From GUBU wire…

David McWilliams arrested STOP. Under the terms of the Patriot Bill STOP. Charges of subversion and incitement to financial panic STOP. You can read the rest here. File under humour STOP.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • The Dubliner

    David McWilliams, like all good businessmen, has found a niche market to sell his goods to (packaged and sold to that market in the form of books and television series). Eddie Hobbs found a similar niche with “Rip-off Ireland.” The problem is when the business of selling their views takes precedence over the professional integrity that lends their views instant credibility from the public. Hobbs proffers himself as an accountant and Williams as an economist. Hobbs compared Irish prices of common goods in Euros with other European countries and found than Irish prices were higher. This led him to the sensationalist conclusion that Ireland was a Rip-off country – which was a great package to sell his views in the inevitable books and television series, but it was woeful accountancy, since it ignored other factors that didn’t support his conclusion, e.g. higher wage, transport and rent costs for Irish retailers, leading to an upward adjustment in prices that didn’t equate to the inflated profit margins that at the customers’ expense as Hobbs implied. Good businessman, poor professional. Likewise, McWilliams informs us to the effect that we aren’t really wealthy, but just feel wealthy due to our high property prices and our use of credit. Great, expect for the fact that Ireland has more millionaires per capita (33,000 in total) than any other country in the world apart from Japan and that the principle primary asset (i.e. the house) is excluded from the calculation. Ergo, out greater wealth (and out ‘feeling’ of it – whatever that is supposed to be) has nothing whatsoever to do with the price of our house and everything to do with our non-primary assets. We also save more of our incomes than any other country in Europe apart from Germany (14%) and have an extremely healthy balance sheet with a debt to asset ratio of 6 to 1 – giving the bankers nothing whatsoever to worry about. Still, good luck to the businessmen in our healthy economy and the clever ways they find to make money in it – Hobbs and Williams among them.