24 Jun 2009

On the question of whether we the Irish taxpayer should be putting €4B into shoring up the ailing Anglo Irish Bank, I thought the chap who asked Alan Dukes ‘do you ever get fed up trying to explain complex banking issues to the (stupid) [my parenthesis added] public?’ on Questions + Answers last week might have hit the nail on the head, but in a way he himself wasn’t intending.

Hopefully not being too unfair to this gentleman, it seemed to me that what he was trying to do in his question was imply that if the ordinary Irish citizen better understood how necessary it is when dealing with international bankers to maintain an air of scheming connivance and, furthermore, if we only understood the sanctity of the secrecy and unaccountability which characterizes the world of big finance we would, in order to allow the next financial ponzi scheme take root and destroy us afresh, let retired-politicians-turned-bankers fling money into a black hole in quiet acquiescence. While Dukes dutifully replied that no, on the contrary he quite enjoyed trying to convince the reluctant public of why it should continue to live only to support the banking system, I thought I sensed that he actually really did appreciate the questioner's intention: yes folks, he appeared to hint, little people don’t understand what this kind of thing is all about and are better off leaving it to those who do. Like him.

If we accept both Alan Dukes’ and Mary Coughlan’s assertion that the main reason for supporting Anglo is to protect our national reputation then wouldn’t this mean we’d be spending an equivalent amount of money convincing the rest of the civilized world that we have no tolerance for the frocked child abusers who terrorized a previous generation? (The Ryan report is already drifting into a convenient haze...) And, in any event, does anyone really, really believe that, when a situation can be exploited for a quick buck, international banks care a jot for a country’s financial reputation? In five years time when the money starts to flow around these parts again, they’ll be back.
 
In short, the Government is simply lying to us about what it’s doing. The reason why they’re intent on supporting Anglo Irish Bank is because they’ve been told to do so by Brussels. And this is what really lies at the heart of the Lisbon Treaty: the freedom to let money do what money wants to do.   

Meanwhile, the cause of all this mess – a planning system whose only obvious effect in recent years has been, not to improve our way of life in any measurable fashion, but only to create a little bubble within which the spectacularly greedy indulged themselves in a diabolic orgy – remains fully intact, its failings completely oblivious to a cabinet of demagogues, high on dema but low on gogue.

And now I need a drink.

Thursday, 25 June 2009 11:29:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Well said.

I had a glance through some recent legislation and it appears that the government is going to give local authorities "discretion" to extend planning permissions by up to five years.

Why in God's name would they do this? It is unlikely that the LA will be legally able to refuse an extension of time.

Planning permission is for a fixed period, you pays your money, you takes your chance. Society has an expectation that if you don't build before the time allowed then the permission expires. The risk is with the applicant. I don't believe that any of the big developers that this measure benefits could not have been unaware of the risks.

The harm that this measure does is quite serious since it keeps alive permissions for development which are entirely unsuitable and thereby blocks the bringing forward of applications for more suitable development. Particularly so in light of global warming and oil prices.

I think I need a drink too.
FPL
Thursday, 25 June 2009 12:19:08 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
F,

I got an email from someone suggesting that the committee which is advising on how NAMA should be set up is suggesting that NAMA should have powers to grant planning permissions. I've been calling around to find out if this is true or not. If it is, it confirms that NAMA can only possibly work if there are guarantees that the land banks it'll inherit can be overdeveloped. Otherwise there's no hope for the tax payer to get its money back.
Garry
Thursday, 25 June 2009 19:47:16 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
We're rightly bollixed if that is the case. It would be a bit like turning the whole country in DDDA.
FPL
Tuesday, 28 July 2009 16:54:26 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I'm a bit late in catching up with you, Garry, but right on! The ordinary public only has common sense - not enough to deal in high powered, convoluted international banking schemes! And you're right -- our international 'reputation' will soon be overlooked when money starts looking around for a home.

Good luck!
Mary
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