Frightened, alone and unled

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Joseph O’Conner has written in the Guardian on the core of the Irish dilemma:

Far from the gloomy headlines and crushing statistics lies the full truth of what we face now. We tuck our children into bed not knowing if they have a future in our country. In every home in the land, there has been private anxiety and panic. Our government has no moral authority to remain in power. People feel frightened, alone and unled.

Read it for the quality of the writing if nothing else.

But it’s much, much more important than that. As he says:

About 300 people in Ireland continue to live like rock stars, while 4 million of us foot the bill. We have socialism for bankers, the ferocities of the market for everyone else. We are cheated and lied to, and every family is now paying. The poor pay more than most.

This is the reality of neoliberalism.

This is the reality I refer to when I say the ConDems in the UK want to capture the revenue of the state to enhance the wealth of a few.

And yet there is hope, hope based on rejection of this policy and all that neoliberaliam stands for:

The only hope is that when we get to the other side of the morass, Ireland will be a fairer and a more just place, not a slum with a casino attached. We have important things now that we will still have then: a generation of tough entrepreneurs, the work of our artists and writers, a beautiful landscape, a supportive diaspora, a painfully acquired insight into what happens when an entire society gets hypnotised by its own wishful thinking. And we still have the immeasurably precious freedoms that brave people gave their lives to gain for us. We might yet dare to avail of them, to learn the lessons and grow up.

It's a real hope that an authentic adulthood can be won for Ireland, but some days it's hard to sustain. It isn't rhetoric to say that this can still be a wonderful and special country, a republic as unique for its successes as for its shames and ducked responsibilities — but this has been a dreadful and agonised awakening, and we have a thousand miles of hard road before us.

That vision will not be secured by mediocre leadership, but by people of vision.

And it won’t be secured on the back of lies of the sort we’ve had: the ones that fed the misconceptions, the false profits and the bubble that led to crash. It will instead be fed by the  plain truth.

And part of that truth is we need a different society.

We deserve a different society.

A just society.

Ireland deserves that.

So does the UK.

And it’s my hope we’ll have it.