March 29, 2010

Big Brother walks among us

Posted in Irish Economy · 161 comments ·

At the end of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the hero, Winston Smith, was prepared to believe this sum.

Having committed the ‘‘thoughtcrime’’ of questioning the system, Winston was rumbled. After a few days in the infamous room 101 he was so broken that he was prepared to believe anything. He was prepared to believe something was true, even though it was obviously false. This is what is called in the book ‘‘doublethink’’, where you can see no inconsistency in saying one thing and thinking another.

Sometimes, when I hear the incessant propaganda concerning the economy and the banks – which is being peddled by the same people who talked about ‘‘soft landings’’ and ‘‘new paradigms’’ a few years ago – I feel that I have walked into the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four, where the rulers have convinced the citizens that black is white. The people who got everything completely wrong during the boom are now on television most nights bleating the mantra that ‘‘there is no alternative’’ to bailing out the banks.

Meanwhile, the entire financial community – which largely caused the mess in the first place – is united in orchestrating a transfer of money from the taxpayer to the banks in order to ‘‘preserve the credibility’’ of our financial system.

Now think about this for a minute. The ‘‘credibility’’ of our financial system is based on giving the average person the bill for the mistakes of the banking system. How can such a transfer of wealth from the innocent to the guilty, the prudent to the profligate, possibly make the system more credible?

Surely bailing out the banks makes Ireland less credible, because evidently, by pumping cash into the banks, we become a society that rewards failure? It is only credible if you have succeeded in changing the meaning of the word ‘credible’. It is only credible if you have managed to make the incredible credible – if you have convinced the people that 2 + 2 = 5.

In Orwell’s classic, the Party understood the value of language, and mangled the dictionary in order to achieve its ends. Our rulers are doing the same thing. Let’s consider the use of the word ‘credible’ when it comes to the Irish banks.

What does the word credible mean to you? To me, if someone is described as credible, she is solid, she is trustworthy, she is believable, she is the type of person who doesn’t make mistakes – and if she does, she takes full responsibility for her actions. A credible person is accountable, straightforward and capable. You believe what she says.

Given these attributes, how could our financial reputation be made more credible if we interfere with capitalism to bail out institutions and individuals that are not trustworthy, not believable, not capable, not accountable and unable to manage their own affairs?

Bailing out the banks makes us less credible, not more credible. Yet the government insists that ‘‘there is no alternative’’or that this is the ‘‘only game in town’’. So we now have a successful company, like Ryanair, and hundreds of successful small businesses which will be penalised and asked to pay higher taxes to bail out a delinquent company like AIB. What sort of signal does such a policy send to the rest of the world?

The first thing a regime that wants to obscure the truth does is to twist the language and distort the message so that things that are bad sound good. Secondly, the regime tries to silence those who might dissent by accusing them of a ‘‘thoughtcrime’’. In a ‘‘spectator democracy’’ like Ireland, mass compliance is achieved by ridiculing the dissenter – or, if necessary, ostracising the individual who suggests that the truth is being hijacked. In the struggle to bulldoze the interests of the few over the many, language is crucial in order to make bad things sound good. Take ‘‘long-term economic value’’. Now think about what these words mean. Consider ‘‘long-term’’.

When something is long-term it sounds solid, well thought out, not spivvy or tricky in any way. When someone’s actions are determined by the long term, they are usually thought of as selfless, unbiased and, almost by definition, these actions are done ‘‘in the common good’’ because they are long-term.

A bit like a gardener planting a tree, which she will never be around to see in full bloom, but future generations will appreciate. So ‘‘long-term’’ signifies good. Now consider ‘‘economic value’’. Well, if something is economic, it is usually regarded as solid and, most important, technical or even scientific. When something has the aura of being technical, it can’t be invented, it must be mechanical, governed by absolutes. So economic is, let’s say, at worst, neutral. And of course ‘‘value’’: well, value signifies worth. Something with value is valuable and is something that will make you wealthy.

So using the normal codes of language, the message sent out by ‘‘long-term economic value’’ is that it has to be, overall, a good thing. In fact, the reality is that ‘‘long-term economic value’’, the concept behind Nama, is just a makey-uppy name for fields in Athlone that are worthless, that will never be worth anything. It is not long-term, it is a short-term rescue scheme for the property/banking oligarchy in Ireland.

Frankly, it has nothing to do with what we know as the modern economy. In fact, the land-based economy which will be preserved using expressions like ‘‘long-term economic value’’ is a feudal economy based on land totally at odds with the government’s vaunted ‘‘smart economy’’, which is based on brains.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the distortion of language was called ‘‘newspeak’’, where one thing meant something quite different. ‘‘Thoughtcrimes’’ were there to be stamped out, while ‘‘goodspeak’’ was used to describe anything which supported the ruling party. It is hard not to think of ‘‘goodspeak’’ when you hear bankers and politicians opining on television. A great example of goodspeak is the old chestnut that ‘‘Nama will get credit flowing in the economy’’. No, it won’t. No one in his right mind believes that. The IMF told the government as much in April 2009.

The reality is that Nama will save the ‘insiders’ by giving your money to bank creditors who took a bad bet on AIB and Bank of Ireland. The reason the Irish government pays more for its borrowings than Spain or Portugal does is because the markets see through our bluff and realise the more money that goes into Nama, the less there is to invest in productive ideas.

But you wouldn’t think this from the language used by the government. We are told that bailing out the banks will create wealth. But we know that it won’t. Bankrupt banks are not wealth creators; they are, by definition, wealth destroyers. Nama first and now the recapitalisations are both moving taxpayer resources to the banks, where it will be destroyed. The €4 billlion gone into Anglo last year is gone. In fact, keeping with the Nineteen Eighty Four analogy, Anglo is the room 101 of taxpayer funds.

But the propaganda – the newspeak – tells a different story, so, for example, when things get worse it is spun that they are getting better. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, one of the reliefs from the drudgery is the weekly ration of chocolate. During the course of the book, the ration is cut from 40g to 35g per week. This, of course, is described as an ‘‘increase’’ to 35g per week. Now think about the recapitalisations of the banks. The numbers keep getting worse, yet they are being sold as better. This, of course, is a favourite linguistic trick. As unemployment continues to rise, we are supposed to celebrate when the rise is smaller than expected.

A classic example of this was the finance minister’s reaction to the GDP figures, which last week showed the worst fall ever recorded. Commenting on the figures, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan said: ‘‘Excluding the impact of the ongoing decline in new house building, GDP was roughly unchanged in the fourth quarter.”

This translates as: ‘‘Excluding the bits that were falling, we weren’t falling!”

  1. [...] David Williams yesterday chastised the government for setting about confusing us with the mechanics and objective of NAMA but is he really being fair in this instance? Perhaps we’ll be better able to judge tomorrow evening after Brian Lenihan has spoken. I hope that unlike the skywatchers in Knock we come away with the satiety that we have witnessed something of lasting value. [...]

  2. Oh come on David, yes of course when we’re in the doo-doo we expect our political leaders to take some time to describe how smelly and ugly-looking it is and to explain how we came to be in the doo-doo. But surely we expect that they will spend more time explaining how we will get out of the doo-doo and like good leaders in a difficult bind to tell us how sweet that cool lemonade will taste on the lawn on a hot summer’s day sometime in the future — that’s part of what leaders do.

    On a more forensic level, I think you confuse Brian Lenihan’s role. He wears at least two hats — one is the back room economist’s where he has to figure out what is best for our national economy and then implement it and the other one is the politician’s — he can’t luxuriate (as many in Opposition and opposition do) in the smelliness and ugliness of the doo-doo or how we got to be here. He has to get us out of it and that will mean he diminishes some aspects of where we are so we don’t give up and we can look forward and plan for the future.

    “In fact, the reality is that ‘‘long-term economic value’’, the concept behind Nama, is just a makey-uppy name for fields in Athlone that are worthless, that will never be worth anything.” Really — well if you believe the December 2008 CSO population projections we’ll have an extra 1.5m people in the State in 2030 who’ll need 600,000 dwellings and even if we have an excess in supply today those new dwellings will need to be built — and that’s where that field in Athlone will come in (I would dispute the CSO projections but that’s another story).

    “A great example of goodspeak is the old chestnut that ‘‘Nama will get credit flowing in the economy’’. No, it won’t. No one in his right mind believes that. The IMF told the government as much in April 2009.” Really David? Well Ryanair (and your hagiography of Michael O’Leary in the past hasn’t gone unnoticed) will get you from Dublin to Paris but you will have to make your way from the airport into the city and that comes as a shock to some people. NAMA will not in itself get you to the exact point in the Louvre where you’ll get to be disappointed with La Gioconda but it will get you to the airport outside Paris and when taken in sequence with recapitalization (and possibly actualizing this “Third Force”) will restore “normal” credit conditions.

    ‘‘Excluding the bits that were falling, we weren’t falling!” He said excluding new house building, we weren’t falling — that’s real information and means the rest of the economy is beginning to stabilize. Brian Lenihan makes mistakes but give him some credit, he’s not a complete banana.

    • 6million me arse!! Young people are being force to leave the country in droves.

    • @ Namawinelake

      “Brian Lenihan makes mistakes but give him some credit, he’s not a complete banana.”

      You implicitly attack Ryanair for a business model that’s copied worldover for its success as I believe FF does also.

