Darling gambles on an end to panic…

All morning I cannot get the theme tune to that awful prize show from the seventies, Sale of the Century… Not sure what that means as an omen for our Financial futures, but the British Chancellor Alistair Darling hopes we’ll spend, spend, spend… With the UK and Irish governments treading in radically different directions, at least Northern Irish retailers will be coining it from their ‘Irish’ customers… Over at Brassneck, I look at what it might mean for the government’s still slim electoral chances…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • eranu

    there is alot of talk in the south about the savings to be had shopping in NI. many things are around half the price shops are charging in the republic. it would seem everyone is planning to shop in NI for Christmas. anytime its talked about on newstalk (dublin radio station) there is a TD or retail person desperately trying to talk it down. totally fighting a losing battle.

    in these tough times NI should be making alot more of the price difference than it is. i saw an ad for shopping in newry on tv, but to be honest it was a bit tame. the price difference is enormous for some things, this wasnt mentioned at all. all the border towns and belfast / lisburn should be running aggressive in your face ads. they should be listing the prices in NI and the prices charged in the south and emphasising the massive savings. name the dublin stores where an item costs X and name the belfast stores where it costs half that price. one texter into newstalk said he got a pair of nike trainers for £36 in the outlet. in dublin they cost €115. another said they had saved over €400 on their Christmas shopping in belfast. those sort of figures will make people sit up and take notice.

    for an ad i was thinking of something along the line of the old crazy prices ads with jim mcgraw (i think that was his name). perhaps we could get a TV ad with Peter and Martin on location in shops around NI holding up items with the price and savings appearing on our screen in massive text with stars around it 🙂

    the assembley should be pulling out all the stops to milk this cash cow for all its worth. NI plc should be running ads on RTE and TV3 24/7. their should be poster ads all over dublin and southern towns. all the NI shopping towns/cities should be euro friendly at the til (maybe they are?). belfast should have a big neon revolving euro sign on top of the europa. southern reg cars should be allowed to use the bus lanes and be given free parking in all carparks! NI plc should be absolutely shameless in drawing in southern cash.

    ive lived in the south for years and there has never been such a big buz about shopping in NI than there is at the minute. southerners are very worried about money and very concerned at their high cost country. there is potential for NI to do very well, but it will take action now to draw in as many southern shoppers as possible. if NI plc grasp this opportunity it may save alot of businesses and jobs that would otherwise be lost next year. Come on Peter and Martin, don’t f**k it up!!

  • George

    you sound like you want Northern Ireland to become our Tijuana.

    Maybe the Assembly could organise a few strip bars at the border, reduce the drinking age to 12, legalise hash, promote all night clubbing etc.

    PS: The only problem I see with your plan is that the people down south are battening down the hatches and won’t be spending much money, north or south.

    Also, Darling is slapping 6p on the price of petrol over the next 16 months so Lenihan will get a few bob back that way.

  • eranu

    “Maybe the Assembly could organise a few strip bars at the border, reduce the drinking age to 12, legalise hash, promote all night clubbing etc.”

    all good ideas there george 🙂 , apart from the drinking age ofcourse.
    people are still buying presents for Christmas though. i know plenty of dublin work collegues and friends that have been doing their shopping in belfast recently. overall sales figures may be down in NI and ROI but the number of shoppers going north would seem to be well up. i hope you’re not trying to talk down the northern drift for the sake of poor dublin retailers??

    with economies shrinking, i think people in NI need to make the most of any source of revenue they can. if that means pulling out all the stops to attract southern shoppers then thats what they should do. paying bills and keeping jobs is the most important thing at the min.