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Polls… so many polls… And Eamon Gilmore too… 2 September 30, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
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There’s more fascinating data to be found in the latest set of polls. For example, what to make of the latest polling data that suggests that:

On the issue of whether the Greens should vote to remain in Government at its convention planned for October 10th, there are key differences between various categories on what the party should do.
Critically, 75 per cent of Green voters want to remain in coalition and a majority of FF voters share that view. While supporters of the Opposition parties say the Greens should pull out, a quarter of them want the coalition to continue.
In class terms 44 per cent of AB voters want the Greens to stay in while just 29 per cent of DE voters want the coalition to continue.

Well, perhaps that points up the class nature of GP support. But what to make of a quarter of supporters of Labour, Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and others arguing the coalition should remain in situ?

And what of this?

Fine Gael and Green Party voters are the next most supportive [of NAMA], although a majority in each camp is opposed to the measure. This still represents a significant turnaround among Green supporters who were the most strongly against the plan three weeks ago.

That, surely, is music to the ears of the GP Ministers as they nervously anticipate October 10th. Such a turnaround is precisely what one imagines they hope to manage with their membership, or rather to minimise dissent against NAMA. One wonders again if the public pronouncements by GP elected representatives has staunched that political wound.

The polling data on other aspects of the economic situation are of equal interest.

Telling to see that most voters do not want reductions in welfare or taxation of child benefit. One might wonder, perhaps a little cynically, whether this is because such payments are amongst those most likely to be used by the voters (or potentially most likely to be used, as in the case of welfare payments).

But, notable that:

In spite of the strong opposition to welfare cuts and the taxing of child benefit, 70 per cent of voters said the Government should put the emphasis on cuts in the budget. Just 14 per cent favoured an emphasis on tax increases as the best way of dealing with the crisis in the public finances.
Supporters of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael were equally strong in their preference for spending cuts while Labour and Green voters were less enthusiastic. Sinn Féin voters were most strongly opposed.
Ironically, the strongest support for putting the emphasis on tax increases came from the wealthiest AB social group, who already pay a higher proportion of their income in tax than any other category.

Ironic too that those in other ‘social groups’ are most likely to have to avail of services that spending cuts threaten [edit - my point being that although those outside the AB group might well have good reason to not want tax increases they are more likely to ultimately have to depend upon the very services tax increases will help fund... see comments below]. One has to hand it to the media management of the current crisis. And there’s more…

The strongest opposition to tax increases came from the middle and lower-middle C1 and C2 social groups who want the emphasis to be placed on spending cuts.
When asked if the Government should put the emphasis on pay cuts or redundancies in order to reduce the public sector pay bill, voters favoured salary reductions by a margin of more than two to one.

It’s therefore timely that Eamon Gilmore has announced his opposition to public sector pay cuts.

Asked if he thought pay-cuts in the public sector were inevitable, he said: “I don’t accept they are inevitable first of all because there already has been a pay cut for people who are working in public service organisations – it was the so-called pension levy”.

Over recent weeks, some Government sources have suggested pay cuts of 5 per cent for most public sector workers and deeper reductions for those at the top could be introduced in the Budget.

That figure of 5% is certainly gaining currency, it was on the front page of the Sunday Times at the weekend, and here it is again. But Gilmore is adamant and in terms not a million miles away from those used on this blog and others. That’s a pretty strong statement to make, given the orthodoxy arrayed against that position and it will be instructive if the media affection for him dims somewhat now that he is seemingly positioning himself in a more hard-edged mode on the subject.

I was very struck by the tone of the reporting in the Irish Times yesterday on this matter, a sort of non-too veiled disbelief that an adult human being could put forward such a position…

Asked if he accepted that public expenditure savings of €4 billion would have to be made, he replied: “I don’t accept the €4 billion figure. The question that has to be addressed [is] what happens if you take €4 billion out of the economy.
“There’s been a huge chunk of money taken out of the economy already this year. We see the consequences of that: walk down any street in Ireland.
“There’s nobody going into the shops, there’s no spend. Because there’s no spend, there’s no sales taxes coming in.” The question of whether €4 billion was the correct figure was “something that the Labour Party is looking at”. The Government still had not given a date for the budget.

