Tuesday, January 18, 2011

David McWilliams - dangerous charmer

“Golfgate” is turning into an exercise of pinning the political blame for the blanket bank guarantee onto the Cowen/Fitzpatrick donkey. In part, this arises because there appears to be confusion as to who actually recommended the blanket guarantee to the Government in September 2008.

I’m perplexed by this apparent confusion because the origin of the plan has been hiding in plain view for over two years now, although its economist author has been uncharacteristically reticent about claiming the credit for it!

Following a midnight meeting between David McWilliams and Finance Minister Brian Lenihan on 17th September 2008, McWilliams published an article advocating the blanket bank guarantee eleven days later in the Sunday Business Post of 28th September 2008.

In that article McWilliams stated that "The only option is to guarantee 100 per cent of all depositors/creditors in the Irish banking system. This guarantee does not extend to shareholders who will have to live with the losses they have suffered. However, it applies to everyone else."

It seems logical to assume that the content of this post-meeting press article accurately reflects the advice given to Minister Lenihan on the night.

Two days after publication of that article, the Government announced it was implementing a blanket bank guarantee, along the lines proposed in the McWilliams article. As recommended by McWilliams, the only exclusion from the blanket guarantee was to be the shareholders.

It's high time the media gave David McWilliams the credit he deserves for this strategy, at a time when many of the public are clamouring for him to launch his own political movement to sort out the mess the country is in.

It would also seem prudent to bear this 2008 proposal in mind when we read the ever-growing menu of McWilliams solutions for getting the country back on track!

Footnote: Published as a letter in the Irish Times.
Timing couldn't have been better as, the following day, there were media reports that McWilliams intends to stand as an Independent in the upcoming election in my constituency.
I can't wait to meet him at the door! He'll get what for.
Charlatan and Charmer are very close bed-fellows in my dictionary; it cannot be mere coincidence, can it?

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