Monday 23 January 2017

Fears of rejecting stability have come to pass - we will soon learn our fate

Published 03/03/2016 | 02:30

Despite the enormous effort of Ciaran Lynch, above, as chair of the Banking Inquiry, the people felt he did not deserve to be re-elected. Photo: Tom Burke
Despite the enormous effort of Ciaran Lynch, above, as chair of the Banking Inquiry, the people felt he did not deserve to be re-elected. Photo: Tom Burke

Our world has changed profoundly since 2008. The global recession triggered in that year was the deepest in living memory. People are poorer today than eight years ago in a majority of western countries, Ireland included.

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Across a swathe of the west economic growth has ground to a halt, or has come as close to it as makes no difference. The expectation of continuously rising living standards, which the past three generations or so had become accustomed to, can no longer be taken for granted.

These huge changes, more than any other reason, likely explain the transformation of politics since 2008. The most obvious manifestation of this transformation is that almost no government in Europe has won re-election since. Even in the economies that have enjoyed growth, very few administrations have won second terms in the post-2008 era.

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