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Entering the era of consequences

Back in 1936, on November 12, Winston Churchill -- who had been warning for years about the shifting of public moods out in the real world and also on the European stage but not noticed in the British parliament itself, and who himself had been effectively and completely dismissed and ignored as a drunk and a washout by the elite political class of the day -- made a speech that advanced his argument beyond where it had been before.

He prefaced the earlier part of the speech with the usual warnings, saying that the world had never before seen the likes of what was coming and that it was going to be bigger than anything mankind had confronted before and that nowhere near enough preparation had been done to get ready for it.

The worst part was that it had already gone past the point where anything much could be done to stop it.

And the ordinary people on the streets were ahead of their leaders in seeing this.

Some economists call this the wisdom of crowds.

This is what Mr Churchill said: "The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close.

"In its place, we are now entering a period of consequences."

This Government is positioned exactly where Neville Chamberlain's Government was in its European summit bubble of the time, totally out of touch with where the mood of the people was.

The people are tiring of their weakness internationally, their ridiculous optimism for their handling of the economy and likewise the savings still coming from the Croke Park Agreement -- but most of all, people are tired of their almost casual dismissal of the seriousness of the situation.

The Government is also just like Mr Chamberlain and his cabinet of the day in deludedly thinking that they still have some control over what is happening and are solving things, but that the 'simple' people don't understand it. They just seem blank when they hear the tone of what is being said to them.

Like Mr Churchill's warning, they don't seem to realise the countdown to their collapse has, in fact, already started and their fate is already probably unavoidable now.

Peter Moylan
Ennis, Co Clare

Irish Independent