September 13, 2010

Anglo is lost in translation

Posted in Banks · 145 comments ·

No matter what language the government tries to hide behind, the fact is that the taxpayer is having to pay for the Anglo Irish debacle

A grotesquely inadequate and plainly silly plan for Anglo was unveiled last week. Of course, there is a capitalist solution to this: close it down and force the creditors to face up to the responsibility of their own decisions.

Shutting it down is the preferred option because the government has finally given up on its previous contention that the bank could be viable in some shape or form.

Once you leave the simple capitalist option, you start prevaricating and impaling the taxpayer with the cost in one way or another. Once you move away from the obvious, you start disguising what you are doing with all sorts of convoluted language.

It is well worth looking at the language of the last week to shed light on how far our authorities have moved from reality and the lengths they will go to in order to spin a story.

Let’s start with the expression ‘minimising the cost to the taxpayer’. What part of that straightforward statement do Cowen and Lenihan not understand? You minimise the cost to the taxpayer by taking them out of the equation.

If you can’t eliminate it totally, you minimise the cost to the taxpayer by increasing the costs to the creditors. But there was nothing in the ‘new Anglo’ plan that envisaged large discounts being imposed on creditors. So we have to assume that the state is now maximising, not minimising, the cost to the taxpayer.

In fact, the new plan puts the taxpayer centre-stage in the equation on both sides of the balance sheet. We, the taxpayers, are in a worse position now than we were before this latest wheeze.

Now consider the language in the next phase of the Anglo solution. The ‘bank’ is going to be kept open, but will not be allowed to lend. It is to be turned into a two-headed hydra.

Look at the language again. First, of course, is the great Irish name change, which is essential when the state is trying to convince us that a line has been drawn in the sand, as if by changing the language we change the facts. A bit like changing the name of Fás or the Health Service Executive.

It is assumed by the clever bureaucrats that, by changing the name, the memory of Anglo will go away – despite its €30 billion-plus debt legacy. From now on, or ‘going forward’ as they say, one part of old Anglo will be something called a ‘funding’ bank. Mind your language again, because there is no such thing as a ‘funding bank’. For a bank to be a bank, it has to take in money on one side and lend it out the other.

But never mind such trifling technicalities. Let’s look at the big idea. The so-called ‘funding bank’ is going to be nothing more than a safe deposit box for Anglo’s ‘deposits’ – which are not deposits at all as you and I know them, but largely comprise ‘loans’ from the Central Bank of Ireland and the European Central Bank. So we are going to guarantee, with more loans, existing loans given by the central banks, whose job it is to be the lender of last resort in the first place. So the central banks are guaranteeing themselves with your future taxes.

The second part of Anglo – the one with all the non-Nama bad loans – is going to be turned into an ‘asset’ management company. But hold on: there are no ‘assets’, because if there were ‘assets’, there would be no need for the company at all. They are liabilities.

In truth, the new company is a property skip that holds all of what Anglo used to call ‘assets’. So it should be called a ‘liability management company’. But that would be too close to using language as it is supposed to be used – to describe something accurately.

Essentially, the non-Nama loans in Anglo are going to get a little Nama of their own. We can call this Nama Beag. After all, what is Nama, but another so-called ‘asset’ management agency?

Except that Nama Beag is not even going to discount loans it takes onto its books, unlike Nama Mór – even though we know that the loans are ‘backed’ by property that is worthless. So not only is the taxpayers’ exposure not being limited in the Anglo deal, but the taxpayer is actually getting a better deal from Nama Mór, which is a con, than from the new Nama Beag.

So how will Nama Beag work with Nama Mór? Let’s look at the numbers. Nama Mór is due to have a life of about ten years. Details on Nama Beag are sketchy, at best, but a ten-year lifespan is not unlikely.

Nama Mór will have about €80 billion worth of loans on its books but, importantly, it will pay only about €40 billion for them (judging from writedowns in tranches 1 and 2).

Nama Beag will have €36 billion ‘worth’ of loans that it will pay €36 billion for, but they are definitely valued at only half that. So again the word ‘worth’ doesn’t mean value, which it normally means, but something entirely different.

So, both institutions – Nama Beag and Nama Mór – will end up being of similar size and have a similar lifespan. They are in effect two financial skips.

The similarities do not end there though. We, the Irish taxpayers, have been forced to own both of them. Both skips will be mandated to minimise costs to us, even though we didn’t want to own them in the first place. So two institutions will spend the next decade trying to maximise value on a hodgepodge of loans, presumably by selling whatever assets they can find security on into a depressed market that will not provide any profit for them.

But because both have the same owner and the same aim, is there a chance that they might start getting in each other’s way? If they do, what will happen? If the government determines that Nama Mór should make a profit, it will almost certainly be to the cost of Nama Beag. Likewise, if Nama Beag becomes the priority, that will put pressure on Nama Mór’s operation.

Ultimately, as the biggest owner of land in the country, if the two financial skips want to get the market going, they will have to sell the land even more cheaply than they bought it for to generate liquidity. That equates to a bigger bill for you, the taxpayer. That – in the mangled, Orwellian language of the Department of Finance — is what ‘minimising the cost to the taxpayer’ means. Confused? I don’t blame you. You’re supposed to be.

  1. Malcolm McClure

    David points to the problem with political spin, which is the misuse and distortion of the English language. As Falstaff said: “I am the sorrier. Would’st it were not so.”
    Perhaps these Anglo utterances make sense in the other official language of the nation, but I doubt it.

    ‘Going forward’ seemed to be used in the same sense as by the Allied forces at Dunkirk. Reminded me of the old army joke about messages passed on by word of mouth. When a general asked his aide to sent message to HQ ‘Send reinforcements, we’re going to advance’. By the time it reached HQ the message was related to be ‘Send three and fourpence we’re going to a dance.’

    Also the moniker ‘Asset recovery bank’ suggests white-coated professionals in the recovery ward, where patients receive individual treatment after a very painful operation. In fact, the patients are all in the pre-operation ward getting their scrotum shaved by a rather butch nurse. The operation hasn’t even begun yet.

  2. Posters should look at Kathleen Barrington article SBP and thread on this subject towards end of posts David’s last article.

    I think the significance and importance of the depositor base of Anglo.. should warrants more looking at, particularly movements involving the setting up of Anglo’s private Austrian bank just after the guarantee and particularly its subsequest sale to the Austrian Valartis Bank.

    There appear to be very odd Anglo personnel movements between Anglo, its Isle of MAnn operations, its Austrian private bank offshoot and Valartis Bank. This coincides with Anglo depositor money moving unaccountability between these various operations.

    Perhaps the above should be accounted for to taxpayers by the Regulator or bank inquiries?

    • Very odd being the operative word CB, since Seanie Boyo sold off 800 odd million in deposits that Anglo was crying out for less than a month before he was privatised thus depriving the Regulator of key depositor information.
      The same Austrian bank, now under the control of a Swiss bank, decided, to this day, to retain its Irish directors(Ish) whilst their annual reports extol the virtues of reaching the new middle class in Eastern Europe.
      Very odd indeed.

  3. Ghost Buster – Imagine a haunted house …..ok lets do it again…imagine a very big haunted house …lets think again , imagine the biggest haunted house in the world . I could not see the diference between what DMCW was writing and the movie ghost buster.

    • ……..what dont you understand …..the bottom line is our minister is a Slave Trader

      • gquinn

        and who are you going to call? DEBT BUSTERS.

        If your all alone and the sheriff is at your door, who you going to call DEBT BUSTERS and the invisible TAX man sleeping in your bed, who you gonna call DEBT BUSTERS, BUSTING makes me feel good yayayayayayayaya … Chorus again

  4. crossroads

    What’s the difference between…

    ..a single bank with a series of deposits which it uses to offset the losses on loans issued by that bank…

    …and a ‘funding’ bank with the same series of deposits whose sole use is to buy bonds from a separate ‘asset-recovery’ bank to finance the losses on the loans which have been transferred to that ‘asset-recovery’ bank?


    A) Just another layer of bluff and bluster to persuade Mr. Man Ondastreet that progress is being made towards a resolution of this gross situation?

    B) A rearrangement of the deck-chairs to try to reassure Mr. Bond Market’s “confidence in the system”**?

    C) A sizeable chunk of extra consultancy and legal fees for the insiders to implement the split?

    D) All of the above?

    Answers on a postcard please…


    ** “Confidence in the system”, one of Mr. Lenihan’s favourite phrases.
    ** See ‘Confidence-Trick’, ‘Con-Man’


  5. liam

    Well done David.

    This is a propaganda war, always has been, from up up up, to talking down the economy to talking up the recovery. The most shocking thing for me on returning to Ireland was not the extent of the mess here (which thanks you yourself and others I was keenly aware of) but that most intelligent and educated people seemed utterly unaware of the scale of the problems, nor had a clue as to their origins.

