Guest writer Larry Hughes with his thoughts on the Irish water brouhaha, deceitful politicians and the dubious value of an academic education.
Driving my wife to her Montessori course this morning Highland Radio was very much into the topic of the moment, ‘water charges’. First up was Pat Rabbitte TD (Labour) to be followed by Richard Boyd Barrett TD (People before Profit). Pat Rabbitte basically lamented the timing involved in the introduction of water charges rather than the idea itself. Stating that other countries had taken on average a 5 year time frame of implementation, he blamed the Troika for forcing water charges upon an Irish population with ‘indecent haste’ and this was really why there was such opposition to the new entity Irish Water.
So, Deputy Rabbitte our Labour Party celebrity, has absolutely zero qualms about the idea of water charges per say, simply the way it has been dropped on the people like a nuke rather than having been stealthily washed over them like a gentle tsunami amid the deluge of austerity taxes already suffered over the last six years. Rabbitte also dismisses quite forcefully any notion that Irish Water is a massive quango being set up with the future intention of the privatisation of the water supply in Ireland. He insists this is totally false! Do you believe him?
Step up to the plate Richard Boyd Barrett TD. He immediately accused Rabbitte of being totally disingenuous and stated that he meets with the Troika on a regular basis as part of his Dail duties. According to Boyd Barrett Troika were not forcing the issue of ‘water charges’ and the money could come from anywhere the Irish Government chose to extract it. The choice is theirs.
Under quite a hostile interview from his Highland Radio ‘interrogator’ Barrett more than held his ground citing that high earners got more from the latest budget than middle and low income families. Also, more to the point, he asserted that those on 100,000 euro or more per year if taxed at a rate of an extra 0.1% would bring 800,000,000 euros to the Government which is more than Irish Water will bring in.
Leaving the radio presenter actually lost for words Barrett rammed home his point, saying that those high earners would not only be capable of paying water charges but would not even notice a 0.1% tax increase. Instead this government after six years of inflicting misery on the population intend to levy hundreds of euro charges onto the poorer and less well off in our society who simply cannot and will not take any more of it.
I am not sure what education the likes of Richard Boyd Barrett or Ming Flannigan have under their belt, but they certainly know a bit about life. In a time when everyone seems to be engaged in the practice of an office type politics of ‘covering their own back’ it is refreshing to hear these guys speak. It seems the more time people spend in academia the more reticent they are to voice and opinion. The fear and loathing of being wrong seems to take precedence over actually saying or doing anything at all. All too often Dr this or Dr that emerge onto our TV screens to talk to us in tones of reverential meaninglessness. It is as if now that they have acquired the much coveted PHD or political position, TD etc, the most important thing to say it seems, is Nothing ! That way you are never going to be controversial, vulnerable and indeed unfortunately ... the least bit bloody relevant!
It does make you wonder why society invests so much financially in educating people to BA-MA-and PhD levels when after getting there they are terrified to open their gobs. We hardly need and education of any kind to understand two things. One, Pat Rabbitte and the Labour Party should be totally ashamed of themselves and step aside for the independents to take care of the people. And secondly, Gerry Adams, who will be paying the water charge, should get a third level education as quickly as possible and learn to shut his big lying gob. That would keep both his feet from permanently ending up in his mouth at the same time. After all the cover-ups and lies of recent times from him and SF it would also be an academic investment very well spent.