The Irish Times calls for a bit of perspective

borntorum

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The IT has an on-the-money editorial this morning calling on us Irish to be a bit more level-headed and a little less self-absorbed when assessing our current political and economic woes.

IS IRELAND the worst country in the world? Listening to much of the commentary on our present condition, we might be forgiven for thinking so. It’s not just that the Government is reduced to handing out free cheese to the needy as the State is braced for the first of four more harsh budgets and a weekend of flooding is blowing our way across the Atlantic from Haiti. We have, according to the fashionable discourse, a uniquely dysfunctional political system run by unusually venal public representatives who preside over levels of social inequality that would put our 19th century forebears to shame.
And then the leader writer nails the adolescent Irish attitude that demands that we are always different and special, either for better or for worse:

A few years ago, when the Tiger was in full-throated roar, we also told ourselves we were unique. Back then, we were uniquely gifted – a dynamic, creative and instinctively entrepreneurial people who had little to learn from the more advanced economies of continental Europe. For a while, as our property bubble grew and grew and public finances spun out of control, we persuaded ourselves that the fundamental laws of economics – or even of book-keeping – did not apply.
Times are tough, but it's only selfishness and solipsism that prevent us seeing that many others around the world have it much worse than we do:

But a little perspective could be useful. The United Nations Human Development Report this week ranked Ireland fifth in the world in terms of quality of life, behind Norway, Australia, New Zealand and the US but ahead of Britain, France and Germany. The rankings are based on indicators such as life expectancy, per capita income and average schooling rather than on the health of the body politic. We don’t need to look far, however, to find democracies with problems almost as serious as ours, if different in nature.
The last paragraph sums it up perfectly:

A glance around the world tells us that, despite our record budget deficit, our massive levels of personal debt and our unpopular Government, we are not much better or worse than anywhere else. We are, instead, a conventional western democracy facing big problems mostly of our own making and a political system with much room for improvement. But perhaps that’s too painful a prospect for our exceptional Irish hearts.
Finally, it's good to see one of the pre-eminent media organisations refusing to feed our teenage desire for immediate attention. To get out of the current mess we will need realism, which means facing up to our problems but also recognising that we are still a wealthy country and a lucky people, both compared to much of the rest of the world and also compared to our own history.

Perspective, please - The Irish Times - Sat, Nov 06, 2010
 


roc_

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During the boom, our social and political mores were obscured by a vast wall of money.

Certain sectors of our society made off with this money.

We have not even started to pay back the bill for this money.

So our social and political mores are now laid bare as the money has washed out. And as it washes out further, they will be laid even more bare.

You can choose to look at these social and political mores as they are more and more revealed, or you can avert your eyes.

But many relish the opportunity and the chance to try and do something about them to become a somewhat more decent and attractive society.

The IT no doubt is going to say 'avert your eyes' - because it involved itself deeply and complicitly in propagating the kind of social and political mores that have been our downfall - from property supplements, to celtic tiger nonsense to the most insidious, hard to put your finger on messages broadcast to society six days a week.

Of course they're going to say what they're saying in that dumb editorial. But it's only self-serving nonsense.
 

MauriceColgan

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Finally, it's good to see one of the pre-eminent media organisations refusing to feed our teenage desire for immediate attention. To get out of the current mess we will need realism, which means facing up to our problems but also recognising that we are still a wealthy country and a lucky people, both compared to much of the rest of the world and also compared to our own history.

Perspective, please - The Irish Times - Sat, Nov 06, 2010
Was it 80,000 79 Euro tickets for Slane castle pop music event sold out in hours!

Yes we are still living in a very wealthy country. Even on low money the quality of life can be exceptional.
 

stripey cat

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Ahh the IT...the great cheerleader for open door immigration in to this country. Something that has contributed massively towards our current woes.
The swine! They came here, set up dodgy banks and auditing firms, and lent money to our innocent developers. They elected Fianna Fail gombeens (somehow- they mostly can't vote) who set about lining their own pockets at the expense of building up a coherent society.

They came into our hospitals, with no other intent -and there is no other way of putting it- than to nurse in them!

It's awful what these immigrants did. Nothing like the Irish people who have settled in every single country in the world. Nothing at all...

Rant over...
Doubt it.
 

Scipio

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The IT is right of course. Despite the huge problems we're facing, Ireland is a still a great place to live in with a very high standard of living compared to most European countries, including Germany (as anyone who has lived in the ex-DDR, or the Kaiserslautern-Mannheim industrial core will know).

Our political class are full of short-sighted self-serving idiots, with a few notable exceptions, but then the same is true for most European countries - just look at France or Italy.

I have the feeling that most people spouting off about how bad the place is have never actually lived abroad for any extended period of time.
 

greengoose2

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The IT is right of course. Despite the huge problems we're facing, Ireland is a still a great place to live in with a very high standard of living compared to most European countries, including Germany (as anyone who has lived in the ex-DDR, or the Kaiserslautern-Mannheim industrial core will know).

Our political class are full of short-sighted self-serving idiots, with a few notable exceptions, but then the same is true for most European countries - just look at France or Italy.

