I was asked recently as to whether, viewing so many of my friends and peers holding public office, do I miss being in politics? Would I not be tempted to run again? The answer, after some thought, has been no, for the simple reason that I just don’t see the point anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve an ego as big as the next guy, and the thrill of getting elected would be something else, but I always imagine what the job would be like six months later on a wet Tuesday night. Listening to constituents whinge non-stop as to why they should get other people’s money and why you are a bastard for not getting if for them. I just have not got the temperment for that. As for the other stuff, the real politics of changing the country, well, that’s nothing to do with you. Just look how many FG backbenchers have kicked up at the party’s U-Turns. You have no real actual power in Irish politics until you are in the cabinet. After all, why is it that nearly every Irish backbencher, councillor and senator starts working, almost immediately upon election, to get out of the office he has just been elected to?
Fine Gael have done a U-Turn on reducing the size of the Dail, as seen here. Which means that they actually lied during the election, because surely they must have known that it would require a referendum. Or are they just dopes as opposed to liars? After all, they had over 50 full-time parliamentary assistants funded by my taxes, so surely someone in Fine Gael must have looked at party policy to see if it was, you know, legal? The Five Point Plan has become a two finger plan, it seems.
But, even I admit that only a certain section of the public gives a toss about how many deputies sit in the Dail. But if you want to see the moment that Fine Gael sent a signal to its middle class private sector bedrock to go f**k themselves, it was here with their apparent proposals on kicking the crap out of people who pay for their own pensions. Here’s a thought: If Fine Gael feel that the public sector pension regime is now fair and equitable and affordable, how about opening it up on a voluntary basis to the whole country? Let any private sector worker who wishes pay the same contribution into the pension as public sector workers, in return for the same benefits. Overnight, we’d end all the division in the country about public versus private sector pensions, wouldn’t we? It is not like we can’t afford it, because if we couldn’t afford the current public sector pension regime, Fine Gael would be doing something about it, wouldn’t they?