Election: New government expected but same old politics to continue.

Back on the 23rd June 2006 when Ireland was the richest country on the planet Berty Ahern, Taoiseach, had this to say in the Dail.

“You would love to bring us back to the pathetic poverty when de Valera and Lemass built social houses, when no other houses were being built.” That was the “great tradition you and your merry warriors want to bring back too”.
“You have a failed ideology and the most hopeless policy pursued by any nitwit.

You’re a failed person who was rejected, and whose political philosophy has been rejected. You will not pull people back into the failed old policies you dreamed up in south Kerry when you were a young fellow. Now, go away.”

Berty was replying to Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins (now MEP) who had earlier remarked.

“In March 1996, the average price of a home in Dublin was €82,000. This year, 10 years later, it is €384,000, an increase of €300,000. That represents a shocking €30,000 increase per year, the equivalent of the current average industrial wage each year for 10 years. Prices outside Dublin have increased pro rata.

Is there any appreciation by the Government of the dire situation facing young people who earn the average industrial wage and need a home, or any recognition of the hardship of young parents who are saddled with 30- and 40-year mortgages?

Are members of the Government so cosseted by their massive salaries that they are oblivious to the suffering, hardship and desperation?”

Joe added that speculators were buying houses in working class communities left, right and centre.

“A frightening percentage of homes in hitherto stables communities are now rented. Stable communities are being replaced by transient communities, by people who are forced into the laps of landlords, such as migrant workers and those on rent supplement.”

The Irish Times dutifully reported this exchange in their Dail Sketch (as recorded here in the Socialist World) but were not moved to opinion that the boul Joe had a point – with the venerable paper itself, back in those heady days, containing the essential advice on how to safely pick up its burgeoning property section without damaging your back.

Today, as the death rattles of FF reverberate around the country and the Irish political scene descends into near farce, the Plain People of Ireland, who repeatedly elected FF (in spite of a mountain of evidence in tribunals of scurrilous trousering from the leader down to councillor level) are now understandably keen to disassociate themselves from the incumbent government.

But the Plain People should remember that Joe’s apposite words which should have set the economic alarm bells ringing, were drowned out, not just by the disgraceful personal abuse from Berty, but also by the appalling silence from the FG benches as the country careered hopelessly out of control on a bandwagon with destination economic catastrope writ clearly on its side .

They also need to reflect carefully before they spin the old-civil-war-wheel-of-fortune once again and replace one old political adversary with another. Surely its time the Plain People of Ireland looked to the alternatives?

, ,

  • Cynic2

    What alternatives? They are where they are.

    Its a bit like having a baby. After 3 years you cannot take it back and say ‘Wrong size / shape / colour”

  • pippakin

    By 2006 the boom was almost over. The illusion was sustained on borrowed money. Joe Higgins was right. If by alternatives you mean SF I’m not convinced they are, given the recent showing by their president, capable of real debate never mind governing.
    .

  • consul

    You may wait another five years Sammy, there’s one last Civil War Government to go and then it changes to Left vs Right.

  • Joe Higgins may have been right to complain about the increase in house prices. However, this speech indicates that he did not know why he was right.

    If his complaint had been that the country was heading for a banking crisis as a result of debt going out of control, this speech certainly would have commanded plenty of respect.

    In reality, neither the Fianna Fail Government, nor anybody on the opposition, had the foresight that would have enabled the country to steer clear of financial armageddon.

  • Greenflag

    Joseph Stiglitz – Nobel Laureate seems to think there is/was an alternative .

    With the economy projected to grow 3 percent this year, Iceland’s decision to let the banks fail is looking smart — and may prove to be a model for others.

    “Iceland did the right thing by making sure its payment systems continued to function while creditors, not the taxpayers, shouldered the losses of banks,” says Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, an economics professor at Columbia University in New York. “Ireland’s done all the wrong things, on the other hand. That’s probably the worst model.”

    Ireland guaranteed all the liabilities of its banks when they ran into trouble and has been injecting capital — 37 billion euros ($50 billion) so far — to prop them up. That brought the country to the brink of ruin, forcing it to accept a rescue package from the European Union in December.

    Saving the Future

    Arni Pall Arnason, 44, Iceland’s minister of economic affairs, says the decision to make debt holders share the pain saved the country’s future.

