As I sit here listening to the people of Ireland debate, on the Niall Boylan show, the validity of the new legislation that came into force today, I begin to feel sick. We are shouting at each other as Niall Boylan laughs at the misplaced passion and the tin-foil-hat comments are enjoyed with sniggers and laughs. But this is serious, it could signify the end of our democracy. It castrates the Irish people and as we line up for this enforced surgery, we hand our balls to the state and are too busy hating our neighbours, who we blame for their inability to pay their bills, to notice our balls dripping in the hands of our government.
This Civil Debt (Procedures) Bill 2015 will see the government replace the prison penalty of debts incurred with a payment plan that could be forcibly taken from your wages or dole. This, according to the Niall Boylan show, can also mean bailiffs entering your home to take your possessions and the use of reasonable force is condoned. The bailiffs will be An Phost and they will no doubt be forced to hire professional bailiffs as post men are not known for their inherent use of reasonable force during their deliveries. “We understand”, said our benevolent dictators, “that it’s not nice to go to prison so we have passed a law that will help you. We have decided that as your infantile capacity to manage your finances is embarrassing for you, we will help you by introducing compulsory payment plans. Please relax and be assured that if you forget to pay your water bill we will remind you and make it easy.”
Let’s break this down into a reality our media flee from and our governments do not wish us to consider. Non payment of bills, what does that mean? Well first I would like to replace non payment with the term “inability”. An inability to pay a bill means you do not have the money to do so. It means that you as an adult have decided that you would rather have no electricity, car, sky TV, credit cards instead of not making your children lunch or dinner. It is an adult decision to allow you to prioritise what you can live without and what you cannot. TV, well it can go. Ham sandwiches in a lunch box, maybe not. There are over 50,000 people in Cork suffering from food poverty. A figure that screams of the social inequality we have been forced to accept as a normal part of our democracy. Do these people choose this? Did they wake up and decide that food was less important than a sun holiday. Will An Post, the state’s new bailiffs, help them realise that their TV licence is as important as their dinner.
“Now lads calm down, calm down sure there are food banks everywhere. Joan took pictures and everything. How about you access that support while we help you manage your wages and dole. We will take just a little bit, you will barely notice it and you will be able to pay the state what you owe them.” But what does the state owe us? Us the worker bees. Nothing it would seem. Our social democracy was last seasons dress and now that we have worn it perhaps we will don the frock of capitalist bondage even if it does nothing for us, we will hold in our stomach as we tie the top button even if we cannot breathe.
This law seems to affect only affect middle class, working class and poor people. Will it see our bankers held accountable for their incompetent handling of our entire economic infrastructure? Will bailiffs enter their homes and use reasonable force to reclaim the state’s assets? Will the 20.4 billion raised through increased motor tax be seen as a fine or an unpaid bill to the Irish people. Could the billions we have paid in increased motor tax, since 1997, to repair our water infrastructure be seen as a default of payment? The money seems to be gone but no work was done. Where is it? Is this a defaulted utility between the Irish people and the government? Can we use reasonable force to reclaim this money. Who do we charge? Would Alan Kelly like to offer his head to his people? Who can we, as a people, charge for the incompetence and defaulting of their payments that our government seems to do as par for the course. Can we use this legislation to force the government to pay us back?
What of Irish Water, because I do not believe in coincidence or Santa, and yes this legislation would seem to have been passed to help the international water industry. A powerful industry backed by the world’s leading conglomerates and companies who have watched in fear as the Irish people fight it’s power. The fire of the Irish people is inspiring people throughout the world and as Veolia watches our struggle, I doubt they feel like sending us a Christmas card. I wonder if phone calls were rushed through to our Taoiseach’s direct line, on his bat phone, as he dressed for a dinner of his crony’s ready to dine on the poverty of his people. I wonder what pressure or clever negotiations were used to help him understand that people just cannot say no in Ireland. In-fact if possible could we do something about free will? Could the Taoiseach increase the dose of austerity being administered before this consciousness becomes contagious and spreads the pathogens of accountability,transparency and equality?
Is Enda Kenny intelligent enough to deal with the sociopaths who have decided that Water is a resource and of course should be paid for and create profit? I doubt it, as the criteria for leadership in Ireland has sunk to the baseline of a talk show host, whose perma tan, white teeth and non threatening charismas allows him or her the ability to tell people what they need to hear. These people are not leaders. Integrity and empathy are not even on the table. The Irish dining table of political calibre requires a starter of local popularity, a main course of bureaucratic tolerance and a lack of conscience as dessert. You need to be likeable, able to lie and to live unaffected by those lies. This is the recipe that will ensure your ability to rise to the top of our current form of democracy. Our natural leaders will sink before the first course and the fat will rise to the top. This is not leadership. It is a cheerleader movie that idolises bullies.
If we allow this bill/act/procedure to be put into practice it could see our last chance at having a say in this country destroyed. We tried voting but the government keeps introducing new acts. “Rights lads, act quickly here, we will have a water services act, then maybe the water tax act or will we just cut the bullshit and pass an “enabling act”. Hitler got a bit carried away but he feckin’ knew how to run a country. Make sure you put in a clause that helps the old Garda lads out as well, maybe some new arrest powers. Those peaceful protest are getting a bit scary down in Cork. Yesterday not one protester said thank you to Irish Water. It was a disgrace. No, better nip it in the bud. Come here ask Bertie there if he still has the emergency stash of light sabers as, feck it, they would look great in the ould pictures. Brilliant, light sabers for the Garda it is lads. Sure using the Garda will save a fortune for Irish Water, Christ they would be run into the ground if they had to pay for security themselves and it only takes our local Garda five minutes to get to a scene if given the right motivation. And Jesus who wouldn’t be motivated by a light saber? They will be there in three minutes. Great meeting lads, great meeting, its like we were inspired.”
We have taken to the streets in figures no government should ignore, we have figures of over 70% non payment. We as a people have said no. We understand that our political system is corrupted beyond measure and that our only true power is our economic voice. We spoke and said no. This bill could mean that we could lose the last strand of the power we have. Could this end our democracy and make the power of our political elite or political sheep complete? They who do the bidding of corporations and private companies and use food banks and our childrens futures to help them. We cannot allow another austerity measure to be force fed down our throats. Maybe we need to find another way to say no, and let’s be honest peaceful protesting and non payment do not seem to be working. What would you have your people do, if they do not want to capitulate. Free will cannot be taxed or controlled. The people of Ireland burned bright enough to break the English empire, we can definitely take Batman and Robin out as they play with their light sabers. What will happen Enda; if we do not do as you say?