By Red Hugh
On St Stephen’s Night the main RTE News did a bit of round up of the Christmas festivities and in the midst of all the happy clappy stuff about Santa visiting hospitals etc the newsreader came out with the amazing line that ‘more people than ever’ had been in touch with charitable organisations seeking aid.
At a time when minister after minister goes on the airwaves to broadcast the good news that we are in recovery the thought occurred to me with a force akin to getting a shovel full in the face that the spin is not matching the reality.
Statistics released just before Christmas revealed sixty families a week are losing their homes while there was a 93 per cent increase in homelessness last year.
The Googles and Microsofts may have seen a big increase in their profits but how many households have seen a demonstrable improvement in economic circumstances in the past year? I would suggest precious view…
In a recent interview with Ivan Yates on TV3 the columnist and pundit, Eamonn Dunphy, repeated his controversial comment, first made on the Late Late Show, that this country is ‘a kip’.
He pulled no punches: we are still exporting our brightest and our best; 1,500 children were sleeping in hotel or bed and breakfast rooms in our capital city because they had no homes; our hospitals were a disgrace with a two or even three tier system which favoured the well off; we had the worst government, the most inept since the foundation of the State; and the ruling class, the elite were little more than spivs and morons.
[Don’t hold back, Eamonn…tell us what you really think….]
But nothing is going to change because nothing ever changes. Our problem is pretty much like that of our neighbouring island, Britain, in that there is a cozy political consensus where a tweedle dee government is replaced every so often by a tweedle dum government.
This is sold as ‘stability’, as good economic management. It’s no such thing. It’s the establishment making sure their interests are not disrupted.
Last week Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, said he would not favour a coalition with Fianna Fail because that would clear the way for Sinn Fein to be the main opposition. And that, he said, would create ‘a right-left’ political paradigm in this country, something he was strongly against.
He would prefer Fianna Fail to be in opposition because, he explained, it was a centrist party. That tweedle dee-tweedle dum thing again…
But there is change coming from the bottom up. In Britain, the Labour Party have shocked the establishment by electing an old fashioned socialist, Jeremy Corbyn.
In Spain, Podemos, have broken through the two party system. Syriza has brought left wing politics into government.
And in Ireland Sinn Fein and the Independents could make the 2016 the most interesting since the foundation of this State.
Finally, let me make this point – austerity has exposed this government’s right wing ideology in much sharper focus than they probably would have wished.
Their priority was, without apology, the protection of the rich and powerful at all costs. And while that meant placing a massively disproportionate burden on the shoulders of working people so be it.
If you, dear reader,want real change I would suggest taking a good look at what’s out there…