#Anglotapes: If they saw the enormity of it up front, they might decide they have a choice.

Following the release of tapes of Anglo staff discussing how they present their case for support, in the lead up to the bank guarantee, there are more revelations in todays Irish Independent (which has been breaking the story).

You can listen to the tapes via the Indo’s website (at the links above), but here are a couple of key quotes, as transcribed by the Journal.ie:

Bowe on what the actual monetary requirement could be:

That number is seven [billion] but the reality is we need more than that. But you know, the strategy here is you pull them [the Central Bank] in, you get them to write a big cheque and they have to keep, they have to support their money, you know.

Fitzgerald shows his understanding:

They’ve got skin in the game and that’s the key.

Bowe on the lie to the Regulator:

If they saw the enormity of it up front, they might decide they have a choice. You know what I mean? They might say the cost to the taxpayer is too high…if it doesn’t look too big at the outset…if it doesn’t look big, big enough to be important, but not too big that it kind of spoils everything, then, then I think you can have a chance. So I think it can creep up.

In  today’s, David Drumm is heard encouraging executives to abuse the bank guarantee itself. The whole episode is being dismissed by some as gallows humour, however, the implications of the first tape and that Anglo were aware that they were misleading on the extent of losses to draw the Central Bank in as support isn’t that easily explained away.

Yesterday Paul Williams admitted that the Irish Indepdent has had the tapes for three months (at least) and have others which raises equally interesting questions. The tapes are recordings from the banks internal phone system. The reason why they have been leaked now, as the interminable flapping over some form of bank inquiry or meaningful criminal investigation continues, isn’t really clear.

Leaks around Anglo are bound to damage Fianna Fáil who had a somewhat cosy relationship with senior staff in the bank. So, is this just Denis O’Brien pulling out a few stops for Fine Gael after a couple of weak polls?

Conveniently there is not much time for the Dáil to debate any of this but presumably there are yet more tapes to come so this is a story that will continue to build.

Read the much-missed Namawinelake blog for more background on Anglo.

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  • Harry Flashman

    They’re like something straight out of central casting aren’t they? The cackling fat cat bankers laughing as they stitch up the hapless taxpayers.

    Despite being somewhat to the right of Ghengis Khan it’s times like this that I think fondly of people like Che Guevara and bullet-riddled prison walls.

  • Mick Fealty

    Pat Kenny live at the moment is fascinating… http://www.rte.ie/radio1/

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    I always was led to understand that a main element of the capitalist system was that you had to take risks, especially the risk of failing. Too big to fail – what a joke. Taxpayers worldwide have been taken to the cleaners; the term “banksters” is most apt.

  • JR

    This quote sums it up for me,
    When asked where the € 7,000,000,000.00 figure came from

    “Just, as Drummer [CEO David Drumm] would say, ‘I picked it out of my arse”

  • Harry Flashman

    Joe I wonder if they had all just been allowed to go to the wall, as is supposed to happen in capitalism; creative destruction and all that, would we be any worse off today?

    The western world has gone through the torture of a thousand cuts over nearly five years with maybe another decade of this to come because we were unwilling to face swift and immediate amputation back in 2008.

    They should all have been allowed to fold, let the bloody cards fall where they may, the only role for government would have been to lock up the bastards responsible. That would have put manners on the lot of ‘em.

    It’s either a capitalist free market or it’s not. Socializing the losses of private enterprise must be the dumbest idea of our modern age.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Harry,

    Agree except for one thing; instead of calling it the dumbest idea, I would call it the biggest con.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’ve done a follow up to John’s post suggesting that there was enough information in the system to have picked Anglo out of the crowd and kick them to touch. But the regulator seems to have been kept in the dark.

    Delderfield has cut a swathe through all of that crap since his appointment. But it does point up the need to maintain moral hazard. Remember this is the bank that sunk the Quinn empire because it lent Sean Quinn money to boost his shareholdings (http://goo.gl/NVuxF) in the bank.