    “If we’d guaranteed all the banks’ liabilities, we’d be in the same situation as Ireland,” says Arnason, whose Social Democratic Alliance was a junior coalition partner in the Haarde government.

    By guaranteeing bank liabilities, Ireland faces a public debt burden as high as 12 times the country’s GDP. Iceland’s is about 85 percent.

    “Our future isn’t as bleak because our public debt isn’t as high,” says Hoskuldur Olafsson, chief executive officer of Arion Banki hf, the new bank formed to take over Kaupthing’s domestic assets.

    The full story (almost )
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-01/iceland-proves-ireland-did-wrong-things-saving-banks-instead-of-taxpayer.html

  • Greenflag

    @ seymour ‘

    ‘In reality, neither the Fianna Fail Government, nor anybody on the opposition, had the foresight that would have enabled the country to steer clear of financial armageddon.’

    Full marks for the obvious -on the other hand the Icelanders took another alternative route which seems to be yielding more positive dividends .

    Joseph Stiglitz – Nobel Laureate seems to think there is/was an alternative .

    With the economy projected to grow 3 percent this year, Iceland’s decision to let the banks fail is looking smart — and may prove to be a model for others.

    “Iceland did the right thing by making sure its payment systems continued to function while creditors, not the taxpayers, shouldered the losses of banks,” says Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, an economics professor at Columbia University in New York. “Ireland’s done all the wrong things, on the other hand. That’s probably the worst model.”

    Ireland guaranteed all the liabilities of its banks when they ran into trouble and has been injecting capital — 37 billion euros ($50 billion) so far — to prop them up. That brought the country to the brink of ruin, forcing it to accept a rescue package from the European Union in December.

    Saving the Future

    Arni Pall Arnason, 44, Iceland’s minister of economic affairs, says the decision to make debt holders share the pain saved the country’s future.

    “If we’d guaranteed all the banks’ liabilities, we’d be in the same situation as Ireland,” says Arnason, whose Social Democratic Alliance was a junior coalition partner in the Haarde government.

    By guaranteeing bank liabilities, Ireland faces a public debt burden as high as 12 times the country’s GDP. Iceland’s is about 85 percent.

    “Our future isn’t as bleak because our public debt isn’t as high,” says Hoskuldur Olafsson, chief executive officer of Arion Banki hf, the new bank formed to take over Kaupthing’s domestic assets.

    The full story (almost )
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-01/iceland-proves-ireland-did-wrong-things-saving-banks-instead-of-taxpayer.html

  • ORWELLSPEN

    Err, who funds the IMF? if every country on earth owes them money, then surely everyone can stop paying? Who would lose? The IMF? they’re not a nation state so to hell with them

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Cynic2,

    The Labour Party, Sinn Fein, Green Party, People Before Profit are alternatives though clearly not enough seats as currently predicted to win a majority.

    Pippakin,

    SF, contrary to thlargely unionist-inspired-bile that is directed at them in Ulster have proven themselves (as indicated by Marty’s poll ratings in the BelTel) to be pragamatic and effective. Anyone who can navigate government whilst sharing it with a party like as beligerent and backward looking and thinking as the DUP

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    cont. can navigate government in the South.

  • Cynic2

    Sammy

    REAL alternatives who have a CREDIBLE way forward not a Socialist / Marxist utopian dream

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Seymour Major,

    It is not the fact that the boul Joe fully knew exactly what was about to befall the country but that when he brought attention to an extremely dangerous symptom he was actually laughed at.

    I heard Joe’s speech and was genuinely shocked to hear Berty’s reply, and the acquiesence to in the Dail, not because I thought the country would actually economically implode but rather that because the building boom and rise in house prices was clealry unhealthy and unsustainable.

    …menawhile FF and FG – spent most of their time arguing over stamp duty and were virtually interchangeable in terms of economic policy.

    Cynic2,

    “REAL alternatives who have a CREDIBLE way forward not a Socialist / Marxist utopian dream”

    Who are you referring to?

    People before Profit?

    SF’s policies are marginally left of centre as we can see in Ulster and the Labour Party are about the same.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    ‘Anyone who can navigate government whilst sharing it with a party like as beligerent and backward looking and thinking as the DUP can navigate government in the South.’

