From the April 2016 issue of Chicago’s ‘Irish American News’.
At this stage – the third week in March – I should be able to report that the dust has settled on the February election and that for good or bad the country is back to business. I SHOULD be able to, but can’t. The bickering continues. Will Fianna Fail and Fine Gael form a Coalition? Well, it’s hard to see how they can avoid it. That’s not to say that the thought of these two Companies of Liars joining each other at the hip fills my heart with unmitigated delight, it’s just stating a simple fact.
And of course it would mean that a new government will be founded on a lie, since both have been adamant that it won’t happen. But starting off with a lie is hardly anything new for any of this lot.
At a time when the country badly wants to put the election behind it, our two increasingly hard-to-separate groups are deliberately wasting time, just glad that the 2016 ‘celebrations’ are around the corner to take the collective public mind off more serious things. You can be sure that any amount of faux-Oirish waffle is ready to be trundled out to fill the role of the old Roman bread-and-circuses. Well, they do have a point because these election results have proved once again that there is nothing shorter than the public memory when it comes to politics.
So if our lot bunch can stretch their bickering out for another two months (as they have said it will probably take) then both camps are more than happy to do so.
Ah, look: I’m still down after these results. I’ll leave it to my colleague Sean Farrell of this newspaper (‘From the Motherland’) to take a more reasoned look at how things panned out. I’ve never met Mr. Farrell but I always look forward to his balanced articles.
For myself, I just can’t see how the results of this election can be called a ‘seismic shift’ in Irish politics, as it has been. It’s a shift of sorts, of course, but ‘seismic’? And how much of a change does it really indicate?
Sure, more than half of those who voted were unhappy with FF and FG, giving them less than 50% combined; but how on Earth were those Architects of Pain, the Fianna Fail party, even allowed to stage such a dramatic comeback in the first place? Do people have no memories; or in the final analysis do they just vote for the devil they know?
Hell, I realise that it’s the nature of the beast, but it hurt to see some decent people lose their seats whilst the most egregious chancers somehow managed to retain them.
I mean, Alan the Arrogant; Alan Kelly, who openly boasted to us that power is a drug.
Blowhard Alan, a man who talks without irony of his ‘legacy’ and who I like to think of as Minister for the Environment and Water Privatization – but more of Alan and his brother later.
Not long ago Alan comes out and lets us know that he isn’t in this for his constituents or for his country but for the junkie’s rush of a power fix. And in return he isn’t utterly destroyed for his swinishness. Admittedly he didn’t actually make his quota and the sight of him sweating was a joy to behold; but that was wiped out by his utterly embarrassing carry-on when he scraped through. And now he’s swaggering about the place as full of himself as he ever was.
And we let him do it.
In Tipperary they proved yet again that they have no problem with the fact that Michael Lowry has been called by a tribunal not only ‘corrupt’ but ‘profoundly corrupt’. They don’t care. Lowry is the very essence of local parish pump politics. If it means annoying that shower up in Dublin then by Jaysus we’ll vote him back in to spite them.
Even Enda – bloody Enda Kenny – was rewarded by 13,000 Mayo folk who he had called whingers by being returned. In truth, there are people that you simply COULDN’T insult enough.
Joan Burton…and here words fail me. At least Labour got the hammering they deserved. And yet…and yet. They still somehow manage to retain seven seats? AND the Limp Greens are growing again? What is going on?
If I have enjoyed one thing from the recent shenanigans then it is the role that ultimately the anti- water charge protestors played in making sure that the FG/Labour crowd got their faces bloodied. It must be rather strange for them, as they mop up the bodies, to reflect that if they hadn’t abused, insulted and spat on us then they might conceivably be back in government right now.
Instead, anyone who pointed out that they had no intention of paying yet again for a product that they were already paying for twice over was portrayed and vilified as a freeloader and a waster.
Now, as Irish Water is held up as the total disaster that tens of thousands of us held it to be right from the start, begin the groans of those who toed the Government line. It’s dawning on them that their reward for compliance is that they will never see back the money that they have wasted.
Well, since I was told over and over that paying this extra tax ‘was the right thing to do’ then why SHOULD they be refunded? It was the right thing to do. And their consciences are clear. In fact, for all I care, they can keep on throwing good money after bad.
But as there have obviously been some serious backhanders given out somewhere along the line in return for the privatization of our water, then I doubt that we have heard the last of this. And I like to think that some of our bought-and-paid-for politicians are very nervous indeed.
And those of you who don’t think that selling off our water was the ultimate aim – oh, please. When you take the briefest look at how much of our natural resources have already been sold off, you simply can’t doubt it.
The brother of the aforementioned Environment Minister Alan is Declan Kelly, the Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Teneo – and again the briefest look at that company will show you where there is a vested interest in water privatization. And I doubt that it’s a coincidence that the bould Alan receives a staggering amount of donations.
In fact in 2008 he coined in more loot than Bertie Ahern; and we all know how good at sopping up the wonga from ‘dig-outs’ and mysterious ‘wins on the horses’ THAT fella was.
So, the only question for me is: donations…for what?
I don’t think that the water charges got much more than the most perfunctory of mentions in any of our debates; and yet that may be the one issue that brought FG clattering to the ground. The contemptuous and bullying tone that the likes of Phil Hogan and Kelly took eventually irritated even our docile electorate.
And by the way, I found the closing caption of the brilliant film, ‘The Big Short’ rather interesting. Commenting on the eccentric genius who foresaw the financial crash it states:
Michael Burry contacted the government several times to see if anyone wanted to interview him to find out how he knew the system would collapse years before anyone else.
No one ever returned his calls. But he was audited four times and questioned by the FBI.
The small investing he still does is focused on one commodity: