Bile on the Seanad Floor
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. In his Seanad NAMA speech Dan Bile doesn’t even manage that.
In describing the NAMA business plan as “exercise in public confidence” he feels it is acceptable to be vague about the details of a 54Bln gamble. The principle that “money flows in the economy again and that our banks and financial institutions become viable entities” overrides all.
But nowhere in the BP is it shown that money will flow or that the banks will be made viable. He is also cavalier, a lá Henry Kissinger, about the matter of a billion here or a billion there being inconsequential – at a time of painful cuts in public services whether NAMA makes a profit or loss of 5Bln is a minor detail in his financial fantasy.
He then expresses concern that opinions are strongly held on the biggest financial gamble in the history of the State. He cannot see that “it is intrinsically wrong and evil” to bet the last 54Bln of the States capital on a further turn of the property roulette wheel and then to cede control of that bet to private capital in order to facilitate a statistical convenience.
The only Pavlovian response I see is his panting after the trappings of ‘office’. There are strongly argued criticisms of NAMA and of the SPV none of which he bothers to engage. All we get is an airy ‘Jaba the Hutt’ wave of a hand saying that it will be ‘alright on the night’.
He criticises the opposition for having “no clear, consistent, cohesive, coherent alternative” while failing to see that his pet scheme is not “clear, consistent, cohesive, coherent”. When faced with a range alternatives, one of which, in the majority opinion, involves driving off a cliff, he reacts like the typical male driver. Affronted that his authority is challenged, his reaction is ‘I’m in charge and I know what I am doing so pipe down in the back there.’
We are existing under the protection of the ‘Bank Guarantee’. The sky has not fallen in. It is not going to, anytime soon. Yes, we need to start making changes so that we can get back on a sustainable footing. But we need the agreement of all the people for the difficult road ahead. He does not have it and is not even looking for it. This from the ‘Chair’ of the country’s famously most democratic party is rich in hypocrisy and self-delusion.
It seems that his lust for ‘office’ allows him to reject the Celtic Tiger tripartite approach as easily as he has abandoned the fiscal commonsense he so famously brought to the Greens.
This hypocrisy is expanded on when he, of the party that says we are at the end of the growth era, says that it is acceptable to bet on inflation of 2-3% for the next decade. Unless of course he is expecting ‘stagflation’.
His ‘Government’ is not listening to his amendments let alone anyone else’s. The risk sharing is pathetically inadequate. The ‘social dividend’ is gone. The SPV weakens oversight and control and was not on the table when he promoted NAMA to his membership. The BP did not stand up to 10 minutes of scrutiny and cannot be made profitable under any consistent set of assumptions.
Towards the end of this ‘aria’ of delusions he writes that if “the winners are those who have contributed to the nature of this problem and those who are disproportionately benefiting from wealth in this country, then we will have failed as a political system and as legislators to ensure those occurrences do not happen”.
And that, ‘Danny Boy’, is exactly what you are bringing about.