February 21, 2011

Still time to save many billions

Posted in Banks · 147 comments ·
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The only question that matters in this election is whether we should continue paying out money to people who invested in our banks and got their bet wrong.

The more money we pay these bank ‘investors’ – who have no right to be paid, because the banks they invested in are insolvent – the less we will have for repayments on our sovereign debt.

At a certain stage, the ability to pay our sovereign debt is eroded and we begin the slow process of defaulting on it in order to pay the gambling debts of those who speculated on the word of Anglo Irish Bank.

Solet’s think about it: we are putting the entire credibility of the nation at stake to payback debts incurred by a bank which is currently in the middle of a criminal investigation.

Surely at this stage, with an election in five days, this is the only issue at stake. But voters are not being given the option to decide on this.

The main parties – unless they change tack in the final days – are still more or less suggesting that we can’t allow capitalism to take its course.

They gambled.

They lost.

Move on.

Whether the bondholders are from Ireland or from Timbuktu doesn’t matter.

The idea that a single mother from Tallaght should pay for the bad decisions of private pension fund managers who others entrusted with their money is as bizarrely unfair a contention as I have heard in awhile.

Everyone has lost wealth in the depression – houses prices have collapsed, shares have been eviscerated, jobs have been lost – so why should pension fund holders be above this carnage? This is what happens when you don’t heed the warnings given in the boom: you pay.

Everyone pays.

That’s life.

And we will lose much more if we don’t separate the banks’ debts from the sovereign debt. Let’s have a look at the deterioration in the national debt as expressed in total tax take and then add the bank debt to see why we are risking everything for a banking system that is insolvent.

In 2007, Ireland’s tax take was €47.2 billion. Back then, total net debt stood at €37.6 billion. It would have taken only 42 weeks’ tax take to completely pay off the national debt. Last year Ireland’s tax take had fallen to €31.7 billion, but net sovereign debt had soared to €93.4 billion. It would now take 154 weeks’ tax take to pay off the national debt. This is about the European average

So, although the deterioration has been alarming, the starting position was so good that this only gets us to the EU average of national debt as a percentage of national income.

But once we add the bank debt the thing spins out of control. The bank bond debts break down as follows: €21 billion is unguaranteed bank debt; €22 billion is assets-backed (there are assets to back these bonds); €34 billion is government guaranteed debt issued in the past two years; €36 billion is the promissory note issued to prop up Anglo.

This is what we are talking about. The total bank obligations are over €110 billion. Given that €22 billion are asset-backed, these pay for themselves, but the rest is real. So the total unsecured, or not asset backed, debt is close to €86 billion.

We simply don’t have the money to pay for it.

Last week the total tax take in Ireland was €609 million. Therefore, if we paid only this and nothing else with our tax, it would take us 141 weeks to pay it off! We are insolvent.

There are two forms of insolvency: ‘‘hard-form insolvency’’ and ‘‘soft-form insolvency’’.

It breaks down like this.

A company (or country) can be insolvent (ie, have liabilities greater than assets) but still be able to survive.

This is ‘‘soft-form insolvency’’. In a company’s case, the company could make enough profit over the medium term to trade its way out of its difficulties. In the case of Ireland, soft form insolvency would mean we could raise enough in taxes to meet liabilities. We can deal with this type of insolvency.

In contrast, ‘‘hard-form insolvency’’ is where liabilities so outweigh assets and ability to pay that there is no hope of ever covering them. For a company, this means it will not be able to make enough future profits to cover the current losses. For a country, it means not being able to raise enough in taxes to meet its debts and run itself as a functioning state when the debts become due.

Ireland, without the weight of the bank debts, is ‘‘soft-form’’ insolvent. We would be able to raise enough revenue to meet our liabilities in the medium term. It would be hard, there is no getting away from that, but it would be possible. With the bank debt loaded on the sovereign debt, Ireland is ‘‘hard-form’’ insolvent. We will not be able to meet the repayments without destroying the economy.

A company that is soft-form insolvent is worth saving. A company that is hard form insolvent is not worth saving, and any attempt to do so will only end up wasting money – as we have discovered with Anglo Irish Bank.

It is the same with systems. The Irish banking system is made up of a number of banks. While it may not have been clear in 2008 that some of the banks were hard form insolvent, it has certainly become clear since. Yet we continue to pour money into them.

It is obvious that Ireland is heading towards default (as close as a country can get to being insolvent) so racking up further debt, rather than trying to reduce it, is close to criminally negligent.

If a private company takes on debt when it is insolvent – ie, knowing that the company will not be able to meet repayments – it is known as ‘reckless trading’. If it can be proven in court that the company is trading recklessly, the directors of that company become personally liable for the debts.

If someone accuses the Irish government of ‘reckless trading’ by taking on debt we know we cannot pay, who will be brought to court?

We are now trading recklessly and we are hard-form insolvent. So we, the people, need to decide what we are going to do. Is it too late? Clearly not. There is more than €85 billion at stake. And there is a mechanism in the Constitution for this.

Article 27 provides for a referendum on ‘‘issues of national importance’’. We should be allowed to vote on this. None of the big parties are giving us this option now, but privately they too want to see the end of this. So there is a chance. Maybe the best thing a government could do after the election would be to call a referendum on the bank debt straight away.

This would give them the mandate to say to the ECB that we can’t do anything other than give the debt back to the people who own it.

The ECB, as faceless bureaucrats, would be stumped and the process of recovery would start. As someone who has worked in distressed debt markets for a large bank, I know the bond market would reward us for such a move by opening up and financing us readily.

The balance sheet would be strengthened based on bank debt renegotiation; therefore the sovereign would be saved from debt default and the game changed.

Only a referendum can deliver it. Now is the time.


    • Nina Ogden

      Here is an LaRouchepac TV video “The Takedown of Glass-Steagall” It goes through why Glass-Steagall was needed and how it was taken down. It’s a great tool for those who will push the referendum on the bank debt as Dave and the people’s economy have been doing, and as Sinn Fein has been calling for.Their bill board launch reads: “There’s still time to say no”

      http://www.larouchepac.com/gsfilm

    • mulcahy

      Voters, if you agree, then you must insist when meeting the canvassing politicians that they endorse a referendum. Otherwise tell them your vote will go to the only party who is publicly endorsing the default of bank debt.

    • Ciaran H

      If debt is only issue in this election WHY are YOU not outwardly supporting Sinn Féin, the only party that shares your point of view.

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David McWilliams, damienomurchu, Helenjmahon, Aylviana Power, Sinabhuil and others. Sinabhuil said: RT @davidmcw: New on the site: Still time to save many billions http://dlvr.it/H8nwQ [...]

  2. Reality Check

    The election to me is mainly a pointless exercise because none of the protagonists (apart from a few independents who aren’t in my constituency) have the balls to do what is really needed.

    “The twist is to take all government assets and put them initially into one large corporation to facilitate distributing 70% of the shares, pro rata, to every citizen now living, 15% in trust for the next generation to be born over the next 21 years, 10% for the folks who allow it to happen, and 5% to be sold in the world’s capital markets.”

    http://irishlibertyforum.org/researched-articles/104-applying-doug-caseys-reasoning-to-ireland.html

    “The money raised thereby would mainly be used to promote the fact the country is open for business in a way no country in the world has ever been. And the people, not the government, would be the direct beneficiaries.”

    http://irishlibertyforum.org/researched-articles/104-applying-doug-caseys-reasoning-to-ireland.html

  3. DarrylConlan

    Maybe a stupid question, but are we not already too late? I thought that the majority of the Bondholders had been repaid and now the debts we have are principally to the ECB?
    Is this incorrect?

