My overall response to Kilkeconomics ...............
I went to Kilkenny last Thursday and I left there yesterday. I had tickets for ten gigs. Although, I only went to nine gigs! I had four tickets for Saturday, but as I was on over-load after the third gig, I gave my ticket away to someone who wanted to go, as most of the gigs were sold out. This morning, my head is still full of what I learned and the wonderful people I had the privilege to meet.
May I state first, that I have huge regard and respect for David McWilliams. The first time I ever heard him, was a number of years ago when I saw him interview Dr. Tony Humphreys on the afternoon show. What impressed me then about David, is his humanity, he is a real and authentic human being. A body, no matter how well briefed on a subject, cannot portray these mature qualities, unless they are real and authentic. Having met him in person over the weekend, I still hold the same opinion, David McWilliams is very human and solid within himself. He is congruent. And certainly when I meet people who are, I recognise it deep within my being.
Here is what I heard and learned over the course of Kilkeconomics.
How and why the property boom happened and how the bubble burst. Bubbles burst when they have no solid foundation. The banks lent recklessly, encouraged the ordinary person and property developers to borrow huge sums of money, often without, real collateral and proper back round financial checking to see if these people had the ability to repay the loans. Then they colluded with local and national Government to rezone land. Auctioneers joined in the game and inflated land prices, which increased house and shopping centre prices and the Government played the game too, as they were increasing revenue.
Anglo were the first bank who played this game and in time, the other Irish banks joined in, for fear they were losing out, as it was quite a profitable business game. The figures being bandied about were frightening, in truth though, no one has audited anything, so no one truly knows the exact figure of the financial debt in Ireland. This is quite scary!
Bill Black, an American regulator explained that the banks had these fancy mathematicians doing all sorts of equations that put a value on the banks assets. The higher the value that was put on these assets, the physicist’s bonus directly reflected the value they placed on the asset!! This is where the banks then got their triple A ratings. In reality, this was a dream bubble!!!!! There was NO solid financial foundation in this type of accounting. Bill has put a 1,000 of these people in prison for fraud in the USA. In Ireland, no one has yet been made accountable for their action in our financial demise.
I experienced Saturday’s gig on NAMA and Anglo as THE most depressing! NAMA, is a bottomless hole, that the Irish Government keep trying to fill, only they don’t realise or maybe don’t want to know, that it cannot be filled. However, with the stroke of a pen, the Irish Government could give responsibility of NAMA to the banks. Needless to say, I am in favour of that!
The Irish regulator of the day, was paid a handsome handshake and pension. The Central Bank only did what they were told, by the Government. I remember wondering at the time why the Central Bank of Ireland would come out with very soft warning’s to the banks about their lending behaviour. Now I know why!
There was agreement that our financial institutions and markets are bullying our Government and that our Government need to stand up to them. However, if our Government did, the Financial markets etc, would take a hit on their gamble, which is what those markets are about anyway! So they further pressurise the Government with worst case scenarios as naturally, they neither want to lose on their investments or take responsibility for their actions, as then they’d be accountable and would need to look at their own behaviour! Which would of course be, the mature thing to do. These people have a huge opportunity here to look at themselves and what it is their behaviour is teaching them. Also, it is believed that our Government do not want to lose face, either with the financial sector or the EU!! (See my posh room blog for more details on this).
I am angry with the mire my country is in and I know anger is all about taking action for self. So, this is my action, writing. On the one hand, I want a peaceful coup and evict our entire local and national Government and their cronies, who the Government have installed on the boards of NAMA and in the Irish financial institutions. What is so telling in this country is that the Government’s cronies, are the very same people who brought about this crisis! If you do something bad in Ireland, you are rewarded by getting fancy jobs and huge salaries and bonuses and if on the other hand, you blow the whistle, you are ostracized and may not ever work here again. This kind of behaviour breaks my heart.