    Rather ironically the DUP & SF make ideal bedfellows for just the reasons you’ve given — both are indeed beligerent and backward looking, whether it be 1690, 1916, an archaic notion of Britishness/Irishness or a Marxist-lite vision already proven to fail on multiple occasions.

    Or put it another way, anyone who can govern with mediocrities such as the DUP and still produce the dismal performances of Ruane, Murphy and Gildernew really shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the levers of actual power in the south. SFs flailing appeal to the electorate appears to consist of ‘we can’t do any worse than the last lot.’ How inspiring.

  • ORWELLSPEN

    I detect a complete lack of gratitude to Bertie. Under his rule, Ireland became a heavy weight. He gave us our pride back and in the country. I’ve seen the confidence he had given Eire and the hope and prosperity too. We all had our snouts in the trough and boy wasn’t it wonderful? Those times are gone but what a time we had. What did u want instead? Ireland knowing honest perennial penuary or the dizzy unreality of knowing what it was like to live in a success story, even for just a little while. Bertie was the greatest Taoiseach Eire ever had. As a unionist, I would even have considered voting for a UI during his time. He secularised and modernised and made Eire the envy of the world. Eire will rise again

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    ORWELLSPEN,

    What did u want instead?

    A smidgen of bank regulation, a dollop of economic common sense and a pinch of public probity was a reasonable expectation.

  • Mack

    So you want Joe Higgins to replace FF, FG & Labour? A massive lurch leftward is it not young Samuel!

    It was drowned out by the euphoria of a large part of the citzenry, high on house price rises..

    People before profit in power would be disasterous for the country. Have you looked at their website? These guys are unreconstructed central planners.

    The big problem with FF was that they pursued populist policies that won them medium support at long term expense. They mixed and matched left and right when it suited. They had lax regulation and tax cuts coupled with benchmarking, social welfare rises, large increases in PS employment. While private profits were private in the boom, they socialised the loses in the bust.

    Had FF followed the policies of SF recent road-to-damascus-banking-market-conversion back in 2008 they and the country wouldn’t be in such a mess..

    None of which means Joe Higgins economic policies are sensible 🙂

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Mack,

    I wouldnt vote for People Before Profit myself. But I would vote for SF and Labour (vote early vote twice) – but it loks currently like they will get enough seats.

    The point about Joe is that he was laughed at by the Dail when he drew attention to an (obviously) extremely dangerous economic symptom. I think most of the Plain People of Ireland, dull as they may have been for electing someone like Bertram (who carried his money around in brown paper bags, didnt have a bank account and wrote blank cheques for his mentor and arch trouserer- the Boul Charlie) would probably now vote for the boul Joe rather than Bertram if they both ran for president.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    corection: but it looks currently like they will not get enough seats.

  • Greenflag

    orwellspin

    ‘Who funds the IMF ?

    A good question -the link below gives most of the answer. The entire mass media and our politicians seem to have forgotten the mid 1980’s economic crisis brought about by the failure to cut spending and out of control public sector spending . Back then FF were not as desperate as they are today and Ray (Mack the Knife) McSharry as Finance Minister was able to convince the Party that if action was not taken the IMF who were already knocking on the door -would soon be kicking in the door and selling off whatever assets the country had in devaluated ‘punts’ .

    Excerpt from link below.

    The conditions of an IMF deal are always the same. Privatization of state industries is top on the list. The effect of privatization with a cheap Peso or Rouble currency is that foreign dollar investors are able to buy up the prime assets of a country dirt cheap. Often the politicians involved in the country get corrupted by the lure of under-the-table deals in privatizing their national assets. Foreign multinationals can grab profitable mining, oil, or other national treasures with their dollars.

    In Ireland’s case the ESB/Aer Lingus etc etc would be natural targets for the international asset strippers or corporate masters of the universe .

    http://www.serendipity.li/hr/imf_and_dollar_system.htm

  • Mack

    @Greenflag

    Eh?

    We’re in the euro, there is no cheap Peso.

    And Aer Lingus is already a private company with no monopoly (under intense competition from Ryanair in fact).

  • Greenflag

    addendum

    This scenario may sound familiar or soon will to Irish eyes and ears .

