Sunday 21 January 2018

Kevin Myers: Our debt is daunting but it is nothing compared to the tasks China faced after Mao

If the official, worst-case scenario bailout of Anglo-Irish is €34bn as announced yesterday, then we had better brace ourselves for a final cost of €50bn. So we have a few options before us. The first is to cry "Ochone, ochone", wrap ourselves up in sackcloth and ashes, and blame someone else: otherwise known as National Route One.

The signposts for an alternative route are there before you every time you buy a Chinese takeaway, or if you eat some Irish strawberries today. The signposts were in the headlines on Wednesday, which reported the final settlement of the German war debts from 1914-18.

Go into any Tesco, on this, the first day of October. You will see delicious Irish strawberries and raspberries that are far juicier and sweeter and fatter than the soft fruit you could have got (had you been born) in high summer 25 years ago. There is a single explanation for this: K-E-E-L-I-N-G-S. Before the K-revolution, Ireland was largely dependent on imported soft fruit. I remember travelling around west Cork in high summer and seeing nothing but Dutch strawberries. And if you like your strawberries to taste and feel as if they were carved from raw potato, then the Dutch strawberries are the boys for you. But some of us have higher aspirations for a garden party than a plate full of peeled and red-dyed uncooked Golden Wonder served in whipped cream.

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