From top: Leo Varadkar supporter from own constituency of Dublin West arrive at Drumcondra train station to cast their votes in the Fine Gael leadership election; Tony Groves
Frank Flannery was on the Eamon Dunphy Podcast eulogising Enda Kenny and the way he might look at you. And I couldn’t care less.
My mind conjures up a Terry Prone/Frank Flannery hybrid of clichés, sound-bites and smugness. A public relations spin doctor of titanic proportions. And I couldn’t care less.
Paul Williams is on the wireless telling me Garda HQ is called the Kremlin. His Co-Host, Shane Coleman is telling me the Charleton Inquiry is to start holding public hearings. I’d imagine Mr Williams may have felt a little chill at that. But I couldn’t care less.
Leo Varadkar, as part of his Opinion on Everything tour, says he “shares the public’s concern” regarding the Seán Fitzpatrick debacle. The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement is admitting mistakes were made. Me, I couldn’t care less.
Both candidates for the Office of Taoiseach have said the Citizen’s Assembly is a “useful guide”, while stressing they think it goes too far. They’ve chosen the vehicle, driven it and then complained about the destination. And me, a white male of a certain age, can’t even feign to care.
On a lunchtime run I passed two tents on the Royal Canal. The “site” was clean, the people had their washing hanging out to dry and their rubbish bagged for binning. And I ran on by like I haven’t a care in the world.
You see, I’ve had enough of these PR platitudes, and departmental debacles, and obfuscating inquiries and plain old outrages.
It’s not so much the singular events; I’ve just had enough of people pretending these events aren’t in any way connected. I’m apathetic to the public’s apathy.
People, suffering from outrage fatigue, aren’t making the connection from the financial collapse, to the tents on the canals. People, too busy “getting up early”, can’t hear the story behind the soundbite. People, contented in the knowledge that an inquiry is underway, confuse this for progress.
They don’t see the linkage between 11 Gardai working on the Seán Fitzpatrick case and 30 on the Operation Mizen investigation into Irish Water protesters.
People distracted by Beauty Pageant Politics don’t notice they are travelling down a path of greed, social exclusion and the shrinking of the public sphere.
The left and the so called opposition are busy kicking tyres, instead of conjuring up a vision for a fairer economy, a more inclusive society and public services that work.
We produce enough food in this country to feed 50 Million people. We have an untapped availability of clean energy and the only insatiable demand we continue to feed is the black hole of legacy debt.
But I don’t hear that message anywhere. I do hear the Fluff of Frank Flannery, the Tao of Terry Prone and the deflections of Government.
Official Ireland adheres to the commandments of distraction, deflection and division.
If we don’t start addressing this deflection, calling out this ineptitude, then we will continue to go with the flow and we will be back in the same mess again. Property bubbles drifting in on the summer wind.
The drum of distraction is beaten incessantly on the airwaves and in the newspapers. The rhythmic sound of faux outrage is designed to give the impression of progress and we are humming along.
The drum we need to play the slow relentless beat of change; a hammer blow against inequality, a thump in the face of the “I’m All Right Jack” brigade. We need to tap the beat at the breakfast table, at the office desk, in the lunchroom and on the commute home.
Make it the backing track to our lives, a rhythm that pricks the ears of the apathetic. We need to see it’s all connected. It’s not public versus private. It’s not left versus right. It’s about those with and those without. And caring.
Tony Groves is a full-time financial consultant and part-time commentator. With over 18 years experience in the financial industry and a keen interest in politics, history and “being ornery”, he has published one book and writes regularly at Trickstersworld