Tuesday, 31 January 2012

It's not the Economy, it's the Economics - How all our Politicians don't understand the Problem

No one should be surprised that Enda Kenny has now blamed a collective psychosis for our economic crash. Since 2008 politicians have wrestled with an explanation of what happened to Ireland with all the intellectual alacrity of brain dead rabbits and the explanation has defeated them.

Cowen blamed Lehman Brothers, the Greens (remember them, stupid, smug & out of touch?) blamed too much planning permission, and now for Kenny it is greed and madness. This is the level of analysis at which our politicians operate: wilfully ignorant & woefully uninformed. Terrifyingly there are citizens who should know better agreeing with these various hare-brained explanations.

"Greedy capitalists get money by trade. Good liberals steal it." David Friedman

"Greed" has been used over & over as both an explanation & a denunciation by statist clowns who believe that building houses is properly the business of the government: men who risked ,money, employed others, paid massive taxes (stamp, capital, vat & paye) were just evil. Now it has become fashionable to heap any abuse on them. Such contumely has taken the place of analysis & knowledge.

Neither Cowen's defence of his destructive tenure at Finance nor Gormley & Co's sheer ignorance of basic economics now matter: they have left the stage. It does matter that Enda Kenny is still parroting the tripe that socialist adolescents tell each other in the dark: he is Taoiseach.

Kenny's statement is a direct repudiation of intelligible human action, of knowledge itself. If what happened was a collective out break of madness then it could happen anywhere, at any time, no country would ever be safe. Policy,interest rates, taxation, currency  have nothing to do with what happens in the economy. Economies are thus mere random collection of events powered by uninfluenceable factors over which we have no control. Anyone silly enough to be studying economics should switch to psychology or psychiatry, disciplines which might have some chance of shedding light on the crash mystery. They might even, if we were to pay heed to politicians, try a course at Hogwarts.

The mystery is why there is a mystery. What happened was economics, economics as a branch of human behaviour. Analyse the boom if you want to know the bust.

Dr Patrick Honohan, now the Governor of The Central Bank, did this succinctly in May 2009 publication "What Went Wrong":
"An unsustainable decade-long property price and construction boom, which began before that of the US and UK and went further than these both in price and quantity, had taken over from exports as the main driver of Irish growth. Initially prompted by the increased household formation (related to unprecedented levels of net immigration) and by the sharp fall in interest rates that accompanied the transition to EMU membership, the property boom was increasingly financed after 2003 with foreign borrowing by the banks."

Dr Honahan of course pulled his punches on the Euro: it would not do to have a Central Bank Governor diss the Holy Project. Despite that punch-pulling it is clear NONE of what he outlined could have gone on for as long or been as damaging if not for the Ireland joining the Euro/EMU. The Central Bank was deprived of the only weapon it had, interest rate changes, & the lack of exchange rate risks made Ireland an easy haven for vast amounts of (mainly German?) euro bonds.

"Among the triggers for the property bubble was the sharp fall in interest rates following euro membership: within the euro zone also the disciplines of the market which had traditionally served as warning signs of excess were muted. Lacking these prompts, Irish policymakers neglected the basics of public finance, wage policy and bank regulation." (Honohan p1)

There is nothing mad or greedy in investing in the highest yield products: the flooding of the Irish market with credit made housing just that. This bubble was not driven by Greenspan's "irrational exuberance" ( a remark betraying such imbecilic ignorance should have seen him sacked instead of deified) but by monetary inflation provided by the Irish banks. Flooding the market with cheap money confuses the price signals and makes correct investment decisions impossible. In an inflating market this impossibillity applies as much to the lender as the borrower.(Austrian economists have been pointing out the form, shape & causes of bubbles for at least a century.)

Anglo Irish Bank was central to this inflation. Operating (effectively) without regulation, with interest rates set by the ECB to revive a German economy suffering the hangover effects of the crazy decisions taken during unification (one to one parity between Ost & Deutsche Mark for instance), Anglo was not growing but exploding during that period and that explosive growth was based on property loans. Between 1998 & 2007 Anglo grew its book assets by over 2200% & its profits by over 2700%.(AB Annual reports 98-07) These figures ( a year on year growth of 45%) should have rattled regulators. Instead, in a classic case of "regulatory capture" when the emerging rumours about Anglo's huge exposure to the collapsing property market caused a massive collapse in the banks share price on St Patricks Day 2008, the regulator, Patrick Neary instigated an investigation into stockbrokers.

