On staying atop the greasy pole

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There are few things in life, let alone politics, that you can say with absolute certainty. There is one, however, we can this morning say with total confidence: not a single TD in Dail Eireann wants an election. They’ve spent money, they’ve spent time, they’ve smiled and cajoled and shaken hands, they’ve shimmied to the top of the greasy pole and finally landed a seat. You think they’re willingly going to go and do all that over again, with the possibility that this time they could fail to make the top of the greasy pole?

That’s why the two big parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, appear after 60 days to have come to an arrangement: they will delay the whole question of water charges, kick it down the road at least several months, maybe a couple of years. So Irish Water won’t cease to exist, water charges won’t cease to exist; but they’ll be put on hold while Fine Gael and Fianna Fail get their breath and the south gets a government.

A stunningly original arrangement? A dazzling piece of political manoeuvre? Uh-uh. A half-decent A Level Politics student could have come up with this sleight of hand inside twenty-four hours. It took the combined wisdom of FG and FF 60 days. The only question now, it seems, is whether the electorate have good memories.

Because Fine Gael has already  persuaded 60% of the population to cough up on water charges. Those people are going to be very unhappy water-bunnies if they see 40% of the population getting off the hook, at least for the foreseeable future. They’ll be itching to give FG the mother and father of all kickings for insisting that Irish Water and water charges would stay, yet here they are doing a well-not-now-and-later-on-we’ll-see-maybe-yes-maybe-no.

And Fianna Fail? Their manifesto gave the firm commitment that it would get rid of Irish Water and it would get rid of water charges. Now it’s asking the electorate to accept that postponement is the same thing as abolition and that delayed water charges are the same thing as abolished water charges.

In short, the arrangement now being mooted means both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have codded their supporters and are in that-was-then-this-is-now mode. And do you know what makes me really, really sad? Despite the fact that the last 60 days have been all about TDs and parties looking to save their bony asses, there’s a good chance the people of the south will  accept this 60+ days brainwave and will tell themselves they are blessed to be governed by men and women of such wisdom and integrity.

Now that is scary. Very scary.

5 Responses to On staying atop the greasy pole

  1. Iolar April 27, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    Sir Humphrey Appleby might say,

    “ It is truly a victory for democracy…”

    It is evident that elected representatives in Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil do not sin by commission only, no they have meetings, take minutes and waste hours. It was Fine Gael and the Irish Labour party who created the debacle that is now known as Irish Water. Garda time and resources had to be deployed to deal with protests, to the delight of the drug barons. Comments were made last evening that the negotiators are “sick of water” and now wish to refer the matter to “experts” who will convene a commission and report back, god knows when. Who will be the first Knight of the Bath in Ireland?

    The electorate is sick of stealth taxes, however, Richard Bruton on RTÉ today made it clear that outstanding water bills must be paid and houses cannot be sold until outstanding bills are paid in full. Goldman Sachs is linked to a controversy over evictions in a Dublin estate and is one of a group of firms used by investment funds to hold Irish assets bought in the wake of the financial crash. Recently tenants in Cruise Park, Tyrrelstown were told they must leave or buy their homes, owned by a European Property Fund.

    Tax payers are sick of bankers and gangsters, however, it is getting more difficult to spot the difference at present.

    “To whom do we owe our allegiance today?”

    A minority government supported by individuals who treat political principles as fashion accessories, does not inspire confidence.

  2. Perkin Warbeck April 27, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    That water should play such a pivotal part in party politics down here in DOBland, Esteemed Blogmeister, is not really an eyebrow archer. Though it would seem to be so for those sad souls not cursed with a dry wit.

    For the Free Southern Stateen is nothing if not a Milk and Water construction.: MaW.

    Whose monominded media (which controls the agenda of Enda and others who tend to need a lend of an idea or ten to be penned for them by those at the tree top end of the hackitariat) is populated by members of the one tribe: the MaW MaW. Not at all to be confused with , say, the Mau Mau who weren’t quite as interested in remaining as a cosy colony of Queen Elizardbeth.

    (Curiously, it was in the land of the Mau Mau that the then Princess Elizardbeth found herself in 1952 when she got a call in the dead of night that all tourists dread , and she to be staying in the upscale Tree Tops hotel. And though she had to leave, her heart-felt thoughts remained in Kenya with the body parts of the Kilimanjaro killers a-floating down the Mutonga river).

    To take the W part first, a tear-drenched report which surfaced in The Unionist Times as recently as (gulp) today will suffice:

    -A floral tribute to the British soldiers who died at the Battle of Mount Street Bridge during the 1916 Rising has been removed.

    (Pause to dab the wets from one’s eyes).

    -Former British soldier, Alan Barry, who put it there said he was ‘disgusted’ by that removal . AB said the 216 Sherwood Foresters who were killed or injured during the Dublin battle deserved to be remembered’.

    (While it didn’t specify by whom, but remembered presumably by the, erm, AB readership at which the high-toned TUT is targeted).


    Mount Street Bridge is located, of course, one bridge downstream on the Grand Canal from where Patrick Kavanagh penned his poem near Baggot Street Bridge. And where the water niagorously roars. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why this weepy, seepy report is written as if by a swan,with head bent low with many apologies.

    The early rising AB said he left the wreath on Mount Street Bridge at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

    (Corporate advertisers please note: the AB readership of the The Unionist Times are generally considered to be ‘healthy, wealthy and wise’).

    The early rising AB ‘was furious that his tribute had been removed ‘ and also, ‘he believed that it was removed by republicans who came to the memorial in the evening’.

