It wasn’t just me...they told me to!
Ireland has always carried the moniker ‘a nation of be-grudgers’, never more apparent than now in the midst of a recession so appalling it is all anyone can talk about, yet not appalling enough to take to the streets to protest, not when the X Factor is on and Irish Mary from Tesco is in with a real chance of becoming the next Susan Boyle.
Yet, everyone has been affected adversely by the recession, and not in ‘well I just pack a lunch now’ way. Never mind people who have lost medical insurance and are at the behest of the state with regard to their health, I know many who have not had means to make mortgage payments for months, feeding the family is currently a weekly achievement they are hoping to maintain. With no jobs, budgetary cuts and more to come, what little people who are struggling were living on will be reduced further, enforcing life changing decisions, decisions that risk the happiness, security and sanity of many a family unit.
But the current vitriol against the business community is truly shocking. People want to see bankers’ blood spilling on the streets of St. Stephen’s Green, entrepreneurs’ heads on the spikes of Kildare Street and are only happy when reading of business people’s lives in tatters. Yes there were a few rogue bankers and over ambitious entrepreneurs, but should all bankers and business people be maligned? We are still pumping money into AIB and Bank of Ireland as well as Anglo, yet Anglo is all we hear about. Why is that? And lest we forget Mr. Brian Cowen - Ireland’s Taoiseach by default was the Minister for Finance at the time. He has sacked the Financial Regulator for not carrying out his responsibilities but wasn’t Mr. Cowen supposed to be regulating the regulator?
What people forget is it was the entrepreneurs and business people that created the wealth of jobs and paid taxes. You didn’t have to buy your child credit for their mobile as they now had a job and could pay for it themselves; their wages replaced the pocket money parents would have had to fork out previously. The plethora of boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops now sadly gone by the wayside provided jobs which allowed many a school leaver to afford a third level education. No longer did parents stand at the airports in floods of tears watching their offspring head for distant shores in search of work, and if they did choose to emigrate everybody could now afford to go on regular visits. Obviously the boom brought a new standard of living, I think I am the only person in my social group that only owns one house (and by owns I mean pays a mortgage) everyone bought a summer house. Many people also decided it was necessary in addition to the company car to own a farmer’s friend the 4 x 4 Land Rover, misinterpreting the AA Roadwatch description for travelling on the M50 at rush hour as ‘treacherous’. And for a while, I think I believed house extensions were compulsory and promptly hired an architect and builder to complete the task. Life’s worries were shallow and it was easy to be so.
But now that it has all been taken away everybody is angry and want to see heads roll. The media seem to be blaming Anglo and it’s chiefs for the whole affair, but I fail to see how the Minister for Finance can escape reproof as surely the buck stopped with him or should have? But it would seem he spent that buck. Now apparently everyone (even Daily Mail readers) is now financially literate and just lacks a qualification to prove their financial analytical prowess. But this financial expertise was missing when making the decision on how to spend the new wealth. Should we buy in the Algarve or Kerry? Should we get a 4x4 or a people carrier? Should we get an extension or upgrade to a new house? Like a child caught red handed, the excuse and finger pointing is quick to follow ‘he told me to!’