“New Politics”

Posted on 15th October 2016

Slane Castle

Thursday brought a smile to my face. Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. It wasn’t just the accolade, it was the memories. Let me get personal. In 1984 Bob played Slane. The night before there was a riot in the village. I was in the middle of it as it broke out. I was up all night and held an impromptu press conference in the castle the following morning. I was a caffeinated zombie. The day of the show I went down to talk to Bob. I felt very privileged because I was told he travelled with a list of people he wouldn’t talk to. Apparently there were a couple of thousand on the list. I was so exhausted I can’t remember what we said to each other but all I can recall was he seemed to be wearing some strange orange make up. The day of the show is a bit of a blur. Our President, Michael D, shirt opened to the waist, looked far removed from his present Magee- tweeded self. That night I collapsed into bed. I was woken the following morning by a commotion below my bathroom window. There was a Dylan devotee reading me his lyrics. Yes, shattered as I was, it brought a smile to my face.

Well, where do I go from here. Not yet back to earth, but to Asgardia. It is the name given by a group of scientists to a space nation beyond Earth, to be created with the aim of the pursuit of science and protecting our planet. Oh, to be able to concentrate on such exalted matters far removed from the grubby electoral battle between Trump and Clinton and the implications of Brexit.

Unfortunately my smile didn’t last long because I started thinking about the budget. Don’t you love this “New Politics”. Let’s give it a name it deserves – blancmange politics. Big, sticky and wobbly, it is going nowhere. This budget was designed with one purpose in mind, to keep this dysfunctional government in power. Spread the jam evenly and hope to hold the sticky mess together. Problem was even that objective was messed up. A row breaks out over ministerial pay rises and the first- time buyers incentive was so ill thought out that surely it can only have the effect of driving up property prices. It might also dent Simon Coveney’s aspiration to be the next leader of Fine Gael. The problem with this government is that this general sense of inertia is likely to continue. The very dynamics behind it cannot provide the kind of energy and vision that is required for dealing with an increasingly challenging environment.

On the surface things look reasonably good in the economy but I feel this perception is deceptive. The devaluation of sterling is starting to bite. Our relationship with the EU is becoming even more difficult. Maybe we need an election, but we need a different result. Would we get it ?

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