    There appears to have been a sudden and catastrophic collapse in the suspension of disbelief…

  • SeaanUiNeill

    In the interests of some transparency, perhaps “The Soldier’s Song” should be replaced as the National Anthem by Cole Porter’s “Let’s Misbehave:”

    “We’re all alone, no chaperone
    Can get our number
    The world’s in slumber–let’s misbehave!!!”

    (Please let me know if this quote is too long as “fair usage”, Mick, so I can re-post)

    Some enterprising journalist should also look into the credit default swap agreements between the Anglo-Irish Bank and the Ulster Bank. The unique Irish situation permitted them to shift between Pound Dollar and Euro at a moments notice to follow the best exchange rates (recall their fixing of the Libor rate?)

    These practices began in 2005, years before the so-called credit crunch which is still only affecting the honest voter on the actual street (in a cardboard box usually).

    Together with their shady partnership where the Ulster Bank hooked the ignorant and desperate with 100%+ mortgages and the Anglo Irish bank threw vast loans at developers on the strength of this, such behaviour resulting as it has in the loss of any meaningful Irish National Sovereignty, the gleeful destruction of our landscape and the creation of unsuportable debts for generations to come, surely places the UK/ROI government layers, local, devolved and central as front runners in the race to win the Gold medal as the most corrupt in modern history.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Help! The phrase in my (above) posting, “their fixing of the LIBOR rate” is a misprint (by me) that should read “the fixing of the LIBOR rate!” I did not mean to imply that either bank was engaged in such underhand dealings!!!

  • Harry Flashman

    No need to worry Seaan, a) Anglo isn’t likely to be suing anyone in the near future for defamation of character and b) Ulster Bank’s owners were up to their elbows and beyond in the LIBOR rigging scandal.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21348719

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi Harry, really valueing your contributions above. I keep trying to work out how the Titanic sunk with a few gashes down its starboard side but these banks keep afloat with virtually no hull to speak of. Perhaps if they had been left to fail properly we might just have mannaged to get a “real” economy going over the next seventy years.

    And it would be a pleasant change to earn our own money as a province (like we used to) instead of having our local Assembly Finance Minister sell the Big Issue outside Westminister to get us the money that pays 70% of our local incomes. For some of us, its humiliating…..

  • Greenflag

    I said then that hanging was too good for them .It;s still too good for them . These pair of ‘sociopaths /wankers” ‘ among others need to dragged from wherever they are -be dispossessed of all and any assets they have and committed to Mountjoy (in the absence of the death penalty for 150 years.Ditto for their ilk in the financial sectors in the UK /USA /Germany etc.

    Harry Flashman above comments ‘

    ‘I wonder if they had all just been allowed to go to the wall, as is supposed to happen in capitalism; creative destruction and all that, would we be any worse off today?’

    Good point but one we’ll never know .We do know that when Greenberg & Paulson put the gun to Bush’s head and later Obama and told them that if there was no bailout for the ‘gangster bankers and AIG ‘ that they would not have a country to govern -both politicians caved . The Irish politicians followed suit as did the British to a lesser extent .

    Of course the ‘crisis ‘ should never have been allowed to develop but then thats what happens when financial capitalism is allowed to write the laws that govern their misbehaviour and criminality .

    .

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Strange Greenflag to find myself agreeing with both you and Harry!

  • Harry Flashman

    The more one gets away from the immediacy of the scene the more one admires the courage of the Icelanders. Tough buggers those Vikings; tell ‘em to get stuffed and go whistle for the money.

  • Harry Flashman

    In fairness Seaan, there really is nothing anyone on the left or right differs on. The taxpayers and citizens of the western world were thoroughly fisted by the major banks, no one could possibly deny that.

    Perhaps the only note of dissension would be whether you feel the collusion of the respective governments in this rapine was through bovine stupidity or appalling corruption.

