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BEN SCALLAN: What mandate does the government have for radical policies?

Irish political leaders today often like to think of themselves as very moderate, modern people.

They clearly consider themselves to be very middle-of-the-road and balanced when it comes to their policies. As an Táinaiste Leo Varadkar himself recently said:

“Speaking at the launch of a book on former Fine Gael female politicians, the party leader said he believes the party is often wrongly perceived as a conservative party. “We are not. We are very much a party that is a centre party.”

So Fine Gael and their ilk in Fianna Fáil consider themselves to essentially be centrists. Not too mad in one direction, not too mad in the other, but just in a nice goldilocks zone of calm, rational ideas.

But is this actually true? I mean, let’s actually take a step back for a moment and look at the policies that these parties have promoted and implemented over recent years.

First of all, it’s a matter of public record that there have been multiple instances in Ireland of transgender biologically male individuals who identify as female, and then end up getting put into female prisons. According to the Law Society of Ireland, for at least one of these individuals:

“It is understood that the prisoner was assigned a high level of monitoring after being convicted of ten counts of sexual assault and one count of cruelty against a child.”

There was even one instance recently where a homicidal biological male who said they wanted to rape and kill women was put into Limerick women’s prison, which we covered on Gript.

Does that sound moderate to you? If you stopped most people in the street at random – taxi drivers, nurses, barbers, plumbers – and you asked them, “Do you think this is a good idea or a good policy?” what do you think most people’s response to that would be? Of course they’d be against it. It’s extreme beyond belief, and totally out of step with the views of the majority of people.

And what about our criminal justice system? How often have you seen a headline like this from this country?

“Sex offender who poses risk to public given ‘one last chance”

“A judge has agreed to give a convicted sex offender who poses a risk to public safety one last chance. Munir Ghariani (26) received a suspended sentence last May after admitting to attacking a woman on a street, quote, “for the thrill”…Ghariani has 34 previous convictions including one for sexual assault after he groped a woman from behind as she was taking money out of an ATM. He was registered as a sex offender for that offence. His other convictions include indecency, burglary and theft.”

I think most people upon hearing that story would agree that this man has already had 33 chances too many. Talk about insanity.

And yet this kind of thing happens constantly in this country – someone gets done with child porn or indecent exposure to children, and they get a suspended sentence.

Someone commits dozens of crimes and is still somehow free to walk the street – sometimes even after a deportation order has been issued, and they’re still here over a year later for some reason.

The justice system in this country is laughable. The maximum penalty under Irish law may as well be a €50 fine and/or “a stern talking to down at the station”. Our crowd would find Jeffrey Dahmer with half digested human brains in his freezer and give him 3 weeks community service for it. We’re the best little country in the world to be a violent thug.

Now, with all that in mind, would you say these sentencing models are in keeping with the majority of people’s wishes? Are these the policies of a “moderate” or “centrist” government? This is nothing short of chaos and insanity. And yet it’s been going on for years, even as violent crime skyrockets nationwide. Call me crazy, but I don’t think most people are thrilled about soaring crime rates while the State seems to do sweet f-all about it.

But the lunacy never seems to end. The government wants to lower the voting age to 16.

It also wants to give legal status to tens of thousands of illegal immigrants.

Using carbon tax and other insane climate policies, they want to, quote, “Force private motorists out of their cars.”

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan even said that he wants one car to every ten families.

None of this is moderate or reasonable in any way. These are radical extreme policies which 95% of people rightly view as utterly cracked. And of course we haven’t even talked about the lockdown.

Now look – of course, almost every country in the world locked down their economy – that part is not unique to our government. But do you want to know what is unique? The fact that we have had the longest and most restrictive lockdown in the Western world by far according to Oxford University – longer than Greece, Poland, Germany, Estonia, Romania and Bulgaria combined.

Not only that, but even when other countries were locked down, their restrictions were not as bad as ours – again, according to Oxford, we ranked top 5 in the world for most restrictive lockdowns of any country on earth and #1 in the EU.