      You quote a statistical projection as a fact in support of your argument, then you question its veracity without telling us why. Statistics regarding 2030 come with hazard warnings!

      “December 2008 CSO population projections we’ll have an extra 1.5m people in the State in 2030 who’ll need 600,000 dwellings and even if we have an excess in supply today those new dwellings will need to be built — and that’s where that field in Athlone will come in (I would dispute the CSO projections but that’s another story).”

      Come down to earth, this aint 2030. At the rate this country is hemhorRAGING jobs, people, its youth, its future economic viability, we’ll be more like Easter Island by 2015, never mind 2030.

      Lets not look at the crap planning of those ghost estates or defilement of the Irish landscape, or the likely deterioration\depletion\self destruction through wear\ vandalism, or delinquent developers who may have built foundations on pyrite leading to cracking of walls, lack of infrastructure, services, incompletions, or the distance from centre’s of likely/unlikely employment.

      You live in this suspension of disbelief Wizard oF Oz world with puppeteer Brian Lenihan doing what’s best for taxpayers and the Irish economy. In spite of all the evidence around us to the contrary.

      You actually believe the rest of the economy is beginning to stabilize in spite of all the newspapers putting that canard to bed this weekend as a lie, piece of FF propaganda.

      Our economy is in freefall! Lenihans puppet antics in the service of dodgy bankers, developers and dodgy FF is finally coming home to roost.

      Lenihan and FF are slowly being cornered by facts and figures that are slowly slipping out of control. Empirical evidence that the NAMA palace is falling down is slowly getting through to the electorate.

      You seem to have a problem recognising propaganda, here’s a good attempt at a definition

      There’s one feature of propaganda not covered by D in his article. I’m thinking of the appointment of Dukes to be Chairman Designate of Anglo,


      This technique is easy to understand. It is when “big name” personalities are used to endorse a product. Whenever you see someone famous endorsing a product, ask yourself how much that person knows about the product, and what he or she stands to gain by promoting it.”

      Apply the above to Dukes/Fitzgerald e.g endorsement of NAMA, or Lenihans solution/management of our banking meltdown and the NAMA scam.

      The Irish taxpayer is being conned poleaxed and banjaxed not only by bad leadership of Cowen, Lenihan but by gullible nonsense such as yours that still gives them the benefit of the doubt.

      The whole FF lot need to be fired asap.

      Brian Lenihan is full evidence background as a barrister is not preparation for dealing with the banks.

      In his idiotic shuffle, Cowen has exploited Brian Lenihan in particular by not insisting he should retire, be relieved of the burden of office, to deal adequately with his illness.

      Careful scrutiny of the propaganda/lies put out by FF tomorrow in Lenihan’s statement of support for the banks will show further empirical evidence of the failure of FF’s banking policy.

      FF are currently holding on by their finger nails. Cowen is gone. Their only hope is someone else to save their seats. There’s no one fits that mould! Unfortunately, this fact alone is saving Cowen at the moment!

      • Deco

        Leadership challenge coming to FF. It is the first since Reynolds challenged Haughey in the early 1990s. And that got rid of some muppets from the FF front bench – except the Ditherer brought the biggeest muppets back into circulation.

        From the pragmatic point of view, ot would be of great benefit to the country if Cowen got turfed out. However, we can expect the heavies in the FF Front bench to stick by Cowen. It will weaken Cowen if more than 20 TDs want him to stand down.

      • Deco

        If current trends continue, with respect to unemployment, emigration, fiscal imbalances, and financial deleveraging….the population will be in decline for another 10 years.

        The CSO and the ESRI have a track record of getting it wrong. They should both be disbanded. Outsoure their “work” to private consultants. And then people can decide for themselves if it worthy of tax revenue to justify purchasing in the public interest. Instead of the institutional yesmen. (And they are mostly men).

  3. tony_murphy

    Who is O’Brien? that’s what I’d like to know.

    Is it Lenihan, one of the very few “talented” people in the country according to Peter Sutherland?

    • Deco

      You mean “talented” in the same way as Suds Junior, who was appointed to the Cabinet of MGQ, the EU Commisioner for an area for which she has neither experience or qualifications.

      Do you mean “talented” like the current CEO of AIB, who worked in ANIB at one stage ?

      Do you mean “talented” like Mary O’Rourke, who is a complete waste of space – and who was sacked in 1992 by Albert Reynolds in the midst of a sandwich – except Bertie the Socialist put her in charge of CIE ? (I remember – because I was using the train system every working day at the time – a complete disaster).

      Do you mean “talented” like the directors of the Dublin Docklands Authority ??

      I could go on. Suffice to say “THE IRISH CONCEPT OF MANAGEMENT HAS FAILED” !!! And in it’s place the Irish concept of fudging and extortion is taking its’ place. There is a high degree of overlap between the two.

  4. This pretty much sums it all up, well written article. The same propaganda techniques were used during Lisbon Treaty II.

    • Deco

      Lisboa 2.0 was an unrelenting, pervasive, campaign. And in a way it was a load of “IngSoc”ish propaganda. So of the ‘endorsements’ were ridiculous.

      The level of arrogance coming from Michael Martin is worthy of a trouncing in the next general election.

  5. G

    Michael Moore’s film Capitalism: A Love Story is a must see!!

    Tremendous film!

    Orwell is probably smiling at the current travails. His short story ‘Shooting an Elephant’ is outstanding, highlights how a prevailing ideology (colonialism) can be internalised, akin the current mantra of ‘systemic importance’ etc

    Linehan is just postponing nationalisation for a second time, this slavery to the market is costing us a fortune, take them over and be done with it, it is going to happen anyway.

    Shooting an Elephant (1936)

    This too, good from Noam…

    When Elites fail

    • @ G 4

      Great links, especially Orwell,

      howto search under ‘g’ :(

      • G

        @ cbwed – G’s information clearing house – a lot more where that come from, as John Adams once said, ‘democracy can only succeed when there is a good general knowledge among the population’.

        People should make the effort to inform themselves, reduced risk of being deceived, difficult when you have a ridiculous mortgage, or maybe a disabled child, or face losing your job………

        Ode to A Politician

        Beware; beware the ready smile, welcome word or charming wit.
        Beware the warm and helpful handshake; of promises Bound to fit.
        Beware the potential offer, or assurance fitting–neat.
        Beware profound proviso, given Erstwhile;
        though claws within, form certain denial!
        How can we believe those whom we greet.
        How can we trust or hope, not to be ground beneath their feet.
        How can there be trusts, beliefs? When all around are lies; deceits!

        • coldblow

          Good quote about the importance of general knowledge. Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death) recalls that in the 19th century it was common practice for ordinary Americans to attend political debates where speeches lasted in excess of one hour each and woud follow the intricacies of the debate for a whole day without getting bored or switching off.

    • Deco

      We need a film here,

      The Irish lifestyle – A love story.

      With the Ditherer telling people not to be “cribbin’ en moanen, en sittin’ on de fenc”, Seanie Fitz telling Maid Marion that Eddie Hobbs should be silenced, Johnny Cash doing the rap as Ceann Chaorlaihle and signing 400 Million Euro checks for stadia projects that were not needed, Roddy smiling in Florida, Fingers smiling in broad daylight, etc….

    • I watched the Chomsky lecture. That man is one of my heroes and a real eye opener as well.

      Hope Linehan drops dead, along with Cowman

  6. G

    The movie of 1984 with John Hurt, our own Cyril Cusack and Richard Burton (who stole the show)……”my vision of the future is of a boot stamping on a human face”

    1984 – Trailer

  7. Robert

    Well Done David on your predictions for the nationalisations of more “banks”. . . .

    I think I remember you stating that one of the major banks would face nationalisation by April this year.

    So it is to be announced tomorrow (30 March 2010) – A further 16000 million is to be handed over free to bust banks. And what do we get in return – The debt to pay off presumably.

    • Deco

      Officially, none of the Duopoly will be nationalised.

      It is just that the state will end up owning more than 60% of both of them. That is not nationalization. That is something else. The euphemistic ridiculous phrase to describe this scenario has yet to be invented :))

      I am sure whoever or whatever funciton, invented the terms “Long Term Economic Value”, and “restoring our financial credibility” will is come up with a term to describe the situation were a bank is mostly owned by the government, but that is not nationalization.

      As David has indicated – the whole thing is couched in Orwellian language.

      • Robert

        It’s nationalisation in all but name Deco.

        Although you won’t hear this N-word coming from any of the banks, politicians or RTE in the coming days. . . . . . .Not even from the likes of Alan Dukes who won’t discuss the accounts of one of his “customers” Seanie Fitz.

        He’s running a 100 % nationalised “bank” but chooses not to notice it.

        • coldblow

          When you think about, BS or newspeak has taken over nearly all public discourse. You get so used to it you take it for granted.

  8. DarraghD

    It isn’t just on the economics front that the language is completely distorted if not downright dysfunctional.

    If you look up the meaning of the word “Taoiseach”, it’s literal translation is “leader” or “chief”…

    So we have a situation here where someone who is supposed to be leading a country, hasn’t the first notion of what leadership actually is, about how to motivate people to do the right and necessary things.

    There is no leadership here, none whatsoever and it doesn’t take more than a quick glance at the man to arrive at the conclusion that he is indeed inept, lethargic, lazy and basically unfit for purpose. Leaving aside his appearance, he has been apparently leading the country for the best part of the last two years and there isn’t even the first sign of a strategy to create jobs and get people spending again. People are terrified and are simply refusing to spend money, and in my opinion it is all down to a man who wants to be called a leader but simply cannot lead.

