Rare that we’d link to a non-biz/current affairs commentator around these here parts but Shane Hegarty, arts editor of The Irish Times, has a cracking column on Anglo this morning in Weekend Review. More please.
On Monday Anglo Irish Bank revealed that its latest half-year losses amounted to roughly the same as it would cost to rent a black hole and throw the country into it. At the same time the bank admitted that it was beginning an internal investigation into the overcharging of customers by as much as €50 million.
A few years ago this would have been a lead story, a match to ignite the parliamentary hot air. This week? It was an addendum, an “and finally . . .”, just another pile of cash to throw on the green-tinged pyre. It seemed, in the grand scheme, almost inconsequential. After all, it would amount to a mere 164th of the total losses – or just over 0.6 per cent. It is a throwback to the days when we were faced with figures we could almost understand. But now it is a pittance. Sure, you’d pay that off in half a generation.
It is a reminder of just how vast the scale of the Anglo money pit now is. How mind boggling. Once again the media rightly spent a good deal of time trying to put the cost into some kind of context – how many space shuttles you could buy, that kind of thing – but there is an argument that no amount of analogies or graphics or football pitches full of imaginary money can ever truly get the scale across to the average brain.
Tightly articulated, really need to read it all.