Tuesday 24 October 2017

We can turn our backs on despair by daring to dream

Our hopelessness is holding back the entrepreneurial spirit that is needed to get us up off our knees, writes Brendan O'Connor

We sure don't do things by halves here, do we?

When we were up we were up and now that we're down, we are deep down, baby. And not only are we down, but we are down in a way that keeps reinforcing the situation. Our whole culture and national conversation now seems often to be one that reinforces our inability to get out of the hole. They're talking bond markets at the hairdressers and the IMF is the hot topic down the pub. And it's all despair. We are developing a 'Can't Do' Culture.

A salient aspect of this new Irish culture is our ferocious resentment of anyone who we suspect is making money or has any money squirrelled away. We also hate speculation of any kind with a passion now, because it was that kind of thing got us into this mess. Anyone who is successful in business is a fat cat. People daren't be seen in a new car. We have become venomous and vitriolic about anyone who, in any way, tries to stick their head above the parapet and who dares be anything other than one of the ordinary people. It seems that one of the things the Germans have given us, in their latter-day financial and cultural colonisation of this country, has been schadenfreude.

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