February 7, 2010

Ireland has the chance to create an economic Narnia

Posted in Irish Economy · 379 comments ·
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Growing up in Belfast, my wife was urged by teachers – with limited success, it must be said – to read CS Lewis for the essential Christian message in his writings. Lewis, the brilliant creator of The Chronicles of Narnia, is often described as an English writer. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. This is the man who wrote of his first visit to England that ‘‘the strange English accents with which I was surrounded seemed like the voices of demons.

But what was worst was the English landscape – I have made up the quarrel since; but at that moment I conceived a hatred for England which took many years to heal’’.

Like many Northern Irish Protestants, his relationship with England – and, by extension, Ireland ,was considerably more complex than the political posturing at Stormont this weekend would suggest. In later life, Lewis described an experience which many of us who have spent time in England will recognise.

‘‘Like all Irish people who meet in England, we ended by criticisms of the inevitable flippancy and dullness of the Anglo Saxon people. After all, there is no doubt that the Irish are the only people – I would not gladly live or die among another folk.”

Despite living in exile in Oxford for most of his adult life, he kept his connection to Ireland, even going on his honeymoon in 1958 to Crawfordsburn – a picturesque village in Co Down beside beautiful Helen’s Bay.

Lewis’s Irishness is the same type of multidimensional Irishness that was on display yesterday in Croke Park. Hundreds of politically British, Ulster Unionist and DUP voters were wearing Irish jerseys as if it was the most natural thing in the world. They sat happily in the Hogan Stand, oblivious to the fact that it was built to commemorate Michael Hogan, the Tipperary captain shot by the Black and Tans on Bloody Sunday – who themselves were under military orders to keep Ireland both British and unionist.

Maybe CS Lewis, the Belfast man who created the parallel universe of Narnia, would have smiled at the ambiguity of it all.

But the beauty of Narnia for children is that it is a fantasy world where they are the main players, far away from the drudge, rules and dreariness of the world of adults. It is a playful place of talking animals and adventure – just the type of place that children themselves would imagine if they could.

Narnia is a dream world, which doesn’t mean that everything is saccharine sweet. There are pitfalls, there are nasty witches and dangerous, duplicitous characters, but there is also hope. When the children walk through the wardrobe, and enter Narnia, they enter a different world.

Last Thursday, I walked into an economic Narnia – a world of possibilities, optimism and positive energy – which was so far away from the relentless reality of Ireland’s battered economy that it was inspiring just to be there. The only difference is that this Narnia is real. It is not a fantasy. It is a world where Irish entrepreneurs are doing their stuff, where young and very charming Americans have blazed a trail. It is the world captured by the Dublin Web Summit. The idea, conceived by a young man called Paddy Cosgrove, was to bring some of the world’s most successful young web entrepreneurs here to talk to Irish people who want to set up their own companies.

The summit was held in Trinity College and the packed house heard how a laidback, laconic Californian called Craig Newmark created the world’s biggest classified ad site.

The site serves over 20 billion page views per month, putting it in 37th place overall among websites worldwide and 11th place overall among websites in the United States. It has over 49.4 million unique monthly visitors in the United States with over 80 million new classified advertisements each month, Craigslist is the leading classifieds service in any medium. The site receives more than one million new job listings each month, making it one of the top job boards in the world.

The company has fewer than 50 employees and an estimated turnover of $200 million. Craig Newmark, who said he had no interest in selling the company or in money in general, is the man who, more than anyone else, is responsible for shaking the foundations and the income stream of the newspaper industry. For a journalist, this man represents a huge threat, but I was transfixed by the opportunities he evidenced.

Next up was the very charming Matt Mullenweg, the 27-year-old creator of WordPress. WordPress is the software programme that is favoured by bloggers and used on over 200 million websites worldwide.

One of the key developers of WordPress is an Irishman, Donncha O’Caoimh. The world of Mullenweg is one of limitless growth and, as pointed out by a question from the floor, he makes his money from the efforts of others. In what Marx would have called turbo capitalism, all these ‘web 2.0’ millionaires are making their cash explicitly from other people using their technology and increasing the value of their sites and products exponentially. For young Irish entrepreneurs, the opportunities on the web do seem enormous, and more important, as some of the ideas are so simple and cheap to set up, it has to be worth a go. At the conference, I also heard Irish entrepreneurs Dylan Collins of Jolt, Colm Lyon of Realex, Ciaran Bollard of Muzu and Fred Karlsson of donedeal.ie, explain how they created their companies.

The most fascinating thing about these entrepreneurs was the sense that they all had created something out of nothing. They saw opportunities with small -or, in some cases, no – investment, and went for it. Now anyone involved in the tech world knows this is not how it works. There are too many bankrupt venture capitalists around for this to be easy.

In fact, in the tech game, the difference between success and failure is often wafer-thin. One of the most interesting aspects of many of the experiences was how many successes stem from competitors making elementary mistakes. These mistakes seem elementary now but, given that there is no blueprint to follow, how could anyone have known any different?

For a brief moment, listening to the chronicles of this financial Narnia, it is easy to forget the world of Nama, Anglo and developers’ loans. There was precious little about why things can’t be done, only talk of what can be achieved. But this isn’t Narnia. These companies are real, and the explosion of what is called ‘disruptive commerce’ (which refers to companies which are disrupting the ‘normal’ way of doing things by using new technology) is here to stay. Arguably, this is the future – or at least part of it.

CS Lewis created a new world simply by using his imagination. In fact, he created a parallel world. Imagine our own parallel world where, at one side of the wardrobe, we have the dross of the banks, the property hangover, Nama and the politicians who led us into this.

On the other side, we have the opportunities afforded to Irish entrepreneurs which will allow them to transcend the limitations of this country. Despite all the obstacles, like CS Lewis, we can do this.


  1. [...] ascribing to New Labour of the practice of Chinese legalism. And finally, I’ve just seen this rather strange piece from the Cleverest Man In Ireland. Any suggestions as to what David actually means would be [...]

  2. recoveryplan

    Nice to see an encouraging article from David for a change..it must have been an inspirational conference. What he fails to address is to make this a reality we need an inspirational government.Who support entrepreneurs. A recent figure emerged for me this past week.. check out the entreprise boards budget and look at the ratio of money spent in administration vs entreprise support. But don’t tell anyone because this is a secret the plebs must not find out!! The land of Narnia is where Cowen & Co are living.. hang on till 2016 we will be alright by then. In the mean time go scratch a living for yourselves because we in Government will look after ourselves don’t worry !!. The plebs will never organise themselves …we will set public vs private..we will set brother against sister..we will ensure the plebs never unite and realise that they are going to get shafted … 75% of the population don’t believe in the government yet they will stay in power till 2012…go figure..

    • Deco

      Anybody who thinks that the political establishment will fix anything is living in hope of something occurring which never happened before. The political establishments two biggest concerns are deceit and patronage. Deceit so that the rest of the population will not see their incompetence and inadequate skill-sets. And Patronage so as to induce activists to go knocking on doors selling them to members of the general public – in return the activists get access to power in the state system (which is usually the largest corporate entity in a society) and thereby get access to resources.

      It is only when the population suddenly wakes up and sees clearly what is going on will the political establishment do as it is supposed to do. And there are parallels with respect to the accountability of the state and the accountability of business. As evidenced by the ‘state within a state’ behaviour of the four main Irish banks over the last decade. In fact even the state bet those banks in terms of public accountability.

      The nexus of the Irish concepts of management, economics, market functioning, price mechanisms, and authority is at the core of the problem. We need to intellectually rethink this. And generate a new economic model in this area which is more durable and of more use to society as a whole. This has been done in Denmark, Israel and a few others.

      However the idea that you can have a ‘knowledge economy’ when there is widespread deceit in the business culture is a complete pipe dream. And this is exactly what certain elements in the upper echelons seem to want. This is best epitomised by the thinking of Suds, Dan McLoughlin, Austin Hughes etc….Basically they want the young people to get PhDs and then make money for Sherry Fitz and the banks. As a former Rottweiler said….”NO THANKS”.

      David mentioned before that cheap house prices are a gift to the economy. This is entirely correct. The high leverage model of economic participation needs to be dumped. And replaced with a new model. Something radically different – designed for function not for catering to the needs of the insiders and the golf club bores.

      • Bamboo

        +1
        I’d change from “knowledge economy” to “knowledge” for starters.

        Let’s be realistic. All the nations in the world aspire for “knowledge economy” so Ireland is definitely not doing anything new at all, whatsoever.

        The public needs to know what is going on in Ireland, the injustice, Nepotism and cronyism, the bankers/government tricks, insiders/outsider, etc. This knowledge should be the basis of all and then in the next phase move to “knowledge economy”.
        Our Gov wants us to skip the basis (knowledge) and go ahead with the next step. (knowledge economy)

        murray gives a good example. murray gained knowledge of the outsider concept. Unfortunately, I am looked upon as you would term an ‘outsider’ and not in with the ‘lads’ and couldn’t for the life of me get investment.

        With that essential basic knowledge murray moved on. Without that basic knowledge murray would have been stuck in Ireland with absolutely no progress.

      • Ruairí

        +1.

        At the very most, I would expect government & local administrations to lead by providing supports, enabling legislation and getting out of the way to allow those who can to do what they do. What it should not do, therefore, is be a barrier to self-sufficiency and entrepreneurial activity. At a number of levels, many policies are designed to serve narrow interests rather than the population at large. Clearly evident for all to see. And I’m not naive enough to not know that tax take must be gathered.
        However, a simple piece of evidence is the extremely middle-class notion of importing €15-30k cars to burn fuel more efficiently, and, in tandem, labelling perfect older & low usage cars (NCT’s therefore approved by the same authorities ??) as inefficient and also dangerous. Hence not just encouraging new car sales but also discouraging old car ownership; which leads to new car purchases, which leads to wage inflation or else a reduction in debt payment ability. Thin end of the wedge and more of the same from an essentially right of centre Ireland -Inc government cabinet, that includes the Green Jersey party.

