February 14, 2010

Dangers of the domino effect

Posted in Euro · 265 comments ·

In a nutshell, the Greek bailout means that, in good times, countries like Greece, Ireland and Spain borrow German money to buy German-made BMWs, which is obviously excellent news for Germany. However, in times of crisis, we send Germany the bill, which is the payback (a) for us absorbing all the savings the Germans don’t want to spend and (b) for buying their cars and washing machines with their money recycled by our banks.

Until last Friday, Germany seemed to think that the first part of the deal held without the second, but the Greeks have played a canny game and called the Germans’ bluff.

The Greeks realised that, from a financial perspective, Germany regards the rest of Euroland much in the same way as the Pentagon regarded south-east Asia in the 1960s.The ‘domino theory’ guides senior German and European civil servants when it comes to financial crises on the fringes of Europe. During the Cold War, the Pentagon threw all the military resources necessary at Vietnam, not for any great love of the South Vietnamese, but to draw a line in the sand and prevent communism from spreading.

Similarly, Germany will throw its financial resources at an errant country or banking system at the edge of Europe so that the contagion doesn’t spread. This is why Nama could well be called ‘Vietnama’ because, in the eyes of the German government and central bankers, Irish banks last year – and the Greek government now – can’t be allowed go under because it would trigger a defaulting domino effect.

However, the snag is that, despite huge American involvement in Vietnam with the most sophisticated weaponry, the Americans fled because they couldn’t control the facts on the ground against a more determined enemy. It is too early to draw the same conclusion about the European Central Bank’s Vietnam:


The Greeks twigged the German weakness and gambled that the Germans would blink first -which they did. So there is now a precedent and everything in the Maastricht Treaty can be torn up. All the rules, regulations and aspirations regarding government spending are out. There is now what the financial markets should call the ‘Merkel put’.

In the halcyon days of Alan Greenspan, there was a phenomenon called the ‘Greenspan put option’. A put option is an agreement to sell at a certain price. If people believe that the markets will fall, they buy a put option today that allows them to sell at today’s price in, let’s say, three months’ time, when the actual price might be much lower. So, if you want to make money in a falling market, you buy put options and wait.

On the other side of this trade, there has to be someone who is willing to take a bet that either markets will go the other way or there has to be someone who is willing – for some reason – to make sure that the markets don’t fall too much and therefore will put a floor under the market.

The Greenspan put option was used to describe the situation that, whenever financial markets fell, Greenspan would cut interest rates, which would put a floor under how low prices could go. The same can now be said of Germany. If Germany bails out Greece, it puts a floor on how low Greek bond prices can fall. It therefore gives the Greek government the incentive to gamble that it doesn’t matter how much it borrows because Germany will always bail it out.

Over the past few years this column has been making the point intermittently that the euro is the wrong currency for Ireland.

In many official quarters this assertion is met with derision. Might this be because the ‘‘official mind’’ can’t deal with uncertainty? Or is it that the ‘‘official mind’’ is not able to do what we all should do at times, which is to ‘‘think the unthinkable’’. So the next issue is whether the Greek bailout is good news for Ireland?

I know it sounds parochial, but let’s deal with our own backyard first. Does the bailout of Greece, whatever form it takes, mean that the bigger, older countries in the EU now realise that there is a fault-line at the heart of the euro project?

As long as Germany chooses to run huge current account surpluses, this money will be borrowed either in the eurozone or outside it. If it is spent within the eurozone in countries that want to grow but haven’t the domestic savings to do so, there will always be regional booms and busts, as there are now in Ireland, Spain and – ironically, despite its bad press – to a lesser extent Greece.

On the other hand, if the German savings are borrowed outside the eurozone – in the US or Britain, for example – there will be a tendency for the euro to rise against these major currencies. Given that Ireland does far more trade with Britain and the US than it does with Germany and France – and Irish shoppers shop in Newry, not Nuremberg – this creates a tendency for Ireland to boom unsustainably and then fall back suddenly.

This means that the Irish boom/bust cycle is excessively amplified by our membership of the euro. Booms are longer and more effervescent and busts too are longer and more painful.

In away, Ireland is like a jockey riding two horses: a German one and an Anglo American one. When both horses are running together – the current account of Germany isn’t too excessive and the deficit of the Anglo-American world isn’t too delinquent – the jockey’s position isn’t too difficult. However, when the two horses move in opposite direction, the jockey’s groin area becomes uncomfortable. At this stage, this particular jockey is screaming.

Initially, the official architects of the EMU believed that Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Greece just had to put up with it and be good Europeans. This was before it dawned on the bureaucrats that a crisis would lead to the eurozone being undermined more than the individual country in trouble.

The reason they didn’t twig this from the outset is that most of the senior civil servants who designed the euro probably have never taken a risk in their lives, so they don’t understand the mind of the traders who are assessing whether the euro makes sense or not and betting accordingly.

The response to this crisis means that we are moving into a new era, which might be good for us. The worst of all worlds for Ireland is the current half-baked situation of a monetary union without a political union.

This is why this column has argued that, until there is full political union in Europe, Ireland should adopt the Danish and Swedish approach of having its own currency, something that could be done without too much disruption.

However, if this crisis and the German bailout were to accelerate political union, it’s a different ball game because we would have a system like the US’s, whereby the central government compensates states that are in recession by increased government expenditure. At the moment in Europe, we have things back to front because, in a downturn, the governments are being asked to cut spending rather than increase spending. This was one of the elementary mistakes of the Great Depression.

If the Greek crisis has finally changed the view in Brussels about the joint responsibility that is necessary to make the euro work, it will have been a crisis worth having, for Ireland in particular.

  1. Malcolm McClure

    So far the greeks haven’t asked for support and the EC hasn’t offered any. The greeks know the rules and following Lenihan, know that they have to abide by them. That means cuts all round and because the Greeks are a volatile people compared with the Irish that means trouble. Unlike Ireland they have a powerful, well equipped army, so that is all a recipe for trouble.
    The Greeks are damned if they don’t ask for a bailout, and damned if they do. “A Greek bail-out increases the risk of EMU break-up, because monetary union can only work if everybody sticks to the rules,”

    • shtove

      Merkel has certainly said Nein! Finally, a politician with balls.

      This article is the usual claptrap demanding more reckless spending. When there is too much debt, the debt must default.

  2. Original-Ed


    It’s difficult to believe that those in Brussels at the top of the economic game didn’t see, from the start, that this could be problem down the road. They must have known that this would arise at some point and make it much easier for them, to make the case for full political. I’m no economist, but I did have do a year of it as a compulsory bolt on to an engineering course in London years ago. Found it interesting, but a bit mercuric when it came to tying things down – ant-cyclical investment was considered to be the basic essential to avoid another 30’s depression and here we are in one of the most advanced unions on earth and our hands are tied behind our back when it comes to saving our ass. Something has to give and I suspect that its going to be our sovereignty.

  3. Tull McAdoo

    I wonder .I wonder. Here from the archives… .1. jim says
    I just had a revelation,but i need some of you economists to confirm if my theory is correct.Here it goes.Irish economic policy pushed through by the pd/ff admins. of the last couple of years has been one of low tax..low wage to productivity….compeditive in the sense that a larger proportion of profit per unit cost could be repatriated .i.e the anglo/american model.We found ourselves at the mercy of the dollar fluctuations and their[anglo/amer.] economic cycles more so than the rest of europe because of our exposure to same even though unlike Britian we were tied in to the euro as a currency and ECB interest rates over which we have no control.This was most evident when we needed to raise rates to dampen demand at the very time ECB were cutting and visa versa at other times.We had ceded control to europe and found ourselves falling between two stools so to speak.We were caught in what I would call a ripple effect,i.e high when europe was low and low when europe was high.Out of sync on both sides of the equation and while this has.nt much effect on the owners who can hedge[if their prudent] it has a huge effect on wage earners as they are less equipped to deal with these fluctuations.What we needed to do was use the ready availeable credit to smooth out the ripples and improve the lot of the wage earners as a whole and not allow it to be hijacked by the owners for their own self interest.We failed and ran up a huge debt on day to day spending and compounded the error by going back to bail out some of the owners with the bit of savings we had put by.That being said its my contention that the weight of the present recession should allow a smoothing of the imbalance between europe and anglo/american economic cycles and if we play our cards right this time we as a nation should be able to act as a bridge or conduit if you will between the two conflicting idologies and reap the benefit which I hope will not be hijacked this time.David is familiar with dubrovniks unique historic position aka the Turks and Rome and we could use a similar model.Were uniquely positioned to do it.
    January 1, 2009, 3:18 am

    • Tull McAdoo

      And he followed with this contribution.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,1. jim says
      When I referred to the recurring oscillations in the economic cycles of the anglo/american model and how this also happens, but is usually less pronounced in the european model i.e boom/bust..currency fluctuations…policital/policy changes etc. I was trying to get at the heart of the dilema faced by Irelands somewhat unique position,torn as it is between two great forces.The oscillations are less pronounced in Europe because of the dampning effect of the various member states being at different stages of development,as opposed to the USA where the indivdual states have been singing from the same hymn sheet for a bit longer.Irelands huge dependance on US multi’s and exports to Britian places us in a somewhat unique position amongst our euro conterparts,[failure to develope homegrown industries of sufficent scale also a factor] We are in harmony with the Anglo/US cycle which puts us at odds with our own currency,interest rates etc.This has shown itself most recently in the euro/pound exchange rate and the problems it caused Ireland as opposed to mainland europe.I think it has to be brought home to our partners in Europe that Ireland is not strong enough to balance these forces on its own and is being ripped apart at various stages of the economic cycles.I think if Ireland is providing a platform to facilitate trade with the US in particular via its multi’s then Europe must provide a counterbalance to allow us to hedge our exposure.If this trade is to continue to the benifet of both sides then Europe cant stand back and think Ireland is capable of making up whatever shortfall occurs on the US side from our resources,its just not feasible.We take the hit from Dell to the benifit of our recent partner Poland,but if we hav’nt a coordinated approach then the US will dance rings around us,availing of whatever tax breaks etc.we have to offer.I thought that the present world recession would act as a huge dampning force on the cycles as everybody was cutting rates etc .at the same time but im fearfull of a future divergance and its impact on Irelands unique position.Merkle and Sarcastic might want to factor this into their equations when they come calling with a Lisbon Treaty.
      January 12, 2009, 2:16 am

      • Malcolm McClure

        Tull McAdoo: What on earth is all this grey boilerplate about? What relevance has it to the matter being discussed?

        • One things for sure Malcolm, he don’t own a Pub over the Mountain from me.

