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Time to stop playing the blame game

Off the fence

The blame game


OFF THE FENCE
CIARA MOYNIHAN

BLAMING. Pointing the finger. Inculpating. We do it very well here in Ireland. There’s nothing wrong with blame per se – but blame without follow-through, without action to ensure the offender is brought to task and the offending act is not repeated – is pointless. And here’s where we fall down.
We love to finger point. And then we love a good old whinge. We’re very, very good at that. We shake our heads, grumble, drain the last drop of bitter tea from our mugs and boil the kettle again. We wallow in shared umbrage. But we don’t DO anything.
The biggest case in point, and the one that is currently affecting the majority of us, is the economy.
Airwaves and column inches are groaning under the weight of pointing fingers. And we know who they’re mostly pointed at: the banks and the Government. I think it’s safe to say we have firmly established that the banks’ senior decision-makers and the Government and its regulators have roundly failed. Blame has been apportioned.
However, we’re so locked into the joyous misery of squeezing every last drop out of the subject’s whinge-making potential that we cannot move beyond it and take action.
Worse, as though unsatiated, we get sidetracked and become embroiled in fictitious blame games. Witness the public versus private sector debate. The lower-paid workers in each have been hit hard. But instead of uniting in opposition against the Government’s unimaginative and unbalanced austerity approach, taxi drivers and school teachers slug it out on the radio, sniping at each other rather than taking aim at the flawed pay and taxation system and the well-paid decision-makers who have crafted it.
So eager are we to cast blame on others and engage in infighting and squabbles that we have taken our eye off the ball: the punishment/removal of those who have failed and the formulation of viable, equitable strategies to defeat the common foes of poverty and inequality.
Justice needs to be done and real reform must be implemented. Every day that the fat cats continue to hog the cream the lower paid grow leaner on watery, fat-free milk. And these chubby felines do not just prowl the private sector – our ministers are on triple-figure salaries, let’s not forget.
We need to hold the Government accountable – accountability is, after all, the essence of a democracy. The Red C poll released at the weekend proves yet again that the majority of the nation no longer supports the Government. But where are the calls for a snap election? (Enda Kenny’s recent, rather bizarre call for an election ‘within 100 weeks’ does not count, considering the next election is due in June 2012. Not very snappy.)
Saturday was May Day, traditionally an international day of protest. Hundreds of thousands joined rallies across Europe, many protesting against government austerity policies in the wake of the global financial crisis. The Dublin protest attracted a mere 400 souls. Why were our streets not filled with angry citizens demanding change? We must have been too busy boiling kettles.