September 22, 2010

High bond rates will leave us an economic wasteland

Posted in Irish Economy · 312 comments ·

Years ago, when I worked for a Swiss bank, we would go to the Alps every month or so to examine all the trades we had made and make sure that the assets we held were sound and could be relied on.

If something didn’t quite add up with a country where we had exposure, we would decide what to do in order to sell the stuff as soon as possible. For example, if a bankrupt country was raising money at an interest rate of more than 6pc, alarm bells would ring.

On my first visit to the Alps, quite apart from the complexities of finance, which were hard enough initially, the one thing I could never figure out was how Hannibal got elephants through the tiny passes. As a young boy I was fascinated by this story of the African general, driving his army from Africa, to Spain and then through the Alps into Italy.

Hannibal was from Rome’s great rival city, Carthage, in what is now Tunisia. By the time Hannibal made it to Italy, the Romans and the Carthaginians had been at war for more than a hundred years, but Hannibal’s heroism shocked the Romans and they decided to subdue this problematic rival once and for all. At the end of the third Punic war, the Romans succeeded in 146BC.

The legions laid siege to Carthage. When they took the city, they killed most of the inhabitants, sold the rest into slavery, and destroyed the entire city. As the scribe Tacitus said in a different context, “they make a wasteland and call it peace”. In the Leaving Cert we were told that the Romans ploughed up the city to ensure that no one would ever live there again.

A Carthaginian peace came to describe a situation where a place is destroyed and the victors call it peace.

When I heard the crowing on the radio from bond market salesmen yesterday that Ireland had managed to borrow yet more money at exorbitant interest rates, I was reminded of the expression ‘a Carthaginian peace’. Apparently, Irish bonds are as “safe as houses” according to people who sell bonds to other people and take a commission on the trade. Well they would say that wouldn’t they? After all, they make a few quid on the twist.

If our bonds are as safe as houses, what explains the fact that Ireland raised money at 6.28pc yesterday and Germany raises money at 2.47pc?

Maybe they should be described as safe as Carthage houses, although in fairness anyone who uses the expression ‘as safe as houses’ to describe something as financially secure clearly hasn’t lived in the country for some time.

The bond market is betting that the Irish authorities, in cahoots with their friends in the ECB, are happy to preside over a Carthaginian peace. Any economic destruction will be deemed necessary so long as Ireland remains a pliant little European borrower.

This means the ECB will continue to backstop Irish bonds irrespective of how much damage the policies are doing to the Irish economy. It will not matter that the Irish economy is a wasteland so long as we continue to honour our debts and continue to plug holes in our banks with taxpayers’ money.

Over the past few months it has become obvious that the financial markets see the world in a totally different light to the ECB and the Government. The financial markets do not want a Carthaginian peace because a wasteland can’t generate income to pay back the debt. However, this view is not shared by the people who run the Irish economy in our name. These people — the politicians and the top civil servants — appear to think that we can put up with anything.

As a result of these differing views, the financial markets are not rewarding austerity as the mandarins are suggesting. In fact, the markets are doing the opposite. The more we cut, the higher the interest rate. And the bond market is being kept open by the fact that the markets see Ireland as a “carry trade” which will be guaranteed by the ECB.

A carry trade is when you borrow cheaply to fund a trade which yields much more than the interest rate you borrowed in. During the past 10 years when Japan kept its interest rates at zero, the emerging markets were fuelled by what was then known as the “yen carry trade”. This involved borrowing in Yen to buy higher-yielding bonds. This created all sorts of “hot money” bubbles around the globe. When the rate of interest in Japan rose, these trades were unravelled. Something similar may be developing in our bond market.

THE Pyrrhic victory is one where the costs to the victor are enormous. When you pay 4pc more for money than your neighbour, borrowing is hardly a victory.

On the ground, the evidence of an economic wasteland in Ireland grows. On the day the bond auction was oversubscribed by opportunists taking advantage of the carry trade, jobless figures came out which revealed the real picture.

Unemployment is the true barometer of economic success and the labour market figures yesterday tell their own story.

Emigration in the second quarter is the highest since 1989 — 35,000 people left the country in three months. It is highest amongst the 25 to 34-year-olds. The number of people employed in our country has dropped by 253,000 in two years. Around 43pc of our people on the dole are now described as long-term unemployed, this is up from 21pc in 2008.

One of the most shocking revelations in yesterday’s figures was that 112,000 people under 35 have left the labour force since spring 2008. Unemployment among the young is rising rapidly. Four out of 10 people between the age of 15 and 19 in the labour force are on the dole — so too are a quarter of people between the age of 20 and 24.

Ireland is an economic wasteland for young people. This is not a sustainable status quo. This is becoming no country for young men (or women).

I watched Michael McDowell’s excellent programme on Michael Collins the other night and it struck me that our greatest general died at 32, the same age as Hannibal when he took his elephants over the Alps.

At 32 today the average worker in Collins’ Republic is facing unemployment, negative equity and the prospect of paying bond vultures years of tax income, all to bail out bust banks.

A Pyrrhic victory spawns a Carthaginian peace.

    • foi foi moi moi

      ashamed to say im Irish to some people, we are now no longer looked at as the lads who enjoy the craic and a few beers at the weekend , harmless to most..we are now view in most eyes as a pathetic race who dont seem to know how to get our affairs right when it comes to the economy or our government, showed an aussie mate of mine a pod cast of a dail house squabble, to which he described it as “mate its like watching a series of Father Ted except they all sound like dougle”..very hard pill to swollow especially coming from a Bogan Aussie but these Bogan have granted me PR and pay my wages rather handsomely you might say.despit that i Havent met an irish person yet in Australia who would go home in the morning if their was work id like to thank our elected representatives for the wonderfull work they have done in bringing us back to the teary eyed scenes of the 80s at knock, dublin and Shannon airports as we wave good bye to loved ones and promise to be home at x mas which all of a sudden becomes next x mas then the next untill 10 years has passed before a visit home.. Thank you card is in the post boys shower of cunts…

      • jandal

        Was standing behind a man at Auckland Airport yesterday waiting to go through Immigration, the Officer asked him why he was coming to New Zealand – he said, in an Irish accent – “I’ve come to work. Ireland has gone to the dogs – I haven’t worked in two years”.

        I went to England for work in the 80′s, back to Ireland for the 90′s, now NZ. The impression of Ireland here breaks my heart – people lower their voices like there’s been some sort of shame placed on the country.

        As for Father Ted – don’t get me started, a series that made Irish people out to be stupid and infantile and is responsible for a new generation of Irish stereotypes abroad.

        • mcsean2163

          Where’s your sense of humour Jandal. If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

          • jandal

            Father Ted or any other character in that programme doesn’t resemble me or any other Irish person I know – so I don’t see anything in Fr. Ted to laugh at.

          • foi foi moi moi

            dont see the funny side of leaving loved ones to try and make ends meat in foriegn lands, its ok to laugh at yourself but when everyone thinks your a joke its not to pleasing..
            on another point got an interesting phone call from an english bank (who i had my small load (E5000)and was paying direct debit for 2 years despite being unemployed!) apparently my application for a payment holiday for 3 months to get myself settled and on my feet in Australia was denied (application made in may decision only given to me this month 3 months later!..denied!)now im 3 months in arrears despite the bank knowing i was moving to Aus for work. Anyone know where i can contact Cowen for a bailout?? do you reckon he could do anything about the E1,500 flights E1000 bond on appartment, E3500 for my visa. maybe NAMA could take my debts off my hands and clear the slate for me like its doing for the (w)bankers (silent B) because by the way i see it im saving the state money not signing on claiming all benefits..possible saving to the state of E4,400 (E200/week x 52 weeks dole) Thanks Halifax for really giving the little guy a break..can anyone tell me what will happen if i default as im am seriously thinking about it purely for a matter of principle and protest rather than inability to pay.

          • Black Cat

            Fr Ted liked to leave money ‘resting in his account’ and had no loyalty to his profession or parish – was just in it for what he could get and would have jumped ship to a sunnier parish at the first chance he could get- he did nothing for himself – he was pampered by Mrs Doyle – he was a chancer and ‘lovable rogue’ type rather like some Irish policiticans

  1. Black Cat

    Can anyone speculate as to how long the charade will continue? People were calling it black tuesday and then it passed without much notice when they raised the money – is this going to be a long drawn out thing over a couple of years or is there some ainfluential event on the horizon?

    • juliehogan

      how long more are we,as the people, that through the eighties, were encouraged to ‘buy irish’ , get educated and build a country and future to be proud of, going to endure the farcical mismanagment or is it just blatant corruption that has resulted in this wasteland we ve been left with. are we now supposed to believe amd sympathise with sean fitzpatrick for only having 72 euro per week to live on? strange too, how a few months back the law regarding jail sentances for failure to pay back loans was abolished.. my local paper often reported stories of people receiving week long sentences for owing their credit unions 1000euro! just which developers or bond holders are pulling the strings of government that we are willing to be sold out like this? how long will it be before our economics and finances are decided by germany?

      • Deco

        The media are engaged in what could be called a campaign of “only one bad egg in the box” – that being Anglo. And only one blemish on that egg, that being Seanie Fitzpatrick.

        The problem is much much greater than that. The entire “leadership” of the country is at fault. Anglo get’s the blame to let the rest if the clowns continue without any detection.

        Ireland – a country where you get jailed for not paying a TV licence to Pravda/RTE, but where thousands of corrupt officials can look forward to pension, and where deceit ridden business interests are protected by any commentary that is “damaging to their right to good name”.

        We had “it was all Lehmans’ fault”. Now we have a newer more rigthteous version that is called “it is all Seanie Fitz’s fault”. This is a load of bullshit. In fact Seanie Fitz did not do near as much damage as his successor, David Drumm.

        No. The net goes wider than that. The entire establishment, is at fault. But they are still in place, and they still control much of the media – they are “our advertising sponsors”.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Germany has always called the shots metaphorically and literally.

    • shtove

      This guy has an interesting opinion – the gubmint screwed up by giving a formal guarantee to bank investors:

      I warned about the guarantee on this site a couple of years ago. No way out.

    • This is a ponsi scheme, when Ireland runs out of ‘friends’it will end. We keep borrowing at higher and higher rates to pay back bond holders who had got in at a very high rate. Can anybody stop this ponsi scheme we as a Nation are in? Is there a hgher authority anywhere that can stop this Government and their highly paid senior civil servants?

  2. michaelcoughlan


    Dan obrien said in todays times that the bonds were subsequently being sold on the secondry market at a loss and ended by saying what is gong on? What IS going on?

    • Father-fool-em-all

      That muppet Thomas Byrne on Prime Time spoutin the line that everything is grand coz investors would not be snappin up our debt if they didn’t have faith in dear old ireland and its government policies. After reading David’s article i now wonder whether Thomas is either just plain thick or just a plain liar. Its obvious that this debt is being snapped up as its like taken candy from a baby for these vulture investors.

    • Marky

      At a guess, I would say the reason for this is that the ECB is buying the bonds and then selling them on the secondary market at discount just to get them away! Smoke and Mirrors!

      • They’re not directly buying them but I believe other institutions are being indemnified by the ECB in a round-about way for their support of Irish bonds. I’m sure it’s all hedged and the banks are engaging in some kind of clever arbitrage which sees them make on the deal across a number of trades. It’s fooling nobody but dumbass politicians and people who know nothing about the markets. The panic will set in coming to the end of the guarantee in Dec unless another “lifeline” can be put in place. In the meantime it’s more austerity people can’t afford and a “tough” budget. I do a bit of work as a mediator and you learn the human cost of the desire to avoid the “moral hazard” of debt forgiveness pretty quickly. So many people on the brink of bankruptcy. The government assaults the intelligence of the people with their lies. The only thing they’re offering us is long term economic contraction, reduced quality of life, increased cost of living and high personal tax rates.

