Tuesday, May 03, 2016

A Government Cannot Be Formed

I, for one, do not welcome our new overlords.
A government cannot be formed, and it’s the people’s own fault. The sooner the political establishment comes to terms with that, admits it and pulls the lever for a second election the better off we’ll all be.

Fianna Fáil have had a merry old time over the past three weeks bullying Fine Gael in negotiations. And now, in the best schoolyard tradition, Fine Gael are going have their fun with that one group in the Oireachtas who are more natural victims than they are – the independents.

All that stuff out of Shane Ross and his bunch about new politics and broad policy outlines is now exposed as what anybody with the intelligence of a toad could see what it always was – nonsense. John Halligan is digging in over his local hospital, which should have every alarm bell ringing for Denis Naughten. Naughton won Roscommon because he knew Roscommon Hospital had to come first. If Halligan gets Waterford – oh, excuse me, your honour, the South-Eastern – Hospital sorted for a cardiac unit, what must Naughten do to deliver for the Ros? Brain Surgery? Head transplants?

It is interesting to note that supposedly the most idealistic of the independents, Deputy Zappone, was the first to row in behind Enda Kenny’s re-election as Taoiseach. It would be interesting to know what exactly she’s been promised in return for her support. Your correspondent likes to think she’s been promised a herd number for a unicorn farm somewhere outside Firhouse or Knocklyon, but chances are the deal isn’t even as substantial as that.

And what of that most mysterious of independents, Deputy Lowry? Deputy Lowry has made no bones about his support for Enda Kenny as Taoiseach, and nobody seems to have a problem with that. Five years ago Dáil Éireann passed a motion calling on Deputy Lowry to resign his seat, such was the Dáil’s repugnance at his behaviour, as exposed by the Moriarty Tribunal. Nobody now seems to have a problem with his presence, to say nothing of his vital vote in electing a government. If everyone and their uncle is getting sorted, what in all this for Deputy Lowry?

The media don’t seem too bothered harping on about this. The media are part of the problem. The media are negligent in their duty in calling these members to account, and saying this is not the way to govern a country. It’s all a game in Ireland’s political Bermuda triangle of Leinster House, the Shelbourne Hotel and Kehoe’s of South Anne Street.

Your correspondent thought – foolishly, as it turns out – that the crash of 2008 would be a learning experience for the country. Instead, it’s been an exercise in becoming more ignorant.

At the nadir of the boom, the standard narrative was that the country had fallen into an economic abyss that would take thirty years to recover from. It took three. So, either the abyss was actually a pothole, or Ireland pulled off an economic miracle so extraordinary it makes the German post-war recovery look like two cavemen fighting over a tusk using the barter system. Or both. Or neither.

There are subtleties to all these things. We don’t subtle in Irish politics. Or thoughtful. Or even vaguely sentient.

Maybe, when the election is called, we’ll bite the bullet. Maybe we’ll show the political parties that there is a reward at the ballot box for proper, intelligent politics. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. The only functional part of Irish politics is that we get exactly the government we deserve. God help us all.