Connacht Tribune - Opinion Piece
Those key factors that determine your future prospects in the sport of politicsSeptember 12, 2012 - 9:29am
Somewhere on the airwaves on Sunday night, I heard somebody saying that the atmosphere at the end of Sunday’s epic All-Ireland hurling final was anti-climactic.
That somebody, whoever they were, was as wrong as Brian Cowen was when he decided to stand down most of his Cabinet with some half-cocked notion that it might win Fianna Fáil an election.
No, it wasn’t an anti-climax – it was exhaustion. I was a mere spectator at Croke Park and I’ve never been more physically or emotionally drained by 145 or 146 minutes.
It got so bad that over the last agonising 10 minutes I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t shout, I could hardly watch as Joe Canning stood over the ball for that final fateful free. I never felt as tired in my life as I did on that Sunday evening.
In sport – and especially a whirlwind sport like hurling – all of the problems and obstacles of the wider world become concentrated into a few moments.
1. The Reality of the Situation: There was the dread feeling when you began to think, this was too good to be through, as Galway struggled to contain Kilkenny from getting the upper-hand.
2. The Hard Choices: As Henry Shefflin lined up to take the penalty, he had the choice of winning the game (or potentially losing it); or going for the percentages by nabbing an easy point, ensuring the worst Kilkenny could do was get a draw.
3. The Unknowable: The game was a great example of the impossibility of knowing everything beforehand: whether or not form or physicality or speed or game plans would pan out. All of these things could not be fully known until they were played out and even then they weren’t clear cut (Brian Hogan had a mediocre first half; a stormer of a second half). And the unknowability of who will win the replay in three weeks’ time. I have a gut feeling and an emotional attachment but do I really really know what’s going to happen? Not a chance.
And so it’s Monday afternoon and on to Westport in Mayo, Ireland’s favourite place to live and Fine Gael’s favourite place to have its annual think-in of TDs and Senators.
And as the day pans out you begin to bracket the problems in the same kind of way (though with Enda Kenny you’re never sure if he’s a Brian Cody or an Anthony Cunningham or a . . . Davy Fitzgerald!). Of course, the uncertainty is still as frustrating and infuriating but unfortunately it’s been played out at a tortuously slow pace.
The Reality of the Situation
For new governments, honeymoon periods usually last for three months, but this Coalition has emerged relatively unscathed from its first 18 months. However, with €3.5 billion in cuts to be found in December and with no easy pickings, Kenny was warning his troops yesterday that the next four months will be the most difficult in the Coalition’s five-year term of office.
Secondly, Donal Donovan, a former deputy director of the International Monetary Fund, was one of the guest speakers. According to TDs who were present, he was very pessimistic about Ireland’s prospect.
He said that without relief on bank recapitalisation, the austerity policies would not really achieve their goals and would hamper the return to growth (this is an argument that has been endlessly made, though far more robustly, by the US economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman).
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.