It was kinda inevitable that when the news came through yesterday that the Saw Doctors were No 1 for the first time in a few decades, we were facing into a blast from the past. The punked-up version of ‘About Ya Now’ was symbolic on a day when a cold blast of the wind of reality was blowing ‘about us now.’ With the fashion for all things retro, flares boot cuts and mullets, it was only a matter of time before we got retro economics. For the first time in their lives, there are many Irish citizens who are only this evening absorbing the true reality of this year’s budget. And accepting that the good times are over.
The days of long latte afternoons, of paying for nights out and rounds of drink with credit cards, of snorting prime Colombian coke off the taut bellies of expensive escorts, of buying bigger and bigger ego-friendly cars, of having, just having, to have that beautiful holiday home in the arse-end of Bulgaria that is probably “only a short 10-hour train ride from the suburbs of Sofia.
Yes, the country has lived the life, and now it is time to wake up and smell the (ten different types of ) coffee. Now, people are wondering how they are going to maintain the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. For those of us who lived through the eighties and who knew what it was like to shuffle up to a window, say “yes, I’m available for work,” sign a sheet for €28.50 and some butter vouchers, iit will be easy to go back to that lifestyle. But there are many people who have never known that side of Irish life. The bebo generation will be unaccustomed to what a recession really is. No, the recession means more than the credit on your phone running out.
Now, if we want to be considered ‘patriotic,’ every one of us has to dig deep for an average of €2,000 worth of patriotism.
For a few hours yesterday, people were in shock after the budget. If you went home for a drink or a smoke or even wanted to put on a bet, you found that even they have become priced out of the market. If you want to park your car at work, it will set you back €200.
If you even wanted to leave the country you were being hit with a little extra fee onto the price of your ticket. And of course, the 300-km rule on this makes a mockery of the Government’s oft-repeated claim that our isolation here in the west is a thing of the past.
On a day when even the social daytime drinkers of Eyre Square (our very own Buena Vista social club ) were for the first time ever, included in the tax brackets, we knew that were facing in for a long hard winter.
There isn’t a sinner in the country who has not been affected by this budget. It must be most galling for the many people out there who never got to share in the success of the Celtic Tiger to realise now that they have to fork out, do the patriotic thing to rescue the country from the mess it is in. For the first time, they are being asked to share in something. There are many who did well from the boom of the past few years and they have put on enough fat to see them through the economic hibernation of the next few years. But for many many more, this week’s budget is a cruel legacy of the mismanagement of our economy and they will not have any fat on which to chew.
Batten down the hatches, look for that second job. The black economy will soon be re-opening for business.