The Fianna Fail/Fine Gael/Labour Downton Abbey.

Does not everyone get a €100,000 a year pension? I say!
Does not everyone get a €100,000 a year pension? I say!

I don’t know whether it is genuinely being out of touch or a deliberate attempt to feather one’s financial nest, but the under the table agreement between the three main parties on pensions and severance packages for politicians has a hint of political aristocracy about it. It’s quite remarkable how they regard lottery style pensions and payouts as being normal. And yes, by the way: getting the equivalent of a €100k pension plus severance package is the equivalent of a lottery win.

Recently, a Fianna Fail activist called me “naive” for using the lottery reference, and whilst I was initially annoyed by the remark, it dawned on me that he didn’t mean to be offensive. He seemed to genuinely believe that people getting pensions far in access of the average industrial salary was not a lottery win but presumably, perfectly normal, and that’s what got me thinking. So many of the people inside politics, like this activist, actually believe that ministerial pensions of €130,000 per annum, or even pensions in excess of the average industrial wage, or keeping teaching jobs open for TDs is a perfectly normal way of going about things. In the same way that the aristocracy assume that everyone has servants, don’t they? Of course, I suspect that he was also annoyed that I was just lumping FF/FG/Labour altogether, and not paying heed to the accepted etiquette of Irish political circles that these are all completely different political parties with contrasting sets of values. Why, it was like turning up for supper without wearing evening dress! He’ll probably send his butler around to give me a damn good thrashing for being a cad.  

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