April 27, 2011

Recession party poopers beware: the future is fun

Posted in Ireland · 106 comments ·

When you leave this country for a few days, you get the distinct impression that we are stuck in a time warp. We aren’t moving on. This is the feeling I got over the weekend in London.

On the eve of the Royal Wedding, the British capital captures the very essence of modernity or globalisation and all the forces that will shape the next decade.

You get the impression that the place is moving forward, looking to the future with all the chaos of a thriving megalopolis.

And yet on the surface it appears so traditional. Well over two centuries after the French guillotined their king and queen, the Brits are unified this week with street parties and flag waving in an orgy of royalist schmaltz. But it works. Kate Middleton, the exceptionally pretty bride, is everywhere — from huge billboards to the little pictures of her in the back of taxis driven by skinhead cabbies tattooed with the flag of St George. Her face beams out of every magazine pullout. Kate — the darling of middle England — is the new Diana; which wouldn’t be so bad if only she wasn’t marrying Diana’s son.

But you know Britain is changing when you have Prince Charles’ son, future King of England, high-fiving English rapper Dizzie Rascal — son of a Ghanaian single-mother. Can you imagine his father doing that?

Hyde Park is the garden of Babel, hundreds of nationalities hanging out, cheek by jowl on a scorching Easter Sunday. Tiny Hassidic Jewish boys who look as if they have stepped out of 16th century rural Poland, play side by side with equally tiny Arab girls in 12th century Yemeni chic — covered up with the full headscarf. Here they hardly notice each other. In the Middle East they’re killing each other. Context is everything.

Down the road, in the Science Museum — a cathedral celebrating collective human ingenuity — the aisles are jammed with all sorts. There is the typical Northern English machine nerd, in socks and sandals clutching his flask while he marvels at the original Stephenson’s Rocket. It can be easy to forget that there was a time when England made everything. Beside him, an industrious Indian family is taking notes, under the watchful eye of their Sari-wearing, henna-haired granny. And a few feet away, three Chinese children, head to toe in Hollister’s Southern Californian uniform, are marvelling at a replica of Apollo 11.

Outside, the streets are full, the place is teeming with life and you get the sense of full-on urban dynamism as millions of migrants embark on the great human struggle of familial self-improvement.

This is why cities exist. These places are the real theatres of dreams, where thousands of people try to escape the confines of their origins and build a new life. Some succeed extravagantly. For example, London is home to 32 billionaires according to Forbes, and more than half of these are not Londoners. On the other hand, as anyone who has witnessed Irish down and outs in a damp Finsbury Park Tube Station knows, the city can be unforgiving and hostile.

Yet the point remains that the city absorbs all sorts and has been home to millions of Irish people over the years. For example, around six million Britons have an Irish grandfather or grandmother (approximately 10pc of the UK population). The majority of these people live in the Greater London area as well as the traditional Irish cities of Manchester, Liverpool and around the industrial heartland of the West Midlands.

Today, 900,000 ethnic Irish people live in London (12pc of the city’s population). That means close to one million people who were actually born in Ireland live in London. Survey data puts the number of Londoners claiming some Irish blood as much higher. And, of course, the figure for Irish people living in London is rising and rising. Of the 1,000 people a week leaving our country, you can be sure the majority head to London. On the Tube in and around west London, Irish accents are common again. So it was in the 1950s and 1980s, and now again London welcomes the Irish, embraces us and gives many thousands of us a chance.

But this is the nature of cities and this is why cities are the essence of economics. Cities connect people, inspire people, allow people to share ideas and put those ideas to work. This has been the case throughout history. Cities host ideas, become decadent, reinvent themselves and can’t be controlled for long periods. This is why the great Italian merchant cities spawned great art; it is why various purest Jewish sects fled Roman Jerusalem for the desert to escape the decadence of the city, with its moneychangers, fraudsters and prostitutes. It is why punk rock exploded out of London in the late 1970s and Hip Hop out of New York a few years later. Cities are all about pushing the boundaries and the human desire for self-expression among the chaos of millions trying to live their lives and just get on with things.

London, as one of Europe’s finest mega-cities, is a fantastic example of the power of cities where the best brains, the most curious people and the finest human capital converge. Modern politicians understand the importance of cities. Over the past 20 years the authorities have invested enormously in London and it shows. It was a city on the decline 30 years ago with Brixton in flames and racial tensions simmering; today it feels rejuvenated.

Smaller cities like Dublin can learn from London. In fact, Europe’s small cities are in competition with each other not just for tourism but for people and investment. If we create an environment for the best people to come to work here, they will come. To do this we must invest and continue to spend on things that appear ephemeral like culture and the arts. These are not the pursuits of the elite. Look at what happened to Bilbao when it invested in the Guggenheim. The entire brand of the city changed and tourism took off, more than paying back the initial investment. A good arts festival can work wonders for a city — just look at Edinburgh fringe. So too can a one-off sporting event, for example the upcoming UEFA Cup Final at Aviva Stadium. The same goes for the visits of the queen and Obama — these are showcase events, which we should use to rebrand the country.

In short, we must invest in fun. I know this sounds strange in a recession but it is true. The thriving European cities of the future won’t be places of production; they will be places of consumption. Once you throw people together, they will be creative, if you encourage it. We should aim to have more people living between the canals in a city where the open public spaces are lived in and owned by all. This will be the beginning of our regeneration.

While Dublin will never be a London, it will be the dynamo for the next chapter of the Irish economic story. The more open and welcoming it is to all sorts, the better place it will be.

  1. adamabyss


    • rebean

      Interested to read this article today in the Independent
      Its probably the only reason I read the paper. London is a great city and the whole world passes through it. Bottom line with London if you go there you have a good chance of making it and your Daddy doesnt have to be a Fine Failer in fact its probably better if you forget everything you have learned here in this crony priest ridden enclave. They dont even make you go to mass or confession.You dont have to sleep with someone who is well connected to get a job and who knows you might meet loads of civilised well educated hardworking people like I did when I lived there. I would go back in the morning! Best of Luck!

