Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Has George Bitten Off More Than He Can Chew?
I have to say, fair play to George Lee. He wants to be able to tell his children that he tried to be part of the solution. That's a good thing. Like a few of us, rightly or wrongly, we believe that politics can make a difference and we want to try and create that difference. So good luck to George I hope it works out for him.
I have my suspicions though, that George has opened a can of worms and I'll tell you why: the way the Dáil and Seanad are currently structured, I don't believe it is actually possible to effect any change, certainly not as a back-bencher and perhaps not even as a Minister. I think the Dáil and Seanad are out-dated, irrelevant and at this point almost totally discredited.
I think the same with the way political parties are structured. They are not structured to listen, determine and deliver as they should be in a democracy. Rather they are structured as mini-dictatorships issuing missives from on-high, where they are so far removed from the reality of peoples lives, concerns and problems, that at this stage they cannot even concieve what is happening with the very people whose concerns the are supposed to represent. Right now they are not representing the people, whatever it is that they are up to, it is not that. Every other concern, be it the IMF's, the EU's, the Banks or themselves; everything else bar the people seems to take precedence.
In the case of Fianna Fáil, if the enmity that we are picking up against them on the doorsteps transfers to the ballot box, they can expect a wipeout in the forthcoming elections, be they local, european or indeed, bye-elections. I am not yet convinced that it will transfer and June 6th (the day of the count) will tell a helluva lot.
If it does transfer, and Fianna Fáil get the drubbing at the ballot box that they are certainly evoking on the doorsteps, then in my opinion Brian Cowen is Dead Man Walking. I don't see how he could stand over that result. The main problem people have, while not liking the cuts, is not the cuts themselves. They know that whoever was in power would have to make cuts at this stage.
The problem they have with Fianna Fáil and with Brian Cowen is that they (FF) are responsible for getting us into this mess in the first place. They created the conditions for this to happen to us and never took any evasive action. Brian Cowen is intrinsically linked to this and although I am only involved in the Local Elections, they are the most 'nationalised' local elections that I have ever seen. People aren't asking by and large about local issues: they just want to know are you from Fianna Fáil and they are indicating that they will not be voting (to put it mildly) for that party.
As the saying goes.....we shall see.
And as for George? We need people of his calibre, but what capacity would he serve in Government? Richard Bruton would be seen as a shoe-in for Finance; Varadkaar in Enterprise. Would George be happy with a Junior position (they're so popular now)? What if he doesn't get elected? His credibility in returning to RTE would surely be compromised. If he was elected would he hold his seat in a General Election? Has one of the other candidates been offered a sweetener to step aside (a run at the Áras perhaps??)? Has he been promised a Seanad nomination if not?
George will have more to deal with than his (former) media colleagues, or even the electorate. Those with most to lose by his introduction will be his new Fine Gael colleagues. Are they happy to be passed over for the new boy? George might find that his worst enemies reside within the ranks of his new, rather than is old friends.