I have the feeling that most people spouting off about how bad the place is have never actually lived abroad for any extended period of time.
I have and I disagree with most of your post! Would you give us your insight into the French and German way of life? Have you lived there?
 

McDave

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Ah sure, wasn't it only Lehmans...

Ah, so it's not so bad is it then Madam?
A glance around the world tells us that, despite our record budget deficit, our massive levels of personal debt and our unpopular Government, we are not much better or worse than anywhere else. We are, instead, a conventional western democracy facing big problems mostly of our own making and a political system with much room for improvement. But perhaps that’s too painful a prospect for our exceptional Irish hearts.
So 13 years of FF-led government hasn't essentially disimproved us vis-a-vis "anywhere else". Wait till the budget Madam, and the years which ensue, leaving us with declining income and a half-assed infrastructure.

The IT seems to have desperately low ambitions for Ireland. But then again IT Inc. was right at the core of consumerist C****c T***r Ireland playing the game, roysh?

Seems like we need a change at the helm of the IT as well. The hopelessly pro-establishment Kennedy will be, loike, so passe when there is a change in government.
 

gweedore

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regard the it as a toothless rag, independent isn't much better the irish media failed pretty badly they can blame the libel laws but it's the same result
a bit of justice some familiar faces being cuffed would dissipate and the anger and negativity a lot faster than any hot air from an old property supplement (with newspaper attached)
 

Scipio

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I have and I disagree with most of your post! Would you give us your insight into the French and German way of life? Have you lived there?
I live in France. I lived in Germany for two years, one in the greater Leipzig area, one in Mannheim.

Both, obviously, have their good and negative points (though as regards Leipzig you'd need to search long and hard for the good). The old East is still riddled with poverty, corruption and emigration, despite the best efforts of, and massive transfer payments from, the West. The Mannheim-Kaiserslautern area (excluding Heidelberg) is generally drab and downbeaten, albeit one with a very good public transportation system, however the general standard of living, I found, was higher in Ireland.

The big problem in Ireland is that things are overpriced, and the levels of state support are nothing like what can be found in mainland Europe. In France for example, housing grants, health care costs and the like are generally better than in Ireland, but that said individual quality can suffer. The university system in France, to take another example, (excluding the grandes écoles) is nowhere near as good as that in Ireland, indeed it is chronically underfunded.

All in all, for all its evident faults, Ireland compares quite favourably with the places I have lived in in Europe.
 
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BodyPolathick

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Bit rich reading that rubbish particularly from the IT. A paper that was one of the core contributors to property hysteria, publishing a property supplement once a week without any editorial content, to please its paymaster the developers... A property supplement that told young property buyers, if they didn’t pay over the odds today they will pay even more over the odds tomorrow. Also disastrously invested in a property website that has gone tits up sums up their limited business and social intellect.

An economy of less than 4 million people known to be experiencing substantial growth, the IT were too busy cheerleading the open door immigration policy for to 70 million eastern Europeans, where the actual numbers of those coming here could not be quantified with any accuracy. Leading to houses being built for those coming to build houses.

Yes the IT I you would get more balance and information from reading a tabloid
 

H.R. Haldeman

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Why don't the IT give us some actual ideas rather than this nebulous, meaningless aul guff?
 

Nemi_

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To me, the article reads like whataboutery. I'm not sure its actually addressing anything about our present situation.

I'm not especially interested in whether Italy has more corrupt politics and worse debt than us. If they do, they're fecked too.

I'm just interested in how we collectively manage things in the community that I share a legal system with. Because that has a certain importance in terms of determining what I get paid, and so forth.

As I see it, we're a small society where we all exist in little silos. We now face issues that requires us to come out of those silos. Even at that, I'm not confident we'll actually find we form a cohesive bunch when we do.

So is the solution to that to find some country even worse off, and make fun of them?
 

greengoose2

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I live in France. I lived in Germany for two years, one in the greater Leipzig area, one in Mannheim.

Both, obviously, have their good and negative points (though as regards Leipzig you'd need to search long and hard for the good). The old East is still riddled with poverty, corruption and emigration, despite the best efforts of, and massive transfer payments from, the West. The Mannheim-Kaiserslautern area (excluding Heidelberg) is generally drab and downbeaten, albeit one with a very good public transportation system, however the general standard of living, I found, was higher in Ireland.

The big problem in Ireland is that things are overpriced, and the levels of state support are nothing like what can be found in mainland Europe. In France for example, housing grants, health care costs and the like are generally better than in Ireland, but that said individual quality can suffer. The university system in France for example (excluding the grandes écoles) is nowhere near as good as that in Ireland, indeed it is chronically underfunded.

All in all, for all its evident faults, Ireland compares quite favourably with the places I have lived in in Europe.
So says the ex-pat! Let's do a similar resume on Ireland. I could say that Rathgar is better developed and more desirable than Moyross. Then I could say that the Haute Savoie is more desirable than certain quarters of Marseille or the former textile area north of Basel.

As for les grandes écoles we may think that we have their betters here but where does all this genuis end up? Not locally I can tell you. In conclusion how Ireland compares with the places you have lived in in Europe depends on where you lived. I lived in a place quite near the Haute Savoie and this place does not even rate. :cool:
 

Libero

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That editorial is one hell of a shot at the Deputy Editor of the paper.