In the Words of Peter Nyberg:
"Anglo in particular was widely admired domestically and abroad and lauded (by many investors,consultants, analysts, rating agencies and the media) as a role model for other Irish banks to emulate." From consultants Oliver Wyeman to stock broker (now TD) Shane Ross Anglo were seen as the shining light of the new paradigm. Under pressure from such cheerleaders & shareholders concerned about comparative profitability, where Anglo led, the other Irish banks followed.

Lending for property became the business of all Irish banks

Bank lending was growing at a tremendous pace:
"...rising from a stock of €120bn in 2000 to almost €400bn by 2007. The three years ending in 2006 marked the highest sub-period of sustained growth, with loan assets more than doubling overall, growing at a compound rate of almost 28% per annum. This rate of growth significantly outpaced growth
in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By the end of 2007, total loans and advances to customers
stood at over twice GDP, up from 1.1 times GDP in 2000." (Nyberg Commission p.28) but a shocking 80% of new lending between 2002 &2008 was domestic property related lending .

Banks were loaning money for property with property as collateral: as prices rose more could be borrowed creating a vicious circle of borrowing & asset inflation. The rate of growth in lending out paced deposits so the banks were relying more & more on euro bonds, much of it short term, under the misguided belief that such funds would be permanently available. The rate of growth also outpaced the available sound opportunities for credit leading to a relaxing of standards as banks struggled to for volume in the face of margin-cutting competition.

"This was a plain vanilla property bubble, compounded by exceptional concentrations of lending for purposes related to property – and notably commercial property." (Regling & Watson)

Not only were developers borrowing to build more houses but the very availability of so much credit meant that those buying the houses were paying more every year, despite the huge supply.
 "Amongst the OECD, Irish house price growth between 1995 and 2007, the largest. In real terms, Irish prices grew by 9 per cent per annum over this period, next highest growth rate was 7.6 per cent." (Decomposing Irish house price movements: 2000 - 2010 McCarthy & McQuinn)

The credit bubble was inflating more than asset prices. Average wage increases in Ireland between 1997 & 2008 were two to three times euro-zone averages. The erosion of Ireland's competitiveness should have resulted in a slowdown & unemployment but the inflating credit bubble masked and deferred that eventuality. These economy destroying wage rises were happening both within & without the context of Government sponsored Social Partnership.
Relative unit labour costs (OECD via Regling & Watson p22)

If the banks were bad, the Government was worse. Not content with failing to regulate the banks the Government decided to spend the tax proceeds of the property bubble with the abandon of men who had discovered a Money Tree. In a septic nexus between the Social Partnership Agreements & Bertie Ahern's need to purchase popularity the Government set about cutting taxes while spending more money. Property was paying for everything.

Personal taxes came down as the government became more & more reliant on cyclically sensitive taxes. "There has been more and more dependence on corporation tax, stamp duties and capital gains tax (in that order). These three saw their share in total tax revenues rise steadily from about 8 per cent in 1987 to 30 per cent in 2006 before falling to 27 per cent in 2007 and just 20 per cent as soon as the economy turned down in 2008." (Honohan "What Went Wrong" Page 3)

"In addition, the pattern of tax cuts left revenues increasingly fragile, since they were dependent on taxes driven by the property sector and by high consumer spending." (Regling & Watson)

Between 2001 & 2006 Public sector pay rose by 59% and payroll numbers by 18,000 and between 1996 & 2006 the total bill for public sector pay trebled. During the same ten year period, despite "essentially
full employment for the first time in modern history" (ibid) the Social Welfare bill also trebled.

By 2006 domestic construction accounted for 1 in 5 Irish workers and nearly one quarter of the countries GDP. In that year the price of houses, being built at a rate of twice what could be sold, peaked. Then the credit from the Euro bonds dried up the next year as the US property boom bust.

So the explanation is simple, so simple that it might be learned by heart to prevent more outbreaks of foot-in -mouth:
  • We joined the Euro
  • Interest rates were very low for a long time
  • Awareness of risk was dulled
  • One bank led & the others followed into property funding massive lending not from deposits but euro-bonds
  • A Property Bubble, long, big  & disastrous happened
  • Government spent the proceeds of the bubble property taxes as normal annual income
  • The bubble ended leaving the Government short tax revenue, the banks bankrupt & hundreds of thousands unemployed.