    Noam Chomsky, the father of the field of Lingustics, asserts that language is culture. This is clear once one begins to understand that language encapsulates concepts and ideas, and that the language used may influence how these ideas are interpreted.

    Whats most interesting here is that there is a form of language being deployed by the Government that reflects the culture at work there and gives us a very good insight in to how the Government and apparatus of the State thinks. Hence we have Dermot Ahern on the radio this morning offered a fantastic display of cognitive dissonance by suggesting that todays FT article in fact supports the position of the Irish Government.

    As you point out, if one wishes to determine motive, one only needs to demonstrate the likely, predictable outcome of actions. The burdening of the Irish taxpayer with enormous debt though seems almost a side effect of the State’s refusal to change course and therefore admit that they don’t have a clue what they are doing. The Irish Government now looks like a poor man who shows up at a fancy French restaurant and is too scared to admit they don’t know which fork to use and which wine to drink with which course but lack the confidence to just simply ask out of fear of appearing foolish.

    The Government here expresses very well the Irish National Inferiority Complex.

    For those who haven’t seen it, todays damming FT article:

  6. wills


    Brilliant deconstruction of the doublespeak and newsspeak and gobbleygook and misdirect and voodoo mind grips and brainwash and hogwash spammed out last week by the insiders.

    I find now this ANGLO saga is turning into a lucid exercise in truth shining and how the mechanisms of State and international banking and finance and elites really all hang’s together and functions behind the curtain.

    The secret of Oz is no more.

    I rememeber Malcolm posting we are waking up out of a terrible nightmare, how accurate is that now.

  7. The coming fight between Nama Mor and Nama Beag(Gréasán Bréag) does have its historical precedence:

    “They fight in the ford for three days, until Ferdiad gets the upper hand. Cúchulainn calls to his charioteer for the Gáe Bolga, which he floats down the river to him. Cúchulainn throws a light spear at Ferdiad’s chest, causing him to raise his shield, and then picks up the Gáe Bolga between his toes and thrusts it through his chest and piercing his heart and impailing him to the river bed floor, killing him. The ford where he died is named Áth Fhirdiad (Ferdiad’s ford, modern Baile Átha Fhirdhia or Ardee, County Louth) after him.[1][2]”

    gréasán bréag = a web of deceit;

  8. murray

    I feel like crying while I write this

    Its the continuation of “Rob the Public” of Ireland.

    Two generations of decent hard working Irish men and women place in the dust bin as economy slaves.

    All the while the tramps in Fianna Fail (I underline “Fail”) laugh all the way to the bank (forgive the pun) as Insiders.
    Lapping up the treasures of our wee country.

    Its The End!
    Best thing to do is leave the country – run if you can.
    (Oh, remember to kick / punch a Fianna Fail member “scumbag” on your way out)

    Is there an Irish version of Moses out there?
    Maybe some young person might unite us and help us
    get rid of cancer from within.

    Any suggestions?????

    • wills

      Its moreso they are merely gumming up the system of exchange that prevails, but, one can side step it by controlling the how you input your labour and effort and energy into the insiders system.

    • NO HOPE

      Unfortunately the only option is to leave, while Ryanair still have cheap flights (even that is about to change, so we wont even have that in the near future). Those Fine Failure idiots still enjoy about 25% support. Riddle me that???

    • madman

      Yeah a full on rebellion, Will the new Michael Collins please stand up.

  9. Turkey Votes For Constitional Reform …this is today news on rte .

    In Ireland what we have is Turkeys voting for christmas


    Global P3-cancer since 1963


  11. Deco

    In consideration of the abysmal performance of the state at converting resources into results, we should regard NAMA Mor, and NAMA Beag, as another impending disaster. Unless by results you mean something that is again to buying off a small section of the population or a set of vested interests. But the general public, always get shortchanged badly.

    Several root problems remain as ‘elephants in the room’ as such.

    The construction of the limited liability clauses of Irish Company Law is probably the biggest elephant. The money made from obscene valuations of Irish property, did not just disappear into the air. A lot of it is salted away. And because the profiteers were all linked to Anglo – it is in Anglo. But we have this scenario where builders can have multiple companies, and use them for diverse purposes. And it is all perfectly acceptable. One wonders if saving the Anglo depositors was a bailout of the wrong people.

    Apart from that we have loads of nonsensical transactions now in progress between local authorities and the NAMAs. And it is ficticious accounting-because the sums come out of the air. In fact the whole thing is an attempt at controlling the supply, and thereby controlling the price. It is also going to be a root of more local government corruption in the future. Nouriel Roubini uses the phrase “kicking the can down the road” with reference to the Krugman dictum. Well, kicking the can down the road is the Irish governments strategy. The accounting is ficticous. Apparently, ‘everyone is a winner’. When I hear that phrase I know a scam is in progress. Somebody always gets stuck with the bill. (Try the PAYE taxpayer). The taxpayer is being stuck with the bill, for an effort to prop up property prices. This is being depicted as helping the needy, but it is helping the property market more than anybody else. The state is increasing the ranks of the needy as a result of their malignant regulation of the labour market, via the partnership process.

    Our financial mismanagement, and the intellectual sub-prime constructs that underlie it, are not being remedied. The designated solution to the problem is always, keep borrowing to sustain the unsustainable.

    Concerning Kathleen Barrington’s article, it is insightful that the ECB and the CBoI hold Anglo debt. Effectively, this means that the ECB is close to a monumental embarrasment. Of course this is not just an Anglo issue. The scale of ECB involvement in propping up the Spanish banking sector is much greater, and an even bigger source of potential embarrassment.

    The ECB is supposed to be above political interference, and immune to political lobbying. However, the ECB with it’s artificially low interest rates has generated asset bubbles, and created problems that could sunder the Euro. Therefore I expect that the ECB will soon have no choice but to increase interest rates, to make up for the credibility gap caused by these policy mistakes, and expensive interventions.

  12. ocallaghanr

    “It is assumed by the clever bureaucrats that, by changing the name, the memory of Anglo will go away” : Don’t hold a hope David, this is exactly what will happen. Those bureaucrats are clever; the plebs are not.

    Remember when the word “LIES” was replaced with “SPIN”? And now it is acceptable that the leaders of modern society, those who formulate and write the laws that society is based on, can lie to those they govern – just as long as it is called “spin”.

    This is not just an economic issue, it is a greater social one.

  13. StephenKenny

    William Black’s book from his experiences as the chief regulator after the US Savings and Loan crisis:

    “The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry”

    same old, same old…..

  14. Falls

    maybe its time to think different. So what have we got:

    1. we have loads of overpriced land
    2. we have a youngish population
    3. we have a pension issue
    4. we have the govt owning land when really it should be citizens
    5. add to the list all the other issues…

    what if we were to sort out the pension timebomb by relating one to the other. land instead of a pension?

    how about a lottery for euro for a quickpick — for sale this week…10 acres outside {enter village here} , and for a lotto 1 (aka brown paper bag draw), the greens promise not to stop your planning permission and to stop banging on about global warming (or is it cooling now?) well, whatever the crisis of the day is….

    how about buy a lower tax rate? pay your part of the debt now and get a lower tax rate for life?

    back our of healthcare tax, pay one lumpsum and pay your own healthcare, a sort of buy yourself some real healthcare plan

    relate the corporate tax rate with number of jobs. you get whats offered but every 5000 extra jobs get you about .5% of the top. hell we are pissing off europe anyways, may as well go for broke.

    a govt saving plan directly related to land, the more you invest the more you own…

    we dont even need more server capacity or development expertise (isnt there a spare fas website now?) , hell, we could even use ebay for some of it, or perhaps just advertise on — may as well goto the source, although they would be buying land they own and bought for already but lets ignore that for the moment…this way you can own the land to be sure, to be sure..

    we just need some good ole lateral thinking and fun fueled raw capitalism.

    so whats your answer?

  15. NO HOPE

    What is to be done David?
    Fine Failures refuse to budge. They wont hold an election so we can get them out. Even if you, Eddie Hobbs, Constantin Gurdgiev and Professor Morgan Kelly (and myself of course) walked in the DoF tommorrow it will take us at least 10yrs optimistically to start to get it (economy) moving.I am thinking more like 15yrs. It`s going to be a long slog on our rock for the next 2 decades all right, if we ever manage to climb out of this hole. I dont think the people really understand how deep and how monsterous this problem is. We are facing a sovereign debt crisis within 24 months. Default is a foregone conclusion. Fine Failures will then sit back for another 5 yrs and comment on how long it is taking to fix their galactically incompetent screw up`s.
    If any of you believe in a God start talking to Him or Her. Nothing short of a supreme being will get Ireland out of this terrible black hole of economic shite.
    Failing God`s intervention, If I was in charge tommorrow I would close down the DoF, get the IMF in here and get some competent thinking, systems and procedures going. We might have a chance if the IMF come in, other than that cheers. See Ya in Florida………..