    There really is no other side to the issue.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Well, they have to listen to Björk night and day. Such constant unrelenting hardships build true character in a people. Willie McCrea with Nellie McCausland on guitar just isn’t the same….

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Exactly, Harry, but my own take is bovine stupidity AND appalling corruption.

    From my distant youth I remember my mother in laws aquaintance from New York arty circles, Mishima Yukio ( Hiraoka Kimitake) talking to the Leftie Students occupying Tokio University in 1968, “The only difference in our positions is the Emperor’s role. Accept the Emperor and we are in full agreement.”

    Poor man had to commit Seppuku to escape the stupidity and corruption….

  • Greenflag

    @ Seann Ui Neill ,

    Yes twas bovine stupidity and corruption but also sheer ‘greed’ taken to it’s self destructive limit and beyond .Add in the increased use of algortihms in the hedge fund and derivative sectors of finance and it all added up to misery inflicted on most of the world economy .

    What makes it worse is that the then (USA &UK) banks that were too big to fail are now bigger than ever and try being a small businessman trying to get a loan from a bank . The sad fact is they can make a lot more money flitting the dosh around the world making points here and there and turning it over than lending Joe Bloggs a line of credit so that he can stop his large company debtors from using his limited cash as part of their cash retaining strategies .

    And for those who still believe our politicians on either side of the Atlantic are serious about major reform in this sector think again .Even the banksters have learnt nothing .They just want to go back to the ‘days ‘ as yer man Drumm was quoted as saying ‘ pulling figures out of his arse :(. The same cretin pled ‘poverty ‘ before a Connecticut court apparently while living in an $8 million dollar mansion .

    Capital punishment for capital crimes of an order that destroys so many livelihoods and countries economies should be on the statute book of every democracy on Earth with immediate no appeals extradition to country of origin to stand trial for their crimes for these ‘bastards’ written into the UN Charter .

  • BluesJazz
  • SeaanUiNeill

    Yes Greenflag, this is something that the fellow in the old information film used to say I know, “for very personal reasons.” I’ve run two businesses of my own, and several for others in the past, and have observed the changes in the Bankers behaviour over forty years. So its not just theoretic for me!!

    Before we all went Global there used to be something called “treason”which was as I remember it a capital crime invoked when someone seriously damaged some national interest. But hold it right there, these Bankster guys are important Global players with legal teams……

    I note also that you cannot get the most significant film to watch at this moment, the old B & W “Gabriel Over The White House,” with that scene where the mobsters laughingly ask for their attorneys just before they actually realise that they are about to be summarily shot after court martial!!!!!

  • Greenflag

    Everything can be found on You Tube well almost .
    The wonderful scene you refer to is at 1 hour 3 minutes and 20 secs into the link if you can see it ?

    Coincidentally the chief con is one Nick Diamond – No connection with the latter day Jamie of Morgan Stanley ;) ?

  • Greenflag

    BTW that movie is more than a bit uber in retro .On the other hand quite some foresight re the nature of the upcoming WW2 .
    Idealistic days eh when politicians actually counted for something or were believed to have ‘power’ and represented people rather than banksters and corporations :(

    The fact that Harry Flash and I agree should’nt be a surprise .Behind that gruff neo con illiberal UKIP exterior there is the ‘heart’ of what jewish folk would call a ‘real mensch ‘ . GF on the other hand remains an unrelenting Fenian @%$&#*^% ;)

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thanks for the link Greenflag! Yeah, its a bit “pre-war” Uber but even the saintly Frank D. Roosevelt had a soft spot for Old Benito and the New Deal had a sub text from all that jazz. different days, different ways…..

    I think anyone sane who is outside the Charmed Circle of Bankers and ancillary trades should easily find that they agree on these things from pure survival instinct. These Greedy F€£$s have declared Total War on the survival capacity of us all. God (or whatever!) help us!