We might well ask, given the appalling failures, what the hell were Government & regulators doing? It was not as if Irish banking was either complicated or innovative:
"Moreover, bank supervisors in Ireland were not called upon to deal with technically complex
problems. Ireland’s banking exuberance indulged in few of the exotic constructs that caused
problems elsewhere."(Regling & Watson) No one was bundling mortgages or playing with complex derivatives.

Everything that happened, the insane asset collateral backed lending, the vast over building, the dependence tax dependence on an unsustainable bubble, all happened in plain sight. Dr Morgan Kelly googled the information that underpinned his horribly accurate 2006 article. There are no excuses for Cowen, Ahern, McCreevy, Neary or Hurley.

For professional, highly paid regulators to have missed what was going on is too shocking.
"Developments in Scandinavia during the early parts of the 1990’s as well as in South-East Asia during the latter half (..of that decade..) should have been well within the professional memory of decision-makers in both banks and public institutions in Ireland during the 2000’s."(Regling & Watson)

We could add to those bank disasters the Savings & Loan debacle in the US which, in its asset-loan-collateral-loan circle the Irish Banking Disaster resembles. None of the reports adequately explains how so much bad banking happened in full view of those paid huge money to make sure it did not.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

I am as smugly pleased with my self as a Labour minister with a little bossing to do.

Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, The State & Utopia" is a major work of libertarian philosophy, possibly the major work. It is available as a free e-book: Nozick, like most libertarians, opposed the idea of intellectual property.

 Available it might be but finding it and persuading the PHP Downloader on www.edmundburkeinstitute.ie that it was a valid file for down-load proved a bit trickier than my limited grasp of PHP & web protocols until this morning.  So now you can have Nozick's master work for free at the Edmund Burke Institute website.

Hence my extreme pleasure with myself.....  

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Dr Who, Banksters & The Minister

In Dr Who, for all the time travelling ability of The Doctor, there are fixed points in time that do not change, that are too important. In the horrendous story of Anglo Irish bank there are also such points. There are questions that arise from those points that have not yet been properly asked or answered.

On April 24th 2008 Brian Cowen, Minister for Finance, had dinner with the board & management of Anglo Irish Bank at the bank's HQ on St Stephen's Green. Cowen was one of the most popular politicians in the country and, other than Bertie Ahern,the man he would replace,unopposed, as leader of Fianna Fail a fortnight later, the most powerful. His abysmal ignorance of the disaster he had helped to create for his country was fully intact. He wined and dined with his usual gusto, the management at the bank had every reason to make sure he had a very good time.

Sean Fitzpatrick, the chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, cannot have been as sanguine about the future as Mr Cowen. Although management consulting firm Oliver Wyman had named Anglo "the best bank in the world"   (OW have removed reference from their own site,  their league table can be seen below) in January 2007*, the share price of the bank had been on a steady slide since May 2007. 

The share slide eroded confidence in the bank & depositors took their money out, as large depositors fled the bank confidence eroded & the share price declined....

Two reports had made that slide worse. A report by a Merrill Lynch analyst,released on March 13, said Anglo were at particular risk from the collapsing London property market as late arrivals who lent very aggressively. On St Patrick's Day the bank lost €1billion in market capitalisation in a single disastrous day after the Financial Times columnist had named Anglo as being over exposed to the risky commercial property market. 

 The ML analyst, Cambridge zoology graduate Phillip Ingram had been influenced by an articles written by  Dr Morgan Kelly, articles that had provoked Cowen's boss, Bertie Ahern, to say that people who talked down the economy should commit suicide. Ingram had visited Dr Kelly and had simply applied the "mosaic theory" to the Anglo story. Mosaic Theory is the idea of collecting evidence/views from  wide variety of sources by finance professionals to come to some conclusion about the value of a company's securities. Although Ingram named ALL 3 big Irish Banks as risky,Anglo,BoI & AIB. Merrill Lynch retracted the report on the day & by the end of the year Ingram was no longer an employee there either.....

These reports were not the only worry the bank's senior management had about share price. Sean Quinn was, in the early months of 2008, about to bankrupt himself & the bank because of the bet he had made on the bank's shares. Quinn wanted to takeover Anglo without the full publicity of a stock exchange bid so he took out Contracts for Difference on a large amount of the banks shares. CFD's are a bet that the share price will move in  particular direction: Quinn bet that the share price would not fall. Worse again it appears he may have made that bet with money borrowed from the bank.

