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Game of moans

"Winter is coming", meaning trouble is ahead, is the recurring message throughout 'Game of Thrones'. We thought winter was coming in 2008 when we entered recession.

But winter is now well and truly upon us. Factionalism, political intrigue, loose cannons in the administration, civil unrest, and the now very real threat of government collapsing.

Over the weekend, in various reports, the public were treated to a political spectacle not seen since January 2011 with the dramatic collapse of the Cowen government.

The Labour Party's Brendan Howlin criticised the decisions and conduct of Fine Gael's James Reilly over spending cuts in the health service. The description of a government minister by a coalition partner as aloof, difficult to work with and unwilling to keep his colleagues in the loop must surely be causing worry at the very top.

Add to this the ongoing public backlash over tax hikes, the household charge and now the property charge. Let us not forget the rise in crime and incredible unemployment. Then, as if all of that wasn't threatening enough, there's Labour planning for an election a mere year and half after the last and thus signalling serious political instability. I think George R R Martin must be keeping tabs on this while working on his next few 'Game of Thrones' novels.

Our Taoiseach and political leaders must now be learning the lessons of the Iron Throne, made, as the story says, from the melted swords of the vanquished. They're learning that the top job in the country or the party is an uncomfortable thing, despite power and perks, and that it can always cut you.

Colin Smith

Clara, Co Offaly