August 4, 2010

We're the losers in silent takeover of democracy

Posted in Irish Independent · 118 comments ·
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On January 7 1961, Dwight Eisenhower, then the outgoing US President and former General of the US Army — a military man to his toes — made an extraordinary reference to the threat that the US military posed to American society and its economy.

In his final speech as President — one made at the height of the Cold War — Eisenhower referred to the potential threat of the “military industrial complex”. He described an iron triangle of interests involving the defence industry, the military itself and the State Department.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.

“We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defence with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

What scared Eisenhower was the sense that the military industry had become so big that it would excessively bias government policy with imagined threats from the Soviets in order to gain more and more power in Washington. As a result, the democratic government would become subservient to the military-industrial complex and the citizens would suffer. He envisaged a future where the government would no longer represent the people but represent itself and the vested interests which propped it up. He worried that the military-industrial complex would get so big it would become almost impossible to dismantle.

He was also concerned about a mindset that was coming to dominate government thinking, where the interests of the military-industrial complex and the interests of the US were seen as one and the same thing. Eisenhower was as much concerned about dismantling this mindset in government as he was about dismantling the military-industrial complex itself.

The US is not the only country whose very democratic credentials are being threatened by the governing mindset; we, the citizens of Ireland, are similarly threatened.

In Ireland we have a governing mindset which, while not a military-industrial complex, is a politico-mandarin complex. Because the State in Ireland is by far the biggest single buyer of services in the country, it is enormously powerful and its contracts are enormously profitable for the companies doing business with it. It becomes extremely difficult, therefore, to know where the interest of the State ends and where the interest of the citizens begins. The mandarins who run the State like it like that.

This confusion allows the survival instincts of the State and the state apparatus and the political instincts of the elected politicians to merge together to the detriment of the average citizen.

Our form of ‘spectator democracy’ also facilitates this silent takeover. By spectator democracy, I mean the ‘beauty contest’ called a national election held every four of five years. We listen to various promises and rhetoric and then give a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ to whichever takes our fancy.

But in a crisis, when the politicians and mandarins have proved themselves to be so inept, the threat of the politico-mandarin complex to the welfare of the citizen becomes enormous.
If all the advice and the policy reaction are being taken by individuals who are inside the system, then protecting the system dominates the thinking. This process is so invidious that our poor politicians end up talking gibberish because they really have no idea who or what they stand for — the citizens who elect them of the State that employs them.

An example of this was a few years back when I spoke to one of our most senior politicians. I asked him what he stood for, as I was a bit perplexed about the inconsistency of policy and his ability to say anything to anyone that he thought they wanted to hear. He responded rather grandly that he stood for Ireland being “open for business” and then he went on a prepared warble about international investors, confidence and the credibility of the State.

This attitude encapsulates our politico-mandarin mentality. The politico-mandarin axis doesn’t seem to understand that being open for business, like charity, starts at home.

The recovery, if it ever comes, will come from local businesses employing one or two extra staff because they are selling one or two extra things.

Furthermore, the rather glorious concept of the ‘credibility of the State’ comes because of the credibility of small business.

Consider the issue of rates to small businesses. If you go around the country and ask small businesses what is killing them, many will respond immediately: rates. Rates are supposed to be calculated on the basis of commercial property values. In 2007, local government income from commercial rates was €1,244m. Despite the collapse in property prices (especially commercial property), the Budget for 2010 projects income from commercial rates to be €1,359m, an increase of 9pc, when across the same period commercial property values have dropped nearly 60pc.

So the politico-mandarin complex, in order to preserve itself, is asking small businesses to pay more even when the value of commercial property has collapsed.

So local government funding has fallen because of the recession and the politico-mandarin complex is trying to make up the shortfall by hiking rates, which is causing businesses to suffer most.So think about it, the State mindset has its sights set on a budget deficit number, which it thinks will deliver national credibility to investors who want to take a punt on our bond market. But in order to achieve this number, it is maintaining the size of the politico-mandarin complex and taxing the very revenue generators and employers who are supposed to drag us out of the recession. But these taxes and rates mean that small businesses will not expand and will probably go to the wall.

So being ‘open for business’ internationally actually means being ‘closed for business’ locally!
This glaring inconsistency results from the politico-mandarin complex, which refuses to dismantle itself in the face of a financial crisis. Instead, we will get more and more taxes in the years ahead to keep feeding the beast. This very process of taxing the citizens to keep the state apparatus alive will to capital flights and emigration as we chose to escape the clutches of the politico-mandarin complex.

There will come a time when, far from being one and the same thing, the Irish State and the Irish citizen will become inimical.
This is exactly what Eisenhower was warning about.

In Ireland it’s not just ideology driving government decisions as postulated by some commentators. This might be too simple. What is driving policy here is something much more ugly and much more resilient: it is old-fashioned self-preservation — instinctive, corruptible and deadly.


  1. adamabyss

    subscribe.

  2. And that’s calling it like it is David. An honest to God statement of affairs that will probably kill off any last chance of work from the Pothole Politics Brigade.

    Statesmanlike. At least we have one Irishman standing up for the State.
    F

  3. Gege Le Beau

    The full phrase Eisenhower intended to use was the “military-industrial-CONGRESSIONAL complex”, but congressional was removed from his ‘farewell address’ at the last minute.

    As one Professor outlined in his ‘power elite’ lectures, based on C. Wright Mill’s ‘The Power Elite’, we don’t have a comparative military force in Ireland so our power elite was composed of the “business-politics-church complex” with the third point of the golden triangle (church) replaced with a contemporary assortment including: ‘academia/media/sport”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Power_Elite

    Why someone decided to scratch ‘congressional’ from Eisenhower’s speech, well…………….

    The following documentary, which I posted previously with references to Eisenhower’s speech has an interesting analysis of the commerce of war, as Orwell pointed out, the war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous.

    Why We Fight
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xm1B7x5JZfE

    Ireland is a failed State.

    “The term failed state is often used by political commentators and journalists to describe a state perceived as having failed at some of the basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government. Often a failed nation is characterized by social, political, and economic failure. Common characteristics of a failing state include a central government so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; and sharp economic decline.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Failed_state

    • Gege Le Beau

      Just a slight correction on the article, I don’t think Eisenhower was referring to the State Dept. in his address but to the growing power of the Pentagon/CIA system, it was the links between business/industrial complex and the Pentagon/Covert Ops. which bothered Eisenhower (it is probably the most remarkable statement by any 20th century US president).

      The State Department’s mission, as seen before the Iraq war (II), is focused on diplomacy, reconstruction and so called ‘democracy building’.

      But as indicated in the excellent documentary ‘No End In Sight’, ‘State’ (as it is sometimes referred) was cut out of the loop and the Pentagon took the lead in virtually as aspects of the war (which saw the commercialisation of the conflict, use of mercenaries/private contractors etc).

      Forgive my literal interpretation but I think it important to clarify, it was not that the military-industrial complex “would excessively bias government policy”, it was that the military-industrial complex would dictate policy which ‘government’ i.e. the White House, would execute in keeping with the demands of a ‘business run society’. This has proven to be the case.

      Eisenhower was right to be concerned.

      No End In Sight
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVBGQwXPp2Y

      • Gege Le Beau

        Chalmers Johnson – Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic

        “Like ancient Rome, America is saddled with an empire that is fatally undermining its republican government, argues Johnson (The Sorrows of Empire). He surveys the trappings of empire: the brutal war of choice in Iraq and other foreign interventions going back decades; the militarization of space; the hundreds of overseas U.S. military bases full of “swaggering soldiers who brawl and sometimes rape.” At home, the growth of an “imperial presidency,” with the CIA as its “private army,” has culminated in the Bush administration’s resort to warrantless wiretaps, torture, a “gulag” of secret CIA prisons and an unconstitutional arrogation of “dictatorial” powers, while a corrupt Congress bows like the Roman Senate to Caesar. Retribution looms, the author warns, as the American economy, dependent on a bloated military-industrial complex and foreign borrowing, staggers toward bankruptcy.”

  4. lff12

    I agree with what you are saying, but 2 points.

    On the issue of rates, it is widespread belief that the main reason that commercial rates are so high is not merely the abolition of residential rates in the 1970s, but the burden was merely transferred to commercial rates without either shifting to other forms of local grovernment funding, or introducing a form of property-wealth based taxation that was fair and transparent. Local government all too easily fell into the trap of levying development changes which incentivised all kinds of development regardless of quality, benefit or the long term cost to the councils themselves.

    This links back to the 2nd point which is that there is a huge body of incredibly stupid people in Ireland that repeatedly returned the FF quango into election after election, not just because they heard what they wanted to hear, but because they bought into this ideology of unfettered property based wealth. About 80% of our population are property owners, therefore the majority will tend towards groups with policies that favour the ideology of land/building tax break thinking as economic incentives, rather than a broad based system of taxation. The electorate will mercilessly punish every such party that admits we were wrong to incentivise property based wealth while often heavily taxing other forms of business, and there will always be some patsy (usually Labour or formerly the Greens) who will buy into this populist vision in order to buy votes.

    In other words, we got a government we asked for. Or at enough people were willing enough to tolerate.

    As for unemployment, its nothing more than a system of containment. By heavily loading unemployment into key groups like youth (don’t vote, low influence, can be forced to emigrate), migrants (don’t vote and can be forced to emigrate), construction workers (largely uneducated and associated with massive wage greed during tiger years aka “its their own fault”), it means that only a minority of other workers are hit.
    To give you an idea of what this means, consider this. Last year I was chatting to a senior manager in a significant supply chain outsourcer based in Dublin. He was saying that a recruitment consultant he uses was saying to him that 80% of the people she has placed in the last year were coming from another job – the interpretation this guy, who teaches by the way, part time on a credible business school, was that the majority of those being laid off were “ineffective.” Thats exactly what the government wants you to believe. It was all their own fault. Thats why the enormous pressure to become self employed – if you fail, then we can blame you again.
    Our problem here is we cling to 1970s business models when what we need is total transformation of entire models of doing business from the ground up, including financing, banking, credity – everything. But instead, Ireland, likes its banks, are retrenching.

    The problem I think is not so much that the government have become too powerful but because they unfortunately do actually represent the real feelings, skills, abilities of the people, which have now been exposed to be low, unimaginative, self-serving and self-reinforcing.

    • Deco

      A key factor in the inflation of commercial rates, is the ‘imperialism gone mad’ culture in the local authorities. Just look at the ridiculously oversized complexes that they built themselves over the past five years. It was like as if there was a ditherer running every local authority in Ireland, as well as the Big Ditherer running the country as a whole.

  5. Peter Atkinson

    David is once again pointing out the obvious as seen by the “insiders”.Two British banks are already returning back to profitability and here we are in the parriah state asking already cash strapped mortgage holders to dip in again by one of the big two joke banks and fork out an additional 0.45% per month.In simplistic terms we are being asked to screw ourselves twice over,once with the tax bailout and twice with the mortgage increase.Are we as a people afraid to make a stand.How bad does it need to get before we take to the street.I know I am wasting bandwidth saying any of this because the message is not filtering down, screw them (the government) before they screw you beyond repair.Remember even the Labour Party admit that there is nothing they can do now to reverse the effects of NAMA so the longer this shag goes on the nearer we are to a cead mile faitle to the IMF and at this stage I’d prefer them anyday.

    • Deco

      The ILP were terrified of an election occurring and being forced to actually follow up in their public PR concerning NAMA.

      Bear in mind that when NAMA was put before the Dail last November, the government only needed 73 seats or thereabouts to get it through because so many opposition deputies had better things to do than show up.

      It is a show – to convince us that democracy is actually happening. FG had a love in with IBEC in January, concerning economic policy when FG were at close to 35%in the polls. They kept George Lee (an economist) out of it in case he found out anything – as his motives were too pure for the rest of them. But John Deasy and Lucinda Creighton (both economic dunces) were present as “safe pair of hands” type envoys from FG.

      Opposition ? they are terrified of actually having to be placed in a position of having to do something about it.

      The whole political thing is a facade. George Lee told us this. And he was ripped asunder by the pro-FG Denis ‘Tax me in Malta’ O’Brien radio stations, with continual sneering.

      If we are to preserve even the semblance of free thinking in this country, O’Brien’s radio group will have to be broken up, and his ownership in INM terminated. O’Brien has far more control over the media than Ryanair has over airtravel, yet the competition Authority is doing nothing about him. And the Revenue commisioners cannot touch him.

  6. Anglo Irish

    I couldn’t agree more. The sad truth is that the power of the Gombeens and Mandarins is actually increasing as the crisis progresses.

    “Self-preservation” would appear to be the only guiding principle of government in Ireland that I have observed since I returned 12 years ago. Not for Fine Fail the ideological bagage of clear statements of policy and principles. Much better to pander to the big groups with influence: the public service unions and the professions. No surprise then that we have some of the highest paid and protected professions and public servants in the world.

    If you have had the misfortune of your losing your income the implicit message is: “Please do the decent thing and leave the country”

    Without fundamental change we are headed straight back to the 50′s never mind the 80′s

  7. dermo

    The monster is killing itself ,the vote buying Centralized political welfare state is getting hammered.There is constant blame and scapegoating of private business for the failures of Government and the mess where in.Ireland Ltd is controlled and regulated by government ,they got it wrong ,they have created the mad deficit spending not the private sector .We are constantly hearing the smartest and the brightest work in the Department of Finance,God help us if they all turn out to be geniuses where going to be in a bigger hole.
    What we are seeing in Ireland is years of people thinking with their pockets not their heads, governments buy power in bidding word wars.They don’t care ,its very easy spend other people’s money and when you run out you have the power to sell your country into debt peonage (Govrenment Bonds).
    They will kill business in this country as we can see what is happening to the SME’s in this country ,they are vilified ,harassed ,regulated into the floor, from different state bodies.They spend countless hours and good money that could be used to better their business instead of throwing it into the black hole called government.
    We are seeing what a bunch of economic illiterate ,politicos we have put in place because they offer us something for nothing.
    Well there is no such thing as a free lunch and Ireland Ltd is starting to figure that out.

  8. lion_bar

    and while the government screw the rate payers the banks will do the same to the mortgage holders

  9. michaelcoughlan

    Like I said in a previous post “Freedom is not free or perpetual. It is an extraordinarily beautiful but fragile flower which must be husbanded and protected every day the republic is in existence and if the citizenry are too yellow, stupid, indifferent or greedy to protect it she will simply withhold that beauty”(in other words we get the type of administration and society we deserve irrespective of who is in power). Putting the description of a failed state a little more succinctly “we live in a country in which we cannot entrust our children to the clergy, money to the banks nor our country to our politicians. It is currently impossible in Ireland to make an honest living by farming, taxi driving, building/developing and in many other ways not mentioned. With regard to farming some of the best and most productive farmers and farms in the world are here in Eire. Come to think of it I suppose we could all try and get a job in the banks! I currently feel that we let go of our democracy already, first in the Lisbon debacle and subsequently in allowing ourselves to become so indebted to European banks whose only motive is return on investment. The government throwing its weight around now is only the last straw. I also made a remark on a previous post about Ireland becoming a de-facto communist state due to the increasing and in my view wholly unacceptable dominance the government will continue to exert in all aspects of Irish life and Gege le Beau suggested that I was a bit too far into the Neo liberal camp but I can assure you and Gege nothing could be further from the truth!

    • Gege Le Beau

      @michaelcoughlan – the only thing remotely ‘communist’ about this country (communist in the terms of commune, common, or sharing) is the extend to which debts from private financial institutions have been parcelled out to the general public (privatisation of profit, socialisation of risk & debt) – without their say.

      How is the deduction of wages, rising unemployment, cutting of social benefits to the blind, the old, carers and so on a reflection of anything resembling a ‘communist’ style political economy? We live in a capitalist/neoliberal market economy, the hallmarks of which litter the road like that of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) force from Dunkirk in 1940.

      Fianna Fail is as right wing as they come, they would give US Republicans a run for their money, they are even considering privatising State companies(?).

      • Deco

        Actually, if you look at the policy framework employed by FF over the past few years, you will see that it is to the left of the policy framerwork applied by the UK Labour Party (the original of the species, not the amaterish bunch of chancers here).

        Plus, the saga known as Bertie the Socialist, when a FF leader threw money at every left wing cause in the country and produced the greatest Keynesian Stimulus package ever in Ireland. In the process he overheated the economy. The cosy relationship that existed between the Ditherer and trade union bosses provides clear indication of a strong left wing policy bias between the Ditherer’s ears.

        And, FF being one of the key movers behind the Liberals Group in the Euro Parlaiment. I mean maybe they are right wing also – though for PR they probably prefer to be called ‘progressives’. (another joke of a term – even used by the PDs).

        And then we have FF’s close relationships with the US branch, Tammany Hall – officially called the Democrats.

        FF’s handling of the economy in the last ten years was left wing, because the state sector expanded beyond the rate of growth of the economy as a whole, public sector wages went above the rate of private sector wage growth (despite a massive difference in productivity), and the level of oversight provided by the state became ridiculous. The State even went into the Bread and Circuses business, and tried to throw money into a second Circus Maximumus on the Southside, to compete with the one on the Northside.

        I see a mountain of evidence that FF were trying to be the main conventional left wing party in Ireland, from everything they did over the last ten years. But mainly their cosy cronyism with union bosses. And when they looked after big business, they could claim to be doing the same as New Labour in Britain. The behaviour of the Ditherer’s government was parallel to the behaviour of left wing politicians in other countries in the STUPID group.

        And now we have Gilmore who promises to be the new Ditherer.

        I reckon that the conventional spectrum definition does not apply. Need a different dimension of analysis. The old one dimensional analysis is distortional and illusionary. It fails to grasp what is going on. In reality, it is far more complex. Now, I understand that there is a deep heartfelt desire by those on the left to say that FF are on the right of the spectrum. But that does not get us any further in understanding what is really going on, and it is delusionary. The political establishment is more complex than that.

        I am sticking to David’s analysis – insiders and outsiders. And maybe wannabe insiders doing favours for insiders, as an act of self promotion.

        • Gege Le Beau

          Would that be ‘New Labour’ you are comparing Fianna Fail to? Think you give FF way to much credit in your opening sentence:

          ‘policy – framework – employed’

          Little mention of the PDs wagging the dog, use of Shannon, role in arms industry (estimated at 1 billion per annum (Dan Buckley, Irish Examiner), inflated housing market (pricing it way beyond the average industrial wage), huge social inequalities, failure to regulate (in keeping with Milton Freedman, Ayn Rand, Alan Greenspan school of economics), dependent economy – over reliance on foreign multinationals, construction and FDI -, financialisation of the economy (decline of manufacturing base), privatisation, tax breaks for the rich, run down public services, commodificaton of everyday life – real left wing no association with the neoliberal project whatsoever.

          I better stop as I am in danger of being branded a ranter and must start a new political party in my spare time, heard McDowell is talking of ‘Republicanism’ maybe he can be converted to the Left or was he one in secret…….

          Don’t think ideology driven economic policies should be ditched for the nebulous ‘insider-outsider’ but just to entertain it, doing deals with leading Union people who were on 150k basic salary plus directorships was more insider dealings than anything to do with leftist/populist politics, as for wages in the public sector, they are high for the chosen few, the majority make less than €40,000 per annum (TDs, heads of semi-states and anyone else politically appointed excluded naturally).

        • There would be some merit to your arguments up to meltdown 2008. Arguably those on social welfare did benefit somewhat from the FF low taxation of the rich policy and there were more crumbs then that fell from the table of the developers, croneys, land speculators tax exiles, Neds and other beneficiaries of the ponzi property hegemony built by FF.

          Though many would point to the poor enough educational infrastructure, the poorer enough HSE, the transport system apart from over priced road building.

          Since 2008, we have socialism of the banks, moral hazard invasion of the purse snatchers plundering of the public purse, NAMA taking over private businesses, destruction of the tourism industry, takeover of NAMA hotels.

          This indeed is communism,a modern most destructive form of state
          ownership and destruction of democracy that apes corporatism http://bit.ly/7jy6vJ

          Very little is outside state ownership and the serf taxpayers are its chattel.

          Surely the myth that FF was ever a left wing party is now correctly exposed for the scam it was. Beneath the gestural social welfare supports posing FF as a party of the left was just a manifestation of the emperor without clothes, a corporatism ready to sell out each and every taxpayer to any banker gombeen funding their headlong rush to economic failure.