  3. Black Cat

    Can anyone speculate as to how long the charade will continue? People were calling it black tuesday and then it passed without much notice when they raised the money – is this going to be a long drawn out thing over a couple of years or is there some influential event on the horizon?

  4. Gege Le Beau

    Nice historical analogy.

    The Romans did indeed reduce Carthage to ashes(no two stones were to stand one on top of another), they also spread lime around the fields so no crops would grow, they had quite enough of the Carthaginians at that stage and once dealt with the Romans went on to create the first major Empire (lasted a lot longer than our boom). Years later, Roman citizens would frighten their children with stories than Hannibal was coming to get them if they refused to go to bed, a bit like the bogeyman in our time, it may be Seanie F. or our dear leader for the next generation.

    McDowell’s programme was far from excellent, laced with a good few stinkers, one of the most notable that “in this Reoublic, we make all our important decisions at the ballot box’………NAMA? Anglo Irish? Natural Resources off Mayo’s coastline? Use of Shannon? The whole point to this so called Failed Republic is that the people were nowhere near the decision making process, that is reserved for lobbyists, politicians and their cronies and as another poster pointed out, when the citizens do make a decision like rejecting Lisbon it comes right back at us until it is ratified (along with a whole raft of threats from Brussles about a two tier Europe). Did people vote for their children to be educated in prefabricated classrooms? Did people vote for no financial regulation? Democracy, sure.

    Let us not forget that the PDs (of which our friend Michael was a leading player) were champions of the so called ‘free market’, privatisation, neoliberal model (the privatisation of our health system is a criminal affair, on the public system I was expected to wait until June 2012 for a minor procedure, I opted for private and saw the consultant in 5 weeks, just paid him €120 euro for a 9 minute consulatation, the incident reminded me of my research while in Cuba where a transplant specialist said to me that Cubans found the idea of taking money from sick people incomprehensible (and he had trained in Ireland but opted to return home).

    As for that comtemptuous phrase ‘Ireland Inc’, as if we are all working for some multinational and not living in a sovereign state, where there are many who oppose the Western Capitalist model of economic development, the game is up and about time. Let the thing fall like Carthage so we can build a 2nd Republic, the Romans had a few of those as well, but let us keep the carpetbaggers and political opportunists from the doors lest we see our children and children’s children enslaved financially (Rome too built its Empire on the back of slaves and at the point of a sword).

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi Gege,

      “McDowell’s programme was far from excellent, laced with a good few stinkers, one of the most notable that “in this Republic, we make all our important decisions at the ballot box”

      I disagree with you and agree with McDowell because his party was CRUSHED at the ballot box. Your experience of the Irish health system in private hands can be viewed as more efficient than your experience with the public health service here. The same can be said for Ryanair versus the old State run Aer Lingus. Did you ever consider living in CUBA or North Korea? I doubt it somehow. Do you think that the type of anti government commentary you engage in here would be tolerated in either of those two countries? Somehow I doubt it. Regarding the Use of Shannon I presume you mean by US troops on their way to confront Al-Qaeda? (the guys who brought down the twin towers and have perverted one of the worlds greatest religions). I presume you would have a similar difficulty with Russian Military Personnel using Shannon heading to Cuba, or Cuban military personnel heading to Africa? I doubt that also.

      • I subscribe to your viewpoints, Michael.

      • Gege Le Beau

        On living in Cuba – only if you’ll come along Michael, might broaden your horizons, they could certainly teach us a lot.

        PDs were wiped out for a good reason, and then morphed into FG, FF, and sadly the latter has signed them up.

        Well, imagine if Russians were using Shannon to refuel etc because they were fighting an insurgency in the Colombian jungle, would it be tolerated/allowed? Not for a second, but then we are a client state, virtual colony.

        The privatisation of the Irish health system, treating people based on their ability to pay and not on need strikes me as criminal act for a so called Republic. McDowell couldn’t spot a Republic if he hit him between his spectacles.

        As for the banks, bailouts, democractic deficit, unemployment, debt slaves, job insecurity……..this is the great success is it? A blip in the system?

        As Vince Cable said today ‘capitalism takes no prisoners and the bankers have wrought more damage than any Marxist could in his/her wildest dreams’.

        Indeed, we may yet get nationalisation of the banks, how ironic.

        • If you don’t like capitalism, go live in North Korea or Cuba. The nations with the greatest healthcare system are almost totally privatised. I dunno bout you, but I don’t like the idea of this nation spending €1.6billion funding obesity related deceases.

          Personally, I look after myself and if I smoke for example I don’t expect other people to fork out the bill to make me better.

          • Gege Le Beau

            I find it interesting when people raise this ‘go to Cuba/North Korea’ stuff, I did consider Cuba and spoke to a more learned man than me who convinced me to stay when he said ‘let the Cubans sort out Cuba, your fight is here’. I agree with him, it is here, so here is where I stay, I can’t let peple like you Sean_Kelly have a free ride.

            Interesting comment on your smoking habit, this is a highly individualistic viewpoint, very common among supporters of the capitalist system, you think only of your actions but you do not mention the impact your smoking has on others (passive smokers for instance, the impact on love ones etc), moreover, like it not but when you health starts to suffer you will be absorbed into the health system (private probably), you may need some kind of transplant or treatment (God forbid, but lets face it your risks are higher as a smoker), so even though you know your actions have personal consequences, you do not factor in the consequences for others, maybe you will take an organ from someone who never smoked, but needs it just as bad, or be a number on a waiting list, which pushes another person further down that list. Interesting how an apparent aside can be viewed and interpreted. Contrary to capitalism’s drive to produce aggressive, hyper competitive individuals, we are not independent actors, living in isolation, contray to Thatcher and Regan ideologues, it is not the end of society or community, nor is it the end of history. We live on a planet which is interdependent, we are social beings who need each other (whether we like it or not), we must create a fair and sustainable economic model or we can kiss our short existence goodbye.

            I don’t like capitalism, I think in terms of its structure, it is almost feudal in terms of how it treats human beings. I am an opponent of it and I will going on being an opponent until I see some semblence of a decent Irish Republic which puts people ahead of money everytime.

        • Deco

          The bankers have not yet killed anybody.

          This idea of a dual dicotomy, Capitalism OR Marxism no longer adds up.

          The Asian superpowers of the next century do not care about Marxism. They have already firmly decided that it has failed, and are moving away from it.

          • Gege Le Beau

            It is not a question of either or, that is almost Cold War thinking, we can easily create an alternative to current socio-economic model, indeed, given the current situation especially, I think it is morally incumbant upon us to do so.

            Contray to your statement, the bankers have destroyed people, they have destroyed whole societies, in terms of the cutbacks in global aid, the poorest of the poor have been hit and in some cases I would not be surprised if lives have been lost. In Cork’s evening echo there was a front page headline 2 weeks ago that said suicide rates have risen in the city by 45%, they directly attributed this to the economic downturn which was directly caused by the banks.

            The term for this is ‘social murder’, which has been going on for centuries. The term originally came from Engels’s 1845 account of the social murder committed by British capitalists to assess the contemporary impact of conservative economic policy, which they define as policies designed to maximize the accumulation of profit while socializing the associated risks and costs.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Deco,

            Have a read of the following it might enlighten you somewhat.

          • mrlennyman

            WHat plannet are you living on? The bankers fund wars, plan wars and reap the benefits of life after wars. They overthrow governments and create money flow which dictates how you and I live.
            The Asian Superpowers are being tarheted by the same people who control the western economies and will be very hard to prevent assuming complete control of the world.

        • Colin

          During the 80s and 90s, Shannon Airport supported Russia by allowing their planes en-route to Cuba to stopover and re-fuel, bringing God knows what from Moscow to Havana. We’d see the Russians around Limerick’s hotels on the Ennis Road, looking stern and miserable and cold.

          Funny, I don’t remember any protests on the streets or people breaking through the airport fence to damage the Russian planes with a hammer and kneeling down to pray afterwards for the poor Cubans who are forced to live under Castro’s marxist dictatorship or the ones killed in their attempts to cross over to Florida for freedom.

          • Gege Le Beau

            The Soviets weren’t using Shannon airport to wage two illegal wars in the Western hemisphere (1 million dead in Iraq, millions more injured, 3 million refugees, 2 million orphans, higher cancer rates in Falluja than post war Hiroshima, wrecked country (300 killings per month, kidnappings, insecurity, brain drain), looting and destruction of historical and cultural sites, violation of international law and human rights (extradordinary rendition)).

            Nor did hundreds of thousands of Soviet troops pass through in uniform, nor did the Soviet premier exit his plane on a return journey for a photo-op, nor did the Irish Justice Minister sign legislation that allows a foreign service to question Irish citizens (in the presence of the Gardai)…..

            You talk of Castro’s dictatorship (and yes there are internal issues such as political and press freedoms) but these pale in comparison with Western crimes nor do you mention the historical or contemporary context (embargo, covert military war ~ the illegal Operation Mongoose).

            6000 US military personnel have committed suicide since returning from military tours, more than all those killed in combat in Iraq (4421), something you probably don’t hear in the Irish media, but you will note that Shannon Airport made about €30 million from this business, 30 pieces of silver. Reap what we sow.

          • Colin

            Look, I’ve flown through Shannon Airport many times, and it doesn’t bother me nor others I know who use it to see the American soldiers in uniform, and asking them to change out of uniform does not make any difference in my opinion, since they are not passing through arrivals terminal in Shannon to invade Ireland. Soviets were engaged in the cold war against the West. Soviets nearly brought us to WW3. We facilitated them with Shannon.

            You talk a lot about illegal wars, can you give me examples of legal wars? Was the invasion of Muslims into Spain in 710 AD legal? Was the siege of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453 legal? or the two sieges in Vienna? Thousands died, Hundreds of thousands starved.

            Americans are not responsible for the civil war in Iraq which caused almost all of the deaths and casualties which you listed. Its up to the different factions there to find a peaceful solution, but I suppose a peaceful Iraq does not suit Iran’s objectives and designs on being a regional power.

          • michaelcoughlan


            I don’t believe that Shannon airport supported anyone. It just showed impartiality to all travellers.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Gege,

            I suppose the reason that the Russian army wasn’t doing any of the things you describe during that period is because they were too busy killing all around them in guess which country? Afghanistan.

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ michael coughlan

            Yes, the Soviets acted criminally in Afghanistan.

            The point remains, they didn’t use Shannon.

            Shannon is surely a violation of Irish neutrality. I think the US military are outside the definition of ‘travellers’.

      • Colin

        Al-Qaeda operatives do not pervert Islam. They are jihadists. They follow the words of the koran. Mohammed invented the concept and encouraged jihad in order to spread islam. The muslims want to take over the world, and spread islam.

        As the Turkish prime minister Erdogan famously put it, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our spears, the believers our soldiers,”. And he’s supposed to be a moderate progressive western-orientated good guy!

        I’m never gonna let you get away with your pro islam orientation here on this site, so you might as well leave it out of your posts, because I’m gonna challenge it every time I see it.

        Islam, religion of peace? Religion of peace my arse!

        • Gege Le Beau

          So we can add bigotry and intolerance to the list of neoliberals, this site is getting interesting, extreme times brings out the best and worst in people.

          • Colin

            Definition of tolerance; to endure pain and hardship.

            I’m 100% intolerant of an imperealist belief system which desires and intends to force me to live under its law and follow its rules. Keep the troublemakers out, and keep their idiotic Politically Correct Sympathisers in check.

            I’m not a neo-liberal you moron.