I haven’t ever read any of Fintan O’Toole’s article’s or books. However, the man impressed me, he spoke a lot of sense and his knowledge is vast, to me. Olivia O’Leary interviewed him, in the “Hole in the wall” venue in Kilkenny on Sunday morning. I have always admired Olivia. To cut this short, Fintan is or has set up a web page called “Enough is Enough”, (the title of his new book). You can Google it and there he has or will have a check-list of questions, all real, mature and sensible for each of us to ask our Government representatives when they come calling to our doors. Or you can email those questions to them. Fintan believes we do have some good politicians who are as frustrated as I am with our Government, but their hands are currently tied. I am somewhat of a doubting Thomas in this area! However, please go and check this out for yourselves.
My overall impression of the speakers at Kilkeconomics is that they are all good, sound, mature and sensible folk. They made economics easy to understand. The comedians were great and I did laugh, this can be a feat for me at times!
My life has taught me that when a person does not take responsibility for their actions, it causes me pain and stress. This happens in immature relationships. Even if my own relationship with self is immature, I cause me pain. This pain increases if I am not in a mature place to be responsible and where I then go and blame another or myself. When I am in an immature and blaming place, I am not in an unconditional loving place with self. This is the wisdom of behaviour, as all behaviour is wise.
If I as a human being make a mis-take and I then try to cover it up, I am causing pain to self and to another or others. However, if I am in a solid mature place within myself, I would not be in a place to hurt self or others. Because, I would maturely admit my mis-take, thereby I take full responsibility for my own actions and hold myself accountable for same. Every human being on this planet makes mis-takes, it is to my mind, what being human is.
However, because of our own childhood wounds/history/ baggage, we often fear the repercussions of making a mis-take. So in an adult childlike fashion, we try to hid or gloss over our mistakes out of old feelings/memories of getting into trouble, where we as children, experienced annihilation for the small mis-takes we made in childhood. This fear keeps us, unconsciously, rooted to our old responsive patterns of behaviour. However, the paradox is, that as adults we need to learn that what worked for us as children, will not work for us as adults, so our behaviours now, brings our attention to learn as adults, to be mature. As not all of us adults are mature. The Irish Government are currently representing to me at least, the immaturity of us as a nation. As, we have allowed our Government to get away with their irresponsible and immature behaviour since the foundation of our State. Therefore, I need to take my own portion of responsibility, as I allowed this to happen by doing nothing. I kept my mouth shut and didn’t say, STOP!
All parents know, that if we don’t point out to a child that a particular behaviour is not appropriate, how will the child learn the appropriate behaviour? They won’t and they’ll keep doing that inappropriate behaviour. Well reflect that to our Government now.
In a time where any one of us makes a mis-take, (I am deliberately breaking up this word, as all mistakes, are a miss take, until we get it right!), it is vital and so important not to blame. Blame gets us nowhere fast. In fact, blame has the opposite effect, where people/children automatically go into defence, because the risk to their safety is too great, their defence acts as a protective shield against those who are pointing the blame finger at them. Which is what I see happening with our Government right now.
I feel my own anger, I see and hear the anger of the people I meet every day. Anger can be turned into creative constructive action for self. So I put it to each of us who reads this and ask yourself, can I be responsible for the state of Irelands financial crisis? I did play my part, I did nothing when I saw it happening, I didn’t gain anything financially either, however, I colluded, because I did not take action! Therefore I am responsible. I am also now accountable to take the austerity measures coming down the line. I am in fact taking them already, my disposable income is almost gone. My need though is that every Irish person takes the hit. I need those responsible in Government, the financial sector, property developers el al to take their share in the austerity burden. My need is not to blame, however, I do need those responsible for this mess to be brave and mature and to put their hands up and to be accountable for their actions.
When a person puts up their hands and says mea culpa, I am sorry, it is my moral duty to forgive them, then allow due process and let the legal folk strut their stuff in a JUST manner, so that we can move on towards building a mature Ireland. These are my hopes and wishes for you and me.
I need to thank Richard Cooke, Sian, David and all those people who organised and took part in Kilkeconomics. And my special thanks to the wonderful warm and friendly staff in Langton’s who treated me like family while I was there.
BTW, there are other things happening around Ireland right now. I met a group from Dublin who have started “Direct Democracy Ireland” Their motto is, “Help us create a new platform that will enter Government and shift the power back to the people”. If you are interested in this, link onto directdemocracyireland.com or phone Raymond Whitehead at 087 6575316.