Dublin's hapless rulers should learn from past Norman and English invasions—and marry their daughters to the IMFby Julian Gough / December 15, 2010 / Leave a comment
Cromwell: better or worse than the IMF?
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Contrary to the impression you might take from news reports, we are living in a golden age of Irish financial management. Ireland’s people are not starving to death. This is a huge improvement on British rule, and a considerable advance on previous Fianna Fáil administrations. But let us not grow complacent. Ireland holds elections in 2011; here’s some advice for the next government.
First, remember most Irish aren’t that interested in money; we’re not grasping, we’re flaithiúil—extravagant, motivated by the grand gesture. People won’t mind being broke as long as the country is an interesting place to live. But politicians in grey suits talking in a monotone about bond yields—it’s depressing. It’s not us. If we’re to survive this invasion by the EU-IMF, we must get back to our roots.
Ireland has had good and bad invasions. The Normans were (like the IMF) invited in by the Irish chieftains whom they soon swept away. They were welcomed, bless them, because they treated people far better than the incompetent, hereditary Celtic chieftains. The Normans learned Irish, married the Irish, and became “more Irish than the Irish themselves.” Clearly, the next government must marry its children off to the men and women of the IMF and ECB right away.
The consequences of not Irishing an invader can be severe. When the English next invaded, under the Tudors and then Cromwell, the reformation meant we could no longer marry them. So they slaughtered our leaders, which was fair enough, but also took 95 per cent of our land, banned our religion, destroyed our language, window-and-chimney-taxed us into dark mud bunkers, and killed millions by sword and famine. Now, that’s loss of sovereignty. It took us quite a while to win it back. If we want to keep it this time, we must learn from British best practice, as exemplified by Humphrey Gilbert in my own Tipperary. Having slaughtered as many locals as he could, he’d invite the surviving chieftains to negotiate in his tent, which they had to approach between rows of stakes on which their relatives’ severed heads were impaled. This technique helped him capture 28 castles without artillery; it would certainly persuade Anglo-Irish’s senior bondholders to take a haircut.
Should we establish a closed or an open…