I think the core belief for the minister for Finance is that earnings in the private sector are already down and that the public sector earnings which are paid for from taxes levied on those private sector earnings had to follow them down. So I tend to agree that we had to bridge a 4 billion gap but I don’t agree with how it was done. (this notion that because we agree about the size of the problem that we all agree on the approach is lunacy but lunacy that you can get away with because of the lack of numeracy and more generally confidence with maths that exists in the media. People work in the media because they were good at English or had good social skills and could express themselves not because they could add. No more than people get the big prizes or the big for Physics, Economics or engineer not because of their ability to coordinate their wardrobe or be the first with the bon mots). Agreeing the gap is 4 billion is like saying the gap across that river is 400m, that doesn’t mean you agree with the suggestion of others that we dam the river or build a bridge or a raft.
Taking just one example of where I think we’ve gone wrong. I have to wonder at the mentality behind the cuts to those under 25. Why does a single person of 30 need more than one of 20? If ever there was a sign that the state does not have any time or faith in younger people then that was it. The notion that some adults should be at home with their parents is not even Victorian. I’m well past being in that cohort but I would have thought the last thing someone in authority with any appreciation of history would do during the worst downturn since the 30s is target young people with time on their hands and muscle at their disposal. All that is necessary now is a harsh winter and some demagogue to appear with a winning and simplistic way out of this and we’re well on our way to civil unrest before the summer has started.
Perhaps, that is all part of Lenihan’s plan make some elements of the population so angry they abandon democracy rather than vote for any of the opposition.
I personally think that the trade union movement as it is exists primarily as a public sector beast is facing a massive moment. I can’t see strikes this side of Christmas but a phased and escalated plan of action starting in mid Jan has to be almost certain now. Truth is if the unions had the faith that their members were 100% behind them they would go out 1 day a week more each week until they were completely out on strike and they would sit outside the Dáil or some such public buildings a la Ukraine. The problem is that I suspect the union membership aren’t all that convinced of their own argument, sure the lower paid, those on 30K and under are righteous but I can’t help think that some of those on 50K and more wouldn’t feel less than bullish about sitting out for a few nights to defend their salaries.
The odd thing is that the government may welcome such a confrontation as some voters who have drifted away from them because of their dithering over the last 2 years might be attracted back because of a show of strength even if it is just a show.