Tuesday 6 December 2016

All hands on deck

Published 06/03/2011 | 05:00

Sir -- When the ship of State is sinking, clearly it should be 'all hands to the pumps'. Labour must, at least, be seen to be available in the short term.

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However, there is a huge variance between Labour and Fine Gael on their understanding of the ultimate purpose of the exercise. When all the melodrama of those meetings in Europe has faded and we are back to the long, lean years of 'heavy lifting', what kind of government are we going to have? A Jansenist punishment regime intent on dragooning us back to the consumerist normalcy which got us here? Or a patriotic government of national solidarity, able to mobilise the nation towards a 21st Century update of the pre-Civil War National Movement? Think of what the Finns did from 1939 well into the Fifties, not just to keep their country on the map, but to retain the freedom to choose their own way of life.

The flushing of Fianna Fail out of our system has left a new political geology which is yet to settle. Completely overshadowing a limp and shell-shocked Fianna Fail led by Mr All-Things-to-All-Persons Martin, the Opposition will be dominated by a very hungry, rampant Sinn Fein and a smaller but articulate Left. Their policies may be more appropriate to the moon than to real life, but that will not matter in the political short term if they are able to express every scintilla of disproportionate pain to be suffered by a confused, suspicious and socially divided nation.

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