    ‘Once the IMF got control of South Korea, one of the strongest industrial economies in the world, it demanded breakup of large industry conglomerates, charging “corruption” and “crony capitalism.” In fact, Washington hoped to weaken a growing competitor and open the door for US companies like GM or Ford to take over. In part it worked, until Korea and other regional economies were strong enough to re-impose national controls. Malaysia openly defied the IMF demands and imposed currency controls during the crisis. The damage to Malaysia was minimal as a result, a great embarrassment to the IMF.

    GF comment . Some out there may have noted that President Obama returned form his recent South Korean visit somewhat empty handed . The South Koreans still have ownership of their auto manufacturing and much else besides- no thanks to the IMF .

  • Greenflag

    Mack ,

    I know – that particular excerpt and link is from circa 2002 or a bit later and I understand that being in the Eurozone has restricted Ireland’s policy options. Aer Lingus will soon enough be gobbled up by Ryan Air particularly if current oil prices keep heading the way they are as of now.

    The point is the IMF is still the same as it was in the mid 1980’s . The predator of last resort and no country should ever put themselves in a position where they have to accept the ‘conditionalities’ of an IMF agreement . Lets hope our ‘new government ‘ can extricate us from the clutches of the IMF bastards and their ECB cousins a.s.a.p and if bondholders have to be burnt -so be it .

    I see FG are slipping in support . People instinctively feel that Enda has’nt got the bottle to stand up to the corporate Bank thugs in Germany, France and the UK who have most to lose in a ‘bonfire of the bondholders ‘/

    If SF had any political nous they would be renting out those english speaking Icelandic ‘defaulters ‘ and putting them on their ‘party political broadcasts’ . Might upstage Gerry Adams et all but they might help to stiffen the resolve of Irish taxpayers in the upcoming struggle that will have to be waged against the IMF/ECB .

  • Mack

    GF -kind of agree. Certainly that no country should get themselves in that position. It’s a one sided negative view though of the imf. Crony capitalism was key to the Asian crisis of the late 90’s as in Ireland today.

    FWIW GM own Daewoo.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Gerry lvs Castro,

    “SFs flailing appeal to the electorate appears to consist of ‘we can’t do any worse than the last lot.’ How inspiring.”

    Such an approach is to be expected given the state of country as delivered to us by the incumbent government and is a feature of most opposition parties during elections here and elsewhere. The Tories simply made up some guff about the ‘big society’ which most of their own party didnt understand and couldnt explain – so at least we dont have to suffer that type of nonsense.

    But I do partly agree, that some sort of ‘vision'( to use an appalling term) would not go amiss but I suppose when the house has just fallen down it is difficult to see past simply saying you are going to re-build it and emphasise you will not make the same mistakes as previously.

    As mentioned on another thread – SF are quite right to let FF/FG have it in the neck when they complain about others being economic ‘nitwits’ having just visited economic armageddon on the country.

  • ForkHandles

    Sammy, what on earth is a ‘boul’ ? Its a new one on me!

  • Cynic2

    Fork Handles

    You need to go to Ulster Scots classes or have bought a copy of the belfast Telegraph from a street urchin in the 1960’s or 70’s

    ‘boul’ and ’bout ye’ are fundamental to our National Identity.

  • “Surely its time the Plain People of Ireland looked to the alternatives?”

    Here is a perfectly viable alternative which is ideally suited to both the hard drinking, fighting Irish temperament and hard working, pioneering navvy spirit which battles against injustice and persecution to always triumph against previously thought and perceived as impossible odds …… http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=178923

    And the bigger picture which it reveals is also something which Stormont lackeys should be interesting themselves in, for they are not exercising any great innovations to lift the population out of their engineered indebtedness to a banking system which is wholly dependent upon ignorant public participation in their debt creation instruments/honey trap deals with credit, which incidentally, with the bailouts given to banks to keep them in the business of screwing you, is your money sitting in their pockets and which they are not supplying to you for future business and consumer spending, but sharing and salting it away amongst themselves and dodgy friends and paying themselves fat cat wages and obscene bonuses to boot. Living high off public and private money and accumulated third party wealth, whilst producing absolutely nothing of physical value themselves.