    • mulcahy

      A lot of bonds have been repaid, all very quietly last September without much fuss. The funding for this was from the ECB short term window. This is why we are being forced to take the IMF/EU bailout, as the ECB wants repaying.

      My view is that the ECB acted as the lender of last resort, which it was, a last resort. Therefore we should let our banks fail (that is stop all further funding) and the ECB will have to take a hit.

  4. CitizenWhy

    Excellent explanation/argument/education. Why is no one running for office listening to this?

  5. beananti

    David,

    please list the canidates in each constituency that are most likely to go for your idea of a referendum under article 27.

    We need adverts in the National papers before Friday telling people who these canidates are. I’ll stump up a couple of hundred Euros towards this – any body else out there willing to back publishing a list of candidates named by David as article 27 heros?

    • agreed. i was told that an Ind in north kildare agreed with d williams but when i asked him he denied any support for the idea. His name was eric doyle higgins. I think that the idea essentially was good but there was no way to tie it all together. Bit like a warm summer breeze but no way to harness the idea without a signature on a parchment but david didn’t want to do that so im afraid its all unworkable..
      I am so disappointed and i for one would crack some heads on the issue if it comes around again. Bloody annoyed it wasnt tied together a little better. Usual half arsed irish idea im afraid.

  6. Deco

    “The only question that matters in this election is whether we should continue paying out money to people who invested in our banks and got their bet wrong.”.

    There is also a moral imperative that the lenders take pain. They fed this ponzi scheme. They beleived our deceiving elite. They provided the credit that facilitated the deceit that our own elite played out on us. Welcome to the real world – you reap what you sow. By punishing the people who made this mistake, we are ensuring that it is less likely to occur again. Except it would seem that the political classes want to be able to wind up the asset inflation machine at will. They do not want a stable, or a coherent economy. It does not facilitate political meddling and interference. They want one that booms and busts, that crashes and burns and then has to be rescued with “print-baby-print” policy initiatives “no only did we save the World” Gordon Brown says (but we made a balls of it as well, he may as well have added).

    The EU, the power centre in Brussels, and the network of lobbying that is revealed by Jens Peter Bonde don’t want this to happen. It just shows that they don’t understand either capitalism or socialism. Just a collection of careerists and dynasty scions on the gravy train. Rattle out a few nice phrases, listen to the focus groups and look after those who pull the strings. The fact that you are rich and well connected should not mean that you can get an escape of your recklessness. But the if the shop on the corner behaves recklessly the banks sell him out.

    You cannot expect there to be a power centre like Washington, or Brussels, without lobbying and vested interests trying to “influence matters” for their own benefit. Power draws these corrupt sychopaths to it’s centre.

    We were part of an empire once, and it did not work out. And it was very difficult to get out of it. And not long after getting out of it, it seems we got conned into joining another. We spent, borrowed, and celebrated our way out of freedom and into penury. We are in the process of learning an important moral lesson. We need to continue the intellectual path towards the freedom that this will provide.

    But we also need to rectify our practical problem, of simply too much debt, and an EU system which supports such errors, and which since the Treaty of Maastricht has on the highway towards a new imperialism. The dream of those who work at the centre of the power, is to have “one system” in control of everything. The history of Europe is littered with failed ventures that follow that path. It worked until it was decided that it would be something other than a consensus amongst mutual freinds. It then became a membership club, and now it is starting to behave like a racket. TINA (there is no alterative) first emerged after the Danes rejected Maastricht, and it was the signal that all was not well.

    We have one tool, that has powerful impact. The internet.

  7. DarraghD

    Check out this guy, I reckon he has the right idea, we should be voting for Fianna Fail again in our droves, we should be taking on more debt and paying our civil servant paper pushers more and more for less and less.

    I’ve argued before that what we need in this fair country is a complete reboot, not just reform. We need to draw in the day where the public sector workers of this country need to start making plans for the fact that the government cannot pay their wages next month.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yieS7jWWdB8&feature=player_embedded

  8. Sh

    This high-level discussion is all very well, but this is personal for me. My situation is like this: I bought a house 10 years ago, I got involved in the madness and remortgaged to the extent that I now have a mortgage at 2007 prices and am in negative equity. That was my mistake and is solely my responsibility. However, my ability to take responsibility for my own mistake is almost totally wiped out by the government’s decision – taken without my consent and with utter disrespect – that I should pay for nameless, faceless people’s mistakes before I can pay for my own. I can’t default on my personal debt as I have a healthy moral compass that compels me to take responsibility for my own mistakes, but I now have less money to repay my own debts because I am being forced through budgetary changes to pay other people’s debts.

    I am sure I am not the only one in this position.

    David, I’m totally behind your drive to change the system, and I believe a referedum is an important step in the change process, but even if we have a referendum (which could be on any one of a number of questions) how much will change if some measure is not implemented to begin to repay those who have been forced to pay debts that are not theirs?

  9. Nina Ogden

    This is exactly the way the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act worked in the US, It was in place until 1999 and every body has seen the bail out mess that has spun out of control since then. A growing movement intends to bring it back. It puts a firewall between normal commercial banking and soeculative “gambling debt” banking. For the speculators to take “risks” and to lose means they just lose and US taxpayers don’t bail them out. If Congress passes Glass-Steagall soon it will create an example for all those countries who are told they have to destroy themselves to pay the speculative bank debt. The Angelides report of the Fiscal Crisis Inquiry Commission just issued last week details how the old saw “nobody could have seen this coming” is self serving bunk. It says nothing has been solved since 2008 and we are in worse shape now.So three cheers for your referendum movement. We in the US look to Ireland as our example of a determined nation-a nation which brought down a fool of a “leader” and which will not settle for debt slavery. Now IS the time for your referendum and our Glass-Steagall principle.

  10. David would be better listened to if he were running for office, but that’s another story!

    Referendum idea is a moot point. Its a rehash of an old position taken by critics of NAMA and government banking policy going back 2 years. We needed it then, its too late now. Government ignored calls for same and went ahead and did their worst.

    We do also have an election which should provide greater choice than would be possible in a referendum. But more to the point, what wording should be put into the referendum?

    Do you support the burning of bondholders?

    Suppose the answer is yes, do we have to ask? All parties apart maybe from FF, support the view ‘burning bondholders’ should be on the table as a negotiation position. So we don’t need a referendum to establish that question. It would be a waste of time, effort and money.

    What makes more sense is that greater communication of our banking crisis be given as information to the electorate to help them make a more informed decision when they vote next Friday and factor in the position on the banks taken by each party. DmcW is doing an excellent job above of presenting the realities above.

    Unfortunately Democracy Now went up its own arse so we can’t depend on them to send a leaflet with DmcW
    factual analysis of our banking crisis above, to each household with a request to question parties on what they intend to do about the banks? Can we?

    What is far more fruitful an approach to take is to
    support our negotiators in Europe and see what comes out of the summit in March, then to ask our negotiators to fully brief the electorate on the decisions that need to be taken. It is at this point the referendum SHOULD be called.

