The last thing we need is politi­cians throw­ing rat­tles out of the pram

Bray People - - OPINION -

NOW’S not the time for po­lit­i­cal per­son­al­i­ties to walk on wa­ter

With a deal be­tween Fianna Fáil (FF) and Fine Gael (FG) at de­liv­ery stage, in­ter­nal power-play is the lat­est de­vel­op­ment that threat­ens to de­rail the prospects of a pro­longed and work­able gov­ern­ment for this na­tion. Dis­putes en­veloped within dis­putes is the last thing a fledg­ling mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment needs as it pre­pares to spread its wings – so the in­ter­ven­tion by Leo Varad­kar this week is a wor­ry­ing de­vel­op­ment.

As talks be­tween FF and FG reached a crit­i­cal cli­max, the in­terim Health Min­is­ter took to the air­waves to voice his dis­ap­proval over plans to de­mol­ish Ir­ish Wa­ter. Many in FF saw this act as com­pro­mis­ing cross-party dis­cus­sions but the wider held view is that Mr Varad­kar may no longer have the x-fac­tor among his party col­leagues as the nat­u­ral suc­ces­sor to Enda Kenny.

FG’s post-dis­cus­sion brief­ings would seem to sup­port this power dance with Si­mon Coveney and Frances Fitzger­ald both ea­ger to have their say be­fore the cam­eras. It may be an at­tempt to strike favour with FG grass­roots ahead of an im­pend­ing lead­er­ship con­test but it’s also a con­test the na­tion can do with­out right now.

The elec­torate has given its ver­dict and it de­serves bet­ter. It de­serves a work­able jobs, hous­ing and health­care strat­egy; a co­her­ent and open will­ing­ness on the part of those en­trusted with run­ning our coun­try to get on with the job and not play out the wider pageantry of a lead­er­ship con­test.

The ci­ti­zens of this coun­try have en­dured the harsh con­se­quences of po­lit­i­cal fail­ures in the past; they have footed the bill for the po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment’s ret­i­cence to un­der­stand the ev­ery­day strug­gles for the vast ma­jor­ity of or­di­nary folk and what they don’t need at this 11th hour is politi­cians throw­ing rat­tles out of the pram.

FF is not en­tirely blame­less ei­ther. We all agree that a proper wa­ter ser­vice is needed to help meet the de­mands of a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion but wa­ter and wa­ter charges are be­ing used as a pop­ulist tool.

FF has stuck rigidly to abol­ish­ing the failed wa­ter util­ity, a po­si­tion height­ened by the op­po­si­tion who are lean­ing in like a hound’s head for the kill should FF go soft on Ir­ish Wa­ter.

Given the post-elec­tion sham­bles that has en­sued, the lead­ing play­ers know that any chance of re­turn­ing to the elec­torate soon is akin to throw­ing one­self be­fore the lions of Rome’s an­cient col­i­seum. The elec­torate is an­gry and rightly so. It voted to make voices heard in the nar­row cor­ri­dors of Le­in­ster House. It’s now time to lis­ten and it’s time to wash away any lin­ger­ing in­dif­fer­ence among politi­cians.

No one ex­pects our politi­cians to walk on wa­ter when it comes to find­ing an am­i­ca­ble so­lu­tion, but what we do ex­pect - and de­serve - is for politi­cians to stop us­ing wa­ter to ac­cen­tu­ate party and per­sonal ad­van­tage. The an­cient philoso­pher, Tao Te Ching, said: “Wa­ter is fluid, soft, and yield­ing. But wa­ter will wear away rock, which is rigid and can­not yield”. It’s time our politi­cians un­der­stood this ba­sic con­cept.

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