          The real agenda was the offshore accounts, low taxation model for the rich, the property scamming, tax exiles, the infiltration of politics by the banks and the financial community, an entirely different neo liberal agenda, anathema to democracy and right wing to the extreme.

          • above response to Deco’s ‘Bertie the Socialist’ analysis of FF as left wing…agree with lots you say, Deco, but gotta disagree with you there, the real game on was Anglo feeding the FF cronies the billions with the regulator muzzled and the planners muzzled, not the socialo welfare crumbs

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ cbweb – we could not be further from socialism/communism than what is occuring in Ireland, it is State Capitalism if anything followed by the neoliberal way.

  10. Deco

    Excellent article. Probably one of the key landmark articles of the past decade.

    Gombeens are attracted to the state system like flies to sh1t.

    Their objective is maximization of the margin, covert dealing and or course the holy grail objective of consumerist modernity – “something for nothing” (to quote Kunstler).

    And under the current scheme called NAMA, we see this in full swing. But also there is the NDP, and various other schemed to “pump-prime” the economy (well the part of it run by those in the know at any rate). The banks are working the above descibed system very well at the moment. They key part that nobody truly understands is the control IBEC have over the media (as provider of advertising sponsorship).

    The more powerful the state becomes the more corruption it seems to attract. In fact, in the current environment Ireland is a crony statist capitalism economy. Basically there is no seperation of state and private sector. They are interfering with each other incestuously every time an opportunity is presented.

    Concerning small business, they also have to contend with corruption of the planning process which has swamped the supply of retail units, directed transport policy away from traditional locations in favour of Liffey Valley, Dundrum SC type complexes etc.. (all for a few brown envelopes as Mr. Tom Gilmartin has continually informed us in the Tribunal hearings).

    We have power in two ways. In how we vote, and how we spend our money. The media exist to ensure that we support our advertising sponsors in both these spheres – in essence existing to prevent us from choosing options that are in our own best interests, and to preven anybody expressing our individual freedom.

  11. complexxon

    The parliamentary deficit is caused by Exxon’s industrial dominance
    http://cheapOil.banking.complexxon.org

  12. Deco

    We are seeing a downward moral spiral in society, with new and ever more determined drives to accumulate power and apply coercion to extract resources from the citizenry. Exercising power as a means to earn a living has become the primary function of the state, to the detriment of those trying to earn a living. the state is actually functioning like an elephant in a china shop. Perhaps even like a drunken elephant in a china shop.

    Should anybody be surprised at the young people leaving. Interestingly enough, their primary choices of destinations are both big empty countries with decentralized state systems that are much less agressive, far less corrupt, and mild in their ambitions in comparison to the state here. And presumably there is no Fascistic type control arrangement like our Partnership Talks system, with IBEC on one side and ICTU on the other, instructing the political establishment how to keep the population pacified and obedient.

  13. paul

    Trawling through this site from nearly two years ago I notice one name cropping up regularly contributing sensible constructive arguments- Emerald Islander.No sign of him (her?)lately though,could it be they had enough of the endless statistics and diatribes produced by the other contributors,all to drive everyone into an impotent fury at Ireland’s predicament?
    Why not get off your collective arses,hire a room somewhere,invite George Lee,Gene Kerrigan and of course the main man David and anyone else deemed appropriate,with a view to starting a popular anti-government movement or new political party?
    This has been said often before,is it never the right time or what?

    • adamabyss

      This is just a debating shop paul.

      In the comments of the last article I asked for some genuine practical help – none was forthcoming. People around here just like the sound of their own voices although I admit I’m guilty of liking the sound of them too!

      But nothing will happen from here…

      • crossroads

        Re. ‘Just A Debating Shop’

        Albeit bytimes an informative and entertaining debating shop, this is unfortunately true.

        It’s easier to rant about the, by now, well-known errors of the past and problems of the present than to answer the questions frequently asked by newcomers to this forum; “What would you do?”, “What is the way forward?”

        It takes a much greater effort and collective endeavour to answer these questions and it is a shame that the analysis, anger and energy present in this forum can’t be applied towards a definition of the country we want to live in and a positive roadmap to this land.

        Alas, the solution is greater than any one individual, so we all (myself included) stuggle on with our individual lives while having a regular bitch about the apparent incompetence of those in power and the frustration of not having any alternative leaders or plan to believe in.

        While the apathy and docility of the Irish voter is often criticised here, the contributors to this forum fall into the same trap. Ultimately, the anger is frustrated impotence and no positive action arises.

        So we’ll all continue to huddle around each new article to riff on its theme and have the usual old rant.

        Unless…

        • Gege Le Beau

          Would people stop shooting one another, if people want to come on here and debate, comment on David’s articles, highlight stuff, argue the toss, vent, disagree or agree, ‘subscribe’ as one poster does continuously, talk about moon wobbles, seek to be informed or have a burning desire to try and motivate people to start a political movement or instigate some kind of social transformation then that is all fine with me.

          People do what they do. Some people comment, some people act (in their own way), some people do both, but coming on and berating people because they ain’t running up the Plough and the Stars over the GPO or launching the new Irish party from their kitchen, come on…..this is a forum and there have been a few spin offs and friendships, if anything, it is good to know there are people thinking and putting forward views, whether you agree or disagree is another story, I can understand the frustration with the lack of action from the populace……….the fire just doesn’t seem to be there, so we keep the candles going in the meantime, lets try not to put them out as well.

  14. mogrady14

    David is right about the elected government and the vast state apparatus (civil service, quangos, county councils, government departments etc) merging together to the detriment of the average citizen. The problem is there is no money to pay for all these administrators. They just want to survive and get paid but what are they actually doing all day. I figure there are 250,000 people working in government administration and about 130,000 only delivering services (guards, nurses, teachers, hospital doctors, hospital frontline staff, judges). Many people who get these administration jobs tend to be related to the politicans or in the government offices already. In one government office in my town where 12 worked in administration- 3 were related. None of these 3 had third level education despite other applicants being better educated. Most people in government jobs work in administration not service provision and now there is no money to pay them.

    The department of finance is either stupid or corrupt. Either way the people in this department should be let go. The department of finance have a lot to answer for in relation to the banks and over lending during the property boom. Why should the taxpayer pay these vast government departments like the department of finance after what they allowed to happen in our banks?

    The problem is that people who would have left in previous generations and gone to the UK,US won’t be going there now unless they are willing to undercut the Polish in the UK or the Mexicans in US. Polish are found in professional jobs like pharmacists, opticans, accountants, administration. So the Irish middleclass has to compete against these but won’t want to in the UK. So middleclass Irish have nowhere to go (except Australia with conditions). Middleclass Irish stay and they will be pissed that they cannot get a job here and they will start complaining about the massive government administration, endangering the civil service.

    The government needs money to pay for all these quangos and administrators earn 926 euros a week before deductions. Not bad for an administation job. So, it wants to charge for water, property tax, privatise Shannon airport etc all of which is to the detriment of the ordinary taxpayer.

  15. The ‘politico-mandarin complex’. I like that one and will need to write it down :-)

    In other words the politicians don’t have a clue what they stand for. So what’s new? Most of know that already

    20% of business people in Ireland recently said they would vote FF (again!) yet as you pointed out they are being shafted on the rates. I have known some business people in my time and they are not all as smart as they think just because they know how to turn a buck. Some of them are as thick as mince, believe it or not, and their voting intentions say so. When people think about money all the time it makes them stupid, ignorant and self centered

    This country is not capable of becoming a real democracy that answers to the people because the people have no pride or self respect. They have given their republic away to a mafia that will ensure that we are all bled dry

    Taxes, stealth taxes and high prices are the future and if that is not bad enough the bastards are planning to sell state assets to the vultures. They have realised that they can’t get blood out of a stone such is the level of personal debt in Ireland and in their desperation they resort to pawning the family silver. Only problem is it is not theirs to sell

    The revolution will not be coming any time soon bro’ because this nation is politically docile. Two years after the meltdown the silence is deafening. Fear is all around us and the people are living in a cocoon of denial and still hoping they will one day waken up and find out that it was all just a bad dream. They have been brainwashed by over thirty years of neo-con ideology and economic theories to the point where they have no power at all

    The level of contempt politicians here have for the electorate is appaling – Ahearn telling us to commit suicide and laughing about Paddy being happy as long as he gets blootered a few times a week and his leg over on a Friday night. Refusing to hold by elections when a seat becomes vacant is the most recent blatant disregard for the Irish electorate. They really are a disgusting lot

    The one about confidence in the markets is a laugh. How can you anyone have confidence in a country of pathological liars and cute hoors where you cant believe a word any one says any more?

    Im off fishing. Bon chance.

  16. econarchist

    “I was a bit perplexed about the inconsistency of policy and his ability to say anything to anyone that he thought they wanted to hear”. I don’t who David is talking about here but it describes Bertie Ahern very well. There was nobody better at being all things to all men.

    He was an inner city boy and and at the same time the son of a farmer (because his father worked in the Botanical Gardens). He managed to present both these versions of his background in one of the pre-election leaders debate.

    He was a makeup-wearing metrosexual (with an annual bill of thirty thousand euros for makeup) and at the same time a pint-drinking, football-watching one of the lads.

    He claimed to have no interest in material wealth around the same time that he was taking payments from businessmen while he was receiving a huge salary as Taoiseach. He claimed that all he cared about was “if I can go on my annual holidays to Kerry, get a few days sometimes, if I can get now and again to Old Trafford, if I have enough money for a few pints and if I can look after Miriam and the kids.”

    He claimed to be a socialist at the same time that he was carrying out a campaign of privatisiation and corporate tax cutting.

    He said that he was opposed to the war in Iraq at the same time that he was allowing Shannon airport to be used for refuelling the planes on their way to that war.

    He presented himself as a liberal, and around the same time as a traditional catholic. In his “Hard Talk” interview with Stephen Sackur on the BBC World Service, where much of the audience would have western liberal values, he spoke proudly of how gay rights had improved during his time in power. In another interview with Gay Byrne, whose the audience would be older and more conservative, he said that lives by the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes.

  17. Philip

    I really annot say anything more. A most excellent article.

    Financial orthodoxy drives these kind of behaviours. If you think this is bad. I can see another crisis driving us to the tipping point where democracy is no longer seen as “practical”. We need leaders we’ll be told. We cannot be shackled with the rights of the few who get in the way of the well being of the many and before you know it, a 2 metre pipe will be driven through your house to pump water from the Shannon to Dublin.

