As others see us

It’s hardly news at home but how gratifying for the international image that Newry has made it onto the front page of the New York Times. That’s a lot more than can be said for Gordon Brown’s announcement of the final British withdrawal from Iraq, which is merely tagged on to that story about 35 arrests in the Iraqi ministry of the interior and national security.

..these days the lines of traffic leading off the main highway north to this city just inside Northern Ireland are not about guns as much as butter:…A recent retail industry survey suggests that one in four households in counties as far west as Galway — on the Atlantic coastline, about four hours away — shop for groceries in Northern Ireland.

  • eranu

    ‘the Newry effect’ AND its a good thing. strange days indeed.

    whats the difference in petrol prices these days?

  • niall

    Good news from the dark dour north.

    Must be Christmas!

  • eranu

    to the tune of the musical from The Producers

    Spring time for Newry and Norn Iron……….

    Winter for Dundalk and The South……..

    😀

  • Dave

    Given that the article was lifted from the Newry Journal and written by Eamon Quinn, the title of the thread is a misnomer. It is a view of Newry’s shopping bonanza as Newry sees it – not surprisingly, Newry likes what it sees.

    The actual paradox is so-called northern nationalists celebrating the flow of capital from the Irish economy into the British economy. As the finance minister, Brian Lenihan, quoted in the article said: shoppers are “paying Her Majesty’s taxes” and not “paying the taxes to the state” of the Republic of Ireland.

    It confirms that they are all unionists now.

  • 6countyprod

    …and long may it continue!

  • George

    Northern Ireland its on its way to being a nation of shopkeepers.

    Of course this is all well and good if you actually make things and have a strong sterling. Oh dear.

  • George

    is on its way…

  • Kaido

    Was along Newry by-pass last Wed. Vehicles backed up to end of motorway, not for shopping, but mostly because of massive plant movement as contractors try to finish motorway extension. Have not ventured into town myself but rumour has it that one brave soul, a northerner, ventured there early this week and had no problem with either access or parking.

    Remember about 2 decades ago anyone living near the border went to Dundalk to shop and save money, it was Newry that was then the ghost town.
    Given our current leaders penchant for making a sow’s ear out of a silk purse those days may well come again.

    Diesel down south €0.975 at pumps on my route, have heard of €0.96, exchange rate anybodys guess !

  • Brian Walker

    dave, The point is less the authorship rather than the fact that the NY Times lifted it and put it on the front page.

  • Greenflag

    BW ,

    ‘the fact that the NY Times lifted it and put it on the front page.’

    New York retailers need some good news . So this is a nice little diversion to take their minds off the ‘real news ‘ reported by Thomas Friedman in another article in the NYT .

    Some of the juicier excerpts here below 😉

    The stranger, a Western businessman, slipped into the chair next to me at an Asia Society lunch and asked “So, just how corrupt is America?”

    His question was occasioned by the arrest of the Wall Street money manager Bernard Madoff on charges of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of billions of dollars, but it wasn’t only that. It’s the whole bloody mess coming out of Wall Street — the financial center that Hong Kong moneymen had always looked up to. How could it be, they wonder, that such brand names as Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and A.I.G. could turn out to have such feet of clay? Where, they wonder, was our Securities and Exchange Commission and the high standards that we had preached to them all these years?

    One of Hong Kong’s most-respected bankers, who asked not to be identified- commented

    “Previously, there was America,” he said. “American investors were supposed to know better, and now America itself is in trouble. Whom do they sell their banks to? It is hard for America to take its own medicine that it prescribed successfully for others. There is no doctor anymore. The doctor himself is sick.”

    I have no sympathy for Madoff. But the fact is, his alleged Ponzi scheme was only slightly more outrageous than the “legal” scheme that Wall Street was running, fueled by cheap credit, low standards and high greed. What do you call giving a worker who makes only $14,000 a year a nothing-down and nothing-to-pay-for-two-years mortgage to buy a $750,000 home, and then bundling that mortgage with 100 others into bonds — which Moody’s or Standard & Poors rate AAA — and then selling them to banks and pension funds the world over? That is what our financial industry was doing. If that isn’t a pyramid scheme, what is?

    Far from being built on best practices, this legal Ponzi scheme was built on the mortgage brokers, bond bundlers, rating agencies, bond sellers and homeowners all working on the I.B.G. principle: “I’ll be gone” when the payments come due or the mortgage has to be renegotiated.

