Ireland in 2007 : America in 1996-1998

Hey readaship.

We’re all down for analogies. Sometimes they make you feel like some illness is on the horizon, like how G-Unit Dubs Bizzle is sadly similar to Alcibiades back in the Athens day, goading mugs into a poorly-planned military venture that then spins out of control. Other times though you watch some stuff and just can’t help but note the inherent similarity to other stuff.

That’s how it is with this Fianna Fáil re-election victory in Ireland, because the voters in Ireland essentially re-elected a guy surrounded by scandal because he was doing a good job of keeping their wallets fat. (See also Chicago, Illinois.)

Bertie (there’s a name that would never fly in American politics) Ahern took some heat recently over questionable financial decisions that included accepting gifts and cash from different developers and businessmen during and after his time as Finance Minister, even though he insists it was all legit. Plus, he took a lot of heat for letting the American military land and refuel at Shannon Airport in 2003 on their way to Iraq. While all this stuff hurt him in the public eye (my cousin never tired of IMing me from County Kerry to tell me how much he hated Ahern), housing prices in Ireland recently have been off the chizain—the average new Irish house costs 304,000 euros, which is nearly $409,000. These are smaller Euro houses too, not the crazy McPalaces we got here in the American exurbs. And Ireland, notorious for sending people like Grandma and Grandpa Stack abroad in search of employment, is actually importing hella workers from Europe and elsewhere.

So, the people overlooked that non-economic drama and the fears of rising crime and declining education to re-elect Ahern and keep the economy humming. Sometimes you gotta just ride the wave, I guess, and make sure to look like you’re the bomb at surfing even while the ocean could take its toll in pwnage at any moment.

  • Also, Sinn Fein rolls pretty strangely. They won all of four seats in the Irish Dáil assembly out of 166, hardly a big showing. I don’t really know why they think Southern Irish republicanism is going to make some sort of comeback when it hasn’t been fashionable since the 1960s or so, not to mention they’re still quasi-Marxist and, as I just mentioned, mugs voted with their pocketbooks. But more than that, like my cousins say, most of the people in the Republic still just wish they could “be rid of that crazy lot up there.” So, SF: get your gear in order in the Northern Assembly before you try to roll out on some Dublin dudes.
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3 Responses to “Ireland in 2007 : America in 1996-1998”

  1. Do you suppose the average 40yo Irishman remembers just how bad the economy was in the 80s so “just keeping the economy humming” isn’t as decadent to them as you make it sound? I seem to recall things like 30% unemployment and poorest country in Western Europe status. Although I have no idea how much the Ahern administration had to do with the changes for the better.

    Did you ever look at the Irish electoral system? It took 4 classes to get through that mess in my senior year comparative western euro government class.

    Posted by Rich | May 30th, 2007 at 7:41 am
  2. I don’t think it’s decadent at all, it just reminded me a lot of Clintonian America. Several hundred years of poverty certainly entitles them to the good times.

    Posted by Pat | May 30th, 2007 at 7:50 am

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