMA bonds.

That’s the game — and they dress it up as patriotism.

More fool us if we go along with it.


  1. We’d be better off the government did absolutely nothing

  2. scarpetta

    How can we not go along with it? What choice do we have… I lost my manufacturing job in December so my immediate future is not exactly rosy, however, how can us individuals shape the future??

    • Just coz you get buggered once, doesn’t mean you have to spend your life on your knees.

      If we “go along” with NAMA etc, we’re allowing the “priests” to fiddle with our kids after they’ve had their way with us!

  3. Alf

    Good points all, David. The insiders have Ireland in a vice grip.

    • Beavis

      Another great article David.

      I have to take issue with one point you made — the country’s economy was mismanaged for a lot longer than 5 years. Ireland’s current account slipped into deficit at the beginning of 2002 — this very obvious warning signal went unnoticed by those in power (whether this was wilful neglect or just sheer incompetence, we’ll never know).

      For the 2002 general election the vision (or the lack of it) put forward by our government was astounding. ‘Minor’ issues such as wage/price inflation, the health care system (or the lack it), pension-planning (or the lack of it), human capital investment, productivity and the country’s infrastructure (or the lack of that too) were never mentioned.

      In early 2002 my mother gave me the best warning signal of the lot. I was complaining about not having enough cash on my account at the end of the month (was up to my tonsils in mortage repayments at the time). My mother’s answer,

      “Ah sure Beavis, it’s the Celtic Tiger — we’re all living beyond our means.”

      It got me thinking – whatever happened to the old farmer’s adage of saving in the good times to get through the bad times?

      I emigrated at the end of June 2002.

  4. G

    One of your better articles David, getting closer to the flame of truth.

    Dempsey was smirking while the government was being tackled on the current unemployment levels, pushing 440,000 – with many thousands having left the country, who had they stayed would see it brought to 500,000.

    ‘Official’ unemployment is 12.7% – the actual figure, which we all know is higher, closer to 15% one suspects, 30% among 20-24 year olds.

    No stimulus, no jobs creation, no address to the country, no mass meetings, no plan with some ‘media friendly’ ministers disappearing into the shadows. The silence generally is quite astonishing.

    I take on board the comments of a previous poster who demanded individual action, however we need a national plan, we also need government and financial institutions to provide much needed seed capital/liquidity for the real economy – this is unlikely to happen given the banks determination to build themselves up again – frankly, they should have been nationalised from day one as they have proven themselves incapable of managing their affairs.

    If the banks were risk adverse regarding start ups during the boom they are positively so during the bust, crippling business and leading to further unemployment. The laziness of the boom years, failure to diversify has come back to haunt us all, the economic mismanagement is astounding. I would also ask what are the development/local business boards doing in terms of stimulating new business ventures?

    The banks played the lazy property game (quick profits) and as well discussed on this site, we are picking up the tab, while these same institutions increase interest rates, which according to that former FF man on Prime Time last night, now banking federation spokeperson, is ‘in our interests’ – pardon the pun – truly Orwellian.

    As many are now posting, we need solutions, but as scarpetta says: “how can we individuals shape the future?”

    Naturally the government will try to hang on until election day in the mistaken hope that the world will have changed again by 2012 – I don’t think its going to work that way – half of the current FF Dail incumbants will be gone at the next GE, if not sooner.

    I think people are slowly realising that simply casting a vote every several years is hardly active, participatory democracy, its taking time but people are awakening from the lotus induced slumber. Interesting times.

    We must keep hammering away where and when we can.

    BTW, RTE six one news – dead sheep, alleged sexual abuse of a boy by his father, a disabled child who died after 12 months, potential ‘industrial issues’ at Cork University Hospital and Paschal Sheehy’s appalling statement that 250,000 public servants are carrying out a ‘going slow’ – I am in the public service, currently working two jobs as my colleague is out, many of my colleagues are in a similar position especially at the junior level – yet another example of a lazy media with government/business agenda to push!

    • tony_murphy

      Government Politicians are immune to what’s happening. They have being desensitized.

      I listened to one Minister on the radio, when asked about abusive correspondence, he gave the impression it was like water off a ducks back.

      I guess they have people employed to help them become desensitized in addition to there PR/Spin . I guess they have being told to behave like this, not show any weakness.

      Companies used to send me on courses to Carr communications and the like to help with my personnel development, I’m sure government training budgets are used in this way as well.

    • I’m working on Saturday again. Happens a lot. Must be because I’m going slow during the rest of the week. It’s really galling to have to pay into a pension fund I’ll never use, to have no job security as my job is tied to whatever funding I’ve gotten. Sure, the money was reasonably good during the boom but all PS employees don’t have the same deal. Some are undoubtedly “passengers” but there are a lot of contractors and junior staff who do the lions share of the work but are the first in line for cuts and the only ones in line for layoffs when things turn sour. The PS unions couldn’t give a toss about contractors in my experience.

  5. recoveryplan

    Hi fellow posters, we have a good intellectual debate here for several years now and while the intellectual stimulus has been enjoyable. I think now is the time for action….if you are going to comment…please include a few lines on how “we can change the status quo” and what plan of action needs to be put in place. Fellow posters can vote simply by putting +1 beside the comment. The best plan of action is decided upon and “acted upon” by us all as a single group. Remember the brave spartans , 300 changed the course of history. There are 300 posters/readers here !!!!!!! but are they “Irish spartans” are armchair generals full of hot air..time will tell..I await your comments!!

    • Ruairí

      !! I’ll say it again ……and again….and again……..to anyone who will listen……..

      Move your money from a retail bank to the credit union. Cut them off at the knee. Do not support those who would destroy you and your childrens’ lives.
      I know BrendanW and Wills and Deco too have clearly asked for this to happen.

      If they squeeze your friends or family, squeeze them. Walk in and tell the manager why you’re moving. Explicitly. And then move your money. or the bulk of it etc. That is the most direct action we as citizens can take. Its also a campaign in America, to support the community banks and destroy the power of merchant / retail hybrid collusus operations.
      http://www.moveyourmoney.info. In fairness, we were all talking about this very action here a few months before that shower were over their fancy dinner table ;-)

      • JJ Tatten

        Very interesting link – plenty of food for thought – and action.

      • * Move money out of big banks to credit unions (but prepare to move to international banks just in case!)
        * Do not use main Irish banks (BoI, AIB etc) for any products (Investments, Insurance etc)
        * If you have loans with them, try to transfer them out.

        Q: If you have a mortgage with them, is it too painful to hold back payments for a while ? Would crippling charges be incurred?

      • Hi Ruairi, I think you’re not considering one important thing. Where do you think the Credit Unions keep their money? Yes, in the Banks! I live in Melbourne Australia and I work in a Credit Union in lending. The Credit Unions here have evolved unlike in Ireland and offer ALL the financial services that a bank does. Because of this customers have a real alternative to the bank. Our Credit Union doesn’t charge fees, we have mortgage loans, personal loans, car loans, Visa Debit cards, Credit Cards, Insurance. It’s a one-stop shop for all your financial needs. 100% of our loans are from members deposits therefore no subprime exposure here! I suggest that Ireland’s Credit Unions move into the 21st century and become the main financial institution for the people of Ireland. There has never been a better time for this to happen. We have 80,000 members in our Credit Union, I do NOT have a bank account! The first step Irish Credit Unions needs to take is to have access to customers money via a Visa Debit system then things can progress from there!If you read these comments David, I would like your thoughts on this?

        Seamus.

        • Ruairí

          Hi Seamus, nice input. How’s the weather? Now don’t depress us!

          I had been thinking about that consequence, yes. Your correctly hauling me up on it has prompted me to do a bit more digging on it.
          In 2006, the Financial Regulator and the ILCU had to spearhead a drive away (a ban) on the easy lure of bank bonds for credit union investment, because essentially the credit unions were naively piling into them (Of course we have the more recent mis-selling (and mis-buying) scandals that a stockbroking house were getting rapped over).
          But the bonds limit / ban is here http://www.icecube.ie/htmlsite/news.asp?id=67
          29/10/2006
          Fears mount over credit unions losing millions on bonds

          CREDIT unions may have lost millions of euro by investing members’ savings in volatile bank bonds whose value has dropped as interest rates rise.

          The Financial Regulator, which polices the sector, stepped in on Thursday to ban credit unions from investing more of their money in bank bonds that will not mature for ten years or more.

          The ban, which takes effect from 1 November, also limits the proportion maturing after seven years to no more than 30% of a credit union’s bond portfolio.

          According to the regulator, the new rules support the principle that “investments by credit unions must not involve undue risk to members’ savings”.

          But the crackdown may have come too late for some credit unions which, according to accountant Robert Moynihan, have already lost heavily. He sits on an industry panel set up by government to advise the Financial Regulator and also provides training services for the Irish League of Credit Unions.

          Moynihan claims that credit unions, which rely heavily on unpaid volunteers to manage their affairs, may be the victims of a misselling scandal. He wrote to more than 400 credit unions earlier this month, seeking their support for a campaign to win compensation from the investment advisers that sold the bonds.

          According to Moynihan’s letter: “Six credit unions have told me that their holdings in certain bonds have suffered losses which amount to more than 1m, reflecting a fall in value of around 10%12%. It is likely that across the credit union movement total losses amount to many millions of euro.

          “This calls for an investigation into the conduct of the investment advisers concerned because, if the losses are the result of misconduct on their part, credit union members should not bear the cost of the pain.”

          Moynihan said his aim was “to force your investment adviser to buy the bonds back at the lower of face value or cost, although alternative forms of compensation cannot be ruled out”.

          He said that, when the Financial Regulator’s new rules take effect this week, credit unions will no longer be able to invest in the bonds in question.

          “Credit unions both want and need investments which carry a guaranteed return of their investment at a fixed maturity date, and perpetual bank bonds do not provide this critically important feature, ” he said.

          A spokeswoman said the Financial Regulator “is aware of the matter and is looking into it”.

