Cowen quitting as party leader won't alter his terrible legacy
Witnessing the implosion of Government is like watching a sickening car crash in slow motion, writes Michael McDowell
Published 23/01/2011 | 05:00
It is hard to wrap up in one word or phrase the sense of bewilderment, disappointment, shame and anger that has gripped the body politic and broader society over the last few days. Perhaps "betrayal" is the closest description of the outrageous, incompetent and cynical series of events that we have witnessed.
For those of us who give loyalty and honour to our country, our democracy, our history and to basic standards of decency, seeing the implosion of any elected government is not a pretty sight. On this occasion, it is sickening. Just like the "car crash in slow motion" road safety ads we see on TV, our attention is simultaneously attracted and repelled. Except that it is Irish democracy which ends up sitting figuratively in the wheelchair in this particular slow-motion car crash.
To pull ministers out of office who had served long terms as members of the executive in crucial areas such as health, justice, and enterprise, and to replace them for a few hectic pre-election weeks with people who could not possibly read themselves into their new roles, was always going to be a crude, cynical plan to create the illusion of novelty and freshness, and to attempt to sever all ties of political accountability and responsibility on the part of our constitutional Executive.