          • Tim

            Furrylugs, I remember those posts from jim. Tull McAdoo is correct; jim’s calculations and predictions are not only proving correct, but are being drawn-upon by our host.

            Good ol’ jim! (I missed him for a while, especially his “Goodnight, Ireland!” but, now, I know I don’t have to.)

            Goodnight, jim.

          • @Tim,
            Not with you.
            Did I offend?

          • Malcolm McClure

            Tim. Jim and Tull McAdoo: Okay, I read it again in the context of David’s “This means that the Irish boom/bust cycle is excessively amplified by our membership of the euro. Booms are longer and more effervescent and busts too are longer and more painful.”
            A heavy sub-edit might have made Jim’s point a bit clearer. Clever stuff I suppose. Can somebody tell me what it means?
            Good or bad?

          • Here is my e-mail for contacts about the forthcoming meeting in Killarney


        • Tull McAdoo

          @ Malcolm…… Firstly I would like to apologise if my posts above have confused you, I suppose in my defence, they were posted over a year ago in a more volatile time, when certain windows of opportunity were available to the powers at be in Ireland.
          I have been thinking about how I might clarify some of the issues mentioned above and in that light I will need to direct you to the ECB’S website at the following link. http://www.ecb.europa.eu/stats/exchange/eurofxref/html/eurofxref-graph-usd.en.html
          If you click on the US Dollar and just above where it says “all” in the Date range it will show you the Euro/ USD from the Euro’s introduction. If you hover the cursor above the graph (which is interactive) you will see the Exchange rate at Dec 02 when the actual hard currency was put in people’s hands, was pretty much parity or 1:1. As the years pass you will see how the Euro has lost out in terms of competitiveness against the major reserve currency, reaching its worst position in April 08 @ 1.60 well before Lehmans I might add. Now if you look on the right hand panel you will find the English Pound GBP and if you click that up you will find a similar story, especially from Sept 07 and again @ April 08 surprise surprise.
          Now if you are prepared to humour me for just a minute, I want you to imagine if Ireland had NO property bubble, no property exposure of any sort when the credit crunch hit. We were nice compliant people with our Banks ( I know that’s a big ask lol) perfectly behaved, then we would have been losing jobs every week because of them exchange rates.
          What would our Politicians be saying to the ECB or the European Parliament about our heavy exposure to the Pound and Dollar and how their Monetary Policy was causing us such problems. Maybe the hubris Krugman spoke about in the Times was by the boffins in the ECB et al waving around their new Euro, and as a result allowed themselves to be undermined by the US and GB who were happy to see the Germans splash about their savings on mostly non sustainable expenditures in mostly bananna pigis Countries.
          Maybe the Greeks you see on the streets are saying that they are not prepared to take the hit for the ECB’s failed monetary policy, which seemed to favour the German savers and provide great export led employment to the newly absorbed East Germans. Of course having so many corrupt bastards around the edges of Europe ready to absorb these savings for unsustainable projects also helped. I suppose that’s enough to be going on with for now, I hope that does’nt do in your brain, I find long walks along Cottesloe beach helps , but only sometimes, LOL. P.s Goodnight Tim , Sleep well.

          • Malcolm McClure

            Tull McAdoo: Thank you for that helpful and detailed reply. The dollar exchange rate graph is a real gem and explains how US companies gained 50% in value by putting their fund into the Irish Euro. Now that the exchange rate is sinking again will they withdraw it and return it to dollars? More bad news?

          • Ruairí

            A very interesting re-drawing of the scenario Tull. Well supported too. Unfortunately, while our political class have the arrogance to talk nonchalantly to their own people, they do not feel so enamoured at being arrogant when it comes to what they have regarded, even pre-Lisbon or Nice, as their political masters.
            You are correct (if we take the assumption of US dancing rings around EU, using low-tax opportunties, as a given ) that the EU should be marshalling a territory-wide policy to out-manouevre the Yanks or at least optimise the situation for Europeans. Instead, despite giving away some of our sovereignty, it may indeed be that the outcomes which we are epxeriencing (and the Greeks also) are merely tangential outcomes to the overarching desires of the German strategy.
            David has alluded to this before, quite recently in fact.. If we are a de facto United States of europe, then the project is, at the moment, poorly thought out and not translating into economic efficiencies vis a vis our trading bloc competitors.

  4. G

    As in love (Valentine’s day), it takes two to tango.

    The Germans gave the easy credit to encourage consumption around Europe, but that is only part of a very large story.

    Word on the ground in Greece is that the financial mismanagement or in everyday parlance, the complete ripping off of the Greek economy/taxpayer by the usual suspects, is pushing the country towards open revolt, which is the real worry (given high levels of unemployment across Europe and a history of social unrest in France and elsewhere, not to mind the growth in right-wing parties, especially in Eastern Europe).

    The ‘domino-theory’ analogy is appropriate – fears of a financial wildfire spreading to the weaker elements of the Euro club (we know who they are), undermining the entire ‘European Project’ is a distinct possibillity and must be dealt with at its current source, Greece, for fear ‘it will jump’ to other countries.

    I doubt there will ever be serious efforts at full political European union’, that would open a whole kettle of fish and the EU would actually have to have positions on things (and be held accountable by domestic populations and international institutions/NGOs), the old question about ‘who do you ring in the EU when you have a problem?’ was by design, this was exemplified by the selection of total non-entities for the posts of EU president and Foreign Affairs.

    The economic union is the only game in town for it is the money maker, the rest like the increased legal power of the Union (European Court) had to be implemented because it was too big to ignore, too difficult to circumvent, the parliament is a mere talking shop and convenient punch bag for national governments when it comes to unpopular policies or a means of distraction when required.

    The ‘Europe Project’ was essentially the effort at controlling the continent politically and economically by two countries who had tried several times to do through the use of force (Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm I, Hitler).

    With the advent of nuclear weapons the major European powers knew next time they tried that approach it would be the end-game, hence the coal and steel pact (ECSC), which led to the EEC and later EU.

    Germany and France reaped considerable benefits from this arrangement for decades (as did Ireland), as for the fallout, well…….a consequence of the game they all play.

    Ireland’s travails are a footnote in a lot of this, but when taken with the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) it does add up to a potential problem with unpredictable consequences, especially if reports on Spain’s ‘cooking the books’ to disguise very high bank losses are true (coupled with a very high level of unemployment, which continues to spiral).

    Interesting times ahead for sure.

    As for ‘our own’ M-G-Quinn, the EU ‘high-flier’ –

    As for the US entering Vietnam to stop the ‘spread of communism’, true to a point, it has been argued that invasion/intervention was more about preventing Vietnam from developing independently, outside of Washington’s control. Indeed, the Vietnamese struggles against the Chinese, French, Japanese, French again and finally the Americans, were historically characterised more by nationalism than by any ‘commitment to communism’, this naturally changed and intensified after the US invasion, indeed, the US carpet-bombing of Cambodia is said to have acted as the main catalyst for the emergence of the Khmer Rouge (until they were overthrown by the Vietnamese – one of the few examples of successful military intervention by one country in the affairs of another).

    The US sent its message around the world loud and clear, if you opt for the Vietnam road we’ll bomb you back beyond the stone age (I believe the expression from Washington at the time was “no two stones should be standing one top of one another”) – more bombs were dropped on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos than all the bombs dropped by all sides during the Second World War. See the documentary ‘The Fog Of War’ for more.

    To this day, we don’t know to within the million how many Vietnamese were killed, 2,3,4? And still the suffering goes on (see fallout from Agent Orange).

    Political and business elites as well as generals around the world took the lesson onboard and the rest is history as they say. Gandhi was right when asked about Western civilisation – “it would be good if it existed”………………………

    • “it would be good if it existed”…
      Tony Blair and Bush with a small bit of luck will roast in hell for what they did to ordinary simple people in Iraq. For what they’re doing in Afghanistan, may they boil in hell.
      I say this with good information. I know the people, I’ve worked with ex russian soldiers, I’ve heard the self serving excuses.
      With all due respect to the theorists, the facts are the blood of children slaughtered to support some distant monetary ideology. And sanitised to present some superficial raison d’etre whilst the elite quaff wine.

      • Dilly

        I just watch the documentary Collapse (2009) this evening, with Michael Ruppert. Very interesting and worth a watch.

      • Deco

        In order to start a way,to get the resources from the people and the recruits (because oil majors don’t provide you with soldiers or tanks) you need to make the people compliant. The media can do the job. By glorifying the armed services. By having experts talk about just causes. By depicting events as offensive rather than defensive.

        Phony Blair’s ten years has given Britain nothing put problems. It was all phony PR the whole way along. He did everything incorrectly and spent a fortune selling it to the British public as ‘progress’.

        Ex-soldiers with contaminated body organs as a result of depleted uranium shells looking for an honest appraisal of their medical problems. Debt. Housing debt milstones. Social problems. Lies. Various PR stunts. Celebrity photo opportuities. Celebrity culture dominating the population to achieve the ultimate dumbing down effect. Wars. More “collateral damage” among various civilian populations. Spin doctors. Etc…

      • G

        As you well know Furrylugs, Bush and Blair were mere servants to power, puppets controlled by the hidden hand of the market (which provids the financial lubrication, shapes and directs ‘state policy’ to meet the needs/desires/wants of the ‘business community’.

        Sure centres of political power cook up ‘domino theories’ to provide a ‘rational’ to the domestic audience for military intervention in Vietnam and elsewhere (which ultimately benefit the military-industrial-congressional complex).

        Take a modern example of same, the spurious claims for the invasion of Iraq centred around Saddam’s ‘possession’ of Weapons of Mass Destruction (smoking gun becoming a mushroom cloud) and the 45 minute strike claim, Al Queda was also dropped in, it was all backed up by a compliant media, which repeated the false assertions with parrott like repetitivity.

        The real reason was of course the control of Iraq’s oil resources but was never stated, as Noam Chomsky said ” if Iraq’s national export was asparagus, we wouldn’t be there”.

        It is the system of exploitation and war which needs to be exposed and ultimately dismantled, the price of doing so considerable, the outcome uncertain.

        The intelligence agencies have hinted at the kind of world we are facing: “Clinton’s Space Command and National Intelligence Council, which warned that “globalization” is likely to bring about a “widening economic divide” with “deepening economic stagnation, political instability, and cultural alienation” that will lead to unrest and violence among the “have-nots,” much of it directed against the United States.” Hence the current efforts to diffuse the ticking time-bomb that is Greece, they’ll come up the money if they haven’t done so already as it is in their long term interests.