    So all down to one man’s arrogance and greed to remain in a job that he is very clearly unfit for, a whole country full of unemployed people remain on the dole queue, losing hope week after week. Families separate under the stress, people commit suicide under the strain of their own economic hardship, all because one man hasn’t the humility to accept that he is not actually a leader, and is determined to put his own income and the placement of his beloved political party, ahead of everyone else in the country.

    • Good link G. Think you might also like this.

      It is about Facebook but is not off topic here as it contains themes on Big Brother and also gives an insight into the minds of those who favour off shore tax havens, freedom for themselves and lack of freedom for everyone else.

      I have stripped out the most interesting parts for those who don’t have time to read it.

      A social experiment, an expression of a neocon libertarianism.
      A deliberate experiment in global manipulation.
      Like a country with no natonal boundaries where we are constantly bombarded with ads.

      People are essentially sheep-like and will copy one another without much reflection.
      Hence financial bubbles. Hence the enormous popularity of Facebook.

      These are the people who are really making things happen in America –
      Individuals behind it are right wing capitalists who despise liberalism and multiculturism. Supporters of off shore tax havens:

      “You can’t have a workers’ revolution to take over a bank if the bank is in Vanuatu”

      One owner sits on the board od In-Q-Tel, the venture-capital wing of the CIA.

      FB Enables people to skirt currency controls and move money around the globe.
      Freedom from national laws.
      American imperialist programme crossed with a massive information-gathering tool.

      Now for some marketspeak from the Coca Cola marketing dept:
      “With Facebook Ads, our brands can become a part of the way users communicate and interact on Facebook”. (oh really!)

      “Share” is Facebookspeak for “advertise”. Sign up to Facebook and you become a free walking, talking advert for Blockbuster or Coke, extolling the virtues of these brands to your friends. We are seeing the commodification of human relationships, the extraction of capitalistic value from friendships”

      Newspapers, for example, begin to look hopelessly outdated as a business model.
      Facebook pretends to be about freedom, but isn’t it really more like an ideologically motivated virtual totalitarian regime.


      Rather than just blindly sign up I did a little digging to see what the fuss is about. I won’t be signing up any time soon. I’d rather spend my time reading that link you posted.

    • Extracts below from that very long article show that the Mexicans have been played like fiddles.
      A lot of this will sound familiar to anyone in Ireland who is still awake.
      Easy movement of money and goods across borders, but strict control of people. Economic power exercises day-to-day control of people.
      The governments are in deed representative. The problem is who they represent?
      Control of key economic and political decisions by local elites.
      Unparalleled concentration of wealth and power in the hands of transnational corporations, their shareholders, and the political and technical elite.

      In 1997, the richest one-fifth of the world’s population owned an astounding 85% of the
      world’s wealth. In the United States the wealth of the top 1% of households now exceeds the combined household financial wealth of the bottom 95%.

      “Poor majorities are left only with the consensus that neoliberal “adjustments” are always accompanied by “pain”.

      NAFTA – model for a new legal framework that expands the rights of corporations at the
      expense of civil society. Twenty-first century neoliberalism is a project for world domination, and the US and Mexico are at the center of the vortex.

      If it weren’t for those bothersome people, especially the poor masses with their constant demands for food, housing, education and health care, the neoliberal model could work with scientific precision.

      Lax environmental regulations attract foreign firms that are tired of seeing their bottom lines affected by bothersome environmental regulations in their home countries.

      Measures to open the economy to foreign corporations, eliminate trade barriers, restrict access to credit, and cut social spending. (what Ireland has now)
      After a decade of NAFTA, the results are obvious – corporations have benefited handsomely while the working class on both sides of the border suffers declining living standards.

      Foreign investment demands legal structures that insure the “rights” of investors.
      NAFTA supersedes national laws, and disputes are settled in secret tribunals.
      The US Treasury Department, in the form of the IMF, is writing economic policy for countries around the world, using foreign debt as leverage to force Southern nations to adopt neoliberal policies

      The Chapter 11 provisions of NAFTA that allow corporations to sue governments before secret tribunals are another direct threat to democracy.

      The most significant threat to democracy is also the main constituent of the neoliberal model – the corporation. It has always amazed this author that large segments of the population are willing to live in virtual dictatorships – called corporations – for one-third or more of their waking hours.

      The majority of people in this hemisphere are poorer today than 25 years ago. That’s a fact that no amount of propaganda can hide from people who live the reality every day. Neoliberalism is based on individualism, consumerism, concentration of capital, and centralization of power.
      These points should make it obvious that we are now dealing with a monster. The mexican people have been turned into slaves while the Irish people are in the process of being turned into prisoners. Good day and good luck.

      • G

        @ Pauldiv

        On Facebook, as a user, I have to say I find it extremely useful. I am aware big brother is watching, so are others, but we feel all we have is our voice, and if we self-censor then we will hand them a victory and be truly living in an Orwellian world – I refuse to surrender that one.

        The information exchange is actually quite remarkable, the debates stimulating, sure my account may be closed down in time given I am fundamentally opposed to the Western Capitalist model, and say that and a lot more online, but I am not alone.

        I have made fantastic contacts on that system, learned a great deal, it is like anything else, it is a good as your intentions…………

        Your points on neoliberalism are all well made, and definitely in keeping with my research and insights gained from travelling around Central America (on more than one occasion).

  9. Robert

    With effective nationalisation tomorrow AIB are to announce a 0.5 % increase in interest rates (fixed, variable)

    Another two fingers shown by the banks to the taxpayer.

    • Tadhgd

      Yes a great day to bury the bad news! No doubt a wink and elbow from the insiders to get this announced today as Lenihan didn’t want to get tarnished with this news tomorrow. How will the government keep an arms length approach to future rate hikes when they own the bank. When will people realise what is going on here…

  10. MK1

    Hi David,

    The nightmare that is NAMA is coming down the tracks at a race of knots. The mirage that it would have been a 30% haircut somehow avoiding any semblance of market reality with failed loans is now somehow a ‘surprise’.

    NAMA is and will be a disaster, yet as you correctly point out it will be spun that it was a necessity AND spun that it ended up not as bad as it could have been, 20 years from now. And those that constructed it will be long-term retired.

    Yet, people are silent, powerless by their own volition, there are no protests, there are no demonstrations on the steet, no burning down the HQ of AIB, the HQ of AnIB, the Dept of Finance.

    “We, the sheeple …..”

    meh-eh-eh ….

    We will be treated as spineless until we grow our own backbones. With 24% still willing to vote FF, is there any wonder this country is in a mess! Its the peoples fault – they are being led over a cliff and are congratualting the shepherds for doing so!


    • pmclough

      Could not agree with you more, I don’t blame the bankers or Bertie and the boys, ITS US, THE STUPID PADDY, we voted them in even after exposing them in the 80′s for what they really stud for, WE ARE A NATION OF ***MORONS***

  11. Ned O Keefe FF TD, News At One, breaks ranks, first FF td to openly attack Lenihan, says he used to think NAMA ‘the bees knees’ now thinks it can break our economy.

    Also believes AIB should be should be given a few more years for their loan book to improve!

    Alright he has shares in NAMA and wants AIB left alone to play the same game as NAMA.

    Forget getting burnt, now they have taxpayers money, these guys want to play more and just do not want to leave the casino!

    NAMA Scamarama or AIBarama Scamarama!!!!

    • G

      Ned O’Keeffe disgraced himself in that interview.

      Bog standard bullshit and I emailed him to tell him so.

      RTE never pulled him on the transparent conflict of interest. Nationalise the banks and open the God dam books!

  12. paddy_dalai_lama

    David, have you seen that the Post Office in the UK is to offer mortgages aimed at first time buyers – backed by none other than our own Bank of Ireland.

    While I agree this is welcome for UK borrowers, shouldn’t Bank of Ireland’s priorities lie closer to home?

    • Deco

      Eh….hold on there…I thought BoI had no money for loans or overdrafts for the customer in this country….which actually owns 25% of the BoI Equity….and nearly all of the the BoI Preference Share Capital….

      Surely the BoI should be selling their banking business in the UK ? That way they will consolidate their “assets” and become less of a burden for the Irish taxpayer.

      We need somebody to act as vested interest for the PAYE taxpayer.

    • Deco

      So the BoI are still waving the flag (proudly) for Irish Financial Property Ponzi-scheme Imperialism.

      This means that directors and managers will be able to fly over to London, stay in hotels, having meetings, let the meetings descend into pissups, slap each other on the back, and raise a toast to NAMA.

      And, the rest of us, feel proud, because feeling proud is recommended to us by our betters – as a substitute for the fact that we have completely lost our own self respect.

