Back to reality


Brian Cowen, Irish politician
Image via Wikipedia

Back to life, back to reality. Back to the here and now, yeah.

Wise words from 1980s soul singers En Vogue, who played the Cork Opera House last October to a crowd of nostalgic, almost middle-aged fans. And particularly applicable to what will happen after tomorrow’s day of reckoning.

Since the election was called, and during the slow-motion falling apart of Brian Cowen’s (remember him?) administration in the months before that, we’ve all been kept distracted by the antics of candidates and parties. Canvassers, no canvassers, TV debates, lack of debate, leaflets, lack of information, tie colours, hair dos, and the now infamous Fine Gael computer game, have all kept us distracted, rather like a cat watching dust motes flickering in the sunlight while a mouse steals its food out from under its nose.

(By the way, if you haven’t already, check out http://www.finegael.ie to see Enda throw flying FG stars at the other party leaders. It’s fun… but it was, apparently, made in the US. So much for the knowledge economy. But I digress.)

Fianna Fáil might be annihilated – although something tells me it won’t be as bad as the polls are predicting – and Fine Gael will doubtless form the main body of the next Government, more than likely with the help of the Labour Party. But whoever is in Government, what’s certain is that the focus will return to the IMF/EU deal, negotiating with Europe on the terms of the deal, and making further ‘adjustments’ to our budget. It hasn’t gone away, you know.

A slight lift in the economy which has been noted by a number of businesspeople I’ve met lately, I would put down to a couple of factors.

One is the election – love them or hate them, those posters, ads and leaflets all mean somebody is making money.

The second is also the election – negative sentiment about the economy has given way to negative sentiment about politics, and most of us find it quite difficult to concentrate on more than one thing at a time.

The third, though, I would put down to pragmatism. Many people have been postponing major life events for the last couple of years – buying houses, getting married, having children. And you can’t put life off indefinitely. People are beginning to see that the economic circumstances aren’t going to get better in the foreseeable future, and cutting their cloth accordingly.

Once the fun of the count is over, our new Taoiseach will be mainly concerned with swotting up for the week’s EU summit, where the real work starts.

We’ll be tweeting live from the election count this weekend, see http://www.twitter.com/corkindo

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