        Indeed, a pressing crisis around the world is hunger/poverty, which G B Shaw referred to as the ‘worst of crimes and greatest of evils’. “UN agencies announced that the number of people facing hunger passed 1 billion, and is rapidly increasing, while the rich countries sharply reduce their contributions for food aid because of the need to support the big banks. More than 16,000 children die every day from hunger-related causes, Oxfam reports, eliciting little interest from those who solemnly contemplate the “responsibility to protect.”

        This is one of the fundamental causes of insecurity in the world, but you won’t see Presidents and Prime Ministers holding Davos like meetings where they write cheques to the tune of trillions as the have with the banks (of ‘systemic importance’) – what about humans or are they superfluous?

        As for Bush/Blair burning in hell, that presupposes such a place exists, I would prefer to pursue ‘earthly justice’, it seems more concrete and attainable. People need to come together, recognise the power they have and pursue and hold to account those who violate international law rather than waiting for a deity to dispell justice.

        For Irish people, it also means putting our own house in order, the use of Shannon, Ireland’s role in the armaments industry, our corrupt financial and political system, the log out of our own eye etc

        • Spare Change

          America “officially” spends about $800 Billion per annum on defence, unofficially I would imagine this to be a lot higher. Thats about $120 for every person on the planet every year, “officially”. Combine the other G20 countries, and you are talking an annual spend of close to $3,000 Billion or $3 Trillion.

          Yet 50% (3.5billion) of the worlds population survives on less than $1 per day. In total $1.2Trillion per annum.

          So the G20 spends almost 3 times the income of half the worlds population of “Defense” each year.

          Poverty has been the real crime of the 20th Century. Globalisation & Capitalism supported by the New Imperialism (control of resources by warfare) have already fully enslaved 75% of the population of the planet in third world & low tier second world countries. Now they are working on the likes of us the second world, & lower tier first world countries.

          Over the past decade, the amount of debt we have racked up against assets that are now more or less worthless, means “economically” we are individually worse off than your average citizen of a third world country.

          We are sitting ducks, fish in a barrell.

          • G

            The annual US spend on the military is 3 trillion dollars – more than all the other countries in the world combined. The US is also by far and away the biggest arms exporter, indeed, the five biggest arms exporters are the five permanent members of the UN security council (see dramatised depiction in Nicolas Cage’s film ‘The Lord of War’).

            The 653 billion and 800 billion figures exclude spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Homeland Security, and Veteran’s Affairs and I presume covert operations.

            The war in Iraq alone will cost at the very least (according to Prof. Stiglitz 3 trillion when you factor in expenditure on equipment, day-to-day costs and health care for veterans well into the futrue) – this figure is an underestimate.

            After the banking crisis and bailouts, it represents the second great theft from the US taxpayer.

            Iraq and the Trillions

            US ‘Defence’ Budget (mostly offence in keeping with the best traditions of George Orwell)

            US defence spending

    • Deco

      Actually attempts to control Europe go back as far as Rome, Charlemagne, The Habsburgs marrying into Europe’s royal families in attempt to become “Europe’s Royal Family”, The Boubons(Louis XIV etc) declaring war on every country in Europe several times, the Bonapartes establishing Two French Empires to do something similar, etc… In fact it has been the real problem for all of European History. Quite often all that prevented it from happening is Nationalism or regional seperatism. Just look at Nelson’s message to the sailors of the Royal Navy, at Trafalgar for example.

      • G

        Indeed Deco, as you correctly state, Aleaxander pushed it to the frontier with India, the Romans tried it, they had a problem drawing a line on a ‘frontier’ and collapsed from a) over expansion and b) corrupt home base – not too dissimilar to the Americans.

        Europe was at war virtually constantly over the centuries, the 30 years war, religious wars, Imperial conflicts spreading around the globe all leading down to the penultimate WW2.

        As an elderly Mexican gentleman said to me in 2005, why return to Europe, there seems such trouble there :-)

      • G

        G. Orwell, a man who knew all about ‘systems’, and had the courage to write about them in such an extraordinary manner, changed human awareness and consciousness in the process, no mean achievement.

        It can be said after ’1984′ that there can be few excuses for letting it happen again. But I take the points on the rise of fascism, both the political fascism we currently experience and its more overt and grubby/violent expression in the form of neo-Nazi groups and right-wing parties.

        George Orwell – A Life in Pictures – Excellent drama-documentary series

        Manufacturing Consent

        Noam Chomsky – Vietnam Remembered

    • Ruairí

      Nice post G.

      Without further ado, I hereby propose the launch of BeJaysus, a month of warrior-like anarchy where proponents grow Beards and imitate Jesus except with a dash of Karl Marx and a sprig of Ernesto Guevara. Its similar to Movember http://ie.movember.com/about/ but differs in that comrades will be required to grow beards (sorry Willie O’Dea, you will be missed from the ranks of great men) and it also involves a druidic form of jihad. Thus, all forms of Bejaysus activity are authorised: – kicking, beating, murdering, general acts of anrchy and madness. Once the month is up, however, the beard must be shaved and the proponents must seek absolution from a catholic priest or better still a Bishop. Kissing his ring will indeed cause all your previous sins (kicking and murdering the Bejaysus our of opponents) to be absolved. A heinous crimes amnesty, as it were.
      Unfortunately, this is a genetically biased organisation, much like the catholic Church but c’est la vie.
      Bejaysus is however non-ageist and non-political. As such, even FF dirtbirds can join and officially let off steam and ruin people’s lives in the hidden, informal way they normally do.

      • BeJaysus.
        Hmm. Interesting.
        Would that run around a Christian holiday or could we align it to , say, Ramadan or Diwali?
        Would the general acts of madness be environmentally friendly and be accompanied by suitable safety statements?
        Twinning would be required as would inititiaves to foster sustainability and the obligitary wind farm. Heathens could be strung up on the blades of the turbines but would that lead to diversification and ambivalence towards victims of 3MW and 5MW turbines?
        Think of the environmental run off into streams. Rivers of blood coating white water mussels.
        Who would co-ordinate the hard decisions to stabilise the public gore?
        A committee is most definitely needed before this escapade loses the run of itself.

        • Ruairí

          Yes, a committee is essential. I nominate Willie O’Dea as our spokesperson. Bejaysus, he’s causing mayhem at the moment. And he has half the beard already. He’s willing, bejaysus….. and he’s a legally wriggly. We’ll need him if we’re to get through the month and then send an aul lump sum and absolve ourselves of our ‘mental reservations’ and sins.

    • Ruairí

      @ G. You said “The US sent its message around the world loud and clear, if you opt for the Vietnam road we’ll bomb you back beyond the stone age”

      Its worth noting this piece of excellent journalism from the guys and gals at Al Jazeera re Cuban medics being the 1st on the ground in Haiti and yet it has gone unnoticed (correction, uncommented) in conventional media. They also allowed the US military to overfly their airspace, for Haitians’ sakes.
      “Although Cuba is a poor developing country, their wealth of human resources – doctors, engineers and disaster management experts – has enabled this small Caribbean nation to play a global role in health care and humanitarian aid alongside the far richer nations of the west.

      Cuban medical teams played a key role in the wake of the Indian Ocean Tsunami and provided the largest contingent of doctors after the 2005 Pakistan earthquake. They also stayed the longest among international medical teams treating the victims of the 2006 Indonesian earthquake.

      In the Pakistan relief operation the US and Europe dispatched medical teams. Each had a base camp with most doctors deployed for a month. The Cubans, however, deployed seven major base camps, operated 32 field hospitals and stayed for six months.

      Bruno Rodriguez, who is now Cuba’s foreign minister, headed the mission – living in the mountains of Pakistan for more than six months.”
      But then, we have our own heroes too, like Eamon Ryan, champion of the oppressed in Rossport / Bellanaboy, who went on to become a Minister too and …………wait…………something incongruent about my metaphor………must have more cheap brandy……….

      • Is it this Ryan you refer to?



        Incidentally, the first comment about the article is so biased, it’s embarrassing.

        • Ruairí

          Thank you Furrylugs for this.

          I used this link to build a strong argument for preseentation to George Hook, by email on Tues 16th. Coupled with the latest updates from Shell to Sea.
          I urged George to give the reasoned locals a fair hearing and to tear strip off of Eamon Ryan for his political manoeuvring (my my , they learn the FF ways so quickly) and in fairness to him, George gave Bellanaboy about 25 minutes of airtime on Wed 17th. Eamon O’Cuiv was the excuse of a public representative that FF wheeled on, in his capacity as Minister for dirt under his fingernails and knowledge of Western seaboard matters.
          The upshot is that George, and many others in the media WILL respond to reasoned arguments and well-worked angles that prods their conscience and also allows them to re-work previous interviews and therefore stated positions and personal ‘commitments’ man to man, or politician to media pundit. We may think that much of what we do is in vain. But the truth is not in vain. And there are many good people in the media. When you appeal to their journlaistic zeal correctly, they respond enthusiastically and more importantly, as citizens among citizens.
          The question in Bellanaboy is not about right or wrong per se, or stakeholder’s claims and counter-claims, but truth. I know Pontius Pilate said, “Truth, what is that?” and I know that FF and most lately the Greens don’t seem to know the colour of truth, but I stand by it where I can, whether its in my favour or not. I also think that David McWilliams has, most frequently, said it as it is. As has almost all of us here when pushed. We need an atmosphere of TRUTH, ACCOUNTABILITY and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. That means fair jousting and no toleration for anything less, that means payment of debts that were willingly accepted, not abdication of responsibility by so many indebted now. Let’s demand a level of participation by Citizen Ireland. That is the key to fixing our country. That is the job of our role of President and to a lesser extent our government executive. That is the rot in Ireland, a pervasive lack of citizenship, a lack of recognition of a togetherness, a collective identity. That is why we have no street protests, that is why we have so much error and waste. There is no leadership with their finger on the pulse of the people. We didn’t need that for 15 years as we had the mighty flow of Euros and the God of Mammon.
          What is required to rebuild (or indeed build for the 1st time) Irish citizenship? That is the only task required. Everything, and I mean everything flows from that steady base. Prosperity, efficiency, peace, safety.

          • G

            Ruairi – on the money.

            Perceptive stuff.

            Cuba is my specialisation, interesting that you should muse on this topic and post that article (thanks).

            As I posted previously, Cuba has demonstrated an incredible solidarity in the health care sector (not industry!) with developing countries, they truly are working to the best spirit possible and not the ‘Hyprocritic Oath’ which seems to so characterise the financial aspect of Irish health care, where money increasing determines the level of care you receive, a truly appalling betrayal of Republican principles.

            I am not sure how much one can actually hate a government but I am reaching pretty high levels of hatred and disgust.