    Scary times

  18. If we cannot grow our own leaders then we will find ouselves indentured with an imported one who will place its name on our shackles and we lose all our empowerment we presently enjoy.So we have a choice do we remain as humanoids ( with a conscience and be seen to act as one ), lepracauns ( leave the country ) or dolphins ( negative equity and lost in translation in coronation street).

  19. Imported leaders usually arrive on a floatilla , a foreign legion of armed warriors or a large armed airborn squadron .

    • LOST – when they arrive we are then …..LOST .We cease to exist and what we once knew is no more .From then on you do what you are TOLD.
      No more memories everything is GONE Forever.

  20. Gege Le Beau

    The Most Dreaded Enemy of Liberty

    Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . .

    James Madison
    4th President of the United States
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18562.htm

  21. Malcolm McClure

    Eisenhower also said ‘Things are more like they are now than they ever were before.’;

    Jonathan Swift said : ‘All government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery.’ also ‘ I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.’

    Bernard Shaw said: ‘Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.’

  22. michaelcoughlan

    Hi Gege le Beau,

    Thank you for your response. I took some time to reflect on your post and am happy now to respond. You make a very valid point and I am happy to clarify what I mean. The word I should use is totalitarian instead of communist. In order to achieve the communist ideal in a country a totalatarian regime must first be established which means communism will not work due to totalitarianism. Catch 22. Ireland is becoming more like a totalitarian dictatorship every day as described by Mr McWilliams in this article. One of the reasons we are in the shit isn’t because of capitalism but because capitalism has been stopped in its tracks. What should have happened in the banks case is they should have been closed and wound down with the shareholders and bondholders left to their devices to regain as much of the recklessly lent money they provided. As you said yourself what we have in actual fact done is privatise profit and nationalise risk. That simply isn’t capitalism. With regard to the banks in the US and previous US administrations the US banks lent money knowing it would never be paid back. That isn’t capitalism or neo liberalism either it’s called criminality and corruption. The same goes for fabricated evidence justifying the war in “eyeraack” and Afghanistan. As for “Fianna Fail is as right wing as they come, they would give US Republicans a run for their money” I simply don’t agree with this point at all. Government spending exploded during the Celtic Tiger years and unlike the US this wasn’t spent on waging war.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi,
      I forgot to say that I happen to agree with you that there should be a more equitable distribution of the wealth created. I suggest following the Australian model whereby corporation tax rises as far as 40% in some cases once 6% return on investment is achieved in the body corporate. I also believe that the ratio of CEO salary to the salary of the average industrial wage needs to be pegged together. Such a ratio exists between the higher earning higher profile soccer players and lower profile players on the same soccer teams in the UK. Pay increases in line with the increase of the higher earners are written into the contracts of the lower profile players on the same team and are awarded automatically if the higher profile player gets a pay rise. We should implement something similar for all the people at work in Ireland. Just my two cents worth.

      • Gege Le Beau

        Michael Coughlan, you can’t be serious, equating communism with totalitarianism, think you may be stuck in a cold war mentality, what happened in the Soviet Union and elsewhere wasn’t communism, they were ‘one party’ totalitarian regimes, which correctly crumbled, they just hijacked terms and branded themselves to give the appearence of respectibility, not unlike ‘democracy’, ‘free markets’, ‘flexibility in the labour force’, democracy promotion, Western Civilisation (“a good idea, if only it existed” Gandhi once said) etc it is all double-speak.

        The bailing out of the banks by the ‘government’ (more like the oligarchy) against the will of the people, the provision of billions with no strings attached is State Capitalism, it is intervention by a ‘government’ to prop up the business run society and ensure the financial services industry returns to profitability at the expense of the citizen, nothing socialist about that.

        I was being slightly facetious in my analogy with Fianna Fail and US Republicans, but there are similarites, the Budget deficit ballooned under Republican Presidents like Reagan and Bush II the latter who has left a legacy of trillions of dollars spelt on wars and private interests) courtesy of the US citizen.

        The blanket bank guarantee, NAMA and all the rest is like uber capitalism or capitalism on acid, logic goes out the window and money is thrown at the problem (good money after bad), but it doesn’t matter because those making the decisions benefit from them and those against the decisions but not involved in the decision making (no referendum on 70-90 billion expenditure and 14-16 billion government spending) don’t benefit, instead they suffer.

        This is by ‘any means necessary capitalism’ to ensure the survival and eventual profitability of those who have been profligate, reckless and criminal – it is remarkable. Don’t pay your TV license face a fine, possibly the courts, possibly a jail sentence. Commit economic terrorism and bring the State to the financial abyss, expect a golden handshake and plentiful opportunities to visit the villa in the sun. Give me a break. Ireland does resemble a totalitarian regime rather than anything social democratic.

        Supposedly under the the so called rules of the game, when you fail or are financially reckless you go under, that might apply to small businesses and the self employed, those not connected or who have little to no money but it obviously doesn’t apply to campaign contributors, to major ‘institutions’ here or abroad, no they got bailed, why? Because the rules are bollock, just like free trade is nonsense, the IMF/World Bank are a dangerous duo (financial emforcers), and commodity speculation (which drives prices up and up and people in developing countries to the edge) a crime, that Africa subsidies Western financial banks with hundreds of billions of dollars (multiples of what it supposedly receives in aid).

        George Bernard Shaw once said poverty was the worst of evils and greatest of crimes, I think the same can be said of capitalism. What is ‘certain’ today, countries ‘built’ on FDI, multinationals, export orientated policies is tomorrow’s canard. The world is being ruled by might, by force and violence, an intensification as resources shrink, the game is up for the wasteful, exploitative, inefficient, environmentally destructive, socially poisonous system that is capitalism. The end of (a branch) history indeed but as we see, it is going down fighting and bringing many with it but then Imperial systems always die hard.

        And just like former PDs and Fine Gaelers jump on the rising Labour star, so too will the proponents of this system change their colours, adopt new clothes and a new mantra, just like the Soviets became so called market capitalists and the Chinese ‘market socialists’. Marx was right when he said: ‘all that is permanent melts like snow’.

        No more absolutes, it is the era of turbulence.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Hi Gege,
          If you re read my post just above this one by you will see that my point about communism and totalitarianism AGREES with yours. So stop ramming your anti capitalist rhetoric down my throat.

  23. Reflections :

    I grew up in the north side of Limerick off the ennis road and walking distance to shop in the city .In the eary 60′s I attended the only boys primary school in the north side then and it was attended by the well off and those who had less .The snobs went to the jesuits then ( to south side).I was also an alter boy to the only parish then north of the city and it had two churches and often had to attend both churches weekly .
    I can remember many of those who wedded then from both economic divides and how normal life was then for everyone and how freely they mixed .Many of those from the poorer side are now grandparents or related to the young men now in prison and are all on social welfare.Most of them are decended from the british army of the Welsh regiment stationed in Limerick and their surnames show that up .And the grandparents on the well off side are now struggling and some beginning to apply for social welfare and with their adult children sunk in bank debt.

    Two things I have noticed over time :

    1 All those from the poor parts have become poorer and now living in danger and the younger generation have very little education and no communication skills .Their grandparents feel bitter that their families have become victims of a government they once trusted.These areas have lost the infrastructure they once enjoyed .; and

    2 All those in the better part are also poorer because they are swimming in debt but from apearances live in swanky houses.And I am not suppose to tell you that because it is a secret.

    My own judgement is I blame the Corporation for their bad planning and negligence for causing segregation and they are the root cause that caused the distruction of a very happy community then.

    I believe nothing will prepare me what will happen for the next generation to come and how any community will survive.One person I can give great credit to is Pat Cox who campaigns for that same school all his political life and still does since he finished his attendance there.

    My story must resonate elsewhere around the country too.

  24. HanoiJohn

    Here’s the thing – the banks are being castigated for not lending to small business but why should they lend to businesses and individuals that are not credit worthy. These businesses and individuals will only be credit worthy when there is a return to full employment. What is the government doing to bring about full employment? I heard Lenihan qouted this morning as saying that ‘hopefully’ AIB will require no further state funding. There you have it – the government is taking a punt with our children’s inheritance on the bond markets. Not so far from the Galway tent even today.

  25. wills

    David.

    Right so, an *insider* network runs a *rigged system* for the preservation of been the richest kids on the block.

    They will do whatever to get the job done.

    Democracy is expendable.

    And, it all takes place through people, general joe bloggs getting up in the morning and going about his daily business, having lunch, din din, bit of downtime with the family and bed.

    Economic and politics are windows through which one looks to seek the real story.

    • ioseebee

      It is scary how deep this economic, social & democratic crisis is running through the veins of our country, & not only our country! It is hard to know where to start when thinking about how to re-balance all these areas that are sinking the ship like heavy balls of lead rolling uncontrollably around the deck!!
      Everynow & again I see calls for a new political party as I have read this blog, & also almost revolutionary cries, which in turn scares me too and I think most who write here too! I’m taking a guess that a lot of people here have read Animal Farm & the lesson George Orwell put down so well, & are nervous about inflammable commentary too & how that can be targeted easily!

      I don’t really have answers to that particular debate, but sometimes it’s just important to have an alternative view of how things are developing & the longer that alternative view is not associated with any party or particular ideologue then it will always remain instructive & trustworthy to those who wish to understand what is going on around them! I feel this blog has been the one & only place I’ve felt a real daily relevant debate is raging!

  26. ioseebee

    There is a real feeling of the horse has bolted & the final opening of the gate was the combination of guaranteeing the banks & the creation of NAMA! I feel like I’ve literally being mugged by my government! I didn’t accept that house values were fair & the wages sustainable in the Celtic Tiger & so I didn’t risk putting myself in the situation of borrowing way beyond my means to have a roof over my head, but there were many who did not fully understanding those dynamics who were led up the garden path by the government & the mortgage lenders! There were many too who understood the dynamics but were under pressure to buy for family size changing etc. Now those like myself, who didn’t buy, the second group who were conned, & the third group who had no choice but to make unfavourable borrowing decisions, are being mugged by the state two & three times over!
    & more! Through increased taxes, pay-cuts, job-cuts, bailing out rotten & dysfunctional banks now practically state owned in most cases, & our own banks finally punching those with artificially inflated mortgages with interest hikes from the right & no credit for their businesses on the left!

