Maybe it’s my inner Victor Meldrew speaking, and I’m finally turning into a cranky contankerous curmudgeon (Turning into, you say?) but the last couple of weeks have for me displayed Irish politics at its worst in terms of pointless showy waffle theatre that doesn’t matter a damn.
Take the Wallace affair, and the amount of time given over to whether he would be ejected from the technical group. Who gives a shit? It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t even matter if The Pink Evader (surely our dodgiest superhero?) resigns his seat in the Dail. Yes, we’ll have more wall to Wallace (see what I did there?) coverage of the byelection and who will win or lose but it doesn’t matter who wins, because it does not change a thing. Backbench TDs don’t matter.
Same with this week’s carry-on in the Seanad, where a load of turkeys are running around the coop in a panic because they are about to be abolished, desperately trying to pretend that the Seanad is the last defence against tyranny and anarchy, the Battlestar Galactica of the Irish Constitution. Give me a break! These guys blocked significant change for years, and now are all committed reformers? Introduce just one reform: Let any Dail elector become a Seanad elector, signing up to a panel like a county councillor. But they don’t want that, and will battle now for the weak reforms of the 2004 Seanad report, the same report they stalled for eight years. To the sword with them!
Finally, there was the big reveal of the new constituency boundaries, the coverage of which just showed how much of Irish politics is all just personality driven who’s up and who’s down theatre. Great fun for political junkies like me, but does it matter a jot as to how this country is run? Not a sausage.
Of course, it’s not like we actually have any real political issues to discuss, like the possibility that a federal European state is about to be created? Sure why the hell would our elected officials be dedicating any time to discussing that? As with banking regulation and management of property bubbles, that’s something for grown-ups in Brussels and Berlin to be worrying about, not for our fellas. Still, I’m sure if the Irish government is formulating a policy on European integration the Bundestag will keep us informed, as they seem better at it than the Oireachtas. Maybe we should outsource scrutiny of the Irish government to the Germans or the Finns, put it out to tender, and abolish the Dail? I’m not sure we’d be all that worse off, but it would certainly be cheaper. People think I’m joking when I suggest things like this, and I am to a degree, but then I always ponder what would happen if the Finnish Parliament or the Bundestag openly questioned Irish ministers on their policies? I’m not convinced they would not do a better job than the Oireachtas.