Kenny's dead words fail to convince
At 9.16 pm on the night of the budget, the Dear Leader appeared on television. He knew, presumably, that people were in deep distress, that many of them would not be able to sleep that night because they were churned up with fear, anger and despair.
Enda Kenny stood in a wood-panelled office with the national flag at his shoulder. He squared up to address the citizens who were hoping to hear something to give them hope – or even just some comfort. And out of his tight little mouth came a stream of banal inanities.
Here are five things said by the Taoiseach in less than six minutes:
1. “In the last 12 months we have seen signs of confidence returning to our economy, interest rates falling….” (The fall in interest rates is a mark, not of confidence in Ireland, but of the sheer depth of the euro zone crisis.)
2. “What we are at here is continuing the process of moving the country forward towards, em, economic development where we continue to be competitive, where we continue to be attractive for investment from abroad, where we make no, em, make no, em, em, no, em, complaint about putting real progress in the small- and medium-enterprise sector, which is the lifeblood of our economy and which will deal effectively with all the hundreds of thousands of hard-pressed families and their children, which will, which will be in the interest of guaranteeing their economic security for the future...” (Only textspeak is adequate: WTF?)
3. “This was going to be challenging in the sense that I’ve read some of the speculation and rumour before this budget of things going to be very much worse indeed.” (All the speculation and rumour was based on carefully placed leaks by the Taoiseach’s own Government.)
4. “It’s important to remember that, for instance, here in Dublin, where the vast majority of the money collected under the property tax, will be spent in the local authorities for services to be provided by people.” (As opposed, presumably, to the services provided by monkeys or robots.)
5. “I’m very confident, eh, against a background of great difficulty at a European level, we actually, eh, we’ve actually achieved growth here in this country and, as I’ve said, signs of confidence returning to the economy are evident. They’re not, not, eh, not sufficient as to where we want to be, em, but next year we hope to, we hope to continue to grow on that, on that progress.” (The budgetary forecast is for real GNP to grow by just 0.9 per cent in 2013 – even less than it grew in 2012. If we continue to “grow on that progress”, we’re screwed.)