        We should not expect government to do what government is not there for. We should always demand that it not interfere with pent up action. Be it short-selling, market movements, a retreat to older car stock etc etc.

        Essentially, this means that government should not ‘create’ jobs but rather facilitate the creation of jobs (I’m sure many of us internally know this, but our use of language is vital). That is the job of government >>To smooth the creases of society. To make it all work efficiently. And that’s a heavy task! Unfortunately, we have a mere talking shop in the shape of the Dáil (Vincent Browne, http://www.sbpost.ie), instead of a legislative powerhouse, fine-tuning a strategy that is the will of the people.

        We have no strategy that is the will of the people. But they have no mandate for the scenarios that are unfolding. Why? Because when this government was voted in, they were predicting more bumper years.

        • Jonathan Hannon

          I commend Vincent Browne for pushing this agenda. He’s totally on the money with this one. I have trekked roads and canvassed hard with close friends who happen to be politicians. Many years ago one of them was elected to the council and he was simply over awed at the amount off extra money he had in his pocket. Although a highly intelligent guy and a brilliant negotiator he was lost in the shady world. It’s very hard for smart able and young politicians to have to sit around the same table as people that are simply inept and there because they cutely know how to play the party system. We can expect nothing from local government. And I mean nothing. I was in Galway county council offices last week taxing my car. There were 8 cubicles and only 3 staff. They cue was out the door. I was nearly 45 minutes waiting for what took 2 minutes. Across the hallway is the planning office. Lots of people walking around with paper in their hands. Nobody is building houses in county Galway; no development is happening in the city or county so why are the same number of staff still employed there and what are they doing. I went to drop off my CAO application last week. They close for lunch. On the final for applications, one would imagine its one of the busiest days of the year, but they close for lunch. I went Galway city hall to meet their energy engineer. (He’s a great guy by the way, we’re lucky to have him) but he’s moved office. Nobody could tell me where he was or what even his number is. I wanted to get some bags for recycling, spent 20 minutes dealing with the cash desk while he looked for the address of the house, then asked me how I was paying even through there was cash in my hand. Then he gives me a receipt and sends me t another office. I go and ring the bell while the lady finishes her mindless chat on the phone about some bullshit. I then give her the receipt and she gives me the bags. Do these people not get it? Let me state I’m not a right wing neo-con that lives in a McGreevy or Freidman dream where everything is privatised, far from it. But this has to change. If I ring up a private waste operator in Galway city, they will hand deliver the bags that day and email me with all the payment methods within an hour. That’s organised systems that work and flexible work practices. Unions have a lot to answer for, a lot. Teachers come out everytime their threatened with this line that they educate our future, they have a vital role in our society. And indeed this is true, but don’t use this to hold a gun to the head of the nation. Many teachers are useless, uninspired and simply lazy. Many are gift, dedicated and inspirational. Everyone on this site can concur with that simple fact. Teachers are well paid. I worked as a mortgage broker for 10 years so I have a good idea of everyone’s salary. Teachers operate in a world that is defined and driven by results, so it’s pretty easy to gauge how good or bad a teacher by simply looking at the results of their students. If their lagging behind look first at helping them with teaching methods, improving discipline etc and if they drag their heals well then their not doing their job. Then it’s the door. I don’t want to sound as if I’m singling out teachers but their easy example to use. This country needs strong government and institutions to move forward. I engaged with FAS last year looking for a career change and new direction. I was the one doing the talking. There are people unemployed and have master degree’s in human resources and are been advised by people in FAS that got in their in good times because they knew a councillor. The enterprise boards, tithe development boards, the myriad of quango’s and the government institutions are simply ran by people that don’t know what their doing. We may slag off the English a lot, but they know how to manage information and manage people. 200 years of empire will do that. I worked for the health board when I was younger, and one summer they went on strike over the closing and privatising of the kitchens. It was actually a good deal and nobody was losing their job. The union riled up the downtrodden workers to further their own agenda and the workers happily went along with it to stick it to the suits. It killed moral turned people against each other and patients suffered. We have this situation because politicians just don’t care. That might sound simplistic but it’s the truth. Neither have they any vision. I’ve had a lot of time on my hands over the last year and have got lost in Gore Vidal, John Rawls, McWilliams, Fintan O’toole, chomsky, Francis bacon etc etc…I sincerely doubt that your average gombeen councillor has even heard of any of these people. I was speaking a Galway city councillor one day and used a comment form Francis bacon. I didn’t expect him to know the quote but was shocked that he hadn’t even heard of bacon. This guy is hotly tipped to take a seat in Galway west sometime soon. This is shocking. But if you look at the function and reasons for politics in this country your just laughed at and called a smart ass. Fianna fail and fine Gael have a lot to answer for in many regards, but the simple fact is that they are responsible for getting people jobs right through he public service. This is a fact, no matter what they say. These people are placed into jobs in an already compromised position and then used to help the network of favours and information that’s required to sustain the average local politician. This is the monster, this is the problem. Form years of canvassing I can tell you that people have a lot to answer for themselves. Every doorstep is the same old question like what have you ever done for the town and the usual crap about potholes. These are not the issues. If you ask a councillor how he/she is getting on they will gauge their position by how many people they can “sort out”. This is counter productive but we the people perpetuate this system. Politics is for legislating new ideas and changing things. Not in this country. Nothing has changed. This country stood on the brink of ruin last year and what has changed nothing. We the people now have taken on the debt of the banks all 54 billion of it. But the party faces are still the same, fianna fail are still in power, regulation of business and banks hasn’t changed, government systems haven’t changed, our vision of the future hasn’t changed, nothing. Vincent Browne, Pat Rabitte, Naoise Nunn and Prof Elaine Byrne savaged Noel Dempsey last week. All he did was grin at them. They tripped him up, caught him bullshitting, forced him to make a point and then contradict that point later. Its was shocking and funny. All the hard-line fianna fail supporters pitied poor noel been poked at by these dirty lefties and smart ass academics. He then walked out the door, hopped into his merc and descended off to the dail bar to laugh at the brainy people. The whole system is wrong. We need major constitutional change or will end up where we started. Our beloved Dr Alan Ahern is convinced nama will work, but the only thing certain about economics is that nothing is certain. It will work, but for who’s advantage. Socialisation of debt was one question he refused to answer at a recent lecture in NUIG. Afterwards all the business glitterati of the city stroked his back and told him how amazing he is. And yes he a great performer, but it’s the preference that covers over his real agenda. Remember he came out from underneath Greenspans wing, and now he’s appointed Rothschild to “advise” us. God help us. We can talk about change all day, but we can expect the system to want to change, why would they?

          • Malcolm McClure

            Jonathan Hannon (On page 1): Welcome and well said. Personal experiences in the real 2010 Ireland are worth more to this blog than any amount of waffle about failed politicians.

          • Bamboo

            Jonathan Hannon,
            From me too. Welcome and well said. Thanks for this personal touch and sharing it with us.

          • Jonathan Hannon

            Thanks a million. Its great to know people actually read your stuff. i’m deeply imbedded in the political scene in Galway but not a member of any party. This is is a great forum and people have great things to say. We need to start taking idea’s out of here and stop bemoaning the system. In reference to the knowledge economy, I met the NUI Galway research officer this morning to publicise some of the work their doing. There inspiring, amazing, dedicated and carrying out the most amazin research. These people are the future, not the likes of Biffo spouting on about fundamentals and smart economy claptrap that he understands nothing about. We need to find some positivity. Thanks again for the kind words.

          • Bamboo

            Jonathan Hannon, I personally like to see things from different angles and the more the better. I don’t have an opinion about most of the topics that is discussed so I keep my mouth shut. Like the George Lee drama and now Déirdre de Búrca resignation. All I know is that it is a good development that will shake the existing establishment, system and culture.

    • PaulJCollins

      The problem is bigger than we think. Every monetary system, for the past 3000 years that has tried to delink itself from the intrinsic value that backs it has failed. Queen Victoria spent & borrowed millions to recue the silver coin system after her father had watered down all the silver coins. The Us Dollar used to be backed by gold until the 1960′s.

      Our current paper money is worthless. It is all a house of cards waiting to fall.

      Please watch this video http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7065205277695921912#

      and spread the word people. Its the end of the world as we know it. I think this is why all the central bankers are meeting in Australia.

      • Ruairí

        But Paul, that’s a separate discussion entirely from value creation and competitive advantage?

        Its valid, but not linked in any way to the incisivenature of this article. i.e. there are ideas to be furthered, businesses to be spawned. The monetary framework for that to happen is vital, but a separate tangent altogether IMO.

        • PaulJCollins

          what is the point of creating value and competitive advantage on a system that is fundamentally flawed Ruairi?

          We have to get to the heart of the problem. Im afraid I have to disagree with you, simply because the movie is 2 hours long and you responded within 10 minutes, clearly you did not watch it.

          What is the point of trying to create economic recovery options based on a flawed system. Wake up people. We need a resource based economy.

          • PaulJCollins

            You have to look at the big picture, the monetary system around the world is flawed. It is doomed to collapse. The bailout simply put off the inevitable.

            We need to have our economys and our monetary systems linked to some intrinsic value. Until the world realises this we are doomed to fail over and over again.

            Talking about how to implement economic policy, how to create jobs, should we have a NAMA, should we leave the Euro…..it is all pointless, dont you see?, because these are ideas based on the current monetary system. Until we realise that paper money doesnt work we are going to continue in a downward spiral that will lead to real economic depression and eventually social unrest and revolution.

            I have a great respect for DMcW and the views of the people on this site, but I think you are still not seeing the bigger picture here.

  3. Tim

    David, you are right about this; I could not attend the Web Summit, as Educational authorities are too ignorant of ICTs to allow a geeky minion like me to leave the classroom for a day like that.

    I followed it by proxy, though, on twitter with the hash-tag #dws (if you want to check that yourself) and, indeed, it was very positive in outlook.

