I’ve written about it before, that moment in 2016 when around 50 Fine Gael and Labour TDs will go through one of the most emotionally devastating moments of their lives as they are ejected by the voters at the count. Many will never hold political office again. Some will take years for both they and their families to recover from that day. A small number never will.
What’s even more revealing is that, having fixed the economy and received public anger for it, they will then hand over the fixed economy, the increasing tax revenues, and ALL political power to their opponents in Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein.
What fascinates me is the sheer inability, through capture by institutional inertia, of those FG and Labour TDs to do anything about it. They are just going to wait for the kicking because they’re so paralysed by “The way things have always been done” that they will literally let their own personal lives be devastated by it.
People like me have the luxury of banging on about political reform, and political hacks will always tell you, correctly, that nobody ever got elected because they were going to reform the Seanad. That’s true. But what never ceases to amaze me is how this government in particular has been unable to grasp how political reform could actually be used as a weapon to help them get re-elected.
They don’t seem to understand that by centralising all power, they have turned the rest of the non-cabinet political system, from Oireachtas through the councils, into a blame-free no-responsibility taxpayer-subsidised platform for the people who want to take their seats off them. It’s hard to imagine how they could help their political opponents any more than they are now. Why can’t they see this?
If Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein had to elect a load of directly elected mayors with specific responsibility to set the property tax and local budgets, and who in office were barred from running for the Oireachtas, the property tax would be their problem. It would also deprive FF and SF of many of their best candidates for the Dail. Property tax bills, with the photo, signature and party affiliation of the mayor could be arriving through letterboxes all over the country, reminding voters that these guys have to live in the real world of spending and taxing choices too.
Instead, the stultifying inability of Fine Gael and Labour to do anything new is going to sleepwalk them into electoral annihilation, and they seem incapable of anything else.