100,000 marchers on the streets of our capital city, gangs of Gardaí shuttling contractors for Uisce Éireann around suburban housing estates to deter would-be protesters, the dominant political parties being hammered in by-elections as voters turn to avowedly anti-establishment candidates, the Taoiseach being hemmed into a sports-centre by crowds of angry citizens while his minders push men and women aside, Garda stations being ringed by families and friends demanding the release of their loved ones who have been arrested and dragged away for demonstrating against an iniquitous tax, the right-wing media elites raging impotently against those on the left and republican-left who threaten their comfortable hegemony… Such is now the turbulent political landscape of contemporary Ireland. And such is how the masters and mistresses of the overclass view it. Victoria White, columnist and wife of purposeless Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, writing in the Irish Examiner:
“THEY don’t care about the water. It’s just a tool to destabilise the Government and accumulate power. It’s what they do. It’s what they’ve always done — find an issue with which they can mobilise people, then go and do it.
The main movers in the campaign against water charges, whether they be the ‘Stop the Water Tax’ Socialist Party, the other factions within the Anti-Austerity Alliance or some anarchist movement, are the same people who tried and failed to organise around the bin tax in 2004, and who scuppered the last attempt to charge for water, in 1996. They are essentially the same people who defeated the poll tax in the UK, in 1990.”
Pitiful whining from a typical scion of the Neo-Ascendancy puzzled by the irate peasants beating at the gates of the Big House. It is not the fault of the political classes, the Irish continuity state. No, poverty, emigration, cuts in public services and the imposition of extortionate charges are the fault of the feckless, greedy proles. Pity the wise ones who must govern such fools. They are the heroes who “made the hard choices” (that others paid the price for). And now they claim they will not be “intimidated”. By whom? The electorate? Voters? Seán and Síle Citizen? Only the most self-entitled princess could turn public antipathy to pernicious government policies into a personal attack on their caste, like some Z-list celebrity condemning the merest hint of criticism as “trolling” and the product of diseased minds.
Meanwhile that high dauphin of the state, Leo Varadkar, joins the outrage felt by the exalted few at the baying of the vox populi. From the Journal:
“I worry from a society point of view and from being a citizen of this country about the motives of a very very very small quantity of those people. I believe there is a fringe out there who are using genuine people, genuine protesters for other political ambitions and it is sinister… and that would be the feeling of people inside and outside politics.”
Especially inside politics, and inside the Golden Circle of Irish politics where all power rests aside from those infrequent times when we are allowed to trundle out to the polling station to register our existence.