    We already know, from successive Young Scientist competitions, that we have talented, creative and intelligent youngsters in Irish schools who could blaze the ICT business and job-creation trail in the years ahead; indeed, we have already seen many successful ICT companies started by Irish entrepreneurs.

    Now, if we could only convince our government to fund and resource ICT education properly!

    Unfortunately, our schools are still underfunded regarding the basics such as electricity and heating, let alone funding for proper ICT infrastructure. Too few teachers have adequate training in it, themselves (a result of the underfunding of the past, when they were not given the opportunity at school themselves).

    Parents are relied upon to fundraise for hardware and software, with technical support barely an afterthought.

    Broadband access, wher it is provided, is painfully slow: I ran a speed-test last week in my school, with a tool I received from a private sector wireless infrastructure installer who was achieving 33.8mbs; the school’s broadban speed is 1.48mbs.

    Delegates at the Dublin Web Seminar were shocked to learn from me that the DES content-filter blocks all social media and all personal blogs, so that students do not “risk exposure” to material that might lead to litigation. Visiting Spanish colleagues were shocked to discover that the filter prevented them from teaching students how to set up their own blogs, just last week.

    Linkedin, Facebook, Myspace, etc., all tools of business and networking, are all blocked by the DES; Youtube too. Twitter, alone, is not blocked; I am convinced that the only reason it is not is that the DES mandarins do not know about it, yet.

    If the optimism and aspirations of the inspiring speakers you listened to on Thursday are to come to fruition, the DES will have to remove the obstacles of censorship, Big-Brother control and under-funding. It will have to provide the money for the hardware, the software, the teachers, the training, the technical support, open-up web 2.0 for the kids and let them run with it.

    The Computer Education Society of Ireland also held a conference this weekend and similar themes emerged:

    http://www.anseo.net/?p=2081

    David, as I’ve heard you say since as far back as “Agenda” on TV3, some “joined-up thinking” is required at government level.

    • wills

      Brilliant. Couldn’t agree with you more on this one tim.

    • Tim as I’ve said before , we need a Teacher as Education Minister ..At least those of us who visit here , know there is a Better way .
      Star Track /Trek is no longer a fantasy , you could teach students at home with IMVU , Skype and even leave out Twitter and Facebook !

      • Deco

        ….We need an economist as Minister for Finance.
        …we need a healthy person, perhaps even a doctor as Minister for health…..we need a farmer as Minister for Agriculture….we need somebody who worked in the competitive sector as Minister for Enterprise…..we need a social worker as minister for social welfare….we need a transport expert as minister for transport…..etc….the list goes on….

  4. wills

    David.

    The internet may free us all, from the central banking tyranny and its stranglehold on the free market system.

    Let the free market be, let credit provision be what it is a utility and free the bash street kids from the jailor system run by the secondary school clowns who carry more clout in their punch.

  5. Deco

    Sorry to change the topic. But something is happening in Australia – which is just starting it’s working week.
    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/secret-summit-of-top-bankers/story-e6frez7r-1225827289543
    I don’t know what brings this about. Possibly problems with the PIGS and with certain USA states (California, New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Florida).
    And it is possible that there might be something going on in the background that we know nothing about – like what happened when Lehmans and AIG went to the wall. You will find out more tomorrow morning.

    David – you are doing your best to inspire us. But I sometimes wonder if the damage done by our consumerist – high leverage – wantitall culture has got us into such an almighty hole, that we really need something big to save us.

    But one thing is clear – you understand more about the knowledge economy than the government minister charged with engineering policies to support it.

    We did not apply intelligence with respect to the economy for over a decade. And now we must do this full throttle.

  6. Deco

    The heroes in this new economic enviornment are fast innovative thinkers. With small units and novel ideas.

    They are the exact opposite of the type of businesses represented by lobby groups like IBEC, and have a different worldview to the union bosses. Maybe the entire partnership process is overdone.

    And another aspect is that they have a management philosophy that has absolutely nothing in common with the Michael Fingletons and Brian Goggins of this world.

  7. paddyjones

    I have to say that I think trying to make money from the internet is a waste of time. I remember Irelands biggest internet start up “First E Bank” managed to raise 400 million only to spend it all and go bust in just 2 years. It employed 650 people but only had 5000 customers, my local AIB has more than that.
    We have been used to free stuff on the internet not to mention the problem of entering credit card details on line. Booking airline tickets and hotel rooms are fine even advertising your car for sale, but it has limits. The market will decide what a website or a piece of internet software is worth. Take facebook or twitter I very much doubt whether they have ever made a profit. The dot com bubble burst years ago let it stay that way.

    • Would be nice if we could get your local AIB customer base from over 5,000 to zero…

    • Ruairí

      I fundamentally disagree Paddyjones.

      Disruptive commerce: -

      Take http://www.carzone.ie which was a start-up by 2 guys, both serious heads, one ex Woodchester, who ended up selling on what was an info aggregator to Autotrader for €5m in the last few years. I was personally involved with those guys and multiple other dotcom projects, including a few half-baked ‘oppositions’ to them and I can tell, for a fact, that there is a ton of money to be made in the disruption of business as is. And not just money to be made, but life to be improved for all. That’s what applied technoilogy should do. make our lives easier. So a website that has a powerful database and well managed database content (hence well managed suppliers) is a boon to all (except those caught in the old ways).

      So yes, I think Twitter is a distraction and I wouldn’t want to invest in it. But carzone.ie? daft.ie? Amazon, ebay, http://www.Micksgarage.ie, http://www.ringhunting.com?

      Come on. its the brain behind the machine that makes it incisive. carzone used great business development and strategic skills to disintermediate and gain their unassailable foothold in the car industry. That took a few years to accomplish. And is a serious accomplishment.
      The use of IT only has limits if we have limits on how we perceive what exactly information is, how it can be used, and how it can be used against us.

      This is a tremendous time for those with vision.

      • DMcW has used the phrase “Disruptive Commerce” when a better name for the phenom would have been “Disruptive Innovation”.

        I suspect he got this from Farmleigh conversations with Liam Casey (aka Mr. China) who likes to use the equation Disruptive Supply Chain + Disruptive Technology = Disruptive Commerce.

        For those interested in “Disruption” as a way of doing business, the wiki isnt a bad place to start http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_technology

        After that you need to read the source book by Clayton Christensen
        “The innovator’s dilemma: when new technologies cause great firms to fail” which is available on Google Books.

        The 1 line summary is that well established companies in competitive economies are defeated by low cost solutions, which use an advance in technology to attract non consumers.

        So Vodafone will be gone in say 10 years just as Nortel just has. Dell will be gone just as DEC and Sun just have.

        Now you could argue that Ryanair and Penneys/Primark are “disruptors” and they are although not in that way Microsoft once was to IBM and Google now is to Microsoft.

        Most of the examples are in tech as that is the industry where things turn over the fastest (as opposed to Steel)

        Of course corporate greed and the quarterly earnings cycle play a part in the disappearance of companies too, but academic research has shown that it is mainly that execs don’t know what to look for in an emerging competitor.

        The is more to be learned at Innosight http://www.innosight.com/ which is Clayton Christensen consulting firm and which is the sister firm of the company I work for. .-)

    • Ruairí

      “not to mention the problem of entering credit card details on line”

      I have ceased using credit cards for 2 years now (don’t believe in credit) but also because of security risks.

      Solution? http://www.3v.ie Another Irish company, piggybacking on Permanent TSB, and taking on Europe with a great product.

      Think big folks.

      • paddyjones

        The market always decides how valueable `technology is since the dot com bubble in 2000 the NASDAQ has barely risen it is still around the 2000 level as it has been for 10 years.
        Tech companies always spend money before revenue starts to come in this is called burnrate. As seen with “First E Bank” they burned through 400 million USD before they eventually got caught out. How dumb were their investors I bet they won’t make the same mistake again.

  8. Tull McAdoo

    Sorry folks on the fly at the moment,heading up to Darwin in a couple of hours. Just a few thoughts on where I think David is at, and its that the Internet has the ability to foster a “classless society” as we can see on this forum ,where all comments and inputs are given a fair hearing. One other point is this whole issue of “asymmetric information” on which FF thrives and is in fact the basis for a lot of the croneyism, clientalism etc. that we have identified as causing so much inequality. It also raises certain TD’s up the self-importance ladder, like Coughlan et al who have information that most of us dont have, the big problem for us is that they dont know what to do with it. It’s what I might call asymmetric information in a vacume. Back from wup wup in a few days meanwhile be nice to one another, yere all ye have. LOL.

    • Tim

      Tull McAdoo, Godspeed.

    • Deco

      Tull – you hit on a fair point there.

      Basically in Ireland there is a culture of ‘movers’ who function as gatekeepers. Their whole ethos is to control the situation and make the rest of us in some way feel grateful to them. I have seen this all over the place. The banker. The lazy manager. The union boss. The local councillor. Etc…

      My way of dealing with this is to find out as much as possible about these sort of people. The scandals etc.. And circulate this. And then when the time is right, cut them completely out. And let others know this. And then others will do the same. Completely undermine them, in such a way that they do not know what is happening.

      • Deco

        And Tull – based on rumours that I have heard about Calamity….you have a prime example there.

      • Deco

        When people know what is really going on they regard these gatekeepers as parasites who are trying to manipulate them. And then they pull the rug from underneath, and stop being suckered into supporting such wasters.

    • Ruairí

      Oh Tull, you’re just like all de Paddies when they go abroad…………You’ve lost your accint boyo!

  9. Hi Lads,

    Thanks for the feedback so far on http://www.foolishpenny.com/featured/vietnama/ . I’ve removed the password protection from it, so it’s open to the public now. The page received hundreds of hits in the last two days, and dozens of comments. If you have any further comments, please let me know on the site’s comment box, and please pass on to your friends.
    Thanks again. Every little helps.
    FP.

