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Tales from the Celtic Tiger

Tales from the Celtic Tiger By W.S. Sumpter in Dublin

Last week my mother sent me an email that said, “ the All Blacks got thumped by the Australians, but at least it means Jenny’s poll ratings will keep falling”. I read it at this very same internet café in Dublin and thought how unfair, now I have to hope the All Blacks lose the world cup. Apparently, also, some Government ministers have been holding up Ireland as an economic model for New Zealand and Ireland is mentioned almost every other day in one of those silly daily newspapers in Wellington.

(The Guardian newspaper on the other hand is so clever, funny, awful and full of real news that after reading it three days on the trot you’ll feel like embracing deep melancholia and talking about the meaning and importance of feelings like loss.)

Right then.

The Celtic Tiger and what I have found out about it from talking to people who have also heard of it.

I mostly ask older, wiser Dubliners what they think of it and by far the best answer came from my friends landlady. “Its lovely isn’t it?, they painted its stripes green for St Patrick’s Day.” Then she told me the politicians were all corrupt in Ireland. Sure, I said, so are ours, but it doesn’t matter.

By the way a well done to the New Zealand media for hardly mentioning East Timor for 24 years just because the politicians didn’t. And good on the politicians who are talking about it now. Let’s just hope you’re not too late. Whoops. I forgot, you already are, does that mean you have some of the blood on your hands or not? I’ve always wondered, do you think Phil Goff might know? Amongst all the sadness and anger I feel about east Timor a nagging question keeps worrying me. Could New Zealand be invaded by some nasty army tomorrow and one million of us be killed in the first three years of the invasion and the world remain silent about it for the next 21 years until they start shooting us again?

Any know?

Back to green tigers. The Celtic Tiger is certainly providing Ireland with lots of money an work. The building industry in Dublin is booming. Building, building, building and building more buildings to accommodate the offices and factories of the big corporations who have money, money, money, money, money coming out their ears, the noses, their anuses, their genitals, their eyes. All the Irish Government has had to do is offer them a foothold in the European Union and the opportunity to get even more money into their fat bloated bodies. (As if Bill Gates needs any greater percentage of the world’s wealth in his hands.) I don’t see why the would want to be in New Zealand though. As an unskilled labourer in Dublin I earned $875 (£350) a week take home in the hand, after being taxed at 48% for the money over £200. One week with overtime, and while I still had my tax free allowance left I earned the equivalent of $1195.67. Eat your heart out Rod Deane!

Put simply, the employers are more generous about sharing the wealth, they pay overtime still, which is such a great idea. There is no sallow faced moaning employers federation trying to deny as much as possible to the workers, and the union bosses are in on it too. Its good, share the wealth, it belongs to us all anyway. But essentially you can’t really compare Ireland to New Zealand for the simple reason Ireland is in the European Union. Comparisons are simply not mathematically correct. Also the Irish Government hasn’t sold everything it owns and this year is spending £80 million ($200 million) on trying to get a further 8000 of its three and a half million citizens into full time work. Now there is a good idea Max Bradford got rid off. Can someone please tell me why the right thinks you should only help the people who already have money? Anyway my advice to you, if you want a Polynesian tiger just start talking about one. Heck it could do the haka at Waitangi Day. Which brings me back to the beginning, sort of. Much more interesting than the colour of tigers is the relationship between the performance of the All Blacks and the Government in the polls. Which is what I want to talk about next but I had better go as there is a long queue for the computer.

Next week: Ornamental culture and the ‘make crisis’.

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