Thursday 8 December 2016

There's more than one way to lose your democracy

The refusal of politicians to actually govern is allowing power to fall back into the hands of the civil service, writes Brendan O'Connor

Published 20/11/2011 | 05:00

THEY can try and spin and fudge and confuse this any way they want. The bottom line is that they were running our Budget by the Germans. Even for a people so used to having indignity heaped on us, it was a bridge too far. While we were being told that nothing has been decided about the Budget, it seems any medium-level civil servant throughout Europe could cop a look at it, and Fritz was having a good old chat about it behind our backs. And the most insulting thing is that, despite the plan being passed around the place like Steins at Oktoberfest, they seemed to think we wouldn't find out about it.

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Truly now we have been cut out of the loop here in Ireland. And the worst thing is that it's our own loop they've cut us out of. We are not deemed sufficiently important anymore to be part of the decision-making process about our own future. The Germans know better than we do now what is good for us. We are the White Man's Burden.

But of course this kind of thing can never happen without collaborators. And as always in Ireland, our collaboration has been of the passive-aggressive variety. Our Government has stood idly by. And as we know, all it takes for Germany to triumph is for good, bad and indifferent men and women to do nothing. Which was easy for our Government because doing nothing has been their favoured stance on many things since they got into power. Because one thing this Government is learning very quickly is that politics, which is what it is good at, is a completely different art to governing, which it is not so good at.

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