Monday 23 October 2017

Irish Water was an inside job, stupid - so start over

The Irish Water mess originates in the privatisation agenda concocted by insiders

IGNORED: Insiders refused to listen to then ESRI economist Richard Tol, who advised on how to structure rates so that there were good allowances for families. Photo: Will Oliver
IGNORED: Insiders refused to listen to then ESRI economist Richard Tol, who advised on how to structure rates so that there were good allowances for families. Photo: Will Oliver
Sarah Carey

Sarah Carey

Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign strategist James Carville came up with the famous "It's the economy, stupid" line; launching not just Clinton's presidential campaign but an electoral cliche. It's behind the Taoiseach's repeated assurances that there'll be no election until 2016. The longer he waits, the more jobs there'll be, and the more votes to go with them. Employed people will vote for political stability and economic growth, not headbangers, stupid.

But as Forrest Gump's mother would say, "Stupid is as stupid does" and Irish Water has a lot of stupid in the story. The really stupid part is that the government clings so tightly to the cliche about the economy, that they refuse to accept that for a lot of sane people, it's more than that. As the country pieces itself back together, it becomes obvious that for all the faults of voters and borrowers, a large part of the damage was done from the inside. And while some of us have borne the consequences of our mistakes, the insiders haven't.

The key thing about Irish Water is that it's an inside job. It was set up by insiders with an insider's agenda. And while politicians will pay an electoral price for screwing up, the insiders will carry on lining their pockets and being protected from their mistakes.

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