  • Desmond Trellace

    My acquaintance from Dublin claims that it is all down to this arrogant, snotty, snobby culture that is prevalent on the southside of Dublin. The goys were sent to fee-paying schools in order that they would feel superior to everyone else and not defer to anyone with the result that when they got their hands on the banking system they just did what they wanted. A conscience-forming institution like the RC church, that kept their fathers in check, was effectively not around anymore.

    A niche-analysis, perhaps, that maybe rings truer than many people would like to admit.

  • Mark

    Dessie ,

    Your ” acquaintance ” from Dublin sounds like he / she has a serious inferiority complex . Too many Ross O Carroll Kelly novels from the sound of things . I can’t imagine too many parents sending their kids to a specific school in order to fell superior to ” everyone else ”

    Was it your acqaintance who came up with the ” conscience – forming institution like the RC church ” comment …or was that your little gem ?

  • DC

    Who said the Free State was gone, eh?

    A €7 billion free one except for getting something close to nothing back from out of someone’s backside.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hello Desmond. well, yes, your acquaintance had a good outsiders impression of what is essensially the new phenomenon of the “Celtic Tiger Generation” but I’d add that the arrogance is usually a characteristic of any class anywhere created by the aquisition of “new money”. They think it will last forever, and have to create space between them and the loosers they might have been but for a private education.

    But its “all on tick” and if the Germans stop the cheques it will be “rags to rags” in rather less than three generations.

  • Harry Flashman

    Actually there’s a something in what Desmond says. Just as in the UK the wide boys and dodgy geezers replaced the old gentlemen bankers in the City so in Dublin the type of banker changed.

    Was it Shane Ross who described the change in the boardrooms of Irish banks? From dim-witted ex-rugby players who hadn’t had a new idea in twenty five years to the wheeler-dealer “goys” we hear on these tapes.

    However there is a problem with that theory, because just as 2008 was merely the climax of a long litany of US government bailouts of rogue banks (the Latin America collapse, the Russian collapse etc) so the Irish government had consistent past form in bailing out delinquent Irish financial institutions and turning a blind eye to malpractice and criminal activities in Irish banking going back decades.

    If the boyos on these tapes sound like they’re treating the Irish government as a bunch of bozos who will simply do what the banks ask of them, well that’s because they were correct in their estimation.

  • Mick Fealty

    Des,

    Listen to the tapes? Drummer is no ‘goy’… Seannie Fitz went to the Presentation School in Bray, not Wesley or Kings Hospital….

    Your contact may be looking for someone to put in the stocks, but he’s just rounding up Captain Renault’s usual suspects.

    This is the real danger Ross is alluding to.

  • cynic2

    A banking system run by incompetent greedy spivs and crooks. A regulatory system on its knees crippled by the old boy network. A government first led by a crook and then by the ‘cutest hoor of them all’

    And all along the Irish people traded up their houses borrowed to the hilt band kept electing the buggers.

    And you wonder why Ireland finished up in the state it did

  • Harry Flashman

    This is a genuine query that I hope someone closer to the ground can answer about Ireland today.

    How much genuine poverty has the crisis caused in Ireland? I mean real on-the-streets destitution? As opposed to the quiet misery of middle classes seeing their assets and savings wiped out?

    The reason I ask is because the last time I passed through Dublin there really didn’t seem to be much hardship, the pubs and restaurants were full, Dublin Airport was filled with happy holiday-makers rather than queues of crushed and beaten emigrants.

    But what has struck me most of all is the dog that hasn’t barked.

    In Brazil we’ve had literally millions of rioters on the streets of dozens of cities violently protesting against a small rise in bus fares. In Turkey the same, Greece had blood on the streets too. The stoic Icelanders came to blows too. Even in normally apathetic England there have been violent protests against economic policy.

