Monday 22 January 2018

Gene Kerrigan: State was massaged with Lorenzo's oil

Whatever the sins of Ireland's elite, the seeds of our downfall were sown by Europe, writes Gene Kerrigan

Question of the week: who the hell is Lorenzo Bini-Smaghi and why does RTE take him so seriously? And the fake drama of the week? That had to be Mickey Martin and Dame Enda Kenny sparring about the format of televised debates. Meltdown of the week: you saw Labour's Joan Burton going ballistic, right? My eyeballs are still stinging from watching that YouTube classic.

This is the 10th General Election I've covered (obviously I'm being punished for some terrible sins committed in a previous life). We in the media love the drama of it; we love the strokes and the gaffes. We love playing the numbers game and displaying our knowledge of how the tally from the boxes in Freshford will be negated by the unexpected higher turnout in Mullinavat. And the politicians keep us supplied with lots of contrived passion and soundbites carefully honed by battalions of costly consultants.

This time, I told myself, it will be different. This time, we're in deep trouble. This time the politicians surely know that we're not in the mood for the predictable electoral circus. Today's poll shows the depth of dislike of FF, but voters don't trust any of the parties. Satisfaction ratings are minuscule for all leaders. The political games conceal the seriousness of the crisis -- and risk increasing public scepticism.

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