April 11, 2013

In Bruges with the Iron Lady

Posted in International Economy · 207 comments ·
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The Bell Tower dominates the skyline of the beautiful town of Bruges. It featured in a scene in ‘In Bruges’ when unlikely hero Brendan Gleeson fell to his death. In 1988 I spent a year there, studying at the College of Europe. I have vivid memories of the Bell Tower: being woken up at ungodly hours of the morning by its incessant chimes; feasting on that great Belgian delicacy of mayonnaise and chips flogged from the van under the tower; and Mrs Thatcher’s Bruges speech in the hall underneath the tower.

I arrived in Bruges in mid-September to join about 200 students from all over Europe doing a post grad. The College of Europe is to the European Union what West Point is to the American military. Its job is to train the next officer class of the European Commission, European Parliament, ECB or Court of Justice.

The majority of the students who graduated with me have gone on to work deep in the European project – most of them remaining true believers. Quite what happened to me when I was there is anyone’s guess, but back in 1988, I too, if not exactly a believer, was at least happy to go along with the script.

Belief is why Mrs Thatcher’s speech in Bruges was so incendiary. Her speech was an example of a clash of beliefs and clash of convictions. Lined up in the hall were a few hundred of the great and good of the European project, convinced that federalism was the way forward for the countries of Europe. Opposing them was Mrs Thatcher, who believed national sovereignty should not be eroded.

Interestingly, it was the issue of sovereignty and the nation state rather than economics or philosophy that sparked our small protest. Now what happened was hardly Paris 1968 or the Kent State riots and it seemed to us totally natural.

When she walked into the room, everyone stood up to clap. All around us, people were on their feet. But the eight Irish students – we were sitting together – remained sitting. It wasn’t planned, rather it was instinctive. In 1988, we simply could not stand up and clap Margaret Thatcher.

For a bourgeois institution like the College of Europe, this small protest sparked a mini-incident. In typical conventional fashion, the boss of the college seemed to be more worried about offence caused and “what might the neighbours think” rather than the prospect of an Irish republican cell operating in the medieval cobbled streets of Bruges.

We were far from republicans but Mrs Thatcher seemed to embody all that was wrong in the world and all that was dysfunctional about our relationship with Britain, and maybe we didn’t realise it at the time, but a dislike of her was a factor in the Irish establishment’s unquestioning eurozealotry, which persists today.

This was the decade of the hunger strikes, the Falklands War, the miners’ strike, the Specials, Elvis Costello, the Cold War and, of course, on the other hand, the emergence of the “loads of money” culture in Britain and, with it, English nationalism under the flag of the Conservative Party. All these things framed our world view.

Now, with the benefit of hindsight, is it possible to assess Mrs Thatcher’s legacy objectively?

Much will be written on politics, so let’s stick to the economics.

It may seem strange to describe the arch enemy of trade unionism as the mother of the Croke Park Agreement. By this I mean that Croke Park is the descendent of the original social partnership hatched in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Having been shocked by what happened in Britain to the unions, maybe a generation of Irish union leaders tactically concluded that it would be better to get involved with the State rather than confront it.

As long as the economy is growing, the idea of divvying up the growing pie through negotiation is a win/win approach. But when the economy is stuck as it is, it is clear that for one sector to win, another has to lose. No growth rather than too much ideology is the biggest threat to Ireland’s social partnership model. As a result, a Thatcher-style government versus trade union showdown can’t be ruled out here. In fact, in certain areas, it’s necessary. The difference will be a matter of execution rather than outcome.

On the issue of economic management, supporters of austerity point to Mrs Thatcher’s spending cuts in the teeth of recession. They point out that the British economy took off thereafter and suggest the same could happen here. But this is not the case.

What they forget is that the British fiscal contraction of the 1980s was accompanied by the greatest monetary expansion the country has ever seen. Interest rates fell rapidly, deregulated banks pumped the economy full of credit, house price inflation led to massive wealth effects and the consumer boom dragged the UK out of recession. At the same time, sterling weakened from the mid-1980s on, underpinning what was left of British manufacturing exports.

We are trying to have fiscal contraction without domestic monetary stimulus or a weakening exchange rate; there are few lessons for us from the UK of the 1980s.

While a clash between Mrs Thatcher and the unions was inevitable and there was a need to loosen up the economy, today, in the wake of the global financial crisis, it is obvious that the pendulum has swung too far.

Banks and the financial markets are dangerously out of kilter, while companies driven by the Thatcherite doctrine of “shareholder value” can’t just set up shop wherever they want without paying taxes in the country they generate their profits. The Starbucks example in the UK recently is instructive.

Equally, the conflict between the country and the corporation needs to be re-configured. For example, in the US today, corporates are sitting on more cash than ever before, their treasuries are being subsidised by cheap money from the central bank, yet they are not investing or employing, while agitating for more tax cuts.

This can’t last because what is good for the individual company is bad for the collective economy. And all the while, the very rich are getting richer and the middle classes poorer.

Mrs Thatcher’s legacy will be debated. On Europe, she was right. She claimed the objective was federalism and she was spot on. What this means, as she outlined in Bruges that day, is nothing less than an end of the nation state in Europe.

When this becomes apparent to the peoples of Europe, expect a political battle that will put the miners’ strike and the Falklands War into the halfpenny place.

 

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  1. Had a discussion yesterday about Mrs. T. Interesting views all round. Whatever about respect for the dead Mrs. T certainly ruffled more than a few feathers.
    She was probably the stand out politician of my generation. Even Haughey and Ahern didn’t get an “ism” appendage to their name. Come to think of it other than Stalin – who did?

  2. Reality Check

    Apparently she was influenced by the Austrian economists why then did she not return to the Gold standard?
    Apparently Reagan considered going back to it as well but did not progress the idea.
    http://www.fsmitha.com/h2/ch37-thatcher.htm

    • Deco

      I would say based on her policies, that shw was more influenced by Milton Freidman. Not to the same extent as Greenspan. And not to the same extent as Reagan, who essentially implemented Monetarism on the US economy.

      But nonetheless, the fiscal and economic policies contain a certain amount of Freidman economic theory. Perhaps this is the result of her various Chancellor of the Exchequer office holders.

    • bonbon

      Just read the letter to Hayek. Enough said.

  3. Reality Check

    As regards The Malvinas (Falklands). When I lived in Argentina I inquired about the Malvinas war a bit. Veterans told me the reason they lost was because their superiors were embarrassed to carry out the directions from the top (General Galtieri) as he was a raging Alcoholic.
    You see it’s impossible to get the job done if the chief is a drunk.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopoldo_Galtieri

    • Deco

      Well, as an Irish taxpayer, I can concurr with those sentiments.

      What happens if not just one person at the top is an alcholic, but many of the people underneath him as well ?

      The booze is getting boozier.

    • Ciara Ryan

      I was In Argentina during one of their annual commemorations for the many young soldiers that died during the Malvinas/Falklands war. Those that I spoke to were still embittered (in 2003) not by the English assault/victory but at Galtieri and his dictatorship for provoking war to instil nationalism in place of the increasing unpopularity and unrest at the military ditatorship and the decline in the economy. It was very poignant to listen to the sadness and anger that still existed because the waste of so many young people’s lives at the hands of another corrupt governemt.

    • bonbon

      Colonial wars in the late 20th, and 21st century are an anachronism. Britain’s dreams are a setting sun now – its financial system is finished, done, never to be revived. Attempting the “jolly old trick” again with thermonuclear weapons at 470 kiloton apiece is just not cricket is it?

      So let’s end colonialism, as FDR intended, after we split the banks of course.

  4. Deco

    Just wondering….any possibility of a political movement taking on the vested interests like state quangos who produce rubbish and live off the welfare state, professional bodies who price gouge, NAMA, banks that are now behaving like CIE in the 1980s, and the excesses of the institutional state.

    This is Ireland’s internal structural burden. And unfortunately, there is no public discussion about this. In fact the public discussion is about just about everything else.

    It seems we have a quango in this country for just about every eventuality. But their real purpose is to provide lolly to those who have done favours to various politicians.

    We also have a professional class culture that is about pretence, superficiality, and lousy underperformance. The classic example being the auditors who auditted the accounts of the banks. The auctioneers, the hospital consultants, and the lawyers are not far behind. The professions require complex, arcane, incomprehensible legal provisions and regulations so as to increase their ability to gouge margin from the rest of the population.

    They have ruined Ireland far more than trade union politicians in 1970s Britain. And they cannot claim to be anything buy me-feiners.

    I reckon that is where Ireland’s Thatcher or Gorbachev will be in demand. It will not come from the right, but possibly from the centre. And the battle will occur first on the internet.

    In other words, gombeens with privelege and political connections on a battle against angry working people with mortgages, and an internet connection.

    This will be the battle that will reform Ireland.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi Deco,

      Great stuff. Regarding the following ‘I reckon that is where Ireland’s Thatcher or Gorbachev will be in demand’ the less sutble the person the better!

      Like or loath Michael O’Leary (I’m in the latter camp) at least both loyalists or enemies know where they stand with him.

      At least McWilliams and his seven buddies had the guts not to be so subtle all those years ago!

      Regards,

      Michael.

      • Deco

        I actually don’t have a problem with Michael O’Leary. I have flown on his airplanes, and I find them perfect for the job.

        I would rather fly Ryanair than “O’Brien-Air”.

        MOL is desperately needed in a country where all sorts of crap get agreed upon as equivalent to truth, and enforced by consensus.

  5. michaelcoughlan

    Hi,

    This article is a wishy washy load of contradictory gibberish. About a third of the way in you say ‘Much will be written on politics, so let’s stick to the economics.’ then end with a political statement;

    ‘She claimed the objective was federalism and she was spot on. What this means, as she outlined in Bruges that day, is nothing less than an end of the nation state in Europe. When this becomes apparent to the peoples of Europe, expect a political battle that will put the miners’ strike and theFalklands War into the halfpenny place’

    You article hints at a get tough approach by the government on unions to force down public sector pay to help relieve the cost of running the country but you lack the liathoridi to say it straight out.

    In the absence of either fiscal or monetary stimulus David the economic situation will only get worse if public sector pay continues to bf reduced!

    • paddythepig

      Folks, read that last sentence, and weep.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Hi,

        Just curious but I am not sure if your post is critical or complementary?

        • paddythepig

          It’s critical.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Ok.

            I know that your point of view is genuine. If you could elaborate maybe I might be able to get a better understanding.

            In normal economic times when the private sector is deleveraging governments borrow and spend on public works projects to counter the negative effects.

            We have no stimulus at all and if the wages of all workers are cut whether public or private it will contribute to the deflationary effect. That is all.

          • paddythepig

            Your last sentence states that further cuts to public service pay will make the economic situation worse. The logical extension of this statement is that an increase in public service pay will make things better. And the more you increase it the better things will get.

            This mentality is desperately flawed. You have to borrow even to pay existing rates, so what does that do to the economy in the future when that debt is due. Answer, it deflates it. It’s a choice between deflating consumption now, versus deflating our kids economy in the future. Our generation should take the pain, not our kids.