  2. Isome dont agree with the notion that we should play lapdog to British royal parasices or play lap dog to Obama the cheer leader of Wallstreet. Both are fraudsters here to frund their colonial expeditions and ambitions. Both cheerlead countries which have murdered millions of ordinary people in their pillage around the world. Both are diplomats for two countries which have murdered well over 100 thousand innocent people in Iraq and afghanistan in their Blood for Oil slather.

  3. A few spelling corrections, redone

    I somehow don’t agree with the notion that we should play lapdog to British royal parasites or play lap dog to Obama the cheer leader of Wallstreet. Both are fraudsters here to front their colonial expeditions and ambitions. Both cheerlead countries which have murdered millions of ordinary people in their pillage around the world. Both are diplomats for two countries which have murdered well over 100 thousand innocent people in Iraq and afghanistan in their Blood for Oil slather.

  4. Colin


    You ignored the elephant in the London room. Expensive property. And its expensive property in need of a lot of modernising. And while you’re slogging away trying to stay afloat in the ratrace while living in substandard accomodation, there are plenty of people living around you benefitting from welfare cheques paying their rent.

    Then there’s hotels, expensive hotels because you won’t find a cheap one in London. How much did you pay a night David?

    London is a glorified ponzi scheme, sucking in people at the bottom from all over the world to prevent the people in the middle and top of the pyramid from suffering any collapse in their wealth. We in Ireland went wrong by modelling Dublin on how London has evolved. The two cities have a lot in common, plenty of no go areas, plenty of high brow areas, squeezing of the middle class into a smaller area forcing rents in these areas up so high it takes 1/3 of your take home pay. This is obscene.

    • Colin

      Here’s the proof.


      Let’s just say Finsbury Park is not a posh area. Have a look at property in all areas, its ponzi prices, even still.

      London’s great if you’re on big bucks, don’t get me wrong, but for the ordinary fella trying to make a living, you can forget about it.

    • ahimsa

      Well said Colin,

      London is a glorified ponzi scheme, sucking in people at the bottom from all over the world to prevent the people in the middle and top of the pyramid from suffering any collapse in their wealth.

      Cities, quite literally the basis of civilis-ation. Though they may form crucibles of fantastic opportunity for human interactions, exchanges and experience they are equally home to the most appalling and dehumanising poverty.

      Furthermore, both entropically and ecologically speaking, cities are unsustainable disaster zones, cities suck in not only people from all over the world but hoover up all resources, sucking the life marrow from nature to support centralised ‘civilised’ ways.

      David writes, ..cities are the essence of economics. That says it all.

  5. Thomas Cooke

    Sure aren’t we all having fun in this circus?

  6. Not moving on? Invest in fun? Oh David, David, David!

    Do you actually read any of your articles?
    This is not like recovering from the ’80′s – This is different – Fundamentally different!
    In the last great recession people did not have these serious levels of debt.
    Furthermore our fiscal controls allowed us to regulate our interest/exchange rates appropriate to our own economic requirements.
    But in the future these rates will be correct only by coincidence?
    The rates we will have to live with are those suitable only to the big economies in Europe.
    Is that really sustainable?
    Something fundamental has to give or the nearest we’ll get to being fun is when we become Europe’s Theme Park.
    And the theme?
    Welcome to;
    Recession World – Don’t feed the pixies.

    “Begorrah we don’t need an economy. Anyway sure we wouldn’t know what to do with it?
    Sure didn’t we go and lose the last one?”

    “Spare us a Euro there Seignor?”

  7. BiggyWiggy Rogers

    I agree with you David – the arts are something that flourishes here in Ireland, despite the poor finance.

    Ireland has always been associated with music and poetry, and as country, this identity should be developed to its full potential.

    For years in the UK they didn’t invest in their film industry when they should have, which was a crying shame as they could have become a global alternative center to Hollywood… And that’s what Ireland could become, if the investment is placed in that area.

    It would be magnificent to celebrate the artistic creativity of Ireland, rather than the financial creativity of greed.

    • NO HOPE

      Yea. Like paying an electrician 8k per week to move some lighting around on a film set. By the way he is entitled to a minimum of 2 assistants at 1200 per week according to the union who have the industry by the balls. Until we have an Emperor in Ireland who can get rid of all the fat pigs, cronies, leeches, useless civil servants and idiot politicians with a storke of the mpen, we do not have a chance. How is artistic creativity going to pay back 250 billion in 2015??????????

  8. dwalsh

    I so envy the English. They get to live in London and have a Royal family. Why cant we have a royal family too. Just a little one.

  9. Im convinced David had a few drinks in him when he wrote this article. You cant sell the British Roylas to the Irish after Oliver Cromwell-Drogheda eight hendred years of British occupation & exploitation, evictions and the Famine.

  10. I’m with David 100%. London is dirty, outrageously expensive(that said you can get a room in a flatshare in Canning town for £300) and I love it I’m lucky that the skills I have are even more in demand during a recession that before so cost has fortunately not been an issue. In addition to schools, health etc a Government has to make their city worth living in to attract interesting,smart,innovative, entrepreneurish types.
    Relaxing licensing laws to allow little hole in wall bars. Build things people want to come see. I could come home tomorrow and likely get a job in a week but I won’t because in spite of the availability of work and cheap housing, its brain meltingly dull.

    Case and point, The Sultan’s Elephant…

    There was no point to a giant 3 story robotic elephant wandering about London for 3 days but everyone enjoyed it.

