Photo: On the march. Sean Martin took the photo used above at a water charge protest back in January.
Like the Angel of History, weeks ever pile upon weeks propelling us backwards into the awful, awful future. You can faceswap people with Slavoj Zizek these days, that’s where we’re at. As a civilisation. Progress is a lie.
Still, infernally, making the news this week is the fact that we are now at 58 days since the election. 100 years to the day of the Easter Rising too. There’s still no government and these weeks keep on coming.
By the end of last week’s apparent agreement, Fianna Fail had conceded they could in principle support a minority Fine Gael-led government. If they could iron out some details.
Negotiations on said details we were told were going well all week – “professional and upfront” – until news broke this weekend that they came across a problem. That problem being the not-insignificant matter of water charges. Details..!
Do you remember politicians debating or even being pressed about water charges during leaders debates? I’m not certain I do either.
But I do remember establishment politicians running their own “Operation Bore” saying it’s not a pressing issue. They assured us the movement was over – even as desperate Fianna Fail politicians were getting last-minute “ABOLISH WATER CHARGES” posters on the last bits of lampposts in Dublin.
Well, predictably, they were lying little shits. Now they’re apparently willing to collapse the whole thing for another election over it. The frontpage of the S*ndo today says “Now FG and FF gear up for election”. As recently as Friday both sides were saying they thought talks would be wrapped up this weekend.
Word is that once the Seanad elections are over this week, the Taoiseach must nominate 11 stooges to take the Queen’s shilling and be their people in the Seanad. Apparently without these 11, the Seanad cannot be completed. And apparently the constitution states without a completed Seanad, the entire Oireachtas (read: Dail) cannot function – at all.
Enda, as a caretaker Taoiseach, cannot nominate those 11 in order for the new Oireachtas to officially commence doing fuck-all – as opposed to unofficially, but constitutionally, doing fuck-all up to now.
But it’s important not to get too sucked into all of this smoke and mirrors. We’ll poke it with a stick to save you the hassle.
We are almost certainly being treated to the extremely bizarre choreography of simultaneously trying to bind Fine Gael and Fianna Fail together in a way that gives the impression they are not, in fact, two cheeks of the same multi-sided arse. And if they are to present a full moon, this might be their last chance to do it before pulling us back from the brink of mutually-assured election.
Occasionally the real-world does interrupt the bullshit.
Irish Water, subject to all-sorts of FOIs and Minister’s questions, are holding back on releasing the latest boycott figures for the first quarter. It’s a transparent act to help smooth negotiations, because the likelihood is the boycott has increased somewhat since the election with the expectation they’ll be scrapped. Pressure is building, the political system is forced to react. On Friday, 39 TDs associated with the water movement agreed and submitted a joint-motion calling for Irish Water and water charges to be abolished.
Now, as a majority of the Dail were nominally elected on the election promise that they would end water charges – the motion will pass or fall soley on whether Fianna Fail supports it. It’s eh, “put-up or shut-the-fuck-up time”, as they say.
So, something’s probably going to give soon. Will it be the immovable objects of the Fine Gael-Fianna Fail super-multi-arse, or the irresistible force of hundreds of thousands of people with homemade tap-hats on their heads apoplectic about being forced to pay again for water.
We’re with the hatters.