Rejoice! Rejoice! The people have found their voice! In what can only be described as an assault on the Right Wing establishment, the electorate have finally spat in the eye of “pragmatic politics”.
The blow struck on Friday was not fatal. It was not yet system altering. It was a gut punch to those who dismiss the electorate as fools. Fools who can be assuaged by promises of a better future, while the policy is to ruin their present. It was a finger poke in the eye of fear. What had Paddy to be afraid of anyway; Enda Kenny no longer at the helm, the Irish Independents editorial ire? No! Paddy does not fear that nonsense.
There are a lot of bones to be picked over, lots of post-mortems to be conducted. I could get a month of posts from the squeal of anguish heard in Brian Hayes’s Right Wing voice alone. I could go on and on about standing on the cusp of a real political paradigm shift….. But not today, I’ve kids birthday parties to taxi children to. So I’ll be brief and issue just one observation this morning.
This goes back to Sales 101. Part of “The Sales Guru” patter is to ask a trick question to the new recruits. Having listed the Four Pillar requirements of the Sales Process (Customer, Regulation, Sales and Service) they ask which of the four is the most important. The eager inductees wave their hands and spout authoritatively about which of the pillars they think will get them the most credit. Most eager beavers, as you can guess, say Service because “without great service you won’t get the sales”. Some clever clogs will usually say Customers, because “without customers you can’t have a business”. Maybe one particularly confident urchin will say Sales, because “a good salesman can identify a need customers may not be aware they have.” No one ever says Regulation…
So, what the heck has this to do with the General Election Results of 2016? Well, put simply, it’s not just the economy stupid!, You see, Fine Gael’s focus group, tested and privately polled to a “within an inch of its life” strategy, was based 100% on “The Economy”. Their head of election strategy Mark Mortell, said their plan “boiled down to the economy”. They believed that if they focussed on this, (neoliberal trickle down economics fallacy) then everything else would fall into place.
There would be no need to engage with the substantive issues affecting the electorate. Homelessness, a health service just above Uganda’s and a thousand other nasty cuts would all be eased by “keeping the recovery going”. Why bother engaging with Paddy when he’s not smart enough to “understand economic jargon”? Sure just feed him a slogan and he’ll be grand. Don’t worry about involving Paddy in any future vision for the country. Just tell him “You’ve got a plan to keep the recovery going”.
Sales Guru’s know that the four Pillars (Customer, Regulation, Sales and Service) are each essential for a Balanced Successful system. You can’t have Sales without Customers. You cannot keep Customers without great Service and you cannot have great Service without strong Customer protections, through proper Regulation. Without any one of these key pillars, the structure collapses and you’re left with…
..Fine Gael’s sloganeering.
Tony Groves February 2016