            Look, you’re a communist and an islamo fascist, a perverted combination. You’re not Irish. Why don’t you find a country to live in that you can fit in?

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ Colin, your comments disgust me and how dare you label me an ‘islamo fascist’.

          • Colin

            You are advancing an Islamo-Fascist agenda. Maybe you don’t realise what you are, but I can see what you are and what you stand for.

          • Black Cat

            As a woman (of no religious persuasion) -the idea of Islam gaining influence in the world scares me – is this not reasonable?

          • michaelcoughlan


            I don’t think you have anything to fear from peaceful religious persuasion because you can always reserve the right to disagree. You only have something to fear from the nutcases who take literal interpretations and act on them using wanton acts of violence.

      • CathalG

        Michael and Sean, I agree with you both. :)

      • Zaphod

        Greatest religions in terms of what?
        Don’t talk shite, no such thing.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Hello Zaphod,

          For people who believe in organised religions the most obvious ones that come to mind are Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhists etc. It’s in this context that the word greatest was used. I am very lukewarm myself on the idea of organised religion.

      • mrlennyman

        I don’t know how ignorant you really could be considering you subscribe to David Mc Williams blog, but you appear to have some misguided information. The thought of any military power using our airspace to retain its control over oil in the Arab regions abhors my sensibilities. Who said that Al-Qaeda perpetrated these events? American media?? You should investigate who really performed these atrocities. Do you think fifteen Arabs could detonate expolsives to almost simoltaneously bring down the trade towers, the pentagon and a completely seperate free standing sky scraper?
        The American defense budget was missing some 2.3 TRILLION dollars the day before these attacks occured. This suddenly vanished.These same people in power in the USA are directly related to the people who are controlling the world – the central banks.

        Here is the simple fact – THE Governments BORROW money off PRIVATELY owned central banks at interest, to purchase weapons from PRIVATELY owned companies which are run by the same people who own the central banks.

        Although it is not quite the same in Europe, we are still just a paltry pawn in the massive game of credit and corruption. We are the butt end of the stick…

        These are the same people who have caused the problems in Ireland. It is the system which is the problem, not the people in the system. You think communism is bad, yet look at how miserable people seem to be most of the time. INterest rates and oil prices rule the world, make no doubt about it.

        And us Paddy’s, simple drunken pathetic creatures simply flop around befuddled like some gobshite too drunk to notice everyone is laughing at him.

        There is more spine and self awareness in the musings of a kid with down syndrome than there is in the general population of Ireland. People are quick to blame individuals when no one really notices that it is the nature of the SYSTEM that is the fault. I suggest you watch both movies on and look at the blog of Chris Martenson to get a better understanding of what you are living in.

        Because we are in Hell right now…and it’s going to get better before it gets worse…

        • Colin

          “I don’t know how ignorant you really could be considering you subscribe to David Mc Williams blog, but you appear to have some misguided information”

          David’s fans aren’t all leftie liberal politically correct morons. You’d know that if you paid any attention to this blog since it commenced a few years ago. And, I can tell you, 100%, I’m certainly not misguided. You, I’m afraid to say, certainly are.

          “The thought of any military power using our airspace to retain its control over oil in the Arab regions abhors my sensibilities”

          Poor you. You’re awfully sensitive my dear boy.

          “Who said that Al-Qaeda perpetrated these events?”

          A certain Mr Bin Ladin did.

          “Do you think fifteen Arabs could detonate expolsives to almost simoltaneously bring down the trade towers, the pentagon and a completely seperate free standing sky scraper?”

          They learned how to fly airplanes in Florida. The planning was done in Hamburg. They didn’t detonate anything, they flew airplanes into the buildings…..what kind of an idiot are you?

          Are you one of these nutcases who think the Jews were behind this? I think you could apply for the Ministry of Propaganda job in Iran, you’d fit in quite well there I’m sure.

          • mrlennyman

            Ok, I will admit that this is my first time to read this blog. I don’t expect everyone to be liberal lefties. I expect people to have some gumption and spine behind their beliefs, and that they are thought out and well intentioned.

            Attacking my sense of sensitivity makes no odds to me. It is disgusting that we dont have the balls to stand up to bigger nations. We are like a spoilt little child getting our lunch money bullied out of our possession by some fat fuck in the school yard.

            Bin Laden is a long time associate of the CIA and has been supported by the Americas in the past. He is the TV persona for the world wide “War on Terror”. The Americas are in Afghanistan for 3 reasons, and none of them are to hunt Bin Laden – Poppies, Oil and Gas. The war on terror is another distraction for all of us – to keep us living in fear, while the big power brokers go on plundering and pillaging, like some insatiable modern day vikings.

            If you speak to any expert who understands detonation, they will tell you that the trade towers were built to withstand the impact of a jet plane. There were interviews done with the architects who testified to this. The fact is that massive detonations went off INSIDE each of the THREE skyscrapers, to cause them to implode. Can you explain why a seperate building, thirty five floors, could just completely collapse with no plane being flown into it?? The steel used to erect these buildings melts at a higher temperature than that of burning aviation fuel.

            Sure the arabs flew the planes into the buildings. That is not in question. The buildings were blown up. DEMOLISHED. This fact is covered up over and over again.

            The myth which you believe just reveals how powerful these people are. You seem like an intelligent person, but you have been sold some very good stories which are very hard not to believe. I used to think just like you, but then I learnt I had to open my mind to other possible truths.

            And it is not the jews who are behind this – it is a group of men and women who are raceless and creed less. They create religions and they maintain control over the minnions by feeding them amazing fantasies. The longer we stay ignorant the more powerful they get.

            I would love to work with the Iranians. At least they dont acquiesce like some gullible puppy to some tasty treats.

            America, our government, oil companies, banks, property devlopers are all the same. They are in it for themselves. The fundamental underlying feeling and desire being staiated is that of GREED.. GREEDY motherfuckers taking taking taking.

            Whether you chose to open your perception to maybe being misled is up to you. It’s not your fault – billions of others believe their bullshit too.

  5. NO HOPE

    Yep David. Dead right. An economic wasteland, if we are lucky. Nobody listened to you in 2003 when you indicated the brain dead policies leading to this death. Basically we are totally screwed. After over 2 yrs in a crisis, Clowan and his court of jesters now decide to hold a job strategy meeting???? Huh?? This is Bart Simpson stuff! Do me a favour! What a bunch of total imbeciles! God! It`s a wonder our rates are not 11%, given the clowns running this country, that the rest of the world, can now see, are the most stupid of them all (not devious). But let`s not forget we are so special the rest of the world will just continue, to fork out, to provide the incompetent government more money, to pour into black holes and dad banks. It is a joke……..

    • crossroads

      Yes, after two years of dithering, Cowen decides to hold a job strategy meeting because all of a sudden he’s worried about keeping his own job.

      It smacks of a PR-stunt to refurbish his image after garglegate.

      • Gege Le Beau

        Think this illustrates just how bad they are. Timing is everything ~ two years as you say and only now? They certainly do cynicism some service.

        But people make a serious error if they think this is ‘some mistake’ or highlights their ‘idiocy’, this is by design, by choice, and from their perspective, for very good reasons.

    • BrianC

      Hey Look at the bright side at least he held a meeting. Ok the horse may be in China having made his way there 5 years ago but don’t get alarmed they are good at holding meetings. In fact so good at holding meeting why even bother looking in the stables to chech up on the horse.

      Don’t worry we have a meeting and sometimes we can have a few beers and as the boss likes Carlsberg the are probably the best meetings in the world all talk and no action.

  6. wills


    Tour de force.

    *It will not matter that the Irish economy is a wasteland so long as we continue to honour our debts and continue to plug holes in our banks with taxpayers’ money.*

    *Over the past few months it has become obvious that the financial markets see the world in a totally different light to the ECB and the Government. The financial markets do not want a Carthaginian peace because a wasteland can’t generate income to pay back the debt. However, this view is not shared by the people who run the Irish economy in our name. These people – the politicians and the top civil servants – appear to think that we can put up with anything.*

    So, moving along the next question arise.

    Why are the ECB playing along with all of this DR.STRANGELOVE ‘ ism ?

    • tramor

      I think it is because a very large percentage of the money that was lent to Anglo and the other banks came from German banks. If the Irish tax payer does not pour money into the Irish banks, the loser will be the German banks, so they are doing everything they can (and the Germans have huge influence with the ECB, basically they are the ECB at this stage). The German banks are doing everything they can to make sure they will get paid back. Basically the ECB is not providing a backstop to the Irish bond market for our good or because they like us. As David says, the sooner this is stopped the better.

      • wills


        Appreciate that response on question posed. Think it could be very close to the truth.

      • Deco

        Welcome to the European Union. It was created in response to the Soviet Union. Remember the Pied Piper of Hamelin. It was the townspeople’s fault because they never paid the man his money for the job he did. They wanted something for nothing.

        Our culture is built on the assumption that anyone who gets something for nothing is right. Complete fantasy. And now it is over.

        He who pays the piper….

    • FAiken


      Dr. Strangelove is lending money to 4 million people so that those people can honor debts to Dr. Strangelove incurred by a handful of insolvent private companies. It’s brilliant if the 4 million people are willing to agree to it!

      To give an analogy, say you’re owed $100 by a guy that’s gone broke because he’s a drug addict. You go to his upstanding brother and say that you’ll lend him $100 if he uses it to honor his brother’s debt. You’ve turned a bad debt into a performing loan. Better yet, you don’t have to drag the drug addict brother through the courts and risk that other information about your dealings being exposed.

      • crossroads

        FAiken, that analogy is a beautifully simple and clear illustration that everyone deserves to hear.

        It was pointed out at the time that the bailout for Greece was really a bailout for the German and French banks in the manner of your analogy. As Tramor says, a similar logic could now be at play in the Irish situation.

  7. wills

    And, also,

    How far are the *insiders* prepared to go in order to preserve their hold on power and their hold on the future of Ireland.

  8. thats a good question wills, it seems that they will go to any lengths, david

    • Malcolm McClure

      Seems that the insiders are more like the other Hannibal, (Lecter)?

    • michaelcoughlan


      What is the story with the immediate sell off of the bonds in the secondary market at a loss? I am not knowledgeable enough in this area so forgive a stupid question but is there any chance someone is engaged in some sort of shorting process?

    • Gege Le Beau

      @ David McWilliams

      I found it interesting in your interview with Naomi Klein that you mentioned ‘neoliberalism’, I would welcome an article outlining your interpretation of this term and how this ideology has been implemented and ultimately, impacted, Ireland, to keep the Hannibal analogy going, it is the ‘elephant’ in the room.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Hello Gege,

        Despite what you might think and in spite of our most recent exchanges I happen to agree with your arguments regarding the destructiveness of Neo Liberalism. I just feel you undermine your own credibility by constantly referring to failed Marxist states.

        Yours sincerely,

        Michael Coughlan.

      • wills

        Lending built on algorithms.

      • Strictly speaking Gege Dave only does economics and I would not hold my breath waiting for him or anyone else in the Irish media to write an anti neoliberal article. This country still believes Capitalism is the answer so there is no point in arguing with them. Even with all the evidence confronting them they think that by getting a few technicalities of economics correct they can go back to where they were a few years ago. It isn’t going to happen and the decay has already set in

        With regard to your previous commentary I agree with a lot of what you say and it seems to have ruffled a few feathers. I was glad you mentioned the neoliberal attraction this blog seem to have for some and maybe our host will feel under pressure to deal with it

        Glad you did not respond to the juvenile comments because when you do that you just get sucked into the negativity and they look for labels to hang on you

        Good luck

        • Gege Le Beau

          Thanks for your comments Pauldiv. I think David is equal to the task, neoliberalism is essentially about economics, finance etc, I am not going to put words in his mouth, whether his interpretation be pro and con, but I would like to see some interpretation because I think the term merits analysis and runs to the core of what is being discussed.

