Although I’m no longer a member of a political party, I have considered myself a politically engaged citizen. After this week, I’m not so sure. Just look at the political vista spread out before us: A government made up of two parties which, through either incompetence or just bare faced deception is now reduced to actually having to listen to their own speeches, their own speeches, being read back to them in opposition to their policies in government.
Or what about Fianna Fail, having recklessly run the economy into the ground, now pretending that nothing has happened and advocating the exact populist “these cutbacks are a disgrace, this county deserves that new road” positions that allowed them to thrash the country in the first place, effectively making the speeches made against Fianna Fail when they were in government.
Then we have Sinn Fein and the United Left both pushing a line that all the cutbacks can be reversed and paid for by somebody else other than the majority of voters, neither party of the alleged left willing to advocate the reasonable left wing concept of common sacrifice through higher taxation for all as the price for the common good.
In short, save for constitutional referenda, why would I bother voting? Is it that unreasonable to want a party of the centre that does not overpromise and undeliver, that recognises that every euro spent must be earned and accounted for, and that does not sign up to the Fianna Fail/Fine Gael/Labour “Omerta” code of silence when it comes to making politicians pensions and severance packages reflect the reality of the lives of their voters? Is it madness to want a party that resists the Irish political urge to say whatever it takes to get elected, on the basis that getting elected is the goal and everything else, like actually running the country, will be sorted out on the day?
Of course, I’m assuming that the Irish voters would actually vote for such a party, but given the old-style “F**K everyone else!” demands of the voters of Roscommon and Mullingar, I won’t be holding my breath.