Friday, 14 October 2011

We're all doomed

IN case you hadn’t noticed, we’re all doomed…and it’s our fault. Yep we’re not spending enough to buy our way out of recession.

This remarkable analysis appeared in a number of articles following the publication of Norn Iron statistics that showed that our manufacturing figures slumped deeper than thought and were taking longer to recover.

Amidst much handwringing, beating of brows and rending of garments one of the proposed ways out of the tumultuous terror of double dips (make one of ours a guacamole dip please!) is to spend more and more.

Okay therein lies a basic problem: with unemployment rising and wages slumping it is hard to see how we’re going to avoid a dip in sales figures (of course we could all buy hummus dips…).

But hope lies on the horizon! Yes, our money Minister, Sammy Wilson has said there are more civil servants (yes especially those ones from North Down who buy the really expensive dips). Despite a so-called recruitment freeze there were more civil servants hired to stalk the corridors of the Stormont departments.

Other public bodies may not be hiring as many staff, but it is reassuring that there are more civil servants. Sales of biros and clipboards are sure to rise.

But what of the rest of the economy? Newspaper headlines scream meltdown; talk shows offer anyone with an opinion their slot on the airwaves and never have so many economists offered so few options to so many media outlets.

Who is offering solutions? No-one apparently has any realistic answers. The much-mooted corporation tax cut for Norn Iron has disappeared off the immediate horizon.

Which is all a lot of words to say that while economies crumble, nation states waver, financiers and bankers sweat and governments quail there is no immediately viable solution to the problems that beset a small part of a small island on the fringes of the European Union.

In the meantime we’re off to get some of that really expensive ‘caviar’ dip, taramosalata, wash it down with some top notch retsina… or a meal deal and a bottle of buckfast…

Monday, 10 October 2011

Thus the golden generation departs off stage

THE golden generation of Ireland has sloped from the stage, heads bowed, acknowledging that for them the dream is over, the faint hopes that once were so stirring and exciting gone forever.

Instead ahead lies oblivion and taunts; old injuries bedding in as arthritic joints loom in the not too distant future.

Oh, and the Irish rugby team lost too.

Yes, where once a succession of Marys held the promise of a Celtic Tiger surging forward, bolstered by energy and reckless daring, we now have symbols of an Ireland confused by its identity. Asda shoppers, a disability claimant, a quangocrat, a Eurovison ‘winner’ and pensioners are numbered in the Irish presidential race.

Is this really the best that can represent Ireland? Will Asda be doing deliveries to the presidential palace? Would Mr Norris still be able to claim his disability payments and by now does anyone care?

The Irish presidential campaign promised much in the way of early excitement, with McGuinness and Norris bringing controversy and colour, but so far like the flaccid Irish forward line and the insipid tackling of the Irish rugby team it has faltered into something only the media really, truly care about.

One might almost be tempted to suggest that there is no hope for statesmanship in the wake of race, but this we are sure: it makes Norn Iron tribal politics seem at least a wee bit daring in comparison.