It's fitting that this Bondwatch week is the week ending on April Fools' Day.
Our national media is fixated with the Mahon report; our national parliament will devote three days of debate to it. Meanwhile, by the same media and government, the Promissory Notes – a €31bn crime perpetrated against the Irish people - is parked; meanwhile also, the on-going payment of bank bonds goes on unabated and unnoticed, ignored by the national media, hidden from public view. Coincidence?
As surely as we’ve been betrayed by successive craven governments, whose guiding principle is fear, we are betrayed by our national media. The fourth estate? Guarding the interests of the people? With just a few very honourable exceptions they have all, en masse, abdicated their primary responsibility. There is little or no independent journalism anymore, just mass and almost unquestioned dissemination of government propaganda.
Last week for example we had acres of newsprint devoted to the fact AIB was altering the terms of its free banking – did anyone in the media bother to dig a little deeper and ask why? Did anyone bother to note that on February 20th AIB paid a bond of £750,000,000, that on March 2nd it paid a bond of $250,000,000, and on March 19th, a bond of €1,000,000,000, that's pounds sterling, dollars and euro, adding up to over €2bn? What of the senior unsecured bond of €1,500,000,000 coming up on April 11th? Is it any wonder AIB is trying to raise cash every which way it can? The REAL wonder is that this is all ignored completely by our national media, the public kept ignorant of the facts.
For a week or two there will be a focus on a sexy bond, such as the billion-dollar bond of last November, the €1.25bn of January 25th, the Promissory Notes, but around each of those events another event has always come up – a distraction. Classic propaganda, not just unquestioned by our media but swallowed whole then regurgitated in what they fancy are their own words.
All the above bonds were Anglo but what of the bonds being paid by the other banks? €19bn this year, €55bn in the years 2012 to 2015 – does anyone bother to question where that money is going, does anyone bother to question from where that money comes and will come, does anyone bother to question this on-going haemorrhage of billions from the ailing Irish economy? Food-laden ships left these shores in the late 1840s as millions died or emigrated – have we learned nothing from history?
Anyway, in the wilderness or not, this voice will continue to cry out. Here they are, the next dirty dozen, and heaven help us.