Monday, 27 February 2012

The Property Tax is a Riot

After we'd looked at what the Market had to offer yesterday, some friends and I sat in its nicely old-fashioned cafe and had a cuppa, and the talk, as so often nowadays, turned to the situation in Ireland. Someone mentioned the new property tax.

The Market has lots of good things on offer. Like these...

Now I should explain that we have no council charges, domestic rates, property taxes or whatever they are called in other parts of the world. I have even heard it said that 'rates' is a swear word in Ireland, a hark-back to the bad old days of the British. Fair enough.

I have even heard it said that 'promises were made' that such an evil would never be re-introduced.


(Perhaps it was a Government that made that promise. Enough said.)

and these...

The new Property Tax is going to be a hundred euros per household.
Well - this year, anyway.
Once they have managed to make the country swallow the idea that rates (that old swear word) are indeed on the annual menu, then I suppose the sky's the limit. 

I guess you may all be gasping with amazement that we don't have a local taxes of some kind, but we're not getting away Scot free. Ireland is an expensive place to live, everything seems to be loaded, one way or another and we have a high rate of VAT, high road tax, income tax, some people pay water rates (soon everyone will pay water rates) and so it goes on... And if you want your rubbish collected (what else can you do with it in a country where bonfires are illegal?) you pay a private company...

Back at the table yesterday, someone voiced the opinion that the new tax was illegal. Someone else said you couldn't be forced to register for it. Only one person said they didn't mind paying, as the government needs the money - how else can it claw back the gazillions Ireland owes?
Another person said 'But it's not my debt!'

I'd have to agree with that one.

and these...

We then got on to discussing all the side issues - corruption, the lack of justice being meted out to the wankers, sorry - bankers who caused all the problems in the first place, the bonuses still being paid by the banking sector 'so that we can continue to attract the right kind of employees'.
Yeah. Right.
That really worked last time.

And the fact that the Irish secretly admire a chancer, someone who flouts the system and gets away with it. Lots of 'chancers' in positions of authority here.
It comes, one person said, from all the years of trying to get one over on the British.
Very true. But as she pointed out, now they are getting one over on themselves.
Not such a result perhaps.

and these soaps...

We discussed the current gloom and doom in the country and the sorry fact that the economy is flatter than last weeks pancakes.

It was what we didn't discuss that I found myself thinking about afterwards.
We didn't discuss standing up and shouting about it.
Or marching, or fighting back.
Or even having a jolly good riot. Riots seem popular in other places.
Riots, it seems to me, come about when people don't think they are being heard.
But you have to say something for there to be any chance of being heard.
Is anyone in Ireland shouting?

For shouting to be effective, it needs to start somewhere and grow.
Maybe the Property Tax would be a good starting point.
Why it needs to be levied in the first place.
We've all given up dreaming that with all the bank debt ladled onto Everyman's shoulders, there would be some kind of moratorium on mortgages, but at the very least everyone who pays the Property Tax ought to get the same amount knocked off their mortgage bill.
That's something else we could shout about.

We refilled our cups and the chat moved on to other things.

not to mention these samosas and goat's cheese tartlets...

And now I am wondering. Is it just my perception, or is that the problem?
In Ireland we love sitting around a table with a cuppa, chewing the fat.
We can do that for an Olympic Gold.
We're not given to shouting enough.
And I can't see a riot taking place.

So I guess we're all just going to pay.
And pay.
And pay.

and locally made cards and crafts....  It's a very good Market!


  1. oh it is quite the same here in France - and yet we are said to be rather rioutous minded people aren't we ? But things keep going on more and more difficult for more and more people (we have all kinds of taxes, true, - but simply paying for the basic things, food, lodging etc becomes more and more hard ...).
    And yet, we aren't all in the streets shouting against ... let's say the bankers, the governments (with an s , all the same it seems), the injustice, unequality ... the list could be long.
    Then , why ? maybe we are just afraid - we have been born in a time when life was going on easier than ever before, we have that image in our minds, that reference for life. We can't think of all we were used to, or hoped for with a reasonable hope of making it true, all that going to crumbles.
    We have suddenly now so many worries, fears - loosing job, loosing future ... - days are harder and harder , we just wish to sit and forget , enjoy the present moment, find a little joy, a little sweetness somehow, just to keep the strength to go on ... where ...
    My husband says it is because we are not unhappy and desperate enough. When you have nothing to loose, you go in the streets and make a riot. or a revolution. anything : you just fight for your life, or the life of your children. Look at Greece. What will happen when all european countries will be in the state Greece is in ?