    It is both eye-opening and depressing to look at our banking crisis from China. It is eye-opening because it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the U.S. and China are becoming two countries, one system.

    How so? Easy, in the wake of our massive bank bailout, one can now look at China and America and say: “Well, China has a big-state-owned banking sector, next to a private one, and America now has a big state-owned banking sector next to a private one. China has big state-owned industries, alongside private ones, and once Washington bails out Detroit, America will have a big state-owned industry next to private ones.”

    Yes, an exaggeration to be sure, but the truth is the differences are starting to blur. For two decades, a parade of U.S. officials came to China and lectured Beijing on the necessity of privatizing its banks, said Qu Hongbin, the chief economist for China at HSBC. “So, slowly we did that, and now, all of a sudden, we see everybody else nationalizing their banks.”

    It’s depressing because China in many ways feels more stable than America today, with a clearer strategy for working through this crisis

    While capitalism has saved China, the end of communism seems to have slightly unhinged America. We lost our two biggest ideological competitors — Beijing and Moscow. Everyone needs a competitor. It keeps you disciplined. But once American capitalism no longer had to worry about communism, it seems to have gone crazy.

    Investment banks and hedge funds were leveraging themselves at crazy levels, paying themselves crazy salaries and, most of all, inventing financial instruments that completely disconnected the ultimate lenders from the original borrowers, and left no one accountable.

    The Madoff affair is the cherry on top of a national breakdown in financial propriety, regulations and common sense. Which is why we don’t just need a financial bailout;
    we need an ethical bailout. We need to re-establish the core balance between our markets, ethics and regulations. I don’t want to kill the animal spirits that necessarily drive capitalism — but I don’t want to be eaten by them either

    end of ,

    GF comment

    Mr Friedman did not object in some of his earlier tomes to the wails coming from ‘middle America ‘ as their jobs were outsourced to China over the past 20 years . His ‘flat world ‘ has now reached the point where Mr Friedman is expressing concerns about being ‘eaten ‘ .

    Maybe the EU should ‘invade ‘ Switzerland and get the Zurich gnomes to open up their accounts and then Mr Friedman might have a chance of ‘re-establishing ‘ethics’ in the USA and elsewhere ;)?

  • One Trolley Is never Enough

    When Dave states that the article is lifted from “The Newry Journal” one might think that there is such a newspaper which there isn’t. There is an online forum in Newry of the same name but I doubt it has anything to do with the article in question.

    Anyway , the same journalist has written on the same subject earlier this month for the southern Sunday Tribune and seems to have excellent access to those close to the thinking of the owners of The Quays Shopping centre. One other recent article is below:

    The owner of one of the huge shopping malls in Newry, the town that has drawn the ire of government ministers for luring hundreds of thousands of Southern shoppers, said he expects that both Tesco and Asda will open stores in the Co Down town in the next 18 months that will attract even more visitors from the Republic.

    Gerard O’Hare, who owns the Quays in Newry and the Fairgreen shopping centre in Carlow, said he expected even more Southerners to travel to Newry for their shopping because the euro will likely remain strong and could rise closer to parity against sterling. He forecast that just under half of the 26 million shopping visits to Newry this year would be made by shoppers from the Republic.

    Both Tesco and Asda, he believes, will be accommodated in Newry in the next 18 months, probably on one of three sites on the town – the current abattoir site owned by Larry Goodman, which would likely be relocated; the Abbey School playing fields which will be up for sale next year; or another site on the town’s Belfast side, he said.

    O’Hare said he plans to spend €250m on doubling the current 500,000 square-foot Quays shopping centre from 2010, but he said Tesco or Asda would be accommodated elsewhere in the town.

    Government ministers, he said, were “disgraceful” hiding behind the so-called ‘Newry Effect’, and wanted to distract voters from action they needed to take to lower taxes and make the Republic competitive again.

    Senior ministers, including finance minister Brian Lenihan and tánaiste Mary Coughlan, have said it is unpatriotic for shoppers to spend their money in co Down town because the VAT goes to the British exchequer, not to the government.

    Known as ‘Mr Newry’, O’Hare also owns shopping centres in mainland Europe, and his advisory board, Fair Green International, includes former taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Lord Dennis Rogan, the ex-Ulster Unionist Party chairman.

