Friday, January 16, 2009

October 2007

Here's me being frighteningly prescient, way back in October 2007. Did I get snapped up by a broadsheet/radio station/TV channel to dispense wisdom from my ivory tower? Did I fuck.

Oh well. The point is - I know I'm clever.

The queues of frantic soon to be ex-customers are trailing out of branches of Northern Rock as I write this, with the British parliament desperately trying to calm everything down amid fears of an imminent recession. By the time you read this, the situation may be much worse, or if we are to remain with our governments interpretation of the affair, just grand, no bother at all, barely a storm in a teacup. Bertie says that all those people who are suggesting that the economy might be in less than the full flush of health ‘are not economists’ and that he wouldn’t trust them ‘with a dime going down the shop’. Rightly so. Do these comedians not realise that our currency is the Euro? Clearly, against the fearful intellectual might of Our Glorious Leader, charlatans like David McWilliams, Alan Greenspan and The Economist are naughty schoolboys secretly reading the Beano inside their economic textbooks, quaking in their shorts. Surely everyone is going to come to their senses now and go back to buying duplexes in Meath?

What’s that? Sub-Prime mortgages? Consolidated loans? Popular in America, you say? Sounds good. Nothing could possibly go wrong there. Oh. It did? Really? Collapse in financial markets, eh? Ah. Well. That could never happen here. We’d never dream of selling sub-prime mortgages to people who have no business with Monopoly money, let alone the real stuff. No, we’d never have people like Start, Springboard, Stepstone, Nua Homeloans or GE Money peddling that sort of financial product. I’m certain that these companies also would be in no way connected to some of the large US financial outfits that are on the sharp end of the subprime disaster on that continent right now, or some of the ones that have been getting a bad press in the UK at the moment. Names like Citicorp or GE Capital would never pop up, surely.

Whew. I’m glad that we don’t need to worry. Even if we did, Our Glorious Government have taken fabulous care of Ireland’s infrastructure in these prosperous years. We really have made hay while the sun shone. What with all the new hospitals and schools in the rapidly expanding commuter belts, the massive improvements to the public transport system and the roads all over the country. Not to mention broadband. I think we should all ignore that World Economic Forum report on how Ireland has a poorly developed and inefficient infrastructure, or all those tedious reports about healthcare and education shortcomings. They’re all just jealous.

Oh well. I’m sure nothing else could go wrong. We have all those lovely US multinationals like Intel, Apple and Google. Excuse me, I didn’t catch that. China?

Yes, I would be in no way worried about the fact that our biggest indigenous industry – the building and property market – is predicated on selling things to each other at ludicrous prices. Nor do I have any worries that all these other countries like China, India or even places like Poland or Romania would ever do something as ridiculous as undercut our invitingly low corporate tax. What’s in it for them? Anyway, it’s not as though they have substantially more people willing and able to do the same jobs for the multinationals that Irish people do now.

Yes, we’re very lucky to in such a rock-solid economy, run by such a clever government. We’ve got no worries at all.

Eoin Cunningham

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Welcome to my blog. I'm a freelance writer/journalist/researcher/editor. I write about education and ideas I've had for the Irish Times. I also research, write and edit for writers, publications and websites. Here I put things that tend not to fit anywhere else. Enjoy.

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