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Matt Miller of Left, Right & Centre at KCRW and Arthur Morgan of Sinn Féin in agreement on the global financial crisis. September 30, 2008

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Media and Journalism, Sinn Féin, Uncategorized, US Politics.

Reading today that deposits in Irish banks up €100,000 are to be guaranteed by the state until 2010 was interesting. This raises the limit from a miserly €20,000 (I jest when I use the word ‘miserly’). I’m not in that bracket, nor am I likely to be, and I’d hazard a guess neither are most of us reading this or indeed most of the population of this island, the one next door and the continents to the west and east, but it struck me that what I mentioned yesterday that distance between us and them – as it were – appears to have shortened radically in mere days. Of course the real nightmare is if these wonderful assurances and guarantees become the equivalent of smoke if the crisis deepens yet further and expands to encompass other areas of the global economy.

And I can’t help but applaud Sinn Féin for the following when they…

…called on the Minister for Finance to outline what quid pro quo he has secured from the banking sector.

I’d like to know too. And I think that they’re taking both a more progressive and useful line than Eamon Gilmore who seems stuck in discourse about ‘tax-payers’.

Indeed SF’s contribution recalls something Matt Miller of Left, Right & Centre on NPR suggested at the weekend. I’m really beginning to warm to Miller, I really am, crazy progressive centrist that he is, for he argued that in addition to the $700 billion bail out package it would eminently suitable for the financial sectors to cough up, in part or all, with the government funding for universal health insurance in the US.

Because here is the thing. Put to one side the argument about privatised profits and socialised costs and consider that all this is being played out at a level above (albeit coming dangerously close) our heads and with no quid pro quo.

“Maintaining international confidence in the Irish banking system is a priority however today must be a line in the sand of reckless practices in the Irish financial sector and a new day of responsible banking must begin,” said Sinn Féin finance spokesman Arthur Morgan.

But with responsibility comes costs. For too long general populations have had to stand on the margins as financial markets have wreaked their very special brand of magic. The chorus from them and their cheerleaders in politics and the media has been that they are impervious to interventions, that such interventions are morally suspect and that all would be well if we just left well alone. We’ve seen that particular theory crash in the past Summer. So perhaps – for once – those of us who haven’t got investments have the right to ask those who have made much of it, what’s in it for us? No blank cheques? Absolutely, unless the society gets something back.


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