Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Why grey is the new black

Well, that’s the end of that. At a press conference this morning, the government put up the white flag with regard to the medical card issue. In less than a week, Brian Cowen’s administration have fallen apart like a cheap …

Tue, Oct 21, 2008, 11:21

   

Well, that’s the end of that. At a press conference this morning, the government put up the white flag with regard to the medical card issue.

In less than a week, Brian Cowen’s administration have fallen apart like a cheap suit. A couple of pushes and shoves and, bang, they capitulated. Of course, this was always going to be the way after it was forcibly pointed out to their TDs and ministers at constituency clinics all over the country last weekend that those people who had voted them into power were not very happy with one tiny element of their budget. The plan to curb universal entitlement for over 70s to a medical card may well have saved €100 million, but it has created some massive headaches for Cowen and co.

While I’m sure there was a very good reason that minister for finance Brian Lenihan was missing from this morning’s press conference announcing the back-down, the semantics didn’t look great. Lenihan is probably vexed beyond belief at how this one has played out. He will probably be even more vexed when the next climbdown brings about changes to the income levy. He’ll remember his first budget fondly.

The issue also shows that Fianna Fail and their sidekicks in the Green Party (and whatever independents haven’t chickened out and ran for the cameras like Finian McGrath) will have real problems taking big decisions in the near future. There’s no sign of any collective backbone to deal with the issues to expect even more shirking when it comes to everything from public sector reform to the Lisbon Treaty,

But the real story here is what 140,000 senior citizens can achieve when they put their minds to it. Forget risible campaigns like Rock the Vote, what you saw in action over the last week was real people power. Now that they’ve got the medical card back, I wonder could the grey army be pressed into action about those education cuts?

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