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John Drennan: Enthusiasm and hope have collapsed along with economy

AFTER the Rising of 1916, WB Yeats famously wrote of how "a terrible beauty" had been born.

He was, as poets are supposed to be, remarkably prescient in his language -- a new State would be born in less than a decade.

How unfortunate it is then that a new 'terrible failure' by our political leadership means we are now poised to commemorate 1916 as a vassal state of the ECB, the IMF and the British bond market.

It might appear to be an insufficient response to such a betrayal to suggest that it would also be a terrible irony.

However, irony is the only weapon the dispossessed have and, despite the cant of clever idiots like Vincent Browne about our status as the richest country in Europe, truly we are becoming a dispossessed people.

This sense of dispossession is not just confined to our homes, careers or any real connection with the future lives of our fleeing adult children.

Instead, the failure of the elite is stripping away the natural enthusiasm, hope, entrepreneurship and, in an increasingly poignant number of cases, the actual will to live of our people.

Any sane person wants to be optimistic but, as Mr Cowen and Mr Lenihan indulge in gobbledygook about no sacrifice being too great for the Irish (and we note they are far keener on sacrifice in theory rather than practice) it would be immoral to lie about the bleak place in which we find ourselves.

It is bad enough that we live in a collapsed economy. What, however, is even more clear is that Ireland is now also a failed political entity.

Last week this was epitomised by the contemptuous decision of FF and the Greens to withhold details of the four-year plan until after the by-election in Donegal.

This was not just another example of the frantic determination of this gristly duo to prioritise their political interests over those of the people.

It was a chilling indication of how the terrible failure of our political leaders has created a system of political and administrative leadership that increasingly resembles that of a small, none too efficient, fascist state.

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A wise man once noted, you should pity the country whose elites do not use the same language as the people for such a dysfunctional state is invariably a colony.

As our elite speak a language that is without meaning about adjustments, fundamentals, capacity for sacrifice and export-led growth, the Irish tragedy is that the occupying power consists of our own political and public sector elite.

It is bad enough that we are governed by a set of political and public sector cuckoos. But, even when they deign to speak to the people, our political masters do not talk honestly.

Nothing epitomises this more than the less-than-subtle warnings by our Quisling governors that if we are tempted to misbehave we should remember the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission are at the gates.

But as our Finance Minister wrings his cap and tries to steel himself to ask the bond markets for the loan of a few euros, the real truth is they are actually sitting in the Department of Finance with their feet up on the table dictating the next Budget.

Perhaps the most appalling reflection on the failure of Ireland's leadership is that the most honest commentators on the real state of our economy are the bond traders, for they have weighed, measured, sifted and seen through the spoof.

We should start listening to them.

Sadly, one of the reasons why we should do so is that our opposition parties appear to be anxious to collaborate with the narrative the Government is spinning on the principle of safety in numbers.

We are in a bad place when the opposition are as untrustworthy as the current regime.

But instead of being out and proud with proposals to rescue the State they are in a shambolic closet hiding their real intentions via Mr Noonan's gnomic metaphors or the evasive cunning of 'pink but perfect' Mr Gilmore.

It is a position that suggests they too are as incapable of finding some good place they can bring us to, just like our current masters.

In Easter 1916 Yeats observed that "too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart".

The same, of course, can also occur to a country.

Like Weimar Germany, a nation increasingly feels that having been stabbed in the back its people and resources are being cannibalised to protect a small vested elite from a hostile outside order.

We know what happens if that view seizes a people and that this, or the throwing of paint at failed politicians, is not a road we should take.

But we are, however, surely at the point where the public are now entitled to tell the Government to "publish your four-year plan and be damned for even citizens have rights too, God damn you".


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