    This is the common sense approach being taken here:
    http://euobserver.com/9/31841 in Iceland.

    The danger is the Alan Dukes, John Brutons, Sutherlands, Department of Finance, Merrill pro bondholder anti citizen army have already ensured a sell out of Irish citizens, that their policy already has full support in Europe.

    Also worrying is that commentators such as David are already getting cold feet. They are not prepared to leave the cosy crony cartel of the euro. Blog here about the final phase of our default we have already entered into, as we are on ECB life support,

    http://colmbrazel.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/the-default-111-the-final-phase/

    Also http://www.bankpoll.net is up and running with a need for content but more will be added:)

    Plus citizens forum, http://www.bankpoll.net/phpBB3/

    not that anyone would want to have anything to do with that:)

    • from euobserver above:

      “Despite improved terms in the latest repayment agreement – Iceland has until 2046 to repay, at an interest rate of about three percent – Mr Grímsson said Icelandic voters still deserved the final say.

      “There is support for the view that the people should once again, as before, act together with the Althingi [parliament] as the legislator in this matter,” he said.

      The president indicated that more than 40,000 voters, about a fifth of the electorate, had formally requested a referendum, with many reluctant to pay for what they perceive as the mistakes of the country’s banking classes.

      Similar grassroots campaigns roughly a year ago led to the collapse of an earlier, more punitive agreement.

      The initial attempts to repay Britain and the Netherlands in 2009 were met with strong resistance in parliament, with lawmakers finally agreeing a bill later that year. Mr Grímsson vetoed the agreement in early 2010 however, triggering a referendum which saw 93 percent of voters reject the repayment package.

      Since gaining independence from Denmark in 1944, Icelandic presidents have used the veto only three times, including last Sunday.

      The decision places a question mark over future payments under Iceland’s €4.6 billion bail-out from the International Monetary Fund and four Nordic countries, handed to Reykjavík in November 2010 after the failure of Iceland’s biggest banks and the collapse of its currency.

      The international lender has said the bail-out is separate from the Icesave dispute, but disbursements have been delayed before.

      Icelandic supporters of eurozone and EU membership have argued that the clubs would bring greater stability to the island in future, leading Reykjavík to formally submit an EU application in June 2009.

      Backing for the idea, which must be approved by all 27 EU member states, including Britain and the Netherlands, has since sharply declined among the Iceland’s 318,000 citizens, partially as a result of bitterness over the Icesave dispute.”

      Getting cold feet on joining the euro, are they? They must be looking down here at us, thanking their lucky stars they never joined up!

  11. I saw Gerry Adams last night on RTE stating that Sinn Fein is supporting the idea of this referendum. It was the first time I heard this.

    I am behind this idea 100%, but I am afraid the forces at play will try everything in their power prohibit or delay such a referendum for as long as possible.

    Time is against us very much so, and under the cover and media fog of this pseudo democratic exercise, the election, they continue to pay back and pack more burden onto citizens shoulders as you explained in your last article.

    Every week this is happening now and the public is not informed as Kevin O’Rourke also pointed out.

    Hence, I really wonder…. What can be done to force this referendum in the shortest possible amount of time? Is there anything else that can be done to legally prohibit them to pay more bondholders and continue this insanity? – I doubt it! –

    In my humble opinion, they know damn well that they are acting against the peoples will and relentlessly fire their spin upon us through their chosen media outlets.

    I am afraid, without a concise and as loud as possible stated demand from the Irish public for this referendum to take place NOW, this will not take place, or only when the overwhelming majority of debt transfer to the people has been performed and the exercise of a referendum would be pointless as the assets are gone, the debts are transferred and facts established.

    It would appear to me that this is the current strategy they follow since a few months now. Creating facts and that’s it. It is the same now with the IMF/EU situation.

    Only a relentless, a loud and concise expression of will of the Irish people to have this referendum now it can happen.

    In my view, this is the very little bit of hope that is left, in a few weeks, all this will be too little too late.

  12. SLICKMICK

    Tonight’s “Panorama” is about Ireland’s economic collapse.

  13. Hi David you shrieked a way from being elected, pity
    No its time for you, Fintan O’Toole and Joe Higgins to show leadership.
    organise a petition campaign to the president
    in order to force a referendum!
    The right-wing incl. Labour will not move on it.
    So, isn’t the President the best option?
    Or can she only refuse ? and not call for legislation?

    • paddymc

      ~its easy just ask

      To: webmaster@president.ie
      Date: 18/02/2011 20:15
      Subject: meeting

      hello Mrs President

      just a note to enquire how doees a citizen and taxpayer arrange a
      meeting with you to discuss matters of great importance to the state

      I look forward to your reply

      rgds

      reply below

      Webmaster@president.ie to me
      show details 12:47 PM (8 hours ago)

      Dear Mr

      Thank you for your below email.

      To put a request forward, please write in a request with your contact
      details to our Protocol Division, Aras and Uachtarain, Phoenix Park, Dublin
      8.

      Kind Regards

  14. SeanOC

    This is all very persuasive, but my guess is that it is too good to be true and might explain why none of the main parties are really pushing this approach.

    Has anyone really analysed the consequences of unilaterally ‘burning the bondholders’?

    I did a lot of research on the Argentinian restructuring and I can say that the aftermath was not pretty – with social unrest and many of the multinationals packing-up. And unlike Ireland they had full control of monetary policy.

    Does it not make more sense to force the European institutions to look to alternatives – put the pressure back on them (with the threat of default) e.g. get them to fund the buy-back of the senior debt with big discounts. This way you don’t have a “default” with all the negative consequences associated; you dont trigger CDS contracts; investors take a hit by voluntary agreement; the banks much of their debt written down; and the ECB funds the project. On its own, this plan is probably not sufficient but when added to some of the other initiatives then it may work. Point being, explore all the options before hitting the ‘nuclear switch’.

    • EMMETTOR

      I think Iceland, rather than Argentina, is probably a better example of what might occur if we go down the route of a referendum to default. Obviously, they were not in the Eurozone but the fact that we are is a huge part of the problem & should be part of the solution, also. The whole Euro experiment was hugely flawed & was a political exercise that did not make economic sense. Without a mechanism for issuing “Eurobonds”, many countries have been smothered by EU/ECB control, while being hung out to dry as regards the level of interest on their soverign debt.

  15. Enda Kenny is dishonest!
    Eamon Gilmore is dishonest!
    Mícheal Martin is definitely dishonest!
    John Gormley et al – the same!

    Maybe I’m wrong – Maybe they are ignorant?
    Or quite possibly mad? Or maybe spineless?

    By my calculations there are no other options left and the Irish people are about to vote in their droves for the Dishonest, Ignorant, Mad or Spineless (DIMS)

    When the DIMS rule reality gets kicked to touch.
    And what’s reality? Well that’s what they feel on their own doorstep!
    Crucially – not what we feel on ours!
    So there’s not really a crime/drugs problem in this country until the child of a serving Minister is shot down.
    Not really an emigration problem when a TD can take his family to a Paddys Day Parade overseas and admire the size of the crowd (Isn’t it great!)

    There’s not really a poverty problem until the Kildare Street ATM drys up and as long as the taxpayer acts as a buffer between the DIMS and their insulated reality then there’s no need for a referendum!
    (And when we next have a referendum it’ll be worded in such a way that we can agree with the disagreeable or disagree with the agreeable)

    Wake up! They’re definitely not going to give us one!

