I was chatting to a friend over the weekend. This person is a good friend, and mere differences of opinion over politics would never cause us to fall out. However, this weekend we came very close to doing exactly that.
You see, my friend is still an active member of the Green Party. This alone would not cause any problems between us as we have great respect for each others opinions ... even though these days our opinions are literally poles apart on some things ... and we still share core beliefs on what is most important. Our difference of opinion came when discussing political reform. My friend claimed the Green Party had introduced many reforms to politics in Ireland since 2007, and said that overall politics was in a better state now because of the Green influence than it had ever been before.
I disagreed, and mentioned the fact that Ivor seems to be getting away with expense abuse and nothing can be done about it, the lonnnnngggggg Dáil holidays still have many weeks to run, the refusal to hold the 3 by-elections, the fact that Brian Cowen is still the worlds 4th highest paid politician, and a few other ways in which Irish politics is still rotten to the core and rife with abuse and gombeenery. My friend had no answer, and I didn't push him for one.
Perhaps he thinks I'm so anti-Green Party these days that I cant see his reality that the Greens are doing great work in the area of political reform. Or perhaps he is so brainwashed and has such a morbid fear of losing power that he is the one who cannot see reality. I hope he read todays Irish Independent editorial ... it might open his eyes as to what is the true reality of this.
"Is Irish politics any better now than it was in the mid-1980s? It is undoubtedly worse. Throughout all the scandals, throughout the economic wreckage, the nod-and-wink culture has survived. Along with it has survived the practice of incomprehensible explanations and defences. No wonder public contempt and anger have swollen."
Or perhaps he could read this opinion piece in yesterdays Sunday Independent ...
"But Callely knows that at the next election Fianna Fail will be turfed out, and he can retire on a nice pension. The reality is that the whole political culture knows it. This is a system, after all, that has done nothing to reform itself since the revelations first started about the ludicrous unvouched expenses system, the crazy mobile phone allowances, the mileage allowance, the overnight allowance, the pension double-ups, and all the other perks that make political life, and even the abuse, so bearable."
Will we stay friends? Of course! Will we have future differences of opinion? Of course. Will we look back on all of this is a few years time and see who held the opinion which was closest to reality? Definitely. And whoever was right, we'll still be able to have a pint and a laugh about it.
Signs of Hope – A continuing series
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