Frank Taylor wrote:Government policy seems to be that forcing the issue on land prices will result in a flood of real estate onto the market, resulting in further property price drops and further foreclosures, leading to a collapse in the Irish banking system. As the government has gone 'all-in' with its guarantee that no bank will fail, we now cannot afford to let the inevitable happen.
The aim of the anglo takeover is to delay foreclosure, not to encourage it. I guess the vain hope is that things will pick up again.
The correct course of action was not to offer a limitless guarantee for the deposits and the loans of a near insolvent bank like Anglo but to let it fail (along with the other bad lender that cannot be named). But this is hindsight.
Everyone always apologises for hindsight. The problem with hindsight is that we don't use it enough and we don't use it properly. Every bank collapse, every credit crunch, global warming, global freezing, it's all happen dozens of times before and society has found the means to come through. Until actual little green men step off a flying saucer from Mars, there's nothing going to happen here that hasn't happened before [. . and I know a few people who'd go a little bit further on that one too!].
What it comes down to is whether we come shining through this, or we just muddle through.
I agree with other posters that there is a huge opportunity here for Government and, perhaps even more so, for Local Government, to take the reins and lead us, not just out of this recession, but towards a civic society that we would never have reached as long as property developers were in the driving seat.
Again with the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that the quality of the built environment, in any given period, invariably hinges on the ability of the authorities (whoever they may have been at the time) to harness the energy of property developers towards the goal of civic improvement and the common good.
The way the system seems to work best is where the people in authority develop a vision of where they want to get to, then they commission the drawing up of a plan (urban, infrastructural, logistical and financial) to map out a route to achieve the vision and then they carve up the enterprise into managable bits and invite property developers to come and do their thing.
What has been happening here is almost the exact opposite of this. The property developers have been leading the process, picking off sites in an unplanned and opportunistic way and presenting the authorities with little more input into the process of development than a Yes
, or No
brings stagnation, boarded-up properties and no financial contribution. 'Yes'
brings a happy developer, cashflow and the easily bourne dismay of citizens standing open mouthed with a conservation plan in one hand and the photo-montage of some random act of densification in the other.
Assuming that nothing of any scale is likely to be built any time soon, this is the opportunity to get down and plan. Work up a vision we can all buy into and draw up the plan for getting there. And use hindsight! Look back, not out of nostalgia, but to learn how it was done before, and to learn what works best. Then, when we know where we want to get to and we've got the plan for getting there, phone Bernard and Liam and Joe and offer them a piece of the action.
It doesn't have to be total socialism, we don't have to own all the land, we just have plan, and having planned, use the planning control system with brutal clarity.