And lest this seem like an undigested paean to continuity he noted:

Reiterating that he was saying no to public sector pay cuts, Mr Gilmore continued: “We’ve already said there are areas where economies could be achieved in the public service pay budget.
“One of those is at the top end, and we have proposed that there should be a cap on salaries at the top end and we have said what that cap should be. Secondly, we have argued, in terms of equity as much as anything else, that there should be a third taxation band and it should apply to earnings of over €100,000.
“We are already saying quite clearly, let me be clear about this, there has already been a cut in pay for people who work in the public services, that people who are on low and middle incomes are not in a position to bear further pay cuts.”

I can think of other areas economies in public expenditure could be found as well, some, believe it or not, suggested by McCarthy. But the point is that at least he is willing now to articulate however imprecisely an alternative view. In political terms this is intriguing. Does this point to a sense on the part of Labour that they can cohere what might be a formerly Fianna Fáil ‘public sector’ (for want of a better term) vote that has come their way and that in doing so they can maximise their vote? Because the logic of the polls would seem to suggest that that is the most fertile ground for them to operate upon (given that other left parties have already appropriated terrain that might hitherto have been productive for them).

Already the Irish Times editorial is concerned about this. Yesterday it reiterated orthodoxy.

There is an urgent need to reduce official borrowing. The Government is committed to trimming expenditure by €4 billion next year. Pay reductions, rather than job losses, are publicly favoured. And Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has no appetite for further tax increases. The Government has confirmed it will reduce the cost of children’s allowances. Such a measure will be extremely unpopular, as the recent Irish Times/TNS mrbi opinion poll made clear. The same holds true for cuts in social welfare. But it would be a travesty if welfare benefits were reduced while the pay and conditions of a privileged group of employees were protected.

Note how the discussion has shifted subtly from the former trope of public sector pay versus private sector pay. That the figures did not support the contention that pay cuts were widespread in the private sector punctured that balloon. So now the comparison is made between those on social welfare and those in the public sector. Of course, any public sector employee paying the pension levy could easily turn around and say that they have already seen their pay and conditions reduced. Now I don’t know if that’s a travesty… but…

And the ugly prospect, for the Irish Times, of Eamon Gilmore going off-message is also noted…

Eamon Gilmore of the Labour Party has opposed a cut in public sector pay and questioned the need for €4 billion in savings. His pro-trade union stance places him at odds with Fine Gael and raises questions about future government policy.

Note that his apostasy is positioned not within an ideological economic framework but in the context of being ‘pro-trade union’, which is a fairly disingenuous way of putting it. One can be in favour of retaining consumer spending or not cutting public sector wages (or at least not in the currently proposed form of the currently proposed ends) without being in thrall to unions. But we are getting more than a hint of how this will be worked through in the media over the next while.

One can also predict that this will be a source of ammunition for the Government benches in the Dáil, well, not this week given Lisbon, but perhaps next week.

Meanwhile, back in the polls, there’s some odd contradictions, or at least part contradictions… this is particularly eye-catching…

Labour remains the biggest party in Dublin and it has also taken over as the most popular party among the AB social category where it edges out Fine Gael. Labour’s lowest level of support comes from the least well off DE voters.
By contrast Fine Gael is now the most popular party among DE voters where it has overtaken Fianna Fáil.

Fine Gael? Really? How does that work? It reminds me of something an acquaintance in one of our smaller left parties said, that the biggest problem isn’t convincing people that Fianna Fáil are useless, but persuading them that Fine Gael aren’t the obvious alternative.

Still true.

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Comments»

1. Proposition Joe - September 30, 2009

Is it really that surprising that DE voters aren’t turning to Labour?

Are the interests of DEs naturally aligned with Labour’s instinct to protect the insiders?

Remember these are people who are generally outsiders on the margins: either on social welfare or in low-paid & insecure private sector employment.

So how do think they’d view SIPTU’s comical demand for a 3.5% increase in HSE pay rates? Might they suspect that the State yielding to such demands will inevitably cost them in terms of reduced service levels and/or higher taxes and/or welfare cuts?

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WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2009

Prop Joe, you conflate the stated position of Gilmore with the SIPTU position. They’re entirely different. One argues for not cutting public sector pay, the other for raising it in a specific instance. BTW for the record I certainly wouldn’t stand over a 3.5% increase at this point in time.

