Friday, 13 January 2012

The Choice

January 13th 2012

Over the next four years, because of the cuts to frontline staff in the HSE, people will suffer unnecessarily, people will die unnecessarily (there will be more than one); over the next four years, we will pay €55bn in bank bonds.

This is a choice that’s been made by our own coalition governments, both this one and the last. It’s the choice that was made unanimously by every single member of the Fianna Fáil and Green Party parties in the last government, opposed unanimously by every single member of the Fine Gael and Labour parties then in opposition; it’s the choice that’s been made again now by every single member of those same Fine Gael and Labour parties, in government.

The suffering has long begun, the weakest first hit and hardest hit, the most vulnerable, those with the smallest voices; it’s coming to the rest of us. “The money just isn’t there” is the song sung with one voice by the choristers from the government parties; in the next six weeks we will pay €4bn in bank bonds, in the coming year we’ll pay €19bn, in the next four years it’s €55bn (see for details).

People suffer, people will die; we may not know for certain who, when, where, but we CAN be certain – when you cut that much money from hospitals and care centres, when you reduce care staff, people WILL suffer unnecessarily, people WILL die unnecessarily.

It’s a matter of choice. This week the troika members are in town patting our Ministers on the head – Kenny, Gilmore, Noonan, Howlin – and telling them what great boys they’ve been to continue paying these bank bonds in the face of massive pressure; around the country the noose is tightening as more and more families face their own massive pressures.

When the inevitable begins to happen and people start to die, will our governing party TDs – front bench and back bench - continue to be happy with the choice they’ve made? Will every single TD continue to offer his/her back and succumb to the whip, will they continue to support this choice or will they make a choice of their own?

“Hard decisions have to be made”, that’s become another leading line from the common chorus (ye’ve noticed, surely, that they’re all on the one hymn-sheet?). Those bank bonds were for-profit commercial arrangements between consenting adults in private financial institutions that ultimately failed; under the normal rules of commerce, under the currency of capitalism, those bank bondholders should have suffered their own loss, should have suffered the cost of their own folly – what decision has to be made there?

The ONLY hard decision our government has to make is this – face down the ECB. The ONLY hard decision our back-bench government TDs have to make is this – face down their own front bench. Choice – make your own.
Diarmuid O'Flynn.