  16. DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT imposes ‘behind closed doors decision’ against Irish Nation or… FOG OF WAR

    The prussian Carl von Clausewitz was born 1780 in less than fortunate circumstances. He became probably best known for his military strategic analysis and his main body of work, the dialectic ‘On War’ which he wrote between 1816 and 1830, it is unfinished and Clausewitz died in 1831, but his wife published the book.

    The great uncertainty of all data in war is a peculiar difficulty, because all action must, to a certain extent, be planned in a mere twilight, which in addition not infrequently–like the effect of a fog or moonshine–gives to things exaggerated dimensions and unnatural appearance

    I am very much in line with the thoughts of Banker Peter Matthews, who pointed out that the other Irish banks, AIB and BOI equally failed to come up with the realistic figures to date and drip fed us with the problems, resulting in ever higher demands for bailouts. A tactic that was applied across the entire Irish banking sector since more than 2 years now.

    For both Ministers of Finance, Cowen 2004-2008 and Lenihan to date, it can be said that they failed to lift the Fog of War, and this would have been their very first Responsibility to do so. I am confident to say that as early as 2006, of not earlier, the dark clouds on the horizon were more than obvious, in fact, dogs were barking it on the street, but instead of exercising their duties for the good of the Nation, this government saw fit to welcome Law Firm Maples and Calder in the country instead in 2006.

    This tactical Fog of War was deliberately placed by the Irish banks by inaccurate figures. It is this inaccurate intelligence that leads to wrong battlefield decisions, and while the first banking guarantee undertaken by Minister Lenihan could be understood in this context, hence one can understand this dangerous gamble, this is two years ago, and the global economic battlefields changed and moved on since long.

    Not so Minister Lenihan his staff of advisors and the Irish Banks, they continued to use flash bangs and smoke grenades in their tactics of deliberate disinformation, protecting special interest groups only and sacrificing the Irish taxpayer in the process, for generations to come!

    In Iceland, there is a strong call for bringing to justice those politicians and bankers who can best be described as negligent and/or fraudulent when it came to their duties.

    I would think that both Ministers, Cowen and Lenhian, as well as a phletora of servants, and other officials should be investigated on these grounds as well. This is not to call for a witch hunt at all, but much more it is about learning the lessons and a call for accountability.

    The Irish public was refused a transparent and public inquiry into the banking matters by this government, which in itself is a clear sign for the deliberate and imposed democratic deficit of a failing political system that has long outlived any moral legitimacy.

    I would like to add a little something to David’s analysis on the change of rhetoric. Note the prepared statements that already shift responsibility into other pockets. It will be the financial Regulator who will announce the ‘full’ costs to the Irish taxpayer, and not the DoF, of course, Lenihan operates Anglo ‘at arms length’ for good reasons, does he not?

    In public discussions on the Anglo subject, controversial opinions are being ridiculed by statements such as ‘It is not that easy, and you know this.’ The reason for such rhetoric is simple, they can pose as someone who has a deeper insight in these matters, of course they do, everything is behind closed doors and within the inner circle of decision makers and special interest groups.

    This ANGLO NAMA proposal has to be understood in context of the original NAMA that was forced upon the Irish Nation.

    The inept execution of NAMA has become evident in the past year alone. Keyword: Business plan! Claire Hartnett could not have chosen any better description when she wrote this year in the Insolvency Journal on NAMA Fail to plan, plan to fail!

    x x x x x x x

    Ireland is a young state, demographically and historically, but I really wonder since along about this eerie silence on the above matters. When I spoke in may with Birgitta Jonsdottir, member of Parliament in Iceland, I was hopeful that more people would see how much we really have in common with the Icelandic situation, and eventually pots and pans and whistles would break this eerie silence in Ireland.

    Storm winds are battering Donegal’s coast while I am writing here. Autumn has arrived, and I remember my time in Ontario, the near psychedelic colors of the maple trees, a giant moose that came out of the woods less than three meters away from me, the cold early mornings, many nice memories about Ontario are back on my mind, and I wonder, what am I still doing here in this country that chooses to stay silent and is being lead like lamb to the slaughter?

    I chose to live in Donegal, the only country that voted NO in the second Lisbon referendum, a County that was refused by elections.

    Some of my neighbors are in the late 90s, they built this country, and this winter we have to knock on their doors to see whether they have it warm or need anything. Their care hours were cut, and another Minister proposed to force the unemployed to look after them, instead of qualified personal care assistants.

    Daniel O’Donnell was here a few days ago. He visited a Lady that has Alzheimer in the final stages. Her husband owned a pub in Scotland where Daniel had his very first on stage experiences as a young man. I met Daniel when I donated a large format fine art print for a fundraising on Arranmore Island. They were promised a defibrillator unit by the health service since years, they never got it.

    I spoke to him for about 10 seconds and told him that she does not have much longer and gave him my card. A few days later, he drove up here, but forgot my card, hence could not call and ask for directions, not knowing where they live, but he asked in pubs and shops, and found their place. He chose to go there and talk to her husband, which of course was a unexpected and pleasant surprise. He then called me back and told me that he visited.
    Good on you Daniel!

    If you know of elderly neighbors wherever you live in Ireland, please take a minute and check on them this winter. They built this country!


    • Deco

      Georg – you are correct, concerning the old people.

      It used to be said in the 1980s that America was not a good country to be an old person. At that time, old people in Ireland were looked after. But then we became Mama Harney’s 51st state, a land of greed, bullshit, hype, hard sell, debt and superficiality.

      I am reading your entry, and it makes me sick to see the way that old people get treated in Ireland. I have heard on multiple occasions of local funding groups fund raising for essential equipment. And the HSE stonewalling them, by not providing them a room to locate the equipment.

      I think I know how to crack this nonsense. The 1000 Euro fee for access to public body documentation needs to be ended. The 465000 people on the dole can log on and find out what is really going on in this country and put an end to this authority corruption culture.

      • Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev speaks openly about his own Situation!

        ….The numbers are frightening. Frightening to the point of getting me worried about even my own family ability to endure this crisis.

        Nama and banks rescues alone will add some €110,000-120,000 to our family debt pile through state-accumulated liabilities. Property and assets collapses in the end will contribute another loss of €300,000 to our net worth. The benefits of free education and children-related allowances will be gone, implying a life-time loss of roughly €120,000 for our family. At current yields, the debt accumulated through the deeply flawed banks recapitalizations and Nama, plus egregious current spending deficits will impose an annual interest bill of €12,000-15,000 on our family by 2014. Interest on the state debt alone will cost us every year the same as our children’s education.

        American philosopher and writer, Ayn Rand once said that: “It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.” Recall Minister Lenihan’s statements about the need for ‘patriotism’ in his two Budget 2009 speeches. With the events transpiring around us today, Rand’s words are now no longer a catchy turn of a phrase…..

        He continues…

        ….the sacrifices and patriotism of our politicians’ speeches has turned the people of this country into serfs to the vested interests of Social Partnership and banks’ elites. They speak of a sacrifice, intending to be the masters. My family, and millions of other ordinary people around this country are now just meaningless pawns in their game for survival.


      • Sorry for the double post, it is a bit of a bummer that you can not edit on this blog.

        Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev speaks openly about his own Situation!

        ….The numbers are frightening. Frightening to the point of getting me worried about even my own family ability to endure this crisis.

        Nama and banks rescues alone will add some €110,000-120,000 to our family debt pile through state-accumulated liabilities. Property and assets collapses in the end will contribute another loss of €300,000 to our net worth. The benefits of free education and children-related allowances will be gone, implying a life-time loss of roughly €120,000 for our family. At current yields, the debt accumulated through the deeply flawed banks recapitalizations and Nama, plus egregious current spending deficits will impose an annual interest bill of €12,000-15,000 on our family by 2014. Interest on the state debt alone will cost us every year the same as our children’s education.

        American philosopher and writer, Ayn Rand once said that: “It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.” Recall Minister Lenihan’s statements about the need for ‘patriotism’ in his two Budget 2009 speeches. With the events transpiring around us today, Rand’s words are now no longer a catchy turn of a phrase…..

        He continues…

        ….the sacrifices and patriotism of our politicians’ speeches has turned the people of this country into serfs to the vested interests of Social Partnership and banks’ elites. They speak of a sacrifice, intending to be the masters. My family, and millions of other ordinary people around this country are now just meaningless pawns in their game for survival.


  17. In the real world of raw elements what we are experiencing is too much of AIR ( from Lenihan and Bacon the creators of the twin towers Nama ) .When air suffocates the surroundings as in propaganda etc it eventually changes into a toxic form like Methane Gas and it only takes a small ‘flick of flint ‘ and then you have one massive explosion.Its a runaway train to Shackled Slavery .

