Hasn’t it been a predictable enough election? Apart from the preponderance of Independents (high-maintenance, as somebody quipped yesterday), the complete derailing of Fianna Fail has surprised nobody. Nor indeed the virtual disappearance of the Greens. I’m disappointed at the outcome for the Greens. Voter preference seems to have equated Green politics with airy-fairyness and lack of relevance in these straitened times when the national vocabulary is reduced to words like ‘jobs’, ‘the economy’, ‘recovery’, ‘unemployment’, ‘moving forward’, ‘lay-offs’, ‘civil servant’, ‘public servant’ and ‘pensions’.
It’s a case of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing, because without an active Green input whereby environmental and ecological concerns are also included in the political recipe-book, we stand to lose yet more national coherence in the long-term. The myopia of economy-based policies may be the order of the day for some time, as if there is nothing else of importance to human wellbeing. But there is. What about putting money into health and education instead of making cuts there? A country that ignores the health of its children and their education, is shitting on their future possiblities. A country that taxes the elderly and will not ensure that every old person in the State is entitled to good medical care regardless of economic standing, cares little about human life. If we do not venerate life and put our money where our mouths are, then we have failed abyssmally and have not advanced one iota in terms of human civilization.
But the Greens risked everything when they hopped into bed with Fianna Fail, a right-of-centre party not renowned for its environmental consciousness. We all knew that. Pillow-talk with the ancient tribal enemy did not work out for them, there was no trading of useful secrets, it appears, and like an uncared-for mistress, the Greens find themselves on Skid Row without so much as a molecule of chlorophyll to prop them up. It’s a pity they’ve been reduced to rubble by a population that cares for little beyond the here and now. Every government today needs an ecology/environment party in the mix, because of ALL political groupings Green people tend to be a little more philanthropic, a little less me-centred, a little less interested in the promotion of the status quo. Unfortunately they are also associated with – what? Middle-classness? Liberalism? Lack of coherence? But there you go. Mostly, people don’t just care about the Green party unless there’s a surfeit of money and building going on. In other words, if we can afford them. Again – just as before, when the I’m-all-right-Jack people surged forward and voted Fianna Fail, and unwittingly got the government they deserved – now we have another scenario in which time will also prove that the majority gets the government it deserves. One which will defer to the wealthy and continue to ignore the concerns of the poor, one which will consequentially ensure the rise of the Shinners. Short-term thinking and blinkers all the way, eh?