  5. The one flaw in this article.
    The useless Eurocrats were scuppered by the cynical EuroCentroBankers long time ago. Far too much idealism and Cuddly Europe fooled everyone except the Irish who were eventually bullied into Lisbon.
    Maastricht died three day ago. So Lisbon joins O’Leary in the grave.
    The European Union experiment would seem to be approaching fascismic monetarism to survive.

    • Oh yes, sadly, this the most worrying tendency of all, a new and slick fascism, emerging with great power from the midst of europe.

      I observe it since a decade and it is getting stronger beyond doubts.

      I can not begin to express the frustration I felt when the irish voted yes on a second vote, but it was a wake up call, smell the roses, this is how it worked, and still does work….

  6. wills


    Greece insiders ‘fiddled’ numbers to get through the EU bouncer into the club.

    The EU technocrats turned a blind eye.

    In the end the hidden deficits would re emerge and so it is written, (see goldman sachs aiding and abetting greece with this link).

    Now, the greece debacle now underway is it been used by ‘controlling interests ‘ and insiders as proxy to see in other agenda.

    Greece is an excellent economic petri dish to work in experiments and streamline a new chapter for the EU, like as original ed proposes political unification along the lines of a federal state perhaps.

    The bogey man of sovereign de fault dominoes what a great cover to usher in further political integration.

    Casting the banks private toxic debt onto the governments books now makes alorra sense. It sets up a straw man needing solution.

    In this case solution is federalism.

      • s1lverbullet

        I honestly feel that we are in a worse state than the greeks but our gombeens are better at PR. Our right wing media will report anything the gombeens tell them backed up by Garrett fitz’s son in the ESRI. This is the most corrupt country in the western world full of religious sadists and child molestors, where the rich can only get 7 years for murder and still control their victim’s estate and the poor go to jail for not paying for Pat Kenny’s wage increases! God help the next generation!!

    • Deco

      Greece can get out of this mess. It just needs to eliminate the patronage in the public sector, and get the business sector to pay it’s taxes.

      A bit like Ireland with all them 800 quangos, and the tax diaspora (Denis, Sir Anthony, Bono, the Three Amigos) finding various ways of using foreign residences to avoid paying taxes.

  7. Deco

    Some interesting points. There are two sides to this mess. The borrowers dilemma. And the saver’s dilemma.

    I don’t know if Germany regards the PIGS are South East Asia. I remember reading once that the Kaiser was feeling disappointed by the Austrian-Hungarian contribution to his efforts to hold out in Central Europe, and commented that Germany was straddled to a corpse. Maybe the Germans might now be fretting that the European financial system might be getting dangerously out of whack. And that Germany, Benelus, Finland, Austria, France are propping up effective financial corpses like Irish Banks, Spanish Banks and the Greek state. Funny enough I actually think Greece can be reformed. It is just that reforming Greece will start a near civil war. The Right and the Left, who share the spoils of shared control of the state patronage system will be on one side. And the rest of the population, mostly in the provinces, second tier cities, and islands will be on the other.

    Germany is not responsible for this mess. The political system in Club Med is characterized by a sharp right left divide with all sorts of absurd theories about how to run an economy presiding. Put simply the political movements in Club Med were driven by the need to express all sorts of nonsense rather than to pragmatically support an economic system. In fact the political ethos of Club Med (both sides) is to suck out of the economy in order to operate the state. Unfortunately Ireland has shown a propensity at various times since 1972 (all parties) to do something similar. But even this is mild compared to the Club Med political mentality of a strong state and patronage.

    What made our crisis as bad as it became was the inept Irish management and organizational practices. Basically as a society we have a predominant tendency to promote the inept rather than the most capable. The most capable beings in our society are driven abroad. That is our gombeen factor. We actually have a very different sociological problem to our fellow PIGIS. The cronyism factor is what blew Ireland on a trajectory to ruin.

    I am coming around to the scenario that something in Ireland has to give. It might be the bank bondholders. It might be Euro membership (which would destroy the capital base of the economy and result in a massive drop in living standards but save the property sector). Large instititutional forces, and their lackies like Suds, would prefer that it was the domestic PAYE taxpayer.

    Cowen boasting that the Greeks must follow Ireland shows the scale of his economic judgement. In fact it demonstrates that Cowen is clueless. We are in this far worse than the Greeks. I am attaching a graph which shows us what our D4 banking clique has managed to do.


    This diagram does not show exposure via Luxembourg which is a big financial go-between. And I also suspect that the Spanish banking system/ authorties still has a many more facts to tell us – based on recent history.

    Now for all those starting with President McUseless and working along down the hierarchy….this is a moment where we shall be able to reflect….with PRIDE of course, yes buckets of Pride….on our significance. See all that Green paint in those graphs. That’s us. Well we are significant aren’t we. We have chased significance and importance in a frenzy over the past two decades. We could never get enough significance for ourselves, and we could never stop congratulating ourselves on our significance. The new modern shiny Ireland was something of significance. And if it was significance then we could ooze pride.

    That green paint is also the scale of our excess ad aggregate stupidity. And the size of the mess that needs fixing. It is probably too big of a mess to fix.

    In Ireland forget all the other problems that we face.

    Because problem number 1 is DEBT. And the behaviour of the government by substituting private sector borrowing with public sector borrowing suggests that they don’t get this. In fact this dimension to our problem is not understood by anybody in Dail Eireann with the possible exception of Joe Behan, TD. (And none of the others talk or listen to him). So Cowen congratulating Ireland on pointing the way out of this crisis for Greece is a load of buffoonery. In fact he is starting to behave like Gordon Brown, making all sorts of useless boasting and delusionary statements. It fits in exactly with what David warned us about false recovery PR stuntery.

    The bond auction for 1 Billion Euro of Irish State Debt on Tuesday might reveal what the market really thinks of Ireland’s solvency and our approach to fixing the problem.

    • Yes, and on the other side of the pond, Bernanke thinks to be able to fix it with “quantative easing”, buying your own state bonds, he is wrong,
      Paulsen was wrong as was Geithner. Printing money will prolong the drama and not fix it.

      Bernanke gave the cash to the bankers and instead of gettinf credits to flow again, they sat on it and to gamble on wallstreet again and perform inter bank trading.

      True reforms are blocked on a the big stage, no none of these banksters wants them, and thats why I say they need to be crushed, not asked kindly, not argued with, scratch that!

      They need to be told the new rules, and they rather play along or they need to be crushed and wiped out from the stage.

      Does anyone see that happening, anywhere?

      I don’t!

      • wills


        These guys own everything more or less so they call the shots and so reform for them is a monkey to toy with, depending on the cultural climate at any moment.

  8. Philip

    This is beyond federalism. This is full central central control of your ass you are talking about there Wills! Next thing you know, we’ll be all chipped like doggies as a precaution against disease dont you know.

    Political union will not be easy to make happen. And walking away from the Euro only works if it makes sense for the euro debt you are holding. Very intractible indeed.

    The only stop gap is to inflate out of this mess or risk revolt and hope for the best. This is the EU’s only move or everyone is gone. For me this is one of the main reasons for a currency break – one to save the union over the currency. That’s the domino effect we should be promoting. Bit too visionary methinks

  9. The whole thing turns into a farce, a PR stunt of the not-so-much-center-but-much-more-right-wing incumbents playing the media and blinding Joe Sixpack.

    The solutions are known, since long!

    Something similar to the Glass-Steagall act needs to be enforced, at the same time all banks need to be heavily restricted in their trading culture to stop the insane speculation driven dynamics that were exploited in the first place to deliberately cause this crash, yes, deliberately cause this crash is right!

    0% Interest policies and printing more money combined with constructs such as NAMA in Ireland, is nothing but a camouflaged expropriation of the majority of people, middle class income expropriation en masse.

    Politicians and Bankers act in a CRIMINAL manner in that respect, well knowing about the long term effects of their actions.

    Last not least, in Ireland and with out 100% nationalisation of Banks, they are still playing the game with everyone, or do you really think their accounts are not tampered with at all, they are massively manipulated, and only nationalisation would have allowed to swiftly find out the truth behind the walls of BOI, AIB, Anglo and their offshore accounts and letterbox companies that were setup all over the world in the well known locations such as cayman islands etc.

    Does anyone here really believe Lenihan would have been or is now in the driving seat? He is not, never has been, he is a one of the muppets that is being played by other interests. Strings attached!

    As for Europe, how convenient for the not-so-much-center-but-much-more-right-wing fractions to use the greece situation to weaken Unions all over Europe.

    The solution that is offered, be it in Ireland or on the larger stages is no solution, it is just preparing and counting on the next bubble to be build, green technology anyone?

    In the meantime, the players bail themselves out by the above mentioned camouflaged expropriation. This is the reason for the divide and conquer strategy played on the irish people, it is a pre text of a new chapter to follow soon, war on the poor and unemployed.

    The actions undertaken by politicians and bankers in this country as well as in others are criminal and highly unethical to say the least.

    The years lasting cover ups are evidence of their actions, and still, they dare to tell us to enquire the banking scandal behind closed doors.

    How fucking convenient!

    • Deco


      If you really want to set the poor free, allow the rich to fail. Nationalizing the banking sector is bailing out the banks. And it is sticking the layers of wasters who caused this through their managerial incompetence to become semi-state employees. Much cheaper to get rid of them the capitalist way – as already implemented in 1998 in East Asia. And the solution adopted in East Asian countries did not lumber their societies with problems for a generation. Look at South Korea or Taiwan today.

    • s1lverbullet

      you are dead right laughingbear. we all know that their actions were criminal but we are told that they seemingly did’nt break the law. This supposedly comes straight from the Attorney General(who is put in place by the Taoiseach of the time). Another past AG is that scumbag Dermot Gleeson who, after rinning AIB into the ground and losing billions elderly shareholders cash, walks right into another high- paid job with a mining(exploitionary) company. It shows how corrupt the world is when that fucker can use his bildeberger cronies to land on his feet. I mean, honestly, I wouldn’t put him in charge of a corner shop!!! ( unless he did exactly what he was supposed to do, and bring the system to its knees!!)

  10. Deco

    { The worst of all worlds for Ireland is the current half-baked situation of a monetary union without a political union. }

    But 80% of the Laws enacted by the Oireachtas come from unelected panels in Brussels who get appointed as a result of a mixture of sitting exams and lobbying.

    Politically it might be possible to say that we are already subservient..

  11. Deco

    This is the type of idiot who gets put in charge of the largest company in Ireland.


    I rest my case. The Irish concept of management has failed. It is a complete failure.
    (that is without mentioning CIE, the HSE, South Dublin County Council, The Irish Competition Authority, the FAI, IFRSA, etc… ad infinitum..

    • They are not only loosers, they truly are gangsters, just in very expensive suits, thats all.

    • wills


      It has failed for the outsiders but it works for the insiders.

