Ireland’s new puppet government emerges
All the favourite politico clichés are being rolled out: it’s a ‘landslide’; a ‘sea change’ in Irish politics; a ‘revolution’; a ‘fracturing’ of the Irish body politic, etc., etc. And it is all of those. The people of Ireland have just delivered at the ballot box what the peoples of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have to die to achieve: regime change.
But His Grace feels really quite sorry for Mr Kenny, for he cannot quite deliver the regime change the people desire. Fine Gael have been swept to power on the back of a promise to renegotiate the terms of Ireland’s €80bn bailout by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
Did His Grace say ‘swept to power’?
Gael or Fáil – it doesn’t matter which centre-right(ish) party is in office, their sovereignty has been removed: they have no power. What they have is an electoral mandate from the people to renegotiate, which is nice. But a new marriage of convenience doesn’t negate a bankruptcy order on the divorcée; it doesn’t absolve them of their contractual responsibilities: only death can liberate them from the burden. The Irish people really ought to have learned by now that they can scream and scream and scream – and even reject an EU treaty – but it makes not one iota of difference in Brussels: the EU juggernaut rolls on inexorably.
And the same is true of the IMF and the ECB: unaccountability means the same austerity measures will still be imposed, exactly as they are across the eurozone.
The puppets may have changed but the same puppet master is pulling the strings. This election will not diminish Ireland’s debt by one euro; it will not reduce the interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point; it will not diminish the burden of the deficit by so much as an old Irish pund: it will hang around their necks for decades, and rest upon the shoulders of their children and their children’s children.
Why can they not see that he who pays the piper calls the tune? You’d think, in Ireland of all places, that they’d understand the significance of pipe playing.
These tedious days of vote counting will now be followed by further days of backroom deals and coalition forming: Ireland is familiar with the process. It looks as though Fine Gael will govern with Labour, whose vote has also increased significantly. That will leave Fianna Fáil in opposition along with Sinn Féin.
Enda Kenny’s manifesto for government will then be some fusion of Labour/Fine Gael policies and programmes, no permutation of which will be put to the people. And those who purport to lead the country will be as much on the EU/IMF payroll as their predecessors were on the on the payroll of the banks and financial services sector. And so the money merry-go-round of corruption continues.
As in all democracies, the Irish people have elected the government they deserve. While His Grace is grateful that they have re-adopted Gaddafi Adams, he genuinely feels quite sorry for them. Politicians seem to win elections by promising heaven on earth, and when, a decade later, the electorate realises that they are still in purgatory, another swathe of disaffected voters views the democratic process with cynicism and disdain, declaring a plague on all their houses. This leads to voter apathy and alienation, a deterioration in democratic participation and a declining turnout in elections, especially among the young.
If our democratic leaders do not wake up soon to the inevitable consequences of this, then Tripoli and Cairo will come to Dublin, Lisbon and London, just as it has already come to Athens. You can’t buck the people.