An article in yesterday’s Irish Times by Peter Murtagh relates the story of Seán, a man who, in normal circumstances, wouldn’t say boo to a goose but was now gripped by naked rage because of his financial loss as a result of the banking collapse.
Seán, who voted Fianna Fail all his life, had some colourful language for Fianna Fail, Bertie Ahern and Anglo Irish Bank.
According to Murtagh the principal reason for Seán’s anger was the lack of accountability for the banking fiasco.
This is a misinterpretation of Seán’s anger. Seán is not the slightest bit interested in accountability, his anger stems entirely from the fact that he personally lost money.
If his money hadn’t been invested in Anglo Irish Bank, if it was still secure in some other scheme he wouldn’t have featured in Peter Murtagh’s article.
In other words, he would still be, as Murtagh describes him – a nice quiet man, a gentleman. He would still vote Fianna Fail at the next election as he has done all his life and the financial devastation inflicted on Ireland and its people would only be of passing interest to him as he looked forward to his retirement.
If Seán was genuinely interested in accountability, rather than his own selfish interests, he would not have blindly and consistently voted for the most corrupt political party in the history of the state.
It was only when the disease of corruption infected him personally that he suddenly realized that somebody should be made accountable.
It is this extremely narrow outlook that lies at the root of most of Ireland’s problems. People like Seán do not vote in the national interest, they vote strictly for their own interests and it is this political ignorance that creates the perfect environment for corrupt politicians to buy votes in order to obtain power.
At the end of the article Murtagh suggests that perhaps things are changing.
Maybe the anger of all the Seáns out there will translate into our “betters” being held to account by the Garda, the DPP and the corporate enforcer.
Like Seán, Murtagh is living in a very narrow world completely unaware of the reality of what Ireland has become.
Every single action by the Government and State authorities since the economy collapsed and exposed Ireland as a corrupt state has been to protect and maintain that corrupt system while at the same time trying to convince the international community that we are a normal democratic country.
The Garda, DPP, Corporate Enforcer, and all other so called regulatory agencies are a major part of the problem and the problem will not be resolved until all of these agencies are radically reformed or replaced altogether.
But nothing, absolutely nothing will change until the present corrupt political system is completely destroyed and replaced with a genuine, accountable, democratic system.
That’s how radical we need to be and quoting meaningless sentiments from a Bob Dylan song, as Murtagh does, will certainly make no difference to the forces of corruption that have infested every level of Irish society.