Saturday 20 January 2018

Deutschland uber alles, we are all Germans now

Germany is calling the economic shots which means we and the rest of the EU must make ourselves in their image, says Brendan O'Connor

IT is sometimes said that one of the reasons nothing ever improves in Sicily is because, to quote Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's The Leopard, their vanity is stronger than their misery. They see no reason to improve themselves because they think they are perfect.

We have a touch of that ourselves in this country, as evidenced by how we lighted on that piece in the Financial Times last week that told us that the ratings agencies are unfair to Ireland and, in fact, we are poised for a fantastic recovery as our exports and our competitiveness improve. And, indeed, our own Ibec's upbeat assessment of a future so bright we have to wear shades.

Which is all nice to hear and all. But last week one couldn't help thinking that we would have been better off to have lighted on Michael Lewis's piece about Germany in the current edition of Vanity Fair, the latest in his astounding series that included a mostly fair report from our own corner of the world. It was probably far more relevant to our situation and to the events of the last week than the FT piece.

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