  27. ioseebee

    surely there must be a way of constitutionally challenging the current governments fitness to govern, by challenging the Bank Guarantees which protected the interests of betting investors & corrupt private bank directors, & NAMA which seeks to be a parachute for the same interests, propping up the already guaranteed banks, & insiders, so that they can continue business as usual, while all of us ‘outsider’ citizens’ past, present & future earnings are being pillaged to pay for the old debt! This country is indeed deficient of a proper democratic government seeking to provide a balanced & free republic for it’s people! Thankfully we are a docile people, & that we do still have relative peace, but if swathes of the population are being placed under such duress by it’s own government, & that’s before the long-term pain starts to be felt, it will eventually bubble over into a nastier situation! This government seems only to blind to that reality as much as it was blind to the property & lending bubbles & how they would destabilise!

    What I do worry about is now that the horse has bolted, how do we rein it in? And who is fit to rein? Can the bank guarantee be challenged legally & be reversed? Can the scenario of banks being allowed to go under be allowed happen in such a way as we are not saddled with the debt of those who would gamble the country’s genuine earning’s for the quick greedy helping of profit?
    So that the creativity of the people, & the work of the people, can be fairly valued & allowed prosper rather than be squeezed at every turn! What are the different scenarios for this that are possible to achieve? Is there a way of re-setting the mileage clock back? I genuinely believe already there is a surge of creativity, & unpaid work going on by those who will not give up! to try and bridge the gap left by the government! But if these seeds of a re-birth are to grow, they need light, air, sun in their business area & nutrients from the ground up so to speak! Is there a party in opposition who can provide those conditions? Is there one willing to break away from the insider, gombeen norm & reach out to the power & creativity of a truly free & balanced society? Is there a party who can describe how that society may be developed?

  28. tony_murphy

    The biggest problem Fianna Fail will create is the election of Labour into government. Full of communists who will cause irreparable damage.

    Conservative and honest Fianna Fail TD’s and Fine Gael TD’s should get together and form a new party and take over, get rid of Cowen and Lenihan now

    They should realise that the time for being whipped into conforming is over

    • Tull McAdoo

      Did they not try that already with the PD’s Tony ?

    • Deco

      Tony Murphy,

      sorry to disappoint you but I don’t think that Joe Behan and George Lee will be enough to form a government on their own. For one thing, Lee is no longer in the Dail. Therefore Joe Behan will have to join the dishonest members of FF and FG to make the proposed alliance.

      I would not describe FF as conservative. FF declare themselves to be liberal. And they are liberal in many many ways. Liberal with the truth. Liberal with the taxpayers money. Liberal with regard to financial regulation. Liberal with the planning laws. Liberal with regard to establishing quangoes. Liberal with regard to staffing quangoes. And then we have the saga of Bertie the Socialist.

      I also think you have it wrong on the ILP. No communists in there. Lots of semi-Marxist rhetoric and mush. But it never amounts to anything serious. Lots of opportunists, and a plentiful supply of Champagne socialists. Plus student revolutionaries from priveleged backgrounds in the days when that meant that most people could not afford university. And they went from being brats to politicians. I doubt they will tax the rich, because that would include many of their relatives. And loads of useful idiots going around convinced that they were improving the world by asking people for voting for opportunists. Gilmore has a massive estate in Galway – which he rents to the real proletariat because he could not be bothered with that sort sweaty work himself. Dick Spring is a NED for Eircom – so as to become part of the Irish culture of management.

      FF/ILP would fit together nicely. They had great fun sharing out all the jobs for their relatives when they were together in the mid-1990s. Back then, Bertie the Socialist was minister for Finance – and I don’t think he even had a bank account at that time. But he did have funny finances, though.

      • tony_murphy

        I believe totalitarianism isn’t far off with the current political parties. I can see very little difference between the main political parties. Fianna Fail now seem to be quite happy to move aside and let Labour into power. Why? Why hasn’t Cowen being kicked out? Why is Lenihan still in position? What about the Cabinet? containing many of those responsible for the mess Ireland now finds itself in! The Fianna Fail honest and conservative backbenchers need to kick into action and get rid of those who are responsible.

        I thought that Fianna Fail were a center-right party, but I agree with you Deco, they are now led by a leftie liberals imo. The basically toe the EU liberal lefty line. I wonder how many of the Fianna Fail TDs are comfortable with that?. We know some of their senators recently resigned the whip because they couldn’t support some liberal leftie bills recently.

        For me, the Labour party in government would mean an even more bloated public service filled with crony’s, a even greater welfare state, and the lazy do best. Criminals get off lightly etc. Culture is pushed aside. etc..

        I don’t want people to confuse my use of the term bloated Public Service to mean too many teachers/nurses/paramedics. I mean too many of those crony’s in the public service who are not front line staff and who do little but collect large pay packets.

        I guess that when Labour were last in government, they would have placed their people into positions of power in public/civil service. Just like the Greens are doing now. They probably heavily influence decisions made by government even today.

        I believe there are honest Fianna Fail and Fine Gael conservative politicians, they just need to leave there comfort zone and do what they were elected to do. I’m sure Labour have good politicians as well. Just misguided in my opinion. The Greens are a complete disaster.

        For anyone who is a liberal leftie, I suggest you read “The Cameron Deception” by Peter Hitchens and be cured

  29. Tull McAdoo

    It’s strange but I was just thinking the same thing last Friday night while I was waiting to board my flight home to Australia from Frankfurt. What I was thinking was “where exactly do these gobshites that are running Ireland at the moment see Irelands future? What is their vision for Ireland? What will Cowen tell Historians in future years? What “was the best advice He followed and was available to Him at that time”, just like He tells people now about why He made some of the desperate decisions that landed us in this shit in the first place.
    I mean the night of the guarantee he had all sorts of advice given to him as we have discovered, well at least to a certain degree, by those wishing to distance themselves from that night (reliable? who knows!), yet it appears that Cowen and Lenny went off on some sort of solo run which we are left to conclude was only in the interest of the few. It’s my contention on that matter that Cowen and co. knew from the advice they were getting from all around them that the game was well and truly up and all that was left to decide was “how the last of the looting of the State’s coffers was going to be conducted” or “how much of a future war chest could they get away with”.

    When I pondered the above I was left with the cold truth and it was, that these “so and so’s” have no vision what so or ever. This is crisis management for a crisis that was flagged years back and should have been headed off way back then. These fools do not and never have, had to trade their way out of tough times or slumps before. They have no idea about how wealth is created or how value is added to increase net worth. These gobshites have had their noses in the same property trough for so long that they only know how to squeeze value out of property as was witnessed by the fact that their shoeboxes were getting smaller in direct proportion to their prices going up.

    So their we have it in a nutshell from these fools….. The best way to get more money out of something is by downsizing and then increasing the price…….less for more in financial terms……NO added value just a hard neck and ask for more money…….More Taxes less services…….. AWWW the waste of time they really are…

    • Tull McAdoo

      Gege le Beau, this is all very informative about America etc. but what has any of this to do with Irelands travails. It is all very fine to draw parallels between Irelands plight and elsewhere if relevant, but I just dont see the relevance in the link’s you posted above. Maybe you could add your thoughts about what’s contained in those links above and how it applies to Ireland. Maybe Im just a bit slow on the uptake so maybe you could humour me on this occasion ;-)

      • Gege Le Beau

        Is it not self-evident?

        Does Ireland operate in splendid isolation or is it part of a global nexus where the rules of the economic game are just applied domestically? Are Carlin’s observations, albeit humourous, related to this ‘island of Ireland’ as much as they do to the so called ‘United’ States?

        What about Eisenhower speeches on the military-industrial complex in 1961 and commerical rates increasing in Ireland and businesses closing? Are all things not related? Part of the circle of the natural world? Or the New Economic Order in the socio-economic realm? The rising of the mountains and movement of the seas, speculative capital transactions and privatisation policy?

        Take a step back from the mountain and see the mountain?

  30. econarchist

    Just like the way that the government is ripping off businesses with commercial rates, the Green Party is planning to rip off the public by charging for the amount of water usage, but they present this as a green policy. These charges might make perfect sense in a lot of countries with water shortages like Australia but in case anyone didn’t notice, the stuff falls out of the sky in huge quantities in Ireland, and it isn’t consumed by a large population. The only sort of restriction should be for swimming pools. If they want to save water they could fix or replace the pipes where so much water is leaking from, which would provide jobs and be a good investment in infrastructure.

    The Green Party are often called tree huggers but they have no real interest in green policies, except as a way of presenting an image. The ban on stag hunting was a minor concession that affects only a tiny number of people, but it was useful for various politicians to distract attention from the bigger issues.

    Like all the other parties, they have no interest in anything except jobs for the boys and girls. That’s why they demanded and got an extra ministerial job for Mary White as the price for continuing to keep FF in power. That’s also why the unelected Deirdre de Burca quit when she didn’t get a job in Europe. That’s also why Eamon Ryan was able to offer a €165,000 quango job after just a phone call and without consulting anyone. They’re all part of the same system that David describes.

    • Deco

      Econarchist – you have figured out the GP also. 100% correct. Just a bunch of pretenders look for state jobs for their mates. a collection of hypocrites.

      De Burca got hammered in the Euro election last year. 99 point something of those who bothered to vote decided that she should not be going to Europe. so she decides to circumvent that and use nepotism. She almost pulled it off. MGQ, the current EU Commisioner basically told her to clear off. MGQ was herself a beneficiary of nepotism – because I don’t know what qualifications she has in the research area – probably another lawyer in charge of a technical disciple. And of course Suds Junior got a position in the cabinet of MGQ. (I didn’t see the advertisement for that post in any of the daily newspapers – did you ?

      The whole system is rotten with nepotism. Layers of well connected wasters.

      The first thing that Gormless did when he became Minister was make excuses for Dick Roche signing the M3 Motorway on Roche’s last day as Minister. From day 1 Gormless was a hypocrite. Basically they engage in plenty of PR and rip us off.

  31. Peter Atkinson

    tony_murphy are you joking???.Conservative honest politicians.They don’t exist.Sure for that matter we may as well have a National government.In fact after the next general election when all the anti government independant candidates are elected the notion of a party will no longer exist.Remember the ideal of feeding the masses to attract the vote.Thats why the Taliban won’t disappear in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that monsoon tradgedy where the Taliban were standing by ready to fill the aid void that the West were unable to fill proves my point, fill their bellies and get their vote.