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2. sonofstan - September 30, 2009

Sadly, that’s true. Labour, more that anything, are becoming the party of the public service employee and the relatively well- off liberal. Increasingly, Joan Burton in particular, appear to be employing the rhetorical tropes of New Labour: “hard-working families” and so on.

Any centre-left government needs these people, but it also needs the people Joe is talking about. Labour needs to start building outside its latter day ‘comfort zone’

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WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2009

sonofstan, I think that it is, as the saying has it, too early to say. But to be honest I have no trouble with a rhetoric that mentions hard working families as long as, and here I think Prop Joe is correct, that that includes those in the DE category. This isn’t a war between those groupings, which overlap (and/or see movement from one to the other and back again particularly given the current nature of the employment market).

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sonofstan - September 30, 2009

“Hard-working families” always makes me think whoever is speaking is about to go on to pick on the non-working, non- (traditional) families’ – oversensitive of me, perhaps.

Of course there isn’t a war, but there isn’t at the moment a natural alliance forming between – for example – those who deliver public services; teachers, nurses, civil servants, who are, i think, increasingly turning to Labour, and those most dependent on decent services because they haven’t the option of any kind of buy out.

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WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2009

That’s true. And I’d really like that political option to be articulated by Gilmore, but to hear him defending any part of the public sector is no harm in itself.

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3. Longman Oz - September 30, 2009

A couple of things struck me from your analysis, WbS:

Why is it ironic please that middle and lower-middle C1 and C2 social groups might prefer spending cuts over taxation? Presumably, a significant portion of them are not unionised public sector workers worried about the upcoming Budget. More likely, many of them are private sector workers who have suffered reduced hours and/or pay cuts and/or higher taxation already this year. Equally, too many of them will have gone from being two-income households to one-income ones. Even putting all of that aside, those on modest earnings will always be most sensitive to giving any of them up…

Equally, how is it “media handling” please for the strongest support for more taxation to come from the AB social group? Unless they are all serious Vincent Browne acolytes, I am not sure who has been hitting them with that message. In fact, despite having a large grain of salt at the ready, that particular poll result sounded rather refreshing…

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4. Proposition Joe - September 30, 2009

The constituency that Labour are honing their policies towards is easily seen by their choice of a €200,000 salary cap as their policy on public pay.

Two hundred grand, not too shabby wha’? That’s 4 times the average public sector salary, 5 times the average private sector salary, and a massive 11 times the minimum wage.

To say nothing of it being nearly 20 times the jobseekers allowance.

The fact that Labour seek to set the bar so high on this speaks volumes as to where they see their votes coming from in the next general election.

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WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2009

Longman Oz… my mistake, my assumption reading the original piece was that they were against the principle of increased taxation on middle and higher incomes, not though on all incomes. In that context I thought it was ironic in terms of their long term interests since they would be more likely to access public provision of services than those on higher wages (and yet again can we be clear that the data returning on pay cuts/reduced hours indicates that – as repeated by John FitzGerald of the ESRI yesterday – there have been ‘no significant cuts in wages in the private sector’. Which is not to say there have been none). But you’re correct, people presumably looked at that in terms of increased taxes on themselves what ever their position. I misinterpreted the original point.

And my comment on media handling was intended to reference back to how outside AB’s the idea was that spending cuts were preferable to tax increases, not to ‘media handling’ of the ABs themselves. As you say, there’s no-one pushing ABs towards such a position. And yes, that result is refreshing if accurate.

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Longman Oz - October 1, 2009

No probs.

I will try and look at the ESRI report into private sector pay for sure. It definitely contradicts my own experience and those of many others that I know. For example, perhaps there’s a time lag in their data or perhaps what is being measured does not capture the discretionary aspects of what people get paid, e.g bonuses, sales commissions, etc. (Remember, a discretionary bonus of €4k means a lot to someone on €40k).

Equally, I remember being told in the late 90s that the statistics showed no serious rise in the cost of living when I could see the purchasing power of my take home pay diminishing every few months… However, that is another story.

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WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2009

Ah yes, the evils of the ILP know no bounds. That €200k included expenses and overtime and any other funds, they’ve also called for the suspension of performance related pay?

Note also that Gilmore wants a third band of taxation at 48% on earnings over €100,000.