          Davy Stockbrokers, which manages 2.3bn for credit unions affiliated to the ILCU, said any losses that might have been incurred were due to temporary market fluctuations affecting a small number of bonds.

          A statement issued to the Sunday Tribune said: “Davy is adviser to a large number of credit unions who have broad-based portfolios for their excess liquidity. This particular high-yield product is a very small part of these portfolios . . . 5% or less. The product is below par at the moment because the market for long-dated products is lower than for short-dated products. Credit unions are aware of this and not one single complaint has been received by Davy in relation to this product.”

          Its position was backed by Liam O’Dwyer, chief executive of the ILCU, in a memo sent to credit unions two weeks ago in response to Moynihan’s allegations. It stated: “Although bond values are subject to market fluctuations, each bond. . . on the advice of the league’s investment advisers, Davy, should continue to deliver strong income in the future, thereby meeting credit union income requirements.”

          He told the Sunday Tribune that “we’ve have a look at the matter and we’re comfortable that credit unions are secure”.
          O’Dwyer’s memo rejects any implication that the bonds had broken investment regulations, although these regulations have now been replaced by the new rules issued by the Financial Regulator on Thursday

          Niall Brady – Sunday Tribune

          I see that my credit union, with 35,000 members (I say ‘mine’ but of course that’s hyperbole…) had, in 2008, just under €1m in cash at bank and €120m in investments.
          Like the community banks in USA, the credit unions here are, and you are 100% correct, umbilically compromised by their connection to the Irish banking system, both retail and merchant. It must be exceedingly possible for a credit union to be set up, in fact, that would purposely be built around the issue of where it invests, not where you live etc. So the ‘common bond’ could be being an outsider, not trusting NAMA to work and wishing to live within capitalism in a sustainable (and profitable for all) fashion.

        • Alan42

          I also live in Melbourne . Could you please provide me with some information and links to the credit union .

          Alanreynolds424242@gmail.com

      • I did that 18 months ago Ruairi.

        • Ruairí

          May the force be with you, oh furry one ;-)

          Incidentally, you’re a man well versed in cooperatives (Malcolm McClure has good knowledge too, am I right?).
          Could a credit union with a common bond not based on geography not be modified or started to be a real alternative to the current scenario? I don’t simply mean in terms of retail services. moreso to address the pivotal point from Seamus ‘down under’ above, that where the credit unions invest the members’ funds is critical in where deposit support could feasibly be withdrawn from, without cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face………as it were……….

    • G

      recoveryplan – along with your calls for recommendations, and invocation of the Spartans (point taken), you should do some research.

      There were so many comments made by posters that one poster created an alternative site, which listed the hundreds of points made by posters, myself included, I believe I listed 32 points to consider, and I was not alone.

      Maybe this can be revived, or be brought to your attention by the poster in question, who I regrettably do not recall.

      Overall, I welcome the thrust of your comment and seeming frustration behind it.

      Interestingly, the Icelandic President is right now being interviewed on Al Jazeera, he has just accused Britain and Prime Minister Gordon Brown of financial terrorism.

      Thankfully the Icelandic people are fighting back, as has been consistently suggested, maybe our so called ‘President’ will speak and refuse to sign off on NAMA!

      Think Ruairi is right, take your money out of the banks and let us see them nationalised, they are actively phoning people encouraging them to save no wonder why!!

      • Are there any good anti-NAMA / anti-FF / anti-Bankers sites? Maybe we could create a “Move your money” guide to help people get out of the big banks.

        • Beavis

          Funny you should say that FP – I am in the process of setting up a bank account for my Dad here in Frankfurt ….

        • Beavis

          Hey FP,

          Sounds like I’m not alone in thinking the worst. I have visions of the recent Argentina bank/debt crisis in my head (no-one was able to withdraw more than 200/USD a day). So even if you wired money home to help out, your parents couldn’t even access it!

          Could that be Ireland’s fate as well? I hope not, but you never know …..

  6. ThomasFergus

    I was just talking about this to my work colleague this evening, got back to my desk to find David saying the exact same thing! Albeit that David is a helluva lot more convincing/eloquent than yours truly……

    I’m a public servant who does his job competently, believes the public service in general is one of the worst in Europe and believes that my responsibility for this state of affairs is negligible.

    This does not mean I do not take responsibilty for my actions. No, sir. However, I can only imagine the demoralisation of ordinary workers in the Department of Health when they see Michael Martin getting away with lying about the cost of his promises for over 70s medical cards that ended up costing the State hundreds of millions by blaming his civil servants, or the demoralisation of staff in the Dept of Environment with Martin Cullen remaining in high office a full six years after the e-voting debacle, and so on. If zero responsibility is taken at the top, then the message goes out that it is every man for himself and we all act accordingly. Therefore, the public service in general is a lousy apparatus, and all that matters for business is to have contacts at the top and to be “on the inside”. Jim Flavin and Michael Fingleton would be the two best examples of this corruption of business ethics in this country.

    As a public servant, I appreciate that I have a more secure job than many others, yet my wages have been ravaged unlike those at the top of the public service or the established corporate businesses here. Moreover, my brother has just come out of third level education at great cost to the State, but is being forced to emigrate as he is a health professional and that shop has been closed down till further notice (funny though that our historic enemies will now make full use of his labour, just like they did with the less educated generation of the 1950s – kicked out because the etsablishment here had no interest in solving our problems but would rather paralyse the governance of the nation thru hysterical irredentism and Irish language tokenism (I’m a Gaelgoir myself) than see their privileged status threatened).

    The one way to get this economy moving again is to allow land values and the cost of professional services collapse, force guaranteed banks to do deals with their mortgage holding customers (removing the risk to the taxpayer) with the debt for equity swaps that David has been banging on about, freeing up money that is going down the drain on increased mortgage repayments and which should be spent in the real economy, and of course, let banks such as Anglo go to the wall.

    But having listened to that viper Lenihan today in the Dail, it is clear from reading between the lines that the Government will string out mortgage holders, while setting those in negative equity and those who didn’t borrow at each others’ throats (while older folk with zero mortgages look on from Alicante), just like FF did via thier media buddies with the public sector/private sector nonsense.

    How long will we put up with this vicious smokescreen? Or will we move on to immigratnt v native next?

    • Ruairí

      +1 to “The one way to get this economy moving again is to allow land values and the cost of professional services collapse, force guaranteed banks to do deals with their mortgage holding customers (removing the risk to the taxpayer) with the debt for equity swaps that David has been banging on about, freeing up money that is going down the drain on increased mortgage repayments and which should be spent in the real economy, and of course, let banks such as Anglo go to the wall.”

    • Deco

      ThomasFergus.

      The contemporary Irish concept of management has failed. It is that simple.

  7. The outsiders must make a stand. FF were returned to power at the last general election because Cowan went on Questions and Answers and threatened the insiders with catastrophe if they didnt vote FF. The insiders deserved what they got because they voted to keep their SUV’s while their grannies continued to languish on hospital trollies.
    Must it be left to the outsiders again as in 1916 to rescue the middle classes ?

  8. jcurran

    Excelent note, as usual David.
    A few points:

    1) I have seen it written here in the recent past, and I will write it again: Ireland needs a new politics. The politics that we operate gives the electorate a poor choice between 2 right of centre parties with very similar policies or a left of centre party that have no real credibility. The fact is that most of our young political talent actually goes to work in some other more lucrative or challenging field, either at home or abroad. Those young talents that do decide to go down the political path, usually follow the path set by their grandparents or great grandparents in the civil war. These young and talented minds are railroaded into seperate political parties due to family allegiances based on the civil war. These young talents should be working together, not against each other. So, WE NEED A NEW POLITICS IN IRELAND. Out with the old. Out with the FF and FG brands. Lets get a new politics that actually represents the young, dynamic, energetic and (once) hopeful majority of our population.

    2)The lack of leadership is astonishing. as outlined above, all of the arse-ing about with NAMA, it just makes me sick at this stage. The fact that it is based on a significant appreciatioin of property values in “the future” renders me apathetic. The absence of real strategies aimed at getting people back to work, the absence of any obvious or meaningful investigation into the shenanigans at Anglo, Nationwide and other institutions, the farce over FAS and its board of directors all suggest to me that we have a government who are not actually governing. They are reeling from crisis to crisis. The lack of leadership from the unions is also shameful. Without a government worth its salt, one would think that the unions would step in and assume some responsibility by showing the way on issues such as getting our cost base down. Instead we hear Jack O’Connor bleating about “helping with negotiations” by orchestrating a 70,000 person work to rule. Idiots.

    3)I am a well paid professional in the public service. I have shouldered a 16% pay cut in the last 12 months, and expect more in the coming year. My productivity has actually risen and I have no intention of striking. These cuts are hurting me, as I have significant debts, which rise relatively with every cent taken out of my salary. But I have no choice. Except one. I could leave. My skills are exportable and in demand. And as the days go by, my mind is being made up for me by the inertia I see around me. I am one of many many similar young Irish people, skilled, intelligent, well educated, willing to work bloody hard for a chance at a good life. But I am not an idiot, and I wont stand by and look on as a buch of no-clue, half educated and provincial politicians and union morons waste my potential.

    We need leadership. Now. Who will stand up and lead?

    • MT25

      It is not time for people like yourself J to abandon our sinking ship. We are not rats but captains. D and others are trying to bring about a shift in awareness and confidence for us all to act upon. Many on here have called for the establishment of new politics – beyond the FF/FG orgy of the past 60 odd years. Insiders have failed. Irish people are no longer interested in civil war hatred. In fact it is absurd. Not worth getting into debt for! Can some clever crew member on here start a site or a blog/forum that has alternaive politics as a premise. It looks like we have 2 years to put forward some decent proposals and candidates. The ship is sinking and we need to stop the insiders hogging the lifeboats! Please don’t emigrate – this is our home.

