Middle class squeeze - the road to revolution?

The middle classes are coming under increasing financial pressure and are close to breaking point according to minister of state Michael Ring. In an article in the Indo, he claims that property charges and water charges will be the straws that break the camel’s back.

This is in the context of a survey mentioned in the article, where 29% of people were worried about losing their homes after a series of interest rate rises. It is unclear if this is 29% of mortgage holders or of house holders, very worryng if it is the latter.


The article suggests that there is some resentment towards social werfare recipients and the superrich because they appear to be protected.

In another article, it is suggested that there will be no sympathy for the middle class professionals, who got into financial difficulties.


I suspect that Morgan Kelly’s prediction of the rise of a right wing, ‘self interest party’
(me fein?) whose chief platform is debt forgiveness would make serious inroads into the political establishment is not far off.

Who are middle Ireland? Do you have to be in a certain salary range to be a middle class professional? At least 50k a year? I heard someone saying here that if you are on over 50k you are rich.

50k used to get you on the affordable housing list i think

multiply 50k by 2.5 (a reasonable loan multiplier) and you get a house/apartment “worth” 125k. Hardly a house a middle class professional would be happy living in.

I can see it now; Roadblocks with coffee machines piled 6ft high.
Acrid smoke from the burning decking and trampolines.

And they’ll all sit on their arses watching minor discontent on their Sky-Plus-3D-50ft plasma-tronic screens while the only outfit capable of organising regroup.
Provos - Part deux; “We were right-wing all along”.
Not paid from your taxes? Check.
Willing to exploit your anger? Check.
Weave-a-bloody-snare-that-will-entrap-you-worse-than-a-default-in-the-long-run? Check.

I get the vague vibe sometimes that there are some people who want a revolution at all cost and will cling to any little thing that they think might cause it.

I wonder what benefits they think it willl bring them?


It’s impossible.

Where are we on the laffer curve?

10% of total residential mortgages in arrears for 90+ days
finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews … nter.shtml

2006 - Working couples spend 25% of income on mortgage payments
Read more: breakingnews.ie/world/cwqlid … z1PiNzF0ZE

10pc of all vehicles using the road not taxed
independent.ie/national-news … 67077.html

all with billions and billions left to cut eh


Four years ago people were warning of the danger of the property bubble. Nobody wanted a bust, but it happened and as a result of that there is now a risk of national bankrupcy, especially if the ECB, IMF donors withhold cash.

Nobody in their right minds wants a revolution. The point of the articles is that many middle income families are coming under increasing pressure. There comes a balance point at which people have more to gain than to lose by a change in regime.

What does it take to get people out on the street? Government pay cheques and social welfare cheques bouncing? Rising interest rates putting homes at risk? Not being able to put food on the table? Your guess is as good as mine.

If you don’t want a revolution, why do you want people out on the streets? Or do you want people on the streets at all?

Oh I have been warning about the danger or the property bubble since about 2003. We are not talking about the last four years here. In fact, I would have wanted a correction for most of that time on the grounds that the sooner it came, the less destructive it would have been particularly on social grounds for the simple reason that the construction crash would have particularly impacted on male incomes and they tended - for the most part - to be the higher incomes in many, many families.

I don’t want a revolution, I don’t want people out on the streets.

I have read a number of articles in todays Indo which suggest that increasing numbers of people and from a wider spectrum of society are coming under increasing financial stress, which taken together with an increasing instability with respect to the European and possibly the world financial situation, point to increasing social instability.

Yes, many people in construction and construction related industries have been in this position for years. Yes many people believe that people got themselves into this mess by borrowing excessively. Yes many people may have been greedy.

The point that I am trying to make is that if the number of people in grave financial difficulty continues to increase then something has to give. I am not wishing that it happens, I am hoping that it doesn’t. However, whatever I believe, the trend is towards social instability. I am not the first to point this out, I am merely marking that things are heading in that direction. Informing people of a possible outcome should not be confused with advocating it. That is the same tactic Bertie used with naysayers.

Glossing over this issue is fine, but don’t act surprised when it happens. I have advocated elsewhere what can be done to prevent this and still believe that social breakdown can be avoided but political action has to be taken soon.

My Brother lives in Dublin . However I think that he actually lives on Fanasty Island . First It was ’ What recession ? ’ 2008/09 , then in 2010 it was ’ the recession only affects those who have lost their jobs , those still in employment have not suffered ’

He has just returned from a golfing holiday in Spain with his mates . They have been doing this annual golf trip for years . But this year was the last as his mates are feeling the pinch with higher taxes and a fear of losing their jobs . None of them have massive mortgages . They are just afraid of the future and becoming angry .