  13. These next few hours and days we the people of Ireland are going to be bombarded with propaganda by the powers that be. The Irish government
    And the general jest is we know what we are doing, our game plan for the Irish economy and Irish financial credibility “Going forward “etc etc bullshit.
    The news media is firmly in the control of spin merchants bought and paid for by the corrupt gangsters running the country .they have been busy spinning their web of deceit for the last few months and reputably truly independent citizens like David are under attack and ridiculed at every opportunity
    Thanks be to god for the internet (when it is working) we are blessed with the likes of all who participate on this blog and other blogs
    The true nature of news is movement and all you bloggers are helping to do just that.
    Our very independence is at stake here and 90 years ago citizens rebelled against tyranny
    Just because the gangsters are Irish this time round changes nothing.
    One question bothers me a lot
    Why are the current government so against the most obvious and logical course of action on the banks? Nationalization
    I suppose when the (Boom) was in full swing, they claimed they did not see the disastrous end coming.
    I with no financial qualifications was able to time the crash to within 8 months.
    The point is I could see it was coming, so could my local Dentist, and my local window cleaner.
    with a possible 68,000.000: Billion extra having to go into the Toxic Banks I think it’s time to consider just paying off every citizens mortgage (Home ) instead
    Just think what that would do for the country, new international banks would flock into the country, now full of citizens with no crippling mortgages.
    Another idea would be that all home loans to be given in future to the citizens by an Post and at a set interest payment of say 2.5 % for the duration of the loan and the period should be 30 years
    All loans would be insured by the loan taker and this would insure a stable housing market but take out the speculative nature and thus reduce the chance of a new bubble
    These are just some alternative ideas, do feel free to put you own ideas forward.

    • Why cant we have cheap house prices and affordable mortgages? Why does it have to be this way?

      Because the housing market is a market and in any market you always find speculators. if you can demotivate the speculators then you get rid of the problem.

    • liam

      “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

  14. Colin_in_exile


    The Irish are easily led and hard to push.

    Maybe its time you realised that most Irish people are eternal optimists, they have a great hope and belief in the future, regardless of how bad the present is. This is the kernel of the problem, the problem being disaffection.

    • Colin_in_exile

      Once you convince Irish people that they’ll have no money for Santa Ponza Holidays, Pints at the Weekend, Takeaways during the Week, Petrol for the Car, Restaurants for Special Occassions and New Clothes for Each Season, only then will they sit up and take notice of what you are saying, and by then it’ll probably be way too late to fix things.

      I’m convinced now that anyone who’s got any sense will emigrate.

      • Deco

        Not all Irish people. But as shown by the hundreds of thousands of (proud and patriotic) idiots who were outraged by the “injustice” (Dermot Ahern’s word) of Thierry Henry’s hand ball, in the week that Cork City flooded, INBS got bailed out (gauranteeing a pension for Fingers) and NAMA got passed in the Dail – there are an awful lot of people in this country – whose only concern is the virtual existence.

      • Dont worry it is coming. By the end of the year the penny will have dropped.

  15. [...] David Mc Williams latest posting Big Brother walks among us Extract from David Mc Williams latest posting Big Brother walks among us [...]

  16. The article draws attention to two quite separate problems. Firstly, there’s the fools or knaves problem: those who looked at the economy and didn’t see the obvious or those who did but for career reasons stayed silent, have been tested and failed. They lack ability, integrity or both. They should now shuffle to the margins; they certainly shouldn’t be listened to or appointed to any responsible position. They’re “the wrong stuff”!

    Secondly, the whole of public discourse is infected by meaningless guff, e.g. “Global innovation hub” and “catalytic environment” (An Taoiseach and Chris Horn respectively, Irish Times March 13th)

  17. Colin_in_exile

    We have at least 29 (FF + GREEN, not including Independents) out of every 100 people prepared to vote for this government according to the latest Red C poll. The question must be asked, what does the government have to do to finally convince this 29% of the population that they are unfit to govern?

    • tony_murphy

      I reckon it’s 29% benefiting from the current regime (for now)

      The I’m alright jacks.

      But they are biting the hand the feeds them

      Deflation spiral will take them all out in the not too distant future when it’ll be far too late.

      • Dilly

        True. So many people you meet are dependent on this Circus continuing. They are ignoring all warnings. They will all be taken out eventually. Ireland cannot repay these debts, they are too big.

    • Deco

      According to Michael Martin, Minister for telling the Israelis what to do, the fact that 80% of the population think BIFFO is useless, does not mean that BIFFO should go. It really means that BIFFO needs to improve his communication skills….More Orwellian drivel from His Arrogance !!

  18. Malcolm McClure

    David:1984 is an interesting populist take on the situation but I’m a bit wary of excessive use of literary allusions on this blog. Of course, we each have to find meaning in the present dire situation in ways that makes sense to us as individuals. Some will depend on astrology, some on historical analogies, some on guidance by textbooks or Nobel laureates and some in prayer.

    Literature, from the bible onwards is full of warnings about the wages of hubris and the importance of clear principles of justice.

    I have written before about the importance of getting the judical pillar of state to accept their share of responsibility in clearing up the mess. They understand the importance of precise language, but their silence throughout the gestation of this mess has been deafening.
    When are they going to stand up and assert the principles defined in the Constitution?

    • Malcolm – I agree with you . How can you expect them to do anything ? Most of them are either too fat or not sober enough to be clear minded .Were it a requirement that senior judiciary should not be obese or physically unfit most would be unqualified to hold office.

  19. Deco

    Excellent article. If anybody in this country wants to get clue’d in to what is happening with regard to the banks, then this would be a good place to start for them.

    David, something else I noticed yesterday in the Sunday Business Post – Section 2 “Money and Markets”. There is a list of the rates that banks are charging customers for credit on the Page “m7″. There is no form of credit less than 10%. None. Then pass on a few pages more, and you see a list of the best interest rates that the banks offer savers. Some of the rates are fairly insignificant, 0 point something. The best are in between 2.9% and 3.5%, and are from INBS and ANIB (both state owned). The tax on deposits is now at 25%. (So you pay PAYE, PRSI, Healthy levies, the income levy, and then you try and live in a high (stealth) tax economy….and then you try to save for the rainy day….and that gets taxed as well…but hey Ditherer needs a massive pension and Harney needs ‘nail bar therapy’….don’t you feel proud ??#@#!.).

    The Irish banks are making 10% margin on the consumers. And the media are not saying anything about it. That must be the heftiest margin of any business in Ireland. The main point of this is a systematic effort to prop up the banks.

    Don’t bring this up with the Competition Authority. They behave in a manner that suggests that they are firmly in the pocket of IBEC !!! (and incidentally the two biggest corporate voices in IBEC are the Duopoly).

    The only way out of this mess, is to do nothing to support the duopoly. But now the government has basically decided that the duopoly will be propped up in a neo-Marxist interpretation of carrying those who cannot carry themselves through their own recklessness. They will repay the working population by keeping idiots like Dan McLaughlin on the payroll. Personally, I think Dan McLaughlin should be spun out into the private sector, and let’s see who really will pay for his “anal ysis” in the free market : )

    Meanwhile the countries in Asia who faced a similar situation then years ago, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, are going from strength to stregnth. Our entire philosophy with respect to banking is about supporting the inept. They philosophy was about removing the dead wood so that the rest of the population could continue moving forward.

    • Tim

      Deco, great post, as usual.

      Just one thing, though; a margin of 10% is nowhere near the heftiest in Ireland. One has only to look at something a simple a milk; a staple product, controlled by co-ops that seem to agree on pricing; see the difference between what the farmer is paid for the milk and what the consumer pays in the shop.

      I have seen retailers with 50-100% margins on the products they buy from the wholesaler and sell-on to the consumer.

      On the Irishe version of Dragon’s Den the other night, there was a woman seeking investment in her fragrance and candles business. She openly stated that the margin is 60%.

      She got not one, but two of the investors on-board.

      Fleecing the consumer is not the preserve of greedy banks; unfortunately, it is widespread business in Ireland.

      • Deco

        Something else that the Competition Authority will not investigate.

        The Competition Authority in Ireland is basically a quango that has a hands off approach to a wholoe list of areas…..usually the sectors of the economy that are represented by the business owners and market rigging lobby group IBEC.

  20. paddyjones

    It is not all bad, NAMA is taking loans at a 40 % writedown of loans generally and then there is the developers 30% conribution. That means a 100 million initial land deal is being aquired by NAMA for 42 million that equates to a 68% drop in value. Now when you consider that some time ago 40% of loans were performing that means that NAMA is at the moment breaking just about even.
    But now the bad news a 1 bed flat anywhere in Germany costs 60k but in Ireland it costs 125k suggests that the market here is still overvalued by about 50%. NAMA is keeping property overvalued but this will take its tole. Here in Ireland we are in a deflationary cycle prices are dropping generally and so are property prices. This year the drop will be in the order of about 15 %, actually very little property is being sold, supply is high and demand is low leading me to think that unrealistic prices are being sought.
    All over the country people who bought property now wanting to sell can’t drop prices because of the outstanding mortgages or even worse they are in negative equity. Realistically they should drop prices now and try to sell because values will undoubtedly fall by another 50%. If our property is more than 100% more expensive than the strongest ecomomy in Europe, Germany something has gone seriously wrong within our market and this must be corrected.

    • Deco

      { then there is the developers 30% contribution}

      But….I thought they were too broke to make a contribution.

      Let’s face it. The developers has billions skived off in banks where they cannot be touched. Multiple holding companies. Some hold massive reserves. Others are bankrupt. The developers hold the wealthy companies and live off them. They let the bankrupt companies get assumed by the taxpayer.

      It should be renamed SCAMA instead of NAMA. It is a SCAM !!

