Thermo losses and ‘nail-gate’ show we’re not laughing anymore

No-one’s laughing anymore. If anyone thought that the cold bite of recession was just a wind on the faraway hills, then think again. Last evening’s announcement in Thermo King that 110 employees are to lose their jobs and Tuesday’s revelation that jobs are to be lost in Tuam’s Valeo Vision Systems brings the realisation closer to home that everyone is going to feel the cold snap in the near future. And with that mindset among us, it is all the more galling to hear the attitude of Fas executives try to justify their extravagant business expenses this week and behave as if they are still living on an alternate planet to ourselves.

The reaction to it all also shows that the cordial relationship that many of us would have had with government and authority figures has broken down, maybe irrevocably. Maybe in times past the appetite of the Irish public would have been sated by the resignation of someone so close to the centre of this enquiry. The sacrificial lamb would have been served on a silver platter and life would go on. But that is no longer the case. No longer are the public prepared to give the government an easy ride, no longer are they willing to allow them to fob us off with the same auld guff about awaiting the results of an enquiry.

After weeks of watching the Bertie documentary, the public are fed up of smart-alecs close to the centre of power smirking at us, basically giving us the two fingers as they remain economical with the truth of their reasons of financing a person into power. Maybe history will reveal the truth about this era in politics.

When Rody Molloy was castigated for his lack of judgment in running Fas and also in going on Pat Kenny’s radio show to try to explain his way out of it while at home and without notes, similarly the judgment of the Taoiseach in backing him shows once again the basic lack of nous and experience at the heart of our current government. Maybe in another era, a honeymoon period would have existed that would allow Messrs (and maybe Messers ) Cowen, Coughlan, and Lenihan the chance to bed into the job, but the hames they've made of it all in these unforgiving times means that unlike in a Fas job, no such luxury is afforded. We have at the epicentre of decision making, a midfield core that carries all the limp threat of a Glenn Whelan and Darren Gibson.

And with such indecision and lack of talent at the heart of it all, one wonders if ‘nail-gate’ is just one more pothole on the road to an inevitable election. And do we really need an election? The opportunity to change things would be welcome, but the cost and distraction of it all would be enormous. Already in ‘09, we will have elections to the European parliament, the city councils, the county councils, the town councils and maybe, a referendum re-run. So that’s more than enough opportunity to exercise democracy.

The reaction to the Government’s shortlived tolerance of cronyism this week has shown that even the time they have is heavily borrowed. And when you have such a lack of talent among those in control, then who knows what simple wind could come around the corner to blow the whole house of cards down. It’s time to lead, guys, not give us the same old lines.

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