Friday, November 19, 2010

Green Flags and Crocodile Tears

I really don't know where to start on this one. Yes, the EU-IMF bailout that we all thought was going to happen has come to pass. Yes, the banks and our governments (mis)handling of them over the last 3 years or so has dug us into a hole. Yes, people are emigrating in droves not seen since the 1980s and it government policy seems to rely on this continuing. In short, Ireland is banjaxed.

But would people ever give up with the maudlin appeals to Yeats, 1916, Wolfe Tone, Brian Boru and Diarmuid Ua Duibhne. Wrapping the green flag around you, while somewhat cathartic, does nothing for you, for Ireland or in fact pretty much anyone. We the people have landed the country in its current state through a decade or more of gorging on the supply of cheap credit made available since the introduction of the Euro. Government policy encouraged this mass orgy of financial decadence through various tax breaks, hair-brained schemes such as the SSIA and Decentralization, and pro-cyclical spending but we have to also take some level of personal responsibility.

It is a disgrace that a relatively wealthy, 1st world country such as Ireland has need of the services of an organization such as the IMF. It is a disgrace that such an organization needs to exist at all in the first place. But people are people and greed is greed and the world keeps turning. The crocodile tears of the booms greatest cheerleaders should not make us loose sight of the fact that we are still in a far better place than probably 90%+ of the worlds population.

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