Saturday 16 December 2017

The past is not a certain guide to future successes

Brendan Keenan

Brendan Keenan

Is it deja-vu all over again? Budget Day would have brought a tear of nostalgia to the driest eye. Two billion euro of spending increases, mysterious fiddling with debit card fees, and threats of strikes from none other than the train drivers and teachers. I could almost feel my hair turning black.

These dreary steeples, and the integrity of their quarrels, have survived the deluge. So has much else. The obvious, if somewhat harsh, conclusion is that no lessons have been learned. There is still time to do things differently, but perhaps no more than a couple of years before we are back on the old primrose path.

Which lessons, though, and what to learn from them? That familiar old feeling was strengthened by the fact that wage pressures are already looming. The banking crash has rather erased memories of things like benchmarking, blue flu and spurious productivity deals, but it should not.

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