            Even in the absence of debt, the imperative to maintain public service wages is a serious drain on the commercial economy, requiring high Levels of taxation. We need less taxation, not more taxation, to make it worthwhile for people to innovate, start a company, pursue an idea. We should not be weighing these people down.

            This consumption based view of economic activity is totally wrong as well. It only has value if your economy also is highly productive as well, balancing out the levels of consumption. Ours isn’t.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Thanks paddy.

            I agree with most of your response. Im not a public sector worker. The most important thing is to achieve the goal you rightly point out which is to create an environment to allow entrapenures create wealth.

            It is obvious that if you borrow to keep public wages high it is self defeating in anything except the shortest term but we have no stimulus AND are borrowing enourmous sums to pay for
            failed private eneprises.

            In lieu of the stimulus and to protect what little purchasing power there is we must keep ALL wages up or there will be no spend. Landing all taxpaying workers with extra taxes to pay for failed private banks will not
            contribute to a health pro
            entrapenurial environment.

  6. KarlMarcks

    Ah, yes, michaelcoghlan, another one-dimensional thinker for whom subtlety is anathema. Where many of us see a tapestry weave, you see only contradiction.

  7. Deco

    I think the problem in this country is less a problem of unions, and much much more a problem of an imperial scale institutional state that functions as a cancer. It grows in response to threats, often imaginary. For every possible outcome and eventuality, an arm of the institutional state is formed. It absorbs resources, creates a lot of posturing, and fails to do anything about the task it is supposed to be fighting.

    In fact it is as likely to make the “problem” that it is supposed to tacle worse, as it is to make it better.

    We have a dysfunctional state system. It is expensive, it is overly expansive, it often useless to the people, and it’s raison d’etre is often to pander to silliness.

    Time to downsize the institutional state. The unions are not the problem. The nepotists are.

    • Reality Check

      +1 Deco, The problem is the Irish mindset still trusts the state or believes they can gain from it. When this disappears we will have progress.

    • bonbon

      Pure Thatcherism. See her letter proposing exactly that just posted below for all to see.

      Please stop proposing I.E.A (institute of Economic Affairs) dogma which Pinochet enforced.

      I recommend reading that letter below and commenting, if you dare!

    • bonbon

      Pure Thatcherism. See her letter proposing exactly that just posted below for all to see.

      Please stop proposing I.E.A (institute of Economic Affairs) dogma which Pinochet enforced.

      I recommend reading below and commenting, if you dare!

  8. michaelcoughlan

    Hi,

    Your critique of my post is as direct as mine is of David’s. That makes you guilty of the same thing of which you have accused me which is lack of subtlety.

    One dimensioned thinking is not something I am guilty of which can be deducted from the many posts I have contributed to this blog over the years.

    Regards,

    Michael.

  9. 5Fingers

    Juxtapositions of several non-related activities created a massive change.

    The 80s Faster, Flashier, Richer, Quicker etc. The Hatchback and so on,..s The unions had everyone by the short and curlies. Watch the old series of Yes Minister. Frustration was building and technology was there to free it up. All you needed was to have the money freed up in sync to make it all move at once.

    I wonder if were not Thatcher, it’d be someone else. Lots was driven by circumstance. De-regulation started at a time the dealers/ lenders were teed up to the hilt with computer and telecoms that made movements that much faster (remember Black Monday 1987- around the same period? – program trading was considered one of the likely causes.)

    And by the way…is it not interesting how telecoms deregulated at the same time. The unions were strong here too. Deregulation broke their power by using small fleeter operators.

    With all this speed, the idea of long term planning was thrashed for short term opportunism. And why not? We were all getting richer materially. Stop looking at the consequences…you’ll have loads to fix it afterwards… 1992 – Gabraith’s culture of contentment really mapped what was starting to happen next. Strangely enough, around the same time, I think the last of the stock brokers in Ireland had gone truly computerised.

    I suppose we can blame or praise Thatcher as much as we like. But she certainly marked what I believe was the beginning of troubles we have today. Your halfpenny place comparison is very apt indeed.

  10. stevedonog33

    Fantastic article. David, I am 4-5 years younger than you but I can relate to a lot of what you are saying. I worked in the UK in the early 90s but Thatcher had been ousted. I remember detesting her with every bone in my body.

    Your article rightly calls for some sort of assessment of her policies and again, when I lived in the UK in the 90s I used to think the Tories were a bunch of xenophobic loonies. In hindsight, its fair to say there were some loonies, but a lot of what the Eurosceptics said has turned out, a decade later, to be true. In Ireland there is still no sense of this (although perhaps there is a nascent movement to question Europe. Some of my thinking has also been shaped by working in the US in the early noughties, where, I can say, they think Europe is a complete and utter basket case.

    In other areas Thatcher was wrong. As you say deregulation and market freedom swung too far. Also, wrt to Northern Ireland she found it difficult to see it as anything other than a security issue. One of her major legacies in Britain will be a seemingly unstoppable road to devolution for the Celts. After Thatcher even Middle Britain wanted nothing to do with her. She made Britain a highly divided country.

    • 5Fingers

      I think this is spot on. I think the problem of Europe’s shortcomings was glossed over while everyone parties through the 90s and early noughties.

    • bonbon

      And she wanted Germany to remain divided. Kohl did not agree with her and Mitterand, so these two demanded the Euro to replace the DM. And look at the result!

      Xenophobia? Sheer imperialism!

    • It is an urban rural devide. Not so much to do with Thatcher but to do with the nature of the people in the cities compared with the small town and country folk.

  11. SLICKMICK

    Irish republicans and trade unions hated Mags and Ronnie, yet Paddy was delighted to pick up work in those countries. PLUS CA CHANGE. France and Italy are banjaxed. Compared with Bert, INDA and Biffo, she was a genius. THERE AGAIN , SO ARE MOST OF THE INMATES IN A ZOO.LOL.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Very very funny. Best post I’ve read in a long time.

    • Hi Slickmick

      I am going to post a chart of Irish and Uk unemployment in the 1980s and you’ll see the biggest influence on Irish unemployment was British unemployment!

      Best

      D

      • Beaver

        Look forward to that chart.

        But when you went to Bruges I took the boat to England and had a good job and a good time for four years in England largely thanks to Maggies reforms.

        Due to your communist leanings David you just won´t come out and say the average civil servant is being paid beyond the means of this state. People who say that cuts in civil service wages will depress the economy further ignore the fact that many of them are just saving income and not spending it. If their salaries were converted into tax cuts for private sector workers there would be more efficient trickle down. Our leaders unlike Magie are scared of the unions.

        • Adam Byrne

          ‘Our leaders’ haha.

          Enda Kenny couldn’t lead a piss behind a bike shed.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Hi,

          We live in a society where in theory all workers are viewed equally in the eyes of the state. If a private sector worker has her wages cut it will depress the economy just as much as a public sector worker if theirs is cut.

          It isn’t possible to give tax breaks to private sector workers and not public sector workers.

          The trouble with the economy is not a result of conflict between public and private sector workers it’s incompetence in banking and regulation which has got us where we are.

          • Grey Fox

            +1
            Well said, encouraged conflict between public & private sector is a blatant attempt at confusion and disinformation.
            Th fight and the solution is in the financial sector, banks & regulation as you rightly say.

          • Beaver

            Correction to text – cut the cost of the civil service pay and pension bill and give tax cuts to all workers which may encourage the private sector workers to spend more.

            If private and public sector workers are treated equally why are public sector workers given pensions where the majority of the cost of financing them comes from private sector workers taxes?

            The civil service was the regulator of both the banks and the economy. They blew it big time. The employees of the now nationalised banks are now also effectively civil servants. We are paying their for their wages their pensions and the cost of their mistakes.

            The state debt is supposed to peak at 200 billion. Only one third of it is related to saving the banks. The other two thirds is the failure of the civil service to manage costs including the costs of themselves. It suits them to shout ´Banks´´ to draw attention away from ´´Over paid and over pensioned´´

          • paddythepig

            Beaver, you are 100% right. But the rabble here won’t listen to you.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Beaver,

            I agree with much of what you say I would try and achieve the goal in a different way.

            I would continue to reduce the size of the public and civil service relative to the size of the private economy to lighten the load. I would force highly profitable private industry to bonus lower ranking workers who would spend the money into the economy under threat of raising corporation tax but wouldn’t raise the corporation tax if the bonuses are paid. I would FIRE the failed senior public, civil, banking, and regulatory personel who ‘went along to get along’ and forced more talented individuals to resign who refused to be corrupted. I would privatise the pensions element of public and civil service pay to lighten the load on private industry.

            In the meantime because we have no stimulus I wouldn’t reduce anyone’s
            wages.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi beaver,

            I forgot to mention that I would look at the rents and rates situation for retail and instead of fixing them allow them to float in line with revenue and profits in the retail units. Rents would have to be brough into line with current market conditions instead of this upward only review nonsense. Rates would have to beuch lower and fairer.

          • paddythepig

            Michael, check out how much the Irish government have spent in the past 5 years on capital program’s, you might revisit your ‘no stimulus’ hypothesis. Also, when they nicked 2% from private pensions, where did that money go?

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Paddy,

            I believe in the idea of small government as opposed to no government. In order for small government to work the working people have to be paid well enough to provide for themselves and their families.

            In the construction industry at the moment prices are below cost for the last 5 years. What happens is there is a free for all in tendering the lowest guy gets it and the workers, subcontractors and suppliers get it where the sun don’t shine. The better builders have stopped pricing work and have emigrated, diversified retired or at home minding their kids.

            When Bertie allowed an open door policy it allowed unscrupulous operates to drive the pay into the dirt. The Ennis bypass road job in Ennis lost 30m on a 145m project even though workers were paid a defacto wage of €2/hr.

            The N7 between Nenagh and Limerick lost a fortune and manny suppliers and subcontractors got nothing. It was so bad that the mayor of limerick refused to open the road.

            For society to operate and keep the state small Workers must be paid properly.

        • dwalsh

          Where on earth did you get the notion David is anything like a communist?

          • Beaver

            Poetic licence for emphasis is not a crime yet is it? . But there is definitely more Stiglitz and Krugman in David than Schauble.

          • Blessed are the rabble rousers

            Some come here to sit and wonder.
            Some come here to fart and thunder.
            Some come here for middle class empathy and find there is none.

      • Oooh a chart. Shucks.

        Charts are no substitute for experience Comrade

    • Margaret and Ronald in a 1979 Ford Cortina with ‘Mags and Ron’ emblazoned on the top of the windscreen

      They were a pair of fly by night comedians

  12. StephenKenny

    Even in death Mrs Thatcher has had a profound effect on people. I would think it less likely that those who are not fans of politicians and public figures will feel any need to be polite, when such people die. We’re just watching the death of ‘don’t speak ill of the dead’ – for many, I suspect that the end of such teeth clenching hypocrisy will be a relief.

    • bonbon

      Who will speak for the dead of Pinochet’s Operation Condor? Maggie praised those “reforms” – see letter posted below.

      Now do not be a Tiger hypocrite and face the sheer evil of that crazy person, without flinching.

