Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Green shoots or just daffodils?
The first daffodil is finally out in my estate :D Hopefully this means the end of this long cold miserable winter, and the start of spring, both in the weather and the economy, here in Ireland. As I look out of the window, I may be sneezing, but the sun in shining, the sky is blue, and you just have to think that life will get better for all of us.
Sadly, I'm not sure that this will happen. I believe that the November Budget dug deep trenches between the different sectors of Irish society. During 2009, almost everyone sat on their hands and hoarded their money in case the Budget targeted them. But as commentators have observed, the income of many well-paid people was almost completely unaffected by the measures in the Budget. Instead, it was the public sector, the low paid, young families and those on social welfare who were made pay for the mess that has been made of this economy.
After the Budget, the message from the Government and the media was that the worst was over, and consumer confidence was returning. And you would believe that wouldn't you, if your income had not changed? So this group have started buying again: the tills are ringing in Dundrum Shopping Centre, and new cars are appearing on the roads. I can see it in my estate. When I moved here four years ago, most of the cars were new or a few years old. That has completely changed: there is a sprinkling of 09 and 10 cars, a number of recent cars that people must be hanging onto, and an explosion of pre-millenium cars. We used to call them bangers, though they are probably in better condition that the bangers that I looked at when I was young.
I understand that billions of euros still have to be pumped into Irish Banks to keep them afloat, and many of us are waiting in trepidation to see who the Government will pick on next. But if they have persuaded one group of people that spring is here, somehow I think that they will be left alone, to prop up what is left of this economy.