    O’Hare said he plans to publish a price survey this week comparing prices in Newry with those in the Republic and countries across the continent to show that it was only goods in the Republic that were overpriced.

    “Prices are more or less the same for groceries and fashion across Europe everywhere, but not in the Republic, where they are higher. It is a cocktail of problems including higher VAT and duties and because inflation over the last ten years has not been tackled in the South,” he said.

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    ‘It confirms that they are all unionists now.’

    Complete and utter drivel . So if the ball was on the other foot and Northern Unionists were driving south you would say that they are all ‘Republicans ‘ now ?

    People are just being people and will try to get a bargain wherever they can . It’s the ‘human ‘ condition .

    Anyway they might as well cash in while they can because the UK may yet end up in the Euro Zone by the time this ‘crisis ‘ is over . The pound is now almost at ‘parity ‘ with the Euro .

    Get rid of it while you can -i.e the pound .It’s going only one way for the next year or so . The ‘new economic order’ which will be rolled out in the new year will give Mr Brown the ‘excuse ‘ he needs to persuade the Brits to say goodbye to Mr Sterling . If the Germans , French and Italians can say goodbye to the Mark , Franc and Lira why should the UK be an exception ?

  • John East Belfast

    Dave

    Are you saying that if you had a Eur 3000 Flat Screen Plasma with an equivalent price in the north of £2100 to purchase you wouldnt drive up the road now to do so with exchange rates hovering around 1.06 ?

    Honestly would you rather give a few hundred more Euros to the Revenue Commissioners to bail out reckless Dublin banks with Directors etc who are friends of the Dublin political elite ?

    As I have said before Lenihan’s comemnts are cringingly embarassing.

  • Mack

    Dave, Greenflag

    ‘It confirms that they are all unionists now.’

    Complete and utter drivel . So if the ball was on the other foot and Northern Unionists were driving south you would say that they are all ‘Republicans ‘ now ?

    Bang on Greenflag. Dave’s logic seems to be fundamentally impaired. He claims to be a free market capitalist, but in this comment he revealed himself as a statist.

    By shopping in Newry southerners are supporting Irish jobs, and if they venture beyond Sainsburies also Irish businesses (heck even southern businesses). What is the difference between purchasing Chinese goods at a British or Irish owned store in Dundrum shopping centre, Dublin and purchasing the same goods in the same chain store Newry?

    Both support Irish jobs (north and south).
    Both contribute to the profit of the same company
    Both contribute tax which ends up being spent on Irish public sector jobs (north and south)

  • Mack

    To clarify that last comment slightly (and make clear it isn’t ad hominem)

    Dave is arguing they’re all unionists now in Northern Ireland (and has made that comment several times).

    In otherwords nationalists and republicans in the north are unionists.

    Most people would hold this as a self-evident falsehood.

    Dave has to jump through all sorts of logical hoops to support this bizarre position.

  • Daisy

    Why doesn’t the Irish gov just drop its VAT rate? Not only are they losing valuable revenue to the NI economy from their own taxpayers, but they’re losing out on the tourist side too – some of us who head over the border for a nice self-catering holiday fill the boot so we don’t have to pay their high prices.

  • Mack

    Daisy – dropping the vat rates wouldn’t make much difference, most goods bought in the south are manufactured elsewhere. While the government does tax each sale, there is no multiplier effect for the economy as a whole. So in dropping rates the government would have to be sure that they actually increased revenue – given the weakness of sterling, it is unlikely that could be achieved.

    http://www.irisheconomy.ie/?p=41

  • Daisy

    Mack – that all sounds too complicated for me, but thanks for the info!

  • ulsterfan

    It will only get worse when John Lewis opens at Sprucefield further up the road.
    This North /South corridor will bring people from Dublin on a weekly basis especially when all the motorway extension is completed.
    Difference in the exchange rate is of lesser importance when there is such large difference in the basic cost of all types of goods.
    The British owned stores located in ROI should have similar charges.
    Why is Argos in Newry cheaper than Argos in Dublin?

  • Mack

    Ulsterfan – “Why is Argos in Newry cheaper than Argos in Dublin? ”

    A few reasons

    1. Wages are substantially higher in Dublin (it would not surprise me if the average wage earned in Dublin was more than twice that of Newry) – which means consumers can spend a little more for the convenience of local shopping. Clearly, with the recession and the collapse of sterling Dublin consumers now think it worth the extra convenience to shop in Newry.

