Messrs Cowen and Lenihan. Dead men walking

The Celtic Tiger?

The Celtic Tiger is no more. To tell the truth it was all an illusion anyway.  A paper tiger. Thin. Flimsy. All appearance and no substance. Ireland’s Fianna Fàil-led government has gone cap-in-hand to the unelected bankers of the European Central Bank and the loan sharks of the International Monetary Fund. The free-market dream is over. Now the nightmare begins.

It was pretty much a given that should the government accept financial assistance from the EU and IMF, then the game would be up for them. Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan are dead men walking. Their coalition partners, The Greens have plunged the knife between FF’s shoulder blades. It’s only a matter of time before they collapse and die from their wounds. The BBC reports that,

The Greens, the junior partner in the Irish Republic’s governing coalition, have called for a general election in January, following an EU-led economic bailout.

This article from the online version of The Sunday Business Post asks,

Does it begin with those suburban warriors, the former Progressive Democrats, the folk who told us that ‘you can’t buck the market’ and ‘we should leave things to the market’? (We did, and look what happened.) It was the Progressive Democrats who introduced us to a form of Darwinian capitalism, as though it were an immutable force of nature.

The Progressive Democrats were an avowedly neoliberal party that was formed from a split in FF ranks in 1985.  In the 2007 General Election, the party lost 6 of its 8 seats in the Dáil. The party was in coalition with  FF from 1997 to 2007. During that time it appears to have been largely responsible for the Celtic Tiger phenomenon. Tom McGurk explains,

They were our first capitalist hunter-gathers tempting our most primeval instincts and reassuring us that undisguised self-interest was perfectly natural.

Fianna Fáil didn’t take a lot of convincing, since economic policy was not something in which they had ever majored.

Nope, Fianna Fàil aren’t much bothered in such trivial matters as economics. They’re more concerned with how much money they can get for local vanity projects…as well as lining their own pockets. It’s all good political business don’t you know.

As I write this,  3 FF TD’s have called on Cowen to resign as leader.

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central  Noel O’Flynn also called on Brian Cowen to resign both as Taoiseach and as party leader.

Mr Flynn, who recently threatened to resign the party whip if the budget contains proposals to reduce the old-age pension, said party members and supporters had been misled by the Government over the last week.

He also claimed Mr Cowen has “lost credibility” with people.

Somehow, I don’t think that is going to do anyone much good. An election in the New Year could result in a Fine Gael-led coalition but FG are almost as corrupt as FF. But not quite. FG have a petty dodgy past too. Ask a FG supporter about the Blueshirts and the chances are they’ll quickly change the subject.

Here’s a question. Could Labour become a senior partner in a future coalition government? There was an interesting discussion on Politics.ie. I’ll see if I can dig it out. By the way, has anyone spotted the irony of the sight of the heir to an Irish baronetcy tell us how Ireland “needs Britain’s help”?  I wonder where that help was between the years 1845 and 1852 when the country was under British control?  But Hon Gid is okay, he gets to inherit a wallpaper fortune.

UPDATE 23/11/10 @1602 hrs

Brian Cowen faces a no confidence motion. Sinn Féin has tabled the motion. But will the rest of the opposition vote in favour of a SF tabled motion?

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