    The only way we’re going to move forward is if we radically change the DIMS reality!

    Please don’t vote for DIMS!

    • JohnD15

      …and also don’t vote for SF/IRA or Higgins and his marxist ‘walter mitty’ colleagues :-)

      So that just leaves the Independents or don’t vote.

    • Deco

      Shane Ross is honest.
      I reckon that Paul Sommerville is honest – though time will really tell.

      If somehow or other, the correct independents can hold the balance of power, we might get some progress on the corrupt instiutional state.

      If we get a party coalition, as favoured by our advertising sponsors (which explains why the Independents are completely ignored by the media) then it will be the same difference.

      It is a matter of numbers. The ICTU careerists are terrified of this happening. It will force FG to come up with the goods with regard to rationalizing the quangoes and reforming the state’s institutions.

      Shane Ross Abu !!!

      First demand – get rid of the 1000 Euro charge in the “Freedom of Information Act”. This is the first step towards putting an end to the rot.

      There is an old saying “The best disinfectant is sunlight” – it applies with regard to the institutional state, especially in the aftermath of the consensus nonsense of Bertie Ahern !!!

    • Julia

      Paul, just posting on something you mentioned the other day re renewable energy. Google Ben Ford renewable energy. He’s brilliant for cheap homemade solutions to energy production. I just wish I wasn’t such a cluts with a screw driver. Let me know if you ever make any of his turbines, solar panels etc.

      • Hi Julia,
        Thank you for this,
        I’m on a bit of a mission at the moment. I’ll let you know how it went. Isn’t great to see how this forum can really work?
        If there’s anything I can help with, don’t hesitate.
        Thanks again.
        Paul

        • Julia

          Excellent. Please come round to my house and install a photovoltaic cell panel for me. That’s what I’d love and there are instructions on how to do it without spending E40,000. Also a turbine and common or garden solar panel. Thanks.

          But you’re right. This forum is great. I’m watching the three boyos again tonight and I don’t care what they say. I’ve made up my mind. Also I’m a bit numb from this long running disaster saga. Not one of the politicians wants to talk about the fact that this country is going to default in about a year or so. It’s as if they’re living in a parallel universe.

          I can’t wait for Saturday when we can all sit down and watch the count. That’s always fun. Can you imagine how boring it would be if we had electronic voting machines?

          • Why Julia Ye Divil!
            I’ve never been asked by a lady to install a photovoltaic cell before. I really don’t know which way to look!
            But seriously I checked Ben Forde out and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in. So thanks again.

            In the meantime, I like you am being utterly stimulated by the three amigo’s.

            And now for some serious stuff.
            We should have a little competition on this site for the craic.
            Cut and paste the following Seat Grid. Fill in your numbers guess. Competition closes Friday Night. Winner gets a sod of turf with the word “Bondholder” engraved on the side.
            Here’s my entry; Good luck to all entrants!

            Fine Gael_______________78
            Labour _______________32
            Fianna Fail_____________21
            Sinn Fein_______________17
            Greens__________________1
            ULA ____________________1
            Independents____________15

  16. Post Your Suggestions To Enable this Referendum!

    What can be done in practical terms to advance this referendum now?

    Suggestions please!

    I have some rather radical proposals to suggest, but I am aware that they will not work.

    1. Election Boycott

    The election is pointless until this issue has not been sorted upfront. I do not trust that FG will commit to this referendum, then again, I stand to be corrected.

    2. Peaceful but massive Protest

    I do not think this needs a lot of explanation, but from where I am standing, looking at the history of the past few months alone and what decisions were taken against the people of Ireland and in favor of insiders and vested interests, I see this as a legitimate form to put the pressure on.

    Again, time is against us as they continue to transfer debts and impoverish the people of this country.

    • P.S.

      They do not work only as long as people stay passive.

    • Article 27 allows for a referendum if the Government choses to interpret accepting the EU/IMF deal as being of “such national importance that the will of the people thereon ought to be ascertained”

      There is no provision for a referendum by popular mandate, in other words, we can’t force the issue.

      But it is an option that is open to the incoming Government. Like all of these ideas it sounds nuts now, but as reality starts to bite (especially in the form of on-going capital flight from Ireland) they start to be looked at in a new light. That the shinners have essentially stolen this idea (though its not at all clear that they actually understand it) is a step in the right direction. Others will follow.

      Telling the EU to feck-off would be satisfying but is probably a very bad idea as they will be part of any solution, the best of which is to restructure the debts of the entire Eurozone. I interpret the idea here as a way to strengthen the Governments position by bring a constitutionally binding ‘no’ vote to the table. It also allows the EU to openly recognise that its position is essentially forcing us to default, despite the fact that we have done all the right things in their eyes.

      • Sorry Georg, you wanted practical solutions:

        - Making sure everyone you know votes, would be a starter. If they don’t want to vote for whomever is on offer, at least show up and spoil their vote. Spoiled votes do get counted

        - Tell as many people as you can about this referendum option, including not just candidates but their canvassers. An important means to get it on the agenda is to have people talking about it. (I’d suggest introducing the idea along the lines of “What do you think about… ” rather then “We must…! etc”)

      • vincent

        Bunreacht na hEireann-A studt of the Irish text may be useful as a referance http://www.constitution.ie/publications/irish-text.pdf

  17. I smiled at that anarchist, David. The heavy irony came through simply and from the heart. I believe there’s more than little of the anarchist in you in terms of what the mainstream’s touting.

    So, Fianna Fail will achieve the revolution? :) What say ‘ee, Davie, lad?

  18. jnb

    Where do I sign up? How many signatures does a petition for a Referendum need? I’ll bring the pen and paper; where do we meet?

  19. The Brewery in The Mill House

    Taste is defined in Time but Time is not defined by Taste .

    ‘Still’ is a meaningless word in the above caption .It only has a purpose if you want to capture your enemy and then to be still you must also change your colours to camoflage within your surroundings so to not be seen by the naked eye.Speed determines its success and failure.

    The word ‘Still’ is a more an oportunistic word than the previous caption ‘Before’. ‘Still’ will always be behind ‘before’ , were it to be after its already a failure .So dont wast your time.

    Good Time is a feeling of imbued satisfaction like the time it takes to make an egg boil or the wine to ferment to give off its good bodied taste of the fruits of the vine fields or the extraction of the oil from the olive oil plants to give you a new experience of the earths crust .

    Still is not a life for any water to be still kills the essence of its taste and its life.

    We are lost in the Time we are in NOW .

  20. wills

    David.

    From the beginning the commercial class and members of the political class intended to pass the property pyramid scam aftermath over to the taxpayers.

    They used the *blanket guarantee* to carry this out.

    They used *you* to pull of the stroke of all strokes.

    Its you the point too now to blame, as Gormley did on Vinb during the week gone by.

    Gormley spoke out loud what the strokers are all thinking.

    Blame DMcW, he came up with the idea in the first place.

    • wills

      ‘Sure blame DMcW he came up with the idea in the first place’ ~ Insiders excuse.

    • Its of course a laughable position. Does anybody actually care a damn about anything Gormley says at this point?

