“You’re not being taught to think outside the box, to think differently from other people…”

Great to see Eamonn dip his toes in the Audioboo waters, not least using that great address book he has… in this piece he talks to the Northern Bank economist Angela McGowan…

Skills base deficit hurting economy here (mp3)

A good way through, Eamonn invites Angela to comment on educational deficits, at which she notes the real problem with NI education is the general capture by rote learning (cramming for examinations), which is killing innovation…

Would have liked to have heard more on the structural problems she refers to…

But stick the end, not least for classic Mallie, cutting to the chase, “Have you guys any money…” Thankfully for Angela she works for a bank regulated by the Danish rather than the UK or Irish states… The Northern Bank, despite the enterprising efforts of some local banditti, still has plenty of cash…

Making that cash make more money is the trick


  • Eddie (Eamonn) Mac Bhloscaidh

    “Great to see Eamonn dip his toes in the Audioboo waters”


    Is he doing it for free?

    Frankly, I think it is a tragedy that professional journalists are tweeting, audiobooing, blogging etc for free.

    It is literally killing a profession, which many in the ‘social’ media will rejoice.

    But let us not forget that ‘new’ media is entirely parasitic on ‘old’ media, that Slugger and the ‘journal.ie’ are as you have said yourself Mick ‘repackaging jobs’.

    We wont miss journalists till they are gone, and when they are gone there will be nothing for bloggers to suckle on.

    We will all get our “news” ‘direct’ from the source.

    An improverised for it we will be.

  • Alanbrooke

    Innovation ? In banking ? Who on God’s Earth wants more innovation in banking ? We’ve had years of quants, Harvard Business School and pardigm shifters innovating and it’s wrecked the global economy.

    We want bankers to be boring b*stards who can add and subtract. Innovation is for real businesses who create value, the last thing we need is yet more Fred Goodwins or creative AIBs.

  • Mick Fealty

    Have either of you two gentlemen even bothered to listen to the interview?

    Adds: Not, Eddie, that those are not real concerns. The problem is the business model, not the innovative behaviours of individual journalists.

  • “despite the enterprising efforts of some local banditti”

    And developers too, Mick. Let’s not forget that apart from large wads of dosh being taken from the Northern Bank other large wads will have been advanced/given to developers by local banks. A Belfast bookmaker picked up a site in a North Antrim town which was part of a local bank job lot, presumably at a knock-down price. The bank retrieved some money but I’d think other perhaps more deserving creditors will have got nothing.

  • “Angela to comment on educational deficits, at which she notes the real problem with NI education is the general capture by rote learning (cramming for examinations), which is killing innovation”

    Everyone’s an expert eh? When we have economists setting education policy and practice then we’ll really be in trouble.

  • Alanbrooke


    Yes; and frankly I would put more trust in Shane McGowan’s view of education and economics than Angela’s.

  • jthree

    In the first six months of this year alone Northern lost £90m – basically the bank admitting that another big chunk of its shareholders money had been spunked away on property speculation.

    In terms of damaging the bank the best efforts of the Provos were miniscule in comparsion to the impact of our credit ‘millionaires.’

  • DC

    The Northern Bank still has plenty of cash – not as much as what it used to by the run of things.

    If the Northern was still quids in then that bank wouldn’t have had to introduce a new £10 fee for using its arranged overdraft facility. It used to be that you could go into your overdraft and be charged only the interest on the amount overdrawn, but now there is this new £10 charge for going into the red. And I’m sure the interest on the overdraft has gone up as well.

    Also, I was thinking about a new regional bank for N. Ireland – wouldn’t public money be put to better use – block grant money – by channelling hundreds of millions into setting up a new bank – a regional government owned GoCo bank, than fight tooth and nail for a reduction in corporation tax only to lose a set amount from the block grant that way?

    So, instead the Assembly should knock a reduction in CT on the head – and instead look into the possibility of reducing public spending on services that regulate employment and the staffing associated with that and pump that money – hundreds of millions year on year – into a new regional bank. Such a bank might be better for regional economic growth than reducing corporation tax.

    What’s the point in government agencies having a lot of staff and resources regulating employment and services etc whenever there’s actually a drying up of private sector jobs and reduction in said services, simply because the banks have been found out in that they’ve no money left to fund small business start ups etc. At least not at a rate of interest which small businesses can afford, or qualify for based on showing such banks that they have had sound books and have been profitable over X number of years.

    Take a look at China – from wiki:

    ‘The current Chinese economy consists of 150 corporatized state enterprises that report directly to China’s central government.[40] By 2008, these state-owned corporations had become increasingly dynamic and generated large increases in revenue for the state,[41][42] resulting in a state-sector led recovery during the 2009 financial crises while accounting for most of China’s economic growth.[43]

  • DC

    I’m sure Europe and its EU institutions might disagree with the above proposal in terms of state aid – but hey pay me and any member of the public £500,000 a year (Barosso and Co) and I’m sure I would actually disagree with this proposal on behalf of the EU wiseguys.

  • “The problem is the business model”

    Indeed it is and so far only the big boys have managed to solve this problem, most of the rest exist on a hope and a pray. I have no criticism of journalists who try and innovate. They must do this if they are to remain ahead of the pack. But it takes time and energy and folk still have to earn a living. So I have sympathy with Eddie’s points.

    Still there are a great many more news sources out there today than ever before. So I do not accept Eddie’s charge we rely on MSM/newspapers etc for our sources.

    The real problem for the new free media is gaining a source of funding which does not clip your wings.

  • ““Have you guys any money…”

    The money they handle belongs to customers. Has the bank business model changed to the detriment of customers? HQ seems to have been overly enthusiastic in off-loading more expensive but experienced staff and replacing them with cheaper, inexperienced staff who seem to have been rewarded for selling products where the bank creamed off front-end commission.

    The segmentation of the bank into public and commercial divisions probably reduced the flow of local knowledge about dodgy major operators into the important decision making processes.