There should come a point in the democratic process when those who use it to gain power by dishonest means can be removed once their methods are shown clearly for what they are.
Democracy by definition is government through the will of the people. But people are human; they can be tricked, duped, lied to. Politicians take advantage of this fatal flaw in an imperfect system to form so-called democratically elected governments. In effect, they’re anything but. It can’t be a democracy without the people’s will.
Ireland’s current government of Fine Gael and Labour swept to power in 2011 on the back of fabrications, falsehoods and pure fiction – downright lies – and has admitted as much recently as members found they could no longer bullshit their way to explain immoral cuts on the poor, sick, disabled and elderly while tax breaks are given to the rich.
Ireland is, of course, a country defined by the idiotic and self-serving interests of its leaders, but there was genuine hope this current government would reverse the disastrous policies of its Fianna Fáil-led predecessor. This was no coincidence, for this is what it said it would do.
Lies, damn lies. The same fuckers who opposed the IMF, EU and ECB Troika as they were circling around the carcass of Ireland’s banking system now bow to their new masters, even rewarding unsecured bondholders with billions in taxpayers’ money when there was no (clear) financial, legal or strategic incentive for doing so.
Meanwhile, Audi just delivered a fleet of luxury vehicles for the government to ferry around foreign officials during Ireland’s EU presidency, apparently free and at no cost to the taxpayer, though it’s hard to believe such a show of kindness from the German automobile maker comes without a price being paid elsewhere.
I read “The Big Lie” by Gene Kerrigan, in which he asks, “Who profits from Ireland’s austerity?” It’s a good book, worth reading, and the short answer to that question is everyone but the taxpayer, with technocrats and bankers profiting more than most.
It would be relatively easy to get Ireland’s finances in order again. After all, it’s quite a small country, and the debts are small too (albeit obscene per head of population), but the ruling classes have no intention of slaying the lucrative cash cow they’ve created for themselves.
The media is complicit too, with lazy journalists regurgitating the guff about Ireland’s belt-tightening leading to a return to the bond markets – as if this is something to sing and dance about.
A return to the bond markets will not mean anything for anyone whose respite carer’s allowance was cut, who died because their medical card was taken away, or who took their own life because mental health services were cut.
Are you listening Frau Merkel? Perhaps it’s you I should be addressing.
Of course Germans will know nothing about democracy either. Later this year they will be presented with a choice between the incumbent and an incompetent – at least from a political strategy point of view. Peer Steinbrück may have been merely honest with his opinions when he said the chancellor wasn’t paid enough and that Merkel benefited from a “female bonus” but, as I think I’ve made clear, honesty doesn’t win elections.