Fianna Fail have been running rampant through Irish politics for as long as I can remember.
They were always the largest party, and I remember the shock and horror the first time they failed to gain a majority in an election and had to go into coalition.
Their downward slide was slow at first. It started with Haughey and his policy of cronyism and backhanders. This of course developed into the Haughey School of Economics with taught that politicians were above the law and could screw anyone they liked in order to line their pockets.
Things have progressed since then.
Fianna Fail have sunk almost to third place in the rankings. They are a mere three points from the bottom. While they were partying with their developer pals, the banks were milking the system, and they are now reaping the whirlwind.
Some of the figures are rather startling.
1% of the population are very happy with the government’s handling of the current situation. ONE PERCENT!
84% are dissatisfied with the government. If I had that kind of disapproval level, I would probably slit my wrists.
The one phrase that crops up endlessly in interviews is “difficult decisions”.
‘Of course we are unpopular. We have difficult decisions to make which are hard but necessary.’
That is the greatest load of bollox. It is not their ‘difficult decisions’ which have made them unpopular – it is the unconsidered crap decisions that have done the job. They are lurching from crisis to crisis, and lashing out an all sides in a blind panic.
Let’s have a look at what they could have considered.
For a start, the number of elected representatives needs to be radically slashed. The Seanad can be abolished altogether. A small but significant touch would be to abolish all pensions in the Dail prior to retirement age.
Next thing to do is to ‘ring fence’ [I hate that cliché but fuckit] essential items such as health, education, the young and the old. I would also place anyone who is on the national average industrial wage in that category. Anyone outside the area is then taxed on a sliding scale. If you are on a salary slightly above the average, you pay a mere 1%. But as the scale increases, so the percentage increases. I think the general public would be happy to see the top earners in the country paying 80% or more in tax?
As for the banks, I would bring in the boards and top management of all the banks and sack the lot of them. If they didn’t know what was going on, then they should have.
There are loads of other ways of cutting back – quangos, committees, consultants and study groups should all be thrown out of government unless absolutely vital. Non essential projects can be scrapped and the funds diverted. I could go on.
If I were in power and introduced those measures, I would doubtless still have to cut back somewhere that would hurt the ordinary voter.
But I can guarantee that more than 1% would approve?