Matt Cooper in The Sunday Times [Irish edition] on Oct 31 talking about the upcoming budget [no point linking to it, you have to pay to view! I did the old fashioned thing and read the hard copy.]
– the inevitability of further severe financial pain ahead;
– the markets’ scepticism over the Government’s rescue plans;
– the gaping chasm in the national finances that show no signs of narrowing;
– very real likelihood of a sovereign default and the International Monetary Fund being called in to run the country with mass redundancies in the public sector to follow due to the state’s inability to pay the wage bill.
There is nothing fair, moral or just about what is probably going to happen. Our difficulties have not been caused by the ordinary people of this country, be they public or private sector workers, the unemployed, the elderly or children. It results from the reckless actions of greedy bankers, incompetent regulators and an inept government.
This was compounded by the disastrous error in guaranteeng the libabilities of Anglo-Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide, two rogue operators. The exchequer deficit would be manageable were it not for the added €50 billion plus cost of the deeply flawed banking rescue. It is the so-called elite who have wrecked this country. But we’re stuck with it.
Cooper gets it. He captures the reason why Irish people are not revolting on the streets like the French. Yes there is massive anger at politicians and bankers, but deep down we know that ‘we’re stuck with it’. There is no alternative but to try to balance the books and climb out of the economic basket-case that we’ve become. We need Europe, we can’t go it alone, and we’ve shown we can’t be trusted to try. De Valera’s dream of economic sovereignty has long since disappeared (and even then it was an illusion).
What casts further gloom is that few believe there is the political leadership, vision, guts and imagination to re-structure the cronyism, clientism and waste in the heart of the political system that led’ Ireland into the ‘wilderness years’ that lie ahead.
Did ordinary people have no role in the mess we’re in? If people have unsustainable debt, what responsibility do they have for freely taking it on?
And if fairness, morality and justice are, in effect, being binned as irrelevant in the desperate attempts at economic survival of the state, what are the implications of such a move?