The news that Jim "Wrong-Way" McDaid has just resigned his seat will heap further pressure on the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, to stop acting like the Generalissimo of a Banana Republic and allow the people of Donegal South West, Dublin South, Waterford and now Donegal North East bye-elections to select new representatives to replace those lost to Europe, ego, a bad back and political cynicism, respectively.
Of course, Cowen can be forgiven for not wanting to hear what the Irish people have to say at the poll booths, and his fingers are still crossed that these bye-elections can be put on the long finger until after Christmas, and more importantly, the budget. Yes, with every day that passes, the idea that Ireland is a proper representative democracy becomes more and more ludicrous. And what is particularly sad is that our democracy seems to have been sacrificed for little benefit - Mr. Cowen argues that to hold the bye-elections would "distract" the government from "tackling our financial situation" - yet despite the fact that this government lingers on, thumbing its nose at the people, the markets are hammering us. As I write this, our bond yields are climbing higher and higher, and are now comfortably above 7%. A dull, dry figure perhaps, but what this means is that you, dear reader, wherever you are in the world, whether you be drunk, high, or shrieking "Death to the Infidels" in the caves of Tora Bora, can almost certainly borrow money more cheaply than the Irish government. The markets trust you, YOU, more than the Irish State. That's how bad things are.
So the Government has sacrified the principles of Irish democracy for nothing - do they use this stay on democracy to achieve real change, say by cutting back on wastage in the public sector, perhaps by cutting the ESB bossess salary from €750,000 down to something sane? Do they use these freedom from the demands of the proles to push through reform of Ireland's electoral system?
No. No they don't. And the cold, hard titans of the financial markets can see through our sorry charade of a Republic.
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