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From top: Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England; Dan Boyle

A dispatch from England’s green and pleasant land.

Is Jerusalem being builded there?

Not really.

Dan Boyle writes:

I am writing this on Wednesday. I’m in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. I’m unlikely to be writing those couple of sentences again. I’m here for a work opportunity that may or may not come into being.

It’s been a few years since I’ve visited our national inferiority complex next door. I’m going to take this opportunity to take stock.

Being part of the diaspora from the other side of the pond, I never got this need to compare ourselves with our larger neighbouring island and its dominant (domineering?) people.

Yet compare ourselves we have, save for that decade’s madness we underwent. That period of collective insanity, when the Editor of The Irish Times felt moved to write an op-ed piece, prematurely promoting us towards our new national obsession, when she claimed that Germany could learn a thing or two from Ireland about running an economy. And she didn’t mean it ironically.

Sitting on a riverside in England’s green and pleasant land, there are worse places to be than a bucolic haven like this.

One thing that is certain is that the British certainly don’t compare themselves with us.
In talking up their economy the Tory government claims to be the fastest growing ‘major’ economy in Europe. Our figures may be inflated, and their true value might be questioned, but they are still a lot better than theirs.

A further irony is while their population has seemed to take a sado-masochistic delight in George ‘Gideon’ Osborne’s version of austerity, it seems to have done sweet damn all to reduce the indebtedness of its State.The British debt to GDP ratio is now worse than ours.

Of course the picture postcard pastoral image in front of me represents only a part of the reality of Britain today. It is a deeply unequal society, although God knows we have been doing our best to catch up. It constantly frustrates me  how in Ireland traditional political parties want to ape a British right wing agenda, whether that was pursued by Thatcher, Blair or Cameron.

Whether it has been the privatisation of public assets, private finance in providing public infrastructure at a far higher cost, or manipulating short term economic growth for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many; these policies expose a vacuity of thought through the provision of malice.

I fly in and out of Manchester. One of the still too few places that Cork Airport has connectivity with. Soon we are to be connected with Boston while remaining aloof from Berlin. Don’t get me wrong it’s an excellent initiative from Norwegian Air. I’m hoping they also will provide flights to and from Oslo. I would like to visit a country that gets the balance between society and economy right, better than we do.

Anyway back to Manchester. This is Gideon Osborne’s next project. He wants to create a Great Northern Powerhouse to rival London. This is to be done by making Regional and Local Government there bigger, less accountable, more distant from the people it’s meant to represent, more ‘business like’ in its application. Of course Irish policy making is already hooked on this brilliant intuitive thinking.

One last thing on England. The trains don’t run on time but at least they get there.

Dan Boyle Is A Former Green Party TD. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

35 thoughts on “Home Thoughts From Abroad

  1. Mysterybeat

    Does this mean Dan might be leaving? Sorry Britain, but please can you take him, we have had enough of his wind-bagging.

  2. ollie

    “The British debt to GDP ratio is now worse than ours.” Not according to Eurostat Dan.

    “Whether it has been the privatisation of public assets, private finance in providing public infrastructure at a far higher cost, or manipulating short term economic growth for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many; these policies expose a vacuity of thought through the provision of malice.”
    You seem to have a very short memory Dan, the above is a very accurate description of the policies pursued by the Green Party while in Government. Do you remember that time Dan?
    the benefit of the few at the expense of the many Dan?
    You see Dan, your government destroyed this Country economically. Maybe next Thursday you could write a piece examinng the mistakes that you made while in power, now that would occupy a hell of a lot of column inches.

    1. Dan Boyle

      Wrong Ollie. ESRI analysis clearly shows, that unlike this government, budgets introduced under a Green Party influence were progressive and equal in their effect.
      We did not ruin the country. We made unpalatable decisions that helped the country recover, knowing the political cost to ourselves. Your analysis is not only trite Ollie, it is very very wrong.

      1. Anomanomanom

        You’re clearly delusional, you really think your lot done something good. You helped Bertie and rest run the country in to the ground while lining their pockets.

      2. ollie

        Green party in power from 14th June 2007 Dan, don’t play the innocent card because you’ll fool no-one.
        Giving a €5,000 grant to the owner of a €150,000 car progressive? Reducing car tax on a €45,000 bmw to €180 a year progressive?
        “We made unpalatable decisions that helped the country recover, knowing the political cost to ourselves.”
        No you didn’t, you bent over and spread your cheeks to take one from your GErman masters without giving a second thought to the IRish taxpayer.
        You helped to screw over the ordinary man and helped the wealthy to hang on to and grow their wealth.
        You broght in an inflationary budget in 2008 when it was obvious that the economy was crashing
        You set up NAMA, why?
        You reduced jobseekers for under 20s by 50%!
        Where were you when this savage cut was imposed Dan? Sitting pretty in the Seanad, raking the cash in.

