Madam, Congratulations to Anne Harris, (Sunday Independent, April 8, 2012). Also to your house curmudgeon, Gene Kerrigan, who shows -- with CSO, ie official, statistics -- that whereas the rest of us have taken cuts (starting with the lowest paid at 26 per cent), in our disposable income, the highest earners have actually had an increase of 8 per cent. Of course the 'full' picture may well be more 'nuanced' and 'complex', but your 'ordinary' reader has neither the stomach nor the time nor the 'equipment' for splitting hairs. Your readers are the people who are up in the middle of the night, wondering how they are going to pay the bills. Let alone the mortgage.
In a true Republic it is the responsibility of every individual citizen to act responsibly -- as if the Republic belonged to the citizens collectively. Which it does. But if Government acts like a 'them', out of touch, blunderingly 'partial' in its policies and governance, worse still: simply incompetent administratively and, most of all, politically, then the blame for the looming 'ungovernability' is shared by that 'Government'.
Minister Rabbitte (Sunday Independent, April 8, 2012) expresses 'irritation' over the slowness in pursuing 'accountability' for the damage done to our nation -- and our ordinary people. In burka-veiled language, (he never said this), he 'kinda' hints at possible 'differences of emphasis',over how the two Government parties might view the real world. Strong arguments pushed Labour towards participation in this Coalition 'patriotic marriage'. But is there a fundamental incompatibility in aspirations?
This Government needs to review its performance after a year nominally leading us in a war of national survival. It is unlikely to do this. Not because they are not 'nice people'. On the contrary, they mean very well. But, to put it even more crudely than Growly Gene, the priority for Fine Gael is to ensure that the 'comfortable' in our society are not 'discomforted'. Even though the results of the last General Election were only a snapshot of a society, in very rapid and radical transition, Fine Gael did get the lion's share of the vote -- and a mandate to be the lead partner in any immediate post-FF Government. If FG make a dog's dinner of that mandate, that is -- to an extent -- its own problem. But it is we who will eventually have to clear up the consequent mess.
The key therefore lies with Labour in 2012 -- its centenary year. It has three options: stay within the current 'patriotic' Coalition (as currently configured and 'malfunctioning'), and sink beneath the electoral (and historical) waves in its pristine penitential white robes, halos intact; renegotiate the terms (and personnel) of the agreement on Government; 'walk' and seek, maybe now too late electorally, to re-find and confirm its pragmatic social democratic principles -- and provide a possible base for the next, (and a more fit for purpose and socially inclusive), Government.
Tralee, Co Kerry