The politics of surrender reign
As the political year ends it would be no harm for politicians of all hues to remember the fate of "the young lady from Riga who went for a ride on a tiger".
Sadly the denouement of that particular adventure was that they returned "with the lady inside and a smile on the face of the tiger''. One group of politicians who are caressing a dangerous tiger are those independent and Sinn Fein TDs who are attempting to lead a campaign of civil disobedience to the new household tax.
In spite of the erratic performance of Environment Minister Phil Hogan, the ethical difference between convicted tax dodgers and those who would wilfully refuse to pay a tax, legitimately levied, for the public good, is hard to discern. It is bad enough that those TDs who are spearheading an invitation to the mob to come play in the Dail chamber are indulging in the sort of rancid politics of debased opportunism normally associated with Fianna Fail. But the spectacle is rendered all the more depressing by the realisation that, at a time when Ireland should be chilled to the bone by the warning by Fitch that the EU debt crisis may be "technically and politically beyond rescue'', all we get from our political establishment is self-indulgent shape-throwing.