The Zero Hour Taoiseach

First, second, third, fourth time lucky. The minor issue of a minority government is resolved. We have appointed the caretaker Taoiseach, on to a full time zero hour contract.

It’s even less than a zero hour contract; it’s a countdown contract, standing at T-Minus 10 seconds to his ejection. And for what, so Fine Gael, can expunge their shame of failing to get a two term Taoiseach? So enda can get his name in the history books as well as his works of fiction? It certainly isn’t for the good of the country and to his credit Enda, hasn’t even offered that pretence.

Newstalks Shane Coleman, commented earlier that they would like more independents in the government for two reasons: “one is perception and the other is security”. Lets parse that out a little. They want more independents to give a “perception” of New Politics, but what they really want is independents to hang blame on. It appears Old Politics has been dressed in a fancy suit and told to introduce himself as New!

When a Roman Senator ascended to the Consulship he was issued with twelve Lictors. Lictors were traditionally rough and tough bodyguards adept with crowd control and the occasional beheading.

As a Roman Consul would only serve twelve months the Lictors, as permanent appointments, were up close and personal with the transience of power. Cicero himself was said to have complained that the Lictors “are a warning of what happens to any state which has permanent officials. They begin as servants but end up imagining themselves our masters”.

In the last couple of millennia a lot has changed, democratically for the worse. I mean, the Romans could vote out their Leaders after one year, we get the pencil but once every five years…

Yet, I’m optimistic. While the kenny coronation is not the outcome the majority of people voted for, it does represent an opportunity to begin implementing serious change in the type of society we want. The minority government will have very little authority.

The onus will be on the electorate to make them aware of this. I’m not calling for civil disobedience. I’m calling for the electorate to scrutinise and challenge this administration and the opposition. Do not let up.

The momentum of movements like the Right2Change and Right2Water groups must not be let dissolve away. We overwhelmingly rejected the last government. Now we have a minority administration, that we can threaten to pull the plug on if they do not take real steps to tackle the inequality in our society.

We need to realise, that the once every five years outsourcing of democracy is just as big a reason for our social ills as the government actions. When you put the pencil down you haven’t “done your bit”. You have just entered into a contract of service with your chosen representative. And like all contracts, there are standards and targets that must be achieved.

If your representative thinks making false promises is just something”that you tend to do during an election” and you let them away with that, then, I’m afraid, you’re just as much to blame. For however long this new Dail sits, the onus is on each of us to demand the terms of the contract are met. And if they are not, we can declare the contract null and void. We cannot wait five years, we dare not.

We must take this opportunity to insist that our opposition elevate above the occasional bloody nose, infighting and become a more coherent force for change. We must, for want of a better term, act as the Lictors to this administration. Surround them by our power and let them know that we are capable of turning our gaze toward them.

We can let enda have his day, once we have the rest of the term. We can let them hold the office, as long as we hold the power.


Tony Groves May 2016the-people-dont-know-their-true-power1



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