The political commentators are not very pleased with us. They think we’re greedy, self-serving and unwilling to make sacrifices for the benefit of others.
They also think we haven’t a clue.
Political writer Stephen Collins says that “the ruled haven’t got the message and are showing no signs of being in any mood to face reality”.
Noel Whelan, political writer & former Fianna Fail election candidate, says “this country is painfully and slowly going to have to realise that it has real choices to make”.
Saturday’s Irish Times editorial told us that “the Government was trying to recognise the implications of this new reality. Those who oppose its measures will have to do the same”.
The Tribune’s Political Editor Shane Coleman tells us that at least TDs know how bad things are, and that “it’s questionable whether the same holds for the general public in relation to the state of the economy”.
And the Indo quotes Foreign Affairs Minister Mícheál Martin saying “we are in a very volatile period – perhaps the gravity of which hasn’t sunk in in society”.
But we know all this, and are perfectly willing to make sacrifices because of it. We have accepted the Income Levy, asking only that the very low-paid be exempted from it. We’ve accepted the VAT increase, coming in just 4 weeks before Christmas. We’re putting up with the increase in the drug repayment threshold, and putting up with the reduction in the tax repayable on our medical bills. We’re suffering cuts in child benefit, increases in petrol and motor taxes, and the imposition of largely pointless charges like the airport levy. We’re paying more PRSI.
In other words, we’re all going to pay higher taxes for lower services, and by nad large are putting up with it.
So just because we objected to the very worst parts of the Budget, and its effects on the elderly, the low-paid and the children, don’t tell us we don’t know how bad things are, or that we’re unwilling to face reality.
The customers in my local are ordinary hard-working people. They include painters, carpenters, mechanics, etc. The painters have no work. One of the mechanics is still employed, but two-thirds of the people that worked with him are gone. A labourer was let go at the summer holidays, and hasn’t worked since. A bricklayer now works in Tesco.
These people know all about the reality in this country. And they’ve known about it for quite a while.