Quinn & Anglo were caught in a bind. Short-selling, the practise selling shares overnight, & buying them back in the morning (mostly with borrowed shares) was a huge issue for many banks in the wake of the Northern Rock & the near collapse of Bear Stearns. Short selling drove down share price but in Anglo's case the holders of Quinn's bet had every reason to help drive the price down:  the more the shares fell, the more Sean Quinn owed them, profits from the short selling & collecting off Quinn's bet was a double whammy.

Instead of investigating the bank after the horrendous share price drop on St Patrick's Day the Financial Regulator began to investigate stock brokers & the Governor of the Central Bank issued a statement supporting this investigation & supporting  Anglo as a sound bank.......

The senior management at Anglo were in no doubt that they were funding Quinn's speculation. Dara O’Reilly,Quinn's financial controller has testified to the numerous phone calls he made drawing down "development loans" that the bank was well aware was money to cover margin calls. 

Most CFDs contain a "stop loss", a point beyond which the bet pays out no more, this limits the level of margin calls . Quinn had put no stop loss on his bet. In the end he had no choice but buy out the shares. He did this with money borrowed, at least in part, from Anglo.  Quinn could not afford to hold his massive stake in Anglo so now those shares overhung an already fragile market. If Quinn tried to sell on the open market there would be catastrophic decline in the share price. Such a catastrophic decline would spell the end for the bank, deposit withdrawals & a near valueless share would mean insolvency. 

So as he handed Brian Cowen the gin & tonic  before the meal that Thursday night Fitzpatrick had to be painfully aware that Anglo Irish Bank in Wile.E.Coyote territory. To do a road runner they needed deposits & the government's National Treasury Management Agency had proven very reluctant to place funds on deposit with Anglo. 

Michael Somers , head of NTMA, was deeply suspicious of a bank growing at 45% per annum when the best banks interregionally did between 6-7%.

Why none of the trio directly concerned, Brian Cowen as minister, Patrick Neary, Chief Executive of the Financial Regulator or John Hurley, Governor of the Central Bank  had not noticed this suspiciously explosive growth rate has never been made clear. 

 That night Anglo's CEO, David Drumm, would lobby Cowen for NTMA deposits. 

As he wined and dined that night Cowen had to also be aware that this bank was in Wile.E territory: Fitzpatrick had informed him of the Quinn problem. Patrick Neary, the bank regulator & CBoI Governor John Hurley also knew.

In a Dail reply on the 17th of February 2009 Cowen said:

"A meeting took place last March at which the governor indicated to me, as Minister for Finance, that a situation was developing in regard to the contracts for difference issue in Anglo Irish Bank. That had to be dealt with by the bank. It proceeded with that and Mr. Quinn made a statement on 13 July relating to it. It was indicated at that time that the matter had been resolved."

Anglo had solved the Quinn  problem by inducing 10 major clients, referred to as the "Maple 10" by management to buy out a 10% tranche of Quinn's shares with money borrowed from the bank.  These loans appear now not to be recoverable: we have to pay them off. 

Banks are specifically prohibited from loaning money to buy their own shares. Such loans, are, by their nature, a particularly insidious fraud against the banks other investors.

Mr Cowen is a solicitor

"That had to be dealt with by the bank."  

Cowen was aware that between March & July 2008 an enormous tranche of shares had been quietly sold, "dealt with by the bank". These shares had to be placed with private investors in the teeth of a gale blowing away bank share prices, in a bank that had been close to being wiped out by a combination of lack of confidence & an insane speculation the countries richest man. 

How did Mr Cowen think, in so much that he could think on his beer-swilling, song-singing, glad-handling victory tour of Co. Offaly following his May 8th election as FF party leader & Taoiseach elect, that any investor was persuaded to buy shares in Anglo? 

How could anyone with the merest knowledge of the situation be unsuspicious of such deals?

Anyone that new of Anglo's "Quinn problem" in March 2008 would also have been painfully aware that the bank faced a rapid threat to its solvency and existence, not just to its liqudity. 

On the night of the Sunday 29th of September, faced with the certain knowledge that there would be a devastating run on every Irish bank on Monday morning Brian Lenihan held discussions with the banks, eventually at 2am Monday announcing a complete guarantee for the 6 Irish based banks. Lenihan believed the banks faced a liquidity problem:that is not enough ready money to do day to day business while the under-lying business remained sound or solvent.