    • funny self publicity I only saw One comment and that was at 2.00 am monday morning in Ireland ..Ah the Internet ;0)

      • Yep – only one comment posted on the page. Anyhoo, right now I don’t give a rat’s about publicity. I enjoy ranting on this site as much as anyone, but I don’t see all this verbiage getting us very far. I’m not currently based in Ireland, so I’m trying to do something online.
        My next step is to send a link of the page to all my friends and family – but I was hoping people like you could help me fine-tune it.

        Ah well, sure at least you gave me a dig.

  10. murray

    Hmm…. Very Interesting article David,
    I have to say the Narnia that you talk about will never happen
    until there is a complete change in mindset for the Irish Government etc.

    I will tell you something about my experiences,
    I have a Degrees and Masters Degree in Computer Science from one of Ireland smaller ITs
    from this I manage to gain 12 years professional experience
    working in the real world of Information technology.

    Now for the last 4 years in Ireland I tried my best to get some
    investment from Government bodies etc in Ireland.

    Unfortunately, I am looked upon as you would term an ‘outsider’
    and not in with the ‘lads’ and couldn’t for the life of me get investment.

    Now, when the depression hit Ireland, I lost my job – I again tried my best to get a job
    (I made around 300 calls to different companies!!!)

    I then decided to go to Australia and in the space of 7 months
    I have got the Investment that I badly needed (they have invested in me)

    I now have 5 people employed and I am actually thinking of going back to Ireland
    and offering some people like me a lifeline to get the hell out.

    Reality, I think most young Irish people
    will find Narnia is Down-under

    • Deco

      Murray – the business culture of Ireland does not mean business.

      Just look at the stupid rule for 18mph speed limit in Dublin city. Nepotism and cronyism are rife.

      There is only one way to survive Ireland. You need to skimp and save, and hold every cent. Starve the cronyists and market setting cliques of money. And whenever you see their competition-give their competition a lifeline. I will do anything to support the mini-Ryanairs of Ireland to open up the markets and undermine the cliques.

      I also work in Technology. So I want to wish you and your team the very best.

      • Deco

        Latest development in the “Not in my South East Dublin Constituency” lark is that the Competition Authority will investigate Dublin City Council concerning the Incinerator.

        Where were the Competition Authority when 12 Builders/Developers were controlling all the building land in Dublin and behaving like an oligopoly with respect to price control ? Where were the competition authority with respect to the behaviour of the ESB ? What are the competition authority doing about the fact that a member of the Tax Diaspora controls most of Ireland’s print media ? And the fact that another member of the Tax Diaspora has a disproportionate control over the radio sector, and wants to control a disproprotionate share of the newsprint business ?

        The Competition Authority in Ireland behave like an institution of the state that only exists to pick on the enemnies of the regime, and allows the enemnies of the people to prosper. Do you need any better evidence that we have become a Bananna Republic. (Not to sure about the spelling – become completely accustomed to the phrase baNAMA republic)…

      • Bamboo

        Deco,

        I am lost here. How does the 18mph speed limit relate to Nepotism and cronyism?

    • Bamboo

      Murray,

      Among all the airy fairy-ness, your post sounds is uplifting indeed for many young people. Your determination to make the best of what you have should be an absolute inspiration to many.

      What a success story so far! I wish you all the best. let us know more about your activities so that we can all learn.

    • Ruairí

      Well done!

      I was turned down by a number of ‘agencies’ also in my time. Notably the Business Angel scheme being run by DBIC. Only interested in HPSUs and I do think that is short-sighted. Its just HPSU is sexy and all that EI or any of them want to entertain. Simply put, want to ‘disrupt’ the supply chains within Ireland? Not a chance. We only export clever ideas, we don’t actually implement what Philip here has termed ‘life-changing’ technology, be it slightly innovative but seismic in effect or highly innovative but nobody knows who wants it yet (HPSU) !!

  11. Aquarius — transcending the limit of

    TIME

    It is apt that David should have chosen the power of the speed of Air at this moment as we enter the season of Aquarius in February 2010 . The Air element denotes the speed of Telecommunications and the complexities of Diplomacy & Secrecy and the new opportunities in Inventions. This includes the Internet .Since early 2000’s we have also entered the Age of Aquarius to be with us for two thousand years or so. We must either like or hate it .Otherwise there is nothing we can do about it .Or can we?
    When David reflects on Narnia in doing so he is a fan of Jennifer Aniston & Friends ( her birthday is Thursday ) .Narnia is a dream capsule in another world .It is also a dream that can become true .The enlightened Dublin Web Summit committee must be applauded for their foresight .I salute them.

    We need to see our new country divided into those areas with very heavy infrastructure and with little or none .This accelerates the movement of populations to centralise in a fewer major locations .It is changing along new demarcations or leylines .There is the Connected and Disconnected as in the Fast and the Slow. Our cities will either rise or fall , connect or disconnect , it depends on what path is chosen for them. The Chinese map their cities on principles of Feng Shui where the balance of immediate energies are optimised .To achieve that we must be seen to do the same and NOW.

    I believe Ireland geographically has been happening all the time but my point is that this intensity of change will increase significantly thus widening the urban and rural divide to a point that cannot be identifiable now but only in the minds of Narnia .
    What few locations are in the fast lane is a debateable topic and a political one too .It should be the ‘enlightened ones’ who should guide us on this path and help us plan for the future.
    Am I allowed to guess the new fast hubs to be no more than three in the Republic and these could be : Dublin Metropolis , Cork, and Limerick Mid West Region. The fewer the centers the better because of the costs of infrastructure and this makes operational costs cheaper too .

    Against the background of NAMA this may seem complicated to achieve. My opinion is there has never been a better TIME to do it. But first we must change our political leaders and bankers, and enforce and reform our existing and antiquated laws and legislate for a New ATLANTIS and maybe a New Republic.Take inspiration from the Book of Kells . We are The Atlantic Economy and Culture Center of the new order of NARNIA. Believe in this first and the Dreams will follow.

    For the moment for what it is worth Hollywood can inspire us as we watch how Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston fare out.

  12. furrylugs – someone has been watching our bloggs on this site recently .Today and all this week buy the irish independent and get your beanos etc …..free …..now thats a new narnia .

  13. Beanos includes :

    Biffo – Little Plum – Rodger the Dodger – Q-Karts – Billy Whizz Billy – The 3 Bears – The Bash Street Lids – Minnie the Minx – General Jumbo – Lord Snooty – Pup Parade – Dennis the Menace

    I think we have spoken of all the above metaphorically in the lifetime of this Blog Space .

  14. Deco

    For most Irish people Narnia is British shopping chains, celebrities, Premiership soccer outfits (funded by kleptomaniacs in the third word) and soap operas. The virtual and superficial dominate. Reality is a bit much to handle – participate in the make believe world of endless credit, shopping experiences, the endless chase for self-significance, and the endless run away from your responsibilities. Heaven on earth as Dundrum Shopping Centre. At least until the bill for it all arrives in the letterbox.

  15. @Fergal73

    Hopefully its not all bad

    From http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/secret-summit-of-top-bankers/story-e6frez7r-1225827289543

    “The gathering also comes at an important time for the BIS as it initiates an overhaul of the global banking system which will include new capital rules applying to banks and more stringent standards regulating executive pay.

    A key part of the two-day talkfest will be a special meeting of Asian central bankers chaired by the governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia, Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.”

    Not a good sign Asian bankers having a separate meeting!

    New capital rules for banks would be good, clampdown on derivatives, bonuses and rogue banking could be the start of a clean up, but will be interesting to see whatever prescription they come up with.

    They may decide to come down hard on pig in a poke economies like our own setting limits to more borrowing bailouts that create risk for smarter economies!

  16. deco – we need to tag all the beano characters with the real life culprits in government and banking – that should be todays task……hoping wills later enlighten us after his day job .

  17. ps200306

    How about a change from the normal unrelentingly depressing commentary here? Are you guys are actually reading what DMcW is saying? This new type of enterprise first and foremost requires an entrepreneurial spirit. It does NOT first and foremost require government handouts, or indeed any particular government support. Forget the knee-jerk reaction that it must be the government’s fault before we even know what “it” is.

    Start-ups in the internet economy have to start with a good idea. Anyone who thinks it’s about “First E Bank” and its ilk is a dinosaur already. That was the dot com bubble. It had as much to do with sound business practice as the property bubble. The days when you put an “E” in the company name, watched the share price go to infinity, and sold the assetless basket case for hundreds of millions are as dead as a ghost estate in the midlands.

    Bubble thinking is the get-rich-quick mentality. That is not the way to start a business on the Internet today. A survey of successful internet companies in Silicon Valley shows they started up without even venture capital, let alone government handouts. They started with a good idea and grew organically. Large up front investments encourage bad ideas which rapidly burn through seed capital and go down in flames.

    New ideas need to be approached tentatively. They are not nearly as easy to come by as you might hope. MOST new ideas are bad ideas. Internet entrepreneurs should expect to fail many times over, before hitting on something sustainable. But you can try out many ideas for very modest financial investment. And so can the competition — one thing to be borne in mind in the Internet business is that the barriers to entry for the competition are very low too. Once you hit on your good idea you need to be prepared to run with it for the long haul. Not every good idea is one that Microsoft or Google wants to buy for a billion bucks.

  18. PS20306 – what you are saying sounds like fishing in a shark infested waters .Wishful thinking is dead man walking. We want a proper place to meet to do research and we dont have any .

  19. Malcolm McClure

    David wrote: ” The most fascinating thing about these entrepreneurs was the sense that they all had created something out of nothing.”
    Hang on David, nothing could be further from the truth.
    Entrepreneurs who make a success out of IT have spent years learning the subtleties of programming. As your correspondent Murray above will confirm, success in this hyper-competitive field requires an in=depth knowledge of programming languages such as Java, C++ and Perl; markup languages such as XML; internet technologies such as ASP, PHP and Flash; graphics languages such as OpenGL; etc etc.
    To design a good App requires a very exacting and patient cast of mind quite alien to the quick buck mentality widespread here. A very small minority will do well but most will end up doing low-skill web design projects for a pittance.