    Who are the ignorant fools and arrogant mugs in the above scenario and would it be crazy to let it continue, for you can see and feel where it is leading, with prices rising and money disappearing/being withdrawn from circulation and made harder to access every day …… to screw you into the ground and enslave you with poverty. And all in a world and a system in which they just invent countless trillions from out of thin air and then charge the masses crippling interest on returning it to the system with its spending which creates the industries and economies which keep the whole sad sorry system thriving and the pathetic mad parasites, alive.

    Wake up, smell the coffee, you BIFFO types.

    How about hosting that video and starting a thread on what needs to be done, Mick/Slugger, and what can easily be done to change the Wretched Past into a Novel Future. And whenever it and IT is easily done by A.N.Others, is the fact that you may not yourselves have the necessary skills and leverages to effect revolutionary and evolutionary change, no excuse to not to embrace what can be easily done Today, for Tomorrow, by A.N.Others, Sharing New Knowledge and Old Wisdoms.

    I can assure you, that ICT is at such a stage of Universal Development to Virtually Guarantee Enablement and Delivery of Roaring Success in any Capital Venture to Enrich the Lives of the Masses.

  • pippakin

    SammyMc

    Martin McGuinness is not standing in the south, check the approval ratings for Catriona and the others, there’s another Ruane standing in Mayo, fat chance of getting my vote for her. I don’t believe in family dynasty.

    Labour is the way to vote, SF too if they had more Doherty and less Adams.

    I Saw the program about Paul Quinn last night, more SF votes down the toilet:

  • ForkHandles

    well boul me if i didnt find all the boul’n explanations a boul could possibly need ! my heads bouled!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/voices/atilazed/b.shtml
    Boul = bold, and both boul and bold are used locally to mean naughty or cheeky or disrespectful. Children are told “Stop that ye boul boy!” or “Don’t be so bold!” From: Bernie

    ‘Yer Ma’ adds: Boul – Can mean to shout at someone in an angry tone ‘I bouled the head off her’ or also having a good time ‘Last night was a good boul’.

    you can also find some great words such as
    Bake
    Baldy notion
    Balleecksed
    Banjaxed
    Bate
    Beamer
    Beezer
    Bin Lid
    Blether
    Blootered
    Boggin
    Boke
    Breeks
    Bucketing

    most amusing 🙂

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    ForkHandles,

    Was just looking at that myself – generally the term is one of affection and suggesive of charachter but I think may also suggest a measure of disresepct if attached to a public figure – I believe their may be rival claims on the term (as always) from South of the border.

    amnafrommars,

    Although a fan of your post-Newtonian-physics I fear this (gravity defying) ideology is at least partly responsible for Bertram and the others in FF/FG not realising that house prices would be inclined to fall at some point.

    pippakin,

    …perhaps Marty could be a Minister in Ulster and in the Other-Three-Provinces as well.

    I agree that SF should have more Doherty and less Adams – Gerry should be rolled out for his grand ‘vision’ and Doherty do more of the nitty-gritty.

  • wee buns

    amanfrommars

    Thanks for the link.
    Iceland is rarely mentioned by any party bar SF.
    Agreed the emphasis is loaded on the glass-half-empty argument (what if we starve?) as opposed to glass-half-full argument (what if we default & don’t starve?).
    Surely this is the core of any debate that is worth having.

  • Mack

    @Greenflag –

    Jeebus, that was the worst link you’ve ever posted!!

    About the author –

    “Engdahl stated in 2007 that he had come to believe that petroleum is not biological in origin, produced from remains of prehistoric zooplankton and algae …

    Instead he now believes the hypothesis that petroleum is geological in origin, produced deep underground from carbon, by conditions and forces of heat and pressure deeper down than the Earth’s bioshpere

    He claims that global warming, like peak oil, is merely a “scare” and an attempt “by powerful vested interests to convince the world to sacrifice [so] that they remain in control of the events of this planet”

    Right………..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._William_Engdahl

    The IMF is funded from three sources

    1. Gold Reserves
    2. Repayments from debtor nations
    3. Members in rough proportion to their voting rights, (the US prior to forthcoming changes has 17% of the votes, industrialised nations have 57% in total. This is changing China and other emerging nations contributed significantly to the last €500bn round of funding).

  • It’s an argument that needs far greater scope that this cramped dialogue box.

