Bit of friendly advice, Portugal
Published 27/03/2011 | 05:00
Dear Portugal, this is Ireland here. I know we don't know each other very well, though I hear some of our developers are down with you riding out the recession.
They could be there for a while. Anyway, I don't mean to intrude but I've been reading about you in the papers and it strikes me that I might be able to offer you a bit of advice on where you are at and what lies ahead. As the joke now goes, what's the difference between Portugal and Ireland? Five letters and six months.
Anyway, I notice now that you are under pressure to accept a bailout but your politicians are claiming to be determined not to take it. It will, they say, be over their dead bodies. In my experience that means you'll be getting a bailout soon, probably on a Sunday. First let me give you a tip on the nuances of the English language. Given that English is your second language, you may think that the words 'bailout' and 'aid' imply that you will be getting help from our European brethren to get you out of your current difficulties. English is our first language and that's what we thought bailout and aid meant. Allow me to warn you, not only will this bailout, when it is inevit-ably forced on you, not get you out of your current troubles, it will actually prolong your troubles for generations to come.