(Note: The endemic corruption in Ireland has brought us to the brink of disaster and yet it remains to be addressed comprehensively by any opposition party. Tackling corruption should be a major manifesto point in the next election and a major policy programme for the next government.
I posted the piece below last week at the tail end of a dying thread. I received some feedback pointing out that the topic of corruption is so important that it requires its own thread, and suggesting that this post could be used as a good enough opener for such a discussion. Apologies to those of you who have read this post before.)
At the next election FF will be obliterated for destroying the country. And so far it appears that Labour will be puppets of the trade unions and FG will change the names on the doors and sit on the seats they've so long coveted and carry on business as usual.
It is shameful that neither FG or Labour has shown any inclination to do what is desperately needed - to renew the state. Instead, the opposition parties wallow in the safety of the shallows hoping that political office will drift to them from the sinking ship of state. Neither FG or Labour has the balls to be onboard helping with the lifeboats, let alone organising the mutiny. As the citizens go under, FG and Labour spectate in quiet cowardice, fearful of losing the prize: vanity portfolios and ministerial pensions. We need leaders and fighters, not rotated officeholders.
The challenge for Ireland is nothing less than a complete root and branch replacement of the nation's body politic. When our children look back on 2011/2012, they should see that we made use of the crisis and addressed the corruption that permeated society. (Our children will deserve this much, because our children as adults will still be paying for Bertie's iniquitous policies. Even more stark is the reality that, such is the tyranny we have cultured, if we do not act now then our offspring are condemned to live it all out again in their turn. Your sons and daughters will also vote for names like Creed or Quinn or Lenihan. They will work hard for the businesses of some Fitzpatrick or Fingleton, rent from people called McNamara and Carroll, and they will be force-fed a weekly lunch of muzzy pap on the romances of a younger Ronan or Dunne.)
The permanent government, all government departments, all quangos, the gardai, the judges, the courts, the banks, the church, the health service, the public service, the media, all these - and more - are rancid with sinecures, nepotism, cronyism and Ba'ath-like corruption.
The manifesto of the next government should be specific, forthright and clear: We will remove all traces of the noxious blight called Fianna Fail; We will challenge directly the vested interests; We will apply justice for all; We will fix the state. Such a necessary position is evidently beyond all our current representatives. If they were civilly-minded they would be clamouring to oust the corrupt government, instead they wait complicitly in line for their turn at power. No wonder so many new parties are springing up.
If the opposition cannot confront this disease now, at a time of crisis when the populace is crying out for change, when unpopular decisions will be accepted and when Fianna Fail is already scattered before it, then the state is doomed to remain permanently infantile.
So do Fine Gael or Labour want to tackle the state's endemic corruption? And if they want to, will they? And if they will, can they achieve it? Unfortunately I have seen no signs whatsoever, I have heard no speeches anywhere to tell me that either party has the will to do the necessary job. I don't even know if they've thought about it.
It's pretty hopeless and it will be business as usual. FG and Labour will carry on, waiting their undeserved turn, saying nothing too provocative or "brave" because they prefer cosy safety to actual leadership. Then the coalition will assume the controls and with fresh vigour it will drive us further into the mire.