So the government thought it was going to placate the masses with a relatively benign budget and what do we do? We snub our noses at it and say “too little, too late”. We cannot forgive them for asking to tighten our belts and then watch as the Irish Water story unravels. The waste, the ineptitude, the arrogance. Too much! And guess what, both government parties have been here before – they are no strangers to going into it up to their oxters.: remember the failed 1982 Budget when a FG/Lab coalition fell because of a proposed tax on children’s shoes?
It is not entirely comfortable viewing watching a government slowly imploding before your eyes. The sad fact is that, much and all as they have tried to do what they think is best for the country, both FG and Lab have not managed to disentangle from this what is best for the party. When the banking crisis hit and brought us to our knees we all presumed that the “never again” from the incoming government parties was a sign that things would be done differently in the future, that cronyism and sloppy practise would no longer be tolerated. The momentum behind any potential changes to the system is now all but gone and we find that nothing has changed.
This government will either limp to the end of its term or fall apart amid acrimonious internal bickering and ideological differences. You can also expect to see TDs jumping ship in the hopes of winning back some support in their constituencies. What then? Can we expect the incoming government to be completely different, a reforming government, one with a social conscience, one which cares for the small guy and is not afraid of the IMF, the ECB and the multi-nationals? And just who will make up this government: FF/FG – not likely, FF/Lab – very possible, FF/SF – gonna happen sooner or later. Maybe it will be much simpler than that: FF!
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.