    (Corporate advertisers, also please note: such wreath removers are not known as,erm, mountebanks for nothing).

    Thoughtfully, a photograph of the ’removed’ wreath had been taken and is used to illustrate the 216-hanky heart-rending report / swansong. In the snap one can see the regimental medal surrounded by 216 poppies (out of season) and inscribed on the medal is the following ‘Notts v Derby’. Which, if it happened to be about a soccer, oops, football match would actually be in season, just about.

    The M part of the MaW featured prominently , i.e., was in one’s face, last week: Milk. The white fluid of human kindness with which The Irish Dairy Board aka Ornua, is known to overflow. Not least from the pockets of the top dogs / fat cats who, erm, shared 9 million squids in pay, bonuses etc over two years.

    -Ornua ?

    Because it includes Kerrygold in its globally-expanding portfolio one is led to believe that Ornua is the Leprechaun for , erm, Newgold.

    Alas, there does seem to be a fad for the fada of late. Or, rather, the dropped fada. The fada of course in the acute accent in the Leprechaun which is not at all to be confused with the acute accent that is peculiar to the alumni of the High School in South Dublin where the High Moral Tone is de rigeur on the curriculum. As a moment’s listen to either A. Shatter or D.O Brien will illustrate.

    First there was the Case of the Missing Fada in the first word , Eire, on the All-inclusive Wall of Remembrance in the Glasnevin Golgotha. Which ensuing hoohah was utterly unjustified. It wasn’t, like, as if the name of Private Alf Tupper, aka the Tough of the Track, of the Sherwood Foresters, had been misspelt with an extra p, like: Alf Tuppper.

    Then there was the Case of the Missing Fada in the plaque erected at Banna Srand. It was a case of Third Time Unlucky with Ornua.

    With the fada missing over the O this means that Ornua can mean (gulp) New Tillage. Or (!) even, according to the definite arbiter on these matters, Dineen’s Dictionary , (gasp) New Border.

    This could have serious repercussions for The Perkin, who has a long-standing commitment to the Dropped Fada. Has one, one asks oneself, frankly, created a monster one cannot now control?

    The reason, incidentally, why The Perkin omits his fadas (much as Fidel leaves his beard which is nothing if not fada)is for a blatantly political reason and not for the purpose of a typographical gaffe. The reason being the commemoration of that centre of excellence for the Big F: Campa na Ceise Fada.

    A reminder, as it were, modest in the extreme though it may well be, of the numbers of acute accented croppies who were taken out of circulation and dropped below the radar.

    Is one talking about the, erm, Law of Unintended Consequences here?

    If so, ta ar Law tagtha in this the stateen of Milk and Water.

    To conclude: by a peculiar vicus of recirculation Ornua morphed out of The Irish Dairy Board which in its day had morphed out of An Bord Bainne / The Milk Board.

    And here’s a thing: the first boss of An Bord Bainne, aka the Kerrygolden Boy himself, whose background as an adroit handler of the egg-shaped ball rendered him the obvious choice to, as it were, milk the sytems. Sadly, he was last reported to be sleeping in pin-striped poverty below the ornate arches of a bridge (unammed) along the banks of the (sigh) Grand Canal

    Oh, commemorate him where there is water, canal water, preferable, so stilly green in the heart of summer.

    Milk and Water, they go together like Bainne agus Uisce.

    • Sherdy April 27, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

      I wonder how would that wreath-laying former British soldier react if someone from the IRA left a wreath at the London cenotaph in honour of Irishmen who died fighting for Ireland, and for how long the wreath might be left in-situ!

  3. paddykool April 27, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

    Aaah ….Jude, our old friend Jonathan Swift one of several celestial dieties ultimately responsible for the very cosmic creation of the Land of Norneverland and the Imaginary Republic of Oireland, was wont to say that promises and pie crusts are made to be broken. Isn’t it just so….it is …so it is …it is…

  4. Ryan April 27, 2016 at 7:28 pm #

    Jude, your fears of the Southern electorate having a short memory is very valid, the Fianna Fail corpse being resurrected is an example of this shortness of memory from people in the South. Its unbelievable that a party that was responsible for breaking the Irish Economy, sending 200,000 of our youngest and brightest to foreign shores to enrich other countries, who were involved in all sorts of cronyism, etc can possibly get as many seats as they have. But that’s the power of the media for you. This shortness of memories not only occurs in Ireland but also in Britain, as we seen with the tories getting a MAJORITY after all the cuts and austerity they implemented.

    It was the economist David McWilliams and his books that alerted me to the fact that 95% of all people, in general, are literally irrational. We tend to have this general opinion that people have “common sense”. As I always said: Common sense isn’t that Common….. For example, millions of people play the lottery knowing full well their chances of winning are next to zero but they still cough up the odd £10-£20 for a few tickets or scratch cards. Millions of people watch and consider “soaps” like Emmerdale or Coronation Street to be more important than World affairs, Politics, Society, Economics, History, etc things which actually have a massive impact on their daily lives, from the price of food to how their society functions. And Millions of people vote for the same political parties over and over again all their lives despite promises that are always inevitably broken. So yes, you can bet your last pretty penny that many people will forget Fianna Fail’s broken promise on abolishing Irish Water and will lend them their vote again sooner or later.

    But this is still a good thing from Sinn Fein’s perspective. Now they can hammer Fianna Fail on their broken promises of abolishing Irish Water just like they did with Labour and it should bring extra votes to the Shinners. But it’ll be a struggle for Sinn Fein to keep the electorate’s short memory on this broken promise when the media would rather cast up the Provisional IRA at every opportunity…..