David McWilliams interview… December 9, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
…in the Mail on Sunday conducted by Jason O’Toole. Some interesting stuff squirrelled away in there, though McWilliams is notably unforthcoming on matters political or even economic (and this is noted in the interview). Indeed this fits with a broader pattern of a certain ambiguity about where he stands on the political spectrum though given his appearance on the stump with Shane Ross (IIRC) perhaps that’s no mystery at all. Indeed he’s a lot more forthcoming about his marriage and his children – not baptised, and his holidays. But perhaps that’s a necessary rebalancing given that his books are ubiquitous.
Though perhaps less ubiquitous than one might think.
Despite his success, David insists his position can be a precarious one. ‘The thing about sitting on the stairs and listening as his parents discussed their financial worries. ‘You don’t need to know words. You can sense the urgency and maybe the fear. A lot of the stuff I value in economics comes from that childhood memory,’ explains David, whose father’s Protestant parents migrated from Scotland in the Twenties. It’s an insight that belies the public façade of the smooth-talking David as someone born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Instead, he emerges in this deeply personal interview as a far more complex figure, driven to success by the experience of observing his father’s financial woes. The 46-year-old is an alumnus of Blackrock and Trinity but stresses he was only afforded the luxury of such an education because his mother was a primary teacher who kept them afloat when his father was unemployed.
And that’s interesting too because:
…that David was partially inspired to write about the recession by his own childhood experiences, when he watched
he his father ‘put on his shirt and tie and pretend to go out to work’ to fool their middle-class neighbours in leafy Monkstown in south Dublin. ‘He was ashamed of being unemployed,’ David reveals. ‘He worked in a paint and chemical factory that went to the wall. When you see that happen to the man in the world you most love, if you see him emotionally and psychologically battered by something beyond his control, it affects you.’
There’s more in this line and as is his wont he’s mapped it more broadly:
Keeping up appearances was extremely important to David McWilliams’s granny. She kept a ‘good room’ to be used only on special occasions. Local dignitaries would be entertained in the pristine area, to ensure she didn’t feel embarrassed in front of them. David uses the allegory in his new book, The Good Room, by comparing his granny’s mentality to that of the Government. He accuses the State of being more concerned with the ‘perception of respectability’ and accepting austerity, rather than burning the bondholders, in order not to ‘embarrass our neighbours by reminding them we’re bust’.
And as to whether we’ll see more of him?
…he still itches to have another go at a chat show. ‘I’m the only person who’s ever got fired by TV3, RTÉ and Newstalk,’ he laughs. ‘Honestly, though, it’s frustrating. I’d love to do TV and radio again, I make no bones about it. But it may not happen.’