More than six weeks after the last votes were cast in the general election we still have no government. And the whole country is pretty relaxed about it. Except the media, of course. And most of the elected representatives.
But the majority of people don’t seem to be too concerned or upset.
There have been no riots in the streets; no flash mobs outside the Dáil clamouring for even more regulation on our already over-regulated lives, or to have our over-taxed subsistence decimated by further new taxes (we haven’t been subject to a new regulation or tax in months).
It’s a bit like being awarded with an unexpected holiday.
However, there is a national warning in place that these happy days could be over as soon as Thursday of this week.
Meanwhile we wonder if our elected representatives are being paid during the interregnum. Do they even turn up at the Dáil? Or do they just stay at home? The latter option seems best.
Now that we think about it, maybe they should be paid extra to stay at home. They can do less damage to the country from home, while saving the exchequer a fortune on travel expenses, as well as stationery, telephone and overhead costs for their Dáil offices.
And those savings are before we even consider the cost of legislation, of all the administrative programs and public projects that get decided in the Dáil chamber and of contributions to international bodies.
Frankly, we would hardly have even noticed the absence of a government if it hadn’t been for the constant frenzy from the Times, the Indo and RTE, among others, as they try to arrange a marriage between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
Nothing would suit the media better than to have everything back to normal, its team in place to continue the intensive liberal legislative program of the outgoing government – in other words, a compliant government, accountable only to the unelected Fourth Estate.
Given the lack of panic among the public – a sort of carefree sense of wellbeing among our fellow citizens that we haven’t witnessed for a long time – perhaps this would be a fitting occasion for TDs to reflect on the level of popularity they enjoy, and how useful or otherwise they are considered to be by the people.
Why would the people be so laid back about the lack of a government? Why is it that nobody misses them? Why isn’t it a national emergency?
To begin with, we know that the services that are already in place don’t depend on being overseen by a Taoiseach and his cabinet. We have a permanent government, the Civil Service, a small proportion of which can manage to keep existing services going.
But perhaps even more than that, the people are fed up with new laws being passed every day, imposing an agenda set by the European Union or by our own liberal media, rather than one that is in the interest of the common good or that is desired by the people of Ireland.
Not that our elected representatives don’t care about serving the common good. Many of them would, no doubt, gladly serve it if they could only figure out what exactly it is.
For others, though, serving the common good is not compatible with their own personal ambitions. They have figured out that serving the EU is a better bet for that, and that a quieter and less stressful public life can be had by not opposing the liberal agenda.
And the public have also figured this out. Which is why people feel so relaxed about the absence of a government.
The economy is still thrashing along, no worse (and maybe better) than it was six weeks ago. The sun still rises every morning. We are surviving. The whole show is running smoothly – arguably more smoothly than before the election – without a government having been formed.
Could this be the recovery of which acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny keeps talking?
If so, as he would say: “Let’s keep the recovery going!”