    • Deco

      I don’t care what Gormless says now. In 2008, FF had to make a decision. There was a lot of dithering by the troika (Biffo, Lenno, Calamity). Then Dell announced that they were laying off 2800 workers. Willie O’Dea decided to go on a solo run, and get government policy (and funding) towards industrial policy. It was like as if FF were going to do the sensible thing. About the same time Martin Cullen woke up and realised he actually had a job to do for Waterford (even if it was too late at that stage). It looked as if FF were going back down the nationalist, semi-protectionist route. The high price of electricity, the high cost of fuel etc.. were clear targets in sight of such a policy. And it seemed in an instant as if the banks were going to be given the cold shoulder.

      And then Dan Boyle announced government policy, before consulting anybody, in RTE evening news. He produced the Boyle dictum “we are saving the banks, the banks are more worthy of saving than the factories”. Boyle wanted to make it clear that this was a government for the middle class not the proles. The GP might be socialist, but they don’t give a toss about the unsophisticated working class. It is socialism as some sort of fashion statement. Loads of compassionate noises and a hike in everybody’s fuel bill.

      It was the tail that wagged the dog.

      The troika duly obeyed, and you have the farce that followed. Along the way the GP engaged in pretenscious little games.

      But when a decision had to be made, Dan Boyle and his GP pals decided before FF could make up their mind, that the banks were going to be saved no matter what the cost, and no matter who was going to suffer.

  21. Hey. What the heck? I posted a comment above. It got an under moderation message, before getting removed, the post ‘from euobserver….’ above was a follow up to it. Not good.

    If you want to read original post you can see it at this url:

    http://www.bankpoll.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=14&p=17#p17

    Perhaps an explanation for its disappearance is warranted!

  22. Gege Le Beau

    We are unwittingly part of a giant social experiment to see how much the Robber class can steal from the pockets of the people.

    We can take it for granted that the politicians had no clue what they were dealing with, very little penetrative financial acumen (maybe they should be sitting your Diploma in Economics David, which I would prefer to see titled a Diploma in Financial Knowledge as ‘economics’ is very much a dirty word these days).

    I think the lack of central government knowledge was conveyed by J. Gormley during his interview with Vincent Browne, the cabinet appears to have based its decisions on bad advice advice (they also complained of time and other pressures bearing down on them – never a good thing when making such an important decision) – they had evidence to the contrary(historial etc) which they chose to ignore/discount and Lenihan even made that late night call to McWilliams in seeming desperation for some light in the tunnel.

    In any case, the blanket bank guarantee was easily one of the worst decisions made by people who are well paid to know better, and I include in that the Department of Finance and all the experts/consultants/financial advisors. I exclude naturally those who gave wise counsel which was ignored – the ludicrous marriage of state and banking debt is the critical issue and it alone will sink the state, we are not in unchartered waters, we are on a path of assured societal destruction (ASD).

    The debt (this glaring elephant in the room) cannot possibly be paid back, the attempts at repayment are bankrupting the country and preventing development/employment, meanwhile our best and brightest take to the planes in search of better markets for their skills.

    We could yet be facing an Egyptian style crisis 1.5 to 2 years from now as we cannot continue down this road, then and only then will Europe act in the interests of the Irish citizen because they will be so concerned about contagion and will see on the streets the consequences of their appalling regulatory/financial monitoring system and the appalling IMF/EU loan complete with punitative interest rates, the debt at Anglo is illegitmate debt with serious moral hazard attached and should have been dealt with as such and not foisted on the 1.9 million who are spending a third of their time trying to dig us out of the hole created by 30-50 key people.

    Add to this the looming mortgage crisis (with the first apparent fire auctions of houses) and rising unemployment and you can see the classic trap that is about to catch us all.

    On a positive note, I returned from Poland late last night where again I saw financial struggle from an emerging economy, Ireland is streets ahead on almost all fronts and everything is to play for, but a series of bad governments will finish off the job Fianna Fail started, think change is going to come from the streets not from insider parlimentarians who will never get depsite all the talk of reform, these are the same people who said nothing or worse, called for more expenditure during the boom, an analysis of some TDs private interests reveals the priorities, half-time politicians some of them.

    • wills

      Disagree.

      I think the *blanket guarantee* put forward by David was and still is a fabulous idea. But it came with conditions that David forewarned on, and which the insiders threw over board in order to turn the idea into a *get away* route.

  23. Even a blind one could see that this small population is never able to pay for the capitalist sins…

    So why is this squeeze on the country? Is their something the IMF=World bank cronies are after? Are their some Natural resources they want to get for nothing? Just wondering as it is a trak-record of IMF to demand EXPORT of the country’s the “support” to pay for the miss management….
    Just wonder does any one have any idea?

    • EMMETTOR

      Clearly, one of the things that the incoming govt will do will be a sell-off of state assets. A Marxist analysis (as favoured by most arch-cpitalists) would perceive this as selling off the family silver to the same (class of) people who created this nightmare.

  24. Gege Le Beau

    Let us not forget the role of the Icelandic President during their crisis.

    He put a stop to the lunacy their and let the people of Iceland decide, which was the democratic thing to do, no such opportunity was afforded the Irish people.

    • mulcahy

      True, the Icelandic President enforced a referendum, but only after overwhelming public demand for it. The Irish people are not angry enough, or protesting for same!

  25. Mary Jenkins

    David

    While you are waiting for the new Government to decide on a Referendum you can still go ahead with Lisbon Treay Citizens Initative
    http://europa.eu/lisbon_treaty/glance/democracy/index

    Whereby one million citizens, from any number of member countries, will be able to ask the Commission to present a proposal in any of the EU’s areas of responsibility.

    You could start this petition now and have the numbers required and present it on St Patrick’s Day on the anniversary of the Anglo Massacre, when all eyes are on Ireland and in time for the EU Summit in March.

    You could say a lot more in a petition than you could say in a referendum,you could refer to:

    1 Hard form insolvency – That we will NEVER be ABLE to pay the debt.

    2 The immorality – That Irish citizens should not pay for the bad decisions of private pension fund managers.

    3 The role the ECB played – The fact that they allowed low interest rates in countries where spending was going out of control, and when the Banks were lending recklessly the ECB looked the other way.

    4 The EU – We are supposed to help each other and work together as a community not to profit from the misery of the weaker members.

    I am sure there is more you could add to this list.

    This should commence as soon as the election is over, the Irish abroad would be able have their say and if this does not work at least you still have Plan B The Referendum.

    I hope that you will seriously consider this and I promise I won’t nag you anymore, but at least I tried.

    • From: “G.Baumann-Oceanviewstudio”
      Date: 18 February 2011 12:09:52 GMT
      To: Constantin Gurdgiev , David McWilliams , Kevin O’Rourke , Morgan Kelly , Brian Lucey , Stephen Kinsella , Karl Whelan , Paul Sommerville
      Subject: Suggestion: Alternative DAVOS in Dublin

      Greetings,

      It is clear to me that the BIS (Bank of International Settlement) plays a major role in the global disaster unfolding. The Basel Initiatives are insufficient to solve problems that occured by banksters out of control.

      As suggested earlier with reference to a referendum, there is strength in numbers. The european citizens initiative is an instrument that might be valuable to explore.

      I envision a list of reform demands created by an intergovernmental independent economists panel which is initiated in Ireland and comprises members of many countries such as, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Iceland, Norway, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, UK, France, and more.

