in banking, Ireland

Change is a comin’, if we want it

I was down at government buildings tonight and following the tweets about what was happening, which was a lot more informative than RTE.

It is strange times, but what does it all mean? What is the significance of it? And what happens next?

The big change for me, a lot of the old rubbish of Irish politics is coming to an end. Spin is no longer enough. The spin is being found out. Arguing that black is practically the same as grey and then that grey is just a type of white is no longer good enough. That old trick has been found out. Words have to mean something. In turn, Irish voters will have to start to listen a lot more carefully and be a lot more discriminating.

More prosaically, the failure to publish any sort of figures whatsoever suggests to me that the IMF staff are not happy to stand over whatever figures have been presented to them. Three years later, the government still have not put an accurate fix on how big this mess is.

Also prosaically, the Irish banks are now up for sale. They will have to be taken over by large institutions or by private equity. The model could be something like Shinsei bank in japan in the 1990’s. An alternative or complement might be Michael Soden’s idea or some extension of it, although it is probably a bit late for this.

Taking the banks out of Irish hands will also have other consequences. It will remove these institutions as centres of influence in the Irish political system and remove credit as something that is easily traded for political largesse.

All this change whips away the old certainties. We have to take a hard look ar ourselves. We have to decide what we want. What kind of country do we really want to live in? Then we have to take the steps to create this new reality.

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