      The irish insiders are canny operatives and know how to keep ahead of the outsiders to keep the MMMM show on the road.

      And this is more than likely the same dennis the meance scamrama at play in greece. Insiders working the system to keep the status quo and in greece as is in ireland the insiders are working in conjunction with the ECB to keep ahead of the outsiders catching up on them and storming the MMMM barricades.

      The ruling interests are now using the sovereign debt thingy majik to keep with the next installment ready in the offing to spring on the outsiders and maintain their mercantilist / aristocratic system stemming back hundreds of years going forward into a future they shape and design before we all arrive into it.

      I say lets pass them out and turn it back on them.

  12. Greece had buildings when we were just managing to put a big stone on top of two other stones !.
    Politically Greece is far more developed than we are from Anarchists to Green Liberals and the spectrum in between, they go out at ten to there bars and they discuss soccer and politics and their doctors smoke out side there hospitals.Everyone does military service for at least a year and they care and look after their elders.
    The present economic mess is down to hedge funds and corrupt bankers along with bad political decisions, like the ancient Roman’s at the birth of governments they want to keep the good times rolling.
    The Greek farmers are blocking the motor ways down there for the last three weeks as they have had enough of the price fixing from Brussels.
    If their new government now try and make the cuts from their budget like our Brian’s did , you will see The Greeks out on the streets , they have passion.
    Where as here , we are simply a bunch of drunks who seem to enjoy been kept down by our political crony’s .

    • G

      Exactly what I heard from a Greek colleague, vibrant politically scene in Athens and elsewhere, no such place exists in any Irish city, what does that say about a dumbed down population.

      • Yup, same here, have a couple of friends in greece, all in business, up to their eyes in trouble not caused by themselves, Panagiotis organises weekly meetings in his internet cafe since a year now, trying to get something going, and more and more people are coming.

  13. G

    Mary Hanafin just said on the Politics Show that their party leader was FF’s greatest electoral asset………


  14. wills


    I heard first hand from a vietnam vet (green beret) the vietnam war was organized for USA military to off load massive stock pile of passed its sell by date ballistics and clear it all out in one mega fireworks halloween party and make way for all the new military industrial technology ammo production line.

    • G

      Wills – would have serious doubts that it was organised for that purpose, but that was most certainly a by-product of the conflict, huge amounts of left over ammunitions from WWII were used on Southeast Asia, a lot of duds/unexploded ordnance, which still plagues the farmers and villagers across the region……….again something you are unlikely to read in the Irish Examiner…………..

      Of all the weapons used, Agent Orange (‘the devil’s brew’) was the most pernicious, the photos of deformed Vietnamese children is something I wished I had never laid sight of, but then sometimes the truth can be a very sickening thing.

      Agent Orange & Vietnam

      • Alf

        Hi David,

        The problem is not just the Euro project, misguided as it was. The problem is the ‘group-think’ that has been allowed to infect governments all over the globe. The idea that the taxpayer should bail out bankrupt actors is based on the lie ‘too big to fail’. The ‘too big to fail’ is what made the Irish government support the failed bets on Irish banks and it is the same fallacy that is behind any bailing out of states.

        The real problem is from straying from the basics. There are procedures in place for dealing with failed banks and even failed states. Procedures where these entities can fail relatively safely and with the minimum amount of pain necessary. The ‘too big to fail’ crew have successfully muddied the waters here and prevented cooler heads from prevailing. Instead of putting energy into ways to save failed entities we should be focusing energy on how to dissolve bad debt, in a controlled way, and with the minimum amount of inconvienience. If effort was put into this, instead of ‘how to bail out’, we would have quickly removed the toxin from the system.

        But there is a wider problem. Capitalism needs the weak to fail. But if we allow this to continue, those that can will use the same arguments for bailing out in future. Bailed out debt is becoming like a cancerous hot potato getting every bigger with interest. Capitalism needs those that took risk to be the ones that pay the price. It is not just about fairness, knowing that the best gets rewarded is actually what provides the real incentive to compete, create and innovate. ‘Bailing out’ should be renamed ‘Rewarding failure’ because this will easier highlight its long term effects. If the western countries continue to take this route, not only will it finish the free market but they also will doom their economies. As it was in the old Soviet Uion, risk would not be quantified by ability to succeed but will be measured on how close one is to the crony machine. Ultimately economies will evolve into a pseudo-nanny-crony, possibly fascist, regime where there is no incentive to progress but only to connect with those in power.

        Without cutting the cancer from the patient, we are in danger of killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

        • G

          “Ultimately economies will evolve into a pseudo-nanny-crony, possibly fascist, regime where there is no incentive to progress but only to connect with those in power. ”

          @ ALF – I think we’ve already moved past that stage.

          We did connections (too many examples to mention), top-down economy, privitisation of profit, socialisation of risk, average worker taking the lash, those who created the problem awarded with massive payouts, unemployment & uncertainty for the many, comfortable retirement and foreign summer homes for the few ( see Shane Ross’ article on the back of the Sunday Independent – pretty fascist I would say, hardly democratic).

          We are now in the ‘failure’, and ‘bailout’ phase…systemic importance, too big to fail etc………..moving as quickly as politically possible to recovery/green shoots in second half of 2010 (not a snowball chance in ‘hell’)……..misinformation/disinformation, with a compliant media rowing along, all bent on maintaining the structures of power which serve the political and business elites with many crossovers (Tom Parlon (construction) being one, Ivan Yeats (media) another……………….)

      • Spare Change

        Why would you doubt it?
        Afghanistan was done for Heroin
        Iraq for oil.

        Makes perfect sense to me.

    • Hi Wills,

      Interesting, when I lived in the states, I heard similar, and also from credible sources that were in rather higher positions at that time dealing with intelligence matters.

      So here we are, talking about war in a forum that is firstly dealing with economic aspects of our times, coincidence? Certainly not, it is interdependent and as such belongs here.

      Let’s face it, Raytheon, patriot missile stocks sky rocketed for a few weeks when they shit down the first scuds.Coincidently they just were rewarded with another contract.


      The ethics of our entire stick market system is more than outdated and needs a serious reform when it comes to trading.

      Or how else can it be described but as dealing with the death of other people when we find companies such as raytheon being allowed to go public to raise cash.

      I will never forget my meetings with NAM vets. Life changing experience in deed.

      • G

        Iran has proved a handy wipping boy to increase sales of military equipment.

        The Saudi’s just put in a major order for a whole range of stuff……….been going on for a longggggggg time………..

        BBC from 2007 for instance

        The Guardian did some excellent research on BAE systems and the Middle East

        Related BAE investigation Video interviews


        As Ocean Colour Scene sing ‘there’s no profit in peace boys, we gotta fight some more!”

      • G

        Iran has proved a handy wipping boy to increase sales of military equipment.

        The Saudi’s just put in a major order for a whole range of stuff……….been going on for a longggggggg time………..

        BBC from 2007 for instance

        The Guardian did some excellent research on BAE systems and the Middle East


        As Ocean Colour Scene sing ‘there’s no profit in peace boys, we gotta fight some more!”

          • Alf

            Hi G,

            Agreed, we are on that path already. Maybe the “too big to fail” lie is actually suiting those in power who would otherwise be prosecuted if the entities went bankrupt and internal memos were revealed.

            One thing is sure, the interest just gets bigger and bigger when you have no ability to dissolve. This would effectively be a return to medieval serfdom. There is an effective process for adjudicating and dissolving unpayable debt. It puts the onus on both the creditor and the debtor to share the risk equally. This is the only way the free market system can work.

            The next step is that big companies will use ‘too big to fail’ to expect bailouts to keep jobs alive. It will kill innovation and ultimately lead to stagnation.

            The “contagion” lie is based on the idea that investors cant differentiate between good and bad. In truth, the only contagion is not using existing processes for dissolving toxic debt. The market expects to see unpayable debt acknowledged earlier rather than later. This would give confidence that there are no cover ups and honesty is valued. In a nutshell, the market needs accountability.

          • G

            @ Alf – its amazing that the too big to fail BS is never used about the ‘people’.

            The 500,000 on the dole, are they not too big to fail? They are afterall real people, who by and large made a real contribution to the economy (unlike the banks who just swindled people).

            How about the contagion of social unrest, revolution even? That great elephant is never mentioned.

            In business run societies, you get the kinds of policies and conformity in approach that we are currently witnessing.

            Who calls the shots the parliaments/populations or the ‘market’ with its unelected business and finance ‘leaders’ (ECB’s Trichet) and lobby groups like IBEC?

            I think we know the answer, government policy actions speak for themselves, still no charges against anyone in the banking/financial services sector and yet massive cuts to wages and social services.

            Socialisation of risk/debt, privitisation of profit, with little to no tax for the rich, tax breaks/exemptions to do up yachts for the ultra rich.

    • Although not a low-level spud peeling grunt, what would a green beret know about the USA’s rationale behind the Vietnam ‘war’ that hasn’t already been published?

  15. johninmunich

    You’`re right about political union. Angie Merkel answers first and foremost to the German people, so she`ll never be able to help out Greece unless the German electorate have their pound of flesh. And putting my German taxpayers hat on, I wonder why I have to work until 67 before I get a pension, while Georgie Freebieopolous public sector worker in Greece can quit when he is 55.
    So the Germans will demand changes in any country which is bailed out.
    In Ireland for example, you could see the introduction of a similar law to the German speculators tax which is a tax on properties which are sold within 10 years. That*s something that would never be pushed through by a party in Ireland but would most likely benefit the Irish economy by helping to avoid another bubble.
    Personally I’d love to see the EU in Ireland. Nobody will treat the Irish people as badly as Fianna Fail.

    • Bamboo


      Your are bringing up great very valid points here.
      Regarding the speculators tax, and Property tax in general it has been an issue for a long time as you know. Unfortunately Ireland is built on a monoculture bunch of speculators, landgrabbers, etc. so it is not able to tax their.
      In essence, a system that is milking its own system, but now that the milk is gone sour, the system is so sick that it can’t feed itself.

      “Nobody will treat the Irish people as badly as Fianna Fail.” This really comes from someone living in EU land and is so exposed to EU culture and philosophy. You are living at the heart of the EU culture and most likely surrounded by lots of different EU nationals.
      No matter how people much people would like to think that Ireland is so diverse, Ireland is still very much a monoculture. There is only a handful of fellow (foreign) EU nationals in Ireland and these people are somewhat isolated and not integrated in Irish culture yet, unlike Germany where you can find generations of foreign nationals.
      Thus Ireland’s thinking and common sense is at the edge of the EU. Hmmm, Looking at the the PIIGS countries, they are indeed at the perimeters of the EU area.

