Monday 22 January 2018

'Shovel-ready' economics are digging us into debt

The Government would be taking us for fools if it thought a growth pledge could secure a 'Yes' vote, writes Marc Coleman

One of the things life teaches you is it would be barely worth living without a very special kind of courage: that courage to risk looking like a fool. Think about it -- without it, what girl would be asked out on a date? What great actor would have tread the boards? If opinion polls are right, then it seems we agree: Greek voters may scoff. French presidents may scorn. And Richard Bruton may fluff his lines from time to time. But if we think a 'Yes' vote is the right option -- and we may be wrong -- then we're less worried about "the optics" than about doing the right thing.

Attending the G8 summit this weekend, Angela Merkel looked a bit foolish too, isolated by other countries pressing her to conjure growth with some magic wand. As if she could. But all Angela has to do is look at Germany's healthy growth, stable budget and low unemployment to know who the real fools are. In this country, sadly, "the optics" count for too much. Along with another phrase "shovel ready" the term "the optics" was rebounding off the walls of Leinster House last week like the sound of a division bell in a crisis.

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