Q: I've read the papers, listened to the news and even read a few blogs but I just don't understand this promissory note deal. Should I be jumping up and down with joy or jumping out a window?
They want more time. The jargon-filled promissory note debate was designed to befuddle the market and has ended up befuddling the entire continent.
Q: I'm glad to say that my life doesn't involve the bond markets and billion euro repayments. I've enough trouble staying in the black at my local bank every month and paying off the mortgage.
A: The Government is not too different. Just like you, it is struggling to repay a gigantic mortgage and has gone to the bank manager looking for a deal. The fact that the mortgage is €31bn and the bank manager is European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi is neither here nor there. After being turned down for all sorts of strange reasons, they convinced themselves that they had a deal. Problem is, they've been turned down again.
Q: I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. What were they looking for?
A: The Government wanted the ECB to convert the Government's mortgage into an interest-only mortgage with repayments staggered over 40 years. The average length of those payments would have been increased from a decade to 27 years. It would be a fairly decent solution if we could get it but it seems the deal is a long way from being nailed down.
Q: Sounds like it would be good solution for me and a bad deal for my kids?
A: Perhaps, but the hope is that the country will be in a much better place in a few decades' time. Let's face it: none of us know what the world will look like in 2050. Optimists hope that the repayments will seem trifling by then. Besides, your children need schools and hospitals now and this deal could provide them.
Q: Are you saying we could have an extra €2bn to play with every year if the repayments averaged €1bn? Sounds tempting. Does that mean the days of austerity are coming to an end?
A: Careful there bucko; there's lots of room for arguments on that one! It's a little bit like telling your wife that you've switched to an interest-only mortgage. She might want to use the money you saved to pay off the credit card and you might want to go on holidays.
Q: And what's all this about the former Anglo being liquidated? How does that fit in?
A: That is a very good question. Anglo has been living on borrowed time for years. It does exactly the same job as the National Asset Management Agency and competes with NAMA for staff and the like – which pushes up wages. It seems the Government has decided to put the zombie bank to sleep and the staff have been told to gather for a meeting today.
Q: Well, I thought my finances were chaotic but I'm beginning to think I'm more organised than this lot.
A: Having seen your last credit card statement, I'm not so sure, but you could hardly be any less organised.