    • Deco

      Malcolm – you are correct.

      David’s new technology entreprenuer blueprint requires a very different mind – alien almost to the dominant mindset in contemporary Irish business. I hope that the young people will stop propping up the gombeen elements in our society. So that David’s entreprenuerial go-getters will some day have far more influence on economic matters than today.

      And we should learn well from Murray concerning the mistakes that are being made in Ireland. I know a former schoolmate who studied in college and got a masters in a very good niche area in biochemistry and health science. He worked abroad. Then he came home and was working in the HSE in Beaumont. The politics in the place drove him made. So he left after 8 months. He told me he felt like as if he was supported an clique of boring old parasites some of whom never did an honest days work in their entire life. They were there because they knew somebody in the party (pick any party you want). He was being treated as a child. If he knew anything more than anybody else he was seen as a threat to be nuetralized. Every good idea he came up with had to be silenced, and then adopted by somebody senior so as to cover up the managerial incompetence. And this was in Beaumont – possibly the best hospital in Ireland – definitely one of the best funded at any rate.

      So he left. And now he is in Australia working for an Australian company in research making excellent progress in his career in an organization that treats him like an adult and a human being. He has no intention of coming back, except on holidays. He is married and settling down. It is not the weather. It is the authority concept in Ireland. We need to change the entire intellectual landscape in Ireland and throw out the failed authority concept. That is something very pervasive. But anything less and we will fail. It is that simple.

      • Beavis

        That sounds all too familiar Deco — I am one of five siblings (all of whom have masters degrees) — four of us have emigrated …..

        Innovation in Ireland should always be encouraged. But entrepreneurial spirit also needs to be encouraged, backed the ability to fail and start over (through updated bankruptcy legislation).

        Irish people are mobile — this has been our fate for generations. Today’s world is even more mobile than for every generation that has gone before. If Irish people see no opportunity in Ireland, they’ll leave.

        Or maybe that is what our political leaders really want?

    • wills

      I agree fully with this comment.

  20. Morning,

    I have to agree with the comment by ps200306. It might be fruitful to look at the possibilities that exist in Ireland. You know that I will highlight bad policy and downright lies when I can, but equally, the recovery, both personal and nationwide, will ultimately be in our hands.

    Best David

    • Deco

      David I can see what you are saying.

      Some of us have the failed intellectual models of contemporary Ireland in our target sights and we are taking shots every chance we can. And we have no intention of being nuetralized like occurred to John Allen and others who stood up to the establishment in previous eras. The era of it all being swept under the carpet and forgotten about after a few months are no more. We are blinded perhaps from being able to see or think beyond anything else. This is like the fall of the Communism in the Czech lands or the former East Germany. This is our Berlin Wall. This is how it feels. An entire authority culture is there for the taking – to be replaced and beaten out of existence. And something more open will take it’s place. Less centralized. Less deceitful. More accountable. This is not about a fair society. This is about an honest society. A fair play society, I suppose.

      Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. The time for openness, accountability and transparency has come. In fact it is long overdue. It is evident in the latest report into the Gardai. It is evident everyday on the Joe Duffy Show. The politicians will soon be grasping at the reins trying to stay on the horse, once the horse gets the idea into his head :))) The public will only trust results – and nothing less.

      It is a very emotionally driven. But this time the gombeens are not going to escape retribution.

      • Tadhgd

        There are very many possibilities which in Tourism, agriculture, energy,IT and Financial Services to name a few – I don’t think that asking government to assist these possibilities by doing its best to create optimum conditions for growth in these areas is too much to ask. I am not referring to handouts either by the way but mean delivering on key area’s like broadband, an Irish Silicon Valley, better educational curriculum’s (with increased language, Maths and IT focus), infra-structure, proper resources to fight crime. This is what I want from government not to turn up at funeral’s or the opening of an off license.

    • Bamboo

      David,

      I also agree with what Malcolm McClure is saying (as in specific expertise, Java, C++, etc) and I guess that is what the “knowledge economy” is all about.

      I think there will be a pool of excellent resources coming online with such expertise/experience. I believe The geniuses among this pool will contribute their skills to OpenSource rather than commercial products. These handful of geniuses have the mentality and mind of a world citizen and care for others rather than solely looking after their own.

      Take a look at jclark.com an absolute genius that has contributed so much to XML for free and without him the world hasn’t come so far with XML. His home page is so simple and doesn’t scream for attention. There are so many like him in this world (see TED.com)

      My daughter happened to come across him in Thailand, not knowing who he is. She described the person she met on her travels and it turns out to be James Clark that lives there happily among the locals and helps out with fixing PCs for the locals, teaching them and he gets contributions from the commercial world who are tapping into his knowledge and expertise.

      So in other words I think now that we’ve learned our hard lessons we will be relying more on OpenSource technologies that is open to all rather than commercial (keep to yourself type) ideas.
      The “get-rich-quick mentality” as mentioned by ps200306 is a dream that was fabricated by the big players. Buy lots of property, sit back and relax and watch your profits grow while you’re asleep.

      I think within Ireland these equally hidden talented people will probably contribute to Irish Society as a whole and not exclude themselves to commercial thinkers. I happened to work with someone with the mind of someone like James Clark. A person who works on his own with very little to say, shy and a bit eccentric. He will excel even more if he knows he can contribute to something useful. Ireland needs to find them, get them out of their dark lonely rooms and encourage them to help out and they will be delighted to contribute.

    • Bamboo

      David,

      I also with what Malcolm McClure (as in specific expertise) is saying and I guess that is what the “knowledge economy” is all about.

      I think there will be a pool of excellent resources available with such expertise/experience. I believe The geniuses among this pool will contribute their skills to OpenSource rather than commercial products. These handful of geniuses have the mentality and mind of a world citizen and care for others rather than looking after their own.

      Take a look at James Clark, a genius that has contributed so much to XML for free and without him the world hasn’t come so far with XML. His home page is so simple and doesn’t scream for attention. There are so many like him in this world (see TED)

      My daughter happened to come across him in Thailand, not knowing who he is. She described the person she met on her travels and it turns out to be James Clark that lives there happily among the locals and helps out with fixing PCs for the locals, teaching them and he gets contributions from the commercial world who are tapping into his knowledge and expertise.

      So in other words I think now that we’ve learned our hard lessons we will be relying more on OpenSource technologies that is open to all rather than commercial (keep to yourself type) ideas.
      The “get-rich-quick mentality” as mentioned by ps200306 is a dream that was fabricated by the big players. Buy lots of property, sit back and relax and watch your profits grow while you’re asleep.

      I think within Ireland these equally hidden talented people will probably contribute to Irish Society as a whole and not exclude themselves to commercial thinkers. I happened to work with someone with the mind of someone like James Clark. A person who works on his own with very little to say, shy and a bit eccentric. He will excel even more if he knows he can contribute to something useful. Ireland needs to find them, get them out of their dark lonely rooms and encourage them to help out and they will be delighted to contribute.

      BTW: I’ve taken out all the URLs.

    • wills

      David.
      Ireland is locked.

      The free market functionality in Ireland is locked under pad lock and key / controlling interests hold on banking and political and media machinery.

      ANy innovation in Ireland, any success is rare if it is independent from the rigged economic system eco system it lives in.

      Many people possess many good ideas BUT are BLOCKED by the gate keepers.

      David, you cannot be serious with that comment.

      You are balancing your observations to much on your own perceived experience. Try step out of our box and look around a bit more.

      George Lee made the same error of judgement and now see’s OH yes this rigged economy scam is very well organized behind the scenes and very thorough.

      • liam

        These guys seem to be doing alright:
        http://www.goshido.com/

        Goshido are in the process of completing another round of investment funding from angel investors. As far as I am aware, not a cent of Govt money nor bank capital has gone in to this.

        There is nothing incorrect about what you are saying. I mean, you are completely right. I would say however its a matter of how one deals with the situation. There is always a space for business owners, innovators and entrepreneurs to build profitable and sustainable businesses, even in Ireland and regardless of the economic conditions. Of course it is not something that everybody can do but where is that not the case? The same can be said of the extent to which the system is rigged. Ireland in that regard is not so special.

        It is sometimes instructive to examine that things that you can change, rather than those over which you have little control. The OP is an example of this. Now more than ever it is important to also focus on the positives (while of course being realistic about the boundary conditions you describe that one must work within).

        On George Lee: perhaps he was naive in his expectations (but I seriously doubt it), who knows. The point is he gave it a punt and when it was clear that it wasn’t working out, rather than clinging to false hope he called it a day and is moving on, just like any investor or entrepreneur would when it becomes clear that their time money and effort would be wasted.

        Perhaps the George Lee story as it has been presented in the mass media the last few days will prove to be a good example of how people sometimes have a tendency to focus on what went wrong and why, and not on the lessons learned.

  21. Alan42

    As I type I am watching Kevin Rudd ( Australian PM ) taking questions from an audience of young people from the Old Parlament House .
    He just mentioned the internet and sustainability . This is about 4 times I have seen him do this in about 2 years .

    He is inspiring and I have this weird sense of pride mixed in with reassurance about the future .

  22. Alan42

    For recovery and hope into the future we need inspiring leadership . Not eveyone can be Obama however they should at least be able to talk in public with some degree of competence and at least reassure people that the management of society and the economy has some kind of plan.

    In Ireland a business gets off the ground inspite of the government . No true business mind wants government handouts ( although it helps ) they want government on the sidelines . In Ireland they are activily working against you !

    • Deco

      I was listening last year to the Pat Kenny Radio Show last year – broadcast from somewhere along the South West Coast. There were a long line of locals who wanted to get into the aquaculture business. Most of them had some experience in fishing. And some of them had also worked on the land. Some of them had worked in factories, and in places like workshops where they learned how to weld, sold, repair machinery. It was a wide range of skills. And many capable individuals.