      • Dilly

        Yer man from Laragan was off on his yacht last year while his company was being wound up. And that Dragons Den muppet thinks he is going to get his money back from him. I know the son of another developer who is always in the news. He was in the pub boasting that he would buy a new Aston Martin and “charge it to NAMA”. These are the sort of people you are dealing with, they will skin this country alive, leave us with the debt, and laugh about it afterwards down at the golf club. But, these are the sort of people Irish society has produced.

        • Deco

          This does not surprise me.

          When NAMA got passed, a collection of developers/speculators in a resort in Spain, were all popping Champagne, backslapping each other, and the usual nonsense. When they got drunk they were singing NAMA.

          Despite the recession, FF still get far more money from FG. This is despite the fact that even core FF supporters have stopped giving the party money. And despite the various FG ‘love-ins’ with IBEC-as a prelude to getting into power (‘don’t worry IBEC – we talk about democracy, but we will look after your corporate interests when we get into power’).

          These people need punishing. They deserve to get “capitalist consequences for capitalist failure” (in other words they deserved to be dragged through the bankruptcy courts and cleaned out). But the evidence is that they are siphoning off their assets, and funding FF to prevent the authorities getting their assets. And the GP are cool with this. As long as they get access to power (jobs for the GP activists).

          • They should indeed be punished.
            Like any other type of criminal they should be taken to a place of correction and made to pay penance.
            Their words and behaviour suggest however that they are beyond redemption.

    • @paddyjones 20

      “40% writedown generally” This figure is totally meaningless and very likely a scam figure. Unless you have someone there with cash in the hand, its worth nothing. Figures such as this that will be bandied about will feature largely in propaganda tomorrow. For example, the developers 30% contribution you mention, is this another part of the scam?

      I’ll be interested in what due diligence underlies the figures given about by Lenihan tomorrow, how solid are these figures, is the taxpayer getting value for money.

      Might be difficult to stand over figures if e.g. they are underwritten by Ernst and Younge who’ve represented Anglo in the past and now work for NAMA. So the figures given tomorrow will deserve close scrutiny.

      “Lenihan has emphasised on many occasions the fact that developers have contributed around €30 billion of equity on top of the €90 billion of loans to be bought by Nama. There is a big question mark over whether this is actually the case. Many property developers have complex corporate structures with a finance company at the centre. This company vehicle raises money for the other group companies which actually develop the projects. There is no way of knowing whether the so-called equity contribution from the developer was borrowed from another bank or not, unless you have access to the books of more than one bank.

      Nama will have a lot of that information when it buys all these loans, but it could take months to discover that, like many young house-buying couples who borrowed the deposit from the credit union, developers actually borrowed much of the equity that went into these projects.

      If true, it may further undermine the worth of personal guarantees behind these loans. In other words, developers may have bigger total borrowings than previously thought and have given multiple personal guarantees that are not enforceable in practice. ”

      We hope due diligence has been exercised in the preparation of figures tomorrow.

      • Deco

        Hold on there…..Ernst & Dung got a contract for NAMA….and they signed off Anglo’s accounts for the last ten years….and never noticed Seanie’s small loan (how do you hide an 80 Million Euro loan).

        This is scandalous !!!!

        • Philip

          Arthur Anderson got wiped out due to Enron which is starting to look much smaller than this mess. Maybe the shredders are working overtime getting rid of bothersome embarassing paperwork.

        • Deco

          There should have been a public tender process for the NAMA contracts. And certain parties who have proven their ineptitude on previous occasions should be excluded.

          Of course the danger is…that if all public companies on the ISEQ were properly investigated for funny business….that you would exclude all the Dublin Accountancy firms from the tender.

          Yes, Ireland is a very corrupt place. Which explains why the government spends such an amount of time trying to “re-establish our reputation and standing”. The whole thing is superficial. As Shane Dempsey commented many moons ago….it is a VENEER….

  21. Philip

    We are the onco-mice of the EU and Lenihan is the experimenter.

  22. Deco

    Here is something important that you should all know.

    Advertising is not about “informing” consumers. Most advertising is about determining the emotional relationship between a consumer and a product, so that the consumer will not think about the price that they are being charged.

    Therefore advertising is about increasing corporate profits. In many large corporate concerns, there are ego battles between accountants and marketting people over who controls the corporation, and who can drive up profits the most, and get the highest bonuses.

    The media is effectively compromised in this area, as beneficiary of this situation. So you never get told a word about it.

  23. tony_murphy

    Matt Cooper talking to David and others after 5

  24. MK1

    Deco> The main point of this is a systematic effort to prop up the banks.

    Yes, our defunct and bankrupt banks are being kept alive at all costs to the detriment of the taxpayer. These banks should be let go, majorly reformed, managed down to their death optimally. Lance The Boil. Did I hear that before somewhere ???!!! ;-)

    paddyjones> NAMA is keeping property overvalued

    Indeed it will. Its the biggest land/property asset holder in the state and thuis will de facto have market dominance powers and will affact market prices. Now, who will be paying for these higher than they should be prices. Joe Public and Joe Business Public, thats who. NAMA is effectively like a stealth tax. And people (ireland teo) will pay for higher lending rates on the market because of NAMA.

    Its a lose=lose situation ….

    is that a placard I see outside the Dail about NAMA? No, its PS workers complaining they’ve got a hard deal. 50k average, I think those in the PS on 40k and less should be battling with their more well-helled brethern? Shouldnt Unions lead by example and reduce union fees by 50%?????


  25. Alan42

    I’ll tell you why they are bailing out banks and bondholders with taxpayers money while the economy sinks into a deep hole .

    If they don’t pay up in full the bond market will not lend to FF again . The bond market will demand a change of government and it would be the end of FF . They are putting party interests ahead of the national interest .
    They are now just pure criminals .

    • Philip

      The economy is sinking and very rapidly. Angela Merkel will not be playing ball with the Greeks becasue she’ll be fleeced at the voting booths.

      The game is up. Just a matter of time. FF permanent demise is heightened the longer they stay in power. But if you are hanging on for dear life and career and all, this is very human indeed.

  26. Deco

    Speaking of the media and business and politics…..was listening to Morning Ireland this morning….and they gave Ahern backer and crony, Charlie Chawke ten minutes to rant about licencing laws and the fact that the laws in this country needed modernising ….(so that more booze would be bought in his pubs).

    Of course, being well connected, Chawke is well able to push himself onto Radio 1 at prime listening time in the morning rush hour. And he gets a fairly soft interview. And this is the sort of shite that we get in this country. Ahern’s mates telling us how Ireland should be run.

    The only thing worse was when Ahern was in power, and they did not need to go on radio to get what they wanted. And Ahern’s mates had a lot of influence. The whole Ballybrit Tent mentality is at the root of this property ponzi asset boom bust scenario.

    Chawke was one of the Drumcondra maFFia responsible for Bertie Ahern – and he might have been involved with the Manchester (United) Digout. As a taxpayer with a conscience, you are perfectly entitled to boycott Chawke’s pubs, along with all the other concerns that are behind Ahern and his cronies.

    We have the right to make those linked to this ponzi-scheme bust pay. It is our individual right as sovereign consumers.

    • It’s interesting that you mentioned pubs.

      When I first landed in Ireland one of the first things I noticed was that all the pubs here sell the same drinks. In the UK you get lots of choice but here it is always the same 5 or 6 beer brands on offer. I concluded right away that there was a cartel in operation.

      I gave up drink a few years ago through choice and am glad that my money does not go into the pockets of these people.

  27. Tim

    Charting AIB, watch the jump at today’s opening (via Stephen Kinsells):

    • Deco

      The official analysis of AIB instructs (sic) the general public that the AIB shares are falling as a result of NAMA.

      I disagree. I reckon AIB shares are falling as a result of the leadership challenge to Clowen, as FF leader. The SBpost poll is also underminig Cowen. And “reshuffle-lite” with Calamity still over FAS (to cover up what is happening there) also undermines Clowen.

      AIB’s valuation prospects are vulnerable to Cowen (who is ‘supportive’) being undermined, or removed. If we get an ‘unstable period’ this will mean that democracy will be exercised with respect to the current banking policy – in which case the Duopoly will get a far tougher time either from a different part of FF, or as seems increasingly likely, from the opposition.

  28. Tadhgd

    Question: Is it to late to mount a legal challenge to NAMA ? Would the No to NAMA group consider setting up a bank account (might be hard to find a non compromised bank) so people could contribute to such a cause in other words a Class Action Type law suit ? Would be interesting just to see what kind of heat it would draw or pressure that it could attract. David as figurehead ?

    • Deco

      Article 45 (as mentioned by FurryLugs).

      NAMA is very possibly unconstitutional. McUseless signed it as fast as a wet snot.She never referred it test it’s constitutionality. And she is a qualified Law Professor. Well, as her nickname indictes….she is McUseless. We should have elected Adi Roche – because at least Adi Roche would have paused for a minute, like the ‘concerned’ person that she is. But an insider and Bertie Ahern crony like McUseless, will sign it. It is all about protecting the establishment.

      It would be great if a constitutional challenge defeated NAMA. It would reveal the entire political authority structure to be a joke… if we needed telling :))

      • paddyjones

        Deco my friend you are posting far too much and it is nether informative or entertaining.
        NAMA has been passed by legislation nobody likes it not even B Lenihan, the banks, developers, the general public etc. but it is a nescessary evil, a way to cut out the cancer in our financial system.
        I wonder what the end game is for NAMA will they sell the assets on the open market? How will this be financed ? Will the entire cycle happen all over again in 10 years time?

