Getting the first glimpses of the damage done to the political establishment on Sunday, Fine Gael General Secretary Tom Curran had a line that said so much. On RTÉ, as the left surged, he noted: “None of us saw the appetite for change”.
It should have been an extraordinary comment yet, all over, his party were pulling back the curtains so we could see the smug behind the smokescreen of their slick and sickly PR. Beneath the fur coat and all of that.
Richard Bruton chatted down to those he’s supposed to work for, complaining: “Obviously when explaining detailed policy, against a move where people are saying let’s have change, the detail of that change is challenging”.
Michael Ring’s toys were next from the pram, as he attacked those same employers for not answering his questions on doorsteps.
It reminded me of Seymour Skinner, the principal from ‘The Simpsons’. “Am I so out of touch?” he once asked himself. “No, it’s the children who are wrong.”
For those willing against this establishment after success at the ballot box, it’s been a week of oft-hypocritical and biased battering via public opinion.
It’s a decade since the IMF came and, on that first night in 2010, a stroll near the Dáil was supposed to be greeted with crowds worthy of grim history.
There was a line of satellite trucks from the world’s media there, and they were baffled by a largely empty street. The only folk that had marched belonged to Sinn Féin.
Perhaps people didn’t realise the severity of what was happening, as if it was the first gust of a surprise storm, but soon they’d find out. A generation got lifts to Dublin Airport, never to return. Our neighbours’ son in Athy left for Australia and they never saw him alive again, as he returned in a coffin after a car accident. For them to see Michéal Martin being in a position to make promises again was a reminder of what elements are still willing to do to the have-nots left behind.
On a trip home last year, a visit to Naas Hospital with a family member with decent health insurance saw them spend 48 hours on a trolley surrounded by drunks vomiting blood and children screaming in pain.
Finding an empty wheelchair so I could sit off the hard tiled floor for a few minutes, an overworked, underpaid nurse told me it was a no-go as I wasn’t insured.
To think... There are those actually wanting to dictate that a reasonable and responsible choice of Taoiseach ought to be between two former Ministers of Health. They don’t have a clue because they are lucky enough to live the lie.
To hear Labour Party politician Ivana Bacik pronounce this election a protest summed up the cluelessness. When it came to protests, her Blair-ite party’s numbers were a better demonstration. Some of the electorate are fed up of humiliation.
They want a real left and an opportunity.
It’s this which is scaring the sort of people that talk of a rising economy lifting all boats, when they’ve never got the frustration of being in a dinghy while those in yachts tell them to be thankful.
In fact, it has them hissing and spitting at a democratic will, as if honest folk are somehow wrong for not enduring more of the same.
The like of Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill and her Killiney constituents might be confused, but that’s because they don’t get it. Those of us from places like Athy have seen our towns brought to their knees, not by the armoured cars and bombed-out bars that keep being referenced, but by the myth of trickle-down economics. Fine Gael talks of Brexit and boom. We get bookies and cash-for-gold shops.
This is our Ireland 2020.
That, of course, is not to say Sinn Féin don’t have serious issues. There are genuine questions to ask and, in cases, genuine concerns about some in the party.
No one is perfect in our system. That’s not to give Sinn Féin a pass, rather merely a chance. If they get it, they should be judged more harshly than is usual in politics – not because of their past, but because of the easy passes often handed out in this sphere that have seen Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil grow so arrogant.
Only the reaction of key players who think that ruling is a right rather than a privilege is telling. They needed a reminder of reality. As do those protecting them.
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war — and we’re winning,” American business magnate Warren Buffett once said.
In Ireland they’re stunned some would dare fight back.