The crocuses are coming up in my garden. Because I’m the opposite of green-fingered (orange-fingered?), the patch where they grow – as you can see - is lumpy and weedy and overgrown. But just when you think winter is going to go on forever and they’re never going to show, up pop these flashes of colour – purple and yellow, and is that a sliver of white? A modestly glorious sight.
I thought of my crocuses when I was watching the Late Debate on RTÉ last night. Not long ago, when Pearse Doherty opened his mouth about being tougher over the financial terms imposed by Europe, every other political party - Labour, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil - jumped on him and beat him unmercifully. Nonsense, economic illiterate, cloud-cuckoo stuff. It got to the stage where you began to think “Well if ALL these guys say we gotta settle for what we’ve got, except maybe a teensy tweak to the interest rate on repayments but no more, we should be on our knees thanking Europe that they’ve rescued us. Maybe that’s how it is”. Then suddenly, it’s not. There it is, the Sinn Féin analysis, above surface, in vivid colour. And a growing throng of people hurrying to admire it and say that was their view all along.
On the Late Debate last night, we had Shane Ross who knows a thing or two about economics, Constantin Gurdgiev who lectures in economics at Trinity, and knock me down with a feather duster and tickle my navel, Peter Matthews, a banking expert who’s a Fine Gael candidate in the election - all nodding hard and supporting what Pearse Doherty was saying. Add them to the list I’ve mentioned in other blogs: Fintan O’Toole, David McWilliams, Paul Krugman, Michael Lewis...
Admittedly Pearse Doherty looks like a man in serious need of sleep. Whether it was that or over-eagerness to underscore that he was no longer a lone voice, at one point he told viewers he was “no financial expert”. Not a good idea if you’re your party’s finance spokesman: people want to hear a voice of authority. You don’t think Enda Kenny or Eamon Gilmore have any training or background in finance? Less modesty please, young Doherty.
So there we are. It looks increasingly likely that, after the election, the arrangement with the EU just doesn’t make sense and will have to be rejigged AND the big bond-holders in Europe will have have to absorb at least some of the punishment now being felt by the Irish taxpayer. Constantin Gurdgiev summed up the present impotence of the Irish government in the face of Europe: “As a Russian person, I find it shameful”.
Some clinching proof that an end is coming to the wintery consensus among bigger parties that the will of our European masters in all things must be observed? Try the recent thoughts of two people convinced they’ll be running the state after 25 February.
“There’s no reason why these (European) banks shouldn’t take a significant discount” - Joan Burton (Labour)
“The bond holders should share responsibility for the banking crisis” – Richard Bruton (Fine Gael).
It’s getting crowded round the flower-bed these days.