          Sure there are insiders and outsiders, but there is an ideological basis for the moves on the chessboard, things just don’t happen, or materialise out of thin air, nor is it some giant conspiracy. I just noticed the term has never actually been laid out in any great length, sins of omission perhaps.

          There will always be those hanging on to an ideology that fails people, that puts profit before people, even now, as you say, people keep to the maxim ‘there is no other way’, it reflects a poverty of thinking, but also fear, fear of change, fear of the what if?, fear of losing out, having the comfort zone penetrated. Whether we like it or not the Ireland of the next few months is going to be very different to the Ireland of today (even with its problems), if the numbers continue to go the way they are going then huge change is in store.

          Now we can continue on this track of economic cycles of boom and bust, or we can opt for a more measured, less extreme, more equitable system, the choice seems obvious to me. One poster on another site put it very well when he said we have put €25 billion into Anglo Irish Bank and we will never see a return for that astonishing amount of money, this sum is exactly the same as the amount callled for by the UN Secretary General to tackle world poverty and improve the lives of 11 million souls. Ban Ki-Moon asked for 25 billion euro from the entire international community, we alone sunk that amount into Anglo for zero return.

          I thought it one of the best examples to highlight the madness of what we are caught up in.

  9. Great article. I wonder if its possible to see if evidence exists of a carry trade waged around Irish bonds?

    Is it now possible we will become target of speculative attacks similar to what Merkel warned of

    Is naked short selling against Irish bonds banned? Is there any evidence of shorting going on with Irish bonds?

    Is a ‘carry trade’ another term for ‘naked short selling’ Alas, my knowledge of economics, though clearly way in excess of that of our government and its ill advisers, is not as great as it could be.

    OT Irish economy has been turned by Cowen & Co into Europe’s elephant in a glasshouse:((

  10. Tim

    David, thanks again for pointing out the TRUTH. Remember that Brian Cowen announced (over 18 months ago, I think), that he/they would pay “whatever it takes” to maintain the banks.

    Perhaps that answers your question, wills?

    • Colin

      Yes, that’s the answer. Whatever it takes.

      Thanks Tim for your good memory. That could mean starting off with bringing VAT up to 30%, sneaking in more stealth taxes, like say €100 annual tax for owning a credit card, doubling the travel tax to €20, charging €500 for a new passport, ….., ending with eliminating welfare payments, seize all bank deposits.

      Bob Geldof will be on the BBC, asking the world to help to starving people in Ireland, PaddyAid will be launched, Bono won’t play. Sinn Fein will become Unionists and erect barbed wire and electric fences on the border to keep the hungry thieving Southerners out.

    • wills

      Hullo Tim, good to see you *back on the big board* …..!!

      Holy Jaybus, did BC say *what ever it take* in relation to maintaining the banks.

      God help us!!

    • Father-fool-em-all

      Good to see you back in action Tim. Miss your posts. Is this a case of “once more into the breach dear friends”?

      • adamabyss

        Welcome back Tim. Hope all is well in lovely Wicklow Town and you are enjoying the new school year.

        Anyone know what happened to BrendanW? I used to enjoy his posts.

    • Deco

      Tim welcome back.

      Before cowen decided to save the banks, Dan Boil decided government policy for all of us, Cowen included.

      In the aftermath of Dell saying they were closing down their factory, Boil rushed onto the television to prevent people doing the obvious. He told everybody “We are saving the banks, saving the banks is more important than saving the factories”.

      Who elected Dan Boil anyway ? (Oh yeah, he was nominated for Dail-lite by Cowen).

      Cowen = muppet, Boil = Ventriloquist.

      Policy = disaster.

  11. paddythepig

    Quote from article : “As a result of these differing views, the financial markets are not rewarding austerity as the mandarins are suggesting. In fact, the markets are doing the opposite. The more we cut, the higher the interest rate.”

    This makes no sense to me. Do I take it from this that if we were to borrow greater amounts, that David is saying the interest rate would fall?

    The market is telling us we are borrowing too much, not too little. As we are borrowing so much money, it is bringing our solvency into question, hence the higher interest rate.

    • wills

      Paddy it reads that the markets are insisting on higher % for further bonds when according to the Irish government all this borrowing is fixing the problems, so by definition, the % ought to be coming down if one run’s with what the irish government are espousing and the % is going up, not down, even though the irish government are doing all this borrowing to fix a problem which supposedly is getting better, innit!!

  12. Black Cat

    Guy on newstalk this morning said it’s not that bad because in 1989 we had to borrow at 13%?!

  13. ouldbegrudger

    David, Nice performance in Monday night.
    Help us out here with the “yield” question. If the coupon rate is 4% but the yield is 6.25% at auction, does that mean that the bidders got a 33% discount? Example: we sold €1.5B worth of bonds (The Face Value at redemption) but they only paid about €1B for them?

    Formula : Face Value x Coupon rate = Market value x yield.

    Secondly: Why this auction ahead of the Anglo statement? Do you think that the Anglo situation is actually worse than supposed?

    • Hi,

      To further my own understanding, I’d like an answer to that question as well. What I got is:

      My understanding is the yield at auction becomes the coupon rate. My Math makes this approx €94 million/yr which is at coupon rate at 6.25%, which is approximately 12% of annual budget of Dept Health in Ireland.

      Note from above the ‘redemption date at maturity’ So, not only interest has to be paid, but there is the aspect of repurchasing back the bonds or paying up or refinancing.

      If I’m wrong, feel free to correct above figures?

      • ouldbegrudger

        Thanks for the link, but if you look at :

        It seems to say (and I have seen in the news) the coupon rate was about 4%. The auction had 4 and 8 year bonds on offer. Suppose you buy a €1M/8-year Bond at 4%,
        at maturity you will have received your €1M back plus 8 years of 4% = €1,320,000. Now suppose that you insist on an interest rate of 6% …. you’re still going to receive €1,320,000 so you’re only prepared to pay €892k.
        In other words the extra “interest” (market imposed) is front loaded in the sale price… Have I answered my own question (correctly?)?

        • thx for that link also,from which

          Current yield = Annual Interest payment / clean price

          We still need someone to clear up your question. Clean price is the amount of the bond, its redemption amount.

          That link makes plain the current yield will always remain the same irrespective of the value of the bond going up/down due say to default fears.

          Question boils down to whether the coupon, the interest rate, at auction is sold to the bidder at 6.25%, or is it, as you suggest fixed at 4% and thereafter gets an auction premium added on.

          I believe its 6.25% to be understood as the annual coupon, in other words, the annual interest rate.

          Front loading the interest as you say would mean the people issuing the bond would not be paid their target lump sum of €1M but only €892k?

          Perhaps my way of understanding it is incorrect? Appreciate anyone else clearing this up.

          • Alf

            “Yield is a figure that shows the return you get on a bond. The simplest version of yield is calculated using the following formula: yield = coupon amount/price. When you buy a bond at par, yield is equal to the interest rate. When the price changes, so does the yield.

            Let’s demonstrate this with an example. If you buy a bond with a 10% coupon at its $1,000 par value, the yield is 10% ($100/$1,000). Pretty simple stuff. But if the price goes down to $800, then the yield goes up to 12.5%. This happens because you are getting the same guaranteed $100 on an asset that is worth $800 ($100/$800). Conversely, if the bond goes up in price to $1,200, the yield shrinks to 8.33% ($100/$1,200). ”


            so basically the bonds are sold at below par.

          • Hi Alf, that investopedia link has a lack of clarity, the wikipedia one above is better, from which, again:

            Current yield = Annual Interest payment / clean price

            Lets take your example:
            “Let’s demonstrate this with an example. If you buy a bond with a 10% coupon at its $1,000 par value, the yield is 10% ($100/$1,000). Pretty simple stuff.”

            Agree with this.But then you say:

            “But if the price goes down to $800, then the yield goes up to 12.5%.”

            Nope, the yield remains the same at 10% of the clean value of the bond which stays at $1,000. However, we need to invent another term to describe the amount of interest being made on the bond given you got it discounted to $800. Lets call this myYield.

            In the first year, myYield is $100 + $200 (saving on discount) = 30%

            Say €1000 over 8 years at yield 10% bought at discount €200. Total myYield is (€300 + €700)/8000 = 12.5%, agree with your figure, but it refers to another dynamic variable myYield which should be distinguished from the static variable Yield

            Technically the yield on the underlying coupon 10% on a bond of clean price €1000 remains the same at 10% or $1000.

            myYield has led to a lot of casino type market speculation that needs to be regulated and controlled. Lots of the mathematics, definitions are very dubious.

            As I understand it, correct me if I’m wrong:)

          • Alf

            Hi cbweb,

            It sounds like you are talking about something like Yield-to-Maturity.


            of course if the market is selling a bond way below par it could be one of two things. a) that the interest rate has changed since the older bond issued and therefore the yield gets adjusted or b) that the market does not think it likely they will get the par value back. i.e. risk of default is higher

    • BrianC

      In answer to the second – Professor H according to the Irish Times says Anglo will cost less than that being bandied about. Can’t wait to see the final figures.

  14. ouldbegrudger

    Third: Who are these “bond-holders” that must be saved at the expense of my, as yet unborn, grandchildren? Other Banks and Hedge Funds? Don’t these people layoff risk with Credit Default Swaps and other quirky derivatives? In other words, Anglo’s Bonds are likely as not to be insured against default. If I was a “bond-holder”, I would prefer to see a total bust and collect on the CDS rather that agree to a creditors (discounted) settlement. The CDS counter-parties (AIG, JPM, BoA, Etc.) will be baled-out with more freshly-printed FED fodder.

    • CDS on Anglo’s books I believe is up to €13bn they’ve lost out on. Re ‘Anglo’s Bonds are likely as not to be insured against default’ Good question, if not, why not?
      Charges of dereliction of duty, criminal negligence, come to mind? What other big scams lie under Anglo’s hood protected by Omerta and hidden at any cost by FF, something is big and rotten in the state of Anglo!

      • ouldbegrudger

        Oh, you can quite sure that Anglo dabbled in derivatives but that was not my point. If we shut Anglo tomorrow, many or most, of the “foreign” bond-holders would suffer no loss, contrary to what the gover-mint has been saying. If any of the bondholders failed to secure their investments with CDS’s , well that’s hard luck. I suppose that the bond insurance issue is rendered mute by the blanket guarantee …. Help us out here, David.

  15. Napoleon – When he escaped from captivity on the island of Elbe he arrived at the coast in Mondelieu la Napoule west of Cannes in France and with his soldiers took them through the gorges in the southern alps where ancient small villages in ‘terre de tibet’ perched high above the rocks were out of his reach and even today they exist in harmony even with the changes in modern life.
    He did not believe in bonds only gold .However after his defeats and with his loyal and injured soldiers he decided to ‘control time to benefit his soldiers’ so he invented ‘ le viager’ which is essentially but not exactly but close to ‘ a life interest’.So his soldiers continued to live in their homes rent free and receiving a lump sum from prospecting buyers and a monthly rent until they died .The amounts were determined by an agreed ‘bareme’ based on age of the seller/soldier and value of the property .This was money created from thin air and it was a contract that essentially it was done so ‘with compassion’ on the part of the purchaserwhere he did not need any bank so both parties won cause there was no bank needed to make another profit .This system is still in use today by the French.