  11. BrianC

    Why do we Irish always have to look to others to gain a perspective on what we should be doing. The British are more broke than the Irish. But there is one major difference between the British and the Irish. We are door mats and the British are boots well used to stomping about.

    The Irish politicians are a bunch of useless fools with no back bone.

    The Irish made one serious mistake in the election and that was voting in a manner that did not expunge FF completely sending a very clear message to the EU and voting like Dodos to put Spinless Kenny and Gutless Gilbore in power. Nothing will change and Coathickselfservinglition will will preside over the deleveraging of Ireland.

    I suppose the article makes some sense in that Ireland will be a place of fun for our EU colleagues and all the fun will be at the expense of the ordinary Irish Citizen.

  12. tivoli

    “the Brits are unified this week”

    Not really, many of us are sick of the whole thing, if I did’t have to work Saturday, I would leave the country for the weekend.

  13. So it was in the 1950s and 1980s, and now again London welcomes the Irish, embraces us and gives many thousands of us a chance.

    …rubbing eyes, reading it again…

    Personally, I give a flying fuck about media celebrated elitist weddings or visitations of the worlds VIP’s cheering to a bunch of flag waving idiots. As soon as a picture or headline on this or simlar BS appears….ZAP!… off ya go…. The same like with these utterly penetrant church bells that are inevitably broadcasted before every evenings RTE’s 6.1 spin doctor show. The church bells video clips showing what a true submissive person has got to look like in modern Ireland, a touch of multi-culti added, and there you are, the bosnian woman stops peeling an egg and looks up to the skies, the nigerian gardener drops his tools, his head sinking slowly, playing flute with Mom on the piano in the intensely sterilized living room, keb burns style slowly faded back into the church bells before the last DING DONG echos for eternity and the 6.1 trailer messes up the surround sound settings of the amplifier again, because the muppets in RTE audio technic still do not understand hat the main show is NOT broadcasted in multichannel.

    Sorry to be a recession party pooper, but this is Ireland 2011, not exactly the center of neo romatic globalisation fantasies.

    London…. yeah well… don’t get me started!

    • only the first sentence should have been italic… this blog software is as comfortable to use as a command line interpreter 30 years ago.

      • adamabyss

        Yeah, it’s terrible. I ran a forum back in 1999 and the configuration and formatting on it was streets ahead of this. Dreadful rubbish.

      • Julia

        Sorry Georg I can’t agree with you there. Life goes on regardless of whether we succumb to the misery or not. The sad fact is that bread and circuses is still what the people want both today and back in Roman times. Tourism and culture is what the Irish have always been reasonably good at. They cheer us up and we might earn a little money along the way.

        And talking of celebrations, I saw agood letter in the IT today remarking on the fact that the royal wedding will be all over RTÉ and TV3 but there was no coverage of the 1916 Commemoration at all on either channel. National identity is an embarrassement to us unfortunately.

        Mind you I’m ready for the revolution any day. Bread and circuses shouldn’t be a panacea for all ills. It’s just that we can’t let the buggers get us down.

        • Deco

          There will be no celebrities at the 1916 Commemoration. Just a few soldiers, and state officials. TV follows celebrities.

        • doflynn

          Thank you Julia, saved a little bit of my life there – accurate as it is, Georg’s black eloquence would put Beckett to shame!

        • Colin

          Champions League football is the ultimate modern day bread and circuses. But its a lot more expensive to attend these matches in London than, for example, Milan. I paid €25 for a main stand ticket close to half way line at the San Siro. For a similar group stage game at the Emirates a couple of years later, I paid £50 (€65 at the time) for an inferior ticket behind the goals.

          The best cities are on the continent. Vienna is what we should be modelling Dublin on, its got as much culture as London and better architecture and superior town planning and a nice relaxed pace about the place.

    • Georg, I’d say you go through a lot of TV’s:)

  14. gizzy

    Good evening sorry if i cause offence but there is a lot of meandering waffle in the comments.

    Speak a lot to my pals in UK from different social backgrounds. They say the economic news is now a small part of their lives. It has become our lives.

  15. Malcolm McClure

    David: As you describe so eloquently, London is the Fun capital of the world. For those who complain about it being expensive, you get what you pay for. If you do a bit of research, after you have paid for your accommodation, you can enjoy the buzz of the place for a very reasonable outlay.

    I am surprised at the anti-brit resentment expressed in some of the comments above. London welcomes all nations and is tolerant of all national eccentricities, so long as they don’t scare the horses. If its detractors have any respect for civilisation, they should come to live in London and become civilised.

  16. Pinch

    I had to pinch myself reading this article because all the time I thought I must have been reading one of Michael Palins travel adventures.I am still numb that this was an economic story.

    Has familiarity bred contempt in me or am I just ‘thinking’ .

  17. Julia

    Just saw a programme on RTE about an investment banker Geraint Anderson who worked in the City in London. God, what a loathsome, nasty, unscrupulous, corrupt bunch of men. What a revolting world they live in.

    David, were you really part of that?

  18. Deco

    London has always had a veneer which looked much better than the underlying reality. I reckon that London’s future, and indeed Britain’s are over-rated in the article. Of course, I do not expect the Irish media to ever state this. In fact I expect them to conveniently ignore it. Afterall we are reliant on the UK economy for trade, and any hard look at the sisution might damage consumer confidence.

    Beneath the show, the underlying set of national accounts for GB Plc might be as bad as anything we got here. Bear in mind the fact that there are a lot of issues in RBoS that were swept under the carpet by the Labour government, and left there by the Con-Dem government. Never mind the show. Britain is heavily reliant on a set of favourable relationships with several third world dicators, and oligarchs – and it’s key role inside of NATO. It is still America’s sidekick in the world.

  19. Deutsche Bank reported 2nd best Quarter Result…. IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY of the Bank. From January to March they made 2.1 Billion Euro Profit.