So, thought experiment, how many public servants make over €50k, how many over €100k and how many over €200k. Do you think that those who are in what Joan Burton called the ‘higher echelons’ are there in such numbers that they will materially affect Labour’s poll performance?

As it stands there are 24,000 people in the state who earn between €200,000 and €500,000. Swing a constituency maybe? Unlikely. Whereas 106,772 earn between €80k and €100k.

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Tomboktu - September 30, 2009

how many public servants make over €50k, how many over €100k and how many over €200k

Now that’s the kind of thing that prompts me to wonder if I want to ask a TD to ask a PQ (or fifteen of Dept Finance does not have the figure for the whole public service)

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Proposition Joe - September 30, 2009

So, thought experiment, how many public servants make over €50k, how many over €100k and how many over €200k

That’s exactly the point, there are only a handful on more than €200k.

Whereas there’s a not insignificant number on between 75 and €150k.

Now by advocating any sort of cap, Labour have already conceeded the principle that certain pay-cuts are acceptable. Given that further cuts in the public pay budget are inevitable, the question is whether Labour have set out a defensible position (especially when they accede to power).

If Labour really were focussed on protecting the wages of teachers and nurses on the lower end of their pay-scales, it would much more logical to concede that cuts may be required for salaries over say €75k.

By instead opting to advocate a cap that won’t impact on 98% of public servants, ironically they’re making a blunt accross-the-board cut more likely.

Would the average nurse be too upset if Matron had to take a pay-cut? Similarly would a young teacher really be that put out if the principal’s allowance or a university professors salary were reduced?

By treating the public service as an (almost) amorphous blob, Labour are in fact playing to the interests of the higher paid public servants.

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5. Screaming Blue Messiah - September 30, 2009

Back to Eamonn Smullen’s point on union official’s salaries….
Joan Bruton does indeed avoid the term working class, but then all these people think that Nu Labour were a success.

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6. Pavement Trauma - September 30, 2009

My take on this is that it may be entirely logical that the C1 and C2 group are most opposed to tax increases while the AB1 are in favour. C1 and C2s think they are not taxed much and hence any tax increases will be targetted at them. AB1s think they are taxed heavily and hence will not be targetted at them.

Lets makes the (pretty crude) approximation that C1 and C2 groups are mostly represented by the middle four deciles of households by income and the AB1groups by the top three deciles. After social transfers and tax the middle four deciles of households by income, are net beneficiaries from State coffers of an average of 8% of their net income. The top three deciles, by contrast, are net contributors of an average of almost 24% of their net income.

Marginal tax rates at the higher level can be up to 55% when levies and PRSI is included. There isn’t a whole lot more room for rate increases there. I think both groups are making the assumption that any income tax increases will therefore come from broadening the tax base by reducing tax credits or narrowing bands, or both. This would affect the middle deciles proportionally more than the upper deciles.

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WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2009

There’s something in that too PT.

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7. jc - September 30, 2009

It doesn’t surprise me that Labour’s strength is primarily in the middle class these days. The fact of the matter is that Sinn Fein, the SP and further left independents are now capturing a percentage of the electorate that is larger than the total left vote used to be 20 years ago. A majority of those voters are working class and a large percentage of them would likely have voted Labour in an earlier generation. Having ceded these votes to SF, etc, Labour could not possibly be polling as well as it is now without attracting a significant white collar demographic. I would suggest that the FG lead among the less well off in this poll reflects the fact that there still is no left alternative on offer in much of rural Ireland. It also reflects the fact that the sample size in opinion polls makes it dangerous to subject some of the more granular analysis to too much scrutiny. Of the sample of 1000 voters, how many were in the DE category? If you knew what the sample was, the margin of error would probably render the data worthless.

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WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2009

That’s a fair point re the percentage. Problem is that in this state LAbour, or whoever on the left have to attract middle class votes in order to win seats. I’m not sure how one squares that circle otherwise. Good point about FG.

