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Irish Fairy Tale?

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I’ve developed a new game. The game is simple: I trawl through the BBC news website, clicking on articles at random until I stumble on some evidence of their institutional bias. The idea is to come across such an article in the fewest number of clicks possible. Well, I just set a new personal best with this one: 2 clicks.

The article is a precursor to next Monday’s Panorama. Here, our erstwhile BBC apparatchik (Fergal Keane) sets his sites on the Irish boom and bust. He writes:

Ireland is a nation in the grip of a moral hangover, wondering how such an age of recklessness had come about and why it had been allowed to last so long.

Hmm… good question. Did the Irish people all somehow spontaneously whip themselves into a frenzy? Were they consumed by a sudden madness, endemic to the great evil boogeyman that is capitalism? It seems our man Fergal’s analysis assumed the answer to be a sound ‘yes’ to these questions. Not that, of course, he was aware of this. No, his article seemed to have been based on such an emotive, romanticised and superficial level of thought that it is plain to see that at no point has he even bothered to consider any real, substantial questions about causes and incentives. The giveaway is his phrase “moral hangover”. Instead of actually applying some of his limited grey matter to questioning whether or not the Irish people’s behaviour had been incentivised by some external condition like… ooh, I don’t know, government policy, old Fergal satisfies himself with characterising the bubble as some collective fault of moral judgment.

We then get:

Nothing is so pervasive now in Ireland as the feeling of betrayal. I think we are on the verge of momentous change here. It will not be reflected in a radical shift in people’s politics from right to left [oh, isn’t that a terrible shame Fergal], but it could deliver something that has been almost entirely missing in Ireland since the foundation of the state in 1922. A real and widespread tradition of dissent, a people who will hold their leaders to account on a continuing basis and never, ever again believe that good times last forever.

What does this line about a shift from right to left mean? It seems the reader is left to infer that a) such a shift is desirable, and b) that a shift to the left is a natural consequence of the situation, as if Ireland somehow provides a counter example to the ‘capitalist paradigm’ (to use the vernacular of the leftist). And this is the kind of vacuous, romanticised left-wing drivel that the BBC are more than happy to put out. What we are getting is a silly fairy tale in which (mildly) complex economic issues are presented in terms of ideological caricatures.

Here’s a suggestion Fergal: perhaps being a member of the eurozone, and having ECB rates that were artificially low by Irish standards incentivised some people in Ireland to borrow a bit more than they otherwise would have? Perhaps it encouraged property speculation? Oh wait, I forgot that criticising the EU – or heck, just giving it any significant coverage at all – does not sit easy with the BBC groupthink agenda.

Perhaps I’m jumping the gun, and the Panorama show on Monday will give a far more balanced account than this ridiculous article suggests, but I won’t hold my breath…


Written by theunfashionabletruth

February 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm