Best in class but why do we toil?
The representatives of the "troika", which supervises our compliance with the terms of the EU-IMF-ECB bailout are in town again. But there is no need for alarm. They look like school inspectors much more than they resemble occupying forces -- and, indeed, they have a good deal in common with school inspectors.
To date, their reports on Ireland have pictured us as the good boys and good girls of a class which has a long way to go to reach honours level. Their last summary, in October, praised our "strong implementation" of the austerity programme aimed at restoring our public finances to health.
Inevitably, they contrast us with countries, like Greece, which do not make similar efforts to put their affairs in order.