You know, while in New York for 5 days I didn't hear one iota of Irish news. No, I lie I did pick up a one-day-old Irish Times in Grand Central Station on Wednesday but I hate reading old news - even if it is new to me!
Anyway, the point is that although we are in this trough of economic swill, well - so is everyone else. We think we're pretty unique here in Ireland and that our problems are worse than anywhere else. But in fact they are the same. Different but the same. Nuances that affect only us, but the bottom line is the same. Practically every economy in the world be it ours or the US; democracy or dictatorship; capitalist or communist are all feeling the pain.
The US doesn't see Irelands' mess as one of any special note; or one that deserves special mention. They're so busy trying to get out of their own knee-deep mess that ours is of not interest to them.
It is to be expected that we think that our economy is worse than anyone elses, but I'll tell you, leaving here makes you realise that this thing is bigger than little ole Ireland. We didn't cause it and I certainly don't think we will solve it! All we can do is try and keep paddling like the clappers to keep our heads above water until this flood that is bigger than all of us starts to recede a little. If we can get our toes on something to help prop us up, then all the better but we need a little perspective. Irelands place in this whole mess is pretty small.
That is not to say that we aren't or won't feel the pain. But the whole world is feeling it. I do have to say though that I think I would have a little more confidence in our ability to stay afloat if the Government had a handle on things. I went away last Thursday with Mary Coughlans 'Morning Ireland' words ringing in my ears saying that the Government finances were under control and that an early extra budget would not be needed. Only to return yesterday to hear that there would indeed be an extra budget next month because there was an even bigger hole in the public finances than previously thought. Whats going on here? Is there anyone in charge?
Obama is telling is like it is and trying to bring his people with him. Here, they seem to be making it up as they go along! That seems to me to be the real difference. Over there, the Captain has his hand on the tiller and is looking at whats ahead. Here, he must be downing a pint and watching, bleary eyed, out over the stern!