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8. Crocodile - September 30, 2009

I’ve been at 3 public service union meetings in the last 10 days and at each one have found a fury at the leaderships of the individual unions and at ICTU. Ingrid Miley on RTE is starting to wake up to this reality: that public sector workers will insist that their leaders stand up and oppose the assault on their pay and conditions, instead of supinely going along with it.
Do I know anyone in my place of work, or the other public service workplaces I’ve visited recently, who thinks of himself as one of the lucky beneficiaries of a cosy, mutually profitable collusion between employers, government and unions? Do I hell.
We’re the only public servants in Europe to take a pay cut and, most of all, our working conditions are worsening by the day as posts are unfilled and promotions banned. Since when was it expected of a trades unionist to shut up and be grateful he has a job in the first place? The health workers are not looking for a new pay rise, but for the money that’s owed to them from a binding agreement – nothing ‘comical’ about that. The money isn’t there to pay it? well, it wasn’t there to bail out Anglo Irish either, but it was found.

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WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2009

Well, mosey over to the most recent post and you’ll see how FitzGerald of the ESRI is saying how elsewhere in Europe the 7% cuts that PS workers have taken is regarded as remarkable, so I think there’s a lot in what yuo say.

I agree the 3.5% isn’t comical. Whether that’s the best fight to fight at this point though in the context of the overall picture of attacks on the PS is a different matter.

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Crocodile - September 30, 2009

‘ Whether that’s the best fight to fight at this point though in the context of the overall picture of attacks on the PS is a different matter.’
Said it before – public sector pensions will be the real sticking point. Dept of Finance won’t be happy until they’ve broken the link between serving workers and retirees/taxed the lump sum/closed the defined benefit scheme to new employees/all of the above. If any of those is in the budget, the shit will really hit the fan.

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9. Tomboktu - September 30, 2009

I imagine they might get away with closing the defined benefit scheme to new workers. There are no new public sector workers around to protest and throw shit at the fan, and I could see existing workers and their unions accepting that as long as they are not hit.

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10. Proposition Joe - September 30, 2009

You betcha they’ll get away with closing DB pensions to new entrants. There’s a long tradition of “screw the newbie” within the public sector unions. As long as the incumbants are protected, the unions will agree to any dilution of conditions for new joiners … in fact, the unions are usually the first to suggest this approach.

And if you don’t believe me, ask any “assistant” lecturer or one of the new “yellow pack” prison officers or any nurse employed after November 1999.

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11. EWI - September 30, 2009

the biggest problem isn’t convincing people that Fianna Fáil are useless, but persuading them that Fine Gael aren’t the obvious alternative.

Pfft. Three or four years of FG always seems to do the trick for that one, every time we get an FG-Lab coalition…

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12. EWI - September 30, 2009

There’s a long tradition of “screw the newbie” within the public sector unions. As long as the incumbants are protected, the unions will agree to any dilution of conditions for new joiners … in fact, the unions are usually the first to suggest this approach.

I have to depressingly entirely agree with what both Tomboktu and Proposition Joe say; the worst enemy of new/young public servants isn’t the barbarians of the Right but rather their older ‘colleagues’.

(A fact which contributes in no small measure to the high turn-over of the more dedicated and hardworking ones, who often leave in disillusionment in my experience).

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13. WorldbyStorm - September 30, 2009

Can’t disagree with that either unfortunately. On a related matter I’ve consistently felt that unions with large memberships in the Public Sector should be a lot more proactive about lobbying for the extension of rights to those in the private sector.

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14. Ian - September 30, 2009

I agree with Proposition Joe and EWI. Who will be the first employees to lose out in education cuts? The non-unionised Special Needs Assistants who are on fixed term contracts is my bet.

There is not enough analysis of the fact that Bertie Ahern’s social partnership process bought off the trade unions and their members with largesse and regular pay rises.

Of course, achieving these goals is the raison d’etre of a trade union, but the situation we find ourselves in where we have to contemplate pay cuts is not the fault of Eamon Gilmore. Its the fault of 12 years of FF government where everyone was bought off with no consideration of the bigger picture.

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15. Doloras - September 30, 2009

If the polls are accurate, then if Labour coalesces with FG, then Enda Kenny is the Taoiseach. But if Labour made a deal with FF and some others (Green? SF? Independents), then Eamon Gilmore might be the Taoiseach.

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jc - September 30, 2009

An FF that is sufficiently diminished in strength that it would have to accept a Labour Taoiseach as the price of coalition will invoke its own “Tallaght strategy” and allow FG to form a minority government. FF will welcome the ability to hand off this toxic mess to FG, who can be relied upon to act with the heedless arrogance of their tribe. FF will then find a propitious moment to topple Enda and regain almost all of their lost seats at the resulting election.

