Well so it goes on. I met the first Ferrari of the season in the lane today. He probably had the Sat Nav programmed to locate the most expensive houses in the area. This is madness on all sorts of levels. As Ian rightly points out, the other side of it is young people with two hour commutes because they can’t afford to buy houses in Dublin. Can it make sense for so much of the national wealth to be poured into static assets like housing?
Meanwhile, the Irish Times explores the issue of Scottish Independence under the headline ‘Tartan Tide gathering momentu.’ It sets about a series of comparisons between Ireland and Scotland – similar population size; similar cultures; same economic challenge of building an economy on the edge of Europe beside a big neighbour. But then it points out that between 1980 and 2005 GDP growth in Ireland averaged 5.2% while in Scotland it was 1.8%.
I’m agnostic on the Independence issue. What the Irish Times fails to do, I think, is to demonstrate that the ‘missing link’ in the Scottish economy has been independence. It does suggest that for Scotland to control its own fiscal policy would make all the difference. But the link isn’t clear. After all, for the first sixty years of independence, the Irish economy was stagnant and at times close to bust. It is only within the last two decades that Ireland has ceased to export the cream of its young people