what better reason could there possibly be?
Change for the purpose of staying the same?
When i was growing up my oh-so simplistic view of Irish politics was that the Government regularly changed from Fianna Fail to some sort of Fine Gael coalition – and i thought that was a good thing because it kept both parties fairly honest, fairly in touch with the voters and fully aware that their moment in the sunshine wouldn’t last.
Fairly honest – hah – Charlie and the grabbers fairly blew that out of the water.
I was a fool – and the fact that i was in the company of fools is no excuse.
In those years we, the electorate, were changing the government in order to stay the same, same policies, same economics, same dedication to economic growth, same promises for tax reductions, same promises to improve services when …… ah when …………
Change to stay the same!
Like bringing on subs during a football match – same game, different players, same result – a win, a draw or a defeat – no new options introduced.
And then we were conned a little bit more, which considering we were all fools anyway, wasn’t that difficult to do. Bertie Ahern and his merry gang persuaded us that things were so good and getting better and better and better, that we had to keep returning a Fianna Fail government. They dropped taxes and increased spending – what could possibly go wrong?
And the dissenters, the occasional isolated voices of reason?
An exceptionally low moment in a national history which has seen its share of low moments.
Unfortunately for us, everybody in the western world was at the same game – robbing the future to party in the present – so when it came, it was big –
– the economy went bang, a supernova of an implosion. Not just the Irish economy but the worldwide economy and us fools, us Irish fools as well, have ended up paying for much of it.
Then because it was obviously time for a change – we voted in a Fine Gael coalition – not really a change at all – just a change in who gets to hold the parcel. And they promptly set about restoring the status quo by way of tax breaks for corporations and austerity for the rest of us – the fools.
Now, the world has changed. We have realised we are fools and so we are bringing in change.
In America, the voters elected President Trump because he promised change, a change from the status quo, he promised to empty the swamp that was the political establishment but many of his team are in jail and he continues to undo the minimal safeguards US citizens and their environment had achieved. It’s just a different team, same game.
We watched the UK with their recent General Election and proposed Brexit and we believed that they too would change, change for the better. But they voted in Boris and Brexit and conservative control and abandoned their young, mortgaged their futures and isolated themselves from Europe.
And now its our turn.
And the shadow of the climate crisis grows ever larger and we know that the same old, same old, has brought us to this – the edge of civilisation. We know that the model we have been using – a model based on economic growth – robbing the future to party in the present – is no longer viable and it never actually worked anyway for the majority, because so many were always turned away from the party.
But we kept on, hoping that if we stayed in our place, stayed in the queue, behaved ourselves, by the time we reached the doors, we would be allowed in – even though we saw all the people ahead of us being turned away.
On Saturday we vote, the media suggests we are ready for significant change, to move towards the left and policies designed to improve the life and livelihood of those queuing outside, to protect our climate and our planet.
But will we?
Namaste my friends – vote wisely.
Update 14 February
Well done voters of Ireland – or a lot of you anyway. Unfortunately this could still be the future.