Today ain’t a great day for Irish politics. I was hoping that Micheál Martin would bring a fresh team in to Dáil Éireann and shake up Irish politics with some new young blood. What he has announced is that not even *one* of his front bench is going to change. A direct translation of this is that the reason Fianna Fáil are at 16% in the polls is down to one man. The captain of any team is only as good as the team he has. If things go well, it’s a team effort and if it goes badly, the same is true.
The big problem now is who would you vote for? I would have been willing to support FF probably if Micheál Martin had brought in a new fresh young team, or if any party did, but it’s like changing the label on the tin, with the exact same contents. What a pity and an opportunity lost!
I am seriously worried about labour being in any government at a time like this, because, while I agree with sharing and caring as good and maybe even better than most, you must first have something to share, and a half left right government is going nowhere in times like this, but would be fine in good times.
The truth is between 1997 and around 2002 Ireland was making steady, very *real* progress, and then the banks and developers´ greed went bananas with nobody controlling them. It’s still true to say that since 1997 we have come a long way with people 70% better off than we were then. The problem is we have a drop in values of about 30% in the last 3 years, but a drop from a dizzy ficticious height, and back to 2002 levels. Don’t forget we were all happy in 2002, and happier than we ever were since the foundation of the state.
The other positive side to this is that it’s not easy to break the spirit of the Irish people, and we were always a creative and original race, regardless of who is in power. It is the Irish people with their creativity and entrepeneurial spirit that will get us out of this blip, not the politicians, and yes, it is only a blip, which time will prove, I’m sure. There are a group of people who bought property at the wrong time that are in the shit, and it’s very sad (home owners, not developers). This group are by and large in their late 30s, and they should be helped. The rest of the population are better off than they were 3 years ago. Salaries may have dropped 10%, but property has dropped about 50%, and the cost of living around 25% overall, which means that outside of this small but very important bracket in trouble, everyone else is better off. The person buying a house now is way better off and has much more of a disposable income.
Then you can talk about the unemployed folk because of the reccession. What % of the unemployed are between 20 and 28 years old? Most of them will head off to places like Australia for a while, and most that do will be back, like my own son, I hope. I am delighted they are gone as long as they come back because they come out of university with a degree, with no practical experience and pretty much commercially useless until they get it. The practical experience is the real education, and as long as Australia are willing to suffer this period of their education, let them at it, and say nothing for Christ’s sake!
I read somewhere that the required goverment bailout would have paid off the mortgage of every household in the country. That is incredible, but we should surely help those who bought first time homes during the “crazy period”, and if that doesn’t happen, they should simply throw the keys of the house at the bank, rent a property for a couple of years and don’t believe this rubbish that you will never again get a loan. You *will*, and you will own your own home again within a few short years. Nobody wants to lose a home, but it is better to have a decent quality of life than to be fighting for bricks and mortar which never made a home anyway, only a house.
It’s also incredible to see that every radio and TV programme is focusing on money or left and right politics, and do you not think we should also be talking about how our culture and way of life has changed negatively in the last few years outside money at all? The headline in the Examiner the other day said that the rate of suicides among the elderly has seriously increased in the last few years. That’s because with the smoking bans and breath testing in the mornings we have killed the pub trade at home, and people’s whole way of life has been changed, which makes them isolated and lonely. I have heard a good few people from the UK saying they wouldn’t go to Ireland anymore because the craic and the music was gone, which was all we had from a tourist´s point of view. I never heard anyone saying they came for the weather!
Enough now. I must go to work!!!