I'd say Fintan's ears were burning by the end of the second paragraph, the one that reads: "Our bestseller lists are filled with a whole new genre of “misery lit” telling us that we don’t really live in a parliamentary democracy, that our system of governance is irretrievably broken and that we have no claim to the name of a republic."

Ouch. Not even the Sindo does in-house bitchiness quite as catty as that.

Ultimately, it is complacent guff from a paper that probably has the brains to see where the living standards are heading, but not the balls to tell its less informed and forward-looking readers. While it's true there is a non-constructive strain of commentary that just despairs of the country, it won't be countered by nonsense claims like this one from the closing paragraph: "A glance around the world tells us that, despite our record budget deficit, our massive levels of personal debt and our unpopular Government, we are not much better or worse than anywhere else."
 

McDave

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To me, the article reads like whataboutery. I'm not sure its actually addressing anything about our present situation.

I'm not especially interested in whether Italy has more corrupt politics and worse debt than us. If they do, they're fecked too.

I'm just interested in how we collectively manage things in the community that I share a legal system with. Because that has a certain importance in terms of determining what I get paid, and so forth.

As I see it, we're a small society where we all exist in little silos. We now face issues that requires us to come out of those silos. Even at that, I'm not confident we'll actually find we form a cohesive bunch when we do.

So is the solution to that to find some country even worse off, and make fun of them?
+1
 

jmcc

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Seems like we need a change at the helm of the IT as well. The hopelessly pro-establishment Kennedy will be, loike, so passe when there is a change in government.
The accent is not quite Deefer - Madam is just another bogger. :) But Madam has been very bad for the Irish Times. And the Irish Times? Well the "paper of record" tag really meant the newspaper that published government notices and in that, the Irish Times really excels to extent that it has almost completely neglected journalism.

Regards...jmcc
 

McDave

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That editorial is one hell of a shot at the Deputy Editor of the paper.

I'd say Fintan's ears were burning by the end of the second paragraph, the one that reads: "Our bestseller lists are filled with a whole new genre of “misery lit” telling us that we don’t really live in a parliamentary democracy, that our system of governance is irretrievably broken and that we have no claim to the name of a republic."

Ouch. Not even the Sindo does in-house bitchiness quite as catty as that.

Ultimately, it is complacent guff from a paper that probably has the brains to see where the living standards are heading, but not the balls to tell it's less informed and forward-looking readers. While it's true there is a non-constructive strain of commentary that just despairs of the country, it won't be countered by nonsense claims like this one from the closing paragraph: "A glance around the world tells us that, despite our record budget deficit, our massive levels of personal debt and our unpopular Government, we are not much better or worse than anywhere else."
If the Irish Times was any use, it would be editorialising along the lines that there will be nothing positive to say about Ireland's awful predicament until FF is removed from office.

It's time for a clean break and a new start. That's the kind of optimism I'm interested in!
 

Scipio

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So says the ex-pat! Let's do a similar resume on Ireland. I could say that Rathgar is better developed and more desirable than Moyross. Then I could say that the Haute Savoie is more desirable than certain quarters of Marseille or the former textile area north of Basel.
But that's not what I'm saying. My general impression is based off time living in both East and West Germany, and as regards France, in Paris and Marseille - a fairly broad net.

In conclusion how Ireland compares with the places you have lived in in Europe depends on where you lived. I lived in a place quite near the Haute Savoie and this place does not even rate. :cool:
Except that I'm talking about a general impression on general measurements.
Of course living in a secluded part of Monaco is far superior to living in Ballymun, but all things being equal, a valid comparison can be made.

In any case, the IT is not saying "look things are even more f***ed up in Italy so don't worry lads", it's simply calling for a little perspective as regards the crisis, and the putting of our problems into a wider context.

That doesn't excuse FF's corrupt incompetency.
 

greengoose2

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But that's not what I'm saying. My general impression is based off time living in both East and West Germany, and as regards France, in Paris and Marseille - a fairly broad net.
I wouldn't say that to the "general" Frenchman! As they say in the HS "Parigot, c'est pas rigolo". :rolleyes:

There's more to France than the two places you mention. They even speak the equivalent of Swiss German in the Alsace.

Everything is relative, especially general impressions. I knew a good number of ex-pats when I lived abroad. Most of them couldn't manage more than a few sentences in French. They had their perks and accommodation paid by their firms. Their impressions would not be the same as mine as I had an ordinary job, working for a local firm and paying local taxes.

I'm sure you would be happier making a go of things here! petunia
 

McDave

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The accent is not quite Deefer - Madam is just another bogger. :) But Madam has been very bad for the Irish Times. And the Irish Times? Well the "paper of record" tag really meant the newspaper that published government notices and in that, the Irish Times really excels to extent that it has almost completely neglected journalism.

Regards...jmcc
Maybe not quite deefer (notwithstanding Madam signed Rosser from the Turbine!), but there's certainly a bit of the poshies in there. The equivalent for Madam's generation! ;)
 


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