Did the Taoiseach inform Mr Lenihan of  the earlier, averted crisis in Anglo?  

Cowen knew, the Governor of the Central bank knew ,the Financial Regulator knew. They all at the very least that Quinn's share overhang, an overhang that threatened the very existence of Anglo, had been purchased when bank shares were sliding and Anglo's were sliding faster than any. There is no doubt all three indicated that Anglo should solve the problem: did the question the deal done and if not, why not? If Anglo officers broke the law boosting the banks share price by loaning money  will the defence of those officers be that Cowen, Neary and Hurley cleared such a move to save the bank? Would that be a defence or an indictment?

Sean Quinn attempted to take over the third largest bank in the country by stealth. There are specific provisions in law about the ownership of bank shares. The Central Bank must give approval for any shareholder to own more than 10% of the publicly traded shares. Was such approval sought in Sean Quinn's case? Was it granted? If neither sought nor granted why was the Central bank complicit in this?

The figures for Quinn's shareholding all vary: 25-28% as final figures from a start of 6-7% in early 2007.  Although the figures vary they are remarkably consistent in placing Quinn's final holding below 30%.  If Quinn had purchased 30% or more he would have been obliged to bid for the entire shareholding.  Why were some shares put into his family members names? Are we sure he did not own or control  that fatal 30%? What investigation has been done by London & Dublin Stock Exchanges? By the state regulatory authorities here? Sean Quinn is now bankrupt and thus unamenable but others involved including the Irish State may not be so safe. 

The collapse of Anglo Irish Bank is the worst, most expensive financial scandal ever to occur in Ireland. The dimensions of the disaster and gravity of the consequences have no parallel in the history of this state. Twice the bank posted the largest corporate loss in the country's history.

Sean Quinn owes the bank over €2billion, largely as a result of his failed takeover bid.

Not alone did hundreds of honest investors,many of them small investors, lose their savings but the Irish people will be paying to mop up this mess for decades: up to 2031 when the final €7.2 billion annual payment will be made on the Promissory Note. (Anglo's only asset acceptable to the Central Bank\ECB Emergency Liquidity Assistance scheme was Government promises to pay in money)

To date no one has been charged with any crime relating to Anglo Irish Bank, its clouded share deals or its collapse.

The Oliver Wyman league table naming Anglo Irish bank the best performing bank in the world.

*Mistake! Originally this post had the date "January 2006" for the release of the Wyman accolade.In fact this was based on the banks 06 figures & was released to coincide with Davos in late January 07. The post has been amended to that effect.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Our Web Freedom terrifies Rabbitte

What  treasure trove of delights this Government has turned out to be.
Granted the Taoiseach is sober in public, a huge & welcome improvement and of course,  by comparison with the last lot, demented monkeys would look like statesmen.

But the treasures FG/Labour bring, the treasures!

We've had the confiscation of savings under the rule that all your money belongs to the government any money the government leaves you after tax may be taken later, the attacks on both religious & private education by mass-murderer supporter Ruari Mao Tzi Quinn, and now Pat Rabbittes announces a household "broadcasting charge".

It seems that not alone are we reluctant to pay the RTE Tax, there are some recalcitrant citizens who may legally avoid it by not even owning a television. These revanchist running dogs of personal independence & freedom actually use the internet for news & entertainment, by passing the proper & approved state channel.We tut with horror at their irresponsible individualism...

There is NO reason to give further money to Government for broadcasting: as it is the RTE Tax is utterly without justification. The idea that we must pay a fee to the Government to ensure our screens light up is as antiquated as the idea that government does just about anything well. We are bombarded with content, entertainment & news coming to us in all sorts of ways. The RTE Tax/License fee serves only to grossly distort competition & feather bed luvvies & restrictive practices in the highly unionised Donnybrook.

The plea for the survival of that unicorn, Public Service Broadcasting will be made.

Mr Rabbite's version of "Public Service Broadcasting" means whatever the Minister, some ideologue party hacks & a few over-paid luvvies decide. Real Public Service broadcasting is what people voluntarily purchase or watch themselves. Netflix spelled doom for state broadcasting. Now the net makes us all independent of luvvie-controled TV: it is a free, free market thanks to the anarchy of the web. Attempting to force citizens to pay for something they do not want & will not use is coercive bullying worthy of a state run by Chavez or Mugabe...but Mr Rabbite probably takes that as a compliment.

