Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Meet the New Owners - Part 1: The Germans

With Irish bond yields having shot through the roof this morning, jumping from  5.744% to 6.046% and still climbing (BTW - I used a Bloomberg link; I feel so grown up!), I thought now would be a good time to look at Ireland's  various and many new potential owners. Today we start with the leading candidates to reposses this misty land, the Germans:

The Germans

Your debts are how big?
First, let me say that I will resist all the obvious puns and jokes- no talk of Reichs, or panzers, or blitzkriegs; not even as metaphors. In truth, the Germans today are frankly the polar opposite of the taciturn, expansionist, martial image much mocked by 1960's British sit-coms. The 21st century German is highly reluctant to engage in armed foreign adventures, and when they do; well let's just say they no longer display that hard Prussian backbone - they are, after all, the only army whose soldiers have actually gained weight in Afghanistan.

No, today's German is more interested in saving than in sallying forth - and that's where their power lies. While we in Ireland were splurging the cash, using Lamborghinis as garden sheds, burning Manolo Blahniks as a cheap energy source, or occasionally filling our pools, Scrooge McDuck style, with gold coins, Angela was saving - like the cold, calculating monster she is!

What sort of people are these Germans, I wonder, who save in times of plenty rather than engaging in perfectly healthy cash bathing? What sort of inhuman automatons display such disturbing levels of responsibility and forward planning? Look at you there, smug and secure with your steins of beer and low bond-yields:

Who's laughing now, Ireland?
Well we, the proud people of Ireland will accept your help, Germany, but I hope you realise how lucky you are, being given a very important part in the Irish economic miracle. I hope you realise that you're the ones who will benefit in the long run, being able to tap into such dynamic sectors of the Irish economy as building and property development. I bet your Siemens and your Kuehne & Nagel and your Puma's look pretty pathetic now, right, next to the might of heroes like Bernard McNamara and Sean Dunne.

Eh, sorry, what was that Angela? You might not actually give us any money?

Ah, well now, Angela, let's not be hasty! I'm sure Ireland has a lot to offer Germany, em, you know, economically like - the billions of Euro you give us, and the political fall-out for you among the German voters: I'm sure it will be well worth it!


Ok, Angela you want to play hardball? Fine! - if Ireland goes down, we bring the Euro with us, possibly fatally wounding European integration - and that will mean you Germans have wasted the last 50 years on a European project that went nowhere. So you have no choice, Angela, you have to help us!

That's right Germans - your savings are going to be paying my pension!

Woo-hoo! The weakest link - sweetest spot on the chain!

But yes, we know Germany - you told us so!

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