  20. Yeah fun is good, too often the Irish have misassociated the term with booze or visiting the boozer. Perhaps ‘how to have good fun’ should be made part of the curriculum in Irish schools. Fun means different things for different people, for example, last week I caught Beckett in The Focus, ‘birth was the death of him’…mmm; ideally it should be found in large part in your job. Crap tv, architecture, culture, poverty, injustice take the fun out of life. How’s about a tv series with Dermot Gavin visiting Irish towns, setting their history, stories, genealogical and otherwise, tidy towns, Irish tv is becoming unwatchable, lack of facilities for the young, GAA more involved in fun activity promotion in cultural areas outside sport.

    But all the above is waffle because NAMA has been seen over Dublin’s ugly spike and threatens to offload on us all:)

    Let’s have some fun and bring it down!


    • “That’s what I call a close encounter” Lol

      • Who would have guessed as we approach the 100th anniversary of our independence, that this independence would have been lost to ‘Irish banks’ and the ECB/IMF not by the people, but by democratically elected ‘Irish’ governments acting against the will of the Irish people.

        No reason you can’t have fun trying to reverse that situation as well..! If this causes you misery, perhaps you should be doing something else.

        • Deco

          Actually, by their own devices, the banks ruined themselves.

          It was the political establishment that decided that they would lump the people in with the banks. Well done Comical Lenny and pals.

  21. Morning all,

    There is a bit of confusion over the article. The observations were not supposed to say London is fantastic and without fault, nor that the Brit Royal Wedding is something we should care about, but to say that cities matter and in Dublin, we have a city capable of a lot more than possibly it has achieved. Openness and tolerance foster creativity. For example, the State could do worse than turning the Central Bank building on Dame Street into free office space for startups. This is the sort of thinking I mean.

    Having spent nearly a decade in London though, I do have a soft spot for the place:)


    • I was 38 years there through thick and thin, the Thatcher years being the most selfish, self centered I thought I’d ever see until I came home at the peak of the Tiger.
      That beat all.
      No one listened, everyone was afraid to ask or stand out but at least I stopped about 6-7 couples buying at peak. TBTG.
      I have the same soft spot for London as David. You can speak your mind, you can work hard and see the fruits, you can grow and expand and your comment has value.
      Unlike our poor White Nigeria basking in its own self importance, a modern take on Neros violin skills.
      With apologies to Nigeria.

    • NO HOPE

      Anyone with half a brain should leave for London a.s.a.p. !!!! Ireland has a closed tribal mentality that will continue for another century. That mentality hobbles society, entrepreneurs and people with open minds who try to get on. Because of the diversity of London that sort of bullshit has largely been made irrelevant. We only have to look at Quinn Insurance going down the tubes, and the complete and utter absurdity of the Irish insured/policy holders, being made to pay for Sean Quinn`s gambling, via levies. Ireland really is a comedy of errors and quite pathetic. Now that it is all too clear we cannot pay our debts (what? About 250 billion by 2015), call it 250 trillion, it makes no difference. We cannot pay, but the taxpayer and ordinary citizen will continue to get cuts, claw backs and stupid little phrases with bells and whistles while we bleed to death at stupid straw grasping exercises, whilst waiting for the inevitable default. Saddest thing of all is we voted for another shower who reneged on election promises before they were even in office!!

  22. The Dork of Cork

    Of course London is booming – they produce paper obligations that we all accept for some reason and even when the paper they produce has a net negative return the periphery will pony up.
    Its a great deal this finance business.
    Maybe the South Mall should attract some Venetian bankers – just for the crack like.


    Dublin is a poor man’s Liverpool ( without a premiership team). More people out of work in the 26 counties than Scotland , Wales and NI COMBINED.Who will finance a united Ireland ?

    • Deco

      Hold on there, Liverpool is much poorer than Dublin. The low rates of social welfare are a factor in keeping unemployment down in peripheral regions of the UK.

      • NO HOPE

        crap. you sound like eamonn o`cuiv. that mastermind thinks if the social welfare rates were lowered people would be incentivised to go back to work. duuuuuh. there are no jobs…….

  24. Archimedes sur La Pom

    The weight of the Sunshine is directly related to the weight of the displaced contributions to this blogg today.

    • Colin

      Its a weak article. Not at all near his usual high standards. I mean, how can you talk about economics in London without mentioning the ridiculous property pyramid scheme there.

  25. Deco

    I actually reckon it would be smarter to think about the German vesion of what a city should be and not the British version. Or think about the Canadian way of thinking about this. One capital for politics, one for port business/transport, one for finance, one for technology, one for oil, etc..

    I mean one city, one industry, and competing on a world class basis. It produces far better regional development, less congestion, a better cost base, and far more clarity with regard to what the objectives are of policy in a city. And it gets everybody in the city serious about the city’s role and development. Germans are always proud of the city where they call home, and will tell you of the stuff that comes from there. In Britain, they might be able to tell you what used to come from there, and about the local soccer club (owned mostly by rich outsiders nowadays).

  26. PMC

    The resentment demonstrated by the Irish towards Britain intigues me, as in many areas of Irish society, we do our utmost to replicate them! West Brit accents, policy models, double barrell surnames, RTE using typically BBC studio set and introductory music…

    There is some amount of trash written about the forth-coming visit of the Queen. If we want to act like children and play silly-buggers, that’s fine; but let their be no doubt, that childishness will be noted.
    Harping on about injustices in the past will get us nowhere. Just look at the never ending misery in the middle east, all because resentment can’t be put to bed. I also believe that any acts or threats in future claimed by republicans, should not be referred to as such in the media. Instead, it should be referred to as plain thuggery. This immediately removes the dillusional justification tag, and paints them for what they really are.

