Kathy Sheridan: Crisis is exposing clay feet of strong men, pathetic Churchillian wannabes
Almost every reckless decision ever can be traced to someone persuaded he was a brilliant maverick
People take part in a “reopen” Pennsylvania demonstration last week in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, US. Hundreds of people gathered in the US state to protest measures that are urging most of the nation to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic. File photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty
A burnt-out mobile phone mast in London, Britain, April 15th last. File photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA
Back in 2007, while researching a book on Ireland’s biggest property developers, I was haunted by one question in particular. Why hadn’t they cashed in when they had made a big killing or two and gone off to play golf?
The most plausible explanation came from a leading surveyor who knew them well. People with little money who dream of their options if they suddenly were to get a lot of it, tend to think in terms of freedom, he said; “but these guys think of money as a score... As a rational being, when you’ve broken your back to make a pile of money, do you then go ‘Bang, I’ll hump the lot back on the table’? Of course you don’t. But that’s what the developers did. Repeatedly.”