      • Ruairí

        +1. I also think its vital to examine at this stage our contribution to David here. Not a back-slapping exercise. But we, unlike a newspaper readership (excepting the Letters to Editor) are a focus group, a feedback for David. We also strengthen, bolster and nurture his ideas by adding either accompanying ideas or rock-solid data that would not be possible in the confines of an article.
        We also, to be fair, as a group, regularly criticise, disagree and sometimes even attack David. Even I, as a cheerleader, have done so vociferously over Lisbon II, the farce that it was ;-)
        My point is that thought is also action. It is latent action. It is vital that we do not get sucked into concensus thinking of those that wish to create LTEVs out of sow’s ears. Another poster pointed to the dual roles we all must play. We can do our daily work, we can start businesses, we can withdraw support from banks, butr we can still post here; both action-oriented writings and material that backs up David’s stance and acts as a vital bulwark against brainwashing and woolly thinking of our gatekeepers, our men among men, our leaders of destiny.

  9. MarkC

    Would you not think of getting into politics David? How can we change the status quo until there is soemone worth voting for?

    • G

      Don’t do it David, lest you become a mute like copy of George Lee!

    • Tim

      David, if you do it, join FF and really change it from within with me; that was George Lee’s essential mistake (and I stated it here at the time) – he believed he could change government policy from the opposition benches.

      Impossible.

      Political naivety.

      We need more political activism in order to develop more political savoir-faire; only, this time, with INTEGRITY as the main ingredient.

      Integrity.

      Education, Education, Education.

      Let’s keep at it!

      • Robert

        Tim,

        You really are wired to the moon calling for David and others on this website to join FF – a politically corrupt party which has managed to bankrupt the nation twice in a generation.

        I must admit that I’m embarrassed to be a member of the same profession as you.

        Unbelievable.

        • Tim

          Robert, resorting to ad hominem attack again, I see.

          Will you address the issue of how you can change government policy, please?

          Do you believe, as George Lee did, that you can change it from the opposition benches?

          • Presumably by changing the government! FF is a busted flush: they’ve almost ruined this country three times, and that is more than enough.

            Amazing that the reality distortion field still exists for the faithful, though.

          • Robert

            Tim,

            Living in this banana Republic you are never far from a FFer. A little bit like that no matter where you are you are never from rats.

            Living around them and talking with them and observing they way they behave I can assure you that the bubble they live in extends to the fact that they don’t consider themselves responsible one bit for the mess the country is in.

            Indeed I had a conversation with a recently failed to get elected FF councillor who informed me “Ah sure we were all at it” an “Yeah sure sin’t it a pity FF won the last election (on the basis that FG could be blamed for the state of the economy at present).

            FF are a party of chancers, spoofers. They’re also extremely dangerous. They care nothing for this REPUBLIC of Ireland – The only thing they are ionterested in is feathering their own nests with the public’s cash.

            They couldn’t care less about unemployment, poverty, health or education. The only thinh they are interested in is bailing out themselves and the banks and their property developers friends – and they’re using your money to do it.

            Don’t worry – George Lee will be changing things soon . . . . .from the Government Benches.

          • Alan42

            Robert , Tim is hardened FF . A while ago he posted an e mail from Lenihan that he received and then tried to post one from from Cowen . I was impressed at the time as I thought that he was a player .

            However a while ago I e mailed FF asking them to resign . I just ignore the e mails I recieved from them . One day I felt like winding myself up and read through the e mails .

            Well f**k me if they are not the same e mails just with a ‘ Dear Alan ‘ instead of a ‘ Dear Tim ‘

            Tim’s all right , he just hands out leaflets come election time and is not shaping the party for the future . ( although he is a wasted vote ) .

          • Tim PLEASE let go of the past , move forward this includes walking away from the generations of curruption within FF , last GOOD MAN was Jack Lynch and look what happened to him, Haughey was a gangster and he said watch out for Bertie, and now the cream has been wipped from the top of the pie , Bertie Bouy has let the hard talking drunk from Offaly take over.
            If it is two years to the next General Election, then we Have 2 Years to Build an Honest Party with a Clear Mandate and peoples Contract ,without perks of Garda drivers , as I said before a Teacher in charge of Education and a Doctor , Nurse in Charge of Health , A week is a Long time in politics, if Next Year the IMF move in We should have by then on the ground local groups organised and ready to satand against the Civil War Parties , the lot of them All those filling seats in our Government Buildings today, Our Party The Mcwilliam (ites) The Truth Party, The Irish Party , ( what ever name we choose) will agree to take a Working Man’s salary we will a A Public Charter and proposal on projects from infrastructure to innovation and if We don’t deliver ON Time , we let the opposition back in.
            But Please stop FOOLING Your self that You can Change The F.F Machine from within … The Capo’s will snuff you before the following dawn

        • Mick W

          We really need a new political party in this country with new talent and people who are not afraid to take tough decisions with the financial institutions, unions, business leaders, Kwangos, church leaders and top civil servants who have destroyed this country.

          Im willing to get involved if anyone wants to get active on this.

  10. My Proposal :

    I suggest that from four corners of Ireland such as Wexford, Cork Limerick & ,Dun Aengus people agree to walk all the way to Dublin to the Dail with banners ‘ listen to David Mc Williams’ . I will walk from Dun Aengus …..so….

    • MT25

      I’ll walk in protest of NAMA, FF & FG and in support of anyone prepared to stand for election on these grounds…so +1ish!

      • Here’s why were getting whopped by FF over NAMA.
        They have a clear message: “NAMA is the only choice”.
        We, on the other hand, scrabble about with various ideas (most with merit), but it’s too complex for Joe Soap.
        We need a clear, concise, simple alternative. e.g.
        * Remove guarantee on Sept 10.
        * Let banks fend for themselves (i.e. instantly go bust)
        * Lower tax, increase spending, stimulate jobs and the economy

        EXTRA: I’d love two more, but I don’t think they’re very palatable:
        * Leave euro
        * Default on debt (i.e. investors who took a punt on Ireland get stung – big deal)

        • Dilly

          +1

          It is important to keep the message simple, because with today’s Hello magazine X Factor generation people switch off very quickly.

    • Ruairí

      I’ll take a ‘grupo’ photograph of the Cabinet on the edge of Dun Aengus ;-) “Back a little further there lads, the lense ain’t panoramic…….”

    • Tim

      John ALLEN, you know I will do it. Tell me when.

    • Deco

      The farmers did that the other year. In fact they were the only ones interested in making a protest. Everybody else was believing all the stuff about prosperity forever in the new modern Ireland…blah…blah….The drove tractors from the remote parts and moved a rolling protest to D2.

      And then others started protests afterwards. The Lorry drivers. The tax drivers. etc…

      • Mick W

        A march is a one off event, although its a good idea as a start.

        But really, we need to make sure that an alternative to FF, FG and Labour emerges. Whether or not this happens I don’ know but I can tell you 1 thing for sure … I will never vote for FF again … ever. They have destroyed this country and my children’s prospects for a future life in this country. Its rotten from top to bottom in almost every institution you can point to.

        I’ll never votel Labour either because they are not prepared to tackle the cost of public services in this country which we cannot afford.

        That leaves FG … change of leader required, no confidence in Kenny, though RB seems ok … but still too close to the historical “establishment”. A new party is required, I’m convinced of it.

    • shtove

      US citizens have had mixed success with their rallies – useful comparison:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_Party_protests,_2009

      People probably won’t rise up until they can’t afford to run their cars.

  11. StephenKenny

    OK, well, who’s going to do it? Form a new political movement.
    It needs a name, an easily articulated reason to exist, an identity, a set of policies, a personality, and it needs a group of dedicated workers to get out and let the world know about it.

    • StephenKenny

      … ad of course it needs a credible, known, believable, leader. I was going to say ‘strong’, but I heard the whisperings of my ancestors.

  12. ‘Simplicity Stupid ‘ – I believe Tim’s site can be the focal point to centralise the event ( Tim’s permission of course) – just a long walk to draw attention and see what happens and maybe others will join in.

  13. Banner – ‘ Listen to David Mc Williams’

  14. ThomasFergus

    Even though I have never voted either FF or FG in my life and despise them both (although not equally, FF are truly despicable), after the next election they need to be in coalition together. The people of this country have to be MADE realise that there is NO difference in substance between FF and FG. If FG go into govt with Lab after the next election, then FF will oppose everything tooth and nail, attack from left and right, attack dirty and convince people in each constituency that the local FF gombeen is “their” guy, and before we know it, we’ll have back in office 5 years later, with the elites of the civil service, the courts and the police continuing as you were.

    I’m not particularly in favour of new parties at all, given that even though we all agree the system is corrupt, we differ wildly on how to solve the problem, but mainly we differ on left/right grounds. So we could start by having a left/right divide in the dail. FF/FG/PD/Libertas on one side, Labour/SF/Greens (dont laugh)/Socialists on the other. At least then we could drain FF of all those who voted for Bertie the “socialist” with some kind of clear conscience on their so called left wing minds.

    • Deco

      ThomasFergus – I am laughing….

      We do not need right v. left.

      We just need competence. And no single party in the Dail can claim sufficient competence to deal with the crisis. (Though FG have two economists – which is more than the rest put together – and which might force the others to get their act together).

  15. Chrysalis

    Before we get carried away with names and policies, I’d suggest we start to hold some public meetings.
    There are countless people in homes all over the country not sure if they should rock the boat for fear of the consequences, real and imagined.
    That fear may not seem as daunting if we realise that the majority of us are in the same boat.
    People will come to the fore at these
    meetings. Ideologies and the rest can be agreed as it happens.
    While the blogosphere can give us the theory of revolution, the practical requires physical participation.

  16. Deco

    David
    { This country needs to be fixed, not patched up. }

    This should be our societal plan for the next ten years. As of now, the only fixing that has occurred has been to fix everything in favour of the insiders, those with money and power.

    Some things have happened in recent days that should provide encouragement.
    1) Record numbers trying to get into college.
    2) The pharmaceutical union has dropped it’s prices in a range of medicines.
    3) The report into the efficiency and effectiveness problems at An Gardai Siochana has been published.
    4) People have resisted the new 30 kmh speed limit in Dublin City. (Another stupid idea from the GP). This is enraging people. And the indications are that Cork will not implement it – which should embarrass the government.

    There is pressure building within our society to the stupidity that eminates from the centre. It is just that it has not gained sufficient momentum yet. But this will happen.

    • Deco

      Despite the state of the crisis on the RTE website, the news that Posh will wear high heels despite having bunions on her feet – is placed before news that Brussels will apply a clause in the Lisboa Treaty to implement a monitoring systemon Greek public finances.

      Bread and Circuses culture. Fill the masses with minutae and irrelevant nonsense.

    • Dilly

      18.64 miles per hour. Some automatics will not change gear until they get to 20mph.

  17. Termal underware is important before we agree policies of left foot or right foot

  18. Tim

    recoveryplan, you can contribute to “The 5s” that Ruairí mentioned above (the idea came from him, originally – I just ran with it and kept bringing it back here), yourself, if you like, at this collaborative editing pad at the URL below; It works like an open and shared Word document that many can edit simultaneously.

    For those people calling for “action”, I offer this as one part of the “plan-of-action”, as well as to say that many of us here are, indeed, engaged in action all the time – action that is positive, productive and fought on many fronts.

    It is completely incorrect for anyone to label this forum as “whinging”, or as a “mere talking-shop”. Of this, I assure you.

    Here is the link:

    http://etherpad.com/OwNzsgQpSa

  19. Deco – I think you are talking about an ‘icelandic geysir’ in O’ Connell Street .

    • Deco

      Or even just a collection of fishermen from the coasts with saucepans to implement a saucepan revolution and dislodge the regime in D2.

      • MT25

        @Deco & John No.18,19. Geysirs and fishermen are good. We should show support for Iceland. I lived there for 6 years and am very proud of my Island cousins. They refer to the Irish as Freandar okkur – our cousins- with respect to their Irish heritage “ar sinsear feasta”. Geysirs and fishermen would be fun, but perhaps we should invite Sigur ros, Bjork, sugar cubes, hordur torfa etc. to host a festival with some of our finest. Chris De Burgh can sing ” Dont pay the ferryman”!! I love that song.

  20. MT25

    +1 OK I’ll see what I can do about hosting such an event in my hometown – Prob the weekend before Paddy’s day. I ll keep you all posted. Proposed theme…..Alernatives to Civil War Politics in Ireland. if anyone has any other ideas, please post reply.

    • MT25

      Last post @chrysalis No.15

    • Tim

      MT25, what about: “How to enforce Article 45 of Bunracht na Éireann”?

      Article 45 outlines a number of broad principles of social and economic policy. Its provisions are, however, intended solely for the guidance of the legislature and cannot be enforced by a court of law. In the 21st century, the Directive Principles of Social Policy feature little in parliamentary debates. However, no proposals have been made for their repeal or amendment. They require, in summary, that:

      * Justice and charity must inform national institutions.
      * The free market and private property must be regulated in the interests of the common good.
      * The state must prevent a destructive concentration of essential commodities in the hands of a few.
      * The state should ensure efficiency in private industry and protect the public against economic exploitation.
      * Everyone has the right to an adequate occupation
      * The state must supplement private industry where necessary.
      * The state must protect the vulnerable, such as orphans and the aged.
      * No one must be forced into an occupation unsuited to their age, sex or strength.

      • Deco

        Article 45 is the most underused article in the entire constitution.
        {
        The state must prevent a destructive concentration of essential commodities in the hands of a few.
        }

        Straight away this makes IBEC’s role in the partnership talks commpletely unconstitutional.

      • Mick W

        A good name for a new party might be “Bunracht 45″ so

  21. Deco

    There was a debate concerning record unemployment levels today in the Dail. And I actually seen Joan Burton laughing because Gilmore was scoring points against Cowen. In my mind that is sick.

    • Deco

      My point being that the unemployment is not some sort of godsend or gift which is what some ILP wasters like Burton seem to think it is.

    • Deco , this is what We are dealing with , to The Civil War parties who are all taking home €100K pay packets on both sides of the House , they are immune to what it is like to live on €15k a year or €25k and pay a mortgage, how many on either side of the house would be in Politics if the salary was €40K a year ?

      • Deco

        The strange think is that Burton herself would claim that she is the solution to the civil war. In reality she is just another pompous opportunist. In fact her reign in power is full of similarities with the behaviour of the GP today.

        Kildare Street has failed. It should be renamed “The National Theatre”. Because it contains so many actors(the Dail) and failed actors(in the Seanad).

        We need an election. And we need a multitude of new civic forum groupings. The political establishment has been proven to be inadequate, opportunistic and superficial. Worse, they have proven to be incapable of doing anything they are required to do under Bunreacht na hEireann.

        There is also a very clever campaign in the media to cover up the real source of the problem – the IBEC-ICTU running of the state by a proxy via the bosses of FF, and the other various parties. In fact all the political parties bar SF represent some vested interest or section of the IBEC-ICTU-Professional Associations spectrum. (SF represent something even more sinister).

        So we need something completely outside the current arrangement of dud options. Basically you elect a bunch of pretenders to run the state – but they leave that to the EU, IBEC, ICTU, Professional Associations, lobby groups, Tom the Builder, etc… and they apply themselves to getting party activists into state jobs. (Like Gormless and Co are doing, like Harney does in the HSE, like Burton and Co was doing, like FG do for their Law Library pals, and like somebody big in FF appears to be doing for “Mr. 3.8 Million package for being the biggest waster in FAS”)….

      • ThomasFergus

        The ILP is not a civil war party. It famously stood aside in the General Elections 1918 and 1921 to allow the national question to be answered by the people…..a foolish mistake that it should NEVER repeat again, which is why the next govt should be a conservative right wing coaltion of FG and FF, and Labour should be the leader of a real alternative, not some bolt on to either of the right wing, shoot first ask questions later parties. (Whether it has the guts to do this is another matter entirely; it seems to have been pretty gutless for most of its existence)

        Labour was the only party in the Dail to oppose the bank guarantee (in the absence of any detail on the state of the banks, esp Anglo) and has been the most vociferous opponent of NAMA, preferring instead the Swedish temporary nationalisation model outlined by David. The party is between a rock and a hard place in respect of the FF led, media driven public sector/private sector spat, because many of its potential voters have been laid off in the private sector while it condemns the actions of many of its potential voters in the public sector, but it gets the blame for every and any union action, so it should expose the union leaders as the closet FFers that they are (cf the snake-like Peter Mcloone and his hopes to run for FF in the 2004 elections) and actually give real leadership to union members.

        All your “new party” talk will end in failure. Sorry to say it, but that’s the truth. We’ve seen it with Clann na Talumhain, Clann na Poblachta, the PDs and even Libertas. What we need is an honest right/left divide and to smoke out working class FF voters and liberal FG voters from those two reactionary catch all parties. Enda Kenny and Brian Cowen deserve each other.

        • Deco

          Alright…I think we get the message….

          No, I am not buying this straightjacket designed to get ILP ministerial pensions and cronyism like occurred in the 1990s. The people do remember. They remember Prionsias De Rossa advertising state jobs in an internal party activist newsheet. They remember Joan Burton using the government jet for clothes shopping. They remember Dick Spring staying in ultra-expensive hotels in New York. It all speaks louder than the sound-bites.

          I think that we need multiple fresh new political movements developed with fresh ideas to deal with the new problems that we face.

          I am not keen on this grand theory of realignement – we do not need a re-arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic. We do not need a repackaging and realignement of the same old opportunist outfits.
          There are too many wasters in the Dail. And let’s face it none of them seen this coming. In fact they were all complaining that not enough money was being spent during the boom.

          We need to clean the slate.

        • MT25

          We cannot have a real left right divide as long as Labour are happy to get into bed with FG. The whole system stinks and I agree we do not need a new PP on the condition that Labour force a coalition of the right. I cant vote for LAB, knowing they will perpetuate the sickness. A new party – even an emergency agenda party – could coalesce with Labour.

  22. Deco – I will carry paidi’s lobster pot

  23. Deco

    I don’t think that the establishment is trying to play ground hurling. It seems to me that they are making the rules to suit themselves and appointing referees/officials to adjudicate in an unbiased manner.

    In fact getting a biased referee is essential towards maintaining the status quo in Ireland.

  24. Deco

    Everytime there is a crisis with one PIGS economy (or PIGIS if you include Italia) the rates on government debt go up. In the Irish media there seems to be this assumption that we are safer than the others. Our per capita debt is extremely high. So this is a flawed assumption. In absolute (real) terms we have to work harder to clear it all, or else default on some of it.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/7150118/Greece-under-EU-protectorate-as-funds-shift-fire-to-Portugal.html

    Greece is now increasingly under a finance directive from Brussels. The Greek prime minister believes that the biggest problem in Greece is widespread tax evasion. (Mr. Ahern take note).
    Contrary to the above article I actually think that the Greeks will get their act together. And I also think that the Italians will squeeze through.

    Put I can see Spain and Ireland getting into very serious trouble in the next twelve months. The reasoning is very simple. Unemployment in both countries is extremely high. This is indicative of an incomes crisis. And an incomes crisis results in serious problems both economic and societal.

  25. Good evening,

    In a nutshell, I intend to see the roots of the crisis deliberately planted in the years of G.W. Bush and Greenspan’s activities, too many key indicators point in the same direction, as such the Irak war was a war against the Euro in the first place. Irak’s incumbents, empowered by the very same USA that later invaded the country, officially played with the idea to sell Oil no longer for petro dollar, but Euro, this serious threat in my humble view was the underlying reason for a great deal of events occurring as a result.

    As for the activities of the irish government, or the Lack of them, I made my peace with this country after the Irish public voted Pro Lisbon.

    It is a reality that the irish people voted yes, ok?

    It is a reality that this ruling party still is in power, no demonstrations of any kind worth mentioning are blocking the entry to government buildings, no one is on the streets in significant numbers.