    With this article, David is trying to draw attention to the underlying elements of what makes London superior to Dublin, and is trying to provoke thought on what could be done to improve Dublin.
    This is fantastic, because Dublin, as the capital city has only got about 8 streets worth visiting. The place and it’s people are just so conformist and conservative, its stifling.
    London on the other hand, is dynamic, entrepreneurial, aesthetically beautiful, diverse and the opportunities ever changing.

    Whilst the old guard and their mentality remain in Government, things won’t be changing any time soon.
    The more youngsters however that travel and experience enlightenment, then perhaps we’ll see change with the next generation. No sooner however; as resistence to change in Ireland is the top priority. A la NAMA going down the road of mortgage lending.

  27. Philip

    Best city for me in terms of design, modernity and livability is Barcelona. Gaudi architecture, decent metro and public transport, olympic village etc etc. You can live on the 4 th floor, kids go to school on the ground floor, shops only a couple of blocks away for a nice walk, or in your own block. And this is in Spain!

    But the reality of London? You cannot live in it unless you are rich. It is a shopping center and a centre for bureacracy and banks. It is kept alive by the banking industry and by the attitude of bankers.

    Dublin is and always was a socially dead city. Good party life, place to work….but you can’t live in it. And do not get me started on the architecture and lousy urban planning.

    • BiggyWiggy Rogers

      I agree with you wholeheartedly on the planning/architecture here… simply a disgrace. Simply horrid terraces and semis with NO facilities for human beings.

    • NO HOPE

      traffic jams, filthy, littered streets, heroin addicts roaming at will, thick ignorant taxi drivers who think they are God`s gift to humanity….phew the list is endless…

  28. malone

    London is just like other big cities , A dump

    Ever take the tube into the city from Heathrow going through Osterley ,South ealing, Chiswick Park , and you will see the ” beauty ” of London.
    Ever drive through it and get stuck in a traffic jam at 12 o clock at night ,
    Use the central line in the underground during the summer and get the smell and the heat ?
    Go around a lot of telephone boxes in certain areas and you cant see out the windows
    As for getting ripped off in every shop in the
    centre of London

    Leave your car somewhere for more than 10 min and it gets clamped. The geezers working for the companies
    actually enjoy clamping cars

    Most hotels have dog boxes as rooms

    I´m not saying that Dublin is much better but London
    is definitely not what it´is cracked up to be according to David

    I wonder did he have one for the road beofre writng the column !

    • adamabyss

      People are not supposed to live in cities. It’s a totally unnatural state of affairs. Crime, violence, disease, mental illness, poverty, pollution, abuse and all sorts of vice are encouraged by people living on top of, underneath and in (too) close proximity to each other. The next phase of human evolution needs to include the dismemberment of cities and the re-dispersal of populations into better planned, spaced and environmentally positive configurations.

    • BiggyWiggy Rogers

      I think London, like all cities has its good and bad sides. Yes, you have to put up with bureaucracy due to the vast population, & as with all cities, it attracts vast numbers of hopefuls. But the richness and culture there is something special, and as David as pointed out, there’s wonderful museums (most for free), some not so well knowm too(surgeons musuem being one of them, and I think Pollocks Toy museum)…. The point is, London is what you make of it.. Money is of course an issue.. it is in any city. New York is the same. But for sheer diversity, and creativity, you can’t beat the likes.

      • adamabyss

        Don’t get me wrong because I’m a student of history and reading, and a frequenter of museums, galleries etc. but I’d gladly burn every damn museum (and city of culture) in the world to the ground, along with and all the ‘treasures’ contained within if the starving children of the world could be fed instead. I’m all for equality of opportunity (as opposed to equality of outcome) and the very least that anyone should expect when they arrive screaming and clueless into this world is three square meals a day. Good luck to that young couple getting married tomorrow, as far as I’m concerned that’s their private affair. You have to question the whole legitimacy of royalty and ‘blue-blood’ though, when around the corner from their numerous palaces, people are freezing and starving to death while those very same palaces (not to mention the financial ‘centres’ of the world) were built and financed on the misery and corpses of millions of dead slaves over the ages. People need to get real and try to get a perspective on what is really going on in this world, all around us, every day.

        • I totally agree with you.

        • Bamboo

          @ adamabyss
          I do agree with what your saying.
          At this stage we can’t afford to think big anymore. Let’s give up that idea of grandness and grandeur. We should all take a deep breath and think what we really enjoy. Do we really want all those big buildings, hotels, restaurants and all those big shops? Where do we get that idea from that we can all afford this? I guess the media.
          We should think small and even when you think that is too small enough, think even smaller.
          For example Tokyo. The big players think big but the ordinary people who live in Tokyo think small. Tokyo is filled with small streets, where people put their pots and plants all over those little streets and I think that is actually what makes Tokyo quite a grand place to live. There is no room to swing a cat in their houses/apartments but the people have to accept that and they make the streets attractive and clean. They have no gardens so they take pride in what little doorsteps, verandas, etc outside their apartment blocks can offer to make the area attractive. To me this part of Tokyo is an eye opener and not the big buildings and the high technology.
          Other example is a little island in Thailand, Koh Tao. This little island had to compete with other equally beautiful islands in Thailand. But somehow tourists visited other islands as it had the hotels and swimming pools. They came up with a plan to build a footpath of less than half a mile. They attracted little shops and little cheap restaurant businesses to settle at this footpath and built little beach huts as well. Then the tourists arrived and it is now a lively place to spend some time. Amazing what a little footpath can do.
          Maybe I shouldn’t look that far to find some examples. But these two examples is something that I found sticking in my head.
          I was just watching BBC Monty’s Italian Garden programme. What magnificent gardens. That is what you called grand designs and the thinking behind was absolutely on a grand scale beyond most of people’s imagination. No matter how glamorous and grand it may be — we can’t afford this mind set anymore and we really have to get it out of our big heads. We simply can’t compete anymore and certainly not copy what others have done. Don’t mind the these business people anymore and in particular RTE, The Irish Times, etc. Blogs like this is where you can find true information. It is small and cheap and certainly not on a grand scale.
          The gated community syndromes, grand hotels, shops, restaurants, etc have to go and replaced with entities that suits our culture and thinking, which is really small, creative and smart. Not saying they should be demolished but leave as they are and look at it as our foolish and childish past of the Celtic Tiger. We should re-activate or kick start the Irish art and crafts, music, etc. (look at Bali, where they have cultivated the arts and crafts and sculpturing culture from an early age at secondary school). No, not another copy of another culture again you may say. But really see how successful it can be for the whole community and not just to a handful of big boys and girls.
          Sorry, One other example. The old town of Dubrovnik. Yes, it is a great place but just a place to spend a couple of hours. I think what is so remarkable and unique about the place is there is absolutely no advertising. Isn’t that clever? If the place was polluted with advertising then it would be just another nice place like so many others.

