Friday, June 15, 2007

As Expected

Bertie Ahern has been elected Taoiseach for the third time. Did anyone really doubt that he would win this time around?

John Gormley of the Green Party was named Minister of the Environment. Well, what other post would he have accepted and still gone into government? Would anyone doubt that he was going to be put in charge of all the things that the Green Party weeps over? And with Eamon Ryan taking the helm, to steer the ship of Energy into choppy waters, it looks like Mr. Ahern may succeed in cutting the heart out of the Green Party.

Before long, the Greens will be touting lower emissions, reducing the carbon footprint that has been casting an ever longer shadow in Ireland these days. With success in the global market comes financial largesse and the means to put a car in every garage. People don't walk anymore if they can drive. They don't take public transportation anymore if they have access to a car. And Mr. Gormley will trot into the Dail with all sorts of plans and ideas to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Businesses will jump and scream, waving flow charts that show how the Green Party's ideas will drive away manufacturing by adding costs. The average citizen will let it be known that they are having enough trouble meeting their monthly bills as it is, and 'Rip-off Ireland' need not become even more expensive.

Back at the Ministry of Energy, Mr. Ryan will talk up projects that cannot actually be done just yet because the technology isn't there. He will call for changes, but anything that involves an increased cost to the consumer will fail. The problem is, everything that has been suggested before has involved an increased cost to the consumer, and Mr. Ryan will soon discover that his powerful ministerial position has brought him nothing but bad press and the censure of the electorate. After all, the voters did not cast their ballots with an eye to putting Fianna Fail into coalition with the Green Party. They've gotten what they don't want, and they won't be standing tall behind the Green Party and any proposals that the coalition partner puts forward.

By the time the next election rolls around, the Greens will be looked on as a bunch of egg-headed crackpots full of dangerous notions that will destroy the Celtic Tiger, make it financially impossible to live large, and that is not at all what the people want. With public outcry crushing their plans for new laws and regulations that promote their agenda, their chances of ever taking another seat will plummet to new lows. On the heels of devastating failure, they will either tone down the rhetoric and become more Fianna Fail-like, or they will shrink into relative insignificance. What politician couldn't like that, when his opposition withers away and the road to the next election is made a little smoother.

Less air pollution and energy consumption? Sure, but not if it comes at the cost of giving up the car and the weekends at the holiday home in Kerry.

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