      The goal is to bring together economists with a vision and desire to create a catalog of urgent changes that need to be implemented to untie the gordian knot that was created in the global financial markets.

      Central Banking system has failed, and leaving the changes up to insiders alone makes no sense, we gathered enough evidence that this does not work in the past three years alone.

      So what I am proposing is an alternative DAVOS meeting, the first to be hosted in Dublin to kickstart a European Citizens initiative that collect s1 million and more signatures and puts political pressure on the system.

    • Deco

      I think you are correct.

      If I want to see where taking assistance from the Chinese will take us, I only have to look at the former great cities of the American North East and MidWest – in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana – the Rustbelt, and look at the results of the hollowing out of US industry.

      Wall Street gained, but the US Industrial belt paid the price.

      • EMMETTOR

        Plus, the Chinese are sitting on a property bubble that makes ours look like a pimple. They have entire ghost cities where we just have ghost estates. Then there’s the inevitable political shake-up that will surely come but who knows where it will go?

    • Nina Ogden

      This is not an Irish problem per se. It’s a global breakdown crisis. The EU is broke, Wall St is broke. the City of London is broke. They are now picking the bones of nations from Egypt to Ireland. This is what the budget cutters in the US are about and why there are unprecedented demonstrations in Wisconsin, which are now spreading to Ohio, Indiana and beyond. These are the areas where jobs are lost, factories closed…, an area that is now known as the RUSTBELT— does it sound like Ireland? The IMF told the US that the US has to “reduce its structural deficit” Doesn’t that sound familiar. The referendum to give “not one red cent for the banks”, like reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act in the US, saves the people and the nation and lets the bankrupt financial institutions fall.
      Here is the LaRouchepac TV video “The Angelides Report— The Moral Test” It counts for Ireland as much as anywhere else where the people are on the chopping block

      http://www.larouchepac.com/fcic-report-moral-test

      • EMMETTOR

        Good points, Nina. This is global and it is not exaggerating to declare it as a war between neo-liberal capitalism and people. Which is more important ? (That’s a rhetorical question!) Economics tries to make sense of what’s been going on since the Reagan/Thatcher era but globalisation, derivatives, credit-default swaps, etc, etc, make analysis very difficult for most people (incl. Me). This is a POLITICAL problem, not an economic one.

        • Gege Le Beau

          There is no separating the two, it is the political economy. And yes, the neoliberal assault on working people continues with the situation in Wisconsin very insightful. The decision of the US Supreme Court to allow unfettered sponsorship of candidates by corporations, possibly the greatest failing of the US Judiciary in modern times.
          http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20100124.htm

          Yes there is a global issue, but Ireland’s case is particularly difficult given IMF intervention, crazy unemployment levels and looming mass mortgage default.

          • CitizenWhy

            The crisis may be global but a number of things are peculiar to America:

            1. Christian Reconstructionism. This powerful movement holds that unions must be eliminated because they are against the will of God. The long range goals is to establish a Christian theocracy in the US, with all law being based on the Bible, and restoring the long abandoned savage laws in Leviticus.

            2. Ayn Rand Libertarianism. This powerful movement holds that only the rich, and to some extent, professionals, contribute to society. Everyone else is a parasite living off the rich, including employed workers, the unemployed, the poor, large segments of the middle class, and, of course government workers of every kind. They want bare minimum government that either serves the interests of the rich, or leaves the rich alone to do as they please.

            3. The Family/C Street. This is a Christian religious movement that holds that God has chosen the rich and powerful to rule over all others, and that the common people exist for the rich to use and exploit. This group conducts the Congressional Prayer Breakfast (attended by nearly all elected federal officials), counsels politicians, and provides housing in DC for many politicians. It also teaches that those chosen by God to rule (the rich and prominent politicians) are like King David, exempt from conventional morality, such as marital fidelity.

            4. Catholic Conservatism. This is popular with many Irish Americans and others. It is a mishmash of the beliefs above. The intelligent end promotes Catholic Social Teaching as based on subsidiarity, assistance to the poor based on local volunteer organizations. It believes that government must get out of all programs to provide relief and support to the poor, the sick, the elderly and the unemployed. Some elements of this movement have joined the Fundamentalist Protestant denominations in denying evolution (holding that the universe is 6,000 years old) and in denying global warming. Fox News is run by a Catholic convert, Roger Ailes. Newt Gingrinch has also converted to Catholicism, despite his many divorces.

            These conservative movements, including the populist Tea Party, are driven my media owned by Rupert Murdoch (such as Fox News), and by conservative think tanks, funded by multi-millions supplied by the very rich. The billionaire Koch brothers are particularly active in funding/buying outright right wing politicians.

            The US is far more weird in its conservatism than what you call conservatism in Ireland and the UK.

          • Deco

            Citizenwhy. Load of nonsense. As the title of David’s book mentions “Follow the money”. Marxist Analysis will surely help you miss the obvious.

            America’s dominant religion : shopping.

            America’s dominant political movement : Wall Street.

            You are creating an elabourate hoax for yourself and the rest of us.

            Support our advertising sponsors, in whatever way you can.

          • Colin

            A few other things peculiar to Conservative America

            1. Home to the Multi Billion Dollar Porn Industry.

            2. Home to Millions of Jews, Buddhists, Atheists and growing numbers of Muslims.

            3. Home to Thousands of Abortion Clinics.

            4. Home to one of the highest Divorce rates in the world and the number of stepped families.

            5. Home to Gay Culture in cities like New York, San Francisco and others.

            Ah yeah, calling the good old USA Conservative is like calling the Gay Pride marchers Conservative.

  26. beananti

    Most of you are just talking/blogging. Put your money where your mouths are.

    I’m prepared to pay €250 towards the cost of a National ad before polling day naming the candidates in each constituency looking for a referendum under article 27.

    Stop blogging, start acting – there are only 4 days to go.

    • grougho

      good idea.
      would be happy to commit 150 euro.
      any ideas how much such an ad would cost.
      think it needs to be massive!

      • EMMETTOR

        If only our leaders had such a practical approach! Ireland, where the vast majority have always voted for conservative political parties, starts 100 metres back from the starting line & has no hope of developing a radical approach to problems which demand radical solutions. It was too late for this country years ago & it’s certainly too late now. Electorates sometimes veer to the left or right (there is no such place as the centre!) but in the face of our economic destruction, we’re about to leap from FF to a FG, in other words, we’re staying in the same place!

    • george

      Here is the message I’ve got from Eoinn O’Broin from Sinn Fein following my email suggesting them the idea of David McWilliams regarding a referendum.

      So I’ve made my mind and definitely after the following answer I’m going to vote for them. So if you also want a referendum they are the only option. It’s up to you!!!

      “Hi there George, obviously great minds think alike… Gerry Adams made the call for a referendum the main issue in his election press conference yesterday as covered on RTE news.”

  27. adamabyss

    subscribe.

  28. paddyjones

    We are just in the throws of kicking and screaming. It is futile to believe that there will be an easy way out of this mess i.e. burning the bondholders. We cannot avoid the debt , the EU and IMF and ECB will force this debt on us. In a few short weeks the banks will get a further 30 billion and this will become sovereign debt that is for sure.
    DMcW is kidding himself and is in total denial, that is the first stage, the next stage is acceptance that will happen when FG and Labour pay the bankers 30 billion. Then comes the IMF/EU/ECB bailout another 65 billion to buy some 3 years of time.
    David is right that we are insolvent but the bailout gives us 3 years of space. Enough time for another 150,000 young people to leave the country. 30,000 redundancies in the public sector. 10,000 redundancies in the banking sector.
    We are going to be squeezed like never before.
    Only a Sinn Fein government can save us and unfortunately that wont happen.