    • in all fairness malone, you’re going to have a huge disparity in a city of 12m people that attracts the good , the bad and the ugly.
      White Irish Catholics are similarly in decline.
      Outside of the Pale, we do, as an Irish Nation, have the odd person living here that possibly retains some of which you allude to.
      Come down here to stamp lambs and dock rams tails.
      Tis a simple life outside cities and much more fulfilling.
      Trust me.

      • adamabyss

        Definitely is much more fulfilling Furry. I have lived in Dublin, London and Budapest. Enjoyed my time in the ‘big smokes’, especially when in my twenties and going mad socially, but it’s a young man’s game – this living in cities. After ten years in the Caribbean, the closest I would to go Dublin (from Lucan) is Chapelizod and that’s because my cousin lives there! Back to the Caribbean in two or three years I go!

  29. Deco

    Well, I imagine very soon there will be article on the following – the nw ECB Head.


    It is being assumed that Merkel will support one of Berlosconi’s thugs for the job. This clown was also in G-Sucks at one stage. They are the Mafia of international finance, if you need to know.

    Inside Germany, there must be massive misgivings about all of this. No doubt, the left leaning media will be particularly concerned, about Berlosconi and Sarkozy influencing matters before Merkel got an opinion. I think the reaction in the Netherlands will be even more interesing, given that the Dutch are not easily cajoled by the type of mover and shaker who predominated in G-Sucks.

    When Trichet became ECB head, after Duisenburg I really had my doubts, as to the future of the Euro.

    Now, I am even more concerned. Watch the value of the Swiss Franc, the Norwegian Krone, the Danish Krone. In fact, it is possible that the currencies of Poland, the Czech Republic and even Hungary will get a boost.

  30. BnB

    David says “Smaller cities like Dublin can learn from London”. The best thing that Dublin could have done was learn from London’s mistakes, but instead it just repeated them.

    Dublin copied the same (lack of) urban planning that had turned most of South East England into a vast sprawling suburb of London. The greater Dublin area is now proportionaly even bigger (for a much smaller city) and stretches from Louth to Westmeath to Carlow and beyond.

    When the property market in Dublin started to heat up in the 1990′s, Dublin could have learnt from how the London prices had collapsed a few years earlier.

    The result of this is that many people now travel for hours by car between their workplaces in Dublin and their houses in commuter towns that they can’t move out of because of negative equity.

  31. BnB

    The last time that I lived in London, the rock n roll prime minister Tony Blair – who had been a singer in a rock band – was posing in front of the cameras playing a guitar and was inviting Oasis to Downing Street. I mean, hey, how cool is that! His predecessor John Major had given a speech about how London was seen as “the coolest city on the planet”, and Brit Poppers Blur were putting on a phoney cheeky cockney act. That’s all the proof you needed that the whole Cool Britannia image was a joke, and London was at the centre of it. The real London was still recovering from the after effects of Thatcherism.

    So forgive me for not being wowed by the thought of Prince William high-fiving Dizzee Rascal, or his war-mongering brother Harry doing the same with Goldie. Whenever entertainers and establishment figures hang out together, it’s usually because both sides want something that the other side has. The government and wealthy elite want street credibility and pop stars want to be taken seriously.

    Beware of anything that receives official endorsement because that usually means that it is superficial and of no threat to the establishment. That applies to economics as well as art.

  32. BnB

    While there are a lot of things that are negative about London, one good thing about it is the diversity of the people there. It’s not just the ethnic diversity, it’s also the wide range of people’s opinions and world views and the way that many people are not afraid of independent thought.

    I didn’t appreciate that until I moved back from England to Ireland, where there seemed to be a concensus amongst the Irish about a lot of things. The main examples of this were the belief that everyone had to own at least one home and the smugness about how nothing could go wrong with the Irish economy. There was a lot of that too in the Thatcherite ‘loadsa money’ era in England in the late 1980′s, but there there were also a lot of people who rejected that kind of thinking.

  33. Malcolm McClure

    The great thing about London is its positive attitude. It helped the city survive the Blitz, Canary Wharf and 7/11. This meant that the ripples from these terrible events were soon absorbed by People’s optimism and belief in individual freedom.
    Cool Britannia dates from long before Major and Blair. Remember Abbey Road and Carnaby Street?

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, but FF sold Ireland’s birthright for a mess of pottage. —Who’s the souper now?

    • The Brits fought a heroic and great war against Germany, have a marvelous history of innovation and inventiveness in science and engineering.

      In the 2nd world war their genius at code breaking broke German intelligence, their intelligence extending to the use of a special group of magicians who managed to disguise factories, create false airfields, and generally detract from the true location of Normandy landings.