  32. The posts seem to indicate that our government are only there by proxy where the control lies in central europe and the people lie in the middle of the atlantic .

  33. Deco

    Dwight D. Eisenhower. Probably the last US President who actually left America stronger, more peaceful, wealthier and more equal at the end of his term in office. I don’t know if that was his intention, but that was the way it worked out. A case of gradual improvement and always going in the right direction, even if the pace was slow at times. Every US President since has been making problems for America, in one area or another. And often in multiple areas. The US under Eisenhower was a bit like China currently. Other countries were marvelling in awe at the rate of progress being achieved. Often with an enormous amount of jealousy at the sight of a big powerful industrialized economy with massive critical mass, rock solid finances, a massive current account surplus, and a currency that was the anchor of the system.

    Strange thing about Eisenhower, he was rather mundane compared with the long line of hard sell showmen that followed. And every one of these showmen has committed serious mistakes. Maybe it television. Maybe television is responsible for turning political selection into a show, where the showman wins every time. It seems to get worse with every decade. With war with Iran on the horizon, and the “print-baby-print” agenda, Obama looks highly likely to be propelled in the same direction. Relations with China are becomming increasingly strained also, but you won’t hear any of that in the Irish media. (53rd state, Tammany Hall, and all of that).

    • Gege Le Beau

      @ Deco – Eisenhower was hardly tame, supported the brutal French effort to put down the rising in Indochina (Vietnam), in 1953 overthrew the democratically elected government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, in 1954 toppled President Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, invasion of Lebanon in 1958, planned the Bay of Pigs………..

      As for more peaceful, more equal, better off…………for whom? Native Americans, African Americans or Whites?

      • Deco

        You ar correct about Iran. The British with American support reinstalled the Shah as a means of ensuring commercial intersts had business as usual. Same applied in Guatamala. I doubt he needed to tell the French to be brutal in Vietnam – they were able to do that by themselves.

        Eisenhower did send in the troops to enforce Supreme Court civil rights judgements in the Southern states, taking a hard line on any opposition.

        If you examine the economic picture, you will see increasing prosperity across all the elements of American society. And there was no build up of debt. In fact debts were reduced. Has any US President achieved this since ?

        • Gege Le Beau

          Deco, forgive me if I misinterpret, but it is almost as if you dismiss the destruction of democratically elected governments as a kind of point scoring, when in reality any one of these acts is a gross violation of international law.

          As for Vietnam, the US armed and funded French Forces there(without which they wouldn’t have lasted a day in the country, so they prolonged an unnecessary war). When the French got their butts kicked at Dien Bien Phu and the game was finally up, the US intensified direct action as opposed to the proxy use of force (Graham Greene’s ‘The Quiet American’ depicts this quite well, as does the movie of the same name with Michael Caine and Brendan Fraiser).

          I think you may need to take a closer look at US society in the 1950s, sure there were high levels of consumption, bit more money around after the war etc, people’s savings, push towards free-ways (because the car sets you free?), suburbia, commutes etc, which has come back to haunt the US in terms of environmental damage, over reliance on oil imports and the subsequent wars and interventions to control that strategic resource, all of which is well documented.

          As for African Americans and other minorties, well, as I mentioned, think they would have a thing or two say about the ‘Great Society’ picture you paint. The 1950s, despite Eisenhower’s warning, also saw an explosion in the military-industrial complex, and a heightening of Cold War tensions, paranoia in the US which trickled into the education system and produced some Cold War lunatics, who are pushing the buttons today.

          COINTELPRO (which I suspect few people know anything about) also started under Eisenhower in 1956 and God only knows what was going on in Latin America with support for a whole host of dictators and their habit of taking out trade union leaders (see Operation Condor).

          But if you are prepared to overlook coups, interventions, a domestic surveillance programme, assassinations, support of proxy Western forces for the sake of a few new fridges and a bit more money in some people’s pockets, well…………..

          • Deco

            I am not saying that it is a ‘Great Society’. And I am not understating the effects of US Foreign Policy. I am saying that compared to the disasters that came since, it was mild in comparison. I am critical of the suburban consumerism that developed, and I am not using this model of development to justify US Foreign Policy. I am amazed to be told that I said these things. I am however saying that US Foreign Policy has got more aggressive with every Presidency since.

            I did not link improving US prosperity to US Foreign Policy. Therefore I am surprised that I am being told that I did. This is assumed because of this assumption that the US needs an aggressive Foreign policy in order to prosper. This is a flawed argument in my mind. My analysis indicates that these two aspects are inversely related. And that an increasingly aggressive Foreign policy causes declines in economic well being for a population whose government pursues this. In essence, expansionist foreign policy adventures, by other countries, as well as the US, undermine the economy at home. But it keeps happening. Just look at China expanding into Africa. Eisenhower commented about the waste that occurs when the talents of an engineer are employed making bombs instead of improving crop yields. Now, maybe his Presidency was a contradiction to his words – and if this is true then this is a seperate matter. I think that Eisenhower knew that an expansionist foreign policy was detrimental to society, and tried to account for this. Unfortunately, this idea has been thrown into the past and forgotten about.

            Yes, a critique of the suburban motoring culture is necessary. I have questioned it so many times. But now it appears that I was justifying it. And I don’t know how I let it happen. The problem was not the level of consumption in the 1950s, but the level that is occurring today. It was easy to believe in happy motoring when oil was cheap and the roads were empty. It is amazing that the belief has continued when it is expensive. In the 1950s, oil was very cheap, so the entire population made assumptions based on cheap oil. Just like now, everybody did beleived in the latest technology. Therefore criticism of today’s leading consumers is also needed. The dependence of the US on Oil should have ended in 1972, but unfortunately it didn’t. The US overallocated resources into the auto sector in this period. It did not look obvious at the time, but is is very obvious now. But in every period since there has been a complete denial about this. And not just in the US but across the globe. And even today there is massive subsidies to the auto sector, causing the train service to lose out. And this is justified because of trade union politics. I don’t think the Eisenhower Administration was responsible to this either.

            I do not think that the Interstate Motorway system in the US is a bad thing. In fact I think it is a good thing. I mean it improved communications. It provided working people with new options like vacations, education opportunities, and new job opportunities. It enabled development of cities. Of course, the overbuild of shopping malls is another matter, but this started later. I think that advertising, the media, the FIRE economy model, and loose credit policies, deserve more credit for consumerism and retail therapy than they are getting. Important infrastructure is not to blame for the effects of the ‘manufacturing of consent’.

        • Gege Le Beau

          You may also like to check out Eisenhower’s National Interstate and Defense Highway Act of 1956, which critics say was the greatest social engineering project ever carried out.

          “…..specific goal was to eliminate public transportation, destroy the inner cities, forces everyone to use cars, trucks.”

          or as David Mike in City of Quartz points out:

          “The ‘public’ spaces of the new megastructures and supermall have supplanted tradtionnal streets and disciplined their spontaneity. Inside malls, office centers and cultural complexes, public activities are sorted into strictly functional compartments under the gaze of private police forces.”

          People were herded out to suburbia, to an atomised, consumption existence and for a reason, the consequences of these policies are coming home to roost ~ alienation, lack of harmoney, something Marx wrote about decades previously.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marx's_theory_of_alienation

          • Deco

            Oh no, the people were herded into the suburbs. This is terrible. How could this happen ?

            The same might have happened here, too. Mama Harney says we are the 53rd state.

            There should be a compensation program. Where is Michael Noonan when you need him ?

          • Deco

            GM bought street tramcar companies and then closed them down. So your comment about closing down public transport has a grain of truth in it. They could not close down bus services however.

            And here we had CIE deciding as a matter of policy to close tram services, because CIE preferred people to use the car. I don’t think anything has changed with regards to CIE. They still admit that they don’t want people using certain services, as it puts pressure on them to improve the services.

          • Deco

            Concerning Marx’s theory of alienation, you obviously never looked at our modern fix for such concerns.

            the Romans have Bread and Circuses. Well, in modern Ireland, we have ‘Beer and Circuses’. But we are very sophisticated. Therefore Beer is just a categorization for all sorts of substances and consumption fixes. And then we have the circuses. We have Circus Maximus Maximus on the Northside, and Circus Maximumus Minimums on the Southside. We have the Kildare Street Circus, which is part of the D2 Circus. We have the D4 Banking circus. We have the media – which is a circus. Plus all the other pscychological distractions. Which are effectively sophisticated versions of the old Circuses of the Ceasars.

            No need for a theory, most people are saturated in beer and absorbed by circuses to the point that they do not know what is going on.

      • michaelcoughlan

        I suppose you consider that the populations in the countries you mentioned were all treated equally and with respect enjoying secure standards of living? I certainly don’t think so. I suggest you are blinded by your far left principles.

        • Gege Le Beau

          They were beginning to be treated equally Michael Coughlan, that was the point and that was why they were shut down.

          Guatemala is a perfect example in case. You can’t go the independent road, if you do then they will crush you. The message has been sent a million different ways.

          I am not blinded by anything, I see perfectly well thank you.

          I give another example, just today in fact, I decided to opt for the public health system for a medical issue a) in the interests of equality and b) to see what would happen.

          I just got home from work and received the appointment from the hospital for guess when? June 2012. I rang my doctor’s office, told them I actually have private health insurance. They literally rang me back in just 20 minutes with a new appointment with a medical consultant for when? Early September 2010 in his ‘rooms’. The ‘consultation’ will cost me €120.00 on the day (the guy will look at me for about 3-5 mins). Work it out. A two year wait on the one hand, a five week wait on the other.

          Now being losers financially/democratically is one thing, people losing their lives because of a health system being run into the ground is something altogether more serious.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Gege,

            You can’t’ see the wood for the trees. Those countries were not shut down because they were trying to treat people equally they were shut down because the price of doing so was transferring more and more of the wealth being created from the wealth creators to government to achieve the equality agenda you refer to. Democracies have never allowed a truly equal society to prevail nor will they ever. Nor indeed will any other form of human administration. One other point I am delighted you were able to get a response for a private consultation much more efficiently than a public one. Proof positive that in most cases well regulated privately operated health care is more efficient than the public one you gave as your example.

