Sunday 25 September 2016

No turn to the Left or the Right in politics of the Hokey Pokey

Published 07/03/2016 | 02:30

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The man who never got over Béal na Bláth said, "We'll never join up with them eff effers until they apologise for shooting Michael Collins."

  • Go To

"But," said Micheál Martin - and I'm only guessing now, seeing as Micheál never did say this... "But," said Micheál Martin, as I was saying before I interrupted myself, which I have a habit of doing on occasion and even more often than that - so much so that I often think I must have been a politician or a wife in a previous life... "But," said Micheál, and this is my third go at getting this out, "I wasn't in West Cork at the time Collins was shot. In fact, I wasn't even born."

We better make a declaration of interest. Our crowd took the Collins' side in the fratricide, although it has to be said, unlike some, our crowd did all their shooting in the War of Independence .

The man who never got over Béal na Bláth pressed on: "And when are ye going to hand over the man who shot Collins? And don't go hiding behind excuses like we don't know who dunnit, or the man who dunnit is long dead."

There will be a few who will say the ancestors will be turning over in the grave if Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil join up. That's a great one in the Civil War arguments. It's as if thousands of our dead are revolving like chickens on a motorised spit. I've been to the graveyard many times and I've never heard bones.

The election has shown the Irish people can't even remember what happened last week. The freeing of Ireland from the IMF wasn't even a factor in the election.

There was the cracked decision to do away with compulsory history in school, and so, we face a future where the young will have no clue at all about the Civil War or anything else for that matter.

The teaching of history will be left to propagandists. Compulsory and objective teaching of history by professionals should be the first policy demand from any of the smaller parties and the Independents.

No one at the top end of Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael will even mention the Civil War in the course of their negotiations. Even the foot soldiers who held grievances are dying off by the day.

So why not join up then?

Micheál Martin is a reasonable man. Enda Kenny is pragmatic, and the truth is, there is little difference between the parties. The two together will then become known as 'The Right' by the lazy commentators. Fine Gael had a vague connection with Franco and some other horribles from history. The fact is, present-day Fine Gael has more in common with rainbow shirts than Blueshirts.

It was Fine Gael who brought in gay marriage and lost conservative votes in the process in key rural constituencies. Is that Left or Right? It is no coincidence then that Michael Healy Rae, who was against gay marriage, received more first preferences than any other candidate. To be fair, most of his votes were down to hard work on the ground.

Fianna Fáil are liberal enough for the most part.

There is no very conservative party in Ireland, but there is a far left and some day, they will introduce 100pc tax on anyone earning more than themselves.

That said, there's an inner socialist in every Irish person - even those of you who sponsor the less well off with half of your wages. We do not have a right-wing or a conservative party. We have a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Just like the 'Hokey Pokey', the wedding song that has killed more Irish people with heart attacks than fatty bacon.

The song goes on: "You put your right leg in and your left leg out. You do the Hokey Pokey and you shake it all about." Which sort of sums up Irish politics. We will have a hokey-pokey government and there's no harm in that either because that's what the people voted for.

It all comes down to what was said to yours truly during the canvass. I knocked on the door, as about 98pc of bells are broken, and out comes this falbo who says, "Well, what are ye going to do for me?", which sort of sums up the largish section of Irish people who always want more. And a bit with it. Jam on their bread, with jam on it.

By the way, a falbo is a cross, big, loud, opinionated, brazen woman. She's always right and is even more right than usual when she's wrong.

Later on in the canvass, we met the lovely young girl with two small babies who was finding it impossible to survive on her social welfare. Her man disappeared. Those who are always ranting on about easy money for people who aren't able to cope financially should call to see her. She was doing her best. But then you have some who get everything for free and are tipping away with jobs here and there.

Just a few hundred metres from the girl with the two kids, we met a couple who were decent and hard-working, but they haven't much spare cash. They resent those on social welfare and there can be no doubt that the hard-working couple are struggling.

The conclusion I came to is that it's impossible to rule Ireland from a fixed policy or ideological position. If Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael join, we will have a team with a good many talented minsters. But whatever they do will not please enough of the Irish people. Then, in five years, the FG/ FF government will be kicked out and we could have a Sinn Féin-dominated, strictly socialist government.

The most likely outcome in the next few weeks is a minority government with the parties who shore up the government pulling the plug after a year or two, or less, on "a point of principle".

The plug pullers will then get a few more seats and with water charges about to dry up permanently, there will be less oxygen for Independents. So maybe we might then have a stable arrangement after a time of some uncertainty.

Oh hokey pokey okey. And that's what it's all about.

Irish Independent

Read More