Tuesday, September 16, 2008

€1bn for meters

Is this really good value for money? The government is going to install new electricity meters in every household in the country. This whole process is going to take "four years at a cost of almost €1 billion".

On the one hand this is all too appropriate because if there's one symbol that I think best sums up the Green Party it's the meter. They're the metermaids of Irish politics. They want to measure every aspect of Irish living so that they can chide us and tax us for not being adherents to their doctrine.

On the other hand, this is a further sign that Fianna Fail is losing control. The economy is heading for tough times. Serious cutbacks will be required and at a cost of €1bn they're allowing the Green Party to enable themselves to preen in front of their Green colleagues across Europe because '"Ireland is leading the world" with the introduction of smart meters'.

What the Green Party doesn't seem to understand is that all these new meters are a significant cost on the Irish economy. The Green Party never worries about spending other people's money and they're none too keen on economic growth, which means the €1bn is actually a lot more expensive than it would be if we could count on a period of strong growth over the next four years. However, growth is going to be difficult to come by and the junior partners in government are not all that unhappy about that.

So, we're leading the world in stupid economics. Who wants to lead that race? Not me.