      Then face the Troika and its running boys and see the mad wild-eyed manic push for those lauded “reforms” that Maggie bemoaned wout take much time.

      • StephenKenny

        I would have thought that even the bonbons could see that it wasn’t wise. Life will get that bit more difficult, when people feel ok to go around letting everyone know what they think.

        When Stalin died, were the street full of screaming, spitting, people? Yet Stalin was personally responsible for the destruction of the lives of tens of millions of people, the reduction to grinding hopeless poverty of hundreds of millions, and a massive chain of concentration that tortured and killed millions. His insane, genocidal, policies impacted everyone, and there was clearly real global benefits to his death.

        People did nothing, just noted the news, of the passing of a real tyrant. Perhaps they were more civilised then, or more sensible.

        • celtic-michael

          Stalin was not so bad as under Cowen and Kenny. Those sent to the Gulags in Siberia under Stalin got court hearings, unlike some of us who got our rights taken away without any court hearing to which we are entitled under the law. Both Cowen and Kenny refused to investigate court matters, despite having promised to do so.

        • bonbon

          You omit something very relevant – who stopped Hitler at great human cost? Who payed for Hitler’s election and supported the Golem – Churchill, Prescott Bush and Montague Norman. Who authored “Operation Unthinkable” to go immediately after Stalin with the shattered remnants of the Wehrmacht? Why, Churchill!

          Strange you do not mention Stalingrad – a bit provincial I would say, or as is said on the Continent, from the Islands.

          Now some Tiger’s can promote provincialism, shrink from reality in the service of some crown. Who said we should be leprechauns? That crown send many an Irishman to die on the continent – just have a look at the old courthouse Crimea roster in Trallee.

          Still want to be a subject?

          • StephenKenny

            I have to agree, HItler and Stalin were much of a muchness, although the scale and horror of Stalin’s slaughter was very considerably greater.

            Churchill’s outlook towards Stalin was probably quite right, considering the subsequent life in Soviet occupied territories.

            I didn’t mention Stalingrad because it doesn’t add, or detract, anything from Stalin’s prior and subsequent horrific and barbaric actions. It was merely a town that he named after himself, and where the German’s lost World War 2.

    • grougho

      good link gizzy here is an email i just sent the Ashoka Mody, paraphrasing some of David’s last article. his email address in on line, I’d encourage you to do the same…
      Hi Ashoka,

      As an Irishman, suffering under massive imposed austerity (40% of our GDP to failed banks and rising) it was with amazement and silent fury that I listened to your discussion with the RTE presenter on the radio this morning. As I listened I was feeding my 8 month old child his breakfast.
      This child (if he manages to stay in Ireland) will be paying off these imposed and immoral debts for the next 30 plus years. These were policies enforced under your tenure as an IMF adviser to the Irish government.

      I find it a bizarre turn of events for you and the IMF in general to criticize your polices yet try to pass it off as objective commentary. These are your policies and they have real and serious consequences
      “unending human pain, a culture of national dependency and a fraying European economic and social fabric.” (your words not mine)

      And yet you appear to be surprised at the results? yet they happen time and time again in each and every host country who plays parasite to your dictates.

      And you are surprised?

      I am amazed.
      yours etc.

      • Mary K

        Great letter. Be sure to post the reply.

      • jeeaaan

        I also heard that interview this morning on RTE and could not help but notice the nonchalant attitude.This guy should have been pressed by interviewer on “What will be done about this to ease the burden”?Why were the leaders of this country not explaining the reasoning behind these bad decisions to Irish people yesterday?The media are not swirling thats why.Not doing their jobs properly with good investigative journalism,consequently no answers.
        Ballyhea have been protesting bondholder payments in full from day one.Kenny insisted on paying and now he thinks he can impose more misery on homeowners with prop tax etc.It is unbelievable and yet the government brazenly carry on without batting an eyelash.Something will have to give and I am pretty sick of giving at this stage.

  13. Reality Check

    Has PaulDiv been gorging on jelly &ice cream these past few days I wonder?
    Celtic chant;
    “Jelly and ice cream when thatcher dies, Jelly and ice cream whent thatcher dies”

    • bonbon

      I think you will need some ice cream reading the fawning letter below from Thatcher to Hayek praising Pinochet.

    • Just came to read the article and it was good. The lady is gone just like the friends I lost to suicide, drink and drugs in the 80s. Not many of the Irish brothers will miss her and have more class the the flag burners over the water

      Max Keiser did a real and proper job on her today on his show and there are a couple of decent articles by Brian Reade in The Mirror

  14. dwalsh

    A free market should mean a market in which anyone can participate freely; not a market in which anyone can do whatever the hell they like; or can get away with.

    The global disaster is the result of a free market of the latter kind. A market in which banks and speculators are permitted plunder and rob the wealth of individuals and nations; and corporations are permitted to plunder and poison the biosphere.

    The global disaster is overwhelming proof that neoliberal economics and free market ideology are a disaster for civilisation and humanity and the Earth.

    How long more will it take for men and women of good will and influence to wake up and realise the neoliberal experiment has been a disaster and must be completely halted before it destroys our civilisation?

    • bonbon

      See Maggie’s letter just below praising Pinochet for “free enterprise capitalist economy of the 1980s” and ask yourself have some addled brains taken over?

    • StephenKenny

      It doesn’t really matter if people realise it or not. The neoliberal model is self-destructing before our eyes. There is no hope of keeping it alive since it relies on a continual increase in wealth generating activity, while at the same time as it removes resources from all wealth generating activities.
      Taking in each other’s laundry is not wealth generating.

      • bonbon

        Considering where the “liberal” model originates, watch for spots-changes, as in predator. The other side of that vicious coin is the Distributionist Fabian “community” swindle. Do not be blindsided.

        So neither attempt to rehabilitate Friedman, Schacht, nor Chesterton.

    • The disaster is the result of the cronyism and banking system backed up by constant manipulation by such as the Working group on financial markets.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_Group_on_Financial_Markets

      Otherwise known as the plunge protection team it involves itself in all markets on a daily basis.
      Thus for many years there has been no such thing as a free market.

  15. bonbon

    Here we have a letter written by Margaret Thatcher to Austrian School icon Friedrich von Hayek, praising the “remarkable success” of Pinochet in Chile. I am indebted to the industrious activists who found this :

    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2011/12/letter-from-margaret-thatcher-to-friedrich-hayek.html

    Let’s have a little look at this letter, shall we?

    Written in February 17, 1982, so well known in the ’80′s !!

    Thank you for your letter of 5 February. I was very glad that you able to attend the dinner so thoughtfully organized by Walter Salomon. It was not only a great pleasure for me, it was, as always, instructive and rewarding to hear your views on the great issues of our times.

    I was aware of the remarkable success of the Chilean economy in reducing the share of Government expenditure substantially over the decade of the 70s. The progression from Allende’s Socialism to the free enterprise capitalist economy of the 1980s is a striking example of economic reform from which we can learn many lessons.

    However, I am sure you will agree that, in Britain with our democratic institutions and the need for a high degree of consent, some of the measures adopted in Chile are quite unacceptable. Our reform must be in line with our traditions and our Constitution. At times the process may seem painfully slow. But I am certain we shall achieve our reforms in our own way and in our own time. Then they will endure.

    ——–

    • Read it. Naomi Klein covered it in her book.

    • Very diplomatic phrasing but nevertheless understandable.Perhaps…

      However, I am sure you will agree that, in Britain with our democratic institutions and the need for a high degree of consent, some of the measures adopted in Chile are quite unacceptable.
      UNLIKE THE GOVERNMENT IN CHILE WE IN BRITAIN HAVE A DEMOCRACY.SOME OF WHAT THEY ARE DOING WE DO NOT LIKE AND WILL NOT IMPLEMENT

      Our reform must be in line with our traditions and our Constitution.
      WE ARE NOT A MILITARY DICTATORSHIP, BUT WE HAVE OUR WAY OF ACHIEVING OUR GOALS

      At times the process may seem painfully slow. But I am certain we shall achieve our reforms in our own way and in our own time.
      THIS MAY BE HARDER TO ATTAIN AND TAKE A LONGER TIME BUT WE WILL DO SO WITHIN THE CONSTRAINTS OF DEMOCRACY

      Then they will endure.
      AND WHEN WE HAVE AGREED ON CHANGE IT IS LIKELY TO REMAIN AS THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE AND THEY WILL NOT BE OVERTURNED

  16. bonbon

    I’m amazed to hear really very badly informed “facts” from people who should and likely do know better. Thatcher’s obsession to block German unity by Elisabeth Hellenbroich, from Thatcher’s own memoirs, The Downing Street Years (New York: HarperCollins, 1993), and Mitterand’s insistence that the price for unity would be the renunciation of the DM, with London Times editor Conor Cruise O’Brien playing a hysterical fiddle for Riddley, shows the geopolitical madness that overrode all sanity, gave us the Euro, and threatens Europe with total collapse.

    It is indeed true those inflicted with rabid imperial geopolitical insanity bring about the very situation they claim to reject.

    • bonbon

      A fool believes in “money” and cannot understand Hamiltonian Credit. Real fools base economics on money, and look at the result!

      • Please explain exactly your understanding of “Hamiltonian Credit”

        The collapse of the current economy is the result of credit and credit to excess. There is no doubt of that.People have been and still are being encouraged to consume and buy. The PTB seem to want us to spend regardless of whether we have the need or the ability. Credit is offered at the lowest interest rates in history,but there are very few takers.

        We are suffering from debt suffocation.

        In accouting terms a credit is a liability , a debt.

        Hamiltonian Credit is therefore a debt and a liability much the same as has been foisted on the economies of the Western nations at present.

        Please explain why Hamiltonian Credit is different from the current credit available. Either or both will put us into debt and paupery.

        • bonbon

          The best way to explain Hamilton, is to ask the question : with the physical economic collapse, shown best with the Triple Curve, massive Reconstruction is urgently needed. Major programs to remedy 40 years of banksterism and suicidal “limits to growth” Kool-ade, mean a well understood financial system. All of this after the essential step of breaking banks by function, nt simply by size.
          So the only really important question is now to get on with the 3-point Plan, THREE points, not each separately.
          So take a strategic approach, top down, face the situation as a system. The easy way of chipping away at one or the other, is really just showing fear, which is quite popular these days.

          • I repete.
            Tony Brogan

            April 12, 2013 at 4:50 am

            Please explain exactly your understanding of “Hamiltonian Credit”

            Forget the Pseudo Science.

            BS baffles brains, and blind them with science are a couple of phrases that come to mind.

            Without something in your own words I am forced to the conclusion that you have not a clue what you are talking about. Let’s have it from the horses mouth before you are sent to the knackers yard.

            Now in your own words answer the request above.

            All I see you advocating so far is massive government intervention to carry out someones idea of the latest 5 year or ten year plan.

          • bonbon

            You are forced by a certain von Mises misanthropy to have difficulty with reality. And to be utterly unable to conceptualize a reconstruction on the scale FDR showed can be done. We are far beyond simple feudal horse-drawn wagons – come on!