For the likes of Rabbitte, wedded to  model of broadcasting (and a model of the world) where Government is the provider, the good guy, the white hat AND the town mayor this anarchy is repulsive &  frightening.
I hope the Government are stupid enough to bring in this charge: the outcome will most likely be a public re-valuation of the RTE Tax/License Fee. Such public evaluation may well lead to an outcome far from the Minister & the luvvies wishes: an all out revolt against the tax.

 It would be very difficult to jail 1.5 million people.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Perjury, Power & Popularity

Perjury is a serious crime.

Suborning the perjury of others is an even more serious crime.

Engaging in a criminal conspiracy to obstruct, mislead, and distract a tribunal set up by the Houses of the Oireachtais would, if it happened, be a crime on such a grand scale as to warrant immediate, vigilant  and thorough investigation.

The fact that the evidence of a gentleman (for shorthand purposes hereafter referrd to as Mr X), both written and oral, at tribunal, changed fluidly at least three times, must not be taken as evidence that this writer regards him as a perjurer.

Mr X is an honourable man.

That a lady (hereafter unnamed) was warned by a learned judge of the dangers of perjury and SUBSEQUENTLY changed her evidence from an account that tallied with Mr X's evidence to an account, given under oath, which disagrees TOTALLY with that gentleman's evidence and the evidence of several others, previously citizens of entirely UNBLEMISHED character and reputation, also given UNDER OATH, may not be construed as indicating that this writer believed at any stage that Mr X was engaged either in perjury or the suborning of perjury , nor that those other respectable citizens, previously of entirely unblemished character and reputation, perjured themselves either. Nor that Mr X asked or persuaded them to lie under oath, thus suborning their perjury.
Mr X is an honourable man.

The evidence of  the lady (herein unnamed) and the documents that forced her to alter her evidence (documents which tally with her later evidence but flatly contradict Mr X's evidence  in all its various versions) may not mean Mr X, by lying under oath, perjured himself. There may be alternative, mutually contradictory truths.

Pontius Pilate asked “What is truth ?” but did not wait for the answer. Maybe he, had he waited, would have been told that truth is both infinitely malleable and there are infinite numbers of versions of it out there. That Mr X's evidence agreed with the evidence of several  citizens previously of entirely unblemished character and reputation and not with a lady (herein unnamed) may be due to the wonders of a large and diverging universe governed by complex and largely mis-understood rules: coincidence instead of conspiracy.

Mr X is an honourable man.

Perjury is both a very serious crime and, for Catholics, a very serious sin. As a crime it undermines justice and the rule of law as exercised through the courts.  If we cannot trust a witness we can trust no court, no trial nor no verdict. Mr X has,during his career, made annual public show of his Catholic beliefs.

As a sin perjury may be worse than eating chocolate and drinking whiskey for breakfast.

As a crime it is a vicious undermining of law, courts & justice.

Perjury is not just a crime for little people.

Mr X is an honourable man.
Others supported Mr X's increasingly various stories, under oath, at a tribunal set up by the Houses of the Oireachtais. These too, men who testified too whip arounds that may never have existed are also honourable men.

Mr X, being an honourable man would never have sent a loyal, trusting female employee out to bear false witness under oath thus committing perjury.
Nor having done so and the falseness of her witness being exposed would he have stayed silent, stum, without squawk or word while she was embarrassed, threatened with criminal trial & exposed as a liar & a perjurer.

He would not have done so for he is an honourable man.

So are they all, these others, honourable men.
Honourable men surely may not be perjurers.

If perjury and suborning of perjury had occurred before a tribunal such acts would be a criminal conspiracy. Such crimes would be investigated and incur a level public opprobrium as to disqualify the criminal or criminals from public life.

We live in a nation of laws, bound together by respect for law as the ONLY barrier between us and savagery. Perjury attacks the very basis of law, makes courts unworkable and evidence useless.

So are they all, all honourable men.

If these things had happened we would know, would we not? The vigilance of the investigation and the enormity of the crime would be a guarantee of that. We trust the authorities to whom we have, in our soverign wisdom, delegated the task of gaurding the gates, minding the oaths and keeping what pieces we hold dear. Some pieces may be too dear, too valuable, the cost of their loss to high allow for their losing.

We trust.

We can trust the honourable men.

