Enda Kenny talks to the nation tonight. Although -- indeed because -- he governs with a massive majority, he has failed to tackle the serious fat cats like the banks and the public sector. Here are three home truths you will not hear.
First, Fianna Fail did not cause the recession -- they just happened to be in office. Few believe Fine Gael or Labour would have pricked the property bubble if in power. We know they would not have done it differently because they are not doing it differently now.
John Lanchester, in a review of Michael Lewis's brilliant book Boomerang, reminds us that what he calls the Great Recession was global. Every society behaved badly in its own way.
"Americans wanted to own homes far larger than they could afford. Icelanders wanted to go fishing and become investment bankers. Germans wanted to be even more German; the Irish wanted to stop being Irish." By which he means, many Irish people borrowed like lunatics and forgot the frugal habits of their forebears.
Second, Fianna Fail's real crime was its response to the recession. It padded the public sector and gave guarantees to bad banks. Lanchester is at a loss to explain why Brian Lenihan -- and indeed David McWilliams -- thought the guarantee was a good idea. "Nobody knows quite why they covered the loss of the bondholders . . . but they did."
Third, all the societies in trouble have one thing in common. Public sector pay and pensions ballooned and became a crippling burden. But it was not the same story here. It was worse.
Fianna Fail rewarded the gormless advice given by senior public servants with massive pay and pensions. The gap between public and private pay is now a scandalous 50 per cent. To add insult to injury, poorly paid private sector workers also pay for public sector pensions, although mostly without proper pensions of their own.
Eoghan Fucking Harris what a clown. The intersting thing is this