            So stop being simple-mined, a leprechaun, and take the jump to reality. Being a leprechaun, a subject of a Royal decree is really not fulfilling. Expand!

          • Nothing to do with Mises or any other named entity, I came to my own conclusions long before I heard of Mises or Austrian economists. They were not needed to see what is happening and form a conclusion. It is your favourate occupation to put labels on people and then ridicule them.

            Accusing someone of misanthropy is rather nasty too.

            Now in your own words without any labels please explain your understanding of Hamiltonian banking and credit and how and why you think it will be beneficial to the community.

          • bonbon

            Misanthropy means refusing to deal with the Triple Curve Collapse alert. Massive reconstruction is urgently needed, massive unemployment exists – there will not be enough labor for the projects now ready to go!

            Any attempt to impose a Specie Resumption Act for a British Gold Standard would choke off the physical economy, already on its death bed.

            That is misanthropy. And it is the Austrian von Mises recipe today, a recipe for mass-murder, with clean hands of course. That is the savage grin behind the dazzling glitter of gold.

          • There you go again on a fixed rant but without any ability to explain your understanding or even come close to answering the question posed.

            The savage grin is more a satisfied smile as the Russian and Chinese rapidly accumulate all the physical gold they can get their fingers on. There is little enough available and it has gone from West to East and with it the economic clout and will be followed by the military might.400 tonnes is estimated to have moved this week alone.It will be used as part of the money bloc deployed by the BRIC for trade and will exclude the US dollar.

          • bonbon

            Your “question posed” avoids reality which is imposing itself right now at an economy near you.

            The silence on this from the Austrian School is deafening. Gold coins chinkling is hardly an answer to the really big questions now posed to everyone.

  17. molly

    Free Europe if only , take car insurance why can we not insure in any country in the EU.
    Why is there not one vat rate for new cars in the EU.
    Import duty the same free market I wish.

  18. bonbon

    Big Banks Are Partying Like It’s 2006

    April 11, 2013 (LPAC) — A New York Times DealBook blog posting today, describes in detail how the largest international banks are “distributing risk” of their assets via CDS-type derivatives, repo agreements, and off-balance-sheet entities.
    “Seeking Relief, Banks Shift Risk to Murkier Corners” could have been written at any time between 2003 and early 2007, to describe the merriments of debt securitization and the “distribution of risk” of potentially toxic assets to pension funds, hedge funds, mutual funds, etc. The piece points out with the benefit of recent hindsight that all these “innovative financial products” wound up blowing “risk” like shrapnel through whole regions of the global financial system.
    In other words, unrestrained by Glass-Steagall, the big banks are blowing all the same bubbles — junk bonds, leveraged loans, buyout loans, derivatives — at even faster rates of expansion than they did 5 10 years ago, and heading straight for an even bigger financial blowout.

    • Why don’t you put the blame where it lays.
      The central banking fiat money system and the fractional reserve money system fostered by the central banks.
      Close the central banks. Remove the source of the boom and you will not have a boom to bust.

      • bonbon

        The blame is precisely laid at the feet of those who repealed Glass-Steagall in 1999-2000. This is now widely accepted. And moves are underway to restore it, even if most are are smoke and mirrors to avoid splitting banks. We will close them for a few days, and the healthy part will re-open for the huge business of reconstruction – honest banking again!

        The system that fostered the collapsing casino needs a systemic response, that’s Glass-Steagall implemented by sovereign states hopefully coordinated.

        • Being widely accepted is hardly cause for a recommendation. The masses following each other blindly are often wrong but easily manipulated.

          You will never get honest banking with the current central bank debt based fiat money and the banks allowed to operated the fractional reserve system
          You treat the symptom and not the root cause of the problem.

          Why do you support the Central banking system run by and for the bankers and the elites and not the people?

  19. Deco

    Is there any better indictment of where the West is headed, than the dire quality of the public discussion about Thatcher’s legacy, from both the lazy left and the financially paid up greed obsessed right.

    Thatcher got some things right and some things wrong. She was landed in a very difficult precendent by all those who went before her. After 1945, Britain entered a period of serious intellectual malaise. All other apsects of British society followed. Thatcher recognised this and tried to do something about it. the jury is still out, as to deciding if she got it right. In many respects, she didn’t. Britain’s dumbed down consumerism has proven to be just as lethal in a societal sense as Britain’s dumbed down Marxism. And then there were the episodes of Blair and Brown, where the two were merged, producing disastrous results.

    We have seen very little proper analysis. Just loads of name called, and superficial gestures, by various vested interests who either gained or lost out. But objectivity is desperately lacking.

    And unfortunately, given the intellectual state of public discussion in the West, in the current era, we are not going to get it. It is too dangerous to release.

    The more I see the official media response to various events, the more I contemplate the fact that the West is heading for a massive military conflict, so as to ensure a power grab by various vested interests who are running out of naive respondents to the lying that now counts as media coverage.

    What does one do when both left and right are obsessed with foisting deceit on the populace, and with pressing emotive buttons ? the fact that power is being continually being centralized, to where it can be relentlessly lobbied, is creating a responsibilit gap, because people living in direct rule countries like Cyprus have no power, politicial or otherwise. The people are being actively disempowered. And the banks are being saved.

    As I say, it will all end up in some for of military advernture (possibly over something like “securing” Russian Hydrocarbon resources) on a false pretext, with a hidden objective of keeping a lid on matters at home.

  20. redriversix

    Mrs Thatcher was a excellent student of Friedman & his Chicago Boys…almost carrying out all his policies to the letter, hell ,she even had herself a little War. loved Pinochet..

    She admired Reagan thought he was was terrific with his right wing death squads in Latin America,but your not allowed call it “sponsored terrorism”.

    We had the British Empire…now we see the rise of the American Empire.

    • bonbon

      The “admiration” of Austrian School icon von Hayek is evident in the letter above. Hayek being a British subject and lecturer at the London School of Economics might have something to with that, what?

  21. redriversix

    Mrs Thatcher was a excellent student of Friedman & his Chicago Boys…almost carrying out all his policies to the letter, hell ,she even had herself a little War. loved Pinochet..

    She admired Reagan thought he was was terrific with his right wing death squads in Latin America,but your not allowed call it “sponsored terrorism”.

    We had the British Empire…now we see the rise of the American Empire.

    “All Glory is fleeting”

  22. Reality Check

    Spot on Deco, Not once this week have I heard ANY commentary about the prelude to Thatcher; the Notorious “Three day week”.

    The UK economy was effectively being run into the ground by the unions – like a bankrupt third world state.
    Desperate times – desperate measures.

    “To reduce electricity consumption, and thus conserve coal stocks, a series of measures were announced on 13 December 1973 by Heath, including the “Three-Day Work Order”, more commonly known as the Three-Day Week, which was to come into force at midnight on 31 December. Commercial consumption of electricity would be limited to three consecutive days each week.[1] Heath’s objective was business continuity and survival and to avoid further inflation and a currency crisis. Rather than risk a total shutdown, working time was reduced with the intent of prolonging the life of available fuel stocks. This was designed to be short-term remedial austerity that reduced wages for people, a sort of economic rationing as seen until 1954 but of a different product, coal”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-Day_Week

  23. Reality Check

    As you have pointed out Deco, it was her (and Reagan’s) devotion to Milton Friedman’s Monetarism which seems to have been her biggest flaw.
    A return to a true Gold standard (pre-1913 Federal reserve bank) would have prevented the creation of the disastrous financial industry we have now.

    • bonbon

      Pre-193? That was the Long Depression, here for anyone to read about, caused by the disastrous Specie Resumption Act. There seems to be some major gaps in the “logic” there I’m afraid.

      Of course that insanity was used to pave the way for the actually un-constitutional FED. Like the Euro is being used to impose either Marshall Law or a dictatorship.

    • “A return to a true Gold standard (pre-1913 Federal reserve bank) would have prevented the creation of the disastrous financial industry we have now.”

      Correct, Reality Check

      bon bon’s response is his typical distortion of a post to suit his twisted viewpoint.

      His trying to have the date move forward to the 30′s and suggesting the depression was caused by the Specie reumption Act is fallacious. The bust of the Depression was set up by the removal of the gold standard prior to 1913 and the unlimited credit expansion particularly by Germany to fund the repayment of the reparations.

      The bust of that boom was inevitable at that point. In the 1930′s there was only the remants of the gold standard in the form of the dollar convertability at a fixed rate which was finally removed and abandoned by Nixon in 1971.

      all countries are free to boom as much as they wish (QE to the nth) since then but we now suffer from debt suffocation world wide from which there is no solution.

      Except the realization that the books can be balanced at a gold price of many times higher than present. Estimates vary from 5000-20,000 an ounce, or even more. See James Sinclair posting below.

      • bonbon

        You are not able to read, I see. The Long Depression, called the Great Depression before the 1930′s one took the name, is well documented in that link above. The cause was the Specie Resumption Act which stopped Lincoln’s Greenback reconstruction. This disaster was used to push the FED.

        Most today have short memories, but not metallists. It would be nice if the gold-bugs could read too.

        • I was transfixed by your “Pre-193? ” entry and did not even see that there was a link there. Blame the subtle shading of the print to some degree.

          But it is interesting to see that you are able to write and expressd yourself but not apparently able to answer any questions put directly to you.

          The rest of my post above stands.
          BTW it is not necessary to be a gold bug to be attuned to honest money and its requirement for a stable honest, productive society.

          • bonbon

            See below what Draghi said in Dublin. Anyway no way to edit a typo.

            Honest economics is what we need. Good laws help honesty, as some have remarked “nothing derails one more than the neighbor becoming a millionaire on gambling”.

            The answer is economics.

  24. george

    If you can, go tomorrow 12.30 afternoon to Parnell Square, to the march against the imposition of the Property Tax Robbery, by this government and the rest of the political establishment that support it! It’s your last chance to show the Government, our anger at the most unjust form of taxation.
    .
    And if you have the slightest doubt of the importance of it, not only for us but for future generations, please watch the following short video, with the song by Mick Blake!
    .
    “Mr Tepper must get what he is due”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=myvyGl6yo64

  25. Reality Check

    I’d protest if it was against taxation in all it’s forms.

    • bonbon

      J.P. Morgan arrogantly did too, and Pecora in 1933 found he actually never payed any taxes. This revelation was the undoing of Wall Street then, and will be soon, now also.

      They got Al Capone this way too – proving the murder rap-sheet would have taken too long.

  26. michaelcoughlan

    Hi everyone,

    Off topic but important. How the two faced C%nts in the dail will love this. George soros advises Germany to accept Eurobonds or leave euro.

    If Germany leaves your savings will halve in value overnight which means Noonan will have it both ways. The gubberment won’t have to put a haircut on the deposits but they will halve in value in real terms.

  27. joe hack

    Thatcher: Destroyed the union in the UK and promoted them in Poland this was not person with a strong belief system Nelsen Mandela a terrorist Pinochet a heroopportunistic self.
    this

    All I can say about this woman is ding dong

  28. joe hack

    Thatcher: Destroyed the unions in the UK and promoted them in Poland this was not person with a strong belief system – Nelsen Mandela a terrorist Pinochet a hero opportunistic self.

