Tuesday 25 July 2017

New growth figure is ludicrous - but here's how to take advantage

A boy holds a Union flag in front of a bonfire burning in the Shankill Road area of Belfast ahead of the Twelfth of July celebrations. The Twelfth is based on fantasies about past glories – but the new Irish GDP figures are equally fantastical. Photo: Reuters
A boy holds a Union flag in front of a bonfire burning in the Shankill Road area of Belfast ahead of the Twelfth of July celebrations. The Twelfth is based on fantasies about past glories – but the new Irish GDP figures are equally fantastical. Photo: Reuters
David McWilliams

David McWilliams

Usually, the fantasies indulged on July 12 in Ireland are played out up the road in the North. These are fantasies about past glories and are celebrated by the kind of people who the 20th century (let alone the 21st century) left behind. Rather than being a sign of confidence and strength, the Twelfth simply reinforces the political and economic cul de sac up which the unionists have waltzed. However, this year, fantasies were not limited to our separated brethren.

Yesterday, official Ireland delivered its own fantasies and these are as misguided as anything seen on the streets of the North. These fantasies are the Irish GDP figures.

In fact, the Irish GDP figures are now so off-the wall, they remind me of a time before the Berlin Wall came down. Back then, I was in a hotel in communist Czechoslovakia and the only programme on TV was one exalting the extraordinary harvest of the Czechoslovak agricultural industry. Without a hint of irony, the announcer rhapsodised about the bumper harvest, yet people queued for bread outside on the street.

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