      • johninmunich

        Hi Bamboo,

        Yes Ireland is a very moncultural society. It was described during the Celtic Tiger years as an open and liberal society but in my opinion this is not the case. Alcohol abuse and high suicide rates tell a very different story.
        Living here I also see a very different form of governance. The Germans learned their lessons. Their school of thought is that a government is not there to govern, but rather to facilitate.
        I moved to a village about an hour outside Munich in September. In January I got a one page sheet from the local council, outlining what they were going to do for the year and also asking for people to get involved in a strategic plan for the area for the next 10 years. When you see things like this and compare it to what goes on at home, it’s easy to see why Ireland is miles behind other EU countries.

    • Deco

      { Nobody will treat the Irish people as badly as Fianna Fail. }

      Well actually you wrong there. Firstly FF are merely out for themselves. In fact the dominant religion in contemporary Ireland is to screw everyone else for personal gain. The GP are even worse. The GP is in power to get state jobs. In fact we had a GP Senator resign over the weekend because her demands for nepotism were not being met. FG are in Paris learning about economics – purely by coincidencence the picked the same weekend as a rugger international in Paris, and St. Valentines. (So …as you can easily imagine….it is another pissup). And the ILP are bemoaning the fact that the GP are behaving like they used to in the good old days of ‘jobs for the boys’. The problem is that these people are all too comfortable by far.

      We have learned that the entire institutional culture is a complete fraud. That business is pre-occupied with oligopolistic market rigging. Deceit is widespread. I can see why you left. This site is full of people who left, who left and came back, and who wished they got out from it.

      And I agree with your sentiments. Why should somebody in Germany pay heft taxes, while the Greeks pay none at all, have a bloated public sector that is rotten with cronyism, and go asking the Germans for a bailout. It is immoral and wrong.

  16. cozzy121

    A pool in Germany this morning states that 50% of those asked, think Greece should be booted out of the euro. Hopefully they’ll kick us out along with them, at least then we can devalue and have a fighting chance.

    • cozzy121

      A Poll I meant!

      • Beavis

        There’s no way any country should bail out Greece (this is a clear violation of Maastricht anyway). The fatal flaw in the Euro zone is the failure to have any form of fiscal oversight of the participants.

        Greece lied its way into the Euro and has consistently fudged the accounts and broken the rules of Maastricht since. Neither New Democracy nor Pasok have had the balls to tackle either this problem or the country’s chief underlying problems (widespread corrpution and cronyism). This lack of political leadership hardly inspires confidence. There is currently a 4% difference between the Greek 10-year bond and German 10-year bunds as a result.

        The solution to this problem is very simple — show them the door — let them them go back to the Drachma and bring in the IMF.

        And don’t think it can’t happen here — our politicians are just as corrupt and equally as useless — it is only a matter of time boys and girls ……..

  17. Faults –
    I would like to draw a different perception from ‘old facts’ and try to relate it today.I have two concepts :
    1 The O’ Sullivan Brigade ; and

    2 Fault Forces .

    O’ Sullivan Brigades

    A few generations ago around Adrigole in Co. Kerry the locals lit many fires along the rocky coast at dangerous points to lure the passing foreign ships laden with ‘Goods’ .When those ships mistook these fires as safe passage ways they floundered and the goods were claimed by the locals .I believe we have a similar pattern here in Ireland when we were the net recient of vast surpluses of grants from EU and we were all happy celebrating .Now thats all over and we must get back into the house shed and muck up ourselves again to make a living .Out of sight out of mind .

    There are three fault lines near us :

    a – the center of the atlantic ; and
    b – the mediterranean coasts from Spain through to France and Italy etc
    c – the Icelandic dot at the end of the fault line.

    I am trying to visualise where Ireland is situated in any of these and what can these fault lines tell us.

    The Atlantic FL shows that everything on both sides of it have completely disapeared and no trace of any more land .Ireland was the furthest place away and lost some of its land then to the Ocean so we are only now a shadow of ourselves today:

    The Mediterranean FL shows that the central forces of disruption only happened a shot distance away and damage was limited.Ireland was not affected ; and

    The Icelandic Spot shows that it was the tip of the end of a great force and only local ‘geysirs’ flourish .There is no direct connection for Ireland in this one.

    From the past we lost more from the atlantic fault line ( Americo Anglo) and we did not lose from the Mediterranean ( PIIGS ) .

    This is Economic Art.

    • Deco

      John – do you have any idea what is going on inside the Irish banking sector at the moment. Is “egg-man” in trouble, on the way out ???

  18. Bamboo

    Interesting John ALLEN,

    One comment though. We spell “geysirs” differently I guess.

    • Bamboo :

      If you look at the distance between the center of The Atlantic and Dun Aengus , Galway , its a very long journey .It amounts to many many many thousand of miles and miles of ocean .Now try to imagine all the land mass that was Lost to the Ocean and now no more .It was a massive area .This was Atlantis and Ireland is just a a small blip in its tail that was saved .
      The point I am trying to say is that All this happened a long time ago and no one of us were there then .Nevertheless it did happen .What is building up today from below our Economic tolerated level of oscillating seismic trends of the new normaility will soon become blown wide open decimating all around us .We all then become a ‘nothingness’. ‘ANobody’.

      We seem to be collectively talking each other out of the problem in this country and not preparing as a Nation ‘ to beat the war drums’ as we march into battle holding our heads high .Discipline is absent from high up and low down that it is not possible to distinguish the street hooded gangs from the office suit gangs .I am reminded of Mogadishu in Somalia where the people distroyed themselves and the rest fled.
      Our well paid protectors are low in morale and anger and resentment lies in bait to prey on the weaker segments of our population only to be dammed in that process.The recent fire in Capel Street disclosed the sum of cash found in the shop safe after the fire to amount to €500,000 .This says a lot for the black economy now growing .And this is only the tip in the iceberg .The nation is running scared from banks and banks are running anywhere to increase their security on what they have already lent out.
      Dublin our capital has only lowlying coastal sandpits along its coast and the realisation of understanding high cliffs and wild rising roaring very high sea waves does not enter the imagination.A passive contented thought of numbness seeps around the D4 and nearby areas .How can these people expect to understand what will happen soon .How can they conceive how they might have to cope with it .
      When Kerry Blue Cattle go to the abatoir they ‘go wild’ even before they enter the building because they can smell Blood.
      We seem to lift our noses into the clouds to connect to what we perceive a new higher authority for inspiration and salvation.Blood drowns anyone inside it .
      We are not doing nothing by the actions we witness around us rather instead we are doing everything we should not be doing . Then when the BANG arrives we will squeal like pigs to the slaughter in all directions .The smell of blood must be close to us now and if you dont sense it you are already dead before you arrive to BANG.
      Gay Byrne an icon to many has lost all hope in our elected leaders and is angry that our Prime Minister does not show dignity in the office he holds instead he displays the snooty inhailer of bad air you can find in the back streets.Old ager pensioners have lost everything .The middle aged working hold red faces waiting as they see their worth sapped away slowley and at the same time in denial while believing their ignorance might hold them a better standing in the future.
      Again its back to when we spoke before in the film Grey Zone where we watched the Jewish collaborators march their fellow Jews to the music into the slaughter house.
      Maybe when we as a nation have now realised that we are FCUKED we do something that connects our madness to march into the abyss and a slow death.

  19. Philip

    You know, we can all complain about the way various elites have done this and that and we can slag off the institutions all we like. The reality I see bearing down on each and everyone of us is that there does not seem to be a good outcome for anyone no matter what we do. This is not a zero sum game. The total is a big fat negative.

    None of the solutions offered seem to work. Except one. We al a people need to start smelling the coffee and realise we had better learn to get along with one another. Question is: whos the balls for it.

  20. Deco

    Our “culture” is not competing effectively. If we don’t get a grip then we are finished. The culture of an entire nation behaving like Bertie Ahern is highly dysfunctional, and is a recipe for disaster.


    Time for the superficial nonsense to go, and learning to come to the fore in our culture.

    • Original-Ed

      We’ve got a European mature engineering student working with us part-time and the reason that he choose this path, is because it’s much easier to get an honours degree here than in his home country.

      • G

        I heard someone this morning tell me that they got their PhD by ‘copy and paste’ method!

        I know of another person currently doing the same thing, she may just get away with it!

        • Bamboo

          Of course there is a lot of C&P but that is only reference material and this should always be referenced at the end of any publication. Nobody will get away with just C&P as there will be an oral scrutiny of your papers at the end.

          Published papers are for everyone else to use for their own research and hopefully bring it to the next level/stage but again there is no way anyone can get away with it. Especially not at this level.

          • G

            I am well aware of the process, I have been studying and working in education for over 10 years.

            By her own admission, she got her PhD in a less than appropriate manner, she confirmed (not me) that there were ways around it, she joked about it and delighted in the fact ‘she got away with it’, which she did. There are always cases like this, it is never entirely by the book.

          • Bamboo

            Fair play to her to get away with it.

          • wills

            Dennis the menace enterprises.

  21. If all the eu can do to help us is to allow us to swing in the breeze and crash and burn, with NAMA storing up the tinderwood that will eventually be used to burn us, Then we should opt out of the euro returning only when/if the euro stabilises and becomes less fraught for us.

    Otherwise the euro is going to pillage us in a downward spiral of crash and burn spending cuts to our public services as our debt grows and more spending cuts ruin the public service and our children’s future!

    We are in a disaster situation at the moment and we shouldn’t be fooled by the present Government’s incompetent head-in-the-sand claims that we’re not.

    They are ruining the future of Ireland INC. At the moment we need to get out from under the euro anchor, it’s drowning us.

  22. G

    Goldman Sachs: the Greek connection
    Investment giant’s role in eurozone debt crisis falls under spotlight


  23. Garry

    Im not convinced the domino theory is the correct analogy.

    The US was engaged in a cold war with a powerful enemy; both trying to finish off the other and only the threat of mutual assured destruction stopped them from going all out….

    In their case it was ideology, nationalism, a struggle for resources, a battle on a physical and political world….

    Undoubtedly the ECB and the EU is political; but they arent in a war to the death with the USD, Yen or Chinese currency… (though the stakes are high)

    Nobody for example is talking about Greece falling to sterling in the same way those defending vietnam were stopping it getting into commie hands…

    Just a thought, havent thought it through yet….
    It could be the ECB are fighting the last centurys war if the domino theory is really governing their actions….

    • Garry

      One error there “defending vietnam” I meant to say “defending the vietnam war”

      But am convinced that this domino thing is vastly overhyped, and completely the wrong analogy… One would think that Greek government checks bouncing will mean german government checks will bounce a few months later…

      Look at the states, in 2009 California was paying its workers in IOU’s. other states have teachers on 3 day weeks as they flirt with bankruptcy. Theres no talk (apart from the Californians) and those not getting paid that this is putting the credibility of the Fed at stake…. And thats states within a country, which the EU is not yet….

