By Joe Higgins
FOR SHEER brass neck you have to hand it to the members of the Fianna Fail/Green Party government.
There was Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey, at the recent Fianna Fail Ard Fheis laying into the bankers. They used the Irish economy “as their own personal piggy bank” he declared. They were “money manipulators (who) endangered the economic survival of our people”. In short, they were guilty of “economic treason” doing more damage than anyone “except perhaps Cromwell”.
Dempsey was introducing Fianna Fail leader, Brian Cowen, for his conference address. He was probably hoping to induce a collective amnesia in the party delegates about the fact that it was their party that had been in power for the last twelve years. And that it was Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats in Coalition who facilitated, promoted and legislated for the rapacious greed of the assorted gang of bankers, developers and speculators which has disastrously crashed the economy. Certainly it worked with Cowen himself who also forgot to mention in his speech anything about the ten year orgy of speculation which he and former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, are responsible for.
Certainly anybody idiotic enough to stay on as a rank and file member of Fianna Fail will need to suffer from amnesia or be otherwise anaesthetised before they have the neck to go out canvassing among working class people for the party in the upcoming Local and European Elections.
Of course drawing attention away from their own crimes by scapegoating others who were also implicated is a standard means of defence by ruling elites that find themselves in the eye of economic and political storms. In a cynical bid to divert attention away both from themselves and from the fact that crises usually arise from the nature of the system over which they preside, and from which they draw their privileges, they pretend that the activities of the most blatant in their midst were exceptional.
But it is Fianna Fail itself and other wings of the establishment that are wholly responsible for the crisis.
In the ten years up to very recently, no questions whatever were raised in any section of the business, media or political establishment about the right of those who controlled building land and dominated the building industry to profiteer obscenely at the expense of young people needing to purchase a home. No questions either about the banks which facilitated the racketeering in the housing industry by shackling the same young people to mortgages of forty years duration.
How could there be anything but silence from the establishment political parties all of which had point blank refused to introduce legislation to outlaw speculation in building land in the thirty five years since a High Court Judge recommended such a move?
How could there be anything but silence from those sections of the printed media that earned a multi-million fortune annually from the speculators and developers advertising their monstrously priced houses in property supplements?
The crisis that now engulfs the financial system and the economy is a crisis of the system itself and its political representatives. Of course if they can wash their own hands of responsibility for the current crash, it makes it much easier for them to demand that working people pay for the consequences.
Working people who are experiencing the vicious repercussions of the crisis will not be fooled by these lying tactics. They have already shown that in the huge mobilisations that have taken place on various related issues, which should only be the beginning and, of course, they should wreak havoc on Fianna Fail and the Greens in the Local and European Elections.