One of the features of blogging about Irish politics is that so little changes (No, replacing a load of FF TDs with FG TDs is not change) that you find that when you go to write about something, you have probably written about it before. So, here’s a post from 2011 which I think is still relevent.
1. As a people, the Irish are far more comfortable with a substantial minority living in poverty than they will admit to outside of the privacy of the polling booth.
2. Our political establishment, Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail, have an unspoken understanding not to radically change the political system nor the benefits which accrue to its members. Don’t believe me? Consider the keeping open of teachers jobs when they are elected to the Dail, or even the concept of well paid politicians having state pensions at all.
3. The real political divide in Ireland is between parties that will only change the barest minimum (FG/Lab/FF) and those who claim to believe in modest short-term wealth redistribution (SF/ULA) but refuse to think beyond that.
4. There is no party in Ireland willing to advocate the high tax/high spend model most likely to deliver the level of social services we claim to aspire to, primarily because a substantial number of the Irish electorate believe in “Pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow” economics.
5. Local TDs know that a “Get our area everything, and f**k everybody else” attitude is responsible for the great proportion of their votes. Would a county vote to keep a local hospital open, even if it knew that the decision would almost certainly lead to people dying in the next county? You tell me.
6. Accountability and “checks and balances” are an alien concept to the Irish psyche. The greatest compliment an Irish politician can get is that he “gets things done”. The worst is that she sticks to the rules, and treats everyone the same, without fear or favour. Guess which one gets reelected?
7. Self regulation in Ireland means allowing a profession to put its members interests ahead of everything else.
8. Most Irish people believe that they have a right to receive more from the government than they ever contributed in taxes.
9. Like the Wizard of Oz, there is a sub-conscious belief in Ireland that somewhere there is a responsible powerful individual who will make the correct sensible decisions, and so, even going to cabinet minister level, we can be short sighted and reckless, because he/she/it will sort it all out in the end. However, we get very upset when the curtain is pulled back to reveal who it actually is.
10. The Irish language lobby are like the Israeli lobby in the states. Many people don’t share their views, but are afraid of being called anti-Irish, and so we let them have a position of power and influence in our society out of all proportion to their numbers.