    And yet the Irish, a people not noted for meekly accepting injustice and government induced hardship have not stirred at all. The most anger they express is in the usual form of letters to the editor of the Irish Times or bloviating on Joe Duffy. But nowt else.

    It’s not like they are incapable of taking to the streets, the abortion issue has tens of thousands of people out at mass rallies. The sight of a few dozen Orangemen in Dublin saw O’Connell Street turned into a war zone on a Saturday morning a few years back.

    Has the financial collapse actually had a real and tangible effect on the personal lives of most ordinary Sean and Mary Citizens in Ireland?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hello Harry, I hope that someone nearer street level can answer you properly on this. From what I’ve noticed on my nocturnal explorations through Dublin in disquise there is some real hardship among those who have actually been put out of work, but the bail outs have ensured that despite a few small cuts it is “business as usual” among the through feeders at all levels who are being paid from public sector money. The higher earners among the Public Sector employees (from politicians, generals and academics down) show no signs of any meaningful austerity affecting their lives, and as long as the Germans need a poster boy of Europe, I doubt if there will be any change. The real pressure is on the poor gullable fools who thought that the Ulster Bank, and other Banks, were actually giving them money for free. Their children (and children’s children) will be carrying on paying their debts for the next seven hundred years, seemingly.

    My wife and I have been talking about this bizarre failure to riot or even complain loudly, but as long as the artificial bubble of other peoples money makes Ireland look like a sucessful economy, something that the likes of Greece may one day aspire to, the pubs and restaurants will continue to be full and the planes will carry those whose level of hardship is the cut from seven to six international holidays a year to bother the starving foreginers.

    And about Greece, I hear it is now a great holiday destination now the tear gas has settled, and the Aegean is again full of foregin yachts. A friend on Mykonos tells me that the number of Irish yachts among the colourful fleets of Russians and Chinese has already risen dramatically this year.

    Austerity?

  • John Ó Néill

    Harry, I think you are underestimating the extent to which people have been cowed by this. Over 300,000 have emigrated in the last four years (in UK terms that translates as 4m people), 1 in 15 of the population. If you do the Maths, that is a huge proportion of those who you would assume to be most likely to protest as it is mainly those aged 20-45 (also, paradoxically, least likely to vote), where the proportion is much, higher, maybe 1 in 4 or 5. Suicide rates have shot up. Unemployment has doggedly remained at 14% (in official figures) and is closer to 20-25% depending on who you include in that. Long term unemployment rates are increasing as well. There are huge numbers in negative equity and banks simply don’t issue mortgages, so many people are physically tied to their homes and are not in a position to relocate for work, etc. Politicians are implementing permanent austerity where an end is always just over the horizon, and te Irish media, frankly is worthless. All play on a relatively innate conservatism and parochialism to keep things in check and are still succeeding. Dublin city centre isn’t a good barometer, though, check out some dingy midland town and it’s main street to see it.

  • Greenflag

    @ Desmond Trellace ,

    ‘A conscience-forming institution like the RC church, that kept their fathers in check, was effectively not around anymore.’

    You are a mile wide on that presumption .DT . Conscience forming ? From what we’ve learnt over the past decade or more if there’s one institution that comes close to the amoral banking institutions and our gutless politicians in ‘bovine stupidity ‘ and corruption it’s the RC Church Hierarchy in Ireland and indeed elsewhere around the globe :(.

    John O Neill’s comment above rings closer to the facts in that he resurrects that old canard of the ‘emigration ‘ safety valve . In combination both the upsurge in emigration and the reduced birth rate over the past 20 years has ‘eliminated ‘ or transferred to other jurisdictions those who would have taken to the streets a la Greco . The other factor is that many are ‘stunned ‘ by the ‘discovery ‘ that institutions once respected such as the RC Church , Government , and the Banking Institutions should be revealed as a trio of two faced wide boys who say one thing while doing another and all on borrowed or stolen /looted money .