    All I can say about this woman is ding dong

    • Arthur Scargill needed to be put in his place. communist agitator who tried to shut down and over ride the government. Never met anyone in the UK who did not agree with Thatchers actions there.

      Never met any either who did not think it the right thing to do to defend the Falklands.

      After the Falklands War Britain was revived and for a while the people invigorated.

      • bonbon

        You should really get out and about more often, as far as possible from gold – it has you bedazzled. Or is it the habit of living as a subject of the Crown? Both probably.

        The Cold War is long over, the only socialism is for the “rich”, and Colonialism is simply ridiculous.
        Argentine President Slams “180 Years” of British Colonialism on the Malvinas

        Britain is an occupying power.

        Conor Murphy: It’s time for a border poll on Irish unity

        “Reviving” the economy with war was Hitler’s expansion politics taken from Halford Mackinder, then head of the London School of Economics and originator of the doctrine of geopolitics, who Hitler’s ghostwriter for Mein Kampf, Maj.-Gen. Karl Haushofer, acknowledged as his source. No surprise Thatcher suddenly had a “Drang nach Süden”. Looks like Cameron et al. have the same “yearning”?

        Anyway Obama’s Drang nach Asiaten means inevitable use of thermonuclear weapons, which blows the Mackinder/Haushofer yearning literally off the planet. So they are stuck, desperate, and thus very dangerous.

        • redriversix

          I miss the Cold War……….!

          • bonbon

            It very nearly got hot in 1962, very hot. We are there again, and the arsenals are even more devastating, with no JFK, only Drone Obama and a complete collapse of the financial system.

          • I don’t. There was a US nuclear submarine base just 25 miles up the clyde.

        • StephenKenny

          You can chatter on all you like, using these cheap student union methods of ‘guilt by association’, but the whether you like it or not, the Falklands has been UK sovereign for 180 years, and border disputes should not be solved by force. There is no question, and all the chatter cannot change that.

          Of course it does call into question all of the UK actions since the attack on Serbia.

          Your wild hysterical ecstasy for Mrs Thatcher’s death has addled all of the various bonbon’s output.

      • Not true

        Scargill was targeted because he was the miners leader. Thatcher was a front. A one-dimensional idiot who did the dirty work for the powers behind the scenes

        She was not very bright. Her lack of emotional intelligence tells us that

        Several years after the strike it emerged that Scargill was clean and the crap about him in the gutter press was totally unfounded. This is the same press who did a job on the Hillsborough families by the way

        Thatcher came into power during a recession and left power in a recession. The Poll Tax killed her and she became despised in her own cabinet

        In the 80s Britain could have built up a huge sovereign wealth fund with oil revenues but instead it was all given away in tax breaks. Today their total debt to GDP is 900%

        No need to guess where all the money went

        • StephenKenny

          The miner’s had brought down the two previous government’s, one Conservative and one Labour.

          The UK was known as the ‘Sick man of Europe’ during the 70s, and the government, irrespective of party, was weaker than the trade union movement.

          The oil money saved Britain from economic implosion, which I suspect will now occur.

          The debt position is more worrying than just 900% of GDP, since it’s so, comparatively, evenly spread across all sectors. Under the Blair government, consumer debt rose by an average of about £100bn per year, accounting for about 10% of GDP – which is startling. Corporate debt (rose about £400bn per year) is a little trickier to be clear about, since it includes all sorts of assets, some of which might possibly actually have value.

          Off the balance sheet is a place where UK governments since the late 1990s have been very creative, and there the future annual cost of the liabilities are clearly absurd and completely unaffordable.

          To put it in perspective, the UK debt and deficit position is worse than Spain’s.

        • Wikipdia says

          Scargill was born in Worsbrough Dale, Barnsley, Yorkshire. His father, Harold, was a miner and a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. His mother Alice (n?e Pickering) was a professional cook. He did not take the Eleven plus exam and went to Worsbrough Dale School (now called the Elmhirst School). He left at 15 to become a coal miner at Woolley Colliery in 1953, where he remained for 19 years.[2][3]
          [edit]Early political and trade union activities

          Scargill joined the Young Communist League in 1955, becoming its Yorkshire District Chair in 1956 and shortly after a member of its National Executive Committee. In 1957 he was elected NUM Yorkshire Area Youth Delegate, and attended the World Youth Festival in Moscow as a representative of the Yorkshire miners. In 1958, he attended the World Federation of Trade Unions’ youth congress in Prague.

  29. joe hack

    I am far from a fan but this is really well put by Russel Brand

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/09/russell-brand-margaret-thatcher

  30. george

    The political and economic system seems totally rigged to me. Capital and interest that people will end up paying for, ended up in few hands, and Governments are unable to intervene in the economy, as they should do, to solve this crisis, because the lack of it. So there is very little hope…we are back in the middle ages.
    .
    Also in a more dangerous situation, because now the elites are more powerful, and have many ways to disguise themselves and their methods.
    Basically now we are to them as laboratory rats, and they can play with us as they please!
    .
    Home mortgage holders be alert!!! I believe the testimony of these two ladies, because something like it happened to me with a Bank!
    .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4ZN2tHmvE8&list=UU-PbIvMmziRAFb_Z-70_mAQ
    .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ejvn-LLvy5Y

  31. bonbon

    There seems to be some confusion which I think I should clear up here.
    The last thing we need is Tiger’s stumbling, wandering aimlessly in the dark, when the Troika are gunning.

    Lord Ralph Harris, a former president of the Mont Pelerin Society, who was, for decades, the executive director of Mont Pelerin’s main think-tank, the London-based Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA).

    Asked what generated the “reforms,” including privatization, which swept Thatcher’s Britain, among other places, Harris replied, “There is this outfit called the Mont Pelerin Society. It was started in 1947. The Mont Pelerin Society created the IEA, ‘Thatcher’s think-tank,’ but we were running long before Thatcher. We weren’t Thatcherites, but she was an ‘IEA-ite.’ ” From Thatcher’s Britain, Harris said, these ideas spread around the world. The most honored Mont Pelerin-ite, Harris emphasized, whom the Queen dubbed one of only 60 “Companions of Honor” of the British Empire, was its seminal thinker, Friedrich von Hayek.

    So Thatcher was an IEA-ite. Oxford did not hold her back from adopting the Mont Pelerin agenda. And indeed these ideas spread to Pinochet’s Chile. The Mont Pelerin Society is Friedrich von Hayek’s sandbox. Have a look at the mugshots, nudge-nudge wink-wink, such kind gentlemen, what?

  32. Points to ponder for the practical minded . Protect yourself is the mantra of the day. Help your neighbour, your friends, your family.

    ———————————————————————–
    From an attendee.
    Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2013 3:14 PM
    Subject: Jim’s special talk in canada

    Here’s the outline of what happened from my view point:
    * Meeting was scheduled from 2:00PM to 5:00PM.
    * I arrived at 1:30PM. Sinclair was in sitting the front with a microphone. 20 people were lined up waiting their turn to ask a question.
    * The guy sitting next to me said this started at 12:30 and had been going non-stop.
    * No change and no breaks until after I got my question in right at 5:00PM
    (after waiting in line an hour) and nearly missing my train home.
    * Who knows how long it continued after I headed for the train station.
    * It only cost $40. I’m convinced the guy is quite sincere in his statements that the purpose for his web site and one of the main activities of his life is to help his readers and stockholders.
    I came away with no revelations, but with some real clarifications of how Mr. Sinclair sees things. What follows is my topical synthesis of the
    individual Q & A notes I took. These are paraphrases of what I
    heard, not verbatim quotes based on transcribed recordings. In the 10 minutes it takes you to read this you can glean nearly all I got from a 18 hour investment of time. I’m going to put in bold print anything significant that I had not previously gotten from reading Sinclair’s web site.
    THE SYSTEM:
    Q: Who are these people who you describe controlling things and making the decisions about the end-game and manipulating interest rates and prices and the system? Are they shadowy people or groups behind the scenes or
    the big names you see in the headlines?
    A: Its the big names you see in the headlines, Goldman Sachs people, J.P. Morgan…
    Q: Is the entire system a ponzi scheme?
    A: Its like Sodom and Gomorrah but Sodom and Gomorrah were a lot more fun.
    We’ve fallen deeply as far as morality is concerned. Its unsustainable. There will eventually be a move back to morality. Finance today is a criminal enterprise. I’d be horrified if one of my children were to go into
    finance.
    Q: Will the gap between the rich and the middle-class narrow?
    A: The wealth of these insiders is humonguous. I know these people and was their partner. I wouldn’t want to be them. They won’t stop till they
    die.
    Q: How do we get rid of the banksters?
    A: The only way to do this is to shrink their profit margins, but its not
    going to happen. We are stuck with these guys until they die. You have
    to protect yourself until then.
    Q: The Bankers control the federal reserve. Now they are trying to control China. When are they ever going to lose their grip?
    A: They are becoming fat and lazy and although they are geniuses,
    subsequent generations revert to the mean. They wanted to be
    billionaires and find they are trillionaires. The Chinese and the
    Russians won’t let them take over their countries. The BRICs will take
    over. The BRICs execute bankers. What they are doing is unsustainable.
    They’ll never get the one, universal-currency under their control that
    they seek.
    NOTE: Over the counter derivatives cannot be cleared because each contract is different.GEOPOLITICAL:
    Q: Is the Bankster controlled west going to attack Iran?
    A: War costs big money. Without a real recovery its too hard to do an Iran attack. Its not attractive to them today.
    Q: Why is China buying so much gold (100 tonnes/month)?
    A: Because they are going to be the ones making the rules.
    Q: Saudi Arabia?
    A: Its waning. All they do is buy people off.
    QE:
    NOTE: There is no other tool that QE, so it will continue to be used.
    Q: With their currently policies they are risking the entire Federal
    Reserve system which is the basis for all their influence. Why are they
    risking it?
    A: They (especially Bernanke) don’t think QE will go to infinity. The
    expect a large, sustained increase in business activity that will allow
    the economy to grow its way out of QE and the rising debt. They (he) are surprised there has not been a robust recovery, but Sinclair does not
    expect one.
    Q: The financial press is talking about the timing for when QE will be
    rolled back. If they “printed money” has already been blown onf welfare
    and defnese, how will they pull the money back?
    A: Its either more QE or a large, sustained increase in business activity.
    Q: QE has been supporting the bond market. When will the bond market break?
    A: Its not going to break because QE is going to infinity. You can only
    break the bond market when its major buyer, the Federal Reserve, stops
    buying. You can watch the bond market for clues to when QE is waxing and waning.US DOLLAR:
    Q: You’ve called for the US Dollar to fall but its been rising.
    A: The Euro will out-perform the US Dollar because they are already biting the bullet and doing austerity while the USA has gotten close to
    starting austerity.
    Q: How long can the US keep a monopoly with the USD as the means of setting the price of commodities.
    A: This is already change and its very important. The monoploy the US
    dollar has as the means of settling international transactions is
    crucial to the support and the major fundamental factor for a dropping
    US dollar is the falling market share it has for the settlement of
    international transactions.
    China plans a century ahead. They aren’t going to stop buying gold. They are
    going from gold being 2% of foreign reserves to 15% of foreign reserves
    although part of this increase will be due to a rise in the price of
    gold.
    END-GAME:
    NOTE: Gold will balance the central bank balance sheet. To balance the
    current balance sheet would be a very large number, but before that time liabilities will be written off.
    NOTE: The end of this is in the 2020 to 2021 timeframe.
    Q: When is the tipping point to the end-game?
    A: We have already tipped, but don’t stop your life. Instead, be ready to duck. The hyperinflation/collapse is a 3 month event.
    Q: Why is the veolcity of money not rising?
    A: Confidence in a currency is tied to the value of the currency. When
    confidence is lost you inflation and a rising velocity of money.
    Q: What are the ultimate numbers for gold?
    A: Anything above $4500/oz given current debt levels, etc. has gold
    overvalued and gold is a sale at such a price. Anything under $3100
    leaves gold undervalued and a buy.
    NOTE: In my life, I have one job left to do. That is notifying CIGAs (my readers) when gold becomes overvalued.
    CONFISCACTION:
    Q: What about another round of confiscation of gold:
    A: Confiscation happen in the 1930s so that they could do QE. They needed
    the gold and the ability tos et the price of gold to increase the money
    supply. Today they don’t need to confiscate gold to do QE.
    Q: What about punitive windfall taxes on gold profits.
    A: I can say about taxes because they are taxing everyone.PAPER VS PHYSICAL GOLD:
    NOTE: The change in the paper gold price over the last two weeks (when gold stopped falling) was driven by the physical market.
    NOTE: As long as the price of gold is made in the paper markets the supply is unlimited. You can’t corner a paper market.
    SILVER:
    NOTE: Silver will rise, but it isn’t a monetary metal.
    Q: What will the ultimate gold/silver ratio be?
    A: The gold/siver ratio is not predictive. Silver above $50/oz makes me
    uneasy. I was there when they took down the Hunt brothers, remember?
    PHYSICAL GOLD:
    NOTE: The managers of storage companies are not saints and the temptation is
    great. The gold community will see great scandals in the area of
    physical storage wrong-doing.
    Q: Is PSLV (Sprott’s Physical Gold Trust) as safe as gold in a safe-deposit box.
    A: No. Sprott won’t steal it, but no security is as safe as holding physical.
    Q: What’s your favorite security as a means of holding gold?A: Central fund of Canada.
    Q: What do you make of the Perth Mint for gold storage?
    A: The cost of going from unallocated to allocated gold is too high.
    Q: Gata claims that the US treasury and too-big-to-fail banks are tyring to suppress the price of gold.
    A: Yes, that’s their job. Proof of this is huge price drops during times
    of low liquidity. But the physical market trumps this manipulation. The
    transition from a manipulatable paper market to the physical market
    setting the price is underway. The Russian buying of physical gold has
    and will increase because to the Cyprus situation. Sprott has proved
    that thhe treasury does not have all its gold.THE BOTTOM TO RECENTLY FALLING GOLD PRICE:
    Q: What’s the trigger for the next big up-move for gold?
    A: A close about $1613.20.
    NOTE: The hedge funds were informed that the fix was in to steal deposits as a way of phasing out QE. The events in Cyprus nullify that. QE is the
    only tool and gold will rise. Yes, its that simple.
    Q: What happened when gold recently rose to $1764 and then fell off down into the $1500s?
    A: That was when the funds were gold that the bail outs would go to
    bail-ins where depositor money would be confiscated as a way of avoiding further QE. That game is over now.
    NOTE: If Sinclair goes completely silent… That means something big has happened and its time to sell.