  18. I have been watching many foreign language world war films recently produced from Germany , Sweden, France etc and they are epics .During the fall of Berlin when the Berliners were trapped in their homes on the Russian side many starved .Some had to resort to eating the glue on the wallpaper because it had flour in it .
    As for Leningrad it turned into canibalism where 1.5m people starved .
    What will happen in Dublin ? Well we are to find out or will history tell our children only?

    • Deco

      We are not fighting an external enemy, as much as an internal one which is connected to the West European bureacracy created in response to the Soviet Union.

      No blood. Other peoples’ money being spilled wastefully. Authority directing the spilling.

  19. kayak

    When is the final straw going to come that is going to break the camels back?What’s going on here is just cruel.Tell the people whats going on and try to rescue from there,if rescue is still a option.Is there gonna be a mass emmigration as a result of this?

  20. Cowen, stuck in the middle of the road looking at the twin headlights, one headlight Financial Times criticism, the other, bond spreads widening to be worse than Greek spreads, the car is bringing economic meltdown to him. Fast. Most anyone can get out of him is that all the opposition can offer to deal with the meltdown is incoherent. The poor man is right for once. Its no use hearing from the opposition they havn’t all the facts. They havn’t spelled out what the alternatives are:

    We need alternatives such as the following:

    1. If the EC cannot write off a satisfactory amount of Anglo debt and close it immediately, we leave the EU and revert to our own currency!

    2. Anglo Bond holders/depositors and those of other Irish banks will be asked to take a hit in the above scenario! Though inevitably taxpayers will take a hit, it will be moral hazard duty of government to protect taxpayers, not burn them with

    News today even the UK along with Germany, France and a host of other european countries are returning to growth. Darwin teaches small differences count. We cannot manage Anglo debt, the markets know this, FT know this, how come our gombeens are telling us we can. All we are doing now is digging a hole deeper that’s filling with water. Investment has no interest in a country with debt reparations that are bleeding the environment investment needs to prosper. Its that simple. Small differences such as the drip feed of Anglo debt reparations are the economic death knell of Ireland INC.
    “Why are they doing this to us?”

    We need closure fast.

    Neither government nor opposition would appear to be offering this.

  21. murray

    To “No Hope”
    We will have food and energy shortages in the coming years (between 5-10).
    - Babies will strave from food shortage
    - Our children will not get a decent education.
    - Our parents will not get adequate health services.
    - Crime will rise as our policing service fails.
    - The disadvantage (special needs) will be thrown to the wolves
    (no money, no help)
    - Families will go cold in the winter from the power cuts.
    etc etc

    All brought on by the cancerous Insiders (Ahern, Cowen, Mary Harney etc) – the enemy from within watch with smirks on their faces.

    However at least we should try and look ourselves in the eye and said we brought these smart arsed philistines to book.

    So will the nation WAKE UP and do something about this mass robbery????

    • Deco

      I would add.
      – our young people will get out as soon as they finish college
      – social decay will be rampant
      – there will be further rural depopulation
      – there will be more sink estates in urban employment dead zones like Waterford, Arklow, Dundalk, Limerick. Middle Ireland will go subprime.
      – corruption will continue to be rife
      – the IMF will be called in to sell off any assets in a debt for asset swap
      – Gormless and his clowns, will be able to live in a wilderness in the West of Ireland as a result of loss of human habitation
      – the private sector will continue to contract
      – IBEC will still be the government, and ICTU will get consulted every time ICTU kick up a fuss
      – substance abuse will be rife
      – the ‘professions’ (lawyers, auctioneers, etcc.) will continue to destroy society with margin aggrandizement, and all sorts of gombeen like behaviour.

  22. Deco

    Another ISEQ failure. From a concern that shared NEDs with many prominent companies including Anglo.

  23. Deco

    On the good news side….Ireland means business

    Cheaper hotels bring in more tourists, and show that we are competing despite the local authority rates nonsense.

    • We don’t need the big bubble blister of Anglo/Nama to grow bigger and bigger before it bursts.

      Prick it now with a devaluation along the Icelandic Kroner lines.

      Let the air get at it and get all the rotten puss out. Let transparency, accountability in.

      Michael O Leary new Minister for Tourism, the present gang of shysters out. We’ll soon get life back into the old engine! Lol

  24. adamabyss

    Didn’t get the email notification about this article. Anyway, subscribe.

  25. Rory

    With the track record of Fianna Fail you have to suspect corruption is at the heart of their apparent stupidity. At this point there would seem to be no other explanation.

  26. paddyjones

    Anglo is not finished giving us surprises yet , on Vincent Brown last week he had the chairman of Anglo on and he estimated that the total loss is in the region of 39 billion.
    of the 36 billion sent to NAMA 60% was the haircut = 21.6 billion
    of the 36 billion left 10 to 15 billion are performimg lets say 10 that means a loss of 26 billion in NAMA beag = 26 billion
    21.6 plus 26 = total loss of 47.6 billion.
    When calculating the losses of Anglo they will assess the loss on the pessimistic side.
    So the current 25 billion being bandied about is way too small.
    Anybody got any guesstimates???

  27. Colin

    I heard FF Apologiser Noel Whelan (a marvelous exponent of losing people in translation) on Pat Kenny’s RTE Radio 1 Friday morning slot talking about Anglo. Pat asks Noel, why don’t we do as David McWilliams suggests we do and just allow Anglo go bust and carry on from there? NW says that’s just theatre and that the upshot of that would be no one would ever lend to us again EVER!. I was expecting PK to say, Wait, hold on a second there Noel, didn’t Russia default on their loans in the 90s, and that within 1 year, money was being shovelled back in there…..but alas, no, PK never challenged NW’s bullsh1t. So, remind me again, why are we paying PK so much?

    By the way, came across crony capitalism today. A new service station has opened in Limerick, no fancy forecourt, just diesel pumps and a portacabin. No cards, only cash taken. 115.9 per litre, at least 6c cheaper than local competitors. I got served, I told the man to fill up the tank. Got chatting to him, asked him when did he open and how can he sell it cheaper than the others. He said his margin is really tight and hopes to attract a large clientele and make some money that way. He sais he’s only open a few days and that its 100% legit as he pointed to the A4 sheet on the wall showing certification. He then told me, his first customer was from the Revenue Commissioners, who was informed by the other garage owners. He said the others are in a cartel at 121.9 per litre.

    I handed over my cash and wished him well. He’s at the junction of Dublin Road and Pennywell Road and has a big sign on the roadside, “City Diesel – 115.9 c per litre”. Please support him if you’re in the area.

  28. adamabyss

    Bertie Ahern is a deluded megalomaniac.

    • adamabyss

      I’d like to see the full version of that Primetime segment from 2003 where David begins “The Irish property market is a scam…”

      Has anyone got it?

  29. [...] says we are protecting the rich and the powerful?  Not me, but David McWilliams who explains that working people are going to bear the cost of the Government; No matter what [...]

  30. Gege Le Beau

    Watching Freefall, thought Bertie looked like death warmed up.

    @ David McWilliams, they played a sequence of you from Prime Time (2003) speaking about the dangers of the property market. I differ with you on many points, but I applaud you for that.

  31. Watching it as well. Much better than the first programme. Plenty of criticism of the government. Quite good for a Fox News type media organisation like Pravda RTE. One layer left uncovered, perhaps could be the subject of a better programme, is the precise relationship between property developers and government, in particular the 20 developers who’ve amassed €24 bn in toxic loans.

    I would say there are two sides to this for government. One is their role in causing the problem. The second is their role in the solution.

    I contend their Anglo/Nama solution is an even bigger disaster for this country than their role in causing the problem in the first place!

    • Thought that meself CB. Brian Linehan did acknowledge David and others indirectly for their warnings and to be fair and mature, one wouldn’t expect the current Minister for Finance to call the previous Taoiseach\ Minister for Finance a walking imbecile but he came close.
      Mike Flynn admitted that they were all chasing their tails in borrowing money to avoid tax which resulted in something like 41% uptake for the Gubbermint from every property sale. Given that this was RTE\Pravda, I can only surmise that Brian Linehan sanctioned it since The Jabba from Offaly is now a lame duck to be kept in office on a Mar Dhea basis.

      And whats with the lipstick Bertie Boy? Feck me but he looked like a right bloody Queen. Sick.

  32. Gege Le Beau

    How ironic, after the Freefall programme, RTE~PRAVDA aired an ad for EBS with the slogan ‘where family counts’.

    EBS were bailed out by Johnny and Jane taxpayer, plus they increased their mortgage rates, where profit counts, (mortgage, a French word, meaning ‘death-grip’, a debt you paid until death), appropriate word for Ireland.