          • Gege Le Beau

            Michael Coughlan, you have a most Orwellian take on issues coupled with a complete misrepresentation of events to serve your right wing agenda.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hello Gege,
            I must say your honesty is very refreshing. If you examine my previous posts you will see that my point of view (I have no agenda) is at least centrist and could even be argued as to the left of centre. Once more I believe that wealth should be distributed more effectively than it currently is in Ireland by the methods I have described and currently being implemented in other Countries. I just don’t believe that a Communist or totalitarian form of administration is the way to achieve this goal.

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ Michael Coughlan – on ‘honesty’ that is what happens when it is in short supply or we forget what it is like.

  34. Gege Le Beau

    We could learn from our friends across the sea…………..

    The time to organise resistance is now
    We reject these cuts as simply malicious ideological vandalism, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. Join us in the fight

    It is time to organise a broad movement of active resistance to the Con-Dem government’s budget intentions. They plan the most savage spending cuts since the 1930s, which will wreck the lives of millions by devastating our jobs, pay, pensions, NHS, education, transport, postal and other services.

    The government claims the cuts are unavoidable because the welfare state has been too generous. This is nonsense. Ordinary people are being forced to pay for the bankers’ profligacy.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/aug/04/time-to-organise-resistance-now

  35. Forward Thinking : The real message in David’s article is about ‘how we can manage Not to lose our personal wealth and hopfully our national assets in the new changes that we now have before us’.
    This should be the focus of our attention and we each become leaders in ourselves , our families and our neighbourhoods.What can we do to save ourselves first and when we are successful in doing that we build up our own church inside ourselves and whatever we meet or do business with will only prosper from our own actions.This should lead to our New Order.
    So start with ourselves and the rest will follow.
    Expecting the social grouping to lead ourselves is wishful thinking .We might as well follow Pied the Piper then and we only have rats around us .

  36. Peter Atkinson

    Just a little anecdotal musing.They are all banging on about education and the absolute need fot it to progress towards the end game, employment.The average degree/masters/doctorate course takes four to five years to complete, the average life span of an Irish government.The live register figures are kept supressed and as we know that is the barometer to judge any government’s success.So think on folks.Everytime you cross the threshold of our hallowed educational establishments, you are contributing towards the longevity of our fine upstanding government.By the way,the end game of a job is only achieved when you finally graduate and bugger off.Mission acomplished by the government.

  37. National Commandments :

    Abraham saved the Jews by receiving the scriptures of ‘what not to do in a ten line verse ‘ and then to implement it with due diligence.Can we formulate a ten liner ‘Limerick’ that can do the same and without that flourly legalease jargon.
    I call on Tim to design ‘the forbidden fruits of the nation’in a simple style and transparency to all to understand.

    Arise Tim for you are the Chosen One.

  38. roc

    “A state which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes–will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished.”
    – John Stuart Mill (On Liberty)

  39. There’s no point in looking for anything deep in this incompetent Government. Its a simple property scam where those in charge of the financial reins of the State have been taken over by the vested interests that put profit, a financial killing based on property speculation, before people. Financial vested interests have exploited banks, free availability of money, harnessing the state, financial community, developers, property speculators to pave the way for a financial killing based on construction, property and the greed for profit.

    Take the example of Metro North, “Metro North will have 15 stops available for passengers who want to make the journey from the city centre to the airport and beyond. These will be located at St Stephen’s Green, O’Connell Bridge, Parnell Square (possible stop), Mater Hospital, Drumcondra, Griffith Avenue, Dublin City University, Ballymun, Santry Demense, Metropark, Dublin Airport, Nevinstown, Swords, Seatown and Lissenhall.” http://bit.ly/9KMjaT

    These are places of low population density that include an airport that won’t have enough throughput to serve its Terminal 2 white elephant. No skyscraper skyline in Nevinstown, Seatown or Lissenhall. Its difficult to get anything in writing on traffic projections but revising downward based on current emigration patterns is advised.

    It’s all rather peculiar until you dig a little deeper into the matter. If you do, you’ll suddenly notice vast areas of land in the hinterland of Metro North that have been the result of recent property and land speculation. Many of the developers involved have now been namified and their holdings transferred across to NAMA.

    Now who would suggest that these developers were given the thumbs up by FF for land speculation around the Metro North stops, in empty tundra in the environs of Dublin airport? Who would suggest that NAMA is now in cahoots with FF to give the green light to Metro North to maximise the value of toxic land speculation it has received across from developers and banks?

    The above story is a microcosm of similar stories over the past ten years in every town and village in Ireland. The insiders have rigged the system, the financial community, the banks, the FF party to support predatory property scamming. The checks and balances, legal, planning, regulatory, political, media have not been enough, often because they have been severely compromised by either their own vested interests, or their political cronies, riding the hell out of the property wagon, blinded by a lethal combination of ignorance and greed.

    Perhaps politicians need to go back to school. A simple licence to practice being the aim. Given the disastrous consequences of and woeful neglect of any basic financial and economic cop-on to manage the DofF and the banks in recent times, perhaps we need a new ‘civics’ course at second level to help produce a better calibre of politician than the woeful set of school teachers/part time politicians that have us in this debacle.

    I’m being pragmatic and not idealistic. Not expecting any great readers, or innovators, or visionaries or shakers led by insight e.g into the Fractional Reserve money system, or readers of Eduardo Galeano, ‘Upside Down’, just politicos with a bit of basic cop-on so that some smoker employees gathered for a chat and break outside a store would not be overheard saying: ‘That Ivor Callely is a fucking cunt, every last one of them is a fucking cunt’.

    FF will be rightly smashed into smithereens in the next election. The calibre of leadership based on self serving opportunists exploiting the system on behalf of their own and their croney’s self interest, may not bring any great change if its out of the same sheeple fold as what’s goner before.

    • Deco

      I agree with you concerning Metro North. Another North Dublin maFFia ‘brainwave’. The economics are dependent on the housing density. And the housing density is not high enough. It would be cheaper to extend the DART to Blanchardstown, and it would probably have the same reduction in traffic. And the price is obscene.

      The interconnector under the City might make sense, purely on the basis that it might increase train usage on the Sallins/Naas line into the city centre.

      But I have to wonder about Metro North. Would it not have been cheaper to extend the DART from Howth Junction or to Swords and onto the airport over open ground (most of if currently still classified as non-residential and therefore much cheaper) ? Is this the Ditherers last big expensive nill for the Irish people ?

    • Deco

      Here is the Transport 21 plan.

      Now, somebody needs to stand up and state plainly that the economics of this are highly dependent on usage levels, and the speed at which the trains operate.

      http://www.transport21.ie/Maps/upload/Image/Proposed_Schematic_Transport_Network_Greater_Dublin_Area_big.jpg

      And this is highly dependent on the residential housing densities of the residential areas close to the indicated lines. Some of the lines are drifting over open space.

      I am suspicious that a lot of the line drawing is to prop up vested interests, developers and retail sector interests. The station in Quarryvale is instructive in this regard. I mean you can get a bus near to Lucan Liffey Valley SC every 10 minutes to take you to O’Connell Bridge – often in 15 minutes – depending on traffic. There is no way a train service can be made pay with existing infrastructure like this. Unless the housing density in the area rockets up massive and the car park becomes residential.

      • Presumably the planners around October next will adjudicate on all the micro aspects. There’s talk it would make a lot greater sense to have a line to the airport from Baldoyle, overground, and this would make greater sense to me!

        But the real point I was making was that corruption, self interest, expropriation of public bodies to advance the greedy profit motive, was in charge of this project from start to finish. Typical of development both housing and commercial across the country for the past 10 years at least.

        WE need to stop the invasion of the gombeen body snatchers and restore public life to that which it’s meant democratically to serve, the greater good of taxpayers from what under FF its degenerated to be, a killing ground for speculators.

        The problem is I don’t see any Pied Piper of Hamlin leading those who got us into this mess, those who fail the Responsibility Accountability Transparency RATS test over to Mountjoy at the moment. Instead, they’re ensconced, safe and secure and still milking it and cooking it up as in Metro North example above!

  40. Malcolm McClure

    A greedy TD in the Dail
    Said he wouldn’t support Fianna Fail
    Till they allowed him to rob
    Any man with no job
    Now he’s always dependably loyal.

  41. oneworldscam

    Dear Mr. McWilliams,

    Having read your article in today’s Independent I am pleased to see you quote Eisenhower in regard to the military industrial complex being a danger to democracy.

    Unfortunately you don’t go far enough whereby it is now obvious on a number of fronts and in every so called ‘democratic’ country that Eisenhower’s fears have now become reality.

    This also applies to the world’s banking system which also forms part of the MIC.

    Why is it never pointed out by you or any other economists that all borrowing by government is from PRIVATE banks such as the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, the IMF and the World Bank which are all OWNED by the same network of intergenerational banking families?

    This is the root of all economic problems, or the root of all evil, whereby all income tax revenues go to simply pay interest on fraudulent loans from a criminal elite who have run the money systems of the world for centuries.

    Why don’t you point this out to the public because if you did then they may wake up to the reality that we’ve been had by these crooks all our lives?

    They buy our government and every other government in the world entrenched in the same fraudulent system.

    Is it any wonder our politicians lie through their teeth and pretend they can fix a problem of their creation through their own corrupt dealings with the bankers as our ‘economy’ collapses into what will be the worst depression in the history of the world?

    Those in power who try to tell us that recovery is on the way are utter liars and charlatans who could not run a raffle nevermind a country. These buffoons are nothing but puppets of bankers who will continue to rape the wealth from this and any other country that allows them to wreck their economies at a whim.

    It’s time people like you started to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so that we can make a start on ridding the planet of these ruthless and quite frankly despotically evil banking elites.

    http://www.sovereignindependent.com/?p=6714

  42. Deco

    Interesting developments regarding Ivor Callely and the Irish State complex. Basically, Ivor is using the state as a some sort of expense account. He writes all sorts of things into it. Of course this goes on in the private sector also. But, the level of fear of a Revenue audit is so severe, that it is effectively repressed.

    But if you are high enough up in the state, you can do as you please. And let’s face it Ivor is getting a hard grilling compared to his neighbour over in Drumcondra. I mean Ivor’s ‘issues’ are dwarfed by those of our Great Socialist leader. Nice to see Dan Boil taking a hard line on people in politics taking the MIC out of the taxpayer. Maybe next he might round hard on the former GP councillors who failed to get elected last year, and who got state jobs to cushion the blow. If only the rest of the half a million who lost their jobs last year were all members of the GP, maybe there might be zero unemployment. Anyway now that they got state jobs, there is a greater probability that they will come around again knocking on your door to tell how great Gormless is.