    With approx. way over 0.5 million people without a job, again, no masses are expressing their discontent and disapproval with this government, it is channeled, stage managed and and aired on RTE’s THE FRONTLINE instead, ridiculous, and again, blatantly obvious.

    The way the news on RTE changed in the past months is another interesting thing to observe, air time is precious, and things are hushed up big times. What is the difference between a Korean stage managed propaganda news channel and RTE? Nothing!

    No it is not the big frustration about the ruling parties, and please by all means, you should include the useless main opposition party, and by all means and in first place, the parasitic Green party.

    I made my peace with Ireland.

    It is a banana republic. – Period. -

  26. Deco

    David is correct. Implement the Swedish approach – all of it. The Gordon Brown approach is ludicruous in the extreme.

    And we must show solidarity with Iceland.

  27. ARE WE ALL FOOLS ?…..good question all right David !
    My Answer is no , we’re just a bit Stupid at times ! ( Like the last Decade)
    Today like many others I had to listen to fat Biffo stating the unemployment figures were within government forecasts and he doesn’t have any simple solutions but they are doing the right things !….jesus How Stupid does HE think we are ?
    There is some very simple solutions which could be operational within 6 months , the BIG Problem we have here is been a small island we have a small pool of political talkers and a small Media , the truth of our Media now is They are all in debt with monies owed from advertising agencies and home town developers and the car dealers and for survival they are dependent on Government spending .
    What we need here now is to use The Technology we have here and get meetings going around the country , David here should also get back out on the road with his book and maybe join up with the Other 4 Angry Men tour.
    I think we are about to reach the tipping point , even those who are cushioned from this economic mess are tired looking at the bumbling on a daily basis of these over paid useless politicians we have elected,
    If it takes the next two years to put forward a Socially Progressive Alternative to what we have , then so be it.
    But NOW WE have to start with town meetings , even if only a handful turn up at the beginning given time the National Media will have to air what is going on,
    If they don’t it’s quite easy to get stories on the net and picked up by out side media .
    But We have to do something and soon

  28. Malcolm McClure

    David says “It is not patriotic to lumber the next generation with the debts of the last. This is not patriotism, it is theft.”

    Desperate times require desperate measures. The government needs to raise a lot of real money… Fast. Therefore, since the wealthy of this generation benefitted from the boom they will have to pay for the aftermath, not the next generation of the middle class.

    To accomplish this, the government need to pass a law that death duties on estates worth over €100,000 will be increased to 90% of all assets exceeding that figure at the time of death. These duties will be reduced to 70% of that assessment, if the wealthy include their total international assets NOW and pay a tax of 30% of that assessment. Duties will be reduced to 35% if they assess their total assets now and pay a tax of 35% of that assessment. And so on. Any increase in the value of their estate arising in future will be death duty free, if they pay up front.
    The next generation of the wealthy will lose out, but the rest of our children will gain by the same amount.

    Outside the box? Hasn’t been tried? Why not?.

    • Tim

      Malcolm McClure, that would help – if they would only do it.

      Will you please paste that onto the etherpad? (or would you like me to do it for you?)

    • Ruairí

      +1 Malcolm. Overall I like it, not because I’ve examined it to the nth degree (who has?) but because you’re pulling back the curtains and revealing a bigger pot of gold than they’ll have us believe is available. A bit like a maximum wage idea.
      Heaven between us and all harm. Sounds like commie stuff to me…… I think you’re a sleeper for the commies ;-)

      Good idea. Keep it up.

      • Malcolm McClure

        Not commie, just pragmatic.
        The crunch for the wealthy is that they can’t sell and emigrate, because firstly who would buy? and secondly they would all want to leave together, collapsing any market for their assets that might exist. Better take the hit, then rebuild their fortunes in a place they know.

        • Ruairí

          Of course, I admire communistas Malcolm and also believe that there is a heart that beats with a similar resonance behind the works of Andrew Carnegie (as expressed through Napoleon Hill) and Karl Marx as expressed through Karl………Marx (whose interpretations by other agendas over the years have been crude and hamfisted at best).
          As you say below, you can’t take it with you. And indeed, its a disgusting thing to haord what’s only passing through your hands. If we had a few more Chuck Feeneys in the world, we might be better off. Quietly, in a machiavellian manner some could incorrectly slur, working away to better a people’s lives. With them completely unaware. In fact, carnegie did similar. Not merely with his wealth, but moreso the path to weath, expressed clearly (let he who has eyes see) in Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. ps readers, this is not an uberfest of capitalism. It is in fact the nucleus of all that manifests. Its a metaphysical work essentially, but also a practical tome on creating wealth, value and a society that works (functions). It can just as easily be read by an aspiring novelist or 3rd sector worker as an aspiring entrepreneur. Have a dream? Make it happen.

          But yes, a wealth tax of any sort is welcome. Unlike our major trading partners, Britain and USA, we do not have one. They would not baulk at all at our having one for our own domiciled tax residents. How would they?

    • Alan42

      It hs been tried . It was called socialism and it has failed with only N Korea , Cuba and Laos limping along .

      Most of the older generation have savings and a mortgage free house which they will leave to their children . With a 100,000 you would be bringing most of the middle classes into this ‘ wealth tax ‘ Increase the limit and you are now dealing with the type who will move their cash offshore . It would kill off foreign investment as no capitalist wants to do business with a State that is so corrupt and incompetent that its only way of doing doing business is to have draconian taxes on the wealthy .

      Last time I checked the people of Ireland voted for high house prices and the ‘ Boom ‘ and ignored corruption coming from the Mahon tribunial .

      • Malcolm McClure

        Alan42, you are kidding yourself if you think Ireland is not already a socialist country, run roughly on the Swedish model.

        Who owns (our inefficient) health service, education service, electricity supply, railways, water supply, etc? The tax payer. All our profitable industries are majority owned by foreigners who keep them here mainly for the tax breaks. Now that Obama has again announced that he is ending that loophole, our American companies will be gone by Christmas.

        From Europe’s viewpoint, Ireland is like a larger Rockall, out there in the Atlantic, naked, cold and on it’s Todd. We need to demonstrate to the world that we have some red blood in our veins.

        • Alan42

          How do we domonstrate to the world that we have red blood in our veins ? With a wealth tax ?

          If a company goes bust you call in a reciever . They sort through the mess and call a creditors meeting . The creditors turn up hoping for the best and are informed that some will not get paid and that some will get 10 cents in the Dollar .

          The business owner will be back in business in a while ( because thats what they do , its in their blood )
          Who will be the suppliers ? Well the very same creditors who were at a meeting a while back . They may be a little nervous at first and have tight credit . But if they think that the business went bust for legitimate reasons and they are not just getting ripped off they will after a short time relax and business will flow again . That what they do , its in their blood .
          What they don’t do is refuse to have any dealing with the one time bust business person and up their prices on other businesses to recoup their losses . They want profits in the future and can hardly remember the past .

          What nobody does is sit at home with their arms folded while they lose everything , trying to get blood from a stone and hoping to win the lotto .

          • Alan42

            I kwow a guy who years ago bought into a business . He was a nice bloke but very innocent when it came to business . He was very hands on and his partners were hands off . The business ran into difficultly . What did he do ? Well instead of trying to trade his way out of difficultly he informed his suppliers of his difficultly as soon as he realised that he was in trouble .. They responded by cutting off his credit and he went under a short time later .
            This is where it actually gets funny .
            So the business is bust . But its a limited company . What does he do ? The guy remortgages his house to repay his companies debts . But that is not enough . He takes a job working 12 hour shifts 7 days a week for an entire year to completly repay the companies debts , Why did he do this ? Because ” He would never let it be said that he would not repay and that most of the suppliers were friends ” . Not only could his partners not believe it but the suppliers were totally amazed .

            That was a good 15 years ago . Today he is working 12 hours shifts six days a week and is available for extra jobs as he is trying to repay his remortgage . He is about 61 .

            People including his ex suppliers actually laugh at him .

          • Malcolm McClure

            Alan42: If your company analogy was with Ireland being called to account and choosing the IMF option, then your notion of ‘being back in business in a while’ might take 15 or 20 years, as was the case in Japan. Certainly that is what the wealthy are planning for. Batten down the hatches and wait for the storm to blow over.

            What you call a wealth tax is basically a tax in lieu of the property tax, the absence of which, during the tiger and boom years, caused the problem in the first place. It is not an unjust tax, merely the return of money that they should never have been allowed to retain in the first place. It would provide a short sharp shock that would put us on our feet again by helping to repay our sovereign debts and restore our sovereign credit rating. Having done that, the world is our oyster.

            Certainly, a wealth tax would scare a lot of people in many countries but if it worked it would gain us a lot of respect and would become a model for other countries that have excessive debts.

          • Alan42

            Its my understanding that a property tax is paid by every property / home owner while a wealth tax is paid by the ‘ wealthy ‘ ?? I may be wrong ( as I often am )

            You are calling for a tax on over 100,000 Euro on inherinence . Which to my mind means most of the middle class , even the lower middle class . 90 % . Is anybody going to scrimp and save their whole lives to hand the government 90 % ? Even in an emergency ? Not a chance . They would burn it first or do what any smart person does . They gift the inheritance in small amounts so that revenue does not notice while they are still alive .

            I am now in Australia and I am currently moving most of my relatives cash offshore . All perfectly legal and above board . Why ? Because none of them want FF to get their hands on it to pay for Biffo’s bar bill .And that it boils down to . I was in business for years in Ireland and I always paid tax . When I pay tax I want to see where it goes . Why is the health service crap or the roads full of potholes ? What did they do with my cash ?

            I have a close relative in full time psychiatric care . My family gifted a very large sum for the building of a new unit . We were brought on a tour of the new facility . Each patient has a broadband connection but the arts and crafts teacher has been laid off due to cut backs . The patients don’t even know what year it is , but they have access to broadband ? They miss the arts and crafts and are sitting there lost .
            My relative is now in full time private care .
            My family will continue to make large donations to this hospital for the good that they are trying to do dispite the backhander to the broadband guy .