    In May, the head of EBS said bailing out the taxpayer won’t work.

    Mortgage rates at EBS to increase by 0.6pc

    Funny auld game.

  33. Yo David, if you happen across this. That final episode of Freefall vindicated your involvement and I owe an apology to Kathleen Barrington, if you bump into her. It was well researched. It’s a start on the road to a mature society.
    Some day we as a Nation may come to appreciate quiet, informed intellectual opinion ( As opposed to checking the temperature of tarmac in freeway indentations).
    Go n-Eirigh agus Beannacht

  34. Ohhh Deeearrrrr.
    I just knew sumting awwful wuz going to happen…………..

    AIB: Proper procedures were followed in sale of Polish assets

    Monday, September 13, 2010 – 07:09 PM

    AIB has insisted there were no irregularities in its deal to sell its Polish assets to Santander.

    It announced last Friday that it had agreed to sell its stake in Zachodni WBK for €3.1bn.

    However today Poland’s financial regulator said it was investigating the deal amid concerns that confidential information may have been exchanged in advance of the agreement.

    AIB said proper procedures were followed.

    Finance Minister Brian Lenihan meanwhile believes the probe has been launched simply because there had been a rival state-sponsored Polish bid.

    “The Polish regulator would not have a function in trying to protect the market in that way, or trying to distort the market,” Minister Lenihan said.

    “It was made clear to me by the Polish authorities that the question of any interference by their regulator in this was out of the question.

    “Clearly AIB have established their credibility in the marketplace by receiving this bid from Santander.”

    Read more:

    • “”interference by their regulator”"

      Well now.Isn’t that a telling comment.

      I was under the illusion that the Regulators job was to do exactly that, or what part of the worldwide light touch regulatory debacle spawned by Reaganomics\ Thatcheroids have you missed, mein Minister.

      Dear Dear.

  35. Freefall…. totally missed the point!

    This two part series missed a chance to excel in investigative journalism and produce a milestone in the blunt Irish Media Landscape, instead the produced yet another white wash.

    No questions were raised on particular government policies, no mentioning whatsoever of Banksters CDS gambling, no mentioning of utter lack of transparency, no mentioning on the refusal to have a public inquiry on banking matters, no mentioning of Bankster deliberate smoke screens and accounting tricks.

    This was nothing but a summary of events that a well informed 16 years old could come up with.

    The sensual overload of “Batman-The Dark Knight” Hans Zimmer style mockups did not succeed to paint over the lack of investigative journalism, and edit/cut on intent docu feature.

    I am somewhat certain Mr. Lenihan is quite happy with the way he was presented.

    Mr. Ahern, well, he is always happy as long as he is presented and convinced the two hours make up artist job emphasized his true inner beauty.

    I found this production to be very on the surface, so I rather put it down to my own wrong expectations, it was not meant to be a investigative piece of journalism at all.

    However, I feel that this series was intentionally painting a very innocent picture of the people in power, like they were ‘rolled over’, pun intended, by the events and could not possibly have done anything else.

    This is wrong, and I have no doubts that they knew 110% what they were at, the inner circle of policy makers, paid off ‘look the other way’ Directors, and other stakeholders, knew precisely what they were doing. This is why Cowen put his head in the sand for an entire year, where all other countries in Europe already identified the crisis unfolding and started to take actions, he chose to do absolutely nothing, and such negligence for example needs to be investigated in depth. He chose to look the other way for reasons!

    This is why I applaud Iceland for the attempt to dig deep into these matters and bring to justice those why abused the system, were negligent or acted clearly in fraudulent ways.


    • It was the best we could expect here at the moment Georg. Don’t forget we’re a couple of years ahead of the rest through vibrant dialogue. If I hadn’t stumbled across this site 3 years ago, I’d be saying that Freefall was a great program tonight. David McWilliams and all the people here have opened my eyes.
      Forgive the rest for they know not what they do.
      It’s our job to educate where we can for the simple patriotic reason that we do know and the benefit of extraneous experiences can only add to the collective knowledge.

      • Boom time or KABOOM time?…. Export….export….export….

        While germany is hailed as best in class to deal with the economic heist, being the economic powerhouse in Europe, one has to look behind the curtain where this export driven economy really excels at.

        Fact is, in the past 5 years Germany more than doubled exports…. in weapons that is!

        Remember the 500 million USD deals with Greece, the germans were happy to help them getting even more credit, although it was clear that Greece is insolvent, because they had a vested interest in selling more submarines at 500 million each.

        In the US, the biggest weapons deal ever is about to be decided on in Congress, USD 60bln in weapons to go to Saudi Arabia.

        SIPRI – – speaks of a boom in the weapons export markets. The 100 biggest manufacturers sold weapons for USD 385 bln in 2008, up 11% from 2007. In comparison, the entire OECD assistance fund for developing countries in 2008 was at round about USD 120 bln.

        By far the world’s biggest producer of weapons is the british BAE Systems.

        While in Europe and the US defense budgets are rather shrinking, they started to relax the export controls, and are happy to produce for the new markets.

        Brasil plans to spend 25% more, India even 1/3 more on…. ‘defense’.



        • Deco

          The Obama Administration has just signed a massive Arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Now, Saudi Arabia already is the most armed to the teeth state in the Middle East. But as you say “defense”.

          …and that would be Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient….along with Hillary Clinton, a self-declared ‘foreign affairs expert’ who issued advertisements where she was the ‘safe pair of hands’ taking the urgent call in the middle of the night from the warzone…
          the song rings in my head….

          Uh! Ah ! War ! what is it guuuud for ? Absolutely nawwwwthin !!

      • A good point and maybe do you think dmcw will publish a new book next year with a heading (say ) ‘chronicle of the bloggs from the bogs’ …or something like that ? Then you will be the most famous cork man in 2012 and georg the most famous donegal man ? We then might see our alter ego sitting next to jedward! After that next port of call will be X-Factor starring ‘puff and huff’ with a rendition of the ‘Titanic’ . Will the world of ours even then listen ? I doubt it .If we were all younger we would be getting on our ‘Gals’( boats ) , the ones our forebears arrived on and head back to north africa with expired passports.

  36. We seem to believe that minister for finance is the only central power of authority that can release us from the distruction we now find ourselves in .It has always been my concern that the minister for justice must reform the laws first to enact the way forward otherwise we have a repeat of more excuses fron DOF that their decisions could not have been otherwise and they continue to get away with it…….with the taxpayer paying for it again.

  37. uchrisn

    The Parable of the Shrewd Manager
    1Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’
    3″The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg– 4I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’

    5″So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’

    6″ ‘Eight hundred gallons[a] of olive oil,’ he replied.
    “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.’

    7″Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’
    ” ‘A thousand bushels[b] of wheat,’ he replied.
    “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’

    8″The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

    10″Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

    13″No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

    14The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.

  38. uchrisn

    If you subsitute Shrewd Manager for Government Ministers and the master for the Irish people and realise their is an election next year with Finna Fail at 25% this could be quite accurate. The debtors can include the people whose gambling losses have been paid for by the Irish people.

  39. The freefall series was a whitewash which did not tell us anything new but a lot of misguided people will buy this (25% of of the population at least) mainly thanks to Lenihan’s performance. This ‘documentary’ has been carefully edited because the Fianna Failers looked real chipper last night. Lenihan comes across as a very convincing man and I almost
    believed him myself at one stage. He is really that good yes. Sharp, impressive and even looks like Taoiseach material. He is an even better spinner than Tony Blair because you can easily deduce that Brair is a religious nutter as well as noted liar. But would need to be up very
    early to catch Lenihan out. It was obvious why he is FF’s star man and if you ever needed someone to lie for your country he would be a top contender as he can ‘hold his nerve’ as he himself put it. I reckon he might even be smarter than Cowen and Ahearn put together and hell even the indo called him a national hero. His confident perfomance gives the impression he is open and untouchable but I reckon he is bluffing

    The former Taoiseach tried to spin the line that he was told not to worry about what the banks were up to and if that is true then it means that the Irish Taoiseach is merely a front man. If not then he is probably a liar. There is another possibility. I assumed that Ahearn was supposed to be smart but just after he said this my better half asked the question:
    is this guy some kind of fcuking idiot? and then she pointed out that he looks about as convincing as a 17 year old estate agent dressed in a two tone suit and spats. I laughed because I had been thinking for years that Bertie was a shifty looking con man. Slippery for sure. A fly boy yes. Clever not really. Just a fly boy with the gift of the gab and criminal tendencies. Could a Taoiseach, the boss of a country, really be an idiot? Maybe but I don’t really believe Bertie is anything of the sort and that it is just that he hides his power and influence well by acting the Mattie. Just a regular guy whose hands were tied ya know boss?