        • Tadhgd

          Paddy don’t know why you feel the need to have a cut off Deco but I for one don’t think it is necessary. In addition I disagree that NAMA is a necessary evil. If it looks fishy, smells fishy then as a general rule I believe it is fishy ! When all is said and done Lenihan has come up with some absolute stinkers of predictions the last 18 months and I dont see why we should believe him this time either. Whether it is passed into law or not is irrelevant. The law is flexible and can be changed !

        • Deco

          Actually the way to cut the canser in the financial system…would be to cull the leading careerists who went into overdrive and turned the entire economy into a ponzi-scheme with a plan to out-do each other throwing loans around at deliquent chancers.

          The market is in an over-supply scenario. This will continue as long as unemployment remains high. And unemployment remains high as long as our cost base remains high. And the worst part of our cost base is the property part. It is a real conundrum.

          There is only one solution to the entire mess. And nobody will mention it.

          We are going to have to throw out the Irish lifestyle concept, along with the Irish concept and all of us will have to work harder. Some people will have to change utterly. The alternative is that Ireland becomes another Wales or Yorkshire – an improvrished ‘has been’ full of people living on welfare, with high taxes, and young people who get out as fast as they get out of the schooling system and work somewhere else.

          The money for nothing assumption underlying a lot of Irish life is completely bankrupt !!!

        • tony_murphy


          Deco posts are always informative.

          Deco tells it like it is. This website is greatly enhanced by Decos contributions. Keep it up Deco.

          I’d suggest your comments are how you’d like it to be. It’s no harm posting them. Lots of people in Ireland think like yourself. I’m afraid that’s why the Country is doomed. If you think NAMA is a necessary evil, you need to start thinking for yourself. Stop watching / listening to RTE and the rest of the media outlets. I have done. You face full on propaganda every day.

          Their conditioning has worked a treat on most people in Ireland, but it didn’t work on many who post here. You should read 1984. It’s not too late. It only cost 5 euros on amazon.

          I used to think David was our Goldstein, but Deco could do the job as well

          Anyway, NAMA is just evil.

          • Deco

            Tony – I appreciate your support. Thank you !!

            Keep up your contributions also. You are helping raise the level of intellectual debate. This is more important than continually agreeing more tax hikes, stealth taxes and cutbacks to essential services. There is an awful lot going on in the state system that is pure stupid. And open discussion will bring about a cleansing of this.

            As the old saying goes in respect of corruption

        • Tim

          paddyjones, Think again, perhaps?

          You may have it wrong.

          Deco is well-able to speak for himself, but I think you will find that his posts are, indeed, informative.

          “Entertaining” is an entirely different matter; one that concerns our Deco much less than you appear to suspect.

          Since my arrival here, few have been as consistent and none as prolific as Deco.

          The more Deco says, the better!

          Anyone who calls-out the system for what it is; anyone who names the problems; anyone who challenges the status-quo and calls us to a new tomorrow is an ally.

          Deco is one of the greatest of these.

        • coldblow

          Paddy, Deco is joining up the dots, and doing a very good job of it.

  29. Josey

    what tomorrow will confirm is that this is a coup de’etat by the Banksters and the Gov.

    It will reveal that they are glove and fist, gov being the silken glove and the banks being the fist to hammer the sh*t out of us with. They’re taking us from both sides, upping their interest rates and taking our pension funds at the same time.

    • Philip

      No one seems to be joining up the dots here. There are some highly mis-informed and this board and elsewhere who actually think that this country will grow based on a return to conditions that existed 20 years ago. Hello!!!! the world has changed…except Ireland unfortunately. Ignore the CSO and other gov generated nonsense stats. Bangalore will be a vastly cleaner and safer place than D4 in 10 years time at the rate things are going. And this will be the Indians doing good by their country.

      Gurdiev indicates there is every incentive by FF to drive the country into depression on the basis that the poison chalice left to the opposition will guarentee a return in 5 years time. Cowen et al know exactly what they are doing. We will have a halls pictorial weekly of 2011-2015 hounding out FG in no time – assuming RTE can afford to pay for the electricity to run their service.

      The situation is now so serious that I believe members of FF and bankers and developers will be before the Hague for crimes against humanity as they deliberately drove their own country into the ground, endangered the EU institutions all for the sake of their own ideologies and greed.

      The damage being caused right now is profound and there will be no-rebound or return to growth in the usual sense unless India/ China outsources to ireland due to our now hacked down cost base – and by then we will definately be competing with robots.

      • tony_murphy

        It’s being said here before by Tim and others that Fine Gael and Labour do not want an election, they do not want to form a government.

        With John McGuiness and a few others opening criticising Cowen, Eamon Gilmore was asked if he would table a motion of no confidence in Cowen, he said he would check to see what support he could get, but everyone knows he has no intention

        • Deco

          So basically Gilmore is the man who wants to be Taoiseach…but like St. Augustine….not just yet.
          That’s Gilmore sussed.

          I remember in Nov 2008, Joan Burton was in front of Government Buildings, telling the nation “the problem is that we have no money…that is why we are in a recession…this government are not doing enough…to get more money into the economy….”. Wow – what an insight there. I realised at that point that she was a pretender also. The media have given Burton an extremely easy time. If she becomes Minister for Finance, she as removed from reality as Cowen.

      • Deco

        No need for Halls Pictoral Weekly.
        Miriam will grill FG on Prime Time. Maid Marion on the radio. And Gerry Whine will be laughing at the new Ministers. And of course Tubbers will be giving them real interviews, not that concocted rapid fire question session with Biffo, which never drilled into any of the questions, but just skipped from one to the next, and looked tough, but which lacked real incision.

    • Deco

      Gurdgiev makes a very salient point.

      The current government has an incentive to dither on the matter of reform of the Public Sector. Basically, it knows that it will be out of power, and it’s objective is therefore short-term. It will do nothing meaningful. And the unions are happy with this also.

      And then the next government (FG led) will have to try to deal with the issue. If the next government is FG-ILP based, then there will be no reform, and the state finances will crater. And this will put FF back in power afterwards, and leave the worst memories of the recession connected with FG, in the public mind.

      This has already been done before by the FG-ILP government of 1972-1976, and the first FF government with CJH as Toaiseach.

      And the Labour Party are trying to throw the same scenario of the incoming British government, which it would seem will be a coalition of the Tories and the LibDems.

      I have been told from inside D2 (the civil service) that anybody who picks up a phone gets enormous criticism/hassle from union activists, and others who are motivated for “the fight”. Basically, there is rigid enforcement of CPSU policy with regard to taking on the state. So much for individual rights.

      The CPSU have no problem with introducing technology with respect to new features. But the CPSU will do nothing to allow technology make procedures faster, or allow measurement of work efficiency in the Civil Service. There are large sections of the Civil Service that are overmanned, and other sections that have to outsource some work to private contractors (at enormous cost) on order to comply with the hiring freeze. Flexibility is an alien concept. And forget about efficiency. There is also an awareness of the need for more laws to justify the employment levesl in the Civil Service, so as to keep everyone in a job that is necessary. In addition there is absolutely no leadership. Government ministers are more concerned with fast-tracking work that is personal importance, and looking after relatives or pals in the Civil Service.

      Ireland’s Civil Service – another example of ineptitude, dysfunction, interference, patronization, excess layers of management, expense and rigid structure. I even heard a rumour of a case of somebody in the Civil Service who is a ‘manager’ and who has one person under him – and that person is currently on maternity leave – but he still gets paid to “manage”. It’s is absurd.

      • Deco

        Oh, and I forgot to mention. The biggest source of the morale problem that exists in the Public Sector is the nepotism which comes from the top, and spreads poison through the entire system.

      • Dilly

        I know a civil servant (Dublin) who gets 70k a year, and only does a 20 hour week !!. It is crazy out there in La La Land. When will all this nonsense stop ?. Are the EU aware that this is going on ?. Well i suppose they got their YES vote so they are happy enough.

    • Tim

      Folks, You will realise, I hope, that I disagree with Constantin’s basic precept, here, but I posted it in the interest of “information”.

      Curtailing your public services may be wise; “cutting” them is not.

  30. Tim

    Folks, from Karl Whelan:

    “Super Tuesday Leaks

    This post was written by Karl Whelan

    Tomorrow we should finally see a resolution of much of the uncertainty that has been hanging over the Irish banking system. We are being told that the estimated prices for NAMA transfers will be announced, as well as the capital requirements set by the Central Bank and the new legal framework for the Central Bank and Financial Regulator.

    With the news so soon to be released, there is little point in me speculating as to what is going to happen. What I would flag, however, is that there is something of a disconnect between two sets of statements doing the rounds in today’s media coverage.

    First, there has clearly been widespread leaking that the NAMA loan transfers will see some banks taking considerably larger writedowns than had previously been expected. For instance, in the Irish Independent, Emmet Oliver writes that “AIB is set to be hit with a discount of up to 40pc”.

    Second, much of the coverage mentions the idea of the state owning 70 percent of AIB and 40 percent of BoI. See, for instance, here and here. And note that Emmet Oliver’s full sentence is “AIB is set to be hit with a discount of up to 40pc, making majority State control all but inevitable” and he mentions the Minister’s “plan to take a 70pc stake in the lender.”

