Originally Posted by hatrickpatrick
Godge I'm sure I've probably asked you this before, but all partuisan bickering aside, where do you actually stand on the financial sector? What's your opinion on it?
Do you regard what went wrong as 'mistakes', or 'deliberate, greedy "as long as I'm ok no one else matters"-ism' on the part of those in charge of it?
I think that's where our key ideological disagreement is here, you regard it as an accident, I (and other what you define as 'hard left' protesters) regard it as deliberate corruption for which the perpetrators should be penalized.
Yes, I think you have asked me before and I think I have answered but in case it is lost here goes.
The Irish financial crisis (and this is the one that affects us) was partly caused by the global events. However, and this is the important point, most of it is down to domestic events. Firstly, there was the stupidly over-confident David Drumm and Sean Fitzpatrick who believed they could build a third force in Irish banking and who convinced thousands of shareholders, investers, government ministers and officials and loan customers, mostly businessmen that their stupid foolish dream could come true.
Secondly, there was the stupid reaction of the other banks who saw the Anglo model, and under pressure from shareholders and borrowers followed suit. They were supported in this endeavour by weak regulation from the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator which were retirement homes for former Department of Finance officials.
Thirdly, there was the reaction of the average gombeen Irishman who saw a chance to make a buck through property. The result of all of that was an unsustainable property boom in Ireland. When the financial markets went wallop we were at the top of the boom, the closest analogy I can think of is that Coyote character in the Road Runner cartoon who keeps running after the cliff has run out and suddently realises there is a long way to fall.
Fourthly, there was the incredible stupidity of Cowen, McCreevy, Ahern and Lenihan who attached our government finances both expenditure and tax on to the back of the property boom and said "let the good times roll". Their approach to regulation also played a huge part. What's more, despite being warned about them, the stupid Irish voters (nearly half of them) re-elected this crowd in 2007.
So most of the mess was created by ourselves which we then proceeded to make even worse by our response to the crisis. The bank guarantee introduced by Brian Lenihan in September 2008 was the single most stupid decision ever taken in the history of the state. There were other solutions available (letting Anglo and Irish Nationwide go bust and take AIB and BOI into state ownership) that would have cost less but it seems that Lenihan was influenced by advice he got from David Mcwilliams (google McWilliams own accounts of their meetings) though the media economist tends to distance himself from that advice these days (wouldn't you?)
Well, the bank guarantee didn't work, our EU partners were furious with us - read the UK reaction at the time, and already faced with a collapse in property tax revenue and an increasing social welfare bill leaving us with a huge hole in our public finances, we now had added on a bank recapitalisation bill (though this is smaller than the structural deficit problem). As a result of that the country was in sh1t and eventually we had to call in the IMF and the EU to bail us out.
So who do I blame? I blame the incompetence and stupidity of bankers, politicians, regulators, shareholders, civil servants, borrowers and also the Irish people themselves. We made this mess, the onus is on us to clean it up. Harsh truth but reality. There is nobody who lived in Ireland who didn't benefit from the boom. The kids got higher child benefit than anywhere in Europe, the pensioners got higher pensions, the civil servants got higher pay, anyone on social welfare got better benefits than anywhere else, we had lower income taxes. We all benefitted and joined in apart from a few who warned about the dangers. Those that didn't accepted the democratic outcome and the legitimacy of the decisions made by FF governments - where were the protesters in 2005, 2006 and 2007 about the increases in social welfare and the cuts in taxation? Too busy protesting about snails in Kildare or a couple of kms of pipeline in Mayo. You dropped the ball on the real issues, lads.
Was there corruption? No, I don't think so in regard to the major decisions. We elected the politicians who took the disastorous decisions on tax and spending, we then re-elected the same crowd with a few Greens and they took the bank guarantee decision. Those are the things that made the mess, nothing corrupt about that.
Was there something going on in the banks? The Quinn loans, the director loans in Anglo, Fingleton in Irish Nationwide, there may have been breaches of company and/or fraud law in these cases, let us wait and see but I very much doubt that the major decisions that caused the problem were corrupt. They were made by stupid incompetent politicians (or their appointees) who the electorate stupidly elected.
So yes, I am very angry about what happened, but I also realise that we have made our bed in this situation and we have to sleep in it, uncomfortable and all as that is. What annoys me about the people who end up in groups like the ULA, PfP and ODS, is their point-blank refusal as Irishmen and Irishwomen to accept that this is our own fault and instead of protesting and crying and looking around for someone else to blame, we should just get on with the task on rebuilding this country and economy, something I believe is eminently possible.