    Some of the language was revealing. Irish people can sometimes come across as flippant because they have a tendency to use flowery words and phrases. It is like they can’t stay serious for long and prefer to resort to the oul blarney at any given moment. It is pretty odd behviour and not the way to act if you want to be taken seriously. If we want a laugh then we can switch on the tv and listen to a real joker like Father Ted so cut the crap guys and just do your jobs properly. Please. Act like men and for once try to convince us that you really are serious, capable
    and that you actually give a shit about the country. Pensioners are having to stay in bed longer to save on their heating bills while these guys snigger and think is it just bit of craic

    ‘We would have gotten away with it’ if Lehman’s didn’t go under said Ahearn. Gotten away with what Bertie? I wonder who he was referring to with the ‘we’ but ‘ah sure we all make mistakes’ don’t we Bertie. Maybe just another one of your famous Freudian slips. It’s a great little country so best we all stop our cribbin and moanin. Some people are touting this guy as a future president but he doesn’t have an ounce of class. When he let his mask slip with the suicide remark a few years back he was a disgrace. It gave us a fleeting glance into the nature of the beast he has served so well

    And so back at the ranch life goes on. The same old system, the same old faces and the same powerful voices speaking up in the interests of those cliques who are deemed worthy of protection. The 500,000 are cast adrift without mercy and will be the ones who they turn the blame on next.
    There will be more trubunals and inquests which by the time they have reached a verdict the guilty will be either dead or in a state of senile demetia while the rest of us will have grown older and wearier. Lifes a bitch

    • @Pauldiv,

      Re “But would need to be up very
      early to catch Lenihan out.”

      If I had the time, access to all the archive clips, I would produce a little documentary for you. Leave out the crap graphic design enhancements eg money blowing in the street, or fast forward traffic clips, slooow it all down.

      Take Lenihans public announcements on the banks, edit them down to a max of 3 min each and note ‘this man is making it up as he goes along and is being dictated to by the banks’ Only this explains the turn arounds, the contradictions, the lack of knowledge, figures jumping from €3 bn to € 34 bn , after 2 yrs we go from ‘good bank/bad bank’ to the unfortunately named ‘asset recovery bank’. Is the similar to set up to recover stolen assets? Plus the ominously named ‘funding bank’ (Whose funds funding who?) Brazen speeches depicting international support for Ireland now undermined by market spreads and FT criticism.

      Fact is Lenihan is a screw up for Ireland Inc and he’s heading to make an even bigger mess of recovery than what led to the disaster!

      • Thanks for the pdf cbweb. I will read it later as herself is calling me to tea.

        You and I know Lenihan is a con job who is covering up but a sizeable percentage of the population think he, Cowen and Ahearn are electable.

        It’s not very difficult to make films out of clips. I appreciate most people on here won’t have the time but I would be interested in something like this. There is no shortage of video sharing sites where such films could be hosted. It could be promoted via the Irish blogging network through linking and word of mouth. It could well be worth if it got an audience and helped more people to realise how this country is being run.
        Can the outsiders really compete with a bunch of crooks who effectively have their own television and radio stations?

        A chronology of Lenihan’s statements over the banking fiasco would be good Even a basic list of facts could make a short and informative article. For christ sake I though that this kind of stuff is what the employ journalists for but in Ireland it seems that if you want a truthful documentary then you need to make your own. Preferably one without tumbleweed and euro notes seen blowing around the Dublin streets.

        These guys should be prosecuted, thrown in jail and have their assets recovered. We could give them food vouchers and make them report to the guards every day.

        • Hey Pauldiv,

          Good you are up for something like this. Find me at where I run as usergroup manager this Adobe usergroup. I’ve skills in Flash Video/Android for mobile and other stuff and have great software to make/contribute to a good job on this. Main deficit focus would be to access clips/articles/dail archives that would follow the trail of announcements from 2008. This could be carefully vetted and researched in a calendar detailed way. Unfortunately, most journalism here is lacking in this authoritative evidence gathering. Sunday Times sometimes has work like this. People should know the makey upey contradictions/denials and plain lies coming from the banks and government.Anyone wanting to be part of such a project I can offer Adobe ConnectPro conferencing software. This would allow participants to go to a supplied url at agreed time for a virtual webinar type conference meeting to allow exchange of files, chat, and dialogue views to progress work. Someone else might like to contribute project development software eg Basecamp. Of course in the spirit of openness/transparency we could make all files available to journalists!

          • @Pauldiv, good to see you have a ‘herself’ also. I’ve also kids, two at uni, one doing phD postgrad work,another doing science, another with a disability probably going to be subject of cuts, another at school in 5th year. I’m mad as hell they’ve wrecked this place for their future! Lets do something about it, however small!

          • I totally agree cbweb. We don’t have kids ourselves but it makes me mad as hell to see what they are doing to the old, the young and the unfortunate. It is time people stood up and stopped taking this shit. It does not matter what colour someone’s skin is, what religion they are or where they come from. They can all do something no matter how small to help ensure that the truth comes out. We can’t let the buggers off the hook and hide the mess from future generations by smoke and mirrors and name changing. They changed the name of Windscale to Sellafield and it worked because 20 years later most young people had never heard of Windscale.

            Ps I contacted you via the link above.

  40. Philip

    Very good comments from all. But yiz are all a tiny minority. David is no longer pulling punches and Constantine G is getting really nervous. All we need now is a Brendan Keenan calmly telling us that certainly it does look that we are all well and truly shagged and really it may not be something to worry about because it’s too late.

    My point is that in for the majority of people here in this country are contented souls who are in hanging on or in state jobs, this is seen as histrionics of self publicising experts who really do not know what it is to run a business or being in politics all at the same time and who are bitching cos they never got in the the crowd in RTE. This country is great and this will all blow over. There is a major communications problem that is not hitting so called know it all never took a risk “grass roots” cute hoors.

    The mask fell off the face of this “society” of ours when we had a near miss of our Minister of Science about to promote a book promoting creationism… clearly someone with a few grey cells has a word. Maybe there is no real evidence relating us to porcupines – but circumstancial evidence relating to cabbages is in abundance.

    • You might think we are a tiny minority if you only listen to PRavda RTE, not if you listen to the unemployed or those forced to emigrate or those holding onto their jobs/business by their finger nails or those cut off by the ESB or even by the 80% Indo polls against gov policy on the banks or clear majorities calling for an election!

      But on this site you do find people who try to dig deeper than most. Plus you do find people here willing to try to give a voice to the voiceless and support those who like Morgan Kelly, McWilliams do their bit to reveal the truth under the cloak of lies drip feeding the gullible.

      Who is ‘content’ with the way things are? Even those with jobs have huge concern regarding their own children and prospects for them and the economy.

      Have you a first class ticket on the Titanic and are assured of a place on the lifeboat! Hope you wake up!

    • coldblow

      Philip, you call it accurately as usual. However I wouldn’t agree with your final point. I know nothing of the story beyond a sentence overheard on the news this morning but I doubt that our betters would be outraged about creationism (or whatever is understood by that term) on scientific or philosophical grounds, but siimply because this is the default setting elsewhere. Be it religion, regulation, banking, music, literature, ‘lifestyle’ etc, they look to what is accepted ‘best practice’ abroad. When I heard of the story, ie of the reaction to the proposed book launch, I just thought: Here we go again, and moved on. I’ve never known it any other way here. Never ever ever. That helps explain why, once deregulated finance got accepted abroad, Ireland was always going to be its most spectacular victim.

      I’m veering off a bit here, but I’m increasingly persuaded that countries can behave like individuals in the sense that they can be introvert or extravert. Collectively the Irish take their identity and meaning from the world around, the external reality is more real than the internal one. From this perspective the mask can never slip because there is nothing behind it.

      • coldblow

        Here’s an excellent review of Hawking’s latest book.

        The way I see it the complexity is built into nature and it’s a choince whether you see that as being by design or by accident, in the sense that this is just one of an infinite no. of universes, the only one where all the laws seem to promote life. All right, on mature reflection, maybe the Irish banking system is evidence that we are not actually living in that perfect universe…

  41. kayak

    From The Independant’s website

    “The Taoiseach’s top economic adviser, Professor Peter Clinch, yesterday told Fianna Fail TDs and senators that Ireland had faced a major global recession head on.

    “Tough and painful decisions have been made. We have emerged from recession. Nonetheless, continued weakness in the domestic economy and turbulence in financial markets is a warning that we cannot be complacent.”

    Any comments?

      • kayak

        gquin the way these guys are going on is criminal.have they no morals,conscience or soul?

        • gquinn

          Yes that right. It definitly is criminal because I personally know the difference between right and wrong but unfortunitly it’s not a universal concept and also they don’t have any morals or soul just look at there actions as it speaks louder than words.

          I have been harping on about this for the past 2 years but as usual I was way ahead of everyone else. Just check out my past posts.