    Not only is ths state a massive power and money complex, but it is also a massive corruption complex, a nexus for corruption in Irish life. In fact it is contaminating Irish society as a whole, and having a massively toxic effect. It is also the source of much deceit.

    Now, the strange thing is, I think that most people that you meet are decent enough, and would not want to support this sort of behaviour. I find the Rip-off Republic series by Eddie Hobbs as the main insight provider of the last decade. Effectively Hobbs was lifting up the carpet to see where all the dirt was swept. And this did result in an amount of public outrage.

    But the media plays a critical role in instructing the people that they the people are not trustworthy. That ordinary people are not fit to run the country, and that for this reason they should not worry their silly little heads about such matters. Instead the hidden message is to trust your betters. Trust the insiders to do it for you. This message is playing a critical role in undermining democratic involvement in our society. I am sure our advertising sponsors fully approve of such a policy. It decreases the weighting of the concerns of the common people in regard to the direction of public policy.

  43. Emigrant lass

    Great article…Still reading them here in Oz. Cannot understand why the banks, months down the line are still getting money from the Irish taxpayers!! I read something interesting this morning….
    W H Smith, which in March won the contract to run the three bookstores in the new Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport, promised to hire a full-time Irish book buyer. However, the buyer who has been appointed is not Irish, but Australian, and will be based in London, not Dublin.

    This is just one example of how things will never change back home. Who has allowed this to be approved? Why didn’t the Irsh get the contract? It is very concerning!

    • insider

      @Emigrant Lass I’m not sure how a “promise” stands up legally. The reason an Irish buyer did not get the contract is probably because they are not competitive. This is the problem with this country — un-competitiveness. We have relied on US investment for so many years because of low corporation tax, geo proximity, English speaking, and pulling a few ancestor strings. But now look at the sh*t the country is in when we have to stand on our own 2 feet during a recession.

      Glad I’m in Oz – and I bet you are too. The thing though is I deal with so many great Irish people out here – successful, driven, leaders. Maybe it’s just the people with brains and desire who leave?

    • Original-Ed

      The reason for appointing this outsider is that the game is up for FF cronies getting everything that’s worthwhile in state sponsored operations like airport terminals – Donie Cassidy has the bars at Dublin, so this smart move is to give the impression that integrity rules.

  44. Harper66

    @ insider”Glad I’m in Oz — and I bet you are too. The thing though is I deal with so many great Irish people out here — successful, driven, leaders. Maybe it’s just the people with brains and desire who leave?”

    I think you may have answered your own question. Fair play to you though it is spoken like a true child of the celtic tiger era – ill informed with an equal measure of arrogance.

    • insider

      Ha sorry 66 sounds like someone got rubbed the wrong way. I’m no tiger cub left long before you were fed that gibberish. I’ve been home many times during your tiger era and saw how greed and opportunism changed a nation. Were you part of it? Wake me up when the revolution starts. 

  45. Deco

    Once again, the state, the expenses regime, and abusing the system.

    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/dempsey-flies-to-derry-while-chauffeur-drives-250km-to-meet-him-at-airport-2286640.html

    I think I remember seeing Minister Dempsey on a bicycle in a newspaper trying to encourage people to cycle. The mind baffles.

    • Deco

      I think I remember well known NED and former ILP leader Dick Spring doing something similar in the 1990s. Flew the jet to Shannon, and had the ministerial merc waiting for him to bring him to Tralee.

      There was outrage a few months back in Britain over the expenses scandal. A lot of political careers were finished. And in fairness to the British media, the entire spectrum got taken apart. It was very apolitical.

  46. Emigrant lass

    An extra 8000 Irish people claiming unemployment benefit at the end of July…what a mess…surely this has to be top of the agenda for the so called politicians…oh wait I forgot..they’re on holidays,do they think they deserve one!!
    As a Kilkenny woman reading the below article today from the independant, it makes me laugh of how Kilkenny hurling was referred to as hurlings version of the ‘Stepford Wives’! I reckon that best suits the FF party and the rest of the cronies….

    http://www.independent.ie/sport/hurling/ungracious-donal-og-gets-both-barrels-from-kilkenny-2286589.html

  47. PMC

    @ CBWEB
    “It’s all rather peculiar until you dig a little deeper into the matter. If you do, you’ll suddenly notice vast areas of land in the hinterland of Metro North that have been the result of recent property and land speculation.”

    This comment makes perfect sense given that councillors recently passed a ruling whereby new buildings in Dublin are now restricted to a height of just four stories.
    My initial thoughts were, some FF crony will miss out on a land windfall if Dublin were to start going up instead of out.

    I think this decision is absolutely disgusting, given the commutes that some people endure already. This decision was passed very quietly indeed, and I just wonder, will we ever get rid of this insider sh1t?

    Every city worth its salt worldwide builds up, for a variety of reasons. Most of which I believe make a lot of sense. We should have targeted the docklands perhaps, to build up and make maximium use of relatively small peices of land.
    A wealth of services could have been offered and it may have re-ignited some life back into Dublin City Centre. It probably would have made the city more attractive from a foreign investment point also.

    • Deco

      ” This comment makes perfect sense given that councillors recently passed a ruling whereby new buildings in Dublin are now restricted to a height of just four stories. ”

      Who are the muppets that come up with these stupid laws ?

      By the way, I doubt that this is the maFFia’s fault. The largest party is in the Dublin local authority is the ILP. FG are second. I blame these two outfits. I remember years ago listening to an ILP proposal to prevent any more development within two miles of the coaast of Dublin Bay because it was reducing property values. A remarkable agenda for a party that claims to exist for the benefit of those on lower wages than average. A collection of hypocrites. You can rule out the GP also as being at fault – they are unrepresented and irrelevat.

      Unless this ruling came from Gormless.

      Are they going to knock down buildings that are more than four stories high ?

      Unbelievable the level of stupidity that passes for intelligence in the ruling of this country.

      This is probably another brainwave from the idiots who brought in the 18 km per hour speed limit.

      • PMC

        Aplogies, it’s six stories for residential and seven for commercial. Makes barely a jot of difference.
        Below is the artcle from the IT on Jul 28
        http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0728/1224275614559.html

        Just came across another peice about it today also.
        http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2010/0807/1224276363274.html
        Already its gearing up to be a loooonnnngggg drawn out shambles.
        Why not just invite various Architects to submit their ideals for the city, evaluate each, then run with the most favourable.
        Why the need for “pulling together a big team”. To many cooks as usual!
        Just let the lads who know what they’re at get on with devising a plan, then implement one of them, or even a combination.

        The winning submission then gets the contract, and the prestige, to get the name out there and drum up future business. There’s enough architects on the social welfare who’d no doubt relish throwing themselves into such a project.

  48. Tull McAdoo

    When umbrage needs to be taken, then taken it will. The bane of my concern is a one Mr.Furrylugs and his constant assembly of word associations, which he scatters about cyber space, with the odd little gem re-appearing on Paddy Gurdgiev’s (name change by de-pole) blog, with the added result that these alliterations and such like,
    are now finding their way into mainstream Economic debate.

    Mr.Furrylugs for that is how I will address him in Open Blog, has now resorted to accusations of plagiarism and addressed same in the direction of my esteemed colleague Paddy G. who by the way feels he has to constantly remind people that all his opinions are personal and in no way reflect the views of his employer i.e. Trinity Colledge (birth place of Mary Harney, Roddy Molloy etc. vision of Ireland). God be with the day’s when you had to be a “black protestant” to get into that place, ahh standards, or even “events dear boy” as the other Maccer use to say.

    Anyhoo I digress, as the reason for my post is to draw attention to the fact, that as hard as this Mr. Lugs has tried, he has not quite captured the crony, nepotistic, inbred nature of the Irish Public sector under FF/FG et al. No sir the Tull is decidedly un-impressed with the offerings from this pretender, writing as he does from the beautifully scenic West Cork, and resting as he does in a somewhat semi-recumbent position beside his well stocked fridge as he is constantly reminds us.

    The Tull has tossed and turned for many a night in search of this description, this holy grail, this ultimate description of these wasters that clog up our Public Service, who in another time would have been carted off to some religious institution, as they were not in line for the “bit of inheritance”. Then it struck me ……..

    Ireland is being Governed by “ battery bureaucrats”…. That’s it …. That’s the Eureka moment…. So top that Mr.Furrylugs, from your “ Peoples Repubic of West Cork” HA.

  49. Malcolm McClure

    Are we heading for Bubble Mk. 2? Or just a free lunch for negative equity holders?
    Reuters had this comment on American policy on Thursday.
    http://blogs.reuters.com/james-pethokoukis/

    “…government-run mortgage lenders loosen the refinancing rules on 37 million mortgages they currently guarantee. That would open the door to many homeowners who haven’t been able to take advantage of the current low interest rates because they owe more than their homes are worth, are unemployed or have low credit scores.”

    Will Ireland follow where US leads? Is this good news or bad news? Time will tell. Note that the dollar is sinking against the Euro and draw conclusions from that.

    • Tull McAdoo

      @ Malcolm, we are definitely heading for bubble mk 2. just as sure as we are heading for the second dip in the double dip recession.

      On the first point I think I have pointed out before the thinking from FF etc. on why an “echo bubble” or bubble mk 2. as you call it are necessary. I think the idea will gain traction as people see house prices going back up, and once that negative equity barrier is passed then who knows where prices will settle. I suppose it is only natural to expect people to relax about their spending when they know they can sell out their position and clear themselves. However I do think that the “easy killings” of the past bubble will not be repeated this time, as people are more aware of the various pitfalls that emerge.

      On the second point, which I introduced, I think that the American Economic policies to date have not gained the traction that is necessary to drive their Economy on. I think that the Chinese decision to invest more in Japanese Bonds, commodities, etc. as opposed to American Treasury bills will start to show later in the year. Obama will find it very difficult to rally Wall.St. around the National flag and even if He did , who would they start a war with this time, as none of its so called close friends has an resources to fight a war.

      So my opinion for what its worth is that the second dip will appear before the year is out, that’s full on, and that house prices in Ireland wont show signs of recovery until the second half of 2011.

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