    2. Business costs are substantially lower in Newry (commercial rents, wages etc)

    3. Sterling’s collapse.

    It’s a common complaint that stores don’t pass on the cut when sterling falls, but if sterling were to rise competition with European & Irish stores would prevent British stores from passing on the rise. (Also note both are often selling goods imported from outside the Sterling area) .It’s just a different market. The fact that southerners are now travelling north will drive prices and eventually costs down in the south.

  • Greenflag

    Mack ,

    ‘The fact that southerners are now travelling north will drive prices and eventually costs down in the south.’

    There is always that hope 😉

  • George

    Daisy,
    a simpler way of explaining it is that southern shoppers are getting as much advantage by what sterling is sometimes dropping in a day as they have from the VAT differential.

    The only thing any VAT reduction to British levels would do is bankrupt the Irish State even more, it wouldn’t stop the shopping exodus north.

    And the people of Northern Ireland should be a little more concerned about the collapse of sterling than they appear to be.

    Southern shoppers won’t keep the northern economic fires burning for long. 2009 is going to be grim for them too.

  • Glencoppagagh

    George
    The collapse in sterling against the Euro is of little concern as it will boost either or both of the profitability and volume of exports.
    The Newry phenomenon represents a huge increase in export volumes from NI to RoI.
    Meanwhile, the £/$ rate has stabilised so the risk of imported inflation is diminished. Purchases of Euro-denominated goods and services by UK consumers are mostly discretionary wheres essential raw materials are typically priced in dollars.
    Is anyone out there brave enough to bet that the pound will be worth less than €1.10 in a year’s time?

  • George

    Glencoppagagh,
    “The collapse in sterling against the Euro is of little concern as it will boost either or both of the profitability and volume of exports.”

    Really, and on what do you base this, not recent history I hope?

    When the UK joined the EEC back in 1973 you could get 6 Deutschmarks to the pound, it is now down to two (DM was 2 to 1 on euro changeover).

    Devaluing sterling to a third of its value has left the UK with little or no manufacturing industry and the Germans as the biggest exporters in the world. How did that happen?

    Now as we head into 2009, the UK has the largest budget deficit on record. It has already fallen 20+% against the euro and the dollar in 2008. This looks more like a run than a controlled devaluation.

    I know there is a common line of thought that this weak sterling is all good for the British economy but I’m afraid I just don’t buy it. It smacks of panic rather than a controlled measure.

    It should be interesting to see how easy the British government finds it to borrow and how easy it will find it to pay its debts back if the currency keeps tanking.

    Time will tell, I’m just not as optimistic as you seem to be.

  • Mack

    Glencoppagh

    “Meanwhile, the £/$ rate has stabilised so the risk of imported inflation is diminished”

    If it does stabilise for a decent period of time and the Chinese continue to peg the Yuan to the dollar then that’s true. Your Euro and Yen imports will still be more expensive though. I’d be highly sceptical, given the time frames involved, that we can say definetively we are entering a period of £/$ stability!

    When the global economy get’s up of it’s knees there’s commodity prices will, in all probability, restart their rapid ascent – better to be in a strong currency in those circumstances…

  • Dave

    “Bang on Greenflag. Dave’s logic seems to be fundamentally impaired. He claims to be a free market capitalist, but in this comment he revealed himself as a statist.

    By shopping in Newry southerners are supporting Irish jobs, and if they venture beyond Sainsburies also Irish businesses (heck even southern businesses). What is the difference between purchasing Chinese goods at a British or Irish owned store in Dundrum shopping centre, Dublin and purchasing the same goods in the same chain store Newry?” – Mack

    Why do you think that free market capitalism is irreconcilable with the concept of the state and the national interest? Because you haven’t got a clue what you are talking about? Laissez-faire means minimum state intervention in the economy. It does not mean that there should be no state or that states should not compete with each other. Kindly acquaint yourself with a basic grasp of the meaning of the applicable terms before you post again.

    Shoppers in Newry are supporting British jobs, not Irish jobs. The fact that you cannot grasp the difference between investment in the Irish economy and investment in the German or British economies indicates to me that you haven’t quite grasped the concept of national economies and the role of enterprise and taxation in sustaining them.