        Answer me this, what decisions did you make that were unpalatable to you personally.
        Did you struggle to pay your mortgage? Were you short on food? Were you cold?
        Did you do enough to warn people of the property crash? Eamonn Ryan thinks you didn’t

        Lose the innocent cap Dan, it doesn’t fit you

        1. Dan Boyle

          Equality improved while we were in government. We worked make those with more pay more. That doesn’t suit your prejudice and I understand that it never will.

  3. bisted

    ‘ I’m here for a work opportunity that may or may not come into being ‘
    …Shrewsbury has a vacancy for village idiot?

  4. Charger Salmons

    ” I’m here for a work opportunity ”

    Yup,like hundreds of thousands of other Irish people forced to flee to the welcome bosom of Britannia after yet another generation of politicians like you messed up the Irish economy like they have been doing since the British left and the Irish gave up killing each other.

    A serial election-loser like you will like the Greens in the UK as well because they too have a totally unrealistic and unelectable agenda that will keep them as nothing more than bit players on the political stage.

    You’re not even good enough to win a local election.

    Enjoy the UK feller but mind your manners and reign in your barstool inferiority complex, there’s a good man.

    1. Dan Boyle

      Michael Lowry wins elections. Obviously a better man than me. I have been elected sometimes and other times haven’t been. I’ve received over 50000 votes and am proud and honoured to have received every one of them. As a child of emigrants I wasn’t in a position to invent emigration.

      1. Charger Salmons

        Thanks to that cretin Gormley and the rest of the Greens I pay nearly €1,000 a year for road tax on a 10-year-old car.
        While someone who can afford a brand new low-emission car,you know like someone who is trousering a big political salary salary and expenses,gets away with a fraction of that.
        The Greens are just as bad as the UK Lib Dems who promised no increase in tuition fees then promptly reversed that decision when it power.
        You deserve every last drop of the ordure being heaped over your head and every other unelectable Green numpty.
        Away off and stop blathering on about your impressions of life abroad seeking employment – it’s your policies which have forced so many decent and hard-working Irish men and women to do the same.

  5. Michael Smith

    Cork-Oslo, Dan? Greens do not want more air connectivity: stats show planes are largely taken by upper socio-economic classes; more flights generate more demand for unsustainable travel; and, overall, air travel is essentially unsustainable as it is climate-screwingly greenhouse-gas profligate.

    1. Dan Boyle

      The arguments Michael are for having the environmental costs of aviation included in its pricing structure, not to ban aviation. Every form of transport carries a carbon footprint.

  6. Paul

    Don’t worry Dan. I am certain there is an eco-warrior amongst us that can perform a BS first heimlich maneuver for hypocrisy.

  7. formerly known as @ireland.com

    I voted Green, when I last voted in Ireland. Like most people who voted Green, the last thing I wanted was a FF Government. So, propping them up was too much, hence the brand is destroyed in Ireland.

    The Australian Greens seem to be smarter. They are not dealing with the same crooks.

    1. Dan Boyle

      If anything there is a lower bar in Australia, where not being Tony Abbott is thought progressive. The Greens kept their Labour Party in government. Once again there is no difference between FF and FG.

  8. scottser

    you’re on a hiding to nothing with these posts, dan. the only way to redeem yourself would be to kick dennis o’brien firmly and squarely in the balls on behalf of all broadsheet readers.
    carry on.

    1. Dan Boyle

      Ah I know that. By instinct I try to refute thinking that is lazy from minds that are closed.

        1. Dan Boyle

          I don’t wonder. I don’t compromise principles for the sake of being popular. I live with myself better that way.

  9. classter

    This is maybe your weakest article yet, Dan. Many Irish have spent some time in the island next door & your list of thoughts is pretty pedestrian – the UK don’t think Ireland is a ‘major’ economy (true), the UK is more right-wing than makes logical sense (probably true), we follow their trends too readily (true), anything similar in the UK & Ireland started in the UK (false)

    It seemed like you were building towards an actual point or overarching theme but then the article just ended abruptly in some non-sequitur (I’m guessing it refers to DART Underground as opposed to Crossrail?).

    That all being said, I love how you get stuck in below the line & often make good points too, You have given me pause for thought on where the Greens did sit & do now sit in the ‘grander scheme’ of Irish politics.

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