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