    GOLD MINING STOCKS:
    Q: Do you like the miners?
    A: Yes, they are just so oversold and so undervalued. Sinclair especially
    likes and admires Rob McEwan partly because so much of his personal
    wealth is invested in his company.
    Q: Won’t gold mining companies be nationalized?
    A: Only if companies are greedy and don’t share with governments.
    Q: Precious metal stocks… In 2006 Newmonth was a 40$ stock that earned
    $1.20/share. Now its a 40$ stock that earns 4$ / share. Why has the
    price moved up with earnings?
    A:
    * Newmont should double its dividend and slash its expenses.
    * There’s been a huge headwind of hedge funds shorting gold miners with the
    expectiona that costs will rise faster than the price of gold.
    * The management of gold companies is completely self-serving. They should be serving the share holder.Management of gold stocks stink.
    * Mining is hard, ghosh darn it. Only people who like pain would do it.
    TRADING:
    * Sell Gold when you see a Rhino horn on the weekly chart. Buy gold when you see a fishing line on the weekly chart.
    * Cycles – Sinclair doesn’t buy exact cycle theories, but uses them to detect
    divergences of a market from ordinary seasonal variation as a clue to
    trend changes.
    IRAS:
    You must have an exit-plan for 2015. With IRAs you have 3 years at the most, maybe 2 years.
    Q: I’m a 59 year old guy. Should I take the tax hit that comes with taking my money out of an IRA, even a physical gold IRA.
    A: Sinclair’s answer is basically, yes… take the tax hit.
    NOTE: Should the government stop being able to do QE, that’s when they’ll
    confiscate IRAs, pensions and other retirement savings.
    TANZANIAN ROYALTY:
    NOTE: I wanted the most gold I could get with no change of a margin call.
    That’s whhy I go into a mining exploartion company. I’ve got my gold out of North America in Africa. I’ve helped out the Tanazanian government
    enough and have shaped the deal with generous sharing of the governement so I don’t expect any kind of mine nationalization as there has never
    been a profitable nationalized mine.
    Tanzanian Royalty has four surface project ready to go that are too valuable to
    give away. Sinclair is striving to get them into production as soon as
    possible using contract miners. He won’t dilute the stock but will find a way to finance the projects using a portion of the produced gold.
    Hope you found this helpful,
    MontyHigh, http://www.worldofwallstreet.us

    • bonbon

      Sounds like a chat at the Academy of Laputa. Gulliver just did not have the time to visit all the Rooms, but I am assured by those well informed, that the Room of Traders had rubber walls for “practically minded” rage when we take away their guarantees.

  33. bonbon

    Major breakthrough – Germany’s SZ headline :
    Reiche Sparer sollen bei Banken-Pleiten haften

    The PAPER edition simply says SAVERS must cover bank losses, perfectly truthful. For this to appear at all means there is real trouble !

    The cat is out of the bag!

    The insane Adam Smith dogma that economics springs forth from saved capital has led to utright daylight robbery. The thieves will say this is University Economics, and they are right! But that defense before a Pecora Commission will cause guffaw’s!

    • What on earth has Adam Smith to do with the robbery by the elite bankers who control the money system.

      Of course savings are the seed of capital from which grows investment, which produces innovation and production from inventiveness. Blaming frugal people for the theft is akin to the thief saying it “it was not my fault, it should not have been left where I could take it”.

      Your distortions of logic are becoming legendery.

      • bonbon

        You still do not get do you. The insane wild-eyed belief that economy springs forth from capital is driving the Grab. Hayek shared this psychosis as well as all monetarists and metallists. Smith really fooled you!

        Now admit it – the Grab in the addled minds of the perpetrators is supposed to rescue the economy! It is being done for our own good, they froth.

        So either accept the grab, give everything to Smith’s minions, or dump the madness.

      • bonbon

        Monetarists are frugal with other people’s money alright.

        Adam Smith’s “Capital” is endowed with a downright omnipotence as Arthur Griffith wrote. When the wild-eyed embark with this belief, really daft economics results.

        Much better Hamilton’s Credit Clause in the service of the General Welfare, progress. Very large-scale programs such as NAWAPA 21 become possible only then. Soon there will be no money of any value, metal impounded as is now happening. For precisely this situation Hamilton’s genius is evident.

  34. bonbon

    Draghi has confirmed the Great Gold Grab. Apparently this was all quietly discussed in Dublin by the Eurozone finance ministers. As DT’s AEP reported this is to prevent leaving the Euro.

    The financial elite want your savings, tax, and gold fillings!

    • bonbon

      As Draghi said from Dublin, the independence of the Central Banks is enshrined in the EU treaties. So now they will own the gold.

      Time to put the banks through Glass-Stegall.

      • Suggesting that the Central Banks are , will be or have been or could be subject to the GS legislation is a pure fabrication.

        It denotes a complete lack of understanding of the banking system or a deliberate distortion or perhaps flippant disregard for accuracy.

        The central banking system operates without oversight but under government regulation. They create all currency from thin air and issue as a debt to commercial banks. They empower the commercial banks with fractional reserve banking practices so that 90% more of the currency is again produced from thin air as issued debt, charged interest.

        42 years of this unlimited fiat debt based interest bearing currency has produced debt suffocation.

        No amount of Glass Steagall addresses this problem. In fact no one address this problem at all.

        No comentators bar a couple discuss this issue or propose a solution. David McWilliams studiously ignores the problem. Most rumble and grumble about class warfare and demised politicians paying little regard to the root problems.

        There is no point to lengthy suggestions and ruminations about past economists , politicians, or philosophers.
        Simply looking at the problems identifies where the shortcoming exists and examination reveals a solution.

        The problem is too much debt. Questioning why and where did it come from reveals the banking and monetary system are deliberately construed to get this as the desired result. To much debt for society is the desired result for the banker elites.

        We have been, slowly at first, but now exponentially throttled by debt. It is not sufficient to tweek this or that as the system is essentially corrupt. It is designed to do what it has and has succeeded It must be disgarded and a system of money based on an asset that is not easily replicated i.e. is relatively rare, is fungible, a store of wealth, easily divisable, and not subject to decay,rot, despoilation, and in this day and age usable digitally.whatever is used must have the attributes of sound money

        The central banks must be closed and the fractional reserve (self serving for the banks) system outlawed.

        It would seem as if the Non Western banking nations recognise this and are doing something about it. The BRIC nations and some others will, through the adaptation of a sound monetary system, grow, prosper and leave the Euroamerican axis floudering in a sea of debt.

        All the bickering and small talk on this and other blogs offer no way out of the malaise gripping us. Like a drowning man we grasp at straws thinking they are the lifeboat.

        In the meantime take steps to protect yourself. Nobody else will protect you.

        • bonbon

          The scene of people caught with kilo’s of gold and silver both in Switzerland this week and yesterday in Cyprus is really pathetic. They lost everything just as the poor with no such metal.

          Glass-Steagall imposed by sovereign nations UPON and OVER central banks and their mad financial system is the way and you know it. The Hayek appeal for “an international police” force to do this means dictatorship and world “gov’mt” a dream of the British Empire’s Keynes also.
          This is a fight against Empire, plain for anyone to see now.
          To suggest the BRIC have the slightest chance of survival without asserting sovereignty over that exact same global empire does not fool Russia.

          So take time to think strategically, and draw on the lesson of FDR and Hamilton, Griffith, Lincoln, Carey.