      They are in hard times able to show flexibility, innovation unlike some neighbours unable to do naught but dig their holes deeper!

      Bleak aspects to their history as we know have occurred.

      Best wishes for long life and happiness to William and Kate today. Great they got the weather:)

      Perhaps we should consider giving back the keys:)


    Did Quinn Insurance employ any actuaries or anybody who passed junior cert maths ? Incredible incompetence

    The Brits have the population base to support their housing market, Ireland didn’t.

  35. joe sod

    in the 90s and early 2000s dublin was one of the most happening cities in europe, it was open fun and in expensive, nightclubs were allowed to stay open later. It attracted the stag and hen parties in their droves. But rather than trying to accomodate this with extra policing and street cleaning at night as you see in other european cities, we restricted nightclub opening hours and refused to take on the publican cartel. The result is that dublin is avoided because it is too expensive and not much fun anymore

    • Bamboo

      @ Joe sod
      “most happening cities in Europe”. Every city says that about them selves and other cities have attracted stag and hen parties as well. It is the media that make you believe that it is such a great place to go to and it is really is the center of the universe.

  36. Resurgence

    After today the renewal of the word ‘Royal’ will soon predominate in the business world :

    Royal Baking Powder
    Royal Black Pudding
    Royal Cinema
    Royal Odlums Flour
    Royal Garda Forces
    Royal Dublin Society
    Royal Mail
    Royal Bank of Ireland
    Royal Musical Society

    Chartered Irish Bank
    Chartered Accountants


  37. France lost its monarchy and today it has two principle blue blooded families who vie for recognition :

    House of Bourbon

    House of Orleans

    Other lessers are :

    House of Bonapart

    House of Evreux

    Capetian Dynasty

    In Ireland we have :

    Guinness and Bass

  38. Bamboo

    What you wrote makes absolute sense. I couldn’t agree with you more.
    “The best thing that Dublin could have done was learn from London’s mistakes, but instead it just repeated them”. We should know how not to do it. Instead Dublin wanted to be the same buzzing city as other European cities. Instead of developing their own identity Dublin wanted to become like other cities which had a much more dynamic and richer history and culture, architecture, etc.
    But I guess that’s how neighbours live beside each other. You have a big car, I’ll buy a bigger car as well, you have a new kitchen, I’ll buy a newer kitchen. You have a new airport. We’ll do the same, etc, etc.
    That is what Dublin tried to do.
    BTW: I live within commuting distance from Dublin and unfortunately (after years of avoiding it) I had to make a trip to the city center today. Coming out of Connolly train station and crossing the road the first thing I saw was an old lady crying on the footpath who was beaten up. Could happen anywhere you may say.
    To be honest (in my experience) …. No. We should look forward to a city that is safe and innocent.
    We’ve spent billions building a superficial wealth but forgot one thing. Dublin never asked the people what they wanted. Yes, There have been some rounds of community talks before anything was done, but that was just a formality.

  39. Dorothy Jones

    Royal Wedding: Aiens landing scenes of crowds saring at screens.
    AIB: ca 20 machines are out of order and won’t be repaired… and counting….

  40. Dorothy Jones

    The €12 bn own bond buyback by 4 banks; the guarantors; the risk…

    • Irish Sovereign :

      I have just read your article and insofar as you write about Mr David McWilliams I can only say I do not believe you .You are writing with a ‘funnel vision and selectively ‘. What I have read on all of David’s articles over the years is that he always gives us a broad view of events .We have been lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from his experiences in both foresight and now in hindsight.

      There is nothing new in what you have said on your economics and what David has written in the past and most of what you are saying is your personal effort to entrappe him to serve your own purpose and to that end only.

      Take a deep breath today and free yourself .

    • If not I would suggest that you’re either simply another completely incompetent, pseudo economist, a well-intentioned dupe or, and I hope I’m wrong, a tool of the establishment to lead the Irish people up a blind alley….


      Unfortunately, imho, a lot of what you say about the debt system in your article is accurate. I said unfortunately, because the rest of it is more than only a mild case of DMcW paranoia, but I come to that later.

      What you completely fail to point out in your attempt to unravel the global power dynamics, and it is truly essential, is the global weapons trade, since I can think I follow this, so should you really wnat to connect dots, something you claim David would not do on purpose, and should you think it to be worth your time, I would recommend you to do some research here:


      Coincidently, DER SPIEGEL has a interesting chart, nothing new really, and I wrote about that here on Davids blog a year ago, highlighting the who-is-who, and again informing the public that 20% of all german weapons manufactured, and Germany is global number three, goes to Greece and Turkey. Turkey buys 20 Tanks, greece buy 40 and a sub marine. Greece needs more credit to pay for this, Germany et al. provided.

      You know, such is ‘the start’ of the true story of global power dynamics.

      As for your somewhat aggressive attack on David, you’ve been there before, I wonder, did he steal your girlfriend at the tender age of sweet 16 or something?

      I would agree though that David’s light weight edutainment here could have much more depth and context, particularly the latter, then again, it is entirely his choice to publish more in depth insights, some of which are really required imho for the public to get a better understanding of this scam.

      The Irish public does not need this soft approach, rather a information shock therapy to get that real wakey wakey.

      No, I do not agree with everything David stated here over time, not at all, but to come to the idea that he is out to deliberately fool the Irish people…. well what’s next, he is the Mr. Smith from the Matrix perhaps? Only in the real world operating on behalf of GS may be?

      If only it would be that simple!

    • blackcase

      I read your article, which is excellently written, and I strongly agree with most of your points about fiat currency, bankers, debt slaves and and the rest. But your linking of these points to David WcWilliams is very weak. This angry attack is way over the top and very very unfair.

    • Story reeks of IRA type hatred spinning nastiness and character assassination.

      I wouldn’t give it a thought.