          I’m a believer in prevention and this problem could only be solved by preventing from becoming a problem but as usual with human nature that does not happen. Everyone acts after the event instead of looking and planning for the worst outcome possible.

          In my view, It’s now too late to save the country and the only thing to do now is pull out of the Euro and default on all debts and concentrate on rebuilding the country from the ground up.

          If we stay in the Euro then we will be force to up the Corporation tax to 30% because if we don’t then we won’t get any money from the ECB.

          It does not matter which option is taken as the country will default it’s just the default will take a little bit longer with option 2 but we will still default because when Corportation takes goes to 30% then there goes all the US multinationals.

          This crises was so obvious that a blind person could have spotted it.

          • “This crises was so obvious that a blind person could have spotted it.”

            Thats is true. But the blind follow the blind while a minority of people, like some of us who subscribe to this blog, don’t subscribe to the wisdom of the crowd. We have a right not to listen to snake oil salesmen and predators bearing news which seems too good to be true. Eleven and a half times salary for a pile of bricks and mortar. Really. Is this sane? If the crash didn’t happen what would they be offering now? It would be about 500k for your average house now if this madness was not reigned in

            Anyone who is a happy and contented soul in post celtic tiger Ireland is either well off, has realised that it is too late and therefore has stopped worrying or they have no sense of social responsibility. Anyone who is in a minority will know how hard it is put your head over the parapet and take the flak. Some us were made that way. In Ireland it takes a much braver man to do so because he knows he will be ridiculed and torn to pieces by the mob. Anyone brave enough to do so should be listened to.

            When I came here in 2000 all the guys I worked with were buying second homes and Audis but now most of them are in queer street. If you fly with crows then you get shot with the crows. Don’t just take my word for it. James Caan the Dragon also tells you to watch the crowd and then do the opposite. In Ireland people still believe all that Thatcher and Reagan told them about the magic of the markets and they are now on a midnight train to hell. World food prices are rising due to natural disasters, probably caused by global warming, inflation is rising and most of the world is living in poverty. Yet the docile happy simpletons among us will tell us to stop moaning, make a nice cup of tea and switch on Coronation Street. It is called denial and the promised land of Maggie and Ronnie can now be seen for what it always was, a mirage.

  42. Deco

    Seen Freefall 2, last night. It was not my intention. But Hobbs was back on screen at about 8:45 PM, and he was in rare form, telling people tricks being played by supermarkets. He also embarrassed to general practitioner doctor profession concerning their charges. [ I expect the phones to be hopping in RTE this morning with the IMO (doctors union) lambasting Hobbs, and telling RTE to get rid of him again. And I expect other professions, like auctioneers, pharmacists, solicitors to be getting ready to do the same. Hobbs is a brave battler and needs our backing].

    Freefall 2 was a big improvement on the first episode.

    At the end of it all I came to the conclusion that all the things that we know to be wrong contributed to this problem.

    1. The power of vested interests in determining the public debate.
    2. Professional lobbying organizations telling politicians what to do regarding public policy.
    3. The Irish culture of management has failed.
    4. The lifestyle factor contributed to the debt mountain.
    5. Euphoria became endemnic, and celebtrationism went overboard.
    6. Dissenting voices were told to shut up (as Morgan Kelly indicated).
    7. The politicians were clueless about economics. (all of them).
    8. The ECB was irresponsible in it’s low interest rate policy.
    9. Taxation rules encouraged roll-over investment.
    10. Gambling is not a strategy for increasing national wealth.
    11. The establishment took advantage of the madness on the way up.
    12. We developed cultural mores with respect to money that were reckless and irresponsible, and narcistic.

    • kayak

      Firstly I find your views insightfull and highly intelligent.
      What would your advice be to the young man in the street?
      Do you see mass emmigration and if so,where to?

      • Deco

        In the long term, mass emigration will occur, because the debt will just keep building, and the mantra about ‘controlling the public finances’ is just a code for saying ‘continual borrowing on the bond markets’. At some point the electorate will vote around the IBEC-ICTU nexus that is controlling the country. And this will take a wrecking ball to the institutional millstone around the people’s neck.

        In the mean time, if you do not have work, do whatever you can to compete in the labour market.

        If you have work, save, because taxes will just keep increasing. This means examining where you spend money, every month, quarter.

        Invest it first in your own productive capacity. Personal development. Technical education. Skills enhancement. Reading. There will be opportunities, aside from all the asset bubbles and crashes. FAS will not move fast enough. So have a view on this. In other words, invest in being a winner.

        Have money aside for taking care of elderly relatives, children, to take care of your own health, etc.. because the welfare state will get progressively downscaled, with the need to pay for bureacrats taking precedence of the need to serve the population. Even Vincent Browne is selling his house, and downscaling on the basis that he needs to have money aside for his own old age. Obviously he is not too certain about the future either. So in this regard, invest in being a survivor.

        Do not invest in being the coolest consumer in on the avenue of the Jones.

        • kayak

          Sound advice,thanks.The economy is going to battle to grow if they take more and more of the taxpayers disposable income and dumping it into a blackhole.I just feel sorry for the innocent people and the youth.This is like watching a car accident in slow motion.
          How can people stay on the dole for years?Is there no ambition to atleast try to start a business?I am battling to get my head around that concept.I mean you get enough money from the state to live comfortably so why not use some of that “free” money to try something atleast.
          Is it because people are in a comfort zone,or maybe because they have never really been hungry in their lives.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Kayak,

            Deco offers good advice but please allow me to offer you some qualifications on the pointers outlined. First of all the advice on investing in yourself is fine so long as you can get a return on that investment. This will only happen if you emigrate and find a decent job abroad as many employers in Ireland discriminate against well qualified and experienced staff saying they will either be too much of a threat or will require to be paid too much. Put some of your savings in allocated gold (be careful as a bubble is starting to form in Gold) and also a hard currency outside the Euro like Norwegian Kroner. If you do start a business don’t borrow any money and complete a business plan to determine your breakeven point which is the total turnover required each week to cover costs and an acceptable level of income for you. Many businesses are operating at a loss and trying to survive from capital consumption at the moment so you may find it impossible to achieve even break even. If you decide to emigrate go to a country in which your skills are required and for which people will pay you a decent salary and not fill you with the usual shite of titles and allsorts. This may not be apparent to you but many of the people unemployed in this country are desperately trying to get work but need to find work to provide at least a level of salary to cover the cost of going to work which many people don’t even get at this stage. I feel that EIRE is going to find itself in negotiated structural default before Patrick’s day next year which will mean that there will be a restriction put on the amount of money the citizenry can withdraw from their savings as happened in Argentina in 2002 so keep your cash liquid. If you do set up a business ideally try and set one up based over the internet where your income is derived from dealing with customers overseas. And if you can open a bank account in another European jurisdiction do so as you will have access to a bank account to pay bills, receive wages etc. in case everything goes belly up here. By the way when people get hungry they don’t work harder they stop working altogether and start stealing and plundering from their neighbours.



          • Hi Kayak,

            Yes it is like car crash in slow motion or a midnight train to hell but everyone is still in denial and it is every man for himself. Like dogs in the street fighting over over a bin liner that has fallen from a wheelie bin.

            What to do? Personal development was the answer for me. I went back to college during the boom and studied Computing because it is industry neutral and it is pretty unique in that it is something you can do at a place of work or from home. You can do big jobs and small jobs and bit and bobs etc. I homed in on stuff that no one else is doing – if the crowd are doing Microsoft and Closed Source then I will choose Linux and Open source to be different. Like the man said with a good set of skills you could go to a nice country like Portugal and learn the language before heading to somewhere like Brazil. As Deco said however there are probably a lot of good opportunities closer to home but in times of panic most people think the grass is greener elsewhere. Sometimes the answer is right under our noses and had been there all along

        • Deco

          contrary to the current trend, perhaps sheepish euphoria of telling people to go to Canada or Australia, I reckon there are opportunities closer to home.

          First, if I were a recent graduate, and straight out of college, I would start searching for work in West Dublin/NE Kildare. It is the one part of the country where the private sector predominates, and is the location of much of the competitive industry of the country. It is also generally less dependent on ISEQ comapnies, and state sector employment, and for this reason is a more meritocratic, and less stuffy place to live/work.

          Failing that, I would try the Netherlands, where unemployment is the lowest in Europe. It is not far away, so you could come home frequently, and living expenses are manageable. Bear in mind that there is no ‘received wisdom’ about working there, and you will get a good work ethic, and the Dutch are good with money. Unlike the FG party, you will find yourself at ‘the heart of Europe’.

