Who will take control of our rudderless ship?

Who will take control of our rudderless ship?

I DON’T know about the rest of you, but I don’t feel one bit safe without a Government in place.

I never thought I’d miss being governed so much. If they don’t cobble something together in the next few days - and by all accounts they are making some progress - I don’t know where I’m going to vent the spleen I usually reserve for the Government.

For a start, I’m going to move my nest egg to the British Virgin Islands – where they’ll probably tell me that they don’t ever deal in peanuts – and I’m going to find a haven for myself someplace where I won’t feel so adrift.

I have to do something if I don’t want the nest egg to perish on this rudderless ship. The last thing I’d want to do is to sacrifice it for Ireland.

A hundred years from now, they wouldn’t thank me for it. They’d say I was trying to copper fasten my legacy, as they’re saying about Enda at the moment.

I really don’t know what’s going on in the government production plant at the moment, apart from the reports that they’re ‘making progress’, but my heart goes out to Enda Kenny. Just when we think there’s a deal in the offing, they move the goalposts and Enda is left hanging by his fingertips. A month ago, when he was still looking concussed after the wallop we gave him at the polls, we were urging him to man up, show a bit of statesmanship and produce a Government, hey presto, with just 50 seats, limited fiscal space and everyone gunning for him. That was a tall order indeed, but then just as it looked as if he was going to rise to the challenge against all the odds, we changed tack and said he’d sell his soul to anyone for the sake of his legacy. He’s damned if he does, and he’s damned if he doesn’t. But one thing for sure, he can’t win.

Instead of slaughtering him at the polls, which would have been appallingly vindictive on our part, but at least humane, we’re killing him with a thousand cuts. We’re a vicious race when we get going. When he first became Taoiseach five years ago, we wondered - aloud most of the time - if Enda Kenny would have the guts to take the unpopular choices necessary to get us out of the mess we were in back then. Who were we codding?

When he showed that he had more guts than we ever gave him credit for, we were even more enraged. Nobody should ever confound our expectations like that, as Daniel O’Connell and Parnell discovered to their cost. So as soon as we were safely out of the mess, there was nothing left for us to do only to gut Enda.

Who, in his or her right mind, would ever want to be a martyr for Ireland?

Ok, so I am partisan. I admire Kenny, even though I voted for Michael Lowry - an even greater martyr to the cause of Irish righteousness – and I’m at a complete loss as to why the whole country doesn’t feel the same. But there you are. As soon as everyone starts agreeing with you, you know the time has come to go the other way, and I’m not ready for that yet.

But I’m also at a complete loss as to why the whole country is blaming the politicians for failing to produce a Government from the mess of potage they presented them with eight weeks ago. You couldn’t even make a gingerbread man out of that dough, not to talk of a Government. The electorate needs to take responsibility for what they did at the polls, and the so called strategic voters of two months ago should be coming to the conclusion by now that the strategy didn’t work and that maybe there isn’t even the makings of a stable Government in the pot.

As I write, negotiations to form a Government continue apace – snail’s pace, if you really want to know. They’ve moved on from the stormy Fine Gael/Fianna Fail love in to talks with disparate groups of Independents whose common raison d’etre appears to be the saving of their own necks at any cost. That in itself puts them between a rock and a hard place – risking another election by sticking to their principles or securing their seats by squeezing the last drop of blood on behalf of their diverse constituencies from what could very soon become an anaemic economy again. At least Lowry gave his support without seeking to break the country.

Now if I were in Enda Kenny’s shoes, I’d throw the legacy to the winds and call all their bluffs, including that of the electorate, and seek a second election in the interests of stability and cost cutting. Whatever the cost of another trip to the country, it would be peanuts compared to the cost of satisfying the exorbitant demands of our modern day partisan patriots now engaged in the formation of a Government out of nothing.

This time, however, I’d dispense with the razzmatazz, the leaders’ debates, the posters, the manifestoes, the prima donna broadcasters and commentators and the smart voting apps, and concentrate on returning a Government, whatever its colour or hue. The circus has moved on.

There is, of course, the possibility that we’d vote the same way again, and return another conundrum for whatever hapless party has the largest representation in the Dail, but there is also the chance that a few percentage points either way could prove decisive.

Meanwhile, there’s no time to lose. My nest egg is looking even more vulnerable today than it did yesterday and, as I’ve already admitted, I can be as partisan as any of them when the chips are down.