IN the wake of last week's triumph of pragmatism over conscience, politics in Ireland is at a self-inflicted tipping point where, should a new party arise from the ashes of last week's abortion debate, things may never be the same again. Sadly, some things do not change – for one fundamental unyielding truth lurking in the economic closet is that Ireland, after six years of austerity, is back in recession. Oddly enough, though we talk until dawn on other matters, nobody is at all keen to discuss the truth that Michael Noonan's plan, whatever it may be, is not working. Instead, in a classic example of the consistency with which we are misgoverned, the concern, raised seven years ago when the Celtic Tiger bubble began to implode that, if certain mistakes were made Ireland would become a Japanese-style zombie economy is as relevant now as it was then. A fool on a bar stool would know that taking €28.1bn out of a collapsing economy could have no other effect but to create the economic equivalent of a scorched earth. It is, however, a school of wisdom that appears beyond mandarins and Finance Ministers.
Today's Sunday Independent reveals how one class above all others has been destroyed by the grapes of wrath Angela's school of 'dumb austerity' has sown. If this Government truly wishes to understand why it is not loved, it should examine the ongoing destruction being inflicted on the lives of the coping classes of the State in the private and the public sector. When it comes to the peasants of the coping classes, facing a life of involuntary indentured service to banks, intriguingly the observation of Stalin – who, like all psychopathic dictators was an acute student of human nature – that one death is a tragedy, a million a mere statistic, most accurately captures their plight.
But those who have been failed by politics, the law and all the rest of the pillars of the ancien regime are not just a bloodless statistic. They are your shopkeeper, teacher, bricklayer, small businessman and all of the rest of the country that wish only to stand as independent citizens. Instead, under successive governments this utterly betrayed class find their lives being turned into a living variant of sawdust, by the 'murder machine' of dumb austerity.
The growing march of disaffection is unlikely to have been eased in any way by the Lucinda Creighton and Michelle Mulherin debacles. These showed the prospect of the sort of revolution in governance that is required to cut out the cultural rot of group-think which brought us to the land of 'we are where we are' is a thin one. Instead the whey-faced anxiety with which the political process moved to detach Lucinda Creighton from the political herd, and the ease with which the quivering herd accepted such a process, represented the point of caesura for Enda Kenny's 'democratic revolution'. Instead, at its best Mr Kenny's plans in that regard represented a classic case of attempting to put old wine into new bottles.
Not even the introduction of that modern concept, the involuntary lap dance, could deflect attention from the reality that even this modest ambition has proved to be a step too far for a Government that increasingly offers us the sour taste of old wine decanted from even older bottles. The failure of our existing political class means Ireland needs a new alternative and swiftly. Happily Mr Kenny, if only accidentally, appears to be doing his best to facilitate such a development.