    Still, here goes, in a sentence or a dozen.

    I’m wondering if the essential problem is whether Ireland is set on being a “closed” or an “open” society. OK: that’s got the Popper-types all excited; butt Henri Bergson (1932) got there first.

    Where Bergson might take us next, of course, is the function of religion in providing the outlet for solidarity and continuity in our disparate society. In Irish politics (north and south) we spend our time quibbling over whether we are a democratic theocracy or a theocratic democracy. Even James Connolly didn’t get out of that dilemma alive.

    What we have hardly achieved is a proper, functioning version of the open society on the Anglo-Saxon model, that self-winding mainspring of modern capitalism.

    When we finally risked winding it up, we couldn’t get over our “closed”-ness and so got cronyism and cute hooring (for me that applies to North Antrim as it does to North Dublin).

    On the other hand, we are developing many of the features of an Open Society. Social stratification went some time back. Traditions are being broken down. Individual conscience is replacing stale custom and dictated social discipline. Gender roles are being warped. The tribal loyalties are decaying: quicker for FF and the UUP than either would like.

    If any of this holds water, we are in a pre-revolutionary phase. It will not be a socialist or republican revolution, but a bourgeois capitalist one. A least that’s one step on the way.

  • Mack

    @Malcolm

    Ireland is far from perfect, but is much more an open society than a closed one. Especially today.

  • Mack

    What we have hardly achieved is a proper, functioning version of the open society on the Anglo-Saxon model, that self-winding mainspring of modern capitalism.

    I’m really not sure about that. The two largest Anglo-Saxons states, the USA and the UK have for most of the last century had one of two parties in government. In Ireland, many voices have been heard (FF, FG, Labour, Greens, PDs, Inds, Clann na poblachta) and exerted influence either through the Dail or Seanad or even the office of President. There is also much more predireliction to smaller parties having a voice in the Dail. In this upcoming election especially so.

    There are many excellent open channels of debate. The Frontline on RTE, Questions and Answers, a free press, an uncensored and lively internet. The role of the church is much diminished, by the choice of the people, but their voices and opinions are still heard still matter.

    Surely this is the heart of the open society, that human life in all it’s complexity and alternative view points can find away to peacable interact in the public spaces and accomodate a multitude of view points.

    In this election we’ll have an ex-Interest Rate Derivatives trader (and spread betting executive) running, along with hard core Trotskyist central planners, hard core nationalists, liberals, social democrats, conservatives, christains and those who focus only on their own local needs. They’ll all have a voice and space..

  • Mack @ 11:35 am:

    Which is what I hope I was saying.

    It wasn’t always thus; and the process of transition is not painless.

    Take a simple example and explain the outcome last time (24 May 2007) in terms of being a brave move to “open-ness”. As I recall dissolution of the 29th Dáil happened only after some dodgy redistributions (and non-redistributions); was timed precisely to stymie the Mahon Inquiry; and it was all downhill from there. I’m less than convinced the soft-shoe shuffle to avoid consulting the electors this time has been “open” and edifying.

    No: I’m not making odious comparisons, so no whataboutery, please.

  • Mack

    @Malcolm

    Is it not expecting to much, to expect any and all members of society to act with the goal of maximising the opennes of society at all times? Vested interests are always going to oppose opennes at the point that it intersects / impinges upon their interests.

    The fact is they’d be forced, constitutionally, to face the electorate eventually anyway, and in the end their was a fracture because what was happening was damaging the support for various factions, opening up the way for new factions to seek a mandate and a new consensus for a while..

  • Greenflag

    Mack,

    ‘Certainly that no country should get themselves in that position. ‘

    Which is a fair enough comment and I’m not suggesting that Ireland should walk away as in unilateral default from the situation . This is not an option within the Eurozone .

    ‘It’s a one sided negative view though of the IMF’

    It is I’ll admit . I could’nt find any ‘positive ‘ views or else they are hidden away somewhere in a bank vault in Switzerland or Washington DC.

    BTW I don’t share Mr Engdahl’s views on global warming or on geology but he does hit a few targets with his read of the IMF .

    As to the IMF ‘funding ‘ . Whose Gold Reserves and belonging to which nations ? Does anybody know how much Gold is even in Swiss Banks.