For example, religious services are banned in Ireland, and have been for months and months. Which may bother you or it may not. Maybe you’re not religious and don’t care about the ban on services. That doesn’t matter, it’s not the point.

The point is, religious services are not banned in any other Western European country. Right now, you can go to Mass in Germany, in Portugal, in France, in Britain, Spain, Italy. It’s literally only Ireland that you can’t do this. And that’s just one example. So when you see the restrictions here, and you think “Ah yeah, it’s pretty bad, but it’s like that everywhere”, that’s not true. Our lockdown is uniquely severe and punitive compared to our European peers.

Once again, these are not the policies of a very laid-back, moderate State. This is extreme, and the vast majority of people don’t want it.

You know, on paper, the way voting in a Republic is supposed to work is that the people cast their ballots for the candidates they like the most – or often in this country, the ones they hate the least – and at the end, theoretically, you should end up with a government that broadly represents the will of the people, more or less. No government is perfect of course, but you hope that it’ll be at least tolerable.

What we have instead, is a loose Frankenstein cobbling of a coalition, with many of the individuals leading it barely scraping into their seat at the last election in their own constituency, and yet having ultimate power over the lives of the people and advancing some of the most radical policies known to man. Take Stephen Donnelly as a perfect example.

Stephen Donnelly, who signed the law which made celebrating Mass a penal provision, was elected in his own constituency on the 15th count – no, that’s not a typo. The fifteenth.

Now, am I saying he wasn’t really elected? No, I’m not saying that. He was absolutely elected legitimately. We have a PR system, and I don’t question his seat as valid.

What I’m saying is, it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement from the electorate. I don’t think you can really say the people of Wicklow rallied behind him like some conquering hero and anointed him king, let alone the people of Ireland. He has not been given carte blanche to do whatever he wants to the country.

Simon Harris was also elected on the 15th count. Simon Coveney was elected on the 8th and final count. Leo Varadkar got in on the 5th, and Micheal Martin got in on the 6th.

Again, my point here is not to say that the government itself is illegitimate or something – a close win is still a win, and I grant them that. But the fact that the people by and large had so little confidence in them that these politicians basically scraped into their seats at the 11th hour, and then want to turn around and radically transform the country, is not warranted. They don’t have a mandate for that, and it’s not representative of the will of the electorate that they’re supposed to represent.

In fact, I would direct you to Regina Doherty as a perfect example of everything that’s wrong with Irish politics. This woman lost her seat at the last election, coming fifth in a three seater constituency. After serving as the Minister for Social Protection for years, the people of Meath East showed her the door, and said they’d have enough of her.

Then just a few months later, Micheál Martin appointed her as leader of the Seanad.

This was outrageous for two big reasons – One, the electorate had just booted her to the curb, and yet she still ended up with an important role in the government afterwards. It’s a slap in the face to the people’s wishes. And two, even more scandalous, this woman campaigned to abolish the Seanad altogether in 2011.

So she went from saying we should scrap the Seanad, presumably because she thinks it’s useless, to losing her seat in the Dáil, and then happily accepted a role leading the Seanad, and getting paid a huge salary for the privilege. Talk about a slap in the face to the voters. And after all that she had the nerve and audacity to complain that the people are being too harsh to politicians like her online.

The elitism is just staggering.

These people have almost no mandate from the general public, and yet they act like they’ve been given free reign to do anything they please. They act like they and their policies are above criticism. Newsflash lads; you aren’t, and any power that the State has is merely loaned to it by the people. You have no power, other than that which was given to you by the Irish voters and the constitution.

Maybe if parties like Fianna Fáil, for example, made more of an effort to represent the will of the people, they wouldn’t be languishing at 11% nationally – whether Micheál is willing to believe that or not.

The Greens too have completely collapsed in terms of support and have plummeted to a mere 3% nationally.

What they are doing clearly is not resonating with the general public. Maybe if these parties spent less time worrying about the effect of cow farts on the weather in Australia, and making it easier for children under 16 to change their gender, maybe they wouldn’t have to form coalitions with two other parties just to scrape together a tenuous majority. Just a bit of food for thought.

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