Saturday 23 September 2017

Is it the return of greed or the return of hope?

While Michael D's lectures on greed can seem a bit out of place right now, we should heed the dissenting voices

Michael Noonan
Michael Noonan
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

And so it has begun. The right is fighting back. Well, the centre-right is fighting back. Well, maybe the centre actually. Yes. The centre is fighting back. For five long years now, centrist parties in this country have been under attack from every worthy lefty going. For too long now, as the centre sees it, Sinn Fein, the darlings of the media, Mick and Ming and Claire and the rest of the Technical Group have dominated the national discourse with their self-righteous standing up against austerity, on behalf of the ordinary people. And for too long now, the established parties reckon, these people have never been rigorously interrogated about their hare-brained economic policies.

The fact that Sinn Fein and most of the Independents have never been in government is seen to have helped this easy ride. They had clean hands. They never had to make unpopular decisions. And besides, everybody was feeling a bit lefty there for a while. Capitalism was a dirty word. The old world had let us down. We were all about caring and sharing and equality. The lefties would have burned the bondholders, hunted down the bankers and developers who left us in a mess and wouldn't have introduced any new taxes "to pay for other people's gambling debts".

We had a president who went around spouting all kinds of political opinions, but there was no way anyone in the Government was going to tell him to shut up because he too was saying the kind of populist stuff that chimed with the mood. Greed is bad and we all needed to be more moral and spiritual and what not. If he had been talking up capitalism - saying we all needed to be more ambitious and try to get richer - we can assume he would have been taken to account, but he was making the right noises about how capitalism destroyed us all and how we needed to be nicer people, and it suited the penitent mood in Ireland as we licked our wounds after our dalliance with the big bad wolf.

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