    I can understand how sentimental simpletons who have been encouraged to see two separate sovereign states as one entity in order to appease supporters of sectarian murder gangs (who failed to achieve one sovereign state) might obfuscate the nation with the state, and see promotion of its (British) economy as being something that benefits the Irish nation (that part of it which never contributed a single penny in taxation to the Irish state) without grasping that it is directly to the detriment of the Irish state and directly to the detriment of that part of the Irish nation who reside in the Irish state and who do contribute taxes to it. These dupes don’t grasp that, as Brian Lenihan said, they are “paying Her Majesty’s taxes” and not “paying the taxes to the state” of the Republic of Ireland.

    Perhaps you do not grasp the principle that taxes are paid to the state and not to the nation? That is why members of the Irish nation who reside in foreign jurisdictions are not entitled to a pro rata share of tax revenue raised in Ireland or to have the government direct spending and investments into those foreign jurisdictions in which they reside.

    Patriotism, as the Irish government defines it in this context, is spending disposable income, paying taxes, supporting businesses, and sustaining and creating jobs, etc, in the Republic of Ireland, not in the jurisdiction of other sovereign states.

    No-one engages in this activity with the intent of doing harm to his country. There is a stronger argument to make that it is ‘locally unpatriotic’ for consumers in border regions not to support jobs in their local economy. Those people will be the ones who see jobs being lost in that local economy. In the wider national economy, the impact is likely to be marginal. Patriotism is about promoting the best interests of the state. It is not unpatriotic to go on holiday to a foreign country and to spend a proportion of your disposable income there, nor should it properly be considered unpatriotic to go to London for a weekend or to Belfast for a bargain. We can discount this definition as a national minister taking the heat for cowardly TDs in the border region who don’t have the guts to berate their own constituents for crossing into Northern Ireland and paying taxes to Her Majesty’s government, benefiting her economy in preference to their own. However, if it the loss to a foreign economy becomes substantial, then the government should rightfully act in the national interest and seek ways to frustrate the activity. Remember, child, minimal does not mean none (please study the difference). That is why someone will support free market economics and also support government intervention in the economy with the purpose of regulating it. Have you ever heard, for example, of obscure things called ‘Central Banks’ ‘Financial Regulators’?

  • Dave

    [b]Continued[/b]

    This comes back to my point that so-called northern nationalists “are all unionists now.” Their national interest is the British economy of Northern Ireland. That foerign economy is in direct competition with the Republic of Ireland for inward investment. In promoting the economic interests of Northern Ireland, they are expressing their true patriotism – and that true patriotism is British, not Irish. You cannot, contrary to the supporting propaganda, encourage investment to go to France in preference to the Republic of Ireland still call yourself an Irish patriot: you are a de jure French patriot. You might, of course, regard yourself as a Irish cultural patriot but actions speak louder, etc. The status quo is unionism, so support the status quo and you support unionism. That is why the current process converts nationalists into unionists by default. When you eventually cop that on, you’ll see the Paddy joke in so-called Irish patriots wishing to see taxes paid to Her Majesty’s government in preference t the Irish government. Well, you won’t inside your little box, but others will. 😉

  • Mack

    Dave – you’re jumping through hoops again. You are advocating the primacy of the state as an economic agent over and above that of the people of the nation.

    Anyway, I doubt we are going to convince each other…

  • Dave

    I repeat for the slow learner (above):

    “Perhaps you do not grasp the principle that taxes are paid to the state and not to the nation? That is why members of the Irish nation who reside in foreign jurisdictions are not entitled to a pro rata share of tax revenue raised in Ireland or to have the government direct spending and investments into those foreign jurisdictions in which they reside.”

  • PaddyReilly

    Shoppers in Newry are supporting British jobs, not Irish jobs

    Here we have the RTE false nomenclature again. Britain is an island to the East of Larne. Newry is in Ireland. Any supermarket owner would be well advised to have premises in Newry and El Paso and switch operations from one to the other as VAT, sterling etc goes up and down.

    Many of us—not just smugglers, anyone who goes on tour or delivers in a van—operate in a binational all Island economy, drawing our income from all 32 counties and spending it whereever is cheapest.

    Indeed, anyone who uses Amazon or Ebay follows the principle of buying where it is cheapest and selling to the highest bidder- Japanese, if necessary.

