Listening to Messrs Lenihan, Cowen and assorted hangers-on over the past week, and in particular the Budget speeches from Dail Eireann today, put me in mind of a story by Enid Blyton that son #2 loved when he was a smallie. It was 'The Magic Treacle Jug' and was one of those stories he asked for over and over again. It was about a naughty elf or goblin or brownie (one of them yokes) who spied a little old lady who had a constant supply of treacle for her pudding from a magic jug. All she ever had to do was say 'Pour jug' - or some such command (it's been a while since I read it)- and the jug would oblige with a dollop of thick sweet treacle.
Anyway this naughty little person stole the jug from the old woman's kitchen window and ran home delighted with himself, he now had an endless supply of treacle for whatever pudding he wanted or even just to eat on its own. When the goblin reached home he made himself a pudding and when it cooled a little ( very careful not to burn himself this goblin)he sat down, rubbed his hands in glee and he commanded the magic treacle jug to pour. And pour it did.
Unfortunately for our naughty goblin he neglected to hang around the old woman's kitchen window long enough to learn the magic words which would stop the treacle jug pouring. He paid dearly for his ignorance and deviousness. His pudding, plate, table, floor, kitchen, house and finally he himself were soon covered in black sticky treacle. I think the story ended when the old woman (really a good witch natch) arrived, stopped the treacle jug pouring and after she scolded the goblin she retrieved her property and left him to clean up the mess he made
So there you are - a fairytale designed to teach the under fives the basic life lesson that those who pour from any pot not their own invariably end up in a sticky mess. Maybe I should have been reading that story to the government ( and many of the people) of this god forsaken bog at the same time I was reading it to my toddler. Perhaps then the command 'Pour jug' might not have issued. We mightn't all have colluded in the sticky pouring but by god we're all having to collude to clear it up. It's that or drown in the bloody stuff.
The real problem of course is that in this all too real life there is no good witch to come along and make everything ok. The IMF have scolded us alright and we are shamefacedly trying to clear up our mess. Meanwhile the treacle jug, like the banks and developers, is sitting smugly back on the shelf - empty but intact and gathering dust. I hope if we ever use that treacle again we do so with a spell-book in hand. And a good witch supervising.