"Same people… influencers, same holders of power"

I was on Adrian Weckler’s blog earlier watching recommended clips on Youtube when I happened upon the one below via the ‘related videos’ function.

It’s Matt Cooper talking at the Irish Institute of European Affairs Young Professionals Network.

Now, ignore the fact it was a “Young Professionals” event – seeing as he speaks about elitism, sameness, people being treated certain ways because they’re wealthy etc – and have a listen.

The last two minutes particularly (this was filmed a few days before the Budget…)

I worry, as well, about… I about things like… for example recently, the Farmleigh initiative whereby an awful lot of the failures of Irish life – the guys who were treated with extraordinary deference because they’re wealthy – went up, as if they had no responsibility for the mess we’re in [like] “we’re the guys who have all the ideas to dig ourselves out”.

I asked one Government minister; I said “how many people under the age of forty were at Farmleigh?” And momentarily he couldn’t answer. It was on live radio. Then he said “oh I think about fifteen or twenty per cent were under forty”.

I don’t know if there was one person under the age of forty there.

In fact, I happen to know there is a very good network of Irish professionals in the UK, people who have gone over in the last couple of decades – mainly in their late twenties early-thirties – who have a very effective but low-key network there, people particularly in financial services. Not one of them was asked if they wanted to go to Farmleigh. It was all the same old faces…

It was the same old people who sleep-walked us into this mess who are still telling us they’re the people who can get us out of this mess. Now you might get a few changes at the top – Financial regulator, he goes, the boss of the Central Bank has changed – yet the same Government is in charge. And it’s the majority of the same people, the same influencers, the same holders of power are all in the positions that they were in… and the structures haven’t changed and the attitude hasn’t changed, the mindset hasn’t changed… and most of the people who got us into the mess are the ones who are there.

And yet they’re telling us they’re the ones to get us out of the mess.

I was at Farmleigh (as media), Cooper’s right.

On the same point however, what are Fine Gael going to do? They’re making little noise – at least realistic noise, ignore the Seaned claims – about parliamentary or wider societal reform. Having examined the donations to both parties in depth, Fine Gael weren’t actually refusing developers’ moneys. They aren’t as deep in the pockets of the construction industry as Fianna Fáil but it could be argued that is only because they weren’t power. What’s your take?

Footnote: Two Matt-Cooper-quoting posts in one day, promise it won’t happen again unless under exceptional circumstances.