            FF are corrupt and incompetent . You can tax the wealthy all you like but it still will not make a difference .
            Ireland needs a serious government made up of business people who understand the basic principles of business . Who know when something is bust and know how to deal with it . Who can take risks . A sense of public service who feel a calling to serve their country and their people . Imagine a government made up of people like Dermot Desmond ? The guy is so rich that he is beyond corruption . It seems to me that he actually has an interest in the place . We could throw in a few socialists to balance things out . The Australian Minister for the Enviroment is an ex rock star of Midnight Oil fame . You should see the flak he gets from both left and right .

            Instead we have teachers and career civil servants who have never taken a risk in their lives and who I would not put in charge of running a sweet shop .
            Would anybody willingly pay tax to these idiots to squander on crap ?

          • Malcolm McClure

            Alan42: Your family is to be commended for their public spirited gift to the care home. Presumably it was tax deductible by the donors and was augmented by the tax represented. If that were the case, then although the home benefitted greatly from their generosity, their actual bottom line was not greatly affected.

            Andrew Carnegie said “The man who dies rich dies disgraced”. Similar attitudes to the great wealth they accumulated have been expressed by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Perhaps when you reach real wealth you will discover that it isn’t actually a passport to meet nicer people.

            You are currently moving most of your relatives’ cash offshore . All perfectly legal and above board and you have given your reasons. It was earned and accumulated with the help of irish people and with the benefit of facilities in Ireland. Yet instead of using those resources to establish businesses and provide employment in Ireland, you prefer to remove yourself and your family’s resources overseas. There’s no harm in that, as it has been a traditional recourse for all of us Irish when hard times struck. Why then do some of us still feel obliged to contribute here?

            Presumably €100,000 is just a rounding error in the sums you are dealing with. Perhaps that threshold was a bit low but maybe you will find that the principle is valid, if you read my post in its entirety.

          • Alan42

            Malcome , I was interested in a debate on a wealth tax / property tax . But after your comment on tax deductable donations you can go and jump .
            We experienced those patients living in third world conditions and removed our relative as soon as we could to private care .
            However dispite paying tax and employing people and creating wealth in Ireland the government said it would provide ‘ care ‘ for our relative . Dispite a boom and a river of cash flowing into government coffers we discover thats its all very Romanian in the mental health department .
            There is now 26 people enjoying state of the art facilities ( including broadband ) because we have an emotional attachment to the facility .

            My family employs 120 people in Ireland and have been untouched by the recession . No pay cuts and all tax is paid . We even manage a company credit union at expense to ourselves to encourage the employees to save .

          • Malcolm McClure

            Alan42: I am truly sorry for what must seem the patronizing tone of that paragraph. I was starting to sense that yours is the kind of contribution that Ireland can ill afford to lose. Your last response has confirmed it. Potentially a philanthropic industrialist in the cast of Robert Owen of New Lanark and New Harmony. Peace.

          • Alan42

            Malcolm , apology accepted and I am also sorry , when it comes to my relative , I just become emotional .

            Whats happening in Ireland right now just annoys me . They have squandered a perfect opportunity for Ireland to become a modern society which could have delivered a good standard of living for the people of Ireland .

            We are not philanthropics in the sense that we feel that we should not pay tax because we think we should get directly involved and actually managed how our ‘ tax ‘ is spent .

            We experienced true hardship and misery while the greatest boom in Irelands history was raging just outside the door in that hospital .

            We became involved and donated a large sum towards the building of a new facility . We engaged other people in this cause and extracted everything we could from the local health board . We embarressed local business people to make a donation . We held golf days and all the rest of it .

            On the day of the opening you should have seen the FF councillors and TD’s jumping in for photo ops .

            A couple of blokes from a deprived estate in North Dublin could raise 2 million through our sheer hard work and a sense of what is right and wrong against a bunch of overpaid alcoholics who have led the country once again into a cesspit of misery is just really hard to understand .

            Whats really frustrating is that my family could actually run Ireland better then these goons .
            Two years ago I had no idea what a subordinated bond holder or a senior bondholder was . Today I understand them to be basically creditors of a bust business and should be dealt with accordingly .

  29. Deco

    BrendanW – you are correct – the media are compromised. They are more interested in lying to us than telling us the truth.

    In fact the media only tell us the truth so that they can lie to us (sell us something either by advertising or by fanning the flames of nonsensical euphoria – as occurred in the housing ‘boom’.

    We need to develop a culture of deep, careful, factual and independent thinking amongst the citizens. This will disarm the media arm of the establishment from controlling us.

  30. +1 ….. Here’s what We should be doing in Poolbeg instead of Gormless and his plant

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWf9nYbm3ac

    Its a Clip on how in Philadelphia they are turning house hold waste into OIL !

    • Tim

      BrendanW, Thermal Depolymerisation…..

      “There ain’t ‘alf been some clever-bastards!”

      Gormless’ incinerator problem could disappear tomorrow, if he would only take his snout out of the trough for long enough to look around and see this.

      Thanks for the post.

      • Your more than Welcome Tim, I showed this to a Green Councillor , she almost fell off her chair , wondered ‘how did I find it! ‘

        • ps200306

          I don’t post here too often but …PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! Do not perpetrate this hoax. I have followed Thermal Depolymerisation since it made its earliest grand claims. IT DOES NOT WORK AS ADVERTISED. There is a reason why comments are disabled on that youtube video. TDP can work in principle on waste oil/grease/fats although even there commercial viability was never demonstrated. It ABSOLUTELY CANNOT work on municipal waste as claimed by numerous magazine and newspaper articles and videos. The last several years are seen lots of overblown claims for new energy-yielding processes. Some are from naively optimistic startups. Many are from fraudsters looking for investor funds and making a quick buck before folding. Few will ever see the light of day as commercially viable operations. I advise extreme caution and healthy skepticism where the energy market is concerned in present times.

          http://i-r-squared.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html

  31. [...] a friend of the Left, expresses frustration at the complete absence of any fundamental change.  Writing in today’s Irish Independent, he says: This country needs to be fixed, not patched up. We don’t need tinkering about with the [...]

  32. malone

    Mr jcurran , you raised some very interesting points
    but your last point was the best and I quote
    ” now we need leadership and now who will stand up and lead ?”

    That is by far the best point I´ve seen raised in a while . There a lot of people who go around saying we need this and we need that and Ireland should do this and Ireland should do that and we should do this and we should do that
    But who among you is going to actually
    DO something . Who among you is going to take the initivate and start a new political party or parties. Who among you especially in the public service after getting your wages cut has stood up and said enough is enough , we´re not taking any more of this bollox
    yes you have gone out on strike but you have gone back to work again again. Has anybody taken up the idea of a national strike
    i.e somebody among you takes the inititave and leads a strike and said no we are not going back to work until we get our wages restored and to hell with the chaos it causes. The goverment woud soon take notice. And that goes for all the people in the public service health service ,gardai ,civil service etc
    as for the bank has anybody taken the initivave and decided to lead a protest against the banks for all the shit they caused and still rip us off today. A protest would consist of everybody in a bank taking their money out ( as somebody has suggested earlier) of a bank . The bank would not last pissing time and the bank managers would soon come arse licking thier customers again. Now imagine if this happened in Bank of Ireland and AIB . Imagine the ructions that would cause. The goverment would soon stand up and take notice.
    How remembers here when the national strike all over Nothern Ireland caused stromant govermnet to fall back 30 odd years ago ? imagine what a national strike would do here ?
    Talking is easy and loads of people are doing as it seems at the minute but to do something about it is an entirely different matter
    MR J Curran the simple answer to your question is YOU

  33. martino

    A good article from David; the bottom line I think is that the government is composed of stupid, self-serving individuals. Their day has come, they are simply out of their depth. There is no creative thinking coming from them and they are incapable of improving society by applying logic. This goes for all walks of life, not just economics.

    If a new party were to be founded, I would propose the name ‘The Truth Party’ because only by facing the truth can you bring about a wholesome society.

    If anybody is interested in making a protest, John Gormley will be in UCC on Friday 19th of Febraury at 11.30am. He has sold out his principles and his country but is coming down for some Environmental Green Flag Award presentation, a totally meaningless, photo-shoot opportunity, in front of a fawning audience. Now if anybody wants to protest, and give him a blast of The Truth, then we should organise ourselves.

  34. Tim

    Folks, Is the fact that the VAT receipts loss is approximate to the aggregate pay-cuts+tax-levy+pension-levy =17.8% lost on most people?

  35. SO What are the Greeks doing now ?,.. Well again it is the Farmer , the man on the land who takes a stand

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-W9fx1NC8Qo&feature=player_embedded#

  36. denco

    The Time for action starts now!!!!.. Yes, we all disguse and debate what has to be done.. We hear all the talk, the spin, the BULL, but still nothing is done. So its time that everyone stands up and does there bit, no matter how small it is.Its time the good people of Ireland, took their country back!…Firstly we need to affect the banks liquidity force them to go bust…..
    I call on everyone here to withdraw as much as there savings or anything else from the rotten banks and put them into somewhere else.
    The Credit union, under the mattress etc. Im sure people here would know exactly where the best and secure place to put your hard earned money into.
    You need to ask your family, friends, and anyone you know to do the same..

    Could David head a campaign to ask the people of Ireland to do the same????….

    Could David or someone with the know how set up a VOLKS bank? Run by the PEOPLE for the PEOPLE! I would certainly subscibe for inital capital.. After a few of the big dongs had collapsed Im sure there retail outlet network could be picked up for a song!

    ” If you build it they will come”

    Remember there is nothing to lose here, only our children future and our country.

    .

    • “everyone here” comprises about 50 people!

      C’mon – anyone got a site (or facebook page) that we could use to educate EVERYONE how and why to move their money out of the banks? Make it easy to get over the hump of apathetic inertia!

  37. Tim

    Folks, Keenan (Economics editor of the Irish Independent) said on Newstalk radio on Wednesday morning 3rd Feb 2010: “In December last year [sic] (2008) we had no idea how bad a situation we were in”.