    This is the first time I write on your blog, which a friend made me discover a couple of weeks ago. I just want to say, I feel at home in it !

    1. Thank you for your comment! I was very touched to receive it, and to know that you enjoy reading my blog, and feel at home in it! What a lovely compliment! Please feel free to leave a comment whenever you visit!
      You are quite right - or your husband is. We are NOT unhappy or desperate enough. If we were - if it was the lives of our children - we would shout loudly enough to be heard.

  2. I suppose this side of the water we could blame the Normans. damn them, they introduced the class system, subjugated women, badmouthed the previous culture, showed an extreme desire for control and went off fighting with everyone they could. Oh and they were very keen on taxation too.
    But, my family weren't here then. and I guess when they came, fleeing religious persecution and likely death in France, family expectations in Germany, and other things i know nothing about, they accepted the taxes. I was cheered by the fact that the RBS chairman gave back his bonus. Not cheered by the fact he got one in the first place. These are interesting times. Challenging times too. To my mind, if it means we start to question the extreme consumerism that has grown and grown, that will be a good thing. This might be a watershed, where we have to go back and see where we might have taken different turns. I just hope it isn't a time of rampant ideologies. Nothing is so misleading as certainty.

    1. Hear, hear to all that! The British have certainly had their fair share of occupiers! The Normans are so long ago people forget, but they took 95% of the land and turfed the English out, taxed everyone within an inch of their lives, changed the language and did all the things invaders do. And the Normans were only one in a long line of invaders of English soil...

      You are very right. Nothing is so misleading as certainty.

  3. unfortunately nuttin ain't gonna change! the established order is just far too entranched and the majority of humanity are closer to ruminant mammals than the most evolved species on the planet that they're supposed to be

  4. All the banks in the world should not be allowed to make money out of nothing. At the moment when anyone walks into a bank asking for a loan it adds more money to the market that didn't exist before that person asked for it.
    That should be in the Governments hands, so that new money is placed in the correct places, eg where it's needed, in Health care, infrastructure, education, etc.
    Everyone should have the choice whether the money they place in the bank is able to be used by the bank to invest or to sit there and do nothing and it's yours and it's in a safe place. That would make the banks want you more and have higher interest on what you invest and a lower interest on what you borrow from them. Because you have the choice, they'll be forced to make safe investments, instead of risky ones which they do at the moment. Because only when a bank is good at investing, will you want to invest in them instead of it sitting there in a safe place. It would solve a lot of the problems we have at the moment.
    Also Federal banks should be owned by the government, the world bank and the IMF should be run be the UN.
    Plus it's ridiculous to tax someone for the space they occupy or to tax the basic needs of human beings, staple foods and water. I do how ever agree that luxury foods and alcohol and cigarettes should be taxed.

  5. "Scot free." I saw what you did there. :)

    I've just been in a Facebook thread with an American who kept on ranting about how both parties are the same, and listing all the things he thought ought to be put right (which I agreed with) but couldn't or wouldn't answer the question "how do we put it right then?"--just repeated the original rant almost word for word. People enjoy complaining because it's safe and easy, as opposed to taking action which is hard and dangerous. Some people I think actually like having something to complain about and will resist any suggestions that might change it.

    Riots and revolutions are not things to be considered lightly. As Inspector Krogh said, "once you get one started, there is little chance of stopping it short of bloodshed." I'm certainly too much of a coward to put my fragile flesh and blood up against mounted policemen with clubs or whatever, though I'll write you any number of inflammatory songs.

    Apparently last night the police forcibly evicted the Occupy London protesters who were camping on the steps of St. Paul's. The movement goes on, but what they'll do next is anybody's guess. Perhaps all you need in Ireland is a charismatic and articulate figure behind whom the people can unite. Fancy the job?


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