I like Tulip a lot, but I would like to be excluded from his idea that 'Many people in Ireland only think short term and Sinn Fein is exploiting that'.
I was thinking long term when I voted against the Single European Act.
I was thinking long term when I voted against the Maastricht treaty: it made no sense to me that we should have one European economy, when there were there were actually 15 completely different economies operating at the time, with no sense of how they could be made one.
I was thinking long term when I voted against the Nice treaty, twice.
I was thinking long term when I voted against the Lisbon treaty - twice. I did not believe the false promises of 'jobs' and prosperity if we voted 'yes' to a cynical attempt at introducing a constitution, which had already been rejected, by stealth.
Strangely, not one of the citizens who voted 'yes' to these treaties has thought to apologize to me for having helped to bring this country to the current sorry state. It is not pleasant to have my previous decisions vindicated by the failure of European politicians and ideologues. Possibly some are idealists, but many are ideologues, believing their own rhetoric, rather than reality.
I think of my young son.
I think of the human race as a whole.
I think of a protectionist trading block which helps to keep the third world in penury.
I think long term.
That is why I said "most" and in I stated that I was speaking about the North West. It is my experience only and purely anecdotal.
But at least here in the North West people seem to live from week to week and take on loans that would make the average Dutch person shiver. Keeping up with the Joneses is very important and they al need a house with 5 bedrooms and 4 en-suits. Not to mention the big cars in the drive. They borrowed as if there was no tomorrow and now they are in trouble everyone needs to jump to their rescue.
An other observation is that people seem to be obsessed with owning their own property (preferably built there own to make it even more expensive) while in the Netherlands and Germany it is more the norm to rent than buy.
The average wages are high and (when I compare with the Netherlands)taxes low.
The reason why Ireland has a deficit in my opinion is very simple; the tax system was heavily dependent on the building industry. And you can only sell so many buildings on a island with low density of population. And this seemed like short term thinking on the government side.
At the end of the day Ireland is a small country (just like the Netherlands) and we just have to do as the big countries tell us, specially when we want money from them (now or in the future)