Monday, 1 December 2008

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel

Is it just me or did the patriotism dial just get turned up a notch over the weekend?

Perhaps the sight of 3 hour tailbacks heading into Newry over the weekend had the government, retailers and publicans scrambling over each other to hit the panic switches.

Now, I have long since realised that the governing classes in Ireland are far from what might be termed "leaders" but even I have been surprised by the doe eyed bewilderment exhibited as they shrug their shoulders and mutter something about patriotism under their breaths.

Indeed, in Ireland at least, patriotism is being redefined as
Pay more tax, accept high prices, expect poor public services, never get sick
It's remarkable how "one way" this patriotism appears. During the Celtic Tiger days prices went though the roof and the price-unconscious Irish where only too happy to pay. Needless to say there where no patriotic calls for price restrained back then. But now the worm has turn, people have less money, huge mortgages and unsecure jobs. They are angry, worried and looking for someone to blame and that list is long.

I personally think there has been huge damage done to the image of "Ireland Inc" as perceived by the people who live here. Everyone now "knows" that goods are cheep in Northern Ireland and so they will plan their spending accordingly. So even if (big IF) an Irish retailer (of whatever strip) sees sense and stops price gouging it will take quite a while before the message spreads and the natives return.