A number of men called at my door on Saturday afternoon. They said my house, their houses, all the houses in the neighbourhood were in danger of burning down, and the only way to avoid the danger was to write a blank cheque and give it to them. At first I resisted but then I figured that all those people couldn’t be wrong so I passed them the cheque. They said they’d let me know later what protection would cost me but that I’d made the right choice.
That paragraph above is all lies, of course. But it’s not far from what’s happening in Dublin at the moment. Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, the Greens – all the parties except Sinn Féin are falling over themselves to insist that the Finance Bill must be passed before the dissolution of the Dail and a general election. So even though there are supposed to be serious differences between potential coalition partners Fine Gael and Labour, and crucial differences between the two main parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, and the Greens are seen as different from everybody – when it comes to signing off on legislation that’s going to hammer the most vulnerable in the south’s society, they’re united. It must happen immediately.
Do you know what the main elements of the Finance Bill are? Do you know what would be lost if there was an election and then the Finance Bill was passed? When it comes to the crunch, is there a postman’s piss of difference between the mainstream parties in the south?
And there was you, thinking things were changed now that Cowen is gone...