Before we joined the Euro, twenty odd years ago, with the Maastricht Treaty and European Monetary Union we, along with many of our European neighbours joined with each other to create the Euro.
When we joined, we all agreed to the terms of the growth and stability pact because everybody recognised that we all had a share in our common welfare.
Now that the Euro is suffering a crisis it is inevitable that our partners are involved. Our budget is as it would have been had the IMF not come in. We are cutting €6 Billion from the budget because not doing do would make our difficult situation worse.
Over the last decade, all parties promised the electorate the sun, the moon, and the stars. Political parties used surveys, and focus groups, and pollsters to figure out what the voters wanted, and then fought about who was going to give the biggest piece of pie, and to whom.
That failure to recognise the cold, hard, unpalatable facts meant that there was nobody in the political arena who called for less. No one to say “The government can’t do everything”.
The failure in our political leadership was never in having the moral courage to say “No”. We ignored the elephant in the corner, we were offered instead more and more. And we were delighted to take it.
What is frightening, is that the opposition parties haven’t seemed to learn from the Government’s mistakes.
They still offer us the politics of 2002, offering an ‘easier’ way, a ‘softer’ way. Just a fallacy, hoping that the electorate are angry enough with Fianna Fáil that they won’t care about change so long as change occurs.
Even if that change is a backwards step