Today at the banking enquiry in the Irish parliament parliamentarians will get a unique opportunity, to interview and interrogate God. I say God, but whom I really mean is Patrick Honohan.
The banking enquiry has been set up to investigate what happened around the Irish banking collapse. Many have fears this will be a blatantly political exercise, many more have fears that it will shed very little light on the actual reasons, beyond those which we already know from numerous reports, as to how we ended up in the mess we are in. This impressive list of speakers to come before the Parliament, perhaps one of the most impressive, and certainly one of the most complex, will be the governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Patrick Honohan.
In terms of the area’s banking collapse Patrick is God. At least he is the Christian, Trinitarian God. Indeed his very last appointment prior to becoming governor was as Prof of economics at Trinity College. Like the Christian God he contains three within one. The challenge for the parliamentarians will be to decide to which aspect of the deity they will address their prayers, supplications, lamentations, and interrogations.
Do they address these to Patrick in the guise of the holy spirit, PHS? As one of the world’s preeminent experts on the causes and consequences of banking crisis PHS certainly contains all knowledge and compassion. But in many ways we already know what he would say, as he has written about it, as have many other lesser deities, both from the Irish and previous experiences. There’s nothing to see here.
Might they be better off to address their supplications and prayers to Patrick the son of God, PSG? sent to us, in the form of an undercover radio interview, to save us from ourselves and our original sin of the guarantee, he took upon himself the sins and stains of the government. he announced that we would in fact have to suffer on this earth, in the form of the troika, but with the hope that sincere repentance and some macro prudential regulation we would ascend into the kingdom of heaven, also known as post-bailout Ireland. again there is little to see here, it’s well-known, and what he would say would be useful to reiterate but would not shed any great light. There might be some benefit to hearing how the reformation progresses within the institutional churches of the banks and the Vatican on Dame, but again we know well enough what is the story there.
Of far greater benefit, but with much greater risk, would be to address Patrick the Father, PTF. As a member of the ECB Governing Council he is vengeful (“a bomb will go off in Dublin”), jealous (thou shalt have no other currency before me), powerful (think OMT and bazookas..) and capricious (we were wrong but we wont do jack about it). It is in my mind unlikely to produce answers, believe in the way in which questions are not answered might shed some light on the inner workings of Frankfurt. As the ECB have refused, because they can, to lower themselves to answering to a mere national parliament even the most innocuous questions about why they did what they did, if that is to say they did what they did, then said national parliaments should take every opportunity to interrogate any members of the ECB that it can find itself in possession of. Just don’t expect any answers