Monday, 30 July 2012

In Praise of Losers

In sport either you win or you lose. The Olympic Games reminds us of that with the constant reiteration of the Gold medallist above the also rans of bronze & silver, the rest of the losers tidily out of the way.

Competition encourages & rewards excellence. Citius, altius, fortius takes effort & application. Achievement has a price: for top level athletes a life dedicated to excellence. That is a price worth paying for Usain Bolt, it may be a horrendous waste for many who will never be top tier.

Life is not sport. While there are no simple metrics to allow us see except in extremes, what might amount to gold medal success, there are multiple winners. Competition does not mean elimination but sharpening, a delivery of improved goods & services to all of us.

As the Olympics progresses there will be an orgy of publicity surrounding the winners. Chest thumping patriotic fervour will break out. Countries that have spent vast amount of wealth on elite athletics & sports programmes need to trumpet victory lest the ordinary people whose wealth was stolen might question the theft. Losers will go home to silence, just glad to have competed.

We should be glad they competed too. Also rans won't be shamed with revelations of cheating. They compete to thee best of their ability & get on with their lives. Too many gold medals are tarnished with syringes. The good sports that never stand on that podium, never hear an anthem play for them, won't have to dilute urine samples with whisky or tranquillise a horse brutalised by banned training methods either. 

It may be with that vast army of good sports that real victory lies.

A Rally for the Rotten

Last night several thousand people turned out in support of Sean Quinn & his family in Cavan. In the light of that support, an endorsement of Quinn family's efforts to put a billion euros beyond the reach of Anglo, it is worth remembering Justice Peter Kelly's excoriation those efforts.

Worse than any national and international fraud, sharp practice, chicanery and dishonesty” that he had seen in court, the Quinns “had deliberately created and operated a scheme of mesmeric complexity, reeking of dishonesty and sharp practice, for the two-fold objective of putting assets beyond the bank's reach and to feather this own nests” was how Peter Kelly described their actions. Any supporter of Quinn should be asked whether they think Justice Kelly dishonest or merely insane.

Nothing the Quinns say can excuse them this damming by an honest man.  Anglo/IBRC  is a bogie man but that status was earned by the Anglo Irish Bank that operated under Sean Fitzpatrick: efforts by Quinn & his family to portray themselves as martyrs are the typical bullies ploy of pretending to be the victim. 

Quinn claims to be a job creator : he now wants other job creators to pay back the money he so carelessly borrowed. The cost of allowing the Quinn family to put their property portfolio beyond the reach of Anglo/IBRC s must be borne by ordinary Irish people, their businesses & their jobs. This would be an unacceptable transfer of wealth from all of us to the Quinn family.

Quinn attempted to take over Anglo Irish Bank by the back door. I have asked questions elsewhere about the help, tacit & otherwise that Sean Quinn recieved in this effort (see here). He had picked the wrong bank, the wrong time & the wrong method. He lost a huge amount of money borrowed from Anglo.

Quinn's main money maker was Quinn Insurance which was run not as an insurance company but a cash cow for the Quinn empire. Instead of using premiums to build reserves for future cases, money was drained from the company to finance Quinn's own debt. The Government insisted drivers have insurance, Sean Quinn saw this as merely a reason for drivers to pay him money.

The looting of Quinn Insurance under the noses of a compliant regualtory authority is costing every driver in the form of a levy to make up the shortfall. Quinn & regulatory failure has made us all poorer. The same compliant regulatory authorities allowed and maybe even encouraged Anglo to illegally finance Quinn's purchase of Anglo shares to unwind his CDF bet.

Quinn has developed a nice line in straw men, continously defending himself against charges that no one has made. He is not accused of breaking Anglo or causing the property /credit bubble that broke the country. He is merely asked to return the securities pledged for loans he can never repay.  

Quinn has his supportors including the celebrity priest, the appalling Fr Brian Darcy, a humourless teller of fibs best known for his campaign to ban Monty Python's Life of Brian, and a group of criminal thugs that have intimidated & terrorised management in the seized enterprises. 

It is clear there is a tribalist, welfare, dependency mentality at work in Cavan aided by the thugs of which Quinn claims he has no knowledge. Every rally, every statement from Sean Quinn further reveals the lies he is prepared to tell & the L'Oreal-because-I'm-worth-it sense of entitlement he has developed. Nothing emphasises the Quinn's utter sneering disregard for the Irish people & laws as the the photograph of Sean Quinn with his fugitive nephew at a GAA match over the weekend. 

Irish people owe Quinn nothing.  He and his family owe us to stop costing us any more money than he already has. 

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