      The same discussion was going on in the US with the states and the dollar and its petered out as eyes are diverted to the next crisis.

      I think it suits the EU for the Euro to drop in value; I also think it suits a lot of people to hype the case to bailout X or its the end of the world…. and hope the Germans grumble but pay up….. Its like the scum who bounced the government into guaranteeing the banks here

      Whereas I think if Greece or Ireland was reduced to paying its public service in IOU’s; the world will still turn on its axis… It might be no harm to let them go hungry for a while.

      So my guess is this is a real long term crisis but will be stretched out according to the time honoured tradition of …
      1) Robbing the next generation of greeks to pay for the current shower.
      2) With a pretense by the rest of the EU to help them but apart from encouraging words, no real help forthcoming
      3) Possibly putting IMF like terms on loans to make them unattractive
      4) Let the greeks sort themselves out.

  24. Philip

    This sums it up nicely…”The reason they didn’t twig this from the outset is that most of the senior civil servants who designed the euro probably have never taken a risk in their lives”… We are letting people who have no skin in the game put our skin into it instead. The same goes for all the institutions.

    The reality is that risk is being squeezed onto the little people. You can see it everywhere. Anxiety being imposed on people by those who took huge risks on their behalf.

    Cowardice , spinelessness, etc.

    There is no intellect at work here other than one of self protection. the rest follows.

  25. wills


    Read this for whooper of a fact.

    ………..”the single currency isn’t working because member governments have no incentive to keep their public debts under control”. MArtin Feldstein (harvard)


    Now, sit back and imagine, why would it be any other way.

    Ireland gains access to the biggest Magic money making machine one could dream and what do you think is going to happen next.

    I know what i think.

    • wills


    • Original-Ed


      Itnow looks like it’s back to our own punt again or a full political union. I’m beginning to think that this whole thing was planned from the start – give the weak ones enough rope to hang themselves and then it’ll be easy to rein in the remnants for a full union. Bertie ran with the rope as though it had no end. If a full union comes about, it’ll be bye, bye american pie for us.

  26. Deco

    The Parlaiments of The Netherlands and Germany have both issued Parlaimentary Statements indicating that they are not in favour of throwing tax money from their working population for the benefit of the rampant cronyism in Greece.

    This is bad news for the Irish establishment.

    This is also good news for democracy everywhere. Basically EU tax money should not be thrown around with proper forms of accountability and transparency.

    This is also very very bad news for the Establishment in Ireland, (Business, Union bosses, Media, Political) (BUMP). Basically their ineptitude has to be reformed. This is the only way out for Ireland. Nobody can see it yet. But basically if the EU cannot force the Dutch, the Germans, the Finns, the French to pay up for corruption in the PIGS, then the game is up.

    We have to accept responsibility for the mess. I expect Brussels to be highly annoyed at these two statements of the representatives of The Netherlands and Germany. It sets a dangerous precedent as far as the unelected EU Commision is concerned.


    • Bamboo


      Of course! Nobody should pay for shoddy practices (you mention corruption). The fact that the Irish GOV is expecting the Irish tax payers to pay for it, doesn’t mean that the European tax payers should pay for it as well.

    • Philip

      I hope this democratic development holds solid.

  27. G

    The plot thickens………….

    De Burca quit over failure to secure EU role

    • wills

      George lee gets pollaxed for resigning over principle and this individual for resigning over political poker playing for money in the pot gets simple neutral coverage…!!

      Go figure…??

    • Deco


      This is exactly the sort of nonsense that results in people like George Lee giving up on politics. The GP are a complete joke. Horsetrading. They had no interest in getting Pat Cox as EU Commisioner. Cox is a former PD. And the GP pretend to be left of centre. I mean they should be different sides of the ideological chasm. And now de Burca wants us to believe that the GP was supposedly lobbying for Cox. (Along with who else I am cynically inclined to ask).

      But the one thing that really gets to me is the brazen nature of de Burca. It is like as if she was only in politics to get herself on the EU gravy train. This asks questions about the whole procedure of picking an EU Commisioner. (Because they are never elected – not that we have any evidence that elected commisioners would be any better).

      But there logic being used to appoint an EU Commisioner is a load of nonsense.

      In fact we get the opinion from de Burca that it was more important that she was picked for the EU Commisioners payroll than who actually got the job of becomming EU Commisioner. This from a fool who already got walloped by the electorate in the MEP elections. This was despite such bottom of the barrell electioneering stunts as telling the electorate that more women should be sent to the EU Parlaiment, and making digs at other women candidates in parallel.

      “de Burca” is esentially the problem with an awful lot of Irish society. Looking for something for nothing. Subverting an essential part of the political process to get one’s way. And then putting a fight when things don’t work. de Burca is in denial about the true nature of her “talents”.

      de Burca is fast becomming some sort of one person soap opera. Or maybe she is a one person power trip.

      One thing is certain – depriving her of her sense of entitlement is doing her a favour – and more importantly the rest of us a massive favour also.

      • Deco

        By the way if de Burca went to Europe, after the electorate of Dublin already overwhelmingly rejecting her for a EU role, this would be an insult to democracy.

        It seems that de Burca persists in trying to insult democracy. In fact de Burca is just pushing herself and the rest of us a little too far. But I get the impression that this is her vision of how the political system works.

        • Sadly deco. it IS How it works here ( as you know ) . As ‘they’ said about George Lee , not learning ‘the game’ .
          What will it take for the General population to wake up to the Rotten system we have after 96 years of self rule ? . The Majority of All our Politicians are in this Game, not for the betterment of your life or area or that of the youth of this country, but for the ‘privileges that come with been elected here onto the Gravy train.
          The Norwegian Prime Minister can drive himself to their parliament, ( except on State occasions ) while our country with more county councillors in Dublin than the State of New York !, and we can give our leaders full time police drivers.
          We simply don’t have Democracy ! ‘

          • G

            It certainly does feel like a failing state, indeed, it may have to fail completely before we can rebuild anything like a functioning democracy/meritocracy.

            There are just so many vested interests and very dubious people, employed at all levels in a whole range of institutions who would do everything in their power to block such a development, to the point where I see it as virtually impossiblity to turn this ‘ship of fools’ around.

            There are many who would prefer to see the massive levels of inequality, 500,000+ unemployed, people living below the poverty line than any of kind of real change, this includes the current government of course.

            Corruption is so embedded institutionally and collective mindset, it has practically become a reflex, very hard to route out unless you go the whole hog, which I see no appetite for among the general populace.

            You are up against very ruthless, organised and determined individuals who do not want to see any loss of power or money, and will deploy any and all measures possible to prevent such an occurance.

  28. wills

    Debt to GDP minus the Goldman sachs ‘dennis the menace’ book keeping scamarama for greece is how high?

    Does anybody really know….???

    Now, did goldman sachs offer their ‘hide the debts guide for dummies’ expertise to any other EU countries.

    Did Ireland avail of this expertise, did spain, portugal or Italy avail of this ‘hide debt for dummies’ GS book…??

    Will the truth out….????

    They say one can never hide a murder, proof will out.

    Governments are financed by large corporations and use private banks to plaster over the books cracks over and over and we get PIIGS and NAMA and Greece fallen apart at the seams.

    I say let greece dominoe fall and let the sovereign de faults explode and re set, as D ‘s article recommends.

    • Deco

      To tell you the truth I reckon that the D4 banks could teach Goldmine Sucks far more than Goldmine Sucks could teach the D4 banking establishment : )))

    • By Krugman’s logic Ireland Inc will pay for the euromess with savage cuts in public spending, austerity, grinding deflation, accelerating unemployment.

      We’re to be the pig on a spit as our European neighbours look on at our
      suffering, our mess to be a warning to others in the eurozone as Irish taxpayers now and into the future play sacrificial lamb for the
      wanton incompetence of Government, bankers, developers.

      Err, ….no thanks!

      Do we have at least one political party who will declare its number one policy to get us out of the euro before it drowns Ireland Inc?

      • Deco

        First wehave an option on unemployment. We need to get our industrial policy fixed. And the biggest problem with our industrial policy is that the Minister in charge is a qualified social worker. Get that fool Coughlan out of there. Immediately.

        Second – whose fault is it ? It is Ireland’s fault. Not everyone in Ireland. But on aggregate enough people went along with the nonsense, in varying amounts of enthusiasm. There was a mad lemming like rush to vote for Bertie, to buy shoebox apartments, go on 1000 KM roundtrip drinking sessions and live like reckless wasters. In fact you would get singled out as being an oddball if you didn’t.

        Third, getting us out of the Euro will result in a massive decline in the real standard of living. Imports will sky rocket in cost. Oil and energy costs in particular will be a serious problem.

        Our culture with respect to personal responsibility. Everyone from the AIB chairman to useless Senators think that they can maneovre something for themselves at the expense of the general public.

        There is only one way out of this mess. REFORM. RIGOUROUS. HONEST. SERIOUS. AND UNCOMPROMISED.

        And by the way, this will make Ireland a far fairer society in the long run.

        • Deco

          Here is a hilarious quote. ENJOY this.

          ” Patricia McKenna left the Green Party some time ago. When she made that decision she lost the right to criticise the internal debates and procedures of an organisation to which she no longer belongs. Perhaps it is time for her to move on and concentrate on her own career”
          – Deirdre de Burca, 19 July 2009.

          • G

            what a world, what are people up to.

            De Burca has been at pains to point out that she stood down from the parliamentary party/Seanad, but is still a Green Party member……look she’s a politician in the worst sense…

  29. Malcolm McClure

    Returning to the subject of David’s article, Paul Krugman discusses the Euromess in the NYT.
    He says: it’s important to understand the nature of Europe’s fatal flaw. Yes, some governments were irresponsible; but the fundamental problem was hubris, the arrogant belief that Europe could make a single currency work despite strong reasons to believe that it wasn’t ready.”
    The dollar still works for America’s impoverished states because the Federal Government still pays Social Security and Medicare. Could these be the first public sectors to be taken over by Brussels in a federal Europe? (Paid for by a swingeing Eurotax?)

  30. Tim

    Nouriel Roubini is on CNN’s Ammanpour show today Monday 3pm EST to discuss Greece’s problems. I have asked him for a link, but cannot find it yet……

    … see if any of you can and let us know?

  31. Deco

    Minister Coughlan.

    Your job is on the line if you don’t get that RyanAir contract for Engineering Maintenance for Dublin. We do not want another Dell style farce !!!