          • “Glass-Steagall imposed by sovereign nations UPON and OVER central banks and their mad financial system is the way ”

            Name me one central bank ever subjected to Glass Steagall. Well I forgot Glass steagall is US legislation and still at this point only relevent to the US

            When was the last time the US government exercised any control over the operation of the Federal Reserve?

            Your Glass steagall is powerless against the central banking system. It does nothing to change the nature of the fiat currency produced by the central banks. Neither does it prevent commercial banks enploying the fraction reserve system.

            The central banks and their centrist monopoly of currency production need to be closed and the fractional reserve system of banking outlawed. Remove the debt based currency and use an honest asset baset money system or all else is in vain.

            You still have not attempted to answer the question of how you see Hamiltonian banking credit working. We are all waiting.

          • “The scene of people caught with kilo’s of gold and silver both in Switzerland this week and yesterday in Cyprus is really pathetic. They lost everything just as the poor with no such metal.”

            What was pathetic. Is it illegal to own it or carry it.Who robbed them the government or a local vandal.
            what is the difference in having a wallet full of large denomination notes or a pocket of gold or silver.
            Was it pathetic because the people had precious metals or patetic because they lost it. Infact what happened. If they lost it some one stole private property and the accumulated fruits of therfe sweat and toil.
            You seem to have an aversion to real money. Why is that? Did these people get what they deserve, in your opinion?

          • bonbon

            You are missing the point, yet again the monetarist rgold-tinted glasses are befuddling clear thinking. Sovereign nation-states are the only entities capable of enacting Glass-Steagall and taking Reconstruction immediately to full steam. Private “fondi” and fundamentalist metallists are not really relevant, and they never even claim to be.

            The fundi-mentality of monetarists needs a new testament. Drop the old money religion – it is a bit savage.

    • Cyprus is the template. Next it will be Portugal who have substantial reserves. If sold who will buy it. Gold moves rapidly from West to East . A chunk will be syphoned off by the Rothschilds et al as it passes by.

  35. Indymedia Ireland – An Interview with Arthur Scargill

    Talks about his opinions on Capitalism, Trade Unionism, James Connolly and Sinn Fein.

    “There is no such thing as ‘Middle Class’.

    http://www.indymedia.ie/article/94636?userlanguage=ga&save_prefs=true

  36. “There is no such thing as ‘Middle Class’

    Rapidly vanishing as all assets are robbed by the banksters.

  37. http://www.forbes.com/sites/briandomitrovic/2013/04/09/trashing-the-gold-standard-is-now-the-stuff-of-amateurs/

    “Promptly gold reassumed its primacy of place in the U.S. currency system, and for the next 17-year run, till 1913 and the creation of the Federal Reserve, growth was 3.4% per year. 5.5% for pushing two decades, then 3.4% for pushing two decades, under gold auspices: these are the statistics of not merely success, but the most phenomenal push into mass prosperity that the world had ever seen.”

    This article outlines the historical data that clearly shows the gold monetary standard leads to prosperity in a uniform manner. All people participate in the growth of affluence.
    It also shows that the suspension or abolistion of the gold astandrd lead to economic demise and the poverty of those least able to accomodate it.

    • China bought ‘excess’ Cypriot gold today.

      Question.
      How does a country 22bn in debt have excess gold?

      Or should I re-read Orwell?

      • ItDoes not
        It is like raiding the kids piggy bank as it is the only savings left in the house.
        China will buy all the gold that India and Russia do not get first, at what they consider todays knock down prices.
        !!!

        gold is the money of rulers. He who has the gold rules

      • StephenKenny

        It’s just the same as a company having assets and an overdraft.

        The correct action, for the country, is to say no, and face off the threats. Giving in will be worse, a lot worse, even in the short to medium term.

        • I get it. You have a balance sheet with assets on one side and liabilities on the other. That’s easy enough to grasp

          Cypriot banking debt was estimated to be 16bn then suddenly shot up to 23bn or thereabouts once they shook them down for the truth

          Then we are told the shortfall can be adjusted for by flogging ‘excess’ gold

          Why is the word ‘excess’ being used in the media to explain something which is a contradiction in terms and what is wrong with the Cypriot gov’t. Are they stupid?

          • StephenKenny

            Unfortunately, the media has been ‘unreliable’ on these subjects, for twenty years.
            The problem is mixing up revenue with fixed assets. Countries have a profit problem (income – expenditure) and the ‘experts’ are suggesting that this be solved by selling assets.
            Dump the debt, and reduce the deficit in a way that minimises the damage to the overall economy: That means, from the top down.

            We’ve been saying it here for 5 and 6 years.

          • You have been saying it for the past six years huh. Maybe after six years you should all be doing something practical and moving on in one respect or another. What is the point in pissing about for another six years then twelve then eighteen years.

            That’s what Herr O’Leary would tell you. Will you wait until they have taken your very souls?

            What happened to everyone?

          • StephenKenny

            I saw an interesting interview with Noam Chomsky, talking about the anti-Vietnam War movement.
            He said that the early demos played a part, but it was when a mass of the middle started to understand what was really happening, then, it became mainstream, then the demos mushroomed because people understood the reasons.

            Maybe this is just a piece of self justification for apathy of action, but I feel that if we can each just get two people to understand the almost unbelievable happenings of the past 10-20 years, then we can achieve an unstoppable groundswell:
            When people drive into a petrol station and realise they’re being conned; when people see the food price rises and know that the producers are going broke, or just starving to death, and so on. Then, all the political and media chatter in the world will do no more than show the chatterers as part of the problem.

          • bonbon

            Reality comes to your aid – the unstoppable groundswell of collapse makes even the most stubborn, ideologically blind, and even Tigers, face it.

            Then it is very important to have the best ideas honed from activist experience because it get’s very dangerous with a vacuum.

            That means Glass-Steagall, Hamiltonian Reconstruction and the well thought-out programs of development. So get ready !

      • Cyprus is sitting on huge oil and gas fields as well just as is Ireland.

        • bonbon

          Sarris went to Russia to sell these “assets”. He left empty hatted and resigned immediately. Russia apparently did not believe the “huge” brochure, and one wonders if Turkey will dispute it anyway. This entire circus started when the EU tried to “offer” robbed savers options on these “assets”. Beware of such flim-flam.

      • “Cyprus is sitting on huge gas and oil reserves”

        So are other countries like Ireland and Scotland

        It comes down to one question. Whose oil is it anyway?

        • bonbon

          Oil means nothing without pipelines, pumps, refineries, storage, platforms, maintenance, shipping, helicopters. Sarris of Cyprus clearly wanted Gazprom to invest in all of that and was turned down. I presume you have seen Aberdeen.

          So it’s a bit more complex.

  38. A miserable day on the old sob. Still Hibs won

    Here is a memory from the 3 day week when we used to rush the dinner before the leccy went off for the evening. It was great.

    I used to go to my grannies room and she would be sitting in the dark smoking woodbine and talking of Ireland. We would have great fun

    Those were the days

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtiaReNsHOo

  39. We want our country back.
    We’re not going to take it any more!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6vwLuVkMi8

  40. It’s was a black raging nicht that reaped terror till dawn and the wind had not pulled up all day. If you could lasso such an evil night and nail it under the floorboards there would be scratch marks on the underside come morning and you would wield the hammer in case the bastard was still not dead. But this was no nicht for even John Wayne

    John Jameson was bitten but I will not be. I am a smarter than auld John and will avoid his dreadful fate. I pray for his soul each nicht and quote his awful fate to any man on this isle who wishes to be saved from complacency and the results of misguided hintentions

    All day it galloped over the fields, leaped the hoose and scrambled up the cairns like frightened things running from some unseen distant apocalypse seeking refuge in the western sun. Only on this night the sun was in a land far far away from the forsaken island and all it’s terrified creatures. This was the night from hell and childhood stories of the cloven footed black clad men playing cards troubled unsure minds. Sure it’s all old wives tales and you don’t want to be troubling your head with sich nonsense

    Get back tae work laddies!
    If ye don’t eat yet meat how can ye get any puddin?

    He didn’t feel like work or study as a saturday is no a day for mundane pursuits for a man who knows what saturdays are for. Water off a ducks back and saturday belongs to me. Whose fucking saturday is it anyway?

    The fire was cleaned oot and the wid brought in and food prepared. Stray cats were nervous and jumping roond in quare circles looking for summat that wasn’t there. Do cats know something he didn’t? Or was he just so far gone he fell into another frequency and found true heaven. Animals operate on different frequencies and we don’t need science or logic to prove or disprove something we know. It was on that basis he decided to have faith in the animals. Animals made more sense

    He found it hard to imagine it’s nearly time for the greatest riot of colour on earth as Ireland bursts into green white and gold in late May. Anyone who has spent May in the Irish countryside never forgets it. Snowy white hawthorn, golden gorse and green green grass shimmering on a silent hot day set against a cool blue sky with odd puffy white clouds to add picture postcard charm. Absolutely unbeatable and despite it all and the worries we have it is a sight that makes you glad. It’s reassuringly humbling to know that these things are for ever

    The sky looks the same today as it did in 1970 when we still lived in a black and white world

    1970

    The weather was scorching in the first months of school as I trotted across the football pitch every morning and climbed the dirt track propping up the old railway bridge where we would to sit for hours watching coal trucks being shunted on our time off. The smell of navy cut fags is still pungent

    Sitting on the railway bridge I learned the history of the railways and the shipyards and the war and what lay beyond the hills in the distance. I was drawn to the hills in the distance because their pastel watercolour shades offered mystery and fantastic adventure beyond the world of rusting coal wagons and tossed away wine bottles that had become clogged with earwigs. Where is Ireland I wondered. Is it over that hill?

    There was a burnt out wooden railway carriage that used to be a changing room but it had been vandalised. It was my first experience of vandalism and I could not understand. Instinctively I knew vandalism was bad. I was five years old and learning the world was not a nice place. Being a kid you want the world to be nice and why the fuck not. It’s not too much to ask it is

    In 1970 we had it good and cheap gas was piped into the hoose. In engineering terms it was like cable (before colour television, refrigerators and the telephone). You never questioned where it came fae except on snowy mornings when icicles twelve inches long hung defiantly from the insides of the single glazed pre-war wooden window frames that were rotting but did the job of keeping the wind oot. The wind that howled up The Clyde was the friend of nae man and in the night the shuddering of those window frames would easily waken a small boy into a state of terror

    If the wind didn’t get you the shunters would and if it was not the shunters it would be sounds of heavy engineering from the ship yards. For someone with a fertile imagination the world outside could be a kaleidoscope of joy or terror depending on how you felt. I remember this personal dichotomy as if it was yesterday but I have been told that I am odd in being someone who remembers events back to three years of age. To me it is the most natural thing in the world to remember everything. They didn’t de-program me and I remember being a child. One nil to me.

