Keep Bailing! We are going down!

I had a coffee with a mate of mine who hails from Dublin last week. We chit chatted about this and that and I asked him when he was due to go back to the ‘old country. “Next month” he replied, and then added, somewhat sadly “Assuming there is anything left to go back to”.
There was a time when Liverpool was referred to as the capital of Ireland such was the number of people of Irish descent living here, our accent is thought to derive at least in part, from the number of Paddy’s who made Dingle their home. So it’s with a watery eye that we look across the sea to our Emerald neighbours and watch their current “econo’mick” meltdown.
Better men than me have tried to explain what is taking place there but the way I would interpret the issue is this, in the nineties Ireland looked around the world and saw many countries being really good friends with big business and was a tiny bit jealous. So it did what all jealous kids do, it bribed the big businesses to come and play with it,
“Come to our garden, we will build you a big slide and our mum will make you cake and lemonade!” it cried through the gap in the fence. So big business being the bastard that it is, looked at the rest of us and said “I’m off, you’ve only got a crappy ball and they are offering a brand new slide and cake” and buggered off.
We ran inside crying and said to our Mum “Ireland next door has promised Big Business cake and a slide and he’s gone and left me, can you make a cake and a slide for big business so they come back?” And our Mum sadly shook her head and said “No dear, Ireland can’t afford all of that cake, and they have bought the slide on the catalogue, don’t worry, it won’t last” and she patted our head and we went and sat and watched Crackerjack and had fishfingers for tea (that last bit might have just been me actually).
Big business has been playing with Ireland for a long time since those days of cake and lemo, and in return it’s given Ireland a few jobs and not much else. It’s played in buildings built with European grants and any money it has made it has fiercely protected, never once offering to buy some cakes for Ireland, and Ireland, being too scared it’ll go and play in someone else’s garden, has been too scared to ask.
To keep its new mate and the people who worked for its new mate happy Ireland started to borrow money, lots of money, and it also stared too splash that money around “Go on go on go on go on go on go on” said its banks waving tea pots stuffed with euros at people in car showrooms and estate agents and everything was lovely and nice and new.
And we pulled on our mums sleeve and pointed across the fence and she shook her head and said things like “It won’t last” and “neither a borrower nor a lender be”.
And she was right. Because this week Ireland has looked over the fence and asked did we have 50p for the meter?
Today I listened to George Osborne tell us that we have to give Ireland a loan of “Billions”, he actually used the phrase “A friend in need” adding that Britain’s loan would be separate from the EU bailout loan (that we are also contributing to). The phrase “bailout” is one I find interesting in cases like this. Because until the financial crash of a few years ago I’d only ever heard that term used in relation to sinking boats as a means of trying to stay afloat, they were still sinking, you tended to be just dragging things out till your bum got wet. I’d suggest the original meaning still applies.
Osborne is a bit like Michael Caine at the end of the Italian job, edging down the bus as it wobbles on the cliff, he becomes more and more desperate and for the first time in the film his coolness cracks as he shouts “Don’t no one get out the door neither, otherwise we’ll all go!”
George’s old Fag Dave Cameron said on Radio four the UK was beholden to Ireland due to it being our fifth largest export market, our trade with Ireland is greater than that of our trade with India and China, and yet India and China are booming whilst Ireland sits mending its shoes by candle light.
It’s at this point I wonder could George and Dave could learn from Liverpool who spent a controversial amount in Shanghai this year. Instead of looking over the fence into next door, maybe they should do as Liverpool did and start playing with the kids from the other side of the road. Might it better to take the proposed eight billion bailout and invest it in developing industries and services that would enable us to increase our trade with the emerging markets such as India and China? Yes we may be letting down our “friend in need” in the short term, but a healthy UK playing with the big boys is bound to be good for poor old Ireland, sitting on the kerb in his callipers.
And as for the end of the Italian job? Well, I always thought it would be a good idea to get out of the bus and let it go over the side and crash. That way you could start again at the bottom of the hill and collect the gold from there.