John Dolan’s weekly view of the big talking points
BREAKING news, folks: I hope you’re sitting down for this — it’s a real shocker: Voters across Europe don’t like austerity.
What, you say? Get away! People want to pay less tax yet retain the same
public services? All across the continent?
It was knock-me-down-with-a- feather time this week when France and
Greece became the latest countries to punish their governments for the
recession, and media organisations solemnly proclaimed that austerity
was to blame.
Next week, they expose the Pope as a Catholic.
The drama of the two Euro elections made for entertaining viewing here
on the sidelines in Ireland, but they did mask a serious point.
The European Union will now be preoccupied with orchestrating a new
love-in between Angela Merkel and France’s new socialist President,
Francois Hollande, while yet again turning its attention to that basketcase Greece as it threatens to drag down the entire continent, and with it, any sniff of a recovery.
These will be unwelcome distractions and shift the EU agenda away from
the really serious issues: Like, who will whisper into Monsieur Hollande’s ear that his Socialist policies haven’t a hope in hell of working?
Let’s be straight here. Socialism won’t end the crisis in France, while the lurch to the extreme right in Greece — with a fringe pro-Nazi element — is a cause for serious concern and will do nothing to end that country’s woes.
But the electoral upheavals in those countries also emphasised a point
about party politics here in Ireland.
We don’t have the option of voting for something different. There is no
singular difference between either of our main traditional parties —
forged in the white heat of a long-forgotten civil war — while Labour
can’t seem to stick to even the basic tenets of their founding principles. All three parties insist that plain austerity is your only man.
So, French voters get the opportunity to turn to that pet ideology of
Parisian students — a simplistic leftist view that the State can churn
out the money whenever it likes and soak hard-working people in the process.
Meanwhile, Greek voters are given the option of turning to right-wing
policies, such as plans for a tough restriction on illegal emigration.
And we’re stuck in the aimless middle with Enda, Micheál and Eamonn.
The paucity of choice in Irish politics is currently illuminated perfectly by the main parties’ slavish support for the European Union and their insistence on yet another Yes vote to an EU treaty.
This is the same EU which has ruined our economy with its one-size-fits-all Germany mentality. The same EU whose blind devotion to a single currency continues to derail not just our continent, but the entire global economy.
Nice work, lads. More of the same it is then.
The only party advocating a No to the Fiscal Compact treaty on May 31
are a party described by our Lord Mayor this week as unfit to hold his chains of office.
Clrr Terry Shannon will have struck a chord with many with his denunciation of Sinn Féin. Indeed, the fact that Gerry Adams is the most
high profile nay-sayer to the EU referendum will surely help to deliver
a winning hand to the Yes camp.
That’s a shame, as the role of No camp leader should have been filled by
Eamon Ó Cuiv.
A respected politician, the grandson of Fianna Fáil founder Éamon de
Valera has been at odds with the party leadership over support for the
Fiscal Treaty and duly quit as its deputy leader.
Yet, bizarrely, this week he took a vow of silence on the issue, thus
managing the near-impossible task of shooting himself in the foot before
raising the rifle to his shoulder, setting his sights on the enemy, and
failing to pull the trigger. It brought to mind the lyrics of The Jam
song Eton Rifles. “What a catalyst you turned out to be, loaded the guns
then you ran off home for your tea.”
The Ó Cuiv U-turn was a ridiculous snapshot of Irish political life. The
people are crying out for leadership, for parties with ideals and visions, and we get yes men and middle men.
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