      DmcW, Keep up the good articles I personally enjoy greatly.

  41. blackcase

    One change will fix everything in Ireland. Adapt this as the new Irish National Anthem:


  42. FOLLOW THE MONEY Samir Aita, economist and Chairman of Mafohum


    ….Those Arab states that have erupted this year — and others that may follow — want freedom and democracy, but also to end the way their countries have been run for the financial benefit of rulers and their friends

    ….Government-dependent sources of revenue will have to be dismantled, as will monopolies, to release entrepreneurial energy. There will have to be states that guarantee public and social freedoms for all, so that workers have rights, and the states will have to be accountable, based on social consensus. It isn’t going to be easy, because the world, including Europe, isn’t going that way.

  43. John Q. Public

    What a load of oul blather and waffle! You end by saying ‘The more open and welcoming it is to all sorts, the better place it will be’. In case you have not noticed, we have absorbed 1/3 the size of our population and is our country ‘better’? 80,000 plus foreigners are being paid the dole plus other benefits. It was unsustainable from the word go.

    • Bamboo

      That is interesting what you are saying.
      I am foreign, a full European citizen and have worked for almost 20 years here in Ireland but was made redundant two years ago. Haven’t been able to find a job since and so on the dole. I recently received a letter from social welfare that I have to appear and produce the evidence of what efforts I’ve made to find employment. That is fine and understandable. I went to the social welfare and notice that all the people in the queue were foreign.
      Anyway I produce the goods but it wasn’t sufficient evidence as all my efforts of finding a job has been by mail or filling in an online form in job agencies like jobs.ie. Anyway, it is a long story and my payments of 85 Euros a week has been stopped without any notice fro SW but then re-activated again after sweet negotiations.
      Still, I have to go back to produce the goods again or it will be stopped again. So I have to make another train journey next week.
      My friend and ex-colleague who is Irish and who is in the same situation (although I think about three years older than me) never had any hazzle from SW (so far)
      Could be a coincidence but your view on the 80 000 foreigners in Ireland doesn’t really fit in the Irish society and culture but correct me if I am wrong.

      • My friend and ex-colleague who is Irish and who is in the same situation (although I think about three years older than me) never had any hazzle from SW (so far)Could be a coincidence…

        No, it’s not!

        JQP’s focus on foreigners is exactly what happens all over EU countries.

        Welcome to Absurdistan!

      • BrianC


        As an Irish National/ Citizen I find it disgusting that someone who has worked here for 20 years is treated in the manner that you are being treated.

        But please for the sake of all of us do not give up and fill in the little boxes that they ask you to complete. Just think of it as a silly stupid game.

        Ireland needs new blood and hopefully those foreigners who decided to live in Ireland will help Ireland develop a new perspective.

      • John Q. Public

        In fairness to you Bamboo if you have worked here for 20 years and have done a job that many an Irishman/woman is too lazy to do, then good for you. I hold you in higher regard than most Nigerians that come here seeking asylum, get everything for nothing and will NEVER contribute to the place. It is worth noting that a few thousand Irish people (former tax-payers here)returning from abroad have been refused the dole because they were abroad for two or more years. Georg R. Baumann, it is absurd that €500,000,000 per annum is spent by the tax-payer on subsidised rent to mostly English and Nigerian wasters, fueling a high rental market in a recession while the Dolphin flats and Ballymun need attention.

  44. Presidential Balls

    Finally has the pants been put on led by the Irish Brigade ?


    How sweet will the Tulips smell ?

    • Another Light Brigade charge, perhaps she should direct her ire at the scandal of Double Dutch Sandwich or transfer pricing.


      Noteworthy her silence when Lenihan’s machiavellian, draconian legislation on banking went through without sending it for consultation to DPP or calling it to be put before the people.

      Fools rush in where angels fear to thread.

      • ‘Tis’ Irish Whiskey Promotion

        Double Irish now holds more attraction and success than all the whiskey in Scotland combined .Its mindset commands a better dividend , more control and a winning post that no other odds can achieve.And its bankable .

        The mountains in Ireland have now shown to us how much higher they are than those in Scotland and how the clouds in Ireland can acquiesce to hide their true height.A natural conspiracy and pure water certainly puts aoulde Ireland on the international map and the sun can shine elsewhere.

  45. Colin

    I wonder will the tens of thousands of Polish leave London now for Germany, now that the Germans have opened up their borders to the accession states. Some of them too may leave Ireland now that they can achieve good rates of pay in Germany. This means more downward pressure on Irish Rental Markets and Irish Property Prices, which is good news of course.

    It also means that Paddy who may be thinking of moving to Germany to find work will be at a major disadvantage now unless he speaks excellent German and has skills which are in demand there. You can be sure many Poles have been learning German over the last few years, and will pick it up a lot quicker than their English picked up in Ireland and the UK.


  46. DJ

    Why are so many people on this noard are still focused on oliver cromwell, the famine, exploitation by the British. Of course they didnt help matters during the famine but we can hardly blame them for all our problems all these yrs on. If you look at who came off better from our Anglo- Irish relationship i think we can all agree it was ireland. The english language for starters, land law and a legal system and governmental structure bettered by none, envied by many. we still benefit with our close relationship with the brits and many of our sons&daughters benefit greatly by moving to london and pursuing opportunities no longer available in their home country.

  47. blackcase

    I read President Mary McAleese told the EU that Reducing Irish Corporation Tax is nonsense. Does that mean she the only Irish political leader with “balls”?

    • You might be clutching at straws here. IMHO this is nothing but a publicity stunt of a President on her way out.

      Since 2007 she failed on all accounts to come forward and bring to a halt the political and economical lunacy that has driven this country over the edge.

  48. vincent

    Gold Dinar, Silver Dirham used everyday in Indonesia http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HNuyfMHjIQ

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