As property prices soared, public servants complained they were being priced out of home ownership. In response "benchmarking" delivered to the public sector wages that were linked euro for euro to equivalent jobs in the private sector. Those salaries were then linked to public sector pensions. The result? Long-retired public servants found themselves with fabulous defined benefit pensions beyond their wildest expectations.
Meanwhile the private sector is haemorrhaging jobs, while those who hang on must take wage cuts as they watch their pensions collapse. While they suffer the slings and arrows of the free market they look on bitterly at their public sector colleagues. If they got benchmarking on the way up, why don't they take it on the way down?
That's how the Irish Tiger became extinct. First it gorged on the private sector and then, when there was no more meat left to strip from those bones, it ate itself. No, I'm not gloating - we're no better off. This is just an indication of what is to yet to come in Britain - only much much worse.