While you do whatever it is you do on Boxing Day, and start to work off the hangover of the last couple days, take a moment of silence for the poor souls who live in countries where their governments don’t have AAA credit ratings, and can’t spend like crazy to temporarily smooth over the financial crisis.
We’re thinking, in particular, of Ireland at the moment, a country that won’t be joining its European counterparts in a recovery in 2010.
Instead its being forced to make moves more in line with an undeveloped market, struggling to pay back an IMF loan.
David Sharrock, the Ireland correspondent at the Times of London wonders whether this year was not the worst Christmas in the history of the modern Irish state.
As the sales season begins today for the first time on St Stephen’s Day, many are wondering if 2010 can be any worse than the outgoing year.
For the nation’s public sector workers, pay next month will reflect cuts of between 5 per cent and 20 per cent, levels of reduction not experienced since the 1920s, even when not taking into account previous levies imposed since the Celtic Tiger economic “miracle” began unravelling a year ago.
Ireland, the first eurozone nation to enter recession, is struggling to emerge from beneath a blizzard of frighteningly negative economic statistics after Brian Lenihan, the Finance Minister, delivered a stinging Budget this month with a target of cutting €4 billion (£3.6 billion) in spending.
It is an extraordinary reversal of fortunes. As recently as 2007, a Bank of Ireland report smugly described a country that was home to 33,000 millionaires and €800 billion of domestic wealth.