    Shall we direct him to this website, and the comments we were making, back then?

    This is typical of the lies continuously perpetrated in the mainstream media in Ireland; typical brainwashing of the sheeple.

    Keep feeding them lies and, unfortunately, most of them seem to believe them.

    Let’s keep at it! (more people are waking-up, every day).

  38. I reckon April Fools Day April 1 we might just see some magma inside the volcanic valuations burst NAMA open.

    To be a fly on the well for those valuation exchanges between developers/bankers and NAMA valuators? Interesting:)

    They should pull the plug asap on NAMA when its failure becomes apparent, nationalise what’s worth saving, dump what isn’t, both toxic loans and banks.

    On the basis of the above exercise, get the IMF to write down a prescription as we can’t.

    With IMF backing and with our total debt shortfall, go to the bondholders and get them to write down our debt with a realistic discount.

    Their funding of Irish banks was not carried out with due diligence.

    If the ECB and bondholders won’t play, lets default and declare national bankruptcy, opt out of the euro and go devalue our currency via a new punt working with the same IMF expertise. Let’s get the Swedes to help out with how this is done.

    Clean the mess.

    We need to raise our game and to use higher standards available internationally and at home, to do so.

    If we do that, we might escape from the zombies’ attempt to take away the little that is left of our brains:)

    • Oh hell yeah cdweb!!! Love your solution. It’s too drastic to sell to Joe Public though.

      A mortgage advisor told me: “sure we can’t default – what would that do to our international reputation”… Like that bloody matters!!!

    • Deco

      I think that we would count ourselves lucky as a country is some sort of market crisis or other did not erupt in the next eight weeks.

      Bear in mind that the state has to go to the international bond market and borrow another 30 Billion sometime in May – and possibly repay existing bonds also.
      The two main banks are limping.
      And the potential for more flare ups from the other members of the PIGIS category means that we can get inflicted with all sorts of collateral damage – even if we are getting our act together.

      Another April Fools Day budget is a remote possibility with further PAYE/Income Levy/PRSI/Health levy increases. And then there are the stealth taxes, commisions, charges, fees, quango levies, etc…

      Another whatever happened to the McCarthy Report (‘An Bord Snip’) and all them quangos.

      Why is it that after nearly two years of deficit spending not one single quango has been terminated ?

      It really is trues isn’t it ?
      The quangos are staffed with insiders, party hacks, political backers, and cronies who will not get sacked even if the country is being dragged into the financial toilet.

      The discussion about quangos on RTE has completely ended.

      • Tim

        Deco, I know it is painful to the independent thinking mind, but watch closely how, since McCarthy, RTE has run a plethora of items on the importance and value to society of the quangos – hard-luck stories of how this or that quango assists the sheeple; the “valuable” reports the quangos publish, etc.

        Discussion about quangos may have disappeared, alright, but blatent promotion of quangos is everywhere; this is in order to defend the case for not abolishing them.

  39. Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels and the Irish upper classes look and sound like the hapless Mr McCawber of Charles Dickens fame – “Something will turn up”.

    The people of Ireland have been subjected to government smoke screens for long enough and even the dumbest sheep can see that they are going to extract every cent they can from us to preserve the obscene privileges of the few.

    I would encourage anyone who cares and reads this blog to help to promote it. Link to it from your website and bookmark it on digg, delicious etc. What we can do is embarrass the govt at every turn and tell the people what is really going on.

    Good political blogs are read all over the world and they can embarrass those in power.

    We have been kept on the outside for far too long and enough is enough. I had hoped that by now the ordnary Irish people would have been REAL patriots and marched to Dublin to throw this bunch of crooks into the sea but then again they are all too busy watching tv.

  40. StephenKenny

    How about a home produced, sort of mini paper containing news on this subject?
    Maybe A4 in size, containing non-party-political articles on the state of the economy, the banks, the politicians, and business.
    No ranting and raving, no ‘banksters’, and no conspiracies – none are necessary anyway. Just well thought out, clear, reasoning, backed up with things people can check for themselves.
    Print out a few hundred, hand them out, leave them on tables, and leave them on seats. It needs to look attractive enough for people to pick it up and read it.
    It could be combined with a town hall meeting, perhaps.

  41. SLICKMICK

    The French and the Belgians raped the Congo, FF and to a lesser extent FG raped Ireland.tUnemployment in Ireland is as high as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.In London there are 300,00 out of work in a population op 8 million!.Fucking ridiculous.FF will still get 30% @ the next general election.

  42. Tim

    Folks this cronyism re NAMA looks like clear conflict of interest to me; see what you think:

    Fordmount directors are NAMA solicitors: LIMERICK solicitors Dermot G O’Donovan, three of whose partners are directors of Fordmount, believed to owe in excess of €100 million to ANGLO.

    http://bit.ly/aZG7N7

  43. ThomasFergus

    http://www.limerickpost.ie/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1461:fordmount-directors-are-nama-solicitors&catid=37:local-news&Itemid=60

    LIMERICK solicitors Dermot G O’Donovan, three of whose partners are directors of the Fordmount Group, now in receivership, have been appointed by NAMA to provide legal services.

    Fordmount is believed to owe in excess of €100m to Anglo Irish Bank.

    One of the partners, Adrian Frawley, was appointed managing director of Fordmount following the departure of accountant Michael Daly, who is said to be the majority shareholder of the Fordmount Group.

    Other shareholders in the Fordmount Group include the firm’s other partners Dermot G. O’Donovan, Michael Sherry and ex-partner Tommy Dalton, who has left the firm.

    Speaking to this newspaper a local source claimed, “Michael Daly is the majority shareholder with a 50% holding and the four others hold 12.5% each”.

    Fordmount Property Group have constructed €300 million worth of property in Limerick including the landmark Riverpoint Development, The Savoy Hotel and The Park Nursing Home in Castletroy.

    Anglo Irish Bank who financed Fordmount’s projects, are believed to be their largest creditor.

    The bank installed Billy O’Riordan of PriceWaterHouseCoopers as receiver to the Fordmount Group following analysis of their holdings by forensic accountants Cooney Carey. Speaking to the Limerick Post, the receiver said that he was unsure whether any of the group assets would be considered for NAMA.

    He said: “I am in contact with the directors who have put together a statement of affairs with which we can carry out a financial analysis of the group”.

    In 2005 Fordmount Property Group gave a political donation of €1,750 to Minister Willie O’Dea.

    Another local firm of solicitors who have been appointed for the provision of legal services in connection with the acquisition of bank assets is Holmes O’Malley Sexton.

    Minister of State Peter Power was once junior partner with Holmes O’Malley Sexton, and they also represent former Ceann Comhairle John O’Donoghue.

    The other Limerick partnership appointed to provide legal services for NAMA are Sweeney McGann Solicitors, O’Connell Street.

  44. Original-Ed

    David,

    That’s a very realistic overview of what is happening and where we’re at – Cowen is honest in that he doesn’t hide the fact that Fianna Fail’s interests are his priority and the country must come second.
    His pursuit of that same line as minister of finance, brought this country to its present sorry state.
    Destroying a country by flooding it with money was considered by Hitler during the WW2, known as Operation Bernhard, it was never implemented. Mr. Cowen did exactly that with the help of another Bernard, and now talks about patriotism as though nothing ever happened.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Bernhard

    Of course he’ll use every distraction that he can possibly come up with to hide the truth and muddle along until he secures another five year’s of power for the party. The art of the impossible is now being used to full effect for the benefit of the few, citizens are only pawns in this game.

  45. Philip

    While I agreed with the general thrust that we have a broken political and non-representative system, a change will not come without some major and rather noisy change. Change that would affect everyone and change that would have to redefine how we see the State. So all the anger while understandable will lead to nothing unless a few TDs stick their necks out and pull the plug. And that’s the end of it.

    Anyway, was reading a very interesting article on China in the Indo by Anatole Kaletsky – “We must find a new form of capitalism to take on China”. We have to acknowledge that a lot of the pain in the West is the way China have usurped the industrial base of the West and its employment base. It’s all very well saying, China is the new power, but I am afraid their view of freedom is very unilateral. Unless we recognise that this has been a fundamental factor in the global economic fallout, we are merely playing with deckchairs on the titanic…onwhich Ireland is but a lowly and leaky lifeboat.

    With advances in robotics/ lights out manufacturing/ nanotech etc. we also need to be careful that whatever we want is not based on a recent past definition of stability. It is for example very likely that manufacturing jobs are never coming back…ever. It is likely that the generalised term “Service” to represent a new way of working will need careful rexamination. It is likely that increased durability if goods makes their cyclical replacement less frequent. So be careful about emulating China or Germany or any other industrial powerhouse.

    We can all bitch about the politics and the idiotic economic decisions and the cronyism. But bigger things are coming and have already arrived. There are entrepreneurs out there taking advantage of them and they are going to make everything from the public service to commuting very untypical. Your boss may be from Germany and hers in Poland and you will be in the west of Ireland around Dun Aengus. And our Government? Not sure if that is relevant anymore. It’s a rapidly defunct oganisational structure full of ideas rooted in the past.

    • Philip very valid points here, now while The Knowledge economy has become an out of fashion sound bite. This is where we have to go, as a New world order is evolving and China is on sheer numbers become the manufacturing power house for disposable products.
      If We wanted here with a Five year time frame , we could have independent energy from Wave, Solar, Wind a broad band net work faster than Asia’s and an up graded health and education system.
      And since we are still offering low corporation tax , open this to ex pats to come set up their small business here , throw in a Ghost Estate house ( where some houses will be converted to , shop, creche, community drop in house ).
      Cowen’s script writer had him this evening taking from Obama …with the Yes We Can……it’s time to run this lot off the cliffs

  46. lff12

    “There is no public/private divide.” Never a truer word written.

    “That’s the game – and they dress it up as patriotism.” Haven’t they been doing that since 1916?

