Labour and Fine Gael have published their policy document for government between now and 2016 — their statement of common purpose, as they call it. You can download it here.
It looks hastily written. The writing is haphazard, the punctuation is slipshod and the grammar is dreadful but all of these are good signs because they speak of a document hammered out in smoke-filled rooms by unshaven, sweaty men and women. Unfortunately, much of it is rhetorical waffle, which I’ll eventually fillet out before presenting you with the bones and the guts of it. Why do I do these things? Who knows? It’s not as if I haven’t enough other jobs to be doing but hey, there ya go. Watch this space.
Right now, I’m still in the post-FF phase, where I’m just glad to be rid of those incompetent crooks, but I’m sure reality will bite very soon. After all, the new ministers are already doing the time-honoured Open-Book Shuffle, a dance we haven’t seen in Ireland for many years.
Forget ideology. We were always going to end up with a centre-right government, because this is a centre-right country, even if I don’t happen to like that fact very much. I admire Joe Higgins and I agree with much of what he says. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll have seen the rants here about the theft of our natural resources, and you can hardly have missed the fulminating about the criminal bail-out of the banks. I’m with Joe 100% on this, and completely in disagreement with FF, FG and Labour. We won’t bother talking about the irrelevant Greens or the defunct and highly toxic Progressive Democrats, whose laissez-faire policies seduced their troglodyte partners into the destruction of our country.
Pause there for one moment. We might not bother talking about the Greens, but we might have something to say about Charlie McCreevy, buffoon-in-chief, PD fellow traveller and close confidant of Mary Harney, who managed simultaneously to derail our economy and alienate every single potential ally we have in Europe by his swaggering, ignorant, unlettered, blundering. McCreevy, the only politician in history who needed an interpreter to convert his words to the same language he was speaking. Now that’s arrogance. He didn’t even care if you understood what he was saying.
Much of the task facing Kenny and Gilmore will be about undoing the damage caused by the fool McCreevy, the worst finance minister in Irish history, sent to Europe by the worst prime minister in the history of the land.
But to return to ideology for a moment, I have to tell you this. I’m too old for labels. I’ve lived through too many governments to care much what anyone calls me. If you want to call me a Commie, that’s fine. Some people do. Others call me a right-wing fascist, which is unfair, since I’m not a fascist, but there are elements of right-wing policy I agree with. I once had an outraged youth accuse me of being a Neo-Pragmatist whatever that is. There was drink involved, and perhaps a certain amount of herb.
I don’t agree with all the things this coalition is proposing. I don’t agree that we should be putting a single penny into the banks. I don’t see why private debt should be a problem for the Irish people who did not incur that debt. I don’t accept Brian Lenihan’s pious, sanctimonious sermon in which he said that we all partied. To Yehudi Lenihan I say, So what if we did? So what if every man Jack of us partied non-stop for ten solid years? Are we not paying our debts? How then are we part of the problem?
To Brian Lenihan I say, Fuck off! I do not expect to pay the debts of a prating coxcomb like Sean Fitzpatrick, or a vile, grasping old miser like Fingers Fingleton. I didn’t run up those debts. Why do they belong to me, or to you or to anyone except the miserable crooks who took them on?
Let me put it a different way. To the bankers and the property developers, I say: I wasn’t at the party, so I’m not paying for the beer.
I am not happy with the mainstream parties’ policy on this. However, much though I admire Joe Higgins, and much though I would have voted for People Before Profit if they had bothered to remember that Ireland doesn’t end at the borders of Dublin, an overweening reality was always going to emerge. Ireland is not ready for socialism.
Where does that leave people like me? I want change now, not in a hundred years. I want an end to the corruption of Fianna Fáil. I don’t necessarily want a perfect government, because there is no such thing.
Ultimately, I’d like to see an end to irrelevant ideologies like Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, two parties which grew out of the struggle for power and influence in the 1920s, neither possessed of any clear beliefs or principles, and perhaps what we’re witnessing now is some staging point on the transition to that point..
I don’t know.
What I do know is that we have a country riddled with inequality, corruption and ineptitude, and I am fucking sick of it.