When people who have no interest in politics or know nothing about bank guarantees or IMF / EU bailouts are becoming angry and frustrated , you may have a problem on your hands .

Why not?

People on the streets would be an excellent development in Ireland as it has been in Spain and Greece and Tunisia and Egypt. Yes, it can be ugly at the margin but that is most often determined by the willingness of the state to allow people to gather in the streets in the first place. Once there people begin to talk to each other and begin a process of unmediated education and debate, there is no downside to this. Currently in Ireland peoples access to politics is through rumour, paranoia, the kept media, oh, and the presidential election. All of them are pathologies of a broken system.

If Stephens Green became the place to sleep out this Summer Ireland would be different come September.


I’m not denying the pressure that you identify. I just feel that, for existing institutions to be overcome, opposition would have to have some coherent social base. I’m not sure it does. Opposition is quite incoherent - which I think we see in the election of folk like Luke Flanagan and whasisname with the hair in Wexford. Ming isn’t really challenging institutions. He just wants them all to feck off, so he can cut his turf and grow his weed. That’s not a challenge to anyone.

For political action, to address such pressures as you see, would need some kind of common interest. I’m not sure that’s there. People crave change, but I’m not sure that the precise changes they each crave match up. I think an example of that is our Minister for Reform on the one hand talking about rebuilding our public service, and on the other undermining that process by engaging in the usual gombeenery about Wexford General Hospital. (Which I was banging on about earlier, in another place politics.ie/political-reform … eform.html).

I think we have to remember that we’ve had our election, very recently. What you see is the capacity of our institutions to take political action. That looks a little sad, but it also means there is no coherent political force out there as an alternative. Could people take to the streets? Maybe, but I’d feel it would be as weak and insubstantial as the PAYE marches way back, where there was similarly no real common, implementable direction to the protest.

Personally, I don’t think we’re going to have any revolution in Ireland. Most Irish people are too selfish and self-absorbed. You can take this as anecdotal, but I recently spoke to one of our beloved bank officials and he said that he couldn’t believe the attitude or thought patterns of some people. Mortgage holders who are defaulting on their repayments are still going on holidays abroad, unwilling to give up a lifestyle that they simply can’t afford. When they are asked to give a breakdown of their expenses, they include €300/400 per month for drink and cigs. And he said it’s not just a few, it’s large percentages of the people defaulting or that have gone Interest only.
I just can’t see the average Irish person deciding to revolt, just too lazy and greedy.
But I would like to see some form of reaction. But I won’t hold my breath.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but what the hell are Irish people going to revolt about? What is the revolutionary slogan going to be? “WE DON’T WANT TO PAY OUR BILLS!” or should it be " WE ARE **ENTITLED **TO MORE THAN THIS!"

The current mess the country is in, is overwhelmingly as a result of the Irish people themselves. Anyone saying that there should be a revolution, is simply saying that we shouldn’t be responsible for our own actions.

The middle classes went drunk on cheep money. They took out the loans. No one forced them to take the loans. They elected Bertie, and all his corrupt associates. ( True, it is impossible now to get anyone to admit to voting for them, but that doesn’t change that fact the they did vote for them.) The middle classes stat back and lapped up all the massive pay rises for public service workers, the massive pension increases, the social welfare increases, the tax cuts. They sat back and accepted all the corruption, because the price of their house was increasing, and they felt wealthy. The only thing that they are pissed about is that they no longer feel rich, and the price of their house is now falling. They are pissed because they now have to pay back the money that they borrowed.

I could go on, and on, but what’s the point… Viva la revolution…

“I just can’t see the average Irish person deciding to revolt, just too lazy and greedy.”

The ‘them and us’ notion is really fragmenting us, does anyone really know what constitutes the average Irish person?
Perhaps if we can figure out who ‘we the people’ are considered to be, then we might be able to gather a group with common interests for a protest.
As it stands we have the public sector union members who consider they represent ‘the Irish people’, we have home owners in mild negative equity or deep negative equity some of who can afford to pay and some who can not, we have accidental landlords, professional landlords, we have those who avoided the property ladder because it was out of their grasp - (accidental pinsters), and we have those who avoided the property ladder because they detested the idea.

If the best we can come up with is ‘the middle class’ then we will never get to the revolt stage, so I wouldn’t worry about it! Whether that is a positive or a negative thing depends entirely on your perspective. I think this might be the reason why David McWilliams sold so many books, we are not easy to categorise so he did it for us, declan the decklander and so on, the cliche’s served a purpose. Perhaps it is time he wrote another book to show us the new world order.


I think McWilliams’ notion of “insiders” and “outsiders” is more relevant than any all-encompassing class definition.

The Greek crisis will not teach the EU a lesson – but American history might → hat4uk.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/ … ory-might/