  16. laoislad

    The “guy” on Newstalk this morning was Jack O Connor of ICTU. I nearly crashed my car as I got so mad with the stuff he was talking about. Lets not forget that he, along with Bertie and Co., was one of the architects of our economic strategy over the years. How he remains in a position of power is another of the great mysteries in this little country of ours. He suggested that things were not that bad, he had borrowed at 13% back in 1989 and everything turned out alright. We should do it again!!! He further went on to say that we should borrow in a way that the EU do not add it to the deficit targets etc. that we are already committed too. In other words, everything will be alright if we indulge in some creative accounting! What the F**k!! Obviously Jack had failed to notice how this turned out the banks. He went further and said we should get the semi states to borrow and invest thus creating jobs. This is a day after I read an article in the Irish Times discussing a report from the Comptroller and Auditor General’s office and his comments on the lack of accountability from CIE on the €320m subvention from the taxpayers. Of course ICTU will favor this approach, after all it benefits their members and the taxpayers will ultimately pick up the tab for this, along with all the unfunded pensions etc. in these organizations. Ivan Yates let him of scott free on this nonsense. If this is the best that our governments partners can come up with we need to take out a clean sheet of paper and start all over again.

    • Deco

      High time somebody took that clown Jack O’Connor to task.

      Jack O’Connor is a politician in the trade union movement just like Calamity Coughlan is a politician in Kildare Street. He has no clue about the economy, except keeping the money flowing into his own bank account.

      And you are correct, he bears responsibility for the obscene cost competitiveness problem in Ireland.

    • Black Cat

      I was wondering alright – how come we borrowed at the rate of 13% then and he was suggesting we do it again if Greece crashed somewhere around 6% – it doesn’t make sense that’s why I was asking.

      • laoislad

        He was saying that everyone, especially the International Bond Market, was too pessimistic. His point was that we had bowwowed in 1989 at 13% and that turned out ok so borrowing at 6% now should not be a problem. No discussion about the comparisons between then and now in terms of total debt loads to GDP, currency issues (I assume we borrowed in punts in 1989), structural defecits, etc. That was why I thought that Ivan Yates let him off far too easy in the interview. My only hope is that Jack O Connor is now so discredited that nobody pays any attention to him any more.

  17. SM

    Interesting point about Cuban health workers Gege. I was in Cuba some years ago and one of our group had a tumble off her bike and needed treatment at a local A&E. They wouldn’t take a cent off us. They agreed when we asked them to buy school books with it for the children.

    There is most definitely a plan to privatise the Irish health service. There are signs of it everywhere. There is a deliberate running down of the health service. Everything must go! Closing down! In come with the same old names that have been making money out of us for years thanks for their direct line to the government.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Like Ireland, Cuba is not some utopia, there are major internal issues (around political freedom, freedom of the press, freedom of expression etc), but Cuba can not be talked about in isolation of its context, it has struggled under the longest economic embargo (and more) in human history but still it manages somehow to go forward especially in the areas of health care and education.

      For those on the right who say alternative systems to capitalism are inefficent, lack innovation etc, one need only look at the Cuban Health System.

      They have acheived enormous amounts and their system is a model for Western countries. Despite the weight of the embargo, Cuba continues to train medical students from the poorest countries (also US students) for ‘free’, something our universities can’t even think about.

      The Cubans have also held up the highest standards in internationalism and co-operatiom. In Haiti for instance they were operating on the ground, in some of the poorest slums, well before the earthquake, they have increased their medical presence and knowing them, will stand with the Haitians as long as is necessary. This has all been well documented by Al Jazeera and by Professor Saul Landau on Counterpunch and Professor Chomsky, whose writings on the suffering of the Haitian and Cuban peoples are exceptional.

      From the International Journal of Epidemiology (Oxford Unviersity Press) 2006

      “Areas of Cuban success include control of infectious diseases, reduction in infant mortality, establishment of a research and biotechnology industry, and progress in control of chronic diseases, among others. If the Cuban experience were generalized to other poor and middle-income countries health care would be transformed……..

      In virtually every critical area of public health amd medicine facing poor countries Cuba has achieved undeniable success: these include most prominetly – creating a high quality primary care network and unequaled public health system, educating a skilled work force, sustaining a local biomedical research infrastructure, controlling infectious diseases, and meeting the emergency health needs of less developed countries.

      First country to eliminate polio – 1962
      First country to eliminate neonatal tetanus – 1972
      First country to eliminate diphtheria – 1979
      First country to eliminate pertussis – 1994
      First country to eliminate rubella and mumps – 1995
      First country to eliminate measles – 1996
      Lowest Aids rate in the Americas.
      Most effective dengue control programme in the Americas.
      Comprehensive (and free) health care – 1 physician per 120-160 families.
      Highest rate of treatment and control of hypertension in the world.
      Reduction in cardiovascular mortality rate by 45%
      Crude infant mortality rate of 5.8 per1000 (check Washington D.C.)*
      Free medical education for students from Africa, Latin America and the US.
      Support of 34,000 health professionals in 52 poor countries.
      Creation of a national biomedical internet grid (INFOMED).
      Indigenous biotechnology sector; producing the first human polysaccharide vaccine.
      Cuba spends 16% of its GNP directly on the health system, roughly $320 per person, per year.

      In relation to infant mortality, Cuba compares favourably with socieites with the best reproductive health records (e.g. Japan, Sweden, Singapore).

      • michaelcoughlan

        This is an absolutely outstanding post. You really are on fire here. If the Parties of the Left in Dail Eireann could only take one piece of advice they should read this very well balanced assessment of Cuba. They could then and apply it to their own exchanges in the Dail and instead of engaging in the never ending negative narcistic hyperbole actual advance ideas such as those outlined here to give people something concrete to vote for.

        My two pence worth Gege is that tax breaks should be reserved for the poor and lower income groups, an insurance policy paid for by the state from higher corporation tax and extended to all citizens to allow a situation to prevail where citizens received treatment based on need, corporation tax to remain low only in the case where companies made sure that workers got a very good wage by distributing surplus profits above 6% return on investment (rather than maximising profits), tighter control on corporate effects on the environment etc. etc. and much more too long to mention here will help our great Republic turn the corner.

        • SM

          I’ve never witnessed people with the dignity and grace of Cubans. They have very little in material terms but they have so much more than us in every other sense. They have great self respect and as Gege indicated have great ingenuity. It’s a very misunderstood country.

          • martino

            You don’t have to go as far as Cuba to see dignified people. A visit to rural Spain or Portugal will show up the same traits. Small things like the way the old people dress on Sundays, or the way people shake hands when meeting. There’s none of the nervous rush energy that prevails in the English speaking world. People will look you in the eye when they ask you how you are and they take a respectful interest in your condition as a human being. None of these cultural memes exist in the English speaking world. On holidays I saw many Americans and English; they were either always agruing with each other or talking about prices or what they did for a living-all hollow foot soldiers in the Anglo-Saxon mercantile army. What exactly is American culture? What is English, and sadly, by association, Irish culture? It’s all about the money, everyone is nervous, out to shaft the next person and there seems to be little interest in the human condition itself. Sad, but in my experience true.

          • adamabyss

            Well said and accurately put martino.

        • Gege Le Beau

          There is another way. We are talking about a fairer, more equitable, more just society. But we have aligned ourselves with such forces and people that is virtually impossible to redistribute or get out of the self-imposed head lock, especially with the continued and utterly insane bailout of Anglo and soon, AIB and BOI. There is no way we can raise the corporate tax rate, corporations whether we like it or not are a source of much needed revenue and more importantly, employment, to touch that now would be disastrous. But I do believe in a better targeted tax system and the revenue not chasing the little person, but going after the high enders, who have money stashed abroad etc………plus all government contracts should have a clause that where the contractor fails to complete on time then they start paying the State, not the other way around, this simple clause would have prevented the alleged €13 billion overspend on the national roads project.

          It amazes me that we still have one of the lowest rates of broadband in Europe, this simple fact alone makes a mockery of the ‘knowledge economy’ political slogan.

          Instead of taking pot-shots at countries and systems, we should take stock, there is a lot more going on out there, but it is hard to know because so little of it comes through the Irish media, academics with valuable insights are largely sidelined (unless they go with the prevailing winds or keep their commentary to safe areas, like what Dev did in 1933). There are honourable exceptions like Peadar Kirby, Morgan Kelly and a few others, but the bulk are silent or not given a forum for obvious reasons, as a society we lose out.

          I went to Cuba because I wanted to find out more and I did, a whole lot, easily one of the best things I ever did with my life. Would I live there? Believe me I have thought about it, time will tell.

          • michaelcoughlan


            You will be delighted to know Gege that such contracts were recently introduced by the government if a tad too late.

        • Gege Le Beau

          There are issues with the Socialist Party, however, I have to say Joe Higgins’ work on the GAMA workers was one of the great political achievements in recent times. Joe was rightly rewarded (against the odds) with an MEP seat, where he continues to represent the invisible workers of this and other countries. There have been setbacks for the country, but those acquainted with the system and have any sense of economic history knew this had to come, especially with our boom.

          But all is not lost, there is still heart and decency in abundance in Ireland, qualities of far more value than the billions being pumped mindlessly into a dead FF bank.

          • Colin

            Higgins’ work on the GAMA issue had nothing to due with the welfare of those Turkish workers. He used those workers as a ruse. He no more cares about those workers than anyone else in Ireland now. Do you think he’s on the phone to them everyday wondering how well treated they are back in Turkey or wherever they’re working these days? Socialism’s greatest lie is that all workers from all countries view eachother as comrades fighting against an international capitalist Upper Class. Its a complete falsehood. Pedro the electrician in Spain does not care about Pierre the electrician in France who also does not care about Pietro the electrician in Italy or Peter the electrician in England and so on and so on.

            Higgins’ work was about keeping low wage workers such as Turks from taking work from Seamus in this country so that Seamus the digger operator from Co Clare could get paid €1200 a week instead of €900 a week when the lower paid Turk was knocking around.

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ Colin, total misrepresentation of Higgins’ work. Proof is in the pudding, Higgins championed the cause of those workers and they got their back pay, while FF ministers cracked jibes about kebabs.

            Exploitation of cheap labour to build an economy, nothing new, unlike many who toil day in day out, they got some justice.

      • Colin

        So what. Most people are and remain healthy if they have a basic level of health services and follow a healthy lifestyle.

        Cuba can solve all its problems by eating a nice big slice of American humble pie. The minute they end their totalitarian marxist regime and offer an open fully democratic elections to its people, USA will view that kindly, money and investment will flow in, living standards will rise, people will have plenty to eat, and families can be re-united across the Florida straits.

        You’d think the penny had dropped by now, but auld Castro values his own pride more than the welfare of his people.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Hi Gege,

        It would appear that freedom flowers are growing throught the tracks of the parked Cuban (Soviet made) tank tracks or just maybe Cuba is moving towards the centre. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad place to live after all.

  18. Alf

    Hi David.

    Article 45.IV of the Irish Constitution

    “IV. That in what pertains to the control of credit the constant and predominant aim shall be the welfare of the people as a whole.”

    The ‘control of credit’ refers to the lenders power and the banking system of the nation.

    The 400 billion price tag of the banking guarantee (which came in at 10 times the value of the then national debt) is not protecting the welfare of the people as a whole.

    Guaranteeing debts of private non-state bodies and forcing taxpayers to guarantee their credit is not protecting the welfare of the people as a whole.

    “Too big to fail” mantra is unconstitutional.

    Holding the taxpayers hostage to pay for private credit is unconstitutional.

    • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

      Given my limited understanding, the constitution is an anachronistic wish list for religous, conservative, nationalists that sometimes enshrines ideas I like, overall it should be scrapped. It does far more harm than good, irrespective of its intended purpose. A bit like the holy books

    • NO HOPE

      Since when did “they” and “their kind” give a toss about the constitution or anything else?

    • michaelcoughlan


      Is it possible to test this point of view before the courts?