  29. John Q. Public

    ‘secured’ senior bonds should be abolished if we are honest about this, they should be outlawed. If they cannot be repaid it automatically creates a scenario where the state/citizens pay. It is the same as the state going gaurantor for the banks’ loans. Did our gang in the Dail agree to these terms each time Seanie and Co. borrowed more and more? They probably didn’t even know.
    European laws have to change to prevent this from happening again in the bond market. But who will lend ‘unsecured’ bonds to us of all countries?

    • EMMETTOR

      Yes, the idea of secured bonds is as crazy as the idea that a state is liable for the debts of corporations simply because they are registered in that state. Risk is inherent in any lending activity & interest rates are the return for taking on that risk. The capital markets have been obsessed with eliminating risk for years and, with the creation of credit default swaps they actually thought they had done so.

  30. Nina Ogden

    Why all this cynicism? There’s a world wide movement growing against the budget cutters and their speculator friends. In Wisconsin they have signs saying “Walk Like an Egyptian” The idea that progress in the physical economy has more power than paper begetting paper is spreading throughout the world.Stop worrying about what the ECU and IMF will do to you. They are more broke than Ireland and have no authority to give orders unless you give in to them. The idea of a referendum will catch on because it’s the only thing the new opposition can push for.
    What the “coalition of cutters” decide to cut will become hated and reviled because the horse those people rode in on is already dead.The people of ireland will return to their historical principles because those principles are spreading like wildfire across the world. Walk like an Egyptian! Or, as we think of you in the US, stand up like an Irishman!

  31. EMMETTOR

    In my ignorance, a couple of things puzzle me: The amounts involved in this crisis make me think that developers were buying every square inch of this country & planning to build gold-plated 120 storey skyscrapers on it OR have large amounts of money been hidden away, remember many of our biggest developers were private not public companies, operating under a far more lenient accounting system. Also, the idea that such a tsunami occurred without insiders in the banks having the tiniest inkling seems impossible OR were they simply criminally negligent?

  32. Nina Ogden

    This is the website of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission :http://www.fcic.gov/
    The Commission led by Phil Angdelides took testimony for two years on the 40 yeqars of rot leading to the crash of 2008. Although it was a US Commission it examined the entire global break down crisis. It was modelled on the famous Pecora Commission which examined the reasons for the 1929 crash and led the way for Franklin D Roosevelt’s ability to challenge the “economic royalists”

  33. george

    There is time to save many billions if we have the atittude of this man:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5i7oghsB31c

    • Deco

      Amazing.

      When I want to hear about what is going in on here, we have to tune into Max Keiser. RTE tell you when it gets to the point that they cannot keep it under the carpet any longer, and they know you are about to find out.

      I think Max Keiser is more deserving of the RTE TV licence than RTE.

    • Ah Max Keiser and Stacey Herbert! The deadly duo are getting a lot of mentions on this blog of late and rightly so.

      I wonder of any of our politicians watch the Keiser report. Doubt it somehow.

  34. george

    And here you have the Irish banking crisis in a nutshell:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHUyCUPb8QU&feature=player_embedded

  35. george

    The faith can move mountains.
    Here is the message I’ve got from Eoinn O’Broin from Sinn Fein following my email suggesting them the idea of David McWilliams regarding a referendum.

    So I’ve made my mind and definitely after the following answer I’m going to vote for them. So if you also want a referendum they are the only option. It’s up to you!!!

    “Hi there George, obviously great minds think alike… Gerry Adams made the call for a referendum the main issue in his election press conference yesterday as covered on RTE news.”

  36. Nina Ogden

    More on Sinn Fein Calling For Referendum on Banking Bailout

    With just days to go before Election Day, Sinn Fein launched a big billboard campaign saying: “It’s not too late to stop this. Votail Sinn Fein.”

    The so-called major parties are trying to ignore, what everybody calls the elephant in the room, by trying to dance around the question of the bailout. The newspapers and TV news, knowing full well that this is the central object of voter concern, have attempted to minimize the role of Sinn Fein, the United Left Alliance, the Christian Solidarity Party, and an unprecedented number of independent candidates, educated by leading economists, all calling for burning the bondholders

    Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has called for a referendum on the bank bailout.Adams says that Ireland can ill-afford to allow any more money to leave the country in senior bond debt. Instead, Sinn Fein has proposed that the 30 billion that is intended for Irish banks should be invested in jobs and infrastructure. Gerry Adams said that they would not renege on sovereign debt owed to lending countries. “Key to it is to separate the bad, toxic bank debt, private debt, from the sovereign debt,” he said.

    In huge, bright letters, the billboard shows Fine Gael, Labour, and Fianna Fail all tied up in bailout plans. The sign then reads:

    “In four weeks’ time Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide will be given another 30 billion euro of taxpayers’ money. It’s not too late to stop this!”

    • paddythepig

      The billboard should say ’3 billion’ not 30 billion. The 3 billion is the money for 2011 for the Anglo promissory note.

    • Deco

      Correct. Pravda/RTE are basically facilitating parties which will the varying degrees support the social partnership model of government (which means copping out of decision making). They are also proxies for IBEC and ICTU in various forms.

      Basically, if you are outside of being a proxy for IBEC or ICTU, then you are ignored. The media are purchased, it is simple as that.

      Max Keiser is correct concerning RTE.

  37. corkie

    David, you don’t seem to be up with the play.
    My bet is the bond holders have been paid out, we are now in hock to the ECB. It’s too late to do anything about the banking debt except to burn our fellow EC citizens. So who are we going to vote for..? Suckers all of us. This being Election Week, a few word from the master. Oh, and have a nice day.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIraCchPDhk

  38. [...] His full article is well worth reading – here’s a clip. It is obvious that Ireland is heading towards default (as close as a country can get to being insolvent) so racking up further debt, rather than trying to reduce it, is close to criminally negligent. [...]

  39. Still does it make a Difference ?

    I can sense the frustration in the room from the absence of some popular contributors responding recently.I am taking it to be caused by the results of the popular newspaper polls and the inevitable winners projected .So does it make a difference anymore?

    I can only speak for myself and only do what I know I want to do because that is all that matters to me anyway.

    I am in the West Limerick bailiwick a place that has a stiffling stench of political stagnation that has never changed in as long as I can remember .I normally vote for the popular candidate and not along party lines.

    This time I have noticed there is an unknown unknown who is new and is an independent and is unemployed .There is also a more popular independent who might be classified as an unknown known.I am giving my preference votes in that order and then my third to labour.The rest does not matter .

    I believe that my revelation is important on this site because as a small nation we seem to have an in-bred fear to reveal our true colours and I believe I am sharing the same frustration as the Libyans and others when they go on the street to protest for their basis rights .They have no fear and they are not cowards.

    Solidarity is my passion to vote this time and solidarity is all I have and if solidarity does not work then I can tell all the unemployed who left our shores to travel overseas to work and live that I was thinking of them and their parents whoes lives are broken now and dreams quashed.This is my salute to All Irish wherever in The World.

