Humour Politics

Three Billion Between The Couch Cushions

Nuclear weapon test Mike (yield 10.4 Mt) on En...
You can't tell me that's not pretty

What’s three billion here or there?

Well… On the whole I think it’s better over here. If no one minds. Can I help you search for any more loose change? Whatever help you need, just ask. I’m not an accountant, but I could hardly be less competent than the shower you seem to have now.

Maybe it’s time to look more closely at the Department of Finance. While Ministers and Taoisigh must bear primary responsibility, the Department was the enabler of their problem. Could they be, you know, not actually very good? If they can just stumble across three billion here, how can we be sure that another few haven’t fallen through the cracks over the years?

Or maybe we could just forget about that for now and emphasise the upside. It’s three billion we didn’t know we had, the repayments we’re making on our children are already scheduled, so the obvious thing to do is get some real value out of it – with a big treat to cheer us all up.

As it should happen, today is the anniversary of the first hydrogen bomb – “For those times when ordinary nuclear weapons just aren’t enough”. Fifty-nine years they’ve been around, isn’t it high time we had one? And maybe a nice missile to show it in.

Then we’ll see how the bailout renegotiations go.

Humour Politics

Keep The Profit, Share The Blame

We All PartiedSo the Nyberg report into our banking industry says that borrowers as well as lenders were to blame for the crisis. Fair enough I suppose. After all, it’s not like the banks lent money to people who didn’t ask for it.

Oh wait. They did.

A tramp living in a sherry bottle could borrow money in that market. Hell, they offered a ‘pre-approved’ loan to me. While many borrowed foolishly or even greedily, the greater part of the blame must surely fall on the professionals. Your bank was traditionally expected to advise you on your financial interests. It was not supposed to push debt on you, take your indebtedness and repackage it as an asset, use that to raise money, declare this a profit and pay themselves enormous bonuses. A basic trust was broken there. Not to mention a law of thermodynamics.

A proportion too has to belong to the institutions overseeing the industry – the regulators of course, but ultimately the Department of Finance. They were astonishingly lax while all this was going on, and we still aren’t being told why. (The role of government was beyond Nyberg’s remit, strangely.)

Do we really need to ask though, when politicians party with and parties are funded by people who were making enormous profits  from all this? The nod and the wink is the Morse code of Irish governance, messages flew back and forth across the wealth-to-power hotline. You’ll go a bit easy there on the regulation. Wouldn’t want to kill the golden goose, or look a gift horse in the mouth, or whatever stupid aphorism they used.

When you get a gift horse as mysteriously generous as this you shouldn’t look it in the mouth, no. You should shove a telescope right up its bum. Nobody rocked the boat because the boat was full of money.

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