Irish Politics: Sometimes it is so hard to give a damn.

ballot-boxI was thinking that I should be writing something about the Bruton/Kenny thing, until it struck me that I just don’t really care that much. Yes, Richard Bruton is better suited to be Taoiseach et al, but…well, here it is:

I’ve just spent a weekend with friends of mine from the Liberal Democrats. We discussed European unity, whether nuclear weapons were needed in the 21st century, climate change, the rise of China, how a modern democracy works, and the role of religion in a liberal democracy.

I was also in Concorde and surprised by how small a Polaris nuclear missile actually is. I visited the Imperial War Museum’s Air Annex in Duxford, by the way. Just in case you’re thinking “Wow! The Lib Dems are much better resourced than I had thought!” Well worth a visit. 

Anyway, I then returned to Ireland and Irish politics and the who is up and who is down and it’s all their fault and not a fresh f**king idea for miles in any direction. The almost complete opposite of what is happening in British politics at the moment. The strangest thing is that I have never in my life encountered a time in Ireland where people were more interested in politics, yet our political system is incapable of responding to that, instead tied up in moronic timewasting events like 19th century votes of no confidence where we already know the result before the vote is even called.

People are paying good money to go to Naoise Nunn’s political cabaret “Leviathan”, or to see David McWilliams in the Abbey. People are buying books about how we got here. Yet our politicians exist in a parallel politics where actual political ideas are toxic things to be avoided at all cost. Even a general election now would involve our leaders trying to avoid saying anything incendiary, making vague promises that will ultimately disappoint. I know young candidates currently getting ready to run, making sure that their leaflets say nothing that could make people think they have a strong opinion about anything that someone might disagree with. It’s like opening a shop and only selling water flavoured icepops, because some people might not like vanilla or strawberry.

Of course we should give a damn. People gave their lives in the GPO and on Omaha beach for the right to participate and run our own affairs. But there are times when it is so, so hard.

11 thoughts on “Irish Politics: Sometimes it is so hard to give a damn.

  1. I ran for the PDs in the 1999 local elections, in the Pembroke ward of Dublin, where I received the princely amount of 6% for my troubles. Everyone should run for election once, it takes the edge of one’s political opinions to discover that one in six of your fellow citizens have very interesting opinions about things.

  2. It was particularly difficult to give a damn after watching a documentary about the PDs, and being reminded of the backdrop to its foundation at a similar time when the country was heading down the toilet, when party loyalties and confidences were tested by much greater matters than opinion polls, when republicanism was being redefined and when risking it all was for the right reasons.

  3. “People gave their lives in the GPO and on Omaha beach for the right to participate and run our own affairs.”

    And their descendents handed it all away to non elected/unaccountable Eurocrats located in a far-away country………

    Happy days !

    Kind regards

  4. Absolutely; watching Ivan Yates discuss the FG coup on The Frontline last night with his usual ponderous pomposity actually made me laugh out loud. The contest is doubtless hugely important in an office politics kind of way, but it has next to no implications for the country at large.

  5. What’s particularly depressing is that the media analysis of the recent MRBI poll concluded that Fine Gael had slipped in popularity *despite* having produced a range of detailed policy documents on jobs, the economy and the health service, while Labour had triumphed by Eamon Gilmore saying as little as possible so as not to alienate anyone and hammering the Government at every opportunity, without providing concrete alternatives. Is this what we really want? If it is, we’ll get what we deserve. However, I am naive enough still to think we want and deserve more and I’ll continue providing alternative forums for political discussion and debate for those who care.

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