    It is not a matter of “We are all Unionists now”. We are are One Worlders when it comes to trade.

  • Glencoppagagh

    George
    Your comments are redolent of the 60s and 70s when people used to agonise over the balance of payments.
    It took a while, even for some overpaid City econobores, to accept that exchange rates had ceased to be determined by trade flows. In simple terms, sterling is falling against the Euro because UK interest rates are lower than ECB rates and hodling its own against the dollar because its rates are falling faster.
    The UK economy has always relied more on service exports. Frankfurt isn’t going to replace London as Europe’s main financial centre just because sterling is weak.
    Also worth pointing out that as of last Friday, the yield on 10 year gilts was just 30 basis points higher than on German Bunds. France was 43 basis points above and the RoI spread was an alarming 142 points. That suggests that the markets have a better appetite for UK government paper than others.
    RoI really has got a problem funding its deficit since, unlike the UK, it no longer has a domestic market constrained by currency matching.

    Mack
    “1. Wages are substantially higher in Dublin (it would not surprise me if the average wage earned in Dublin was more than twice that of Newry) – which means consumers can spend a little more for the convenience of local shopping…”
    2. Business costs are substantially lower in Newry (commercial rents, wages etc)

    So why is Argos in London not more expensive than Argos in Newry?

    “Your Euro and Yen imports will still be more expensive though”
    My point is that we don’t need to buy European and Japanese stuff (cars? Playstations?)if it gets too expensive but we do need to import oil.
    I agree than commodity prices will probably stabilise sometime next year but I can’t see them running away.
    Finally getting back to the cross-border issue, even when sterling was strong it has never been worthwhile to shop in RoI for anything other than fuel and that was just because of tax anomalies.
    In fact if you dragged the RoI up against the European mainland, people would still be pouring out to shop. Irish people who holiday in Europe

  • Glencoppagagh

    cont.
    tend to notice how much cheaper things are. This is because RoI is a small market with limited domestic competition isolated from the rest of Europe.

  • Mack

    Glencoppagh –

    London is a different market also (from Dublin), for large UK wide stores it’s part of the UK market.

    In fairness in retail there is the same amount of competition as in the UK (may even be proportionally more retail space). But, price gouging has been endemic.

    On commodities – supply and demand. The suppliers have been negatively impacted by the credit crunch, so once demand picks up….

    Dave – It’s your obession with tax revenues that I’m highlighting as a fault in your logic (slow learner indeed 😉 ).

  • Mack

    Dave

    To put this in less abstract terms, following your logic. Northern nationalists to be Irish nationalists need to pay no tax revenues to the British state? They therefore shouldn’t work within Northern Ireland, shouldn’t shop within Northern Ireland, should not conduct or contract business within Northern Ireland, purchase a house within Northern Ireland, pay rates in Northern Ireland etc…

    By that logic, Irish nationalists in Northern Ireland never existed at all….

  • Glencoppagagh

    Mack
    I’m simply saying that variation in labour and property costs can’t justify higher prices in RoI.
    while times were good, Irish people didn’t take enough notice of how much their real incomes were eroded by retail inefficiency. Now they’ve woken up with a vengeance. When people are prepared to travel all the way from Dublin to Newry to buy everyday groceries, there’s a serious problem and it will take a major reversal in the exchange rate to change it.

  • k

    A few points as a Newry resident:
    Gerard O’Hare is not ‘Mr Newry’. He’s just a capitalist who will take whatever political position makes him the most money.
    We also consider ourselves to be a town not a city. No-one talks about the ‘city centre’ or other such rubbish. Lizzie Windsor doesn’t turn us from a town into a city.
    Most of us in Newry would rather not pay any tax to ‘her majesty’ at all nor live under her rule. Yet strangely, according to various free-state ministers, when we point this out, we are ‘terrorists’ with a ‘failed ideology’ but if someone from Dundalk shops here, they are ‘unpatriotic’. Strange indeed!
    As for supporting ‘british’ jobs, the vast majority of the considerable profit made by various english stores goes straight back to London and the share-holders. Very few local Newry businesses are making any money. The english stores employ huge amounts of low paid student labour. Wal-mart, Irish style.

    Rant over.