    What I find frightening is our lack of concept of scale. Other countries with 15 times our population regard a small business as one with 5-10 employees – we regard a “small business” as one with 50 employees. We allow entire towns to become completely dependent on single employers (usually US multinationals who have also been allowed to deny collective bargaining rights to a huge number).

    My Dad was a member of the Labour party in the 1970s. He was also a sole trader. He left the party when a canvasser for that party at his door told him they were going to “get” the self-employed. Dad almost went bankrupt so many times – what people are going through now with banks, he went through for about 30 years more or less continuously.

    Thats the future of Ireland for you.

    Only now we are going to “get” the little people we conveniently find to blame.

  47. Philip – well spoken . I agree with most of what you say except that the past determines the future .I have extensive knowledge of middle east from another time and many of these places and even within the same country many tribes live together with their own seperate customs , religions and lifestyles .Some slower than others and some faster .I believe here in Ireland we have arrived at a juncture where some of us will seperate ‘ at the cross roads’ and travel our own paths .This could divide families especially among siblings and and their issues .It is only the parents born before 1970 approx that will hold for the moment what is left to hold together and only for so long.
    So many influences will cause divide such as :
    education levels , luck in life, opportunities in employment, rural v urban , tradition in area , family history , etc There is a divide between the slower , slow , normal , and the fast life pace . There is also a new challenge of change and some may reject it .The choice will not be for everyone as it was before only the few and even then the choice will be a selected one.
    Take a look at Limerick now .It is sinking under .It is becoming a depression within a depressed country .Our leaders of recent task forces have met a stone wall with elected Politicians who failed to attend debates in the dail on the matter .Gang Warfare thrives big time and people live in fear.Its a lawless area of dire poverty sinking deeper and deeper.All the city has for hope is Munster Rugby Team and this unites the whole county and city.We live to hope.

  48. Tim

    Folks have a look at the results of Gavin Sheridan’s FOI applications on ANGLO’s risk reports here:

    http://thestory.ie/2010/02/04/anglo-risk-reports/

    …. and you will also be interested in this assessment of what comes next, drawing heavily as it does upon both David’s work and that of Morgan Kelly:

    http://thestory.ie/2010/02/04/the-coming-crisis/

  49. Tim

    Folks, here is the just-released Finance Bill 2010:

    http://www.finance.gov.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=6190

    • Deco

      Thanks Tim.
      Changes in relation to tax of non-Domiciles (Garlicman must be chasing “Mr.Bono”), offshore taxhavens. But closing the door after the horse has bolted is not a worthwhile strategy. And Carbon taxes – because carbon was a realistic alternative to our expensive electricity. So much for consideration for the essentials of life in this cool country. Still no level playing field in respect of electricity supply to encourage people to set up their own windmills. But there are subsidies for solar power.

      To be honest I expected the scope of the bill to be wider.

      • Tim

        Deco, I installed a solar hot-water system at home last year; the “grant” for it was €600.

        The VAT payable on the apparatus?

        €537.

        By the time you pay the VAT on the equipment + VAT on the labour for the installation, you have paid the government more in VAT than it has “subsidised” through the grant. Beware!
        (in the end, I didn’t bother applying for the grant because they make you jump through administrative hoops for it anyway, but struck a deal with the supplier and installer that was cheaper without it.)

        • Bamboo

          TIM,
          In relation to the government scheme, I installed a high efficiency condencing boiler 6 months ago and didn’t bother with the GOV scheme as it turn out to be far more expensive. Apparently it had to be done by a SEI registered business. This registration is very expensive and this expense is carried over to the house holder by the installer. My installer also advised me to put in a system that is prepared for solar panels, a bit like an HD ready TV. So this summer I am installing solar panels but no GOV funding again.

          Around 6 months after the introduction of BER regulations I heard on the radio it cost 5000 euros to become a BER registered company. The issue was that this investment was a useless investment as there is hardly any business to be made with BER. So these businesses are approaching it quite aggressively by saying:

          “If you do not comply with the BER requirement, you will be held liable. This can mean a fine up to a maximum of €5000. Failure to secure a BER certificate at the correct time can also lead to delays in the legal completion of a sale or letting.”

          I wonder do other schemes work the same? Any car Scrappage deal for example. Consumer pays the car dealer for a brand new car and think that it is getting a free money from the GOV.

          Sounds like free money from the government. It is a free joke. Don’t fall for it.

          • Tim

            Bamboo, we are in complete agreement and appear to have discovered the same scam upon the sheeple from two different, but related, installations.

            If people get a reliable installer, they don’t need the SEI registered one;

            If people bought a home instead of an investment to sell later, they don’t need the BER cert. for a sale.

            Simple.

            We must repeat these experiences every time we see someone about to get suckered into the scam – spread the word, the truth; educate.

    • Alan42

      Tim , I am just amazed that you asked David to join FF . I don’t know the blokes politics and can’t speak for him but you may as well have asked me to join FF .

      George Lee joined a party that actually has a chance of bringing about change in Ireland . Just wait until a long and grinding recession settles in and people fully realise what a disgrace FF actually is . Wait until all the debt has to be repaid , negitive equity etc .
      What would it actually take for you to resign from FF ?
      At this stage you may as well and try to reform the BNP .

      • Tim

        Alan42, but that’s the problem, isn’t it?

        The country cannot afford to wait for what you suggest.

        We cannot afford to wait. Full stop.

        The opposition parties do not want power now and are happy to wait it out and draw large salaries for doing nothing more than talking and putting on the occasional drama in the Dail Chamber.

        Remember that the entire Labour Party abstained from a NAMA amendment that would have toppled the government before Christmas, had they voted.

        You’ve got to ask your self, “Why?”

        There is no time to wait – the ideal right now, would be for someone really knowledgeable and convincing to change the minds of those in government right now, because it looks like the “opposition” will not remove them for another two and a half years!

        (where the hell will we be by then, with all the “waiting”?)

        Lee could have started to make a REAL difference last June; instead…… nothing.

        He actually had more influence while in RTE.

        • Alan42

          Tim , At last some real debate . I am no fan of the opposition but who in FF ?
          As you have said yourself the reason you are attracted to FF is their sucess in gaining power . Power is fine but with it comes responsibility to actually run the country .

          The only decent FF’er to my mind was Sean Lamass and his term ended in 1966 .

          Since then we have only had corruption and incompetence . Who in FF can you see as bringing about real change ?
          Why do you stay with a party that is so completly corrupt ?
          Its only nonsense your talk of reforming the party . Remeber that e mail you posted from Lenihan ? I recieved the very same e mail . I also have one from Cowen ( can’t remember if they let you post that here , but I bet its the same ) We are both on the same list . And I only e mailed them to ask them to resign .
          What excatly are you trying to reform or change ? Even as a chairman of your local Cumann you are recieving the same e mails as me , what does that say about your influence in the party ? You have none .
          They can’t even provide a bit of leadership with some snow . They are just sitting back and collecting their pay and expenses . The banks are still screwed nd unemployment is rising . Yet nothing from FF except tired sound bites .
          What is even your core argument for the defense of FF ?

          Please don’t take this as a cheap shot or attack . I really want to understand the mind of an FF ‘er .

          • Ruairí

            Not meant personally at all Tim, but I couldn’t resist the swipe at d’aul FF, having spent my early adolescece stuffing Charlie Haughey leaflets into unsuspecting letterboxes: -
            Alan42, there’s a series that has been made about the mindset of FF. Very popular too. See more here http://www.cbs.com/primetime/criminal_minds/

          • Tim

            Alan42, of course I know they are “form emails”; I post them for the people here who are not on the list (and some others are), so you can see what the propaganda is.

            I never pretend to have influence; I have stated that I am getting tired trying to change the party, after 13 years of effort.

            I do not see what else I can explain to you, beyond what I have explained already.

            If you want to understand the mind of a FFer (in the context of the current Parliamentary Party in government), then I am no good to you – that is the opposite of what I am.

            It seems to me that you think all party members are clones of the boyos at the top of the organisation.

            Nothing could be further from the truth.

          • Tim

            Ruairí, understood, of course.

            I’m interested in that link myself, thanks.

          • Alan42

            Tim , I thought we were getting somewhere there, but no cigar .

            Ruairi , I grew up in Charlies constituency . I wonder did you put leaflets in my letterbox ? You could not have missed us . We were the ones with the mass unemployment , heroin and stolen cars all over the place . Weirdly enough for uneducated people we actually knew that Charlie had become rich in part from buying the farm land and rezoning it . The same land that we then actually lived on . Funnily enough he was living in a Gandon mansion and we were not . Did not need any tribunal to tell us that .

            Fast forward 30 or so years and we have ghost estates which will be turned into social housing for those who cannot pay a 2500 Euro a month mortgage and are out of a job .
            At least back then the corpo built roads and schools and basic infastructure .

            Its going to be a right laugh putting a lot of unemployed people into half built estates with zero infastructure . Watch how their children get on .

            Besides the fact that they refuse to do anything with the banks and are borrowing billions which will cripple Ireland for decades they are creating a social housing nightmare . All coming soon thanks to FF .

          • Ruairí

            Sorry Alan42, like I said, I couldn’t resist, what with trying to get inside the minds of a cabinet who outlaw blaspheming while tipping their caps to the Holy See while children’s rapes were being investigated. Plus all of the planning crimes as you document.
            No, sadly I’m in Biffo’s Vatican, God’s country, down here in the stickiest of sticks at the minute.

          • Tim

            Alan42, why does it seem that, no matter how much detail I give you, no matter how many of your questions I answer, no matter how honest I am on this site, you still do not accept what I write?

            Can you, really, not conceive of a dissenting-voice-within an organisation?

            Not all people are automatons.

  50. paddyjones

    Looking at markets today it is in freefall the focus is now on government debt. In europe problem states are Greece, Portugal and Spain so far Ireland has not been mentioned but it is surely now only time until we default on our debt. Our national debt including NAMA will be 120 billion at the end of 2010, thats 27000 for every man women and child in the state.
    The ECB is now calling the shots wait for the spotlight to come on Ireland this year. It is only a matter of time before the funds from abroad will dry up.

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