Pretend Everything Is Okay — Maybe No One Will Notice That It Isn’t

The G-8 nations are meeting in Northern Ireland, near the town of Enniskillen, and David Cameron wants to make certain everything looks rosy for the world leaders coming to discuss economic matters. Trouble is, Ireland has been hit hard ever since the bottom fell out of the financial market a few years back. A lot of shops have been abandoned; they sit empty, signs pulled down, naked storefront windows showing bare shelves… Well, we can’t have world leaders confronted with visible signs of the disaster they continue to enable — they might become concerned or even shift to non-stupid policies. So Cameron’s government has decided to make Enniskillen prettier. Those storefront windows have been papered over with photos of stuff that would be on sale if only the store was still solvent.

This used to be a butcher shop, now it just looks like one. Those are photos of meat in the window and a fake display inside. [photo: Bryan O'Brien for the Irish Times]

This used to be a butcher shop, now it just looks like one. Those are photos of meat in the window and a fake display inside. [photo: Bryan O’Brien for the Irish Times]

  Dan Keenan, reporter for the Irish Times:

What they’ve done is to fill the shop front window with a picture of what was the business before it went bankrupt or closed. In other words, grocery shops, butcher shops, pharmacies, you name it, they have placed large photographs in the windows that if you were driving past and glanced out the window, it would look as if this was a thriving business. It’s an attempt really by the local authority to make the place look as positive as possible for the visiting G8 leaders and their entourages, and it’s really tried to put a mask on a recession that has really hit this part of Ireland really very badly indeed.

… it looks as if the door is open and inside you can see a well-stocked shop. It’s nothing of the sort. That door has been locked shut for well over a year because that particular business went bust this time last year, and that is an image to make it look as if everything is normal in the town and in the county, but unfortunately it’s not. The County of Fermanagh has suffered terribly as a result of the credit crisis and the resulting recession.

All the paint for the peeling facades and photos for the empty windows will cost about a half million US dollars — which, in a place the size of Inniskillen, might have made a real difference to the local economy. But it’s better to not see what’s going on, particularly if you have some responsibility for the problem.

Some problems are too large for a complete counterfeit. This abandoned shopping center has big scenic posters pasted over the dead-eyed windows. [Photo: Bryan O'Brien for the Irish Times]

Some problems are too large for a complete counterfeit. This abandoned shopping center has big scenic posters pasted over the dead-eyed windows. [Photo: Bryan O’Brien for the Irish Times]

Altogether, about a hundred places have gotten fixer-uppers, ranging from a large poster that more or less hides them to a complete counterfeit. You might think that people with an interest in the world economy might like a bit of the truth but, no, that might put them off their lunch and all that squab and caviar would go to waste.

This used to be a pharmacy, now it's a pretend office supply store. [Photo: Bryan O'Brien for the Irish Times]

This used to be a pharmacy, now it’s a pretend office supply store. [Photo: Bryan O’Brien for the Irish Times]

Of course, many Canadians have not gotten over the fact that more than a billion dollars was spent on the 2010 G-8/G-20 conference when Ottawa built a park and hired lots and lots of cops. But think about it, we could spend a billion bucks to landscape Huntsville, Ontario and Northern Ireland only gets half a million to cover up their mess. See, that’s a lesson right there in the global realities of comparative wealth.

 

 

One comment on “Pretend Everything Is Okay — Maybe No One Will Notice That It Isn’t

  1. nymith says:

    Sounds like an episode of Yes, Minister.

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