          I think that both Canada and Australia are in a bubble state. I do not understand how Irish people expect to find work in Canada, when Canadians are much better at time-keeping, have better contacts, and speak both languages. In addition much of the economic activity in Canada borders the American Mid-West, which is now suffering from chronic high unemployment. Americans are very competitive when it comes to looking for opportunities. In addition there is the winter – which is fine those who are resourceful and good planners – but a disaster for those who are wasteful and spontaneous.

          Australia is an even bigger bubble. A lot of Irish people go to Australia, on the pretence of looking for work – when really they just want to go on a multi-month drinking binge, and find an easy job and pretend that they were working and learning something. The one thing you do not want on your CV is that you spent a “year out” in Australia. It is a loaded statement that stands out.

          Years ago, there used to be a McDonalds ad “do you want fries with that ?” challenging misconceptions concerning working in McDonalds. Well, there still are a lot of misconceptions about a whole range of jobs in the economy, especially in retailing and the services. In other words, there is far too much pressure on people in this country to look good, and this makes people very afraid of being practical.

          There might be a gold mine outside your own door that nobody is telling you about. It would be a shame to pass it buy. The one thing I have learnt about the Irish lemming mentality over the past two decades is “Never do the done thing !!” (always make your own way).

          • adamabyss

            I agree with you about West Dublin / NE Kildare. I live and work in one and work/study in the other and opportunities are relatively plentiful even in these barren times.

            Didn’t like Australia at all when I was there, apart from the leisure side of things, it was a waste of time in terms of work. Well I mean with regard to the year out. I left after less than four months. Moving there permanently with the proper visa etc. would be okay but takes a lot of time and hard work (not afraid of hard work but we all know how tortuous and perverse that visa applications can be) as well as the proper qualifications which I don’t have (yet). Sydney was horrible, Melbourne a lot better and I didn’t make it to Perth which was a major mistake as I had some good contacts there. I wouldn’t go back to Australia, apart from on holiday.

            What about New Zealand? – lovely place, amazing natural environment, better newspapers than Australia and less obnoxious, more relaxed people. But I’d say it’s hard to get in there now.

            I lived in Hungary for a few years but I doubt there are many opportunities there now. I worked badly paid jobs for a number of years, mostly teaching English which was depressing. Luckily I got an ‘out’ to the Caribbean. I still have fond memories of my Hungarian sojourn but the people are pretty miserable (with exceptions of course), albeit very smart, culturally stimulating and intellectual.

            Netherlands or Germany sounds like a great idea. You could get by with English initially and pick up the language as quickly as possible. If I can learn Hungarian, anyone can learn Dutch or Deutsch. My brother is moving to Germany pretty soon – he’s in the music promotion business.

            Finally I think the Portugal suggestion is a fine one, with the possibility of moving onto Brazil, although you couldn’t have any responsibilities like kids or houses at home, unless you could sell up and bring the family with you. Good weather in both places though, although the lifestyles would be more strange to Irish people than would the British/Northern European norm. You’d need to have an open mind about a lot of things, especially in Brazil.

            Good luck to anyone who makes a move, Adam.

          • PMC

            I agree wholeheartedly about Australia and the bubble thay have at present. The Irish should be careful about this, otherwise they could end up getting a double helping of misery!!
            When David refers to seeking value in a property purchase, by Christ is this missing in many areas in Australia.

            Shabby houses and apartments in Sydney suburbs, close enough to the CBD, are selling for insane prices. It really does appear to be a mirror image for what happened here in Ireland.

            The difference I suppose though is Australias’ enourmous mineral wealth and the inflow of cash from such.
            This again though is purely reliant on external demand and external money.
            If China slows significantly, Australia will be in serious trouble.
            One thing I did notice in Australia, was that many of the nasty societal traits that are spoken about on this blog, in reference to the Irish boom etc… are in fact mirrored in Australia at present.
            In fairness, it is more difficult to secure credit in Australia; however if one is to consider the simple fact of “property value” well then there’s problems down the line in Australia.

            Just out of curiousity with Brazil being mentioned above; what are peoples thoughts on the rife corruption that exists in Brazil and I wonder if this will hold them back?
            I’ve spoken with a few Brazilian people i’ve met and from what they have expressed, it would appear to be a really serious issue!

      • Malcolm McClure

        kayak: Suppose I were in my 30s unemployed, with wife and a couple of kids and with access to a few thousand savings. I think I would head in the first instance to Portugal, where I could still draw the dole, and would spend a year becoming fluent in the language. Then I’d head for Brazil, which many think is the 21st century land of opportunity.

        • kayak

          I am in South Africa,thanks for all the advice,it is universal good advice.Just wanted to get a feeling of what the future holds for the avg citizen in their thirties.

  43. @Philip,

    In the wake of Minister for Science Conor Lenihan support for the publication of a book arguing against the Darwinian Theory of Evolution, (since withdrawn because of the public outcry). Darwins theory of evolution already comprehensively scientifically proven, verified by generations of scientists since Darwin, now overwhelmingly endorsed at the genetic level at the genome level by people such as the genome projects, Craig Venter,, folks, if you have the time, should try and get opportunity to enjoy, Age of Reason/Richard Dawkins introduces ‘The Genius of Darwin’, 3hrs long but worth it, More4 production

    Socialism for the banks, enslavement of the serf taxpayers, Kmer Rouge decentralisation, Big Brother dodgy voting machines, billion euro daft dempsey ‘flights of fancy’ roads to nowhere( well relatively few live in Waterford and its relatively purposeless compared to need for road to Rosslare )….could you expect anything less in our ‘smart economy’ Lol:)

    Pity, I would have gone along to the launch to get what would have been a personally prized picture of Lenihan there! We could have sent it to Dawkins who could have used it as one of his treasured and prized exhibits, no end to the mileage(everytime I use the word ‘mileage’ now I think of Calelly)Dawkins would get out of that.

    Obviously the Lenihan brothers know as little about science as they do about economics.

    • Deco

      I would place this on ‘continuing theme’

      a former minister for finance, and ex-Taoiseach, who did not know how the money got into his account, and who for long periods did not recall having any bank account, and who won money at the races when he could not remember…

      another former minister for finance who got a loan that was not properly assessed by a building society that is now in state receivership

      a former chairman of the Dail Public Standards and Ethics committe who was often the main defendant before the Tribunals (Lord Lucan),

      a minister for health who is obviously obese, and possibly even worse,

      a former minister for enterprise who lived on state salary all of her career, and who comes from a family never worked in the private sector…..

      I think you get the picture….Conor Lenihan barely registers in comparison..

    • Malcolm McClure

      I just heard John May, author of ‘Origin of specious nonsense’ interviewed on Newstalk. Anyone who would allow himself to be called ‘a friend’ of such a purveyor of mid-Atlantic claptrap has no place in public life.

  44. coldblow

    I caught most of Freefall last night. Unforunately I missed the clip of David on Primetime in 2003. I thought this 2nd episode was good and, as Deco implies above, it gave you a chance to reflect on the bigger picture.

    Cowen came across very badly, saying it was not his job to interfere in how much people pay for their houses. This is quite an incredible statement to make.

    Ahearn came out even worse with that ludicrous stuttering device of his insinuating faux-sincerity/ perplexity. However, I had never heard the ‘suicide’ quote before and it was clear to me was that what he was saying was: (these people are so depressed and gloomy that) I don’t know why they don’t go and commit suicide. Which isn’t the same thing as telling them to kill themselves as I’d been led to believe. I would bet that most unfavourable reactoin to this at the time would have been out of sensitivity to the recently bereaved as opposed to the prospects of the economy.

    Irish society came out of it very badly, appearing stupid and shallow.

    With a few exceptions the economists came out of it badly. I can’t remember the name of the economist who said that he wished he had known his history better. Which I think is an excellent epitaph.

    Had he never come across Galbraith’s Great Crash, where all the ingredients had been identified: the wisdom of crowds, etc? Galbraith refers to how when it became obvious that the bubble was set to grow bigger and then burst nobody in power wanted to be the one looking to ‘stop the party’ or ‘take away the punch bowl’. Because they knew that they would be blamed and that people would look back on what might have been.

  45. 20yearsagrowin

    This is a great initiative that we should all take part in and spread the word on….

  46. Gege Le Beau

    From the files…………….

    No profit in peace, further to a previous post………..

    The Obama arms deal with Saudi Arabia is reported to be worth around $60 billion, that is what gunboat diplomacy helps to achieve in the ‘free market’, a term repeated ad nauseum on Freefall, no such thing as the ‘free market’, we pay for everything.

    The US did a similar massive arms deal under the Bush administration, worth about $20 billion.

    The British were not to be outdone of course

    The 5 biggest arms dealers are the 5 permanent members of the UN Security council, the impact of such arms in conflicts around the world especially in developing countries is naturally appalling.

    Apparently British paratroopers weapons from the early 1970s turned up in the Liberian Civil War. The movie Lord of War explores some of these issues in an entertaining and insightful way.

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