    You woke on winter mornings in a room filled with pure white from the frozen window acting like a lightbox and you’d never know what to expect when you were brave enough to get dressed and go and scratch the surface of the window pane

    It was so cold you kept a chair by the side of the bed on which to fold your school clothes so you could dress as you were still half inside the warmth of the pit. Often you’d want to return to the dream especially if the dream involved your favourite childhood infatuations, like the King scoring a hat trick and coming over to the touchline and rubbing your head. Sometimes it was so frozen that your clothes would freeze. You’d tap them and hear ‘thunk, thunk’. They were turned to cardboard it was so cold

    That is when I learned to take the chair and place it behind the settee in the warm living room

    • Adam Byrne

      Here’s one for you Paul:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1jlq3-sVuk

      Alasdair used to give me rides on his Honda 50 up and down the roads of Paisley back in the 70s. Still in touch with him.

      • Adam Byrne

        Go to this page, which our Russian brethren have so kindly supplied us with:

        http://getstereo.net/music/Alastair+McDonald/0/

        Scroll down to the second song ‘Skye Boat Song’.

        Enjoy, and never forget.

        • I’ve no listened to that since I was seventeen Adam.

          The Skye Boat song is one of the best and a school pal taught me it. Below the listing I saw Alasdair sung MacPhersons Farewell and gave it spin. It was great and made me reach for my youtube playlist as I love The Corries version as it always raises me from slumber with a cheer which shakes off the cobwebs and gets the feet going

          Have a listen
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0VldmoLF5Y&list=PL6F04CFECAF0CCAEF

          Our folk songs outlast everything. They are coded messages that last down the centuries long after men of perceived importance with sashes and bonnie bucked tunics have been fogotten

          They can impose their will but there is no cure for rebel hearts. Not in a thousand years

      • Thanks a million Adam that made my day. One small gesture makes all the diff

        It really did and took me back to wee hoose parties in the 70s. My mother taught me that song when I was a kid and it a song that is known all over

        I didn’t know you were around in the 70s. I imagined you were about 30!

        I wonder did you ever cross the Erskine Bridge from the Paisley side of the river and head up to Helensborough, Balloch or Carbeth

        Around 1981 we used to head up to those small places on weekends and have the time of our lives. All you needed was a motorbike, spare cash and Scotland was heaven in summer

        • Adam Byrne

          I was 5 years of age when I first met Alasdair in 1977. Have photos of him giving me joy rides on the back of his Honda 50 as I mentioned. He was a great friend to my Dad (RIP) and still keeps in touch with us. We learned the words of all his songs since the time we were born. My Dad used to sing his lullaby ‘Hush Hush’ to put us to sleep. As for Paisley, we went all over, ever nook and cranny, and camping in the Highlands, AND the Islands from there. Alasdair came too, great times. I’m 40 – born in 1972, but I have a long memory.

          • I was 7 that year Adam. The first week in May 72 I went to the cup final on Saturday 6th and made my communion the next day

            We dressed in school uniforms for communion and I think I got two bob. It was all a blur because my head was still swirling with the awesome sights and sounds of hampden the day before. I remember all the goals and sometimes wonder if it was all a dream but I never forget the passion of that day

            For me religion could never come close haha

            I will be adding Alasdair to my youtube list and will follow him up for sure. In fact I think I have seen him before. Maybe he was on tv back then?

            I wonder if he has heard of Tam Johnstone who married a girl called Roshni. Her mother was a londoner

            They came from Paisley and played guitar around the folk scene but eventually moved across the river to to our street in the late 60s or early 70s. I went to school with their three sons

            They were the first ones in our street to have colour tv and Tam was called 2 can Tam because that is all it took to get him pished and wanting to take on the world

            You can’t beat the old Honda 50 by the way. Used to be called FS1E or Fizzie

          • 1972 Scottish Cup Final. Awesome photos.

            Celtic 6 – Hibernian 1
            Hampden
            Att 106,102

            With Hibs in the final oh oh what a scene, all hampden was covered in shamrocks and green

            Too ra loo. Too ra lay.
            The Celtic supporters were shouting that day
            (from the 1953 Coronation Cup song)

            You don’t need cash or gold when you have this

          • Link

            http://www.thecelticwiki.com/page/1972-05-06%3A+Celtic+6-1+Hibernian,+Scottish+Cup+-+Pictures

            This was the last game Celtic played in the old 60s style shirts which were voted #8 in the 50 coolest football shirts of all time

  41. One for those good old blue nosed boys.
    When working men could take two sons to a match and have change left for the next day. Remember all that?

    It’s a cracker. 134,000.
    The sounds and the footage are awesome. Headphones and volume required.
    Hold onto your seats and try to imagine what it was like.
    It felt like the last day on earth and the pain remains today.
    Still it’s only a game.

    Rangers 3 – Celtic 2 (1973)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TiOo8YocPw

    • StephenKenny

      That was the year of the Sunderland v Leeds upset in the English FA Cup Final – I remember that well. Jim Montgomery played the match of his life to keep Leeds out. Bob Stoko and the rest. Unbelievable day. I remember seeing the news clips of those Scottish Finals, in the 60s and 70s – the noise and number of fans always seemed so amazing.

      Just looking around at players of those days, I came across this, which for me sums up much of why I look back with a degree of nostalgia: It’s about the great Kevin Keegan:

      “In February 2009, Keegan had three points added to his driving licence after being caught doing 36 mph in a 30 mph zone on the A69 road in August 2008. This brought his total to twelve points and he consequently received a six-month driving ban”.

      36 mph. Forget the markets, forget the banks, if you want an indicator of a country that has so completely lost it, it’s all the implications and context that produces a drama over 36mph.

      • Reeling in the years tonight lads. Some men are counting the gold and some are counting memories of the 70s. The memories are worth more than all the gold in China let me say

        Brian Reade talked about those days in his book on Liverpool and how in the late 60s he’d stand outside a terraced house where three Liverpool players lived

        He asked for Emelyn Hughes and Hughes came to the back door chewing on his friday night steak. Can I have an autograph Emelyn?

        Sure no problem son what’s your name?

        An England international living in a boarding house!

        Faither and I used to catch match of the day on wednesdays and saturdays and he liked Keegan and Shankly but I was more interested in results 30 miles up the M62 or how Leeds were doing

        He would let me stay up late and watch The Sweeney with him. Male bonding and Maw would make toasted cheese for us as she didnt like violence on tv

        He took me to Anfield a couple of times and it was unreal. The noise was ferocious because it felt like a small enclosed ground compared to what I had known. It was claustrophobic and you felt that if this lot score we are swept into the Mersey river. It was mad

        He was a working man but found the means to do things like visit a pal in Liverpool, Leeds or Manchester who had ‘emigrated’ for work. Going to match of the day country two or three times a year was no problem because we had the contacts and the funds. We were working class but socially mobile

        Faither loved trips south of the border and used to talk about the first time he did it when he was going to Liverpool during the war to catch his ship. He liked adventure and I think he enjoyed those trips to England more than the scene at home. He never talked about much the scene in Scotland and preferred we keep it to ourselves and not flaunt it

        Funny friendly accents. It felt like a home from home and we met some great people. The salt of the earth truly

        Hampden was just awesome and I do mean fucking awesome. I’d been to Wembley in 1975 when Scotland were trashed 5-1 but Wembley was not a patch on Hampdem. Not a chance

        It was wide open and the noise was the loudest I ever heard probably due to the sheer numbers in attendance.

        The slopes were huge and you get a some sense of this in the old footage but to realise the scale and the noise you had to be there

        They have started pulling the old finals from YouTube and I that is sad

        The 69 final is still there in colour and Alex Ferguson in wearing the 9 jersey for the bears.

        I know a lot of the Irish brothers will like this link and marvel at the class of all four goals, especially the third scored by George Connelly who was an enigma and better than Beckenbauer according to faither

        The mystery and sadness of George Connelly has never been solved to this day and we are still none the wiser. But who cares. Let his supreme talent speak through this yellowing celluloid of old movie reel recanting the illustrious spirit of the Glasgow working class Irish and the friends of many backgrounds who came into our fold to fight the forces of darkness. Long gone but still inside so strong

        Grab your headphones and try imagine the old hampden and it’s famous roar. Makes wembley look like a pub game and the commentary voice is class. Thank god I am not a young lad in this day and age. I wouldn’y swap it for all the whiskey in Ireland

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4ai7kp_8cg

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968%E2%80%9369_Scottish_Cup#Final

      • The King’s first final …

        Invisible for the whole game and in sheer awe of the talent surrounding him (on both sides) he hardly got a sniff of the ball and looked timid. Not at the races at all

        The world’s best football club were not in the habit of carrying shirkers

        Some fascinating reportage from May 6 1972 follows below and explains what Dalglish was up against

        It cost 9p for a match program and you could get into parkhead for 12p (boys) and 25p (men) in 1972

        Mars bars were 2p and a bag of chips was 4p. Miles of fast food vans led all the way up to the turnstiles doing roaring trade as we marveled at the windae hingers and the red brick chimney stacks and drunks with bloody faces lying pishing themselves in doorways

        Everyone had money to spend and life was a doddle

        http://www.thecelticwiki.com/page/1972-05-06%3A+Celtic+6-1+Hibernian,+Scottish+Cup

  42. joe hack

    1970 was a time when people talked to each other now try rip each other off bank too,

    Thatcher wish came true – she said their was no such thing as society – she died alone with no friends or family, her wish came – be careful what you wish for.

  43. bonbon

    Mario Soares Calls for Portugal to Default, A La Argentina

    April 13 (EIRNS)–The elder statesman and founder of the Portuguese Socialist Party, Mario Soares, launched a bombshell yesterday, declaring in an interview with Portugal’s Antena 1 channel that Portugal could never pay its debts, and therefore should not pay them, pointing to the example of what Argentina did when it was in financial crisis.

    “Portugal will never be able to pay what it now owes, and no matter much it impoverishes people; no matter how much it robs the money of people who have it, as is the case of pensions; no matter what it does, the state will not be able to pay what it owes. When you cannot pay, the only solution is not to pay. Look at Argentina. When Argentina was in a [financial] crisis, it said: We will not pay. Did anything happen? No, nothing happened,” Soares said.

    Soares reported that he has already opened talks with members of various parties, in both the ruling coalition and the opposition, about reaching an agreement to bring down the Passos Coelho government, which he charged has destroyed almost everything in Portugal in its two years in power. He proposed the Socialist Party and the Left Block (Bloco Esquerda, BE) could reach a broad agreement on governing. Both the spokesman of the Socialist Party and the parliamentary chief of the BE demurred publicly in response to the grand coalition proposal, but the negotiations are clearly on.

    No response has yet been heard from Soares’s fellow members of the Socialist International, of which he is still an Honorary President.

  44. oe1

    Thather said it as it was, which is unusual when you think of todays political leaders who talk in sugar coated words. It must have been refreshing at the time because the UK was mired with industrial strife in the 1970′s. It really took a strong character who believed in their views to follow through on the necessary reforms. I think the next leaders of Ireland will need these qualities if we are to stand up to the financial servitude this country finds itself in.

    • joe hack

      Rubbish Thatcher had no belief system she contradicted her self and destroyed – she built nothing

    • bonbon

      Here are the “qualities you mention, fully exposed by Lord Harris of the Mont Pelerin Society, right here in the blog.

      And there are some trying to impose these policies, the Troika for example.

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