Anyone remember “Avon”, from “Blake’s Seven”? Avon was initially a baddy, an embezzler and self-serving criminal played by Paul Darrow, who became, arguably, the most popular character on the BBC science fiction show. His character was blunt, rude, caustic, yet audiences loved him because he turned out to have, beneath it all, a decent streak. But most importantly, deep down, the audience knew where they stood with Avon, because he confronted them with ugly truth and harsh reality. You knew where you stood.
The Troika are our Avon. Their title has become the byword for blame and finger pointing, the source of angst and woe. Yet any reasonable person would accept that all The Troika did was hold up a mirror to us, and ask questions that for a generation the people WE chose to elect refused to ask, and hid under a cloud of guff about social justice and solidarity and “resources”.
The Troika have been the most consistently honest factor in Irish politics in the last decade. Unlike our own leaders in Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein, The Troika told us things that made us angry even though we knew they were true. In particular, they confronted us with the most offensive statement in Irish politics: if you want the government to spend a euro on someone, first it has to tax that euro off someone else. That sort of strong language has rarely had a place in Irish politics. Just watch, when The Troika has departed, how slowly our elected leaders will be to point out the fact that austerity is not a construct of The Troika, but the way things are going to be from now on.
Some people say that The Troika is undemocratic. Certainly, I’d love to see them on a ballot paper.