    The disconnect is that these two sets of figures don’t seem to add up. There is nothing new about the idea of the state potentially owning 70 percent of AIB. Even based on previous expectations for NAMA discounts, this was always a possibility. For instance, I’m looking now at a Davy stockbrokers report from April of last year that projected a base case of the government owning 78% of AIB.

    However, it is hard to reconcile the continuing circulation of the same ownership statistics as before with the new information (if such it is) on discounts and also on capital levels.

    To give a concrete example, AIB’s annual report says that it had €9.5 billion in core equity capital at the end of 2009. This included the government’s €3.5 billion in preference shares (this isn’t core equity in my book, or most people’s, and it is likely to be converted to ordinary equity.) So that leaves €6 billion in private core equity capital. AIB is supposed to be transferring €24 billion in loans to NAMA. Forty percent of €24 billion is €9.6 billion.

    So, do the math on this and you’d probably come to a different conclusion about ownership percentages than have been flagged by the media. One way or another, we’ll find out tomorrow, but today’s leaks are confusing, perhaps deliberately so.”

    • Deco

      In my memory ….I recollect annual reports from Irish banks….and all sorts of things being said….and now I ask “I wonder who auditted the accounts ?? “

    • @Tim 31,

      We should know by tomorrow, every word needs to be scanned, calculators ready.

      Can’t believe all those in mortgage arrears not outside the Dail asking for their 40+% discounts?

      They should be!

      How about a 40+% mortgage discount for everybody in the audience :)

      After getting their money and popping open the champagne, I guess the FF/banks softening up process of the beguiled taxpayer will end, interest rates will increase, amnesty on getting people out of their properties will end, for sure the money won’t be lent to small business to get credit going?

      Banks now got taxpayer money on tap.

      Should be a big party afterwards.

  31. Tim

    Folks, if you get a chance, you might like to add to/edit suggestions on the etherpad document, in advance of the Galway meeting:

    • Deco

      Tim – thanks for setting up the Etherpad. I am working on Monday – but I am on vacation today and tomorrow. I added 46 items but did not get to add my name, because i reached the 100 amendments limit. I hope that they contribute to the overall scheme of the project. And thanks for reminding everybody, so that others can contribute.

  32. Original-Ed

    The ministry of plenty will be operational as from tomorrow – plenty of taxpayers money will go into the black holes that are our banks. The spin will, again, be full of LTV – Long Term Viability for Banks and country.

  33. Always preferred Thriftcrime myself. For my sins his holiness suggested I go and top myself. Well the stuttering fecker slipped off and landed the mess in the lap of his patsy, and thriftcrime will continue.

  34. Tim

    Folks, have a look at this and see what you think it means:

  35. Bamboo

    I wonder why the Student activists are and why are they keeping a low profile in all this. What have they done to our students? Historically it is the students movement that brought about political and social change.
    Is it because we have too many foreign students who are paying big money for their studies?
    Is it because our students want to finish their studies as quick as possible so they can get out of here?

    • Deco

      I reckon that with free fees, hard competition for jobs, and lots of beer promotions, students are nuetralized as such.

      Most student organizations get headed up by wannabe politicos, and wannabee business executives. What I seen of them, made me cynical of many of them.

      • Bamboo

        I would like agree with you, Deco. Some are busy nursing headaches or trying not to waste a good hangover. Many of them have to work hard and earn an extra bob to pay off their debts (holidays to Thailand, Australia, and student lifestyle) and only a small group have plenty to splash around and basically can’t be bothered.

    • coldblow

      I agree with Deco. I witnessed too much political theatre at uni. in the late 70s. The most depressing thing was that they were imitating their predecessors from the 60s (who weren’t worth it).

  36. Bamboo

    I wonder why = I wonder where

    • paddyjones

      Tomorrow will decide the fate of many people living in Ireland. One of the main problems we face is that most of our wanabie emigrants only speak english, their only options are Britain, Australia or Canada. Plus the fact that most of these places have high unemployment and are expensive to live there. So WHERE is indeed a good question.

  37. wills


    Very timely article.

    I reckon though it is of serious consideration to keep in mind the following, tomorrow, when the gov announce the ‘great NAMA bank heist.’

    And it is the case that the NAMA funding and funneling of cash into the banks is in of itself another scamarama.

    The NAMA / ECB bonds for cash is a MONEY MAKING enterprise above ALL else.

  38. Hi David
    Doing a study on the potential costs /loses for taxpayers
    Just wondering, is there anybody out there able to tell me exactly how much did the Taxpayers of this country paid for each of the government shares in AIB, and Bank of Ireland.
    This is before the latest round of new shares they will be purchasing on our behalf?

    • MK1


      The BOI info is as follows:

      3.5 billion recap given in Mar 2009, originally to incur an 8% ‘dividend’ cost pa
      Preference shares granted as follows:

      The main features of the Government’s investment are as follows:

      o The Government will provide €3.5bn in Core Tier 1 capital for each bank.

      o In return for the overall investment the Minister will get preference shares with a fixed dividend of 8% payable in cash or ordinary shares in lieu. These preference shares can be repurchased at par up to the fifth anniversary of the issue and at 125% of face value thereafter.

      o The Minister can appoint, in total, 25% of the directors to both banks.

      o The Minister also gets 25% of total ordinary voting rights in respect of change of control and board appointments.

      o Warrants attached to the Preference Shares give an option to purchase up to 25% of the ordinary share capital of each bank existing on the date of issue of the New Preference Shares. The strike price of the first 15% of the Warrants exercised by the State shall be €0.975 for AIB and €0.52 for BOI. The strike price of the balance of the Warrants shall be €0.375 for AIB and €0.20 for BOI.

      o If the bank redeems up to €1.5bn of the State investment in New Preference Shares from privately sourced Core Tier 1 capital prior to 31 December 2009, then the Warrants will be reduced pro rata to that redemption to an amount representing not less than 15% of the ordinary shares of the bank.

      o The recapitalisation programme will be funded from the National Pensions Reserve Fund. €4 billion will come from the Fund’s current resources while €3 billion will be provided by means of a frontloading of the Exchequer contributions for 2009 and 2010. The necessary amending legislation to the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act will be introduced shortly.

      The State does not intend to take control of these banks. Following this recapitalisation, the State will not hold ordinary shares in either bank (other than existing NPRF holdings), but it will have an option to buy shares in five years time at a predetermined strike price, thus providing the State with the potential for a significant return.

      My understanding was that the Government was forced by the EU/EC not to accept the dividend but to take a holding which I understood was 15% currently of BOI.

      Note that in Mar 2009 100% of BOI would have cost 420 million in total, as the share price was about 42c.

      It would be a bit like you and me going into McDonalds, paying 35 euro for a Big Mac worth 4.20 for a 2.50 per annum return on our 35 euro, and the potential to own some of the Big Mac, only a potential to own that gurkin or two.

      Any child knows that that deal was madness in the exteme.

      Where’s the beef, you may well ask?

      The situation at AIB is left as an exercise for the reader! ;-)


  39. Good Morning
    Today is the morning after the day before and the day that will change how we think ,about ourselves and everyone around us ,for the rest of lives .It is a day we prefer not to wake up to ,rather instead to believe that we are living in the greatest contemporary fiction created in our nation we once had. It is also a day of a Full Moon where sometimes madness prevails and that seems to be the ground print made by our Slave Trader Minister BL as he Deceives us once more puppeteering to the EU Lords of Roman Power to distroy us forever.Today marks the moment we begin our enslavement for an eternity in ourselves and our children and our childrens children.We begin after breakfast to place upon us the shackles of confinement to a nothingness ,a ‘non-entity’ as our freedom we once had is shedded away from us.
    Today marks how the English Language has failed us in what we want to communicate between ourselves and in ourselves and how we have allowed confusion to prevail and a numbness proliferorate that has left us divided and bereft of a Nation we once professed to be.Today marks the failure by those who are our protectorate in our Civic Laws and Justice who failed to rise to call us together as did Daniel O’ Connell and who acquiesced at the highest level to allow this distruction happen.Let them be DAMMED in HELL with their Conspirators .

  40. tony_murphy

    It’s super bailout Tuesday – if you are a banker, a bond / share holder in the banks, a big property developing friend of Fianna fail, IBEC, Chamber of commerce etc / insider

    My theory is that today is revenge for Cowen and Lenihan if you are an outsider and had a go at them over the years.

    Cowen seems to be the sort who likes having his back slapped, being told what a great man he is, someone to buy him pints. That’s why he likes the Chamber of commerce bashes so much. But if you don’t think he is such a great fella, well today is his day anyway. He’ll write the super funny money cheques as big as he likes. He’ll be asking Lenihan has he enough Zero’s on them cheques, maybe he’ll add a few for luck. No cheque is too big to write you know for our Brians. Today he sticks his 2 fingers up to the outsiders.

    I bet he has a grin from ear to ear this morning. How will he and Lenihan keep a straight face today.

    • tony_murphy

      They are going to double national debt today.

      Richard Bruton says something like 30 billion going into Anglo black hole.

      Only job they’ll create is in debt management. They’ll kill just about every other job.

