The sun came up this morning despite the economic and societal Armageddon wrought on the country since the catastrophic election results. I have yet to see any of the rioting or looting that is raging outside. I’m too scared to venture out.
So I’ll just hide in my bubble and await the certain doom we’ve been promised by the Opinion Makers and Society Shapers in our media and government offices. They assured us that they had run the numbers and teased out all possible outcomes (using Mainstream Media Chaos Theory) and that the within days of the Government collapsing the Sky would Fall. So I’m waiting it out and while waiting for Godot (spoiler alert: he never comes) I will try to make peace with my decisions and recognise how they inevitably led to my own demise. Murdered by my own hand.
You see, I was one of those that failed to heed the warnings of the Scaremongers. I voted against the Government Parties of Stability and Recovery. I voted for Chaos. Not only that, but I also encouraged many to do the same. Only god knows how many innocent lives I’ve ruined with my reckless grandstanding. I’ll be haunted in my dreams by the well-meaning voters I sent to their deaths!
Here, in my bubble, there’s still one idea that keeps me going. What if I was right (in my loony left wing way) and that not only is the end not nigh, but that we have actually struck a blow against the Opinion Makers, Society Shapers and Scaremongers. Is there a chance that the electorate, by doing the honourable thing and putting the desire for a more equal and fairer society ahead of Neoliberal pledges of Tax Cuts, might usher in a more Socially Democratic government? If so, how can I test this hypothesis from the comfort of my bubble? I really don’t want to go outside!
In my soul searching and self-flagellation I’ve been thinking about the venerable Gandhi, he of the peaceful protest. More specifically, I’ve am constantly reciting a protest mantra attributed to him:
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then the fight you, then you win”.
Yes, Gandhi may never have said this phrase, although he did write something very similar in a book of his compiled essays and speeches: Freedom’s Battle. But that’s not really important. What’s important is how I can use this mantra to test out the Mainstream Chaos Theory. I’ll just turn on my radio…
…where a man is telling me he’s not paying his water charges. Another is demanding a refund for the bills he has already paid and a woman is calling the pair of them Gurriers for disobeying the law of the land. I change the channel to hear Right Wing Simon “fighter jets” Coveney, saying Fine Gael is ready to listen to “sensible ideas” around Water. On another station Lame Duck Taoiseach enda kenny, is saying everybody should pay their bills to the Lame Duck Water Utility. Turning the volume up, I can hear the journalists laughing and sniggering at that whopper.
From my bubble I put what I have heard through the Gandhi filter. I remember how enda ignored all the concerns about the creation of the money pit Super-Quango that was Irish Water. I remember how he imagined laughing at a man with 2 pints, who was afraid of ever increasing bills for what is a basic human right. I remember how BIG Phil Hogan threatened to reduce this basic human right “to a trickle”. I remember how government ministers smeared protesters. I remember how they and the media associated the Water Protest movement with everything from the IRA to ISIS.
Better still, the electorate remembered. They remembered Denis O’Brien again dubiously acquiring a company (Siteserv, now Actavo) and again dubiously getting a Government Contract for water metering. They remembered and they voted. And they won. Ignored, laughed at, fought with and now victorious.
Irish Water is dead. There will be howls from those in denial about this. Let them howl, people move through the five stages of grief at their own pace. Do not gloat. Be magnanimous. You won. Little Victories and Baby Steps.
So as the sun comes up tomorrow, I’m hopeful that it comes up with one conclusion: The Scaremongers were wrong. The sky hasn’t fallen. There’s genuine hope for real reform and change in Irish Politics. There’s genuine hope for a fairer more inclusive society. These are baby steps on the path to change. In fact, I’m so hopeful that I might risk going outside tomorrow.
After all, I’m all out of smoked salmon socialists…
Tony Groves March 2016