      They talked about the demand for seafood. And the excellent opportunities.

      They were discussing the procedures that were mandated to set up in aquaculture. The fact that various gombeens had to be given a cut for “professional services”. (I am talking about architects, consultants, lawyers etc.. not prostitutes.) Plus all the structural gatekeepers like County Councils, and various quangos-who each carry out an inspection, approval and charging process. Their collective point was that the small people get regulated. And the big fish bring the regulators for golf-as covered by Shane Ross in the bankers.

      And the leading aquaculturalist there stated that he started his business twenty years prevous. And that if he had to start now he would not do so. Because everything had become so complex. The entire sector was treated as a suitable host for a range of parasitic concerns or as David calls the ‘insiders’. You know – inspections from various quango wasters claiming mileage allowance for road journeys to Castletownbere, Bunbeg, Spanish Point etc…”Sure isn’t it great for him…he used to canvass for Councillor Hickey(sic)…and then he got this great job….”

      This was in the aftermath of the banking crisis. When we were seeing the results of what McCreevy called ‘light touch regulation’. Banks that never had anything to fear. And some poor unfortunate in Cork investing his life savings in in trying to get an aquaculture business established being taken for a ride on every possible opprotunity.

      The comtemporary Irish approach to regulation was explained to me by a farmer from the Midlands in the aftermath of the banking blowup in ANIB….
      …..”The banks were taking all sorts of shite as collateral….and nobody in the Financial Regulator, the Central Bank or anywhere cared. The builders were building all sorts of sh*te. The auctioneers were selling all sorts of ….. The farmers wanted to spread shite on the land, to get growth, and were adapting to the nitrates directive. The councils were sending out inspectors to inspect how much shite was being produced by how many animals. The department were sending out inspectors to inspect storage facilities. Meanwhile helicopters were flying overhead to ensure compliance that it was not spread on a wet day, or in the wrong week or month. And anyone breaking the rules spreading on the wrong day was fined. The EPA were sampling the water to make sure no shite was getting in to the river. But when it came from council sewage facilities they never seemed to noticed (as evidenced in Galway and Clare) (strange isn’t it). Bertie Ahern was on TV talking shite about everybody being rich, property prices and prosperity. Prices were only going up because the Financial Regulator was shite at his job, allowing the banks to get extremely overleveraged throwing money at people. The government was looking at the wrong…..and now we are all in the …… as a result”

      It is time that Ireland changed it’s bias in respect of small scale entreprenuerial enterprise. The conclusion of the Pat Kenny show was that government processes needed overhaul to make them condusive and encouraging to young people trying to set up their own business in aquaculture. I don’t know if anything has been done about it. That is the responsibility of several government departments. So we can expect the usual exercise of “pass the parcel”. And I am only commenting on the role of the state because the state has made it the states business to carry on in this reckless, baised and irresponsible manner.

  23. Malcolm – I agree with you .The Book of Kells and others were languages skilled in high level of communications in their day and today too.Language is constantly evolving at different levels for different applications and herein lies the ‘Secret ‘ of Success .All ideas are good ideas but they all need to evolve to become the best idea.
    Europe has Sophia Antipolis near Cannes and employs over 20,000 directly .This is the Silicon Valley of Europe. Ireland has/had National Innovation Center – and their budget has been scailed back and some made unemployed .That does not say much for us.Tim – I wouldlike some people from the Dublin Web Summit to make contributions to this site and inform us what do they want . They are the experts most of us here are the philosophers .

  24. econarchist

    I hope that the land of innovation that David describes turns out to be more than just a fantasy. For that to happen, a whole generation will have to overcome the prevailing culture where business and economics still revolve around banking and property and where any technological innovation has to be imported. The amount of real indigenous research and development in Ireland is insignificant.

    The young generation is not going to get any help or inspiration from any of the political or business leaders who are nearly all stuck in the mid twentieth century. There are very few Irish role models for anyone who wants to get involved in a tech company, either as an entrepreneur or engineer or software developer. Some founders and investors in Irish start up companies made fortunes by selling their shares during the dot com bubble, but have created very little since then.

    The only option for anyone in Ireland who wants to do anything technically creative is therefore to rely entirely on their own imagination and inventiveness and not on a huge amount of money. If they cannot do this in Ireland, their only other option is to emigrate.

  25. tony_murphy

    George Lee has resigned from Fine Gael and as a TD I believe

      • Tadhgd

        A shame if true. The political system needs to be disbanded. It is a joke. When I was in Uni I did a paper on the ‘role of a TD’. I interviewed my local TD in Cork at the time. A complete dim wit. Can we march on the Dáil or something …

      • Deco

        George Lee received more first preferences than any other TD in the Dail. As such he has a far bigger endorsement than the entire PD party or what’s left of them. In fact it is possible that Lee received more first preference votes in one constituency than the entire GP received in all the constituencies that they contested.

        This is very sad. It is also very brave of Lee because he is telling us exactly what is going on in the Dail.

        I think that Lee should join Joe Behan, Shane Ross and possibly Maureeen O’sullivan and form a new party. A party that is outside the IBEC-ICTU consensus spectrum.

        Something good might come of it. We can expect Cowen to suddenly wake up and say something concerning this. He cannot answer a question about ANIB. But he will not shut up now about Kenny lite. Maybe FG might replace Kenny and put Baby brute or Varadkhar in charge.

        • Tadhgd

          Why didn’t he stay on as a TD ? He had a mandate from the people

          • Let’s hope he’s not a narcissist ‘I love George Lee more than anybody or anything else’ and has not ascended up his own veritable ..?

            He did have a mandate from the people!

            I’ll do my nut if he gets Charlie Bird’s job!!! Bad enough to listen to Charlie’s whine on, not to have to listen to more ‘they won’t talk to me!’:)

          • Tadhgd , he was elected because of what we had seen of him on RTE , while some mocked those that listened sat back any way.
            So when he went forward ,of course he was going to be elected , if he went as an independent he’d get in too !.
            But since he was taking a year off , he believed because of his media status FG may use him to fight the useless lot sitting on the other side.
            Truth is when he got in and saw the actual carry on of these parties , reading from prepared scripts then having a few laughs over drinks in the bar after. Our Political Class , simply don’t care about our plight , the recession, depression, un employment , poor hospitals under funded schools , over priced commodities , they don’t because WE Pay them too well.
            Biffo was saying look towards 2016 the centenary of our Great Men of the past …..If these men of 1916 were alive today . They’d have Shot Bertie before he could put in the fat drunk from Offaly …
            We need to stay off the Drink for a Month , then MARCH to Their Gates and kick them ALL Out .

      • Deco

        It might sound strange. But Lee is now electable in just about any constituency in the land, as a result of his honesty.

        Two by-elections coming up. One involving Frank McBrearty who will hopefully get in despite his party ticket. And the other might involve George Lee as an independent.

    • Dilly

      Could be a hoax, but, can you blame him. The political parties do not want change, FG are quite happy to be in opposition. Politics in Ireland has failed.

      • Deco

        Dilly – you said that FG had no interest in rolling up the sleeves and fixing this country, and the evidence is now abundantly clear. It is all about drawing TD’s salaries and putting on a good show.

    • John Allens moon wobble strikes again??

      • Furrylugs – dont panic – next moon wobble is in later march – when the ECB hold back cash flow loans on Irish Banks in their less than triple A’ Asset Backed Securities and again in ( 2nd wobble ) early July . Our ATM’s may only function as public mirror for dumb blonds if they dont wear glasses.

  26. Bamboo

    I am not able to post. Ronan can you help? Thanks,

  27. George Lee – Thank You for trying .

  28. Alan42

    Now george Lee resigns after 9 months to run back to RTE ? What did he expect ? To join a party and be made spokeman for finance overnight ?

    Innovation ? We don’t even have an opposition party .

    Observing Irelands meltdown from afar is like watching some kind of soap opera made by people on acid .

    It lurches from disaster to embarressment and on to plain stupidity .

    • ah too true Alan42 , when I first came home I was blaming the amount of dope I’d smoked as This really couldn’t be happening , but it is as ould Ireland is only a wee small speck , ask a China Man ( In China ) most workers haven’t even heard of us with our 4 odd million , China has small cities bigger than us.
      While our privileged political and old school net work have Robbed this generation of a decent future.
      We need to get back our Orish Passion , and stand up demand change , honesty fair play and not the attitude we presently have of , well what can I do about it !….
      While looking at Ireland Inc it does seem like a soap Opera , but surly there isn’t someone writing this script ?

  29. @Malcolm

    I echo your views above. With help from Adobe I started a group http://www.mmug-dublin.com some years ago, now grown to about 80 members, for those interested in skill sets similar to what you outline.

    For years we had no proper place to meet until we got help from New Horizons in town, who are a global company as well.

    In Ireland, business help is targeted only at established companies, not at individual entrepreneurs or web monkeys like me.

    Enterprise Ireland has some private mentoring supports but largely is only interested in being part of the success of already successful companies.

    However I notice this year Prof Murphy at UCD Dept Computer Science has a new initiative targeting java to programmers in the general IT community outside UCD, which is good.

    Mathematics and Science get little support in our schools. Extra work involved has led many students to drop these subjects in favour of less taxing and more financially rewarding alternatives. There’s one place where bonuses need to be applied.

    Future of our civilisation never mind the economy means Science/Math, IT is part of it, it needs our best support . It can be a lot of fun as well!

  30. A good positive article from our host and a possible way for young entrepreneurs to shine.
    As one who believes Java is in the Pacific and Perl comes from Oysters, I’ll have to stick to what I know and this does not fill me with confidence.

    http://www.engineersweek.ie/events/discover-the-code-2/#more-649

    Teaching kids Morse Code to attract them into Engineering leaves me heading for the pub.(Sorry Deco)

    • Original-Ed

      Furrylugs,
      There’s more to morse code than just a dot and dash – it’s an excellent introduction to the whole field of electronic communications. Although Morse, himself, was a failed artist, plagiarist and opportunist, he’s still considered to be the father of long distance communications.
      The facsimile machine came immediately afterwards and that in the foundation of our modern communications systems.
      Without a good grounding in fundamentals, we’ll end up with superficial types that’ll be just that.