  19. Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

    Really enjoyed your evisceration of the minister on Monday’s Frontline, then realised he was actually in power, sureal. I presume it’s true that “we” get the government we deserve. Have you considered a more directly political role, or at least replacing the toothless Pat Kenny.
    “As long as they put clear blue water between themselves and the liabilities of the banking system they will be able to handle their existing and foreseeable sovereign exposure,” Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citigroup Inc., said in an interview in Dublin. “It will be extremely painful for the Irish population, which will pay higher tax and have lower spending benefits but it is certainly doable. This is not Greece.” What’s this gentleman’s agenda ?

  20. “From the smallest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from one attribute of man — the function of his reasoning mind.”

    This quote struck me as an entirely reasonable description of David and Constantin Gurdgiev and their attempts to be heard.

    But no-one in authority wants to listen. Those people are so indebted in one form or another to faceless moneylenders, they can’t listen, else they have to admit practicing supernova economics.

    300 good men defended the pass at Thermopylae. It’s time we rallied the modern equivalent, for when this current administration has protected itself enough, it will disband and leave us to face a financial onslaught.

    That is when we will need cold courage and experience. And that day is not far off.

  21. Peter Atkinson

    Another two notables to pass from this world at the age of 32 were Keith Moon and John Bonham.Both crazy drummers of two of the worlds best rock bands The Who and Led Zeppelin which in turn leads to the story of the Zeppelin and how quickly it went down and the catastrophic consequences which leads to a country called Ireland which is going down quicker than a lead baloon in a ball of flames.See not one economic statistic and yet you get the picture.

  22. BrianMc

    Constantin Gurgdiev’s manifesto is still being drafted.

    Got any ideas?

    True Economics: Economics 27/8/10: Manifesto I (?)

    It’s a starting point.


  23. SM

    One thing I’ve learned in that last while is that Ireland is becoming a sort of guinea pig economy. Try it in Ireland first and then if it works, roll it out elsewhere. I would say there are several proposed changes to legislation being lobbied for in the areas of privacy, commercial contracts, accountability, food labeling, etc. The eircom three strikes is a good example of big corporates behaving like judge and jury.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Just like we were a poster child for neoliberalism (Celtic Tiger, the Irish have the magic equation), not we are a test for austerity (how much will the population take? A lot it seems).

      Naomi Klein outlines some of this in her exceptional book ‘The Shock Doctrine’, a very insightful and courageous piece of work. You introduce economic shock policies which keep the population, confused, on edge and in fear.

      Policies which roll back the achievements of the labour struggles, increase job insecurity and indebtedness (form of social control), you maintain low corporation tax rates (Lichtenstein on the Liffey), allow the global corporate profits to be rooted through Eire (we don’t see a penny nor does the home country), attack the health and social system, privatise everything you can, ensure a tight political system where only insiders play and the people are kept far from the decision making. Compliant media with infotainment and property porn, quiet academia (corporatisation of universities), supportive quangos to re-enforce the message (make them professors, sounds more convincing), have a good chunk of unemployed to remind people to keep their heads down, and look after the politicians and everyone remotely connected or associated with high salaries plus expenses, plus throw a few scraps to your base to keep their aspirations alive.

      Social engineering 101.

  24. Peter Atkinson

    Ireland in the last two years has become the FUBAR economy (F**KED UP BEYOND ALL RECOGNITION).If Biffo the boozer has his way we will have a nation of highly educated people and the only “chips” these guys will be working on will be the ones in the tin foil trays with curry sauce on them and the only “silicon” they will ever experience will be in tubes squeezed into the gap between the wall and the bath.Ireland,the new “silly con valley” more like it.

    • Deco

      I have listened to this refrain for the last twenty years “nation of highly educated young people”.

      Now, I think it is time we actually analyzed. Educated yes, with degrees from universities that where the lecturers often give hints as to what is on the exam paper. Educated with degrees that have become dumbed down steadily in recent years. Educated with leaving cert results that have become dumbed down in recent years.

      If the young Irish are so well educated, why do employers prefer hiring Poles ?

      And of course, the big elephant in the room.

      why did so many of these faultless proud young educated Irish people create such a pointless euphoria about Eircom shares, Residential property, Holiday property in Sunny Beach, etc….

      Let’s be honest – the evidence tells us that is all a load of patronizing bull that is used to get Irish people behaving recklessly, and sutpidly !!!

      Now, we celebrate this also.

  25. SM

    What exactly does ‘highly educated’ mean? It’s a term that gets used a lot but many graduates I deal with can barely write in their own language.

  26. Gege Le Beau

    UK and Ireland are the worst places in Europe for quality of life — and France is the best — new study finds…..

    “Ireland has the lowest numbers of hours of sunshine, the second lowest government spend on health as a proportion of GDP and the second highest retirement age of 64.1.”

    • BrianMc

      Survey by

    • Deco

      Yeah France is great, but young French people come to the UK and Irl to find work because there are no jobs for young people.

      (Who makes these surveys anyway ?).

      I thought the Guardian would be telling us that after 10 years of New Labour, Phony Tony, Flash Gordon, etc.. that everybody in the UK was living in a socialist paradise…..

      I also thought the Guradian would be fans of Ireland on the basis of the rule of Bertie the Socialist, who declared “let a thousand quangoes bloom…..”

  27. Homesick

    It’s like watching a slow motion train wreck. I saw all this happening over the past 10 years when visiting Ireland. Whenever I asked “where is all the money coming from for the houses overseas, the estates in the middle of nowhere, the cars, the big developments like Smithfield”, I was told “we have it now, we’re not poor any more”. Sadly they were always poor, it’s probably best to describe Ireland as a country that’s been in recession for 800 years, except for the illusion of the 15 years up to 2008.

    When I read the papers every day, and the absolute crap coming out of the mouths of so called leaders, I feel so sorry for my nieces and nephews still living there, the ones who had 3 and 4 houses each (cos it was so easy to get on the property ladder, any mug could get rich), the ones who had to buy in County Meath and Louth and Kildare because they couldn’t afford Dublin, and now they’re all stuffed, mired in negative equity and high taxes and depression and a long way from where they want to live. They can’t leave Ireland or even Kildare because the mortgage is higher than the house is worth. Talk about being in a open prison!

    I laughed when someone threw an egg at Tony Blair, where are the eggs for Bertie, Biffo, Fitzpatrick etc. Get off your arse and do something about it. In the 1980s we had tax marches because we were just sick of it all. Where is the energy to rise up and throw this crowd out?

    • Deco

      Homesick. You are correct. People are still lemmings. And like lemmings they operate in herds. The Republic of Pravad-RTE.

      We had a crack up boom, and now a crack up bust.

      I remember a time when people in Ireland did their own thinking. Now, people just follow the idiot next door, and do what he is doing.

      We have been programmed to wipe out congnitive dissonance. Everybody does what everybody else is doing.

      Too lazy to think dot ie….

      • Black Cat

        Lemmings maybe a good analogy – my mother was recalling a period in the eighties when some of the people who had emigrated in the area returned and had work building houses for each other for a while and then ran out of houses to build and had to go again – she thought it strange at the time.

    • Dilly

      People here in Kildare are crying out for tenents. So many buy-to-let (to-regret) properties around the place. Some are even advertising on their facebook page. As the government still try to help their mates in Anglo Irish Cnts, the real problems are being ignored. I am out of work. But I am renting, so I can move around and live within my means, or even get out altogether if/when it gets worse. I always remember in 2006, I was in Cafe Insane in Dublin chatting to a woman. The only thing she kept going on about was her property portfolio (in her best D4 accent). It was like a David McSavage sketch. She told me three times how she had property in Montpellier in France. By this stage I was bored. I was too polite to ask “why ?”, but, that is what I was thinking.

  28. €188 pm – everybody must be wealtier than fitzy now, that could not be could it ?I suppose it proves our legislation is designed for idiots to fool .Maybe his money is in the clouds and where did the clouds go?

    • Homesick

      Exactly, the p$%ick is pi*#ing in everyone’s face, laughing at the mugs while he carries on as if nothing happened. And Lenihan’s response “If the deputy (Ms Burton) has any information (on alleged wrong-doings by any bankers or developers) that should be put at the disposal of the banks, of NAMA, and if there’s a question of a criminal matter, of the Criminal Assets Bureau,” Mr Lenihan said. What a load of crap, it’s two years since they bailed out Seanie boy and they still don’t know what happened. His wife is a creditor, what a laugh, how did she make her money? He must have paid her well for his marital rights!!

  29. paul

    These clowns got away with the smoking ban at a time when people were dying on trolleys,talk about a tremendous grasp of the non-essentials!
    They have contributed little by little to the erosion of quality of life over the years for most people while criminal gangs ply their trade with near impunity.
    Why wouldn’t they carry on in a similiar vein now with the banks?
    They scan the horizon and see nobody fit to stop them!

  30. Deco

    Let’s make Ireland a country where G-Sucks can do business and get something for nothing.

    With so many high profile former G-Sucks executives i the Obama Administration, it will do the country’s “reputation” a lot of good….

    • Appears they are heavily supportive of governments Ireland INC crisis resolution for the banks:

      Here’s one on NAMA

      There was also a reported comment from them recently that the governments approach to Anglo was ‘sensible’

      Wouldn’t be at all surprised to find they are heavily exposed through CDS’s and CDO’s to Irish banks and the Irish property market

      How come Anglo did not protect itself with CDS bought from G-Sacks? Something (big)is rotten in the state of Anglo!

      OT Seanie came out all smiles from his recent court appearance having a declared income of €150/mnth.
      Given the huge transfer of wealth by him to his wife, why wouldn’t he smile? Surely this area of law requires looking at.


        I keep saying this since April Colm, there is much more to Anglo than meets the eye. The fact the possible defaults would be dealt with in english courts is another strong indicator….

        Cards on the table, Public Inquiry now!

        • + 1

          But I wouldn’t trust a Moriarty €250 ml job. I’d appoint international experts of the calibre of Stiglitz/Krugman, let them look at the top 20 developer loans, and follow the money especially the Isle of Mann depositor funds, investigate the CDS activity. All in a strict timeframe of 6 months. That Honahan Report was supposed to be a preliminary report anyway with one that would follow up along the above lines. Honahan report was like going to a movie and been shown only the trailer. We need to see the full Michael Moore Movie on Anglo:)

  31. LKSteve

    Hi David. Another great article. The government have their backs to the wall. They will do anything to stay in power, they don’t look beyond next year or even next week. They don’t care about Ireland, only their own interests. I believe they are leading Ireland down the path to bankruptcy. The sad part is that emigration serves as the escape valve that postpones the day of reckoning.


    This cuts to the chase and this;

    is not good at all.

    Thanks to LRK for vigilence this morning.

    • from which “It is debt-financed government expenditures arising from a banking crisis that’s bringing down Ireland, not austerity.”

      Do not agree, its in fact a combination of both plus our euro membership prevents us printing money or implementing fairer austerity, which would be devaluation.

      I’d say what’s on the government agenda is austerity bigtime with cuts across the board egged on by the likes of Honahan, G-Sacks and EC…This will hasten default

    • John_Mc

      Reading that second link, to the FT article, seems to me that traders have confused Anglo Irish Bank with Allied Irish Bank, possibly based on a twitter post, and as a result of this the CDS of Irish banks shot up sharply this morning. Is this correct? A simple mistake?

      In the bigger picture, I suspect like many here, I’m struggling to keep up with all these new (to me) market terms and concepts, but it does seem as though something is going on re- the secondary market for the latest bond sale.

  33. coldblow

    David, a confident riposte to Ciaran O’Hagan’s recent article (link supplied by Garry in the last thread). I must confess, when I read it I thought, well maybe it’s not that bad… Oh ye of little faith!

