From the Irish Examiner on December 28…
IN CASE you missed it while gorging on turkey at the weekend, the latest zany instruction from Government is to “embrace a policy of realistic optimism” — as opposed to the unrealistic optimism we all evidently suffered from in advance of the election.
Decrying the funereal atmosphere that has enveloped the country since the Celtic Tiger croaked, an upbeat minister of state at the Department of Finance, Brian Hayes, said it is time for the nation to stop moaning and whinging in an incessant “overdose of pessimism”.
“Now that we have had our period of mourning and denial, it is time to begin the process of national resurgence by embracing a new policy of what I would call realistic optimism,” he wrote in an opinion piece on Sunday.
Regrettably for the minister, his questionable “realistic optimism” concept is something of an oxymoron because if one were to honestly assess the country’s prospects for 2012 and beyond, one would have to concede that the outlook is decidedly bleak.
With the country braced in anticipation of discovering what fresh financial hell 2012 will deliver, those of us who routinely prefer to inhabit the realm of realism are all too well aware of the ominous economic portents that the minister seems desperate to blithely forget.
Unemployment, already a national epidemic, is expected to rise, emigration will continue its inexorable increase and growth forecasts for the already flat-lining domestic economy have been cut by everyone from the IMF to the ESRI.
The minister’s exhortation for realistic optimism ignores the fact that realism demands evidence to back up opinions, and absolutely nothing this Government has done to date warrants a sudden, spontaneous upturn in the national mood…