Monday 19 February 2018

If that was mad then, this is utter lunacy now

Nobody wants to spoil the national austerity party, but maybe we need a reality check, writes Brendan O'Connor

It has become fashionable to say, when referring to the boom, that "we all went a bit mad there for a while". We say this smugly, confident that we have now come back down to earth, albeit with a bang. We can see clearly now the boom is gone. And while we are hurting at the moment, we have a sense of righteous realism about it, the fervour of the converted, if you will. Reality bites, we think, but at least we're not mad anymore.

But let's not forget that the last time we went mad, we thought we were perfectly sane. That can often be one of the problems with going mad. You don't know you're gone mad until afterwards. And when you are in the grip of madness, anyone who tries to tell you that you've gone mad? Well, you just assume that person is mad.

Does anyone ever feel a niggling worry these days that we might be gone mad again, but in a different way? Do you find yourself thinking now and again that when we look back on this current period -- the post-madness period -- that we it will again become fashionable to dismiss this period by saying, "Ah, we were all gone mad."

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