  • Greenflag

    George -Glencoppagh

    ‘When the UK joined the EEC back in 1973 you could get 6 Deutschmarks to the pound, it is now down to two (DM was 2 to 1 on euro changeover).

    One of the reasons the UK joined in 1973 was because back in 69/70 you could get 12 Deutschmarks to the pound .

    ‘Devaluing sterling to a third of its value has left the UK with little or no manufacturing industry and the Germans as the biggest exporters in the world. How did that happen? ‘

    Easy . The Brits relied on currency devaluation to make their industry competitive . The Germans relied on improving technolgy , increasing productivity and forcing their engineering sectors to become significant ‘niche ‘ competitors globally. The Germans had no alternative but to work hard . The Brits took the easy option . And they’re still at it 🙁

    ‘Now as we head into 2009, the UK has the largest budget deficit on record. It has already fallen 20+% against the euro and the dollar in 2008. This looks more like a run than a controlled devaluation. ‘

    You’ll know it’s a run when Mr Soros says so 🙁

    ‘I know there is a common line of thought that this weak sterling is all good for the British economy but I’m afraid I just don’t buy it.’

    If a weak sterling was so good for the UK economy why did the UK have 4 million unemployed in the mid 1980’s ?

    ‘It smacks of panic rather than a controlled measure. ‘

    I would’nt say panic -more a case of looking at the harsh realities and then sticking their heads ostrich like in the sand in the hope that nobody will see them because they can see nobody.

    The UK needs to join the Euro asap and stop pretending sterling rules the ‘waves’ . Otherwise they run a very serious risk of landing Britain back into the 1920’s 🙁 And whatever our ‘problems ‘ with the UK that’s not a situation which anybody in Ireland would like to see .

  • Greenflag

    An ironic aspect to the cross border shopping issue is that those parts of Northern Ireland just across the border are now benefiting financially from said border for the first time since partition . Previously only smugglers whether the cattle dealing Brookboroughs or the Louth /Armagh smugglers benefited .

    Might as well make hay while the sun shines . Hey they deserve it . And it will help to moderate our ‘avaricious ‘ southern retailers be they of the local or UK brand vintage !

  • Glencoppagagh

    Greenflag
    “I would’nt say panic -more a case of looking at the harsh realities and then sticking their heads ostrich like in the sand in the hope that nobody will see them because they can see nobody.”
    Have you any evidence that the UK is vainly trying to shore up sterling? If not, the comment above is pretty meaningless.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Have you any evidence that the UK is vainly trying to shore up sterling?’

    The house is in flames -smoke billowing from the windows , people leaping from windows or being pushed and Glencoppagagh is looking for evidence that there may be a fire?

    You just have to be a Unionist 🙁 .

  • Glencoppagagh

    Greenflag
    I was looking for a MORE SUBSTANTIAL RESPONSE TO the specific question.
    Is that getting a bit out of your depth?

  • Greenflag

    Glencoppagh,

    ‘I was looking for a MORE SUBSTANTIAL RESPONSE TO the specific question. ‘

    The question you raised i.e

    ‘Have you any evidence that the UK is vainly trying to shore up sterling?’

    was one that you raised yourself . If you go back over the posts nowhere did I state that the UK was ‘vainly’ trying to shore up sterling . I stated instead that they have adopted an ostrich like approach and will leave the pound to find it’s own ‘level ‘ which in present circumstance can only mean a lower one in relation to the other major trading trading currencies such as the dollar , euro and yen . If you refer to recent BBC reports on Mr Browns pronunciations you will see no references to either defending the pounds ‘value’ nor attempting to arrest it’s decline . Mr Brown acknowledges that there is little Britain can do in present circumstance except to tough it out . The Conservatives are likewise just as powerless .

    ‘Is that getting a bit out of your depth? ‘

    Greenflag knows his depth and unfortunately it does not extend to listening in on HMG’s Chancellor’s discussions with the PM;)

    The points that George made earlier about ‘devaluation’ in the 1970’s and later are pertinent to today’s world also . Back then Britain still had a manufacturing industry . Today it’s financial services and the city of London mixed in with the service sector . There will be some impact on the public services sector in NI although I would expect it to be minimal . The last thing Brown needs coming up to an election is for the NI tribes to start another round of ‘eternadon’ as each side scrambles to grab as many crumbs as they can from the table before it’s folded and replaced with a smaller one .