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16. Crocodile - September 30, 2009

‘Largesse’, Ian? Where is it? There’s non-stop ‘analysis’ of the ‘fact’ that Bertie ‘bought off’ trades unionists. Just open any Independent or Murdoch newspaper – the same ones that were telling us two years ago that unions were irrelevant and belonged in the past. When all the time we were lining our pockets. No wonder all my colleagues drive such big cars and live in such big houses. Not.

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17. Harry Crake - September 30, 2009

The Matt Cooper, Pat Leahy, Shane Coleman, Senan Fuckface, Michael O’Leary loving, ‘we love public sector pain’ lets all do the Ray McSharry 1987 dance bastards. Fuck them all. General strike.

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18. Ian - September 30, 2009

Crocodile, I’m not trying to be a cheer leader for the right wing press, though I can see why you think I am.

The point I am trying to make is that Bertie gave away pay rises that are unsustainable in light of the demise of the bubble economy.

Thats not fair to public sector workers, who felt entitled to a pay rise and the bubble economy that he created meant pay had to rise to keep up with the inflation and the rise in property prices etc. In short I felt he (falsely and misleadingly) promised everyone, public sector workers included, that they could have everything they wanted. That’s not good politics, that’s largesse. I don’t think public sector workers have large houses and big cars. I just think they were lied to and now we are seeing the cost of that.

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19. Crocodile - September 30, 2009

‘I don’t think public sector workers have large houses and big cars. I just think they were lied to and now we are seeing the cost of that.’
And that’s why all workers, private and public, union and non-union, should be uniting to fight what’s in the coming budget instead of bickering about who deserves to suffer most.

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20. - AKRIM ONLINE - September 30, 2009

[...] Polls… so many polls… And Eamon Gilmore too… 2 « The Cedar Lounge … [...]

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21. Ian - September 30, 2009

Crocidle, Agreed. But can you be certain all sides will come together? The private sector like IBEC will call for cuts in public sector pay and as has been pointed out by Proposition Joe above, some of the unions will prefer to screw the newbies.

What I’m most disappointed about is the lack of the solidarity you want. Everyone, be they a union or non-union is calling for someone else to take the pain. Why is that?

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22. WorldbyStorm - October 1, 2009

Which means that unions should be moving beyond simple protection of their membership to lobby for broader societal protections that might involve a rebalancing between provisions for public and private sector in order to yes safeguard many, but perhaps not all of the provisions, of the former but also raise the latter to optimal levels.

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23. EamonnCork - October 1, 2009

The point that Labour doesn’t represent the large number of people in this country living in poverty has been made above, and is a good one. And sadly the poorer a constituency, the lower the turn-out which is why Labour, and the other parties, have felt emboldened to ignore this section of society altogether. Though surely there’s a case to be made for, as WBS said above, uniting people who make the most use of public services and the people who deliver them. I wonder sometimes if this great Labour chase after the middle class vote, e.g. Joan Burton always banging on about the needs of small business, is largely a waste of time. Whatever these small poll samples show, the small businessman for one will not vote Labour in a fit. If half this effort was put into addressing the needs of those living in poverty surely, from a purely pragmatic point of view, there is a large untapped reservoir of people out there who don’t vote for anyone at the moment and are more natural Labour voters than the class the party spends so much time chasing. There were predictions that SF would really mobilise this alienated section of the population, as they did when they broke through in the North originally, but this doesn’t seem to have come to pass. In fact now the rhetoric from SF seems also be in favour of making the party more palatable for middle class consumption. It can seem sometimes as if all the parties are chasing the same votes while it seems to be regarded as almost bad form to address the needs of the substantial section of the population which scarcely profited from the Tiger and will suffer worst from its death. Surely it’s an affront to us all that there are areas in all the large cities and towns where kids are born with little or no prospect of anything other than utter marginalisation.
I would, however, be careful of right wing attempts to attack public sector workers under the guise of concern for the poor. Remember, if they come for the public sector in the morning, they’ll come for the social welfare budget at night.
I also find it strange that those who most fervently caution against laying blame on developers and bankers are most keen to anathemise public servants.

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