    Banking is too important to be left to the bankers -religious and moral matters to the Church /Churches and if you really want government that reflects the will of the people then people in Ireland /Northern Ireland /UK/USA etc had better pay attention to those who would serve us in their roles whether banker /priest or TD/MP !

    The other factor not mentioned by the above re the absence of ‘revolution ‘ on the streets is the oft forgotten fact that there is a ‘social safety net ‘ for those at the bottom of the financial pyramid which has also served to mitigate ‘unrest’.

    Hopefully lessons will be learned from the events of this past decade or so that will strenghten our democracy and bring transparency to all our institutions -governmental . financial and religious.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh Greenflag, while I strongly agree with you on virtually every point, I seriously doubt that “the events of this past decade or so that will strenghten our democracy and bring transparency to all our institutions.” the events are symptomatic of the isolation and disempowerment of each individual that Marcuse dsecribes in “One Dimentional Man” really kicking in. Its only going to get worse, I think…..

    Ever since “that Women” in England set the tone of selfishness and greed for every western Democracy things seem to decend from bad to worse no matter what efforts are made to extend democracy and effect transparancy.

  • thethoughtfulone

    “Joe I wonder if they had all just been allowed to go to the wall, as is supposed to happen in capitalism; creative destruction and all that, would we be any worse off today?”

    Well yes, we probably would.

    However, we would hopefully be starting to adjust to a completely new way of life having faced up to reality and if things weren’t getting better we would at least hopefully have got the worst over and done with. Whereas as it stands, the worst is still to come because for all the chat about austerity and hard times very, very, few people are actually doing that much differently. OK, some people have had to go for a (slightly) cheaper package on their Sky box, some have had to see out their mobile contracts before getting the newest phone rather than just hand it in and to hell with the consequences, some even have to make do with a frozen Pizza out of Iceland a couple a nights in the week and give themselves the trouble of cooking it rather Pizza Hut EVERY night.

    The behaviour of these guys is beyond contempt but anybody who prior to now thought it to be any other way is just either naive or (like most of the public) too engrossed in their own world to REALLY care.

    I’ve said for a long time, the longer the balloon keeps getting bigger, the bigger the bang when it eventually happens. But like the constantly inflating balloon, the bang is inevitable.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Whereas as it stands, the worst is still to come because for all the chat about austerity and hard times very, very, few people are actually doing that much differently. OK, some people have had to go for a (slightly) cheaper package on their Sky box, some have had to see out their mobile contracts before getting the newest phone rather than just hand it in and to hell with the consequences, some even have to make do with a frozen Pizza out of Iceland a couple a nights in the week and give themselves the trouble of cooking it rather Pizza Hut EVERY night.”

    That’s certainly the perception I have been getting, in both Ireland and the UK, that for all the talk of “austerity” in actual fact very little real cutting back has occurred.

    The levels of personal and government debt in the western world is quite simply unsustainable and this has still not been addressed in any meaningful way by any government in the west.

    The can is simply being kicked down the road and when the smelly stuff really does hit the fan in the coming years we’ll look back on the last five years as some sort of quiet before the tsunami.

    There’s an old saying; if something can’t go on, it won’t.

  • Mick Fealty

    George Osborne is cutting all round him again in the CSR.. and that’s before NI has felt the full force of his previous cuts… He’s trying to offset cuts to Scotland’s resource budget with capacity to borrow up to £400 million…

  • thethoughtfulone

    Osborne is walking a tightrope like no chancellor has had to do for goodness knows how long. He knows there’s much much more to be saved if he’s to come anywhere close to delivering what they pledged to do, but he also knows that if he pushes it the slightest bit too far that Labour will jump up and say that if they get in they will make the pain go away. Anybody with a bit of wit could soon figure out that they’d simply be selling a dream, but I bet the public would still vote for it.