  32. Deco

    For those that have had enough of economics, and who want to get back to relentless TV drivel, celebrities, and ‘talent’ shows….

  33. Tim

    Folks, Greece, Ireland and the rating Agencies that do not care about unemployment:


    • Deco

      There is something eerily familiar with this tendency to impress the international rating agencies – but at the same time completely avoid any meaningful reform that might actual fix the underlying problems and dusfunction in the Irish economy.

      It’s like a complete continuation of state policy in so many other areas. We are still too superficial to claim to be recovering or mending anything in the Irish economy.

    • wills

      The rating agencies are in the pockets of the ‘controlling interests’.

      The rating agencies are similar to witch doctors or voodoo high priests. They are what can be called as ‘confidence shakermakers.’

  34. wills


    ‘A default by Greece, after all, could have the same global systemic effects as the collapse of Lehman Brothers did in 2008.’….. Roubini


  35. Tim


    Stephen Sackur asks Mary Coughlan, Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister, if her government ignored warnings of an impending economic crisis.


    You can watch the full interview on BBC News Channel on Monday 15th February 2010 at 04.30 and 23.30 GMT.

    • G

      She has some advisors, who thought this was a good idea?

      She looks like a ‘sad-clown’, not sure I could stomach the full interview, for what? Just more of the same, words upon words, people know the score and wait for election day, sooner the better.

      • Bamboo

        Not sure if anyone can take on the scale of the problems. Someone said in this post that the opposition likes to be where they are and doesn’t want to be in government. I am beginning to understand where he/she is coming fromfrom.

        In this article it says:

        Greece came under fire when the new government revealed that its predecessor had concealed a rapid deterioration in the fiscal deficit — there were two elections last year. The current government was elected on a populist manifesto and for a few months seemed unable to come to terms with the scale of the task it faced, reminiscent of the situation here in late 2008/early 2009.

  36. Tim

    “It’s important to say things that are important to say & it is also important to say that it is important to say this.” Mary Coughlan.

    • Deco

      Sounds a bit like a “George Bushism”.

    • Bamboo

      There is a problem with this statement.
      it is not ridiculous enough.
      If she wants to supersede a ridiculous statement like donald rumsfled “known unknowns, bla, bla” then she better come up with something better.

      Bla, Bla, Bla . . sounds better to me.

    • Bamboo

      apologies for the above ranting, I meant to reply to Tim’s post here and not on G’s post above.

    • She not know not what she knows not what not.
      The deed was done and done it was, and wise was she who done it. Let no man know who knows it not, nor do it again who done it.

      Sorry. Just on the third year of an MSc into Mespil speak.

  37. G

    Does anyone know anything about Ed Walsh (former President of UL), anecdotal or otherwise?

    Just curious, especially given his call to cut social welfare even further (on Frontline tonight).

  38. Bamboo

    Just watched Ed Walsh on Frontline. I couldn’t make any sense of what he’s trying to say. Can anyone make any sense? How did he get on that panel?

    • G

      He is a recurring guest on RTE, an agent provocateur at times, but there is more to it………….I wonder can people assist in putting the pieces together.

      For an Irishman, to sit in comfort and wealth, and say that social welfare should be cut, well, I thought I would never see such betrayal, we are better than this.

      Those who pick up the whip to give the lash should be confronted at every turn, we did not struggle to see these days.

      He knows nothing of struggle, of poverty, of living on the dole, he enjoyed all the advantages of being born into a relatively comfortable family, got a university education etc and now gives out ‘out half baked advice’, disgrace, if its not the unemployed he’s attacking its single mothers.

      • Bamboo

        I completely agree with you.
        When you say “out half baked advice”. You hit it on the nail.
        A typical variation of the famous Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” type.
        The stripy suit and his general “who cares” attitude says it all. He can’t put two sentences together and I really can’t make any sense of what he’s saying. I must watch it again,

        • G

          save yourself the trouble, he’ll make even less sense a second time, strikes me as the standard member of the ‘academic elite’ but heralded as the ‘man who built UL’ but again there is more to it – his views on the ‘weaker’ aspects of society have always struck me as pretty appalling, again standard right wing stuff but I would like to learn more from others who may know more.

          • Bamboo

            It is the people working on the ground we should listen to. Like that lady working for (I think St Vincent), the single mother, that gentleman at the end of the program who is running his own business and who wasn’t able to finnish his sentence.

          • G

            @ Bamboo – funny you mention that because during the programme i sent the following email:

            Dear Producers of the Frontline programme,

            I’ll say it until I am blue in the face, Pat Kenny’s CONTINUAL interruption of people making important points (whether invited guests or audience members) is one of the most infuriating things I have ever seen on any television channel.

            He also did not listen to the blonde lady who read the Dept. of Social Welfare’s mission statement, Pat was looking at his paper work as she made her points courageously; I found this terribly disrespectful.

            Can SOMEONE please have a word in his ear? I am not the only one who thinks this, I simply cannot continue to watch the show if Pat Kenny keeps up this approach – it is dreadfully annoying and most unfair to people.

            Yours etc……

      • paddythepig

        For me, the most salient point was made by the lady second from the right – the tax & income specialist. She showed an example of a family with two kids, and concluded that a working family would have to earn just under 40K to have equivalent wealth. She described working people working for the equivalent of, or less than the rate of welfare, as the ‘new poor’ and I think she has a very good point.

        Father Sean Healy didn’t seem to want to hear about this. Though he did make a good point about where would 500K jobs suddenly appear, just by everyone looking harder for work.

        There is a problem with welfare scroungers in Ireland, and their sense of entitlement does no service to the genuine triers amongst our unemployed. I’d like to see serious disincentives against this type of behaviour.


  39. Tim

    Walshe is on that panel because he is probably the lowest-paid third-level lecturer at abot €33k (I think it’s because he is retired, but he stated his salary on the Vincent Browne show, some months ago).

    He is there to shock people who might dare to challenge him on what he earns (no mention, of course, of what he earns for appearing on all the shows).

    • Bamboo

      I realize he’s there to shock the people and to get the discussion going. But there is no reason for this type of media recipe anymore.
      The article that he wrote in the above link from cbweb makes some sense and I agree with some of what he’s saying. But it is easy to write anything like that knowing it is not going to happen anyway. Copy and paste Airy fairy stuff, drag it out a little more, run a spell checker on it and hit the send button. Not sure if he’;s getting paid for this dribble but it sure looks good on your CV.
      Believe me, I’ve done the same thing for some techy IT magazines. Exactly the same steps as above. Never got paid but it looks good on your CV and you get invited to give talks.

      • Tim

        Bamboo, I was paid, handsomely, for radio work. Everyone on the panel is. I expect that TV work is paid even better.

        • Bamboo

          Tim, I see you did much better than me. I didn’t get paid at all as it is all private enterprise stuff. And besides that, who wanted to listen me anyway.
          Just gor some nice foreign travels, that’s all.

  40. Malcolm McClure

    Just watched the full Mary Coughlan on Hardtalk. She remained cool and courteous throughout, under heavy and sustained pressure from Sackur. Her answers, of course, were straight out of the FF rag-bag, and won’t convince anyone that Ireland is the fair society envisaged by those who rose in 1916.

    Either they were wrong or she is wrong.

    • Bamboo

      I don’t know.
      I can’t understand why the 1916 rising and the next best thing, the famine, keeps coming up as reason of why things are as they are in modern day Ireland. I am not Irish enough to understand that.

      • Bamboo

        Why not go back to Adam and Eve

      • Malcolm McClure

        Okay Bamboo, you just need a 4 line history lesson:

        1916: Prods = property + ownership + D4 mentality
        Fenians = Discontented yearning for equality + independence

        Now: D4 mentality + ownership + property = FF + FG + Bankers
        Discontented yearning for equality + independence = Everyone else


      • Eireannach


        The reason the Irish are so complacent and un-visionary is that we have not experienced any gut-wrenching traumas in almost 100 years.

        No WW1
        No WW2, which changed the psyche of the Continentals, from France to Russia.
        No loss of Overseas Colonies
        No involvement in the Cold War (ie NATO)

        Check out http://www.progressive-economy.ie for an excellent summary of the ‘half-finished project of Modernity’ in Ireland during C20.

        Much of our household water piping, tenancy laws and political nepotism culture are actually C19 relics, because no huge upheaval happened here to sweep these relics into the dustbin of history.

        No – basically, nothing happened in Ireland during C20, compared to well nigh everywhere else.

        So here we are, with a country that is a daft and dysfunctional blend of C19, C20 and C21 elements.

        • Ruairí

          Eireannach, I agree with some of your sentiments here in this post but I do have to disagree strongly with your glossing over the deaths of 50,000 men in World War 1 and many multiples of that number injured. We were indeed a part of that world mindset and I believe it was that outward looking connectedness with European affairs that gave us the moxy to finally believe in ourselves, push for independence and then achieve great things (social as well as infrastructural) in the 1st 10 years of our statehood. I can only presume your brevity caused you to not factor in the enormous social flux caused by our involvement in WW1 and our close ties with Britain. I doubt you were truly glossing over the deaths of so many people but focussing on the fact that the theatre of war did not occur here. But even in the War of Independence, we took a massive blow culturally in the fire of the Custom House. We lost many great houses around the country. I take your point completely about inheriting antiquated infrastructure that escaped war ravages. But the greatest force for change is social power and we surely received a massive dose of that after WW1 and perhaps almost enough to establish elft and right politics here, though it quickly blurred into Soldiers of Destiny and blueshirts.
          I would say a tremendous amount happened in the new Ireland in almost every decade. Even in the 50′s, picture the galvanising effect of such poverty and emigration. In the 60′s, the energy and bounce coming out of that period of darkness. Picture the 20′s when we were an unstoppable force as a people. I think we do our ancestors a disservice if we blandly say that nothing happened……

  41. wills


    O’Leary embarrassed mary into picking up the phone.

    Deco’s pride conundrum overcome and victory for getting on with over coming the gombeenism contagion afflicting our people.

    • Bamboo

      He’s got her cornered now. The way O’leary handled it on RTE news is that she is left with two choices:

      1. Let O’leary create the jobs
      2. Not let O’leary create the jobs

      With both options she has to face media scrutiny and say the usual “It’s important to say bla, bla, bla .. stuff. What is more important? her pride or the jobs?

      • s1lverbullet

        Coughlan is an ablsolute idiot only in high-level politics because her father was a loyal FF TD scumbag too. Same goes for Cowen. The reason they can’t make any good decisions is because most top ranking FF’ers are mentally retarded due to their intermarrying. Just look at coughlan, cowen , haughey jnr, o dea. Talk about runts of the litter!

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