April 28, 2010
Looking at this from a Canadian perspective, there is one glaringly obvious conclusion that must be reached. Of course, one must feel for the people who have gotten trapped in this fiasco, but, you know, the Irish people voted time after time for this party even when it was obvious to all and sundry that the growth wasn’t real, that it was all an illusion, that the economy was warped by the construction madness, and that there was endemic corruption in the culture of business, banking, and government. In the end, this government have now brought the country to its knees, because they were in bed with the vested interest groups who fed their coffers and “dug them out”, and because while everyone was making a buck, they were all happy. Didn’t the Prime Minister tell his economic critics to go and commit suicide? The Irish have a great penchant for sweeping things they don’t like, or don’t want to face, under the carpet. How could the electorate have so quickly forgotten the ills of the Haughey era, the vast corruption of the planning process, the politicians on the take, the brown-envelope culture, the nod and the wink, and the “I’m all right, Jack” “have’s” and to hell with the “have not’s”? Of course they didn’t really forget it, but it suited them at the time to ignore it all, because Mammon was smiling on them. But the plain fact is that some golden opportunities were wasted, and who knows how long it will take to set everything right again. One thing we do know is that things are probably going to get an awful lot worse before they begin to get better. House prices have a very long way to fall yet, before they come into line with the long-term value of housing, which is in the region of 3.5 to 4 times the average industrial wage. And those who are now in negative equity will probably be much deeper in it by the time the dust settles. It is the young people who, once again, will pay for the sins of the fathers. They will pay the way they have traditionally paid, by having to leave their homeland and families and travelling like lost souls to any country which will have them and where they might begin to build a life……………another lost generation. But the banking, industrial, political complex (apologies to Eisenhower) will suffer very little, if at all. And as for poor old Keynes, the sound you hear is that of him spinning in his grave, because instead of a stimulus package for 2010, which might have the effect of lifting demand and thereby getting things moving again, the ruling class has chosen to pump up to another 6 billion into a failed, and corrupt banking system which will use it not to extend credit to small business and working people (the few that are left) but to balance their putrid books and try to shore up their stock value.
If all this were happening in some isolated banana republic, it might be understandable, but for this to be happening in what has always been a country blessed with natural wealth, and a hard-working people, is scandalous beyond words. Of course, as Keynes said, in the long run, we will all be dead, but in the meantime the people need to visit a righteous anger on those responsible for the present dire situation. However, given the recent history of the electorate over the past 30 years, I for one will not be holding my breath in anticipation. It’s all too sad for words.