    Another way to look at the IMF is as a closed shop of international bankers whose interest is in their own survival . They are thus able to put pressure on governments around the world to ‘bail out ‘ the banks even when those banks are seen to have ‘become ‘ gambling casinos and over leveraged .

    Its at the crossing point with electoral politics that the current ‘banking ‘ crisis has to be seen -not in economic theories but in the impact on millions of peoples lives and their children’s lives .

    I think most people in Ireland now understand and accept that they and their politicians and bankers and ‘mandarins’ and fiancial regulators unions are not blame free in this situation . And they will hold FF and the GP electorally responsible for what is now seen as that unnecessary ‘Guarantee ‘ to the international bond holders re their ‘gambling ‘ deposits in the Irish and other banks here .

    I believe the Irish taxpayer understands that while we have a responsibility to cough up in terms of reduced public spending and negative equity and higher unemployment -that taxpayer should not be asked to to pay ‘reparations ‘ to the German, French or British banks who were very quick about making risky property investments in an already overheated market . Bad enough paying for our own home grown ‘stupidity’ without having to pay for more than half of the Eurozone’s bankers as well ?

    I can only hope that this issue will become the main one in this coming election and that a lot more light will be shone on the detail of this very obviously high pressured agreement -forced down Biffo and Lenihan’s throats in order to stop a run on German, British and French banks .

  • Greenflag

    Mack,

    ‘They’ll all have a voice and space..’

    That they will -The people are however looking for answers and so far they are being told that there is no alternative to the IMF/ECB strait jacket by FF -and FG and Labour are already at each other’s throats showing that ‘distrust’ between them is built in -meanwhile SF are less than coherent while Independents are covering a very wide political spectrum .

    We may be in for several weeks of ‘sound and fury ‘ signifying nothing other than the steering wheel is held by a different pair of hands but we’re still running on economic and political empty 🙁

    The GP leader Gormley made a point a few days ago that we need to reform our ‘electoral ‘ system and he’s right . But I doubt if that issue will get much of a hearing in this economy and jobs election.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    GreenFlag,

    “I can only hope that this issue will become the main one in this coming election and that a lot more light will be shone on the detail of this very obviously high pressured agreement -forced down Biffo and Lenihan’s throats in order to stop a run on German, British and French banks .”

    I’m not sure Ireland (in this instance FF) had much option but to take the IMF deal on offer – they arguably should have put their foot down somewhat ealrier and refused to bail out the banks – they have should have quietly and firmly told the EU this at the time of the guarantee.

    With the bond markets on Irelands case when the IMF deal was being offered I personally think Lenihan did a good job in navigating through it.

    Lenihan could arguably be praised as a good firefighter but this does not absolve him from his shared of the blame for setting the premises alight in the first place.

  • EdgarDavids

    No wonder SF do well at elections given the media hype and publicity this party receives due to its controversial (being diplomatic here!) past!

    How many Irish election discussions do we see here in the north where the other parties hardly feature except to lazily tell us that FF are struggling and FG and LAB are likely to form the next coalition.

    The media, particularly in the north, serve SF well which is interesting when we take into account both BBC NI and UTV could be considered to be of a mild Unionist disposition!

    Maybe, like Ian Paisley Jnr, they prefer negotiating with SF than the other nationalist parties on this island!

  • Greenflag

    IWSMCN,

    They are all ‘firefighters’ now -all the way from Lenehan to the leaders of the G-20 to the IMF -the Federal Reserve and the ECB . As of now they are all hose holding and water is being emitted in fits and starts but none of them know who is controlling the tap nor whether whats coming out of the tap will mirabile dictu turn from water not into wine but into a gaseous fossil fuel which will ignite another global meltdown .

    The problem with hiring somebody who is good in a financial and political crisis may not be too dissimilar from those found when hiring a firefighter who is also a pyromaniac ;(?

    Lenihan did the best he was allowed to do by others and by others I mean those unelected by the irish people.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Greenflag,

    Dont tell anyone – but I did warm ( not a further firefighter pun) during the IMF takeover/deal making.

    I thought he dealt with a very delicate and difficult situation very well even as his own FF backbenchers – many realising that there poitical careers were probably over – went into panic mode and seemed to have run amok.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    correction: but I did warm to the boy Lenihan