Did you ever play Kick the Can as a kid? Do you remember putting small stones and pebbles in an empty bottle of 25p Cadet Red Lemonade? Maybe you used a 7Up can or a squashed Yop bottle, if you had extravagant parents…?
Whatever you used, the objective was the same. Whoever was “on”, had to catch everyone else, before one of them could kick the can and set the horde running free again. Today, we have the Government of Kick the Can. They’re kicking so many cans down the road they could open a recycling plant.
The can of Irish Water is bouncing off kerbs, columnists and committees, on its way to imminent crushing. The can of Social Housing has been kicked from Ministry to Local Authority to Ministry and on into the dark corners of emergency accommodation.The can of the 8th Amendment hasn’t even landed from the last thump it received.
Now, the can of leadership has been kicked (seemingly) five years down the road. The lame duck Taoiseach, enda kenny, has declared his intention to serve his full term as “leader” and this declaration has apparently ended the speculation of a leadership contest.
It is important to clarify that enda has declared this intention, unlike the time he declared that he didn’t intend for a Garda Commissioner to resign…
I remember, not so long ago, the lame duck Taoiseach telling Ruth Coppinger that the purpose of Leaders Questions was “to tell you where to go”. I remember him telling Paul Murphy to “toddle along” when he deigned to ask the “humble leader” a question on Irish Water. Oh! How the Dail laughed that day! The Posh Trot was vanquished with one quip from the waspish tongue of Dear Leader; except he wasn’t….Not even close.
In today’s Irish “Independent” (inverted commas sadly needed), Shane Coleman, has described the 2014 election of Paul Murphy “as important as the recent General Election”. His election has triggered a “butterfly effect” and started a race to the left. The “Posh Trot” was the catalyst for a left wing race that has unsettled our traditional Chumocracy. And I rather get the impression that Shane thinks this is a bad thing….?
I’ve covered the calls for an end to Populism; I’ve written how they are calls for the electorate to get back in line. These calls are coming from people who purport to “promote sensible, mainstream, non-ideological, centrist policies. That is untrue. They are very much from people who want to keep threading the boom and bust paths of right wing.
The new kick the can government is already wobbling. The new Chief Whip, Regina Doherty, is scolding those who haven’t paid their Water Bills. She sees nothing in the hypocrisy of her appeals and the fact that she left €280,000 of debt behind her when she liquidated a company in 2013.
Simon Coveney has said non-payers will be pursued. Never mind that it will cost more in the pursuit than the monies outstanding would bring in. Simon Harris has decided to take credit for the Social Democrats 10 year health plans, passing it off as his own. Not to mention his pledge to improve hospital…food. New Politics, so they say.
Back to enda, the captain of the ship. He’s a resilient and resourceful man; a veteran of many a game of kick the can. He’s survived heaves, racist jokes, flights of fantasy and attacks on the ATM’s. Yet, he’s done this country some service, no, he has, really.
But he has ceased to be of use. His party, if they are to show they have even a scintilla of sincerity in their talk of “New Politics”, need a change at the top. The country, hungry for unity of purpose, needs a new figurehead who is not stifled by the weight of 41 years of baggage. Even the right wing “sensible mainstream” people require someone who can manage their fears during this period of political and societal change.
The purpose of New Politics is for the electorate to have a say in the type of country we want. The voice of New Politics tells the politicians “where to go”, Mr Kenny. And it’s time you listened. So, at the risk of sounding ungrateful, enda, it’s time for you to “toddle along”.
Tony Groves May 2016