By Declan Foley
The old adage "when in a hole stop digging" appears to be lost on the neo-cons in Fine Gael. Alas, it does not surprise anyone like myself, aged 67 years, or older, as since March 2011, Kenny and Noonan et al, began a massive 'hole-digging' operation, that appears to have worsened with the advent of 'new politics' in 2016. Now eagerly adopted with exuberance by the followers of new Taoiseach, Leo Vardakar.
Yes, that same Leo, who promised “The Government I will lead will be one of the new European centre, as we seek to build a republic of opportunity that is a republic in which every citizen gets a fair go and has the opportunity to succeed, and in which every part of the country has a chance to share in our prosperity.”
But, that was then, not recent days, in the aftermath of the democratic and legal finding of the jury in the trial of the Jobstown political protesters. The jury found them "Not Guilty": the judge sent them home. Labour under party leader Brendan Howlin, wisely, sung dumb, as did Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein.
But not Fine Gael, starting with party leader, Vardakar who was followed with rapidity beyond belief by his choristers - boys and girls equally - in attempts to debase and vilify the men, (and their supporters) who appear to have been erroneously charged with false imprisonment. Bad enough that the Garda, when arresting these people, did so in the manner in which they arrested subversives in the past, but worse, that the sworn evidence from members of a police force, trained in giving evidence in a court of law, were at such variance from the actual videoed evidence, is to say the least, beyond belief in the 21 century.
And so, it came to pass that in recent days there has been a media bombardment by the boys and girls in blue! No, not An Garda Siochana: the inane blueshirts who are now so far to the right, they have forgotten another old rhyme "Sticks and stones may break my bones/ But names will never hurt me!".
No, they could not forget a rhyme seared into the memory from childhood, rather, they were tutored by their masters "The Party Handlers and Advisers" who each week give the blueshirt T.D's and Senator's lessons on how, and what to say, in public and to the media. Uncle Joe Stalin used to call it propaganda. In modern political party speak it is "Singing from the same hymn sheet!" ( Kate O'Connell wasn't far off the mark)
But, what Leo's blueshirt handlers overlooked, is that by shouting from the rooftops, and singing from the telephone wires that the Jobstown protesters were 'guilty' of using foul language against 'Moaning' Joanie and her assistant - whilst they were incarcerated "a la Nelson Mandela", according to her court evidence - is that Fine Gael has now taken ownership, and complete and utter responsibility, for the case going ahead.
The public anger of Fine Gael is more than evident, but why are they so angry? Ponder on that question for a long time.
So where from here with Fine Gael as a government?
Well, from far away Australia, as I look at Leo et al through my glass eye, I foresee a party, so out of touch with the people, and with absolutely no empathy for the sick, unemployed or debt laden households of ordinary working people, that the rich will get richer.
Anyone outside of the right-wing thinking of Fine Gael will be vilified publicly and privately - expect more videos praising a few Euros for aged pensions; cuts to health, education and unemployment benefit, as more public service are privatised.
The contracts for the privatised services will more than likely be won by business organisations registered in the Cayman Islands; the Isle of Man and similar tax avoidance States. The late, great, Irishman Ken Whittaker (1916-2017) in an interview prior to his death mentioned the difference between "a Civil Service with a Cabinet and a Cabinet with a Civil Service".
The former appears to be the dangerous path Ireland appears to have been on for many years now.
The destruction of Local Government, the removal of political responsibility for the health service, utilities etc, etc, is today endemic in political life. Brussels gets blamed for actions forced upon the government. Strange how the Troika/EU demands on the installation of water meters could be implemented immediately, yet these same institutions, demands for immediate changes to the Legal System of Ireland, can be pushed further and further, down the line.
Thus, when the man and woman in the street protest against water meters they are both vilified in the media by politicians and beaten with baton charges by An Garda! Makes perfect sense to the out of touch millionaire class. Interestingly this was a similar scenario in Russia in October 1917. They do say history repeats itself.
Today (Monday July 3) "The Irish Times"
carries a report of a foodbank opening in Boyle, twenty-five miles from Sligo, and now in the same Dail electorate.
Perhaps the clientele of the Food Bank pawned their alarm clocks?
Finally, allow me to put a scenario, or two, to readers of Sligo Today. Psychologists will tell you that using foul language, as was used by some protesters at Jobstown, is a form of release of pent-up anger: anger that could manifest into violence.
On February 2 1972 an angry mob burned the British Embassy in Dublin to the ground. The governments of both the U.K and Ireland allowed it to happen, on the advice of the Garda Siochana. Why? For the simple reason, it would lance the boil of hatred consuming the entire island of Ireland at that time.
Likewise the angry and verbal protest at Jobstown lanced the boil of hatred. Sadly the hatred of 'those who are not of our ilk' blinds the blueshirt party any empathy with the protesters.
Be prepared for an October election. The outcome will be most interesting. The biggest losers will be the party of Connolly. The winners? Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin.