Well I am bac in the UK (just as well I am not big on football!), in fact just meet Eric Lubbock (Lord Avebury) at Westminster but I am still focused on Ireland.
Must take more notice of Irish Left Review, do have a look at their review of a new book on the Irish economic fuck up.
It is rare indeed to be able to laugh in any of the books about Ireland’s mad rush to sell itself to its shiftiest shysters, but Allen brought tears of laughter to my eyes with his romp through the ‘predictions’ of our economists. Dan McLaughlin, for example, who must be either one of Ireland stupidest economists, or one of our crookedest, said that it was ‘completely ridiculous’ to suggest that ‘suddenly in 2008 the economy will fall off a cliff’. One of the things that has not been said much here is that this country is blessed with particularly stupid, venal and/or corrupt economists with enormous public profiles and consequent enormous egos, who wield incredible influence over public discourse in relation to work, unions, pensions, medical care, education, taxation and the economy in general. Their names are mentioned in hushed tones. They are Irish capitalism’s only acceptable intelligentsia. This writer humbly suggests that the next time an economist stands up to say something the general population should emit gentle farting sounds – through the orifice of choice, of course (neoliberalism is all about choice, although as with most neoliberal choices, authentic farters only have one real option).
Allen’s debunking of what he calls the five myths about our economy also makes salutary reading. He examines the claim that Ireland has a ‘bloated’ public service, for example, and dismisses it out of hand. The competitiveness mantra receives a similar treatment, as does the good tiger/bad tiger idea.
One of the startling discoveries for me was the link between the inventor of NAMA and property developers. Of course, we have all become used to the idea that the gene pool of Irish power is very small, but the idea that the Government would turn, for a solution for a collapsing property bubble to a property developer seems almost too stupid to be true. Yet NAMA was dreamed up by Peter Bacon, director of Ballymore Properties. The principal shareholder of Ballymore Properties, Sean Mulryan, is a Fianna Fáil hardhat – and his donations to that party include under-the table payments to the late-lamented Liam Lawlor. This incestuous system of kickbacks and favours, the perpetuum mobile of Irish privilege and power, has been brilliantly documented in Tasc’s paper Mapping the Golden Circle.