    Slainte.

  40. vincent

    Check out http://smallbusiness.dnb.com/ where one will find : The Government of Ireland,Court Services,Dublin Circuit Court, The Law Society of Ireland,Garda Telecoms etc. etc. all appearing to trade for profit. Why is there a company called The Government of Ireland?

  41. breltub

    Gambling Tax

    I had this idea for a gambling tax, that might be palatable to people.

    If the government levied 5% on top of the principle wagered. But instead of just collecting the tax there would be a gamble taken with it.

    The 5% levy would be gambled with the bet, so instead of just collecting your money the government would be partaking in your gamble.
    In the event the bet wins the government gets a greater return for its tax, and for odds of better than 2/1 the levy would be returned to the punter. The government just keeping the winnings. The 2/1 is the minimum chance to get your tax back, because this means that the floor is kept at 5% tax recoup for the government.

    The bookie isn’t going to win on this because he is essentially taking the tax bet and if he loses the government keeps the levy wagered, so to keep him sweet the bookie getting 10% of the levy for all bets as a handling fee.

    It’s not often you are presented with the chance to win your tax back, and instead of just taxing gambling this would be a manner in which the government could increase it’s benefit from it.

    Not sure on course bookmakers would be able to do this, but certainly online gambling, or in shop gambling wouldn’t be too hard to manage.
    The maths isn’t that complicated.

    Hope I explained that clearly

    as an example with 5% tax:
    Gamble of €20 @ odds 6/1 – additional tax €1
    Punter wagers 20€ @ 6/1
    Government wagers .90 @ 6/1
    Bookie gets .10 handling fee

    If you win you get your winnings + Government gets €5.40 and returns to you .90€

    If you lose – bookie get €20.10 and the government keeps the .90

    Just throwing it out there. We need some new ideas

    Regards,
    Brian

  42. NOT NEGOTIABLE

    We the people of Ireland demand:

    1.

    The cancellation of all banking debts with no reciprocal obligations attached and the payment of compensation for damage caused to the Irish economy.

    2.

    A full investigation into all banking matters to be conducted by a a special investigation team that is made up from members of the public as well as international experts such as Prof. Joseph Stiglitz.

    No behind closed doors, 100% transparency.

    All documentation from DoF and all Banks to be released to the public, refusal to comply, unreasonable delays or destruction of evidence should be treated as a criminal offense of the highest order.

    All diplomatic immunity shall be cancelled. All Key figures that held or still hold positions in politics and banking are not allowed to leave the country and have to return their passport until the investigation has been concluded. Failure to do so shall lead to an immediate arrest warrant.

    3.

    Shelter, healthcare, education, and drinking water as basic human right must be provided free to all. Those without shelter shall be prioritized. No man, woman or child shall sleep on the streets of Ireland.

    4.

    No private monopoly ownership over natural resources shall be granted, no exceptions, a minimum of 51% communal ownership in corporations, that hold control over such resources shall be mandatory.

    5.

    A 5% tax on all benefits distributed to shareholders of corporations to create unemployment funds.

    6.

    A total prohibition of speculation on weapon systems manufacturers and food products.

    7.

    A intergovernmental council shall be established comprising of member states that are most threatened by national and international financial terrorist. the councils role is to highlight facts and developments in the concerned countries to the public on a monthly basis.

    8.

    NAMA is to be dissolved with immediate effect.

    • paulmcd

      Brilliant! Everyone should circulate this to friends, colleagues, etc.

    • paddythepig

      Healthcare for free for all? There is no such thing as free healthcare, rather it is highly costly, and needs to be paid for.

      What you’re really saying is that you want to have one section of the population pay for another, for a right you magically deem everyone to have.

      All children up to the age of 25 should be guaranteed healthcare as they are too young to pay for it themselves. After that, you have the right to ….

      NOTHING.

      Society has the right to give you a minimum standard of care if it so wishes. But there is no obligation on society to do so.

      Unless you are disabled in some way, providing healthcare is the individuals obligation.

  43. Deco

    Tonight there will be the final debate.

    Three millionaires debating how to approach hard times.

    People are going to have to figure it out for themselves, because the system is an extortion machine for the benefit of the well connected.

    • Yes, it is extortion machine is RIGHT!

      The only explanations I have for the likely outcome of this election are

      1. deeply reactionary country

      2. Fear of change and 100% false hope for security

      If I am reading Martina Devlin’s warm and fuzzy election reports, I wonder what mission briefing she had to sign up to? In fact I asked here straight about it. I have a lot of respect for her and she knows this, but these latest warm and fuzzy
      write ups about our friendly neighborhood politicians who only have the best for the country on their mind… gimmi a break…

      To me this is just another attempt to dumb down the public and collect sympathy points on purpose to maintain a reactionary status quo in Ireland to serve insiders.

      • Deco

        Georg – just for fun, if you find yourself watching it (I will not watch it) and when you get bored, just count the number of
        “sales pitches”, “cliches”, “anecdotes”, sentence with the verb ‘care’, comments about how much the candidate “cares”, and punchlines.

        You can use ot to measure the candidates on the metric of “Meaningless and Absolute Drivel”. MAD for short.

        Debate based on formula. The Hillary Clinton method of talking nonsense in such a way as to push yourself forward.

        • ….and all for the good of the country! …. Yeah… RIGHT!

          Actually… as right as can be!

          Too bad they were not all on an important trade mission in christ church. I know, shouldn’t say it and I do not wish anything bad happening to anyone, but for crying out loud, they rob and steal this country naked and leave a trail of feckin devastation and suffering behind.

          Yes, I will watch this waffle crap, and I know I am going to regret it.

    • Deco…..I am wondering what you mean by ‘final’ ?Have you lost faith too ?

  44. Have we lost interest in the politicians or is it ourselves the Electorate?

    Have we taken credit from the electorate and given it to the Politicians?

    Do we aspire to be citizens of North Korea of Europe?

    Do our genes tell us to become Slaves again shakled in chain for an eternity ?

    How does the word ‘Idiot’ resonate like ?

    • None of the FF/FG/GP guff should be voted for, they were ALL instrumental in performing this HEIST!

      • They enrich and protect themselves and their cronies,sell the country down the Swanny, cause havoc in health, employment and education, the opposition FAILED to do their job on all accounts , and now they will be empowered to form the next government?

        My oh my…. it resonates strong John.

        • Dee Noblesse –

          is a dark grey piece of limestone lying in the Burren in a desert of stone .A grave yard of history stands there with only sparse pieces of fauna growing there because nature has preserved it from viruses of life as we know them to be.A cold wind sweeps the the tops daily.

          In another world it had Glory and Success and resonated with real life.Sadly to be no more .

          Deep inside its crust underneath its cold surface and encased inside you will find the azur of a royal blue that showed in its early life the Beauty it once gave to all of us.

  45. http://bit.ly/f603EB

    Challenge political parties on their growth forecasts of 3%/annum between now and 2014.

    Also note in deflation, black hole economics means cuts have a multiplier effect, where 3% becomes 6% or even 3² or 3²*2*3², numbers become more difficult to predict because of a default black hole effect tipping point.

    It would appear that, judging by their figures, default is about to come to our new government as just as much a surprise as the crash of 2008 came to the previous government.

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