Politicians bluster as life goes on for the rest of us

Leinster house
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31 March 2016 | 0

Billy MacInnesI don’t wish to alarm you but has anyone else noticed that Ireland has been without a government for two months since President Higgins dissolved the 31st Dáil on 3 February 2016? I can understand if you haven’t because, so far, there has been little outward manifestation of what you would expect in a state without government. There are no marauding gangs of anarchists/revolutionaries/drunks (delete as appropriate) terrorising the local populace on the streets of the towns of Ireland. No one has had to send in the troops to restore order. Even the ATMs are still working.

Technology firms are still announcing new jobs, companies are still signing contracts for equipment or services and there are still plenty of goods in the shops. Wages are still being paid and taxes are still being collected. I don’t want to hurt politicians’ feelings but it’s almost as if the government isn’t being missed at all.

I know that people whose livelihood depends on writing about or reporting the political developments in Ireland are exercised about whether Enda Kenny will manage to convince enough independent TDs to support him in exchange for cabinet posts but most of the rest of us aren’t all that bothered. Why? Because all the twists and turns along the way to forming a viable government aren’t really all that interesting. I can understand why they’re interesting if you’re paid to follow them but for most other people, not so much.

Maybe I’m wrong but I doubt any reseller or distributor waiting to sign a deal with a customer has had it delayed by the customer saying: “Sorry, but I can’t sign the contract until the new government is formed.” Who has the time to put everything on hold until both major parties go through all the permutations available to them before realising they have to strike some kind of deal or have another election? The truth is that, for most people and businesses, things are bobbing along pretty much as usual (with or without a government).

To be brutally honest, the point isn’t that we haven’t noticed anything different in our daily lives without a government, the issue is when, or if, we ever will.

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