To the North! Quickly!

If you have been paying attention to the newspapers, you will know that the world is in financial meltdown and we are all facing a future full of uncertainty and turnips. If you have been paying attention to the British newspapers, you will have noticed that in an effort to help out the economy, VAT is being cut by a whole two and a half percent.
Rather naturally, everybody is making sarcastic and hurtful comments about this munificent gesture. They clearly haven’t considered that if you spend a hundred pounds on a good or service, you will now also have enough money for a slap up tea at McDonalds on the way home. You’d think people could at least show a little gratitude.

Contrary to popular belief, there are some people who are hugely pleased by this economic development. The Irish.
It has been a long standing bone of contention that everything is more expensive in Ireland than in the UK. Every now and then, usually when there has been a slow news week, a journalist will draw up a shopping list which shows buying goods from Tesco in the Republic is oodles more expensive than buying them from Tesco in the North. They then set up a howling that it is like, totally unfair that they should like, make more profit in Ireland than in the North. I often feel like I am the only one who sees the flaw in the journalistic argument.

Now that the British VAT rate has been slashed, hoards of Irish are heading for the border to stock up on goodies for Christmas. You see, what is only a mere two and a half percent to you Brits is a mighty seven percent to us in VAT alone. Once you factor in the exchange rate, shopping in the North is around thirty percent cheaper than shopping in the Republic. I’m tempted to head that way myself, especially now petrol has fallen below a euro a litre. I filled the car up earlier and thought the pump was broken because it only let me put €20 in.

Of course, nothing is ever so simple. Only today, government ministers said we should all stop making a run for the border because doing our shopping in the UK is vastly unpatriotic. That tells you everything you will ever need to know about Irish politics.
Just in case it doesn’t, one of the Marys is in trouble because she spent $400 of taxpayers money on a wash and blow dry when she went to Florida with the FAS. I would say leave the poor woman alone; I’ve been to Florida and understand what its humid climes can do to wimpy European hair, but as she’s decided that actually they can’t afford to vaccinate girls against HPV (possibly because they spent all their money on the Florida trip) I instead say bring on the criticism.
If that still doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, the bloke who spent most of the Florida money on golf, manicures and exchanging his first class ticket for two business class ones (so his wife could go too) has resigned and, because of this, is no longer answerable to the people examining the expenses receipts. Brian, our leader, made a nice speech about what an honourable gesture resignation was. These Offaly boys will stick together.