'We' are not to blame
Madam, – I completely disagree with Anthony Leavy (May 3rd) who maintains that the citizenry is blameless and holds those “who failed to warn us” responsible for our predicament. It was clearly obvious to anybody with a modicum of wit that too many Irish people were living in a bubble. Writing from New York (Letters, March 3rd, 2000) I wrote “apartments in Manhattan’s highly desirable Upper East Side are cheaper than those of a similar size in Ringsend” adding “South East Asia, the basis for our sad cliché ‘The Celtic Tiger’, now has become a sick kitten. Those who bought property in Singapore during the boom of the early 1990s have lost 40 per cent of their outlay and many have negative equity in their homes.” In subsequent years I, and others who shared my views, were derided both professionally and privately.
Too many people did not want to hear anything that upset their avaricious complacency; too many were willing to pay outlandish prices for property, to borrow huge amounts for everything from luxury cars, conservatories and kitchens to poorly designed concrete boxes located anywhere from the Cape Verde Islands to India.
Those over-borrowed individuals need to accept their part of the blame.
Until that happens, and a few crooks from the financial services sector are sent to jail, we cannot move on: all of this needs to happen, soon. – Yours, etc,
Madam, – Almost 30 years ago, before I was promoted to real journalism, I was given the job of writing an opinion column in The Irish Times. The editor of the day, Douglas Gageby, called me aside to tell me there were two banned words: “we” and “us”. I could, he told me, speak for myself but not for the people. Times have changed. The economic crisis has seen to that. “We all partied” – Brian Lenihan. “We are all guilty” – Irish TimesEditorial, April 20th. “It’s time we owned up”– Vincent Browne (April 6th). Did the destitute party? Are the homeless guilty? Should those on the minimum wage own up? Does the current use of the words “we” and “us” betray an inner belief that certain people don’t count? – Yours, etc,