Thursday, 26 May 2011

Christine Lagarde, the Irish bailout, and corporation tax

Pictured on the left, you see a Renault 4 van. It is by no means the only such specimen spotted here on holiday in southern France.

I have not seen a car like this in Ireland since the 70s – or at the very latest a straggler from the 80s, but here cars of such vintage are relatively common.

Contrast that with Ireland. Not that long ago, people were getting mortgage top-ups to acquire expensive, prestige motors to decorate their semi-D driveways.

I remember going to a certain dealership in 2006 whose salesman scoffed at the idea of taking a car over three years old as part exchange. Another one told me that people were changing their cars every two or three years... some even annually. Last year’s registration plate was a badge of shame, it seemed..

Now of course, things have changed. The people who borrowed all round them to buy cars, boats, apartments and houses they could not afford are blaming everyone else for their predicament. “They should not have lent us money” they say, “the banks were irresponsible, we shouldn’t have to pay it back”.

Sure, the banks were irresponsible. But so were the borrowers. Now the place is banjaxed, but many Irish people are still in denial and will blame everybody and everything but themselves for the mess they made.

Last week’s bizarre events surrounding Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s alleged attempted  rape of a hotel chambermaid in New York will have put paid to his ambitions of becoming the Socialist candidate in France’s presidential elections (not very socialist behaviour, if the allegations are proven true). It also briefly gave hope to the denialists in Ireland, that someone unconnected to the EU might take over the helm at the IMF. An American say, with a fond twinkle in the smiling Irish eyes for the auld country.

Sadly for them, it seems the opposite is likely to occur. France’s current Finance Minister, economic right-winger Christine Lagarde, looks set to take over the task of supervising the IMF portion of Ireland’s bailout.

It is unlikely that Madame Lagarde will take a kindly view of Ireland’s continuing belligerence on the subject of corporation tax. It is also unlikely that she will be amused by reports in the Sindo which talked of proposals to drop it further to 10%.

While she is looking into the viability of a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, she might also like to ponder the inordinately high pay rates of our politicians,  judges, dentists, doctors, lawyers, consultants and those in the upper echelons of our Civil Service?

Here cometh the axewoman – la femme de hache – and maybe this time, for once, she is just what's needed?

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Anonymous said...

ah yesindeedGM ,one of the many places i worked before hollywood was ALGERIA a 2yr contract where i saw many of this type of contraption in the pic plus the 2cv brings back very old memories. amazing the speed they got up to and remained in one piece even the police used them,of course the irish car buyer is much too discerning to buy a piece of shit from france even it might be french taxpayers money they were using and of course car salesmen are the cream of the crop as are realestate sales men er professional valuers and auctioneers, BTW BARRY has recieved the bradford paddy time piece as it turns out he is a very close with one of my close friends yer wan with all the hotels CHEERIO BH

R4boy said...

ah well done GM - the R4 van - 848cc's of liquid acceleration and its handling capabilities around corners was spoken about enviously by sofa designers for many years after it ceased production. I had three R4s in my time in Ireland. My fondest memory being the last one (9810 ZI) - you could take it into town and park it anywhere unlocked and be 100 per cent sure it would be still sitting there when you came back. I'm heading to France shortly and am seriously thinking about buying another one of these mobile chicken coops while i'm there. PB

Gammagoblin said...

Sorry to be a cunt, but the start of this post sits unwell with the rest of your posts championing the ever increasing safety standards of new cars and bemoaning of governmental VRT on ESC features of new car sales. We all appreciate the well versed point of "number plate snobbery" within Irish society but lets not resort to cretinism to revisit the topic.

The Gombeen Man said...

@ BH. Glad Barry liked this Spirit of Ireland timepiece. And yes, no shortage of 2CVs around here either... and many in great nick.

@ R4Boy. Likewise... if you were really looking to buy one, I am amazed at how well preserved soem of them are. The one above is not a great example, but when where were in Damazon there was one there which looked like it was just out of the showroom.

@ GG. I assume you had one too many there?

I am all for scrapping VRT and I am all for new, safe, cars with ESC.

I am not suggesting we all go around in 30 year old R4s. I certainly don't, if you had any clue.

I simply using an example to illustrate the country's debt and the folly of taking out mortgage extensions to buy cars.

Also, I see an irony which, if you can't see it youself, might be hard to explain to you. I thought it was obvious.

Perhaps you are beimg cretinous?

Ponyboy said...

ah c'mon GammyG - You don't seriously expect GM to give you any oxygen on the safety issue. Anyway the overriding safety feature of the R4 was the fact that it only weighed 27lbs and had a downhill top speed of 19mph - shure YOU'd do more damage to yourself falling off your high horse.Keep working on your cretinism though - there's a cure out there somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind though that the French view on corporation tax turns out to be a load of merde

Bernd said...

Can I just pick up on one thing ... despite the mess we are currently in, bwankers apparently have not copped on to common sense yet.

As in "car financing".

A car, for many people, is essential (to get to work, for instance). And it will break down spectacularly at the least convenient moment. Why is it impossible to get car finance for a decent, but USED car ... and you get preferential rates for a NEW car?

Or is it just me looking in the wrong places?

Gammagoblin said...

"Perhaps you are beimg cretinous?" No I was being a cunt, as I outlined.

I must offer a humble apology. I mean't to write "peasantry" and not "cretinism" at the end of my comment, to tie in the simpler lifestyle experienced in Southern France. It wasn't mean't to come across as offensive.

The Gombeen Man said...

@ Ponyboy. Just thinking of what you were saying about your old R4's security features. There was a time you couldn't park anything in Dublin (and I'm sure elsewhere in Ireland) with the expectation of finding it there when you came back. My old man had a battered Avenger taxi, and he used to take the distributer cap out of it overnight!

@ Anon. Yes, I read that. I think they really thinking more in terms of a CCCTB to stop profits being channelled through shelf companies in Irl.

@Bernd. Good point probably a credit union is the only place that would give the finance there... the bwankers don't seem to be interested. Thing is regarding (high) car costs in Ireland, people in rural areas simply cannot survive without a jammer.

@GammaGoblin. Apology accepted, and let me apologise in turn for my snappyness - I read those comments at 4am this morning before setting out for a long drive for the ferry. I'm awful cranky at that hour ;-)

Bernd said...

Actually, GM ... I had a gander at Blanch Credit Union a while ago and the heavily advertised car loans were for new cars only. Mind you, it is still possible to get a good loan for a "holiday of a lifetime" without major problems ...

Proud to be culchie with an 01, well-serviced and with decent tires, NCT brand new (no bribes involved).

Gammagoblin said...

I'm genuinely sorry, I came across like an asshole. My comment originally started out as joke about the chances of the Renault passing the NCT but I went for a deadpan ribbing instead... and failed.

The Gombeen Man said...

@Bernd... That's the way to do it alright. Nice one.

@GammaGoblin. Jasus, you're grand - I see what you were saying. If I'd been fully awake and had a few coffees down me I might have copped it at the time. In a bleary eyed and paranoid state, at 4am, thought you were having a go at my own advancing vintage with the "c" word ;-)

tunaboy said...

sorry from the antipodes too gamma - feel the love -now i've got to dash out to go tuna fishing. no shit - it's 6 in the morning and we cast off at 7.30 from pirates bay to the tasmanian shelf where they've been catching 90 kg tuna. PB

The Gombeen Man said...

90kg... Bloody hell. Make sure you have your harness on mate! Let's know how you get on.