The Republic’s little domestic problem…

Newton Emerson with a sustained allegorical re-telling of the Irish Government’s fraught relationship with the social partners, cast in a domestic environment. It ends thusly:

Mutual respect is the basis of any successful relationship. If you feel that your wife is not giving you all the respect you deserve, back her into a corner and threaten to wreck the house. Remind her that although nothing is ever your fault or your sole responsibility, you are otherwise more important than her in every conceivable way. Then go down the pub.

Follow this advice and you should enjoy complete harmony on the domestic front. Your wife might occasionally threaten to take the kids and move to Poland. But really, what are the chances of that happening?

Who knew…? Gavin did…

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

  • Rory Carr

    If the social partner portrayed as the timid wife in Newton’s allegory should turn out instead to share even a little of the backbone of Herself, then we should shortly expect to hear the dull clang of the frying pan as it connects with the “senior partner’s” lughole.

  • smcgiff

    If/when the public sector have to take a 10% pay cut they’ll still be 20% on average better paid than the UK equivalent. My heart bleeds, but I suppose they can take some more sick days to get over it.

  • If/when the public sector have to take a 10% pay cut …

    With any luck they’ll go on strike (well, except the gardai and the nurses, of course), thereby saving the taxpayer a stack of money. It’ll take about a month of striking to lower their income by 10%, so the government should start provoking them a bit, before arriving at an honourable compromise – a two week strike, followed by a halving of the cut to 5%. End result, of course, a 10% drop in the salary bill for this year, but the unions get to pretend that they won a big victory.

  • Jean Baudrillard

    What the hell has the government being doing during all those years of incredible growth? Would it not have been wise to have salted away a soverign wealth fund for a rainy day?

    Having said that, maybe Ireland should get in the queue for the IMF sooner rather than later. They may have no money left in a year’s time when things get really tough…

  • Mack

    What the hell has the government being doing during all those years of incredible growth?

    Increasing public sector pay by around 10% per anum.

  • Mack

    Jean – they have been putting money in the National Pension Reserve fund (which means there is a pension fund, unlike in the UK where pensions are funding out of revenue). They are raiding that to pay for this years deficit.

    Once your expenses outweigh your income, you are screwed no matter how much savings you’ve got.

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness.

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.

    Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

  • Mack

    Jean – There is no queue for the IMF. They are lender of last resort for insolvent states, and as disciples of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School they apply all sorts of uber-free market conditions to their loan (mass public sector layoffs & privatisations). A hint of IMF involvement and Irish bonds will be treated as junk by the market.

  • Dave

    Mack, either Biffo has been told that he bankrupted the country when he offered a state guarantee for the debt of the banks (and give it 2 years and we’ll know if he did or not) or Biffo was trying to scare the unions into agreeing to pay cuts with the typical subtlety of an Offaly cattle dealer. My guess is that the buffoon simply doesn’t know what damage he can do by even hinting at IMF aid (much like the damage he unwittingly did to the Irish banking industry when he said that the guarantee was needed because the banks were in imminent danger of collapse). At least I hope it is Biffo being thick. The other option of the buffoon turning us into Iceland by guaranteeing the banks isn’t pleasant. He, of course, was the Finance minister who failed to see the phantom boom that was created by cheap credit proffered by the EU and who spent public money like it was actually created wealth driving the boom rather than borrowed wealth from the ECB’s expansionist monetary policies. They invested those taxes and encouraged business people to invest on the basis of what could only ever be a boom followed by a bust when the credit stopped.

  • Suilven


    ‘unlike in the UK where pensions are funding out of revenue’

    Not quite true for all UK civil servants – teachers, firemen, police and local authorities’ employees pensions are funded, albeit badly, to name a few. That still leaves the twin black holes of the NHS and central government mandarins though…