We trust and in the great and honoured, we trust, and in the citizens previously of entirely unblemished character and reputation ,we trust, and in the vigilance of the lawful authorities who guard the gates, mind the oaths and keep the pieces we trust, trusting that perjury could not occur unpunished nor the suborning of perjury happen uninvestigated and unpunished, nor a that criminal conspiracy to hide the truth from a tribunal set by The Houses of the Oireachtais  could go unmarked, unimpeded and unpunished. In that, too, in our awful innocence, as in God, tarmacadam and the inevitability of unhappiness in soap opera, we trust.

We are a trusting people.

This blog contains NO reference to real people, living or dead. Mr X is of course an honourable man.)

Monday, 24 October 2011

#VOTENOx2 - The case against the referendums in bullet points

I have written elsewhere (http://edmundburkeinstitute.ie/referendumessay.php) on the 29th & 30th Referendums, here in bullet points are the good reasons to vote NO.

  • The referendums are rushed, leaving very little time for discussion. This means potential pitfalls are not teased out.
  • The wording of both referendums is unclear- good law is always clear, predictable & equitable. it is not clear what is meant by the word "class" in 29th nor how far the powers of an Oireachtais Committee might go in 30th. nor how such committees could be,if at all, made amenable to ordinary law.
  • For over two hundred years it has been a principle constitutional law that Governments cannot reduce judges pay- that was to prevent government threatening & interfering in court cases. Now to save at most €800,000 the government wants to do just that.
  • Only independent courts can make a decision about the "balance of rights". If we vote YES to 30th referendum we give that power to politicians, to an Oireachtais committee & by extension to the government of the day. 
  • Contra to EVERY principle of law Courts will have NO power to hear cases about or protect the citizens from such committees. Citizens can be held to have NO rights what so ever.How far do you think politicians would go if there was NO LAW to stop them?
  • "Public Interest" will mean whatever the government wants it to mean which would allow an Oireachtais committee to examine anyone, anything, any business. This gives the government of the day, who ALWAYS have an Oireachtais majority, vast power to intimidate, delay, harass and persecute ANYONE they don't like.
  • The Oireachtais already has the power to investigate, they just want LOTS more. The 30th referendum proses giving them FAR too much power
  • Voting NO will allow us get it right, a YES vote will never be mended.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

London Burning

So London and other British cities are starting to look like a science fiction dystopia.

The surprise is that we  (and they) are surprised.

Britain, ahead of most of the developed world, has been heading down the road of social disintegration for over 60 years now. Every single piece of the fabric, every thing that makes a civilisation has been taken, disregarded and dumped. Now the unfortunate inhabitants of the great cities think the police can save them from the the calamity.

Take a long look at the Jeremy Kyle Show, the best window there is into the sewer. This is a broken, depraved society and this is what politicians will create if you let them. It is the DNA-mystery off-spring of the JK show that are looting a the cities.

Yes we are hearing the usual clap trap about deprivation and lack of opportunity but London is a huge bustling honey-pot of opportunity, attracting thousands to come and work every year. They come, they work and they become prosperous. There is no shortage of opportunity, looting louts don't lack opportunity, they don't want it for them selves or for others.

Already letters to the Daily Rag threaten us here with the same horrors if we do not spend and spend again. We could, if we do what the left would have us, create a similar situation here with enough money and some time. Years of socialist clap trap and victim politics have left the looters unfit to take part in any real society and the schools unfit for purpose to use a term much loved here.

The English Education system is bedevilled not by class but by class politics played by the leftists.
Of the 80,000 odd children who get schools meals ( the poorest by definition) only 189 get 3 A levels and only 19 qualify for Oxford or Cambridge.

No other statistic puts so starkly the sheer failure of left politics in education or the sheer lack of any kind of effort by thousands of families. Just 0.24%, less than one quarter of a percent of the poorest students study for 3 A levels. (Since data does not include the FE Sector it is almost certainly an OVER estimation of the percentages). That is failure on a shocking scale: failure of students, failure of families and failure of schools. This is not the result of poverty but of poverty of ambition.

That poverty  is concentrated in some areas.Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education wrote:
"Indeed, there are two local authorities in England,Islington and Slough, where no ­comprehensive pupil sat a single GCSE in physics, chemistry or biology".

These children are coming from families encouraged to see themselves as victims, told that they are entitled and paid to rot. So they do. Now the zombies are on the street and short of shoot-to-kill they will not be stopped.

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