Friday 23 February 2018

Poll amounts to vote of no confidence

BURIED AMONG the findings of a major opinion poll published at the weekend was a damning verdict on the government's willingness, or ability ,to live up to one of its key election promises to fight for a restructuring of the bank debt repayments that are crippling the country's economy.

The poll, conducted by Millward Brown Lansdowne for the Sunday Independent, covered an extensive range of topics that sought to uncover people';s view on the state of the nation and our hopes and fears for the future. The questions ranged from how people plan to vote in the forthcoming referendum on the EU ' Fiscal Compact' to the devastating impact of emigration on families throughout the country.

The poll amounts to a snapshot of life in Ireland in 2012 and, though it is no more than a snapshot, it makes for profoundly sad reading. The poll found that two thirds of people are worried about having to reduce their standard of living this year, over half the respondents were worried about being able to pay their household bills, nearly a third fear losing their jobs and a massively significant 18 per cent of people are afraid of losing their homes.

There is more as well, much of it all too familiar in a country beleaguered by an unbearable burden of debt, lacking confidence and any hope that things will improve any time soon. While all of this might now be familiar, we shouldn't accept it as normal. It isn't normal to have a situation where almost one in five people are afraid of losing their homes.ot elected on the promise of fighting our corner, the government hasn't delivered on this.

Maybe they can't deliver - but people are tiring of the tugging the forelock carry on our politicians engage in on every visit to Brussels. It's time for them to kick up a fuss up and demand a better deal for our beleaguered little island.

But while we hope for action, the Sunday Independent poll shows we no longer expect it. The poll found that 61 per cent of people believe our foundering economy will only recover if our massive bank debt is restructured. Despite pre-election promises, only 16 per cent of people have any confidence that the government will renegotiate a better deal on the massive debt that should never have been foisted on the ordinary people of Ireland in the first place.

Despite the poll findings that the government is performing reasonably well overall, this amounts to a massive vote of no confidence. The sentiment is echoed in the poll findings that nearly a quarter of voters say their support for the forthcoming referendum on the EU Pact is dependent on a renegotiation of the terms of Ireland's bailout. The government probably won't have to work too hard to sell the latest EU pact to voters here, but they have a prime opportunity to tell our EU partners that debt renegotiation is the price to be paid for us signing up to austerity and hardship. That will take a lot of nerve, but then, that's what our political leaders signed up for. Now they need to live up to that promise.

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