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

      • Being an Electronic Comms Luddite, I stand corrected. Jumped the gun a bit, perhaps?
        Though I’m still a little sceptical about how serious our lot are when it comes to the real fundamentals of the so called knowledge economy. Learning Morse appeared to be the Energy equivalent of cutting turf as a basis for understanding renewables?

        Maybe they should try this………

        http://www.projectionpoint.com/index.php

        • Pre Morse – Mountain sheparding high in mountains used a yeodle melody to communicate between the ranges .( all communication happens through the medium of AIR nobody can disprove that thus ‘internet’.)

          • Malcolm McClure

            Native Americans used smoke signals and our own ancestors used mountain-top fires to broadcast warnings of invasion.

          • Original-Ed

            John,

            If you were depending on Air as a medium, it would take around 4 hours, 15 minutes to get a message from limerick to new york – the upside side would be that you’d possibly have full employment and the property bubble would only be a dream.

          • Original-Ed : Oh the original wise man from Ed : explain how does the Internet travel , radio, television , mobile phones?

          • Original-Ed

            John,
            I don’t want to bore everybody with a detailed explanation – in short, signals travel, along cables that are either copper or glass (fibre optic) or through the medium of radio. Air has no part to play in any of these – in fact, radio travels faster through space where there’s none. The speed on cable is about two thirds the speed of radio which is about 300 thousand km per sec.

          • Original Ed – On the planet Earth we call it Air – radio without air fails so does mobile so does internet – contaminate the air and communications stop.The word radio is a manmade device the word air is a miracle .

          • Original Ed – a radio is a transmitter or a receptor but does not ‘carry’ the message .

          • liam

            All audio communication. Air is used between your mouth and a piezo electric device (otherwise known as a microphone), and between an electromagnet attached to a paper cone (otherwise known as a speaker) and your ears . Everything in between is electromagnetic radiation of one form or another. John is right in one sense though I suppose: meaningful communication, conversation, social intercourse, without the air that we also breath, is impossible.

          • ps200306

            Not strictly true either. Audio can be transmitted through bone and tissue without air. A neck microphone and a coil-and-mass or piezo speaker held against your jaw would work quite nicely without air. You’d still need air to get your vocal chords moving of course. So it would only be air-free from that point on. But then not all communication needs vocal chords, not even all audio communication.

            A deaf Beethoven sawed the legs off his piano so that he could feel vibrations through the floor, or held a stick between his teeth with the other end on the piano soundboard.

  31. G

    George Lee has resigned from Fine Gael – think that says a lot…………….

    • Colin_in_exile

      Its clear that Leo Varadkar was hogging the spotlight and didn’t feel like sharing it with anyone else. All you have to do is look at who represented FG on “The week in politics”, “Prime Time”, and “Tonight with Vincent Browne” in the last 3 months alone.

      FG must now get rid of Kenny before he hits the iceberg ahead.

  32. Tim

    Folks, George Le is spilling the beans ALL OVER the Place!

    Inda Kinney used him as a crowd-puller;

    Baby Brute did not even ask for his input or advice on economic policy matters;

    Measures in the Dáil are “put-through on the nod”;

    He was not given anything but a “fake role”.

    Wasting his time;

    So, he quit.

    George Lee is speaking truth – the boyos hate that!

    • Colin_in_exile

      Time for a new party. Are you willing to leave FF?

      • Tim

        Colin_in_exile, Yes. If a new party, with ideals to which I can subscribe emerges, I will apply to join it.

        As I have said before, if DMcW starts a party, if (as suggested above – by Deco) Joe Behan, Shane Ross and George Lee were to form a party, I would apply to join them.

        My FF AGM is next Tuesday and I will be stepping-down as Chairman. I can agitate more “from the floor”, without having to always show “balance”.

        • Good Man Tim,..getting off the Fence.
          George Lee showed today , what We here already know , the Political Party System has out run it’s self , FF and FG may as well join together , labour then won’t know what to do for a while, Sinn Fein well they are as useless as FF,
          Now IS The Time to Bring in a Party/Group who will Work for the country and not for their lobby groups

    • Deco

      Baby Brute made some mistakes.

      At this stage Lenihan is making ground on him. And forget about Burton. She claimed that “the problem with the economy is that we don’t have enough money”.

      ” As the song goes clowns to the left of, fools to the right…here I am stuck in the middle with u (lot). “

  33. Philip

    Be careful not to fall into the trap of “Man with hammer sees world full of nails”. Hi Tech and knowledge economies are not just about computer science/ software engineering and neither is it about jazzing up the old with a high tech glow. It encompasses all walks of life and it is life changing.

    Governements are a waste of time. Grant aided activities are at best very mediocre. Even at a European level, grant aided S&T and ICT programmes have produced very mixed results. So, forget completely about blaming our gombeen culture.

    Bear in mind that has been the reason we lost so much tech experience and employment. Telecoms made it easy to outsource and it happened before we could react. This for me is the fundamental reason for the rise of China and the fall of the West. Again blaming government and policy for shortsightedness is a waste of time.

    I believe the next and imminent break throughs will be in mechatronics/ nanotech/ biotech and energy storage. Ireland has a budding presence in all these areas and they will redraw the economic map again. It could indeed cause a lot hardship due to the way rules are rewritten for commerce and getting work done.

    My main fear is how the institutions of law and our constitutions will survive the onslaught of these developments. Clearly we already see how a constitutional difference between 2 countries with respect to peoples rights can lead to serious differences in competitive advantage. If you think about it, shopping where it’s cheapest is shopping where they sweat the people more…is that a choice you are happy to make?

    The Age of Aquarius is a very dangerous time that demands total self awareness and total honesty. Think you can handle it?

    • Philip

      Bear in mind that the main reason we lost so much tech experience and employment. Modern telecoms and IT made it easy to outsource and it happened before we could react. This for me is the fundamental reason for the rise of China and the fall of the West. Again blaming government and policy for shortsightedness is a waste of time.

    • Ruairí

      Philip,

      +1 in general.

      But…….

      “If you think about it, shopping where it’s cheapest is shopping where they sweat the people more…is that a choice you are happy to make?”

      I fundamentally disagree with that assumption. The cancer that is high land prices (and its offspring of high rents and high mortgage payments) is more to blame for our lack of competitiveness than anything else. A reduction of our minimum wage, for instance, is only a smokescreen for the reduction of all wages above it, it will not solve the problems for restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, retail outlets (of which we also simply have too many).
      The minimum wage is lower in the North of our island, but they are not sweated or abused? Similarly, I can buy the same laptop in Lidl in Germany for perhaps 20% less than here. That is the plague upon us, land prices. Not an absence of sweat shops.

      Apart from that that, I hear you. Especially on the Age of Aquarius!

      • Philip

        Agree with you. Bad example – but one that tried to refer to the way the race to the bottom can cause social hardship all other things being equal. It also shows that irish people have to work even harder than most to compete.

        “Life should be easier” why are we putting up with this ?

  34. Remembering The Great George
    Lee

    – When George very bravely spoke in his maiden speech in the Dail everyone listened because everyone knew he was telling the truth .Included in what he said was that the Government had NO Mandate instead it ruled by agreement under house rules in the Dail .Therefore the people were not represented .He said that this ‘arrangement’ was a fake a fraud and irrelvant .He said that the Government are using a power without responsibility.

    If we on this site believe him too how can you have the confidence to build any business on trust and security?

  35. Ruairí

    David says “These companies are real, and the explosion of what is called ‘disruptive commerce’ (which refers to companies which are disrupting the ‘normal’ way of doing things by using new technology) is here to stay. Arguably, this is the future — or at least part of it.”

    Disruptive commerce is key to where we must be going if we are to be competitive in a world arena.

    How are we to compete (or more succinctly how is, say, our working population / homeowners to take a hit on wages; as one thread of the multi-faceted defence that is competitiveness) if our infrastructure is unwieldy and inefficient in terms of inputs and outputs?

    If England, Sweden and Korea, for instance, find a way of delivering home heating oil at €10 a fill less to each household than we currently do, and most importantly of all they WHOLESALE IMPLEMENT IT, or wind energy or whatever input you like, then that WILL find its way to the bottom line and make us consequently less competitive.

    David says we could have an economic Narnia. Since 2007 at least, a number of posters here have been posting novel and implementable ideas that could easily drop to the bottom line and ensure that our ability to fund government, as a people, would be increased due to more efficient services, public and private. Deco consistently has railed against clientelism. And this is it folks. This is still th heart of our problem. If we are to step aside the BS of Brian Cowen, Brian lenihan, mary Coughlan but in particular Mary Harney in her heyday as business genius, then we must admit that we must strive to be the best at EVERYTHING. Nothing less.

    We must have the most efficiencies possible. We must strive to make sure our planning of our infrastructure suits our long term winning of wars, not battles.

    Where should incinerators go? We all know. beside the rubbish.

    Where should gas burning stations go? Lumcloon in Offaly, in a bog? I don’t think so.

    Should hotels be planned and permission given when others around about are losing staff and solvency? I don’t think so.

    We all have our pet case studies. What I’m saying is, if there’s a better way to do stuff, in any sphere, we should be APPALLED, as a small island 300x 120 miles in area, that we can’t be best in class.

    FULL STOP.

    Its THAT simple. I don’t see any blurring of the reality here. If we can’t get it right, with such a small island nation, then there’s something rotten in the state of Ireland: – Governance.

    • Deco

      Passed over a bridge with a new train station on the Kildare line in SW Dublin yesterday. And there are no residential housing estates beside it. Just a field with horses. I suppose there would be civil war if the horses were moved to a field in Laois and houses were built so that people could get rapid transit into the city centre. This is typical of the sort of nonsense that goes on here. Build the train stations and the high density residential areas beside each other. People can get the train into work/college/etc.. very easily. Cheaper than importing cars and importing fuel for the cars. Even the GP can’t see it and it is under Paul Gogarty’s nose !!!

