Well done to the excellent Dan O’Brien of The Economist Intelligence Unit who pinpointed in Saturday’s Irish Times, with laser precision, what the hell is wrong with this country and why our political system is so incapable of making things work properly.
The truth is, genuine patriots in government have to be willing to be unpopular, and confront an age old Irish myth, that is, that an unpopular government cannot possibly be doing the right thing. We pay our elected leaders a lot of money, and for that, they should be willing to be unpopular if it means doing the right long-term thing. Yes, people can argue over what the “right thing” actually is, but in the Irish context, there tends to be a refusal to even begin that debate. Take nuclear power: We actually buy electricity generated by nuclear power whilst complaining about the reactors that generate the electricity we buy. It’s like someone lecturing a drug dealer about the evils of drugs as he buys drugs off him. Do we honestly think we’re being clever?