A new front has opened up in Ireland's ongoing war with reality, with the otherwise generally sane Mike Soden (former Bank of Ireland chief and member of the Central Bank Commission) suggesting that we simply become the 51st state of the United States. Budgetary problem solved - simples!
After all, seceding from the EU should be relatively straight forward, and I'm sure that heavily indebted, bouncing-along-the-bottom America would welcome Ireland (and its skewed public finances) with open arms. Considering how easy it is to become an American citizen, and how readily the US opens its borders and doles out Green Cards (wasn't there a film about that? Didn't Gerard Depardieu simply arrive on a plane, settle in America, and end his days as an insurance salesman in Des Moines, with no conflicts or challenges to overcome? That was the story, right?) actually becoming part of the US must be a breeze!
Ireland just doesn't get it - we are not that desirable. No one wants to pay our bills, or let us join their club, or be nice to us, no matter how much fun we are, or how much craic we have. Time to grow up, realise that we need to be big boys and girls now, and face the mistakes we made. I don't want the Fed or the ECB fixing our problems - I want us to do it. Because if we are going to rely on charity, or on our innate importance and brilliance, to get us out of this mess, then we will be waiting a long time.
While we are casting around, looking for someone to pay our bills, so that we can escape a cut in our living standards and go on pretending we all live in a slightly drizzly episode of Sex and the City, the rest of the world is getting on with tackling their problems. For once, the Government seems ready to face reality with its recognition that we need €15bn in cuts if we are to get going again. That's why Mr. Soden's suggestions are so dangerous - there is no one who can, or will, bail us out. We've got to face our medicine by ourselves.
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