Saturday 8 November 2008

Irish voters should be ashamed of themselves - democracy is not a TV game show!

The only surprising thing about all these budget protests is that everyone’s acting surprised.
Well, if you’re amazed that the same politicians who gave away all that free money with the SSIA schemes have now hit up the weakest members of society, I’m just flabbergasted at your naivety.
How can the people of Ireland stare themselves in the mirror and with a clear conscience wonder why their government turned out to be so cruel and nasty? Are you truly shocked when the same bunch who oversaw the Celtic Tiger now try to save €100 measly million on medical cards for the over-70’s, out of a budget of €64 billion? How can they say there’s no money left for the health service and education system?
I’ll tell you how: because they are acting to type.
All of you giving out about how incredibly out of touch the government is with the common people should shut up and look deeper into that mirror. You voted for this heinous Fianna Fail -PD coalition (well okay, nobody actually voted for the PDs, but they came as part of a 2-for-1 deal), so what the hell do you expect?
Did you really think that a political party with a culture so rotten to the core would somehow give a damn about your grannie?
Did you really believe that after decades of scandal, fraud, lies and self-interest, Fianna Fail would metamorphose into a morally sound and socially-concerned bunch of do-gooders?
Did you really think that the PDs believed all that crap about the drip-drip-drip effect of wealth flowing from the rich toward the poor?
Well you must have, because you voted for them, or rather, you voted for the money, for the lifedecadence, greed, style and the extra holiday, and now, just when society needs a compassionate helping hand, you’re stuck with a decadent government of Bottom Line guzzlers who showed their contempt for all of you greedy money grabbers by targeting exactly and precisely those who have little or nothing to give.
The voters of Ireland should be ashamed of themselves. You voted for your SSIAs instead of your NHS. You chose your HDTVs over your MRIs, and your DVDs and PCs over CT and EKG scanners.
You just kept on voting for the money, whilst all the time well aware of who was running this national edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: the very same people whose self-serving brown envelope culture had robbed the country blind since the silk-shirted 1970’s. You knew that Mary Harney and her PD cohorts said they loved the NHS but were really hell-bent on creating a Public-Private Partnership that would remove the right of universal healthcare forever. You knew that in their hearts, this FF-PD coalition didn’t really want to build a land of caring committed well-funded public services. They just wanted to create a few billionaires, and if that meant everyone else ended up with massive credit card bills, 100%mortgages, grievous debts of all kinds, poor powerless victims of future government policy, then so be it.
Politicians are just like you and me: biped mammals with active brains, whose prime instinct is survival. They threw sweeties to us proles from their victory parades, but when times became hard, they turned their backs on us and showed their true colours: avaricious and self-serving.
And now all of you who voted for these selfish Soldiers of Destiny and their neo-Con Thatcherite spawn buddies are yelling and marching in the streets to protest. Well, instead of chewing your fingernails as you worry about your job security, consider this: if you treat democracy like a TV game show, you’ll end up being a loser. If you vote for the money every time, you end up lonely and broke, living in a vile society wherein nobody gives a damn about each other.
Of course it’s not going to be easy. (That’s what the politicians say, isn’t it? It’s not going to be easy, Brian, but I’m sure if we all pull together we can make it.) Well, I’m saying it now, too.
Come on people, it’s time to start demanding some basic rights.
Forget about the second SUV and little Eugenia’s riding lesson, and start prioritising what’s best for our society. The Irish need to stop spending millions on less-than-vital roads, sparkly new stadia, aquarian centres and pump money into the staffing of our hospitals.
The Irish need to stop giving billions in tax breaks to American and multinational companies who come and go, offering and destroying Irish jobs at the whim of a Wall Street flutter or a wobble on the Dollar, and start funding jobs for class teachers, substitute teachers, specialist language and special needs teachers, and school improvement schemes.
The Irish need to get over their post-colonial inferiority complex and start to believe in themselves. Yes, I know you all had a boom and wasn’t it just lovely? But deep in your hearts you know that it came as a result of untold billions of Structural Adjustment Funds from the EU and massive yet temporary foreign investment in a workforce that was, at the time, offering high productivity for low wage costs.
Now the wages are gone, the investment has run out, and it’s down to the Irish to solve their own crisis. The global economic tempest will continue, but here on this tiny lump of land there is enough money, intelligence, elbow grease and resolve to build a better society.
So please, would you ever stop looking up to the Fianna Fail gangsters in their flash suits? I swear, I think some of you voted for them simply because they look like they do alright for themselves. You wouldn’t want to suffer their company for a minute at your table in the pub of a night, but an auld Oirish part of you thinks that if dem yokes can live in big plush houses and drive the fancy cars, then maybe they’re worth voting for, because maybe if you do, your life will become just like theirs.
Indeed, dear voters of Ireland, it will, and in the process you will lose your compassion and sense of community. You will feel flush with the rush of profit for about ten minutes, and then you’ll be back marching in the streets again to save your grannie’s medical card.

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