    It has been interesting to see how the subject of possible default has been treated on Irish Economy over the last couple of years. I seem to remember that someone who mooted its possibility a year and a half ago, or so, was advised to lie down in a darkened room, but I can’t find it. It could be that bang on the head I got playing football a few months ago… Of course, it will have always been in the back of everyone’s mind, ever since Lehman’s and Bear Stearns, but bringing it to the front of the mind and uttering it seems to empower the idea and give it the possiblity of becoming reality. (If you know what I mean – getting a bit metaphyisical here.)

    Here, Karl Whelan says that the recent bond rate inferred that a default at some time over the next 10 years is more likely than not:

    I could be imagining it but I kind of get the impression of late when looking at the faces of the politicians when discussing or arguing with you about the economy that they are now in two minds: is this fellow onto something important that we should start taking seriously or can we safely marginalize him with ridicule? Maybe they are holding back on the latter as they don’t want any embarrassing soundbites of theirs turning up on a future Freefall doc.

    I see you haven’t taken on board the constructive criticism of McDowell’s recent cr*p programme offered by a few of us here. (!) Never mind…

  34. Deco

    Rumours have come in concerning violent incidents in Tullamore on Monday. This is not a joke. This is what I have been told.

    In an estate beside Tullamore hospital there was a massive row on Monday morning. One man was stabbed to death. One man was shot. Another was attacked viciously and left in a very critical condition. There were other casualties also. Gardai came, but were unable to handle the situation. The Irish Army were called for, and Army Western Command sent soldiers from Athlone. There were gardai helicopters, and army helicopters hovering over Tullamore.

    Tullamore Hospital went into lock down mode, as injured parties were brought into A&E to get treated. Basically the army and gardai surrounded the hospital, to prevent unauthorized entry. Sick people were sent elsewhere. The army were in the estate also.

    Having been told all of this, I decided to find out how this was covered on Pravda-RTE. This was what I found.

    Is there anybody out there who heard of any of these runours ? Bear in mind that last Monday, Cowen was looking like as if he might not be Taoiseach for not much longer, and a riot in his home town would probably have people thinking less of him…..

    My theory is that it was all swept under the carpet to prevent any collateral damage to the Taoiseach. It would appear as if there was mayhem in Ireland under Brian Cowen’s nose. If the Taoiseach was weakened, then this would have affected the bond market sale the next day.

    Anyway, if I was in one party state, and an event like this got leaked to the West, the media in the West would be very excited. But when it happens in the West, the media actively make an effort to tone down everything.

    • Malcolm McClure

      I read somewhere that it was a fight between settled travellers and others of their ilk. If that were the true explanation then it wouldn’t have political implications.

      Nefarious constructions on the event are unlikely, given the larger significance of the later Bond Sale. Let’s avoid getting too jumpy.

    • coldblow

      Deco, I don’t trust rumours. I’m not a betting man but I’d be willing to wager that very little of this actually happened, beyond what was reported. People get carried away: whoever told you might be reliable, but his or her sources aren’t. That’s one of the reasons it’s so hard to get to the bottom of things here: people just run away with stories. I could be wrong, but I think Julius Caesar in his Gallic Wars noted this trait among the Celts over 2,000 years ago. Let’s call it the extravert imagination, but it’s the same thing that leads many Irish to be convinced to this day that they beat Germany in a recent WC in the far east, when in actual fact they scrambled a late equalizer.

      • coldblow

        Then again, if you can’t believe the official story that leaves you in a predicament…

        • Deco

          I always regard the official story as one possible explanation of what happened. And you have to learn how to analyze it in order to find out what really happened in the first place…

      • adamabyss

        Or that we we robbed of victory against France in Paris last year. We weren’t – even if the illegal goal had been disallowed, the match still would have only been a draw and would have gone to penalties. We weren’t winning when France scored with the help of Thierry Henry’s hand – get that through your thick skulls brain dead soccer fans. Also we were a shambles in the first match in Dublin where France were by far the better team. Over the two matches a draw would have been a fair result and let the lottery of penalties sort it out.

        • paddythepig

          I’m a big soccer fan.

          • adamabyss

            I used to be a fan as well Paddy. Played professional in Hungary and Antigua too and now play in the top division in the over thirty fives in Dublin but I’m rapidly starting to hate the hyped and obscene version of football we see on the pitch these days and get shoved down our throats by the media (especially the English media) so I don’t think I’m going to watch it any more.

    • coldblow

      Well, it wasn’t the bang on the head:

      Gallic Wars Bk IV
      “Est autem hoc Gallicae consuetudinis uti ut viatores etiam invitos consistere cogant…”

      “The Gauls have this habit of stopping travellers, whether they want to or not, and questioning them about all they have heard or learnt, and in the towns the common crowd surrounds merchants and they force them to tell where they’re from and what’s going on there. Once they have got this info they make their plans and decisions, often at the highest level, which they regret immediately afterwards, since they make use of the most unreliable rumours and many (of the travellers/ merchants) make up stories for them because that’s what they want to hear.”

      JC had them sussed.

      I also spotted this earlier bit about the Suebi (Schwabians?), the strongest German tribe at the time:

      “Mercatoribus est aditus magis eo ut quae bello ceperint quibus vendant habeant quam quo ullam rem ad se importari desiderent…”

      “They allow merchants in so that they can have (ie buy) whatever war booty they (the Germans) have for sale rather than out of any desire to import anything for their own use. Even pack horses, which the Gauls really love and which they are prepared to pay well over the odds for, the Germans don’t import these but use whatever old nags they have in their own stock for even the biggest jobs…”

      So it was a horse bubble in those days and Georg’s mob were running up trade surpluses even then while the Celts were throwing their money away!

    • Gege Le Beau

      If only the Guards and Army move so efficiently on the IFSC and the Dail……

    • Deco

      Alright, tried to get more information on what happened in Tullamore last Monday.

      Was given a second account. Was told about armed gardai, a massive security presence, a cordoned off area, and a garda helicopter flying overhead.

      And here is something even more interesting, Brian Cowen’s brother-in-law owns a large hotel in the town. I think I see now what is going on.

      I have heard several reports about events in another Offaly location, and these go back years. This was kept out of the media for a long time. The main centre of these allegations was frequently on the Irish Times Property Supplement representing property activity in his area. Phoenix Magazine did a fairly thorough investigation and published what it could within the confines of Irish libel Law. The Independent covered a resulting court case, verbatim and RTE covered the case for three days. But there was no effort made to ask serious questions about where all of this might lead.

      In conclusion, we are being drip-fed the truth in this country, on the basis of ‘you are about to find out, so we may as well tell, so that you think we are telling you’….

      • coldblow

        Deco, I agree with you. I got the recent issue of Phoenix and it is more informative than the MSM. My eye fell on an aritcle about the Nora Wall case. I looked it up on wiki, which I usually don’t find enlightening (in my experience it seeks to be blandly ‘objective’ in a MSM way rather than passing informed judgement)and found it most absorbing and wel worth reading through:

        Kevin Myers comes out well (as you’d expect), the Sunday World, the courts, the Gardaí, the MSM and the ideological quangos come out very badly indeed. There’s a medieval ring to the whole thing.

        The Phoenix also gives a much better insight into politics, the developers and their interconnections than the MSM, althought he Craic and Codology could be reduced to a page as reality is more bizarre.

        • coldblow

          I was saying it’s an unusually enlightening wiki article. I just noticed now, as I was going to close it, that there is a notice at the top:

          “This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia’s quality standards. Please improve this article if you can.”

          I know little about Wiki but my guess is that someone may not have approved of the, er, ‘direction’ of the piece. From now on I’m sticking to the MSM (and regular wiki articles, to find out for example how many steps are in the Leaning Tower of Pisa and other important information). They won’t fool me again…


    In the eighties net emigration averaged 24k per annun.In the fifties, it was 45k, will we surpass ourselves in the coming decade?.Yes.How about a whip round for Seanie and Fingers?.What rate of interest are the Icelandic govt paying on bonds?

    • Black Cat

      If the budget in December raises taxes so high that life is not managable even people with jobs will start to emigrate so maybe we will pass 45K. I have a secure job which I love but it pays me just under fourteen grand a year – if they raise my tax I will have to go as it won’t leave any room for manouver

  36. Dorothy Jones

    Looking at the spreads widening to record levels today 23 Sept 2010. How high will they go and how quickly?

  37. Gege Le Beau

    Word getting out.

    Guardian: Irish economy faces double dip recession

  38. Corridors to Oblivion :

    My thoughts go back to those times when I would be waiting in Kildare Street and watching Ministers scuttle by like priests from confession boxes and stopping to whisper into some persons ear while glancing who is behind them ,sometimes it would be liken to the Four Courts but for the absence of wigs and pall bearers .I can recall others like Idi Amin , Michel Aoun , James Taylor and Mugabbi etc when for some reason they might arrive in a hotel foyer in Paris with their entourage all seeking personal handshakes .
    Idi Amin before he left for his personal freedom in Saudi Arabia did not make sure his fridge was cleared of body parts and human blood.He definately took all his country’s gold and has lived a happy man since.
    Now fast forward where will be our political leaders and ministers and bankers and how much will they have piled into investments in foreign lands?How will this be accounted for ?
    M. Jacque Quirac is presently under court investigation to disclose his wealth accumulation while mayor of Paris .The French are transparent with their systems and their laws do work and it was they who gave us the ‘republican brand name’. However we have been selective in that we do not enforce laws and we do not want to.
    No economic plan will work within that background and more idiots will only propagate instead.

  39. martino

    I agree SM. ireland was also Europe’s guinea pig for the smoking ban.

  40. Malcolm McClure

    David must be allowed a faint whiff of satisfaction to read Dan McLaughlin’s announcement today.
    Wouldn’t a new round with his old sparring partner be a huge draw?

  41. Mary Robinson’s 2nd Global Ethic Lecture from 2002

    A key characteristic of economic globalization is that the actors involved are not only states but private power in the form of multinational or transnational corporations. It is now the case that more than half of the top economies in the world are corporations not states, and international investment is increasingly private. Thus a new challenge is to ensure that such powerful actors in the globalized economy are accountable for the impact of their policies on human rights and human lives.

    …. There are an estimated 66 million unemployed young people in the world today making up more than 40% of the world’s total unemployed. What future can they expect without the opportunity of decent work?

    x x x x

    Well, honestly, I am stunned by the simplicity and inherent of these words.

    This was 2002, and this is today:–en/WCMS_143356/index.htm

    x x x x

    The political establishment in Ireland has not only failed to protect the Irish Nation from harm, they were complicit in fraudulent schemes that involved hiding debts and pushing short term gambling profits for special interest groups.

    The inadequacy of the Irish Constitution makes it even difficult for simple changes to take place, such as whistleblower protection, how embarrassing, we are the only country in Europe, if I am not mistaken, which does not provide such essential legal protection.

    Iceland’s example on handling this situation is worth a closer look. I think we can learn a lot from the civil courage our neighbors put to the table.

    The role of Brian Cowen as Minister for Finance, and this is just a single example of many that would need to follow, should be investigated in a court, in public hearings.

    There are many open questions concerning this financial heist, questions that remain unanswered, well, I should say, questions not even asked.

    If we do not ask these questions and demand answers as well as accountability, we will be deprived from learning these lessons, deprived from moving forward as a Nation.

    Only by allowing such investigations to be thoroughly and faithfully, including members of the public, we have a chance to move forward.


    is a farce, adding insult to injury.

    We need to learn these lesson, and I would like to change the question raised by Will’s How far are the *insiders* prepared to go in order to preserve their hold on power and their hold on the future of Ireland. to When will the Irish public state their not negotiable demands in a peaceful but concise and ultimate way ?