    As for Northern Ireland, if things do start to get serious at a UK level I simply don’t see how they’ll be able to continue to fund the ridiculous amount of waste and total mismanagement of the entire place over here while the rest of the UK has to tighten it’s belt. As I type Mr Baggott is complaining about lack of resources in policing, while at the same time they are about to take delivery of their FOURTH helicopter. NI has become an ungrateful, whinging, money pit, the only thing that might save the day is that at least it’s a relatively small, ungrateful, whinging, money pit.

  • BluesJazz

    The tap is being closed:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-23066359

    Probably deserves a thread of its own but the clouds are starting to gather.

  • thethoughtfulone

    Aye, but not for the cops.

    A helicopter per county, another just for the McCooeys (well that would have to be two I suppose as “self-pity city” would need one), and a couple of drones for every barracks (would save the poor craters having to go out at all).

    Anything left should cover an improved catering budget for policing board meetings, if Gerry had a bit more beef on him he probably couldn’t have got to the landrover in time to try to stop it.

  • Greenflag

    @ Seann Ui Neill,

    ‘the events are symptomatic of the isolation and disempowerment of each individual that Marcuse dsecribes in “One Dimentional Man” really kicking in..’

    That was a hope I was expressing not any certain belief . At a time when Ireland (ROI) had three TV stations RTE/BBC /ITV I recall my mother referring to the box in the corner as the eejit’s (idiots) lantern . stating that it would do more harm than good . My father disagreed strongly he being a fan of Grandstand -Boxing from Madison Square garden and of course the horse racing from Sandown etc . TV has become so ubiquitous that it’s hard to imagine how people lived before it’s advent .And now it’s 1,000 channels worldwide for those who want the ‘full package ‘ . It has become the ‘decider of elections ‘ the ‘primary candidate picker ‘ .If a politician is not on TV he’she does not exist .This may be changing somewhat in the direction of the internet and blogosphere but for the older generation those above 35 i.e those who vote -the TV has left it’s mark. There are those who will say that it opened up Ireland to the outside world (I agree ) but that was then -The extent to which getting a TV presence requires huge amounts of money virtually dictates that politicians give first preference to those with the power to contribute funds for re-election expenses . Thus do the special and corporatist interests subvert the democratic process via the “corporation is an individual too” maxim -one of Mr Romneys more memorable quotes during the USA presidential election .

    While Thatcher did set the tone for selfishness and greed in the UK we should’nt forget that the Gordon Gecko ‘ideology ‘ first found favour in the the Chicago School and Milton Friedman and the followers of Ayn Rand’s ‘individual uber alles ‘ credo. And it’s antecedents go much further back in economic history to the laissez faire school of ‘let them eat cake ‘ and even the Irish famine experience in which a million died while being subjects of the then richest country on the planet .

    There is like it or not a breed of humanity to be found in all cultures and nations and at all times in history who will./would sell their mothers for an extra buck and who exist without any evidence of a social conscience or any regard for their fellow humans .Capitalism for all it’s benefits and there are many, tends to (in the absence of any limiting governmental regulation or social safety net or written constitution ) bring to the fore some of the worst of these ‘individuals ‘ In earlier epochs of history this breed would be found in the ranks if the aristocracy and the medieval church etc.

    There is a hope sometimes expressed here on slugger that the internet will prevent a new age of totalitarian tyranny .I”m not so sure . George Orwell’s ‘Big Brother’s tentacles now reach around the globe and we see with this Snowden case and others that there is a thin line between those who would use the web and mass data for society’s protection and those who would use for their corporate or political aggrandisement .

  • SeaanUiNeill

    No problem, greenflag, I was being rhetorical to put a few comments in. My hope too, but I really expect disapointment after my own time among these people.

    Some really brillaint points, and stories all through a graet posting. And thanks again for the Gabriel link. I really enjoyed seeing the “criminals” getting some “justice” if only in fiction. And to see “politicians actually counted for something or were believed to have ‘power’ and represented people rather than banksters and corporations” if only in fiction.