Kiteflying is not doing anyone any favours
While the age old concept of kiteflying may be perceived as being a politically astute way of dampening down expectations of doom and gloom, the velocity at which information is leaving the Cabinet table has seen these leaks become spurts, all aimed at the fragile psyche of the Irish public. And to be honest, this is not acceptable behaviour by our political masters, no matter how new they might be to the business of power.
At a time when all households and businesses are trying their best to not merely plan for Christmas but to try, within limited resources, to create a festive season for their families and staff, the anxiety created by these drip-drip revelations is adding insult to injury for an electorate which feels let down by all parties who have been in power for the last decade and a half.
In a way it would be better to adopt the sticking plaster approach to bad news, and just rip off the plaster in one fell swoop, by honestly saying that we will be facing X amount of hardship in the next year. What is needed now is certainty, and not indecision. Granted, budget speculation has long been a parlour game in the rooms off those corridors of power, but there is a sense this year that it is being used as a deliberate and calculated manipulatory tool to test the waters for a variety of proposals.
An Taoiseach's fireside chat which is scheduled to be broadcast late next week is probably designed to prepare us for the harsh realities of Tuesday week's budget, but it is too little too late.
Irish people have become sufficently robust over the past few years and are accustomed to taking the pain, but to prolong the 'will they, won't they' debate is merely causing anxiety to the most vulnerable in our society.
The benefit of leaking the child benefit cuts has pushed many low income families to the brink, and the news that up to 40 nursing homes may be closed is a veritable kick in the dentures to the elderly people who helped build this country through more austere times, and who deserve more than being shunted around the chessboard.
At a time when communities around the country are appealing to their customers to remain loyal and shop within the country and the locality, the proposed VAT changes is merely accelerating the convoy of vans heading North.
There isn't a business or a home that has been left untouched by the events of the past two years. As a result, people are in shock, suffering a sort of economic and social trauma that none of us could have foreseen. People in shock and trauma have to be treated with care and not be merely used as pawns in the game that the Government are playing at the moment.
I know that the Government have not been in power for some time, but the way they have been behaving is as if they uncovered a book entitled The Fianna Fail Way in some dusty drawer and are liberally applying some of the chapters within. It is not right.