  36. Original-Ed

    Philip
    “I believe the next and imminent break throughs will be in mechatronics/ nanotech/ biotech and energy storage”
    You’re on the button – however, there will be a bubble in the energy sector – every chancer is heading into it. The mechatronics sector will be massive, but the downside will be more unemployment in the medium term. I know a young engineer abroad, with a masters in mechatronics, who landed a 280 million dollar contract for an automated plant – not bad for a twenty something.

    • Deco

      Original-Ed you are correct.
      But it takes a proficiency in maths and science (physics, chemistry especially) to get there. Our students are not doing these because they are very very tough compared to what it takes to get a honour in English or Geography. True this has changed in the last two years. But Ireland needs to compete.

  37. Ruairí

    Here is an article published in yesterday’s “Computers in Business” in the Post, that syncs perfectly with what David envisions.

    We can have a Narnia as he describes. We must have one. Or we’re dead. IT is not a bolt-on. Its everything. Its game-changing. Those that can’t see that must prepare to see whole industries wiped out inside months as life accelerates. And accelerate it will, in the Age of Aquarius.

    http://podcasting.ie/docs/patrickc_innovation.pdf

    Patrick Collison http://collison.ie/ is of course the smart yougn guy that EI turned down. Sure what would he know, the big ejit, and lads paid hundreds of thousands to tell him the sky is green and 2+2=5…..

    A number of us have said it here. We must start teaching the art of thinking. So that those who are gifted at creating, those others who are gifted at seeing ideas through etc etc can reach the nth degree of their perfection. That is when we have success and a successful society. Not this BS of German cars and what’s yer house worth boss?

    • Ruairí

      Collison says “Ireland shouldn’t wait for
      Brussels bureaucrats to in­vent the next a rcane (and likely unsuccessful) plan
      We’ll do pretty well if we simply do one thing get educated, bright, ambi­
      tious young people to move to Ireland, just as Shenzhen and SiliconValley have
      done so successfully This should be our primary fo­cus. ”

      Now all, what if we used our surplus useless NAMA housing for that strategic purpose? To give high potential individuals a stake in Ireland?

      David started this conversation in another article; – what could we do with the housing stock? This, using it to woo ex-pats and high potential new citizens to invigorate our social, education / research and business climate could be the master move?

  38. PaulJCollins

    Watch Zeitgeist Addendum at
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gKX9TWRyfs

    Paper money is worthless.

  39. DarraghD

    @JohnAllen…

    John, what kind of an IDIOT, stands for election 9 short months ago, claiming to have the answers that we all need, then GETS ELECTED after a LANDSLIDE victory, then gets a snot on himself 9 months later and throws his rattle out of his pram like a 12 month old child???

    There are people out there, who don’t have the 100K income plus the expenses that George Lee has had, they need access to seed capital to get businesses started, they need reform, there are people out there with nothing more than their own vision, trying to start new political parties, new businesses, yet we have a man who claims he wanted to bring us change, walking away in a sulk because the party he chose to join didn’t fast track him up the political ladder quickly enough…

    A man with any vision or honour would have left Fine Gael and started up a new political party with a blank canvas. Obviously he wasn’t up to the challenge that comes with change and th eprovision of real and meaningful leadership, I hope he never starts a business, wouldn’t get out of the CRO office on Parnell Square…

    • Ruairí

      I think the jury’s out on George’s upper cut to the political system…… It is here anyway. You say he was only a wet day in the place? Well 9 months was long enough for all of us to be conceived and be born. Its an awful ong time to be in stressed debt, or behind on a mortgage.
      If its only a wet day, 9 months, then he’s hardly a wet minute out of the ‘cushy’ 100K income that he so selfishly gave up. He stood by his principles. FG stole his mojo, to add to their ‘seriousness’, much like they promised all the yokels that a Yes vote for Lisbon II was a Yes for recovery. What recovery?

      There are two Fianna Fails. Green Fianna Fail and Blue Fianna Fail. There is no divide. If he stayed in and did nothing, just pulled that salary, what sort of a man would he be? I think you do him a disservice. He is honest. And that’s a great bedrock.

    • Deco

      Kenny lite – missing the point once again. Now it is plain to see why Clowen is in power.

      http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/0208/breaking57.htm

      George Lee did the right thing. He told the truth. In his first day in the Dail Lee told the nation about government TDs sleeping on the job. The acting Ceann Caomhairle (not Johnny Cash this time) castigated Lee for his manner. He never said a word against the dozy deputies. I got the impression that dozy deputies were the norm.

      Lee also told the truth that there are certain things that you cannot say on RTE for fear of offending big business and senior government figures.

      Lee tried to reform FG. And he was outmanoevred. He saved the country a fortune. We could have gone from one form of inept coalition to another. Of course even this event of truth will expose some opportunists. Alex ‘I have a lot in common with FF myself’ White (ILP) will be favourite to get the seat. I wonder will FF try and run an Anglo Irish Banker again. Or will FF actually pick somebody based on merit.

      Lee should start a new party. Call it civic forum or the reform party or something like that. He would actually make it.

      Tim – the whole episode has made me realise what you man in the Dail, Mr. Joe Behan is going through. It also makes me realise why Senator Shane Ross left FG.

      Fair play to Joe Behan for staying in the Dail despite the fact that FF Party HQ plus aligned media operations like IndoNews Media/RTE will through everything into beating him in the next Dail.

      Everything Lee has done today has been an afront and a challenge to the forms of stupidity that need to be challenged in today’s Ireland. And the people know it.

      The real pity about this is that the economics competence of the Dail has gone down by 50%. We have gone from one economist in the Dail to two and back to one again.

      • Ruairí

        You said it Deco “He saved the country a fortune. We could have gone from one form of inept coalition to another.”

        Enda Kenny’s great calling card was supposed to be his ability to muster the troops, to get the best out of his deputies and grass roots workers. Really?

        The air is getting at the rot of this story also and it seems that despite having shiny new weapons, FG wasn’t using them. Shoot the general so……….

    • wills

      George Lee is now more of a threat to the ‘insiders’ than he ever dreamed of.

      He entered in to the nether world, observed, took note and exited the back door.

      FG FF seemed to me to look very poker faced and hushed relating to lee’s short sojurn into the halls of lunacy.

  40. George Lee just found out how corrupt Irish politic’s is.The whole political system in this country is corrupt to the core. There is no real alternative political party to vote for.
    Sinn Fein — Commie B****stards.
    Labour — Left wing Fanastists.
    Fine Gael — Right wing Wa***kers.
    Fina Fail — More of the same.
    We need a Centerist Political party headed by people like George Lee.

    • Ruairí

      Ah gawd, would you give the commies a break? We’ve an aul anniversary coming up.

    • PaulJCollins

      I met George Lee on the steps of NIBs head office back when he uncovered the tax evasion and interest loading scandal. He asked me for a sound bite, I told him, “sure arent all the banks doing it and havent they been doing it for centuries, no new story here.”

  41. Deco

    Well it looks like an excellent day to sink some bad news….AIB…..statement….apologizing……overcharging customers. Funny enough, I find it hard to remember the last time AIB were undercharging customers.

    But nowadays the general public is banjazed either way. If not as customers as taxpayers, the public ends up shortchanged. .

  42. DarraghD- George Lee is a Prince in Irish Politics and we are honoured to have had him elected .
    I have met George on various occassions in Dublin in the middle 90′s and he has a very fine analytical logical mind that no one can sway him.He is resilient and strong and takes no prisoners .He is dogmatic in his beliefs and never strays away from those.He is the political version of Pope John Paul.

  43. wills

    Posters.

    At this stage in the proceedings it s time for a NAMA update.

    IMF, today, made plain, the irish gov are misrepresenting NAMA and NAMA will not free up lending into the irish economy, albeit rigged.

    So, the main justification the gov used to institute NAMA, that one, NAMA will get credit flowing again, is now, according to the IMF, not true.

    So, the gov told porkies so what is the real reason for NAMA.

    NAMA will take the elites debts, move these debts into storage and quietly write the debts down.

    The banks will then be nationalized and the ickle people will be denied the write down on their debts as the rich people got to do under the NAMA invisibility cloak, and set free from the stones on their shoes to run free again dreaming up more ways to cream the free market system.

  44. wills – Eloquently spoken

  45. Tim

    Folks, Here is a fascinating (especially in hindsight) two-week old radio piece by Olivia O’Leary on George Lee:

    http://www.rte.ie/ie/frontline/entry/change_of_plans

    …and here is the change of plan for The Frontline tonight:

    http://www.rte.ie/ie/frontline/entry/change_of_plans

  46. wills

    John ALLEN.

    George Lee maybe become FG’s ‘roger the dodger’..!!!

  47. Deco

    Maybe George Lee could write a book …a la “the bankers”.

    HaHaHa muppets in the Dail !!!!
    George Lee has just pulled of the journalistic scoup of the decade. He will know be able to explain how things go on in the Dail. The dozy deputies. The inside stories on allthe factions within the parties. Sam Smyth, Brian Duffy, Tom Humphries take a lesson in how it is done…

  48. Dilly

    George gave up his 100k salary, took his snout out of the trough and left, after what he witnessed on the farm. The other members of animal farm are gobsmacked, they have never seen this before, you can sense the shock. He realised that Dail Eirann is a joke, a circus full of overpaid clowns. At the same time Cowen hijacks the 1916 rising, using the patriotism card to win support.

    • Deco

      The usual wrap the Green jersey around me nonsense. Politicians jumping over each other to be the politician who called Thierry Henry a cheat. And not a word out of any of them concerning the real cheating that is being given to the taxpayer from Anglo Irish Bank or INBS.

      Green jersey patriotism is a superficial act from a bunch of superficial actors.

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