  41. Robert

    Well what a surprise.
    The Unions completely capitulate so as to allow the Government to claim a deal on the day the Irish Times announces that the total bank bail-out (sorry “recapitalisation”) for today is € 22 billion.
    Certainly a great day to bury bailout news and it appears that the Union leader-insiders are complicit in covering up the deceit by allowing the Govt. to produce effectively nothing so as to pull the wool over the sheeple’s eyes with regard to the real headine today.
    So what exactly did the PS Unions achieve?
    No reversal of pay cuts (indeed there is a possibility of further cuts with a ‘force majeure’ clause).
    “Redeployment” of staff (i.e. job cuts — indeed Harney didn’t have any problem admitting 6000 are to go in the Health Service in the next year). I wonder if McCreevy’s decentralisation ‘plan’ may finally come to fruition.
    A change within the structure of the Pension from 1 Jan 2011. So the senior lads and their pensions will be looked after whilst the youth get screwed yet again.
    And what is the current headline on RTEs website: “Kieran Mulvey hails revolutionary pay deal”.
    Another 3AM deal (they never of course do deals at normal times of the day . . . . ya know . . . . gives the impression they’re working). Another betrayal.

  42. [...] is required to maintain the credibility of Ireland’s banking system. Credibility? Haha. Here’s David McWilliams: Bailing out the banks makes us less credible, not more credible. Yet the government insists that [...]

  43. Important to realise the taxpayer is buying an endowment mortgage today. Remember those, mortgage based on repaying over eg twenty years the interest on the loan. You paid the interest on the loan along with a payment into a life assurance type investment policy that was invested on your behalf every month. The policy would be used to pay off the principal along with a profit that would go into your pocket at the end of the loan. You guessed it, the investments never paid off and huge numbers across the UK and Ireland got burnt.

    The Govt hope the assets upon which the loans are based will come good and increase in value over time. They are betting with taxpayers money.

    I got a simple Math problem today. Hopefully the answer to it will come out through the day.

    Firstly, I need to establish the total figure for the loan book that will get moved over to NAMA.Will I get this or be told its X, then X becomes 2X or 3X as time moves on?I also need establish what gets moved today and from where.

    After all, we are being told that today we get ‘the final answer’ of the Govt response to the banking issue.

    I got 3 tranches of loans, so maybe they tell me 33% gets moved today, 33% July 2010, 33% September.Say the haircut is 60%,30% and 10%, then I know the total haircut on the total portfoolio is 33.3%. So how accurate is the haircut announced today?

    I got a problem already with that because I believe they are holding back hoping property values will climb instead of fall in the meantime. But a bigger problem is until everything gets moved across I don’t know the level of haircut the total toxic loan book is going to get.

    But lets stick with the facts and concentrate on what gets moved today. Lets say the discount is 60% as I have above.

    What I need to do is to examine each of the loans today to get independent verification that the haircut on each of the different parts of the loanbook is applied evenly and fairly. I also need to be assured the underlying assets upon which these loans have been secured have been independently evaluated and what those evaluations are.

    I doubt we will get the level of detail required for any taxpayer to do this today.

    In regard to personal guarantees secured against the toxic assets that will be transferred, has the paperwork/investigation been done to secure these, so whats their status?

    Will the loans being transferred have different haircuts, say different rates as example above, with an overall
    discount, what will the overall discount be for today. Can we examine individual discounts.

    By the way, is it not time to call an end to commentators speaking about NAMA that in doubling the Irish national debt to rescue Anglo, that there is no alternative to NAMA. Without examining Alternatives.

    We’ve taxpayers made today an investment in a toxic pile of rubbish NAMA/Anglo and this is a favour for the Irish people?

    Lovely full moon last night. All hail, Anglo!

    Bad dumb day for Ireland Inc.

  44. paddy_dalai_lama

    It’s a slow day in a West of Ireland town. The sun is beating down, and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit. On this particular day a rich tourist from Dublin is driving through town. He stops at a hotel and lays a €50 note on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

    As soon as the man walks upstairs, the owner grabs the note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

    The butcher takes the €50 and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.

    The pig farmer takes the €50 and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.

    The guy at the Farmer’s Co-op takes the €50 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her “services” on credit.

    The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner.

    The hotel proprietor then places the €50 back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything.

    At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, picks up the €50 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

    No one produced anything. No one earned anything.

    However, the whole town is now out of debt and now looks to the future with a lot more optimism.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the Government is conducting business today.

    • @paddy_dalai_lama 44

      “how the Government is conducting business today.”

      Nope, the hotel owner technically has stolen the travellers money, because he used it before the transaction was complete.

      Oh, I see, Government steals taxpayers’ money but don’t go to jail for LED Long Term Destruction of the Irish economy and highway robbery of taxpayers…

      Money they don’t have, just like the hotel owner, until they collect it in taxes and destruction of public services…

    • G

      I think this is more the scenario -

      The tourist is ‘rich’ in the eyes of society. For years, he had his photo in the business section, boasting of profits, of big plans for the future and the ‘positive business environment’ but hints at his concerns over raising wages and falling competitiveness, but overall the future looks wonderful.

      The tourist gives no indication of as to how he ‘accumulated his wealth’ but suspicion abounds among the villagers. There is talk of ‘international people’ and the an organisation called the ‘hidden hand’, which keep the village folk chatting, ‘what is a credit default swap?’ one says, ‘made his money in property’, says another. The village wisemen point to more serious dealings, however, it seems too complex for the villagers to fully comprehend.

      The Hotelier immediately recognises the tourist as his hotel was financed by the person in question. He provides his best room for free, no questions asked.

      The tourist stays in the hotel long past his welcome and in no time substantial debts are run up. The Hotelier can’t get rid of the ‘tourist’ as his personal dealings will be exposed to the villagers with inevitable consequences, so he quietly puts out the tale that the tourist is of ‘systemic importance’ (even though no one is quite sure what this means).

      Little do the villagers know but the tourist is not who he seems and has in fact returned home to the village to take shelter from debtors who are fast closing in.

      The Hotelier is also a local councillor and has a part-share in a pub and a ‘development’ on the fringes of the town (‘the best land’ he is told, in ‘the event of expansion’ – a form of retirement fund).

      The Hotelier tells the village representatives of the ‘importance of the tourist’, that there is no ‘conflict of interest’ and he just ‘happens to be staying in the Hotelier’s establishment’, and that if the village is to have any chance of competing and developing with other villages it will have to come to the Hotelier’s aid, slash wages, reduce prices, work longer hours, face more job insecurity etc.

      The Hotelier explains that other villages have faced major problems and that the whole crisis began in a major city, that it was ‘unforeseeable’, ‘unprecedented’ and that the whole village was in ‘unchartered and uncertain waters’. Failure to act ‘appropriately’ could mean the destruction of the entire way of life, to which the villagers respond with a mixture of anger, shock and fear.

      The Hotelier, light on detail, calls for the villagers to ‘take the inevitable pain now to ensure prosperity in the future’ and do their ‘duty by the village’. There are some among the villagers who speak out and condemn the deal and say there must be another way, but they are sidelined and belittled by the Hotelier who says ‘this is no time for prevarication’.

      Despite not having the agreement of the village (no public discussion on the magnitude of making such a decision), the representatives in the village chamber vote in favour to bailout the tourist, with some of the representatives failing to disclose that they too ‘know’ the ‘tourist’.

      The villagers are forced to gather their pennies together and the entire sum is presented by a relieved Hotelier to the tourist, to which he responds ‘the sum may not be enough for me to return to my profit making ways, I may be back for more’.

      The tourist placates his debtors, the ‘hidden hand’ is off to another village, the bondholders exclaim their satisfaction with how entire affair has been handled, the Hotelier is awarded with a few months grace on his loans and talks of the green-shoots of recovery while the villagers descend into a mixture of unemployment, alcoholism, indebtedness and emigration.

      All is left is half built developments, a decrepit hotel and the tale throughout other villages of the demise of a people for reasons as of yet unknown.

      • @G,

        I saw that film, was it ‘The Magnificent Seven’ without the seven or the Elmer Bernstein score or ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ with Ennio Morricone…..

        Havn’t RTE’s David Murphy Business Correspondent et al done a good cover up of NAMA Alternatives.

        Ireland’s pravda RTE Lord Haw Haw charge of the light brigade later today!

        • G

          Not sure those guys know anything.

          There are rarely if ever ahead of the ball. Look at the Quinn Insurance story today, no indication of problems, just breaks in the courts and is picked up.

          Hardly journalism, just reporting things very late in the day. Seymour Hersh they are not.

          Think the Joe Kennedy line is appropriate – ‘if you are relying on the media for your information you will get slaughtered’.

          Charge of the Light Brigade indeed. Its interesting because I was reading the primary documents on this just recently – the records of the British parliamentary enquiry into the Crimean War – the comments from Lord Cardigan and others were the very definition of hubris and self-deception, not to mind complete abdication of responsibility.

          So not too different from the current governent and Mary Harney on Frontline last night.

          Where possible and feasible, you have to do your own work, research and due diligence, talk to smart, informed people and follow your gut – not Anne Doyle.


    Govt transfer payments are the only thing keeping IRL plc from sinking.Cut these and it will be a rerun of the fifties, except that there is no escape route of emigration.IRL will end up with a coup, Chile/Argentina style.Nice to see Seanie has had £40 mill of his debts cancelled!.Any chance of Mossad taking out Dave Drumm?.


    Administrator just appointed to Quinn

  47. wills

    NAMA means 55 billion from ECB to preserves the oligarchy in place and in control and in the drivers seat making the most money out of Ireland.

You must log in to post a comment.
× Hide comments