The Sunday papers yesterday were full of news about a poll by the Sunday Business Post that shows Fianna Fáil "at lowest ever support" - 17%. This could lead mean that "Fianna Fáil could face a humiliating defeat" in the next General Election. The Business Post also reports that "Support for Fine Gael (33 per cent) and Labour (27 per cent) remains strong, with Enda Kenny on course to lead the next government". Well - we live in a democracy - so be it.
Let me get this out of the way first - I do support the call for an early general election, and agree with the Business Post's assessment above of the likely outcome. I am, however, fed up of all the various commentators, pundits, experts, and lobby groups consistently spouting "The Government is doing nothing for (insert your name/cause here)". Just do a Google search for "The Government is doing nothing" and you'll see what I mean. This got me thinking - do Brians Cowen and Lenehan get up in the morning and say "I'm going to do nothing today for (insert your name/cause here)"? Monty Python famously asked a similar question in "The Life of Brian" - here's one of the funniest clips you'll ever see:
So - what have our government ever done for us? "Nothing" I hear you say!
What about the M50 extension recently completed? Or the roads to Cork, Galway, Waterford, and Limerick? The new Convention Centre? The Aviva Stadium? The Port Tunnel? Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport? By-passes all over the country? New buses and trains?
Or one of the highest rates of social welfare in Europe? Or the second highest minimum wage? Free medicines (until recently when a 50c charge was introduced) for all medical card holders and older people? Free transport for over 66 year olds? Free libraries all over the country? Free museums and parks?
And of course free education for every child who needs it? Teachers, specials needs assistants, facilities for disabled learners, increased spending on technology?
Who provides all the doctors, nurses, Gardaí, prison officers, defence forces, and health services?
So I ask you - what has the government ever done for us?
Before you hit the comment button (I will publish all comments) - I do agree that much of the above could be done better. We take a lot for granted, but I do think that comments such as "The Government is doing nothing..." are wide of the mark.
There - I finally said it.
it might not be what have they done for us but they way that have done it.
Example, they agreed a new deal with NTR to run the toll bridge and then 2 years later had to buy it back at the cost of €600 million. Not the ever deal to be done.
The agreed a 40 year deal with hospital consultants and at high wage costs- what business could / would ever do this?
Bertie made it possible that authors (of certain books) do not pay tax on their earnings. This was introduced shortly before his daughter was published and remains in place so that his work of fiction also means he pays no taxes on the royalities.
The M50 was over budget and late and not effective until they bought out NTR (mentioned above).
Sigh,... i could go on!