    The reason I changed this question is because I firmly believe that it is not up to the Insiders to decide how far they can go, but the Irish public.


  42. malone

    There have been 133 coments to your Post David.Just going through the list about 81 different people have made comments.Now you all have made very fair and interesting comments and seemingly see through the shite thats happening in Ireland,i.e. The insiders (the club) and their European branch of the Elite club basically have the whole thing sewn up.
    and as a result there is economic chaos in Ireland.
    As David has said, those people will do anything to keep their grip on power because thats what they really are after Power & Money . Thats what it is all about as you all well know.

    But you 81 people have seeminly done nothing about it except make comments., you have the knowledge but have done nothing about it when something can be done. there are many more people out there who see throught the shite as well and could do something about it.

    But I hear you ask what can I do ? ,and the familiar Irish catch phrase “Ah sure You can´t change anything” springs to mind.

    The people that are emigrating now have done something , they have excerised that old Irish tradition of voting with their feet, the boat and the plane to foreign lands which is a crying shame
    to say the least but as a result the goverment gets away with murder.

    The first thing is to stop the goverment from giving money to the banks

    What can be done ?. The first is to take money out of the banks and stop using their facilities except to take you wages out. The second is to band together and stop paying your mortgages as a protest. There is no point in one person doing it as they would lose their house and be put out on to the street but if a 1000 people stopped paying that would cause a few ructions. If the following week another 1000 people stopped paying mortages and so on until mortgages were no longer been paid ,this would cause the goverment heads to sit up. The banks would be starved of money and could virtually go under which in itself might be a good thing actually as it would possibly accelerate a process that has already started. The goverment would be forced to make decisions and realise that the Irish people will no longer take this.

    The second is a National Strike with the simple message to the goverment ” no more money to the banks to pay back the banks debts . Let the banks go under.We can protest until we are blue in the face but realistically not a lot would be acheived
    Look at the way the pensioners got together and
    forced the goverment to stop the pension cuts.

    But I hear you say again how can I do this ?

    The thing is to band together.

    United we stand , Divided we fall.

    Even with 81 people banded together it would have a neglible effect. Yes you are right it would , but each of you know at least 5 people. if each of you were to band tother with each of those 5 people (5*81) that would be 405 people. Now if each of those 405 peeople in turn were to band together with 5 different pople that they knew the number would increase to 2025 people and then 10125 people and then on exponentially. Now I would say that if 10125 people stopped paying their mortages and stoped using the banks and went on strike you definitely would make a big difference.

    It is not complicated , ” one man can do so much
    but with many men banded toghether all focused on the same goal mountains can be moved”

    For over 500 years we fought to get rid of the Brits
    and we succeeded can we not do something similar now in these harsh times ?
    If the Irish people had all said in 1919-1922
    ” what can we do ” and did nothing ,
    We would have a statue of Maggie and Lizzy in O Connell street and be enjoying a round of Jolly Old Cricket in Croke park !

    And the simplest thing of all

    Dont vote as a protest in the next election.

    • BrianC

      I sent a letter by the pen of another with his permission. Sadly I do not believe it will receive any countenance but you never know.

      As for voting I understand where you are coming from but by not voting you can be sure the party hacks will vote and we will get more of the same. And by voting who can you really vote for that will offer real change. It’s a classic Catch 22. But a few Change Candidates may emerge.

      We actually need people like David McWilliams to represent us. But how can we convince them to stand and represent us. Wish I knew the answer.

    • You do need to vote! ‘Democracy’ was hard won. Watched last evening Denzel Washington in Ridley Scott’s ‘American Gangster’ story about a flawed detective in NYC who brought down Frank Lucas and his mob, who ran a drug €250 million empire in the early seventies. Detective Roberts had 75% of NYC police indited for corruption following this. Individuals do count, alone, in a team or in a mob:)

    • ian


    • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

      All we did was throw out one corrupt and inhumane imperialist elite and replace them with another indeginous, corrupt and incompetent elite. We are still slaves

    • LKSteve

      @malone. I’m one of the people who voted with his feet. After a few short stints abroad in the 80′s I finally emigrated from Ireland is 1992. Chance brought me home for a few short years between 1998 and 2003 but I was never going to stay – I hung around only long enough to up-skill/get some third level education & then left again. In my time I have lived and worked in the England, the USA, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. I’m really not bound to any one country, I just don’t like to sit on my hands. If an economy in which I’m working is looking dodgy then I just bugger off. Any young person staring at the prospect of queuing for a living in Ireland should be out of there like a shot. They can’t be expected to ‘rise-up’ against a corrupt & deeply entrenched establishment. They would be wasting their time. Fine-Fail & Fine-Gael are basically the same. I understand Labour are on the rise which is surprising to me, I don’t know much about them apart from recalling the dogged-like Ruairi Quinn snapping at the heels of FF in the 80′s & early 90′s. The bottom line is that the Irish Public, down through the years have supported the likes of CJ Haughey, Ray Burke, Pee Flynn etc. There are probably better examples of corrupt Irish Politicians but these are the ones I particularly dislike so they’ll do as examples. The Irish public are getting exactly what they deserve. The older generation in Ireland are the ones that were lucky or unlucky depending on their viewpoint to survive previous waves of emigration. Regardless, they will have to bear the pain of watching their youth leave never to return. Those left behind will again vote for FF & FG. It’s a broken wheel that keeps on turning.

    • yadayada

      Are you suggesting we’d be worse off? Looks like we exchanged one form of exploitation for another, the only difference being the rip off men are all Catholics nowadays. At least Gladstone turned the small farmers of Ireland into freeholders – FF have pawned them. Part of the plan of course is to have the proletariat believe this is a good thing. Brave men of 1916 etc, who split the country and left Northern Ireland to fester.
      Didn’t our cricketers do superbly well at the World Cup a couple of years ago?

  43. Blackpigsdyke

    David do you think it would be naive to believe that if the Centre for Public Inquiry (CPI) was still in existence the activities of the Insiders would have been exposed before we got into this nadir?

    If Chuck Feeney reads this blog, David and all
    the rest of the Outsiders need your support more than ever before! Is mise le meas

  44. Adelaide

    The comment by Deco “nation of highly educated young people” reminded me of an acquaintance’s regular lament. They work on an interviewing panel of a well-known ‘technological’ company and their regular complaint is the poor calibre of the ‘Irish graduates/applicants-in-their 20′s’ in comparison to their European peers, especially Eastern-Europeans, especially Poles.
    It genuinely saddens my acquaintance that the vast majority of these techy positions go to the non-Irish applicants, on the grounds that the Irish applicants prove to possess poor problem-solving skills. The lament is basically that “they can’t think for themselves” or show inititiative, after a life-time of learning by rote. I wonder if this could be extrapolated out to explain the inaction of the younger generation in the face of this ongoing treachery by gombeenism. Is the reason that the Irish people have not stood up against this crisis is because the thought has not occurred to them. Whatever the reason, I feel that Greek-style ‘social unrest’ is beyond the Irish, regardless of how desperate and pitiful the situation becomes. It’s all so depressing. Well, at least my acquaintance gets a laugh whenever the proposed new ‘smart economy’ crops up in conversation.

    • Deco

      There is a big problem with “they can’t think on their own feet”. The problem is that the whole society here is induced to beleive in an awful lot of unsustainable, unintelligent, unworkable nonsense.

      As Roy Keane commented “the only thing that goes with the flow in the natural world is dead fish”.

      Irish third level education is highly responsible for this problem. Basically, students get instructed to adopt the views of their lecturers to get good marks. Everybody knows that this is route to success. I was astounded when I found out about this. In secondary school nobody did this, because you were told that the person correcting your Leaving Cert paper could be just about anybody picked at random. But in third level it was pervasive. The tutors would be favourites of the lecturers. And if tutors were correcting the papers, they would usually have the same opinions.

      As a result we have a society with lots of opinionated people declaring themselves to be educated. In fact it seems that there a lot of people who assume one equates to the other. This is nonsensical.

      No wonder the leadership of this country is unfit for purpose !!!

      • adamabyss


        Just finished my first week of lectures in university and that’s another long story that I may or may not write down one day, although it’s bound to be superseded by more interesting experiences ahead.

        But to briefly address your point about adopting the views of lecturers; surely a student could study hard and present what views and written material that the lecturer/tutor finds favourable in order to get good marks but it wouldn’t mean the student had to believe everything the lecturer said.

        The student hasn’t adopted the views but has just parroted them or regurgitated them for his own benefit. It’s like Winston Smith in 1984 – no matter what Big Brother and cronies did to him they just could not make him believe that 2 + 2 equalled 5. Even if he was prepared to say it did to avoid torture, he never really believed it…


  45. murray

    Irish Times headlines “Irish economy shrinks by 1.2% in second quarter”

    Aidan Corcoran (Davy -AIB) – “The trend in GNP growth remains positive,” – WTF!!!!!

    Brian Lenihan (Fianna Fail – Terrorist) – “I agree that these are not encouraging figures but we have moved from a position of a very sharp steep decline to a position where we’ve stabilised,”
    - WTF AGAIN!!!!! How is -1.2% stable????

    Brian Cowen (Fianna Fail – Terrorist Leader) – “You’ve got to look at the full year to get the best possible estimate of how things will go,”
    - Come on, enough of the SHITE Talk!!!!!

    Brian Lenihan (Fianna Fail – Terrorist) – “The figures for exports are strong and I am encouraged by this – the necessary competitiveness improvements are working. We must export our way out of our current difficulties, there is simply no other way,”
    - TRANSLATION – Yeah, let the brain drain continue (emigration anyone???). Keep them off the live figures. If we (Fianna Fail) keep the gobshites then might have a chance in the next election (dictatorship???)

    QUESTION: Does anybody wish to VOMIT now???

    • ouldbegrudger

      FF have been peddling this sort of BS for the last 30 years. According to the training at the party’s Media Bootcamp, they always say what they would like to be true and always respond to a question by answering the question they wish had been asked. I call it Faith Based Governance. The mental health people might call it Magical Thinking but in either case it apparent the the Irish nation is itself blamed by FF for not keeping the faith. McWilliams, you old heretic! You’re leading the faithful astray.

    • Deco

      Davy are connected to BoI, prior to a previous MBO.

      But sure, if BIAM owns 5% of AIB, and AIB Capital Markets owns 5% of BoI….and Permo owns an amount in both….and both own a proportion in Permo….well…you get the picture….

      Shane Ross had them all sussed out years ago.

  46. Prior to your accident, by the Lenihan Principle of reverse osmosis, working into the figures the effect on your cars suspension over hundreds of yards driving on a good road, if your car goes into a deep pothole and wrecks your suspension, it isn’t wrecked at all, in fact, you havn’t even driven into a pothole!

    The road was just a tiny bit less level over the whole journey than you thought it was:) In fact, no potholes exist anywhere:)

    Our time Lord Lenihan is using similar logic same way he uses debt reparations dispatched into the future. Sure it’ll all be manageable.

    Remember Davy’s 3% growth over the next few years. This was to float NAMA, float the economy, make the reparations manageable.

    The whole policy edifice is now crumbling!

  47. Deco

    A country has serious debt problems, all over the place. What sort of a strategy does the leadership have to deal with this predicament ?

    Utter nonsense. But ICTU and IBEC will be happy with him.

    • foi foi moi moi

      for sale one Irish Passport, will part exchange for Australian , US, Canada, or NZ by offering professional services and reliable employment..Rear model only 4 million like it, Hardly used one previous owner.Genuine reason for selling, owner is ashamed of his country, its leaders..

    • Dilly

      He wants the sheeple to be compliant consumers, and buy all that crap they dont need, from overpriced stores.

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