Rabbitte eats his Greens - Former Labour Party Leader Pat Rabbitte's Contribution to this week's Budget Debate was simply a masterclass in razorsharp political speechmaking.
Jan, Eamon Gilmore, and me at the Party conference in Mullingar
The video clip is just too good to keep to myself - it has already been shared around Facebook and YouTube, and now can be seen by followers of this blog on the sidebar as I was not able to embed it in this post - some Green gremlin out there forbade it!
It is one of the only lighthearted moments of the last week, which has seen the 2nd savage Budget in 6 months, known variously as the Mini-Budget, the Supplementary Budget and finally the Emergency Budget.
This has a nice resonance in Ireland of the Euphemisms, where what was known globally as World War II completely passed us by in our state of Irish Neutrality, and instead we had what we termed "The Emergency" which coincided with the period from 1939-1945.
Ireland has clung to neutrality with great tenacity since then and it has not been without its somewhat Kafka-esque moments. Eamonn de Valera, our then Taosieach (Prime Minister) famously and shamefully made a trip to the German Chancellery to sign the book of condolence on the death of Adolf Hitler in 1945. This action was defended by him and his many supporters in the name of Neutrality, and indeed then President Douglas Hyde also visited Hempel to offer condolences on Hitler's death.
This was defended as a Diplomatic duty that was only revealed when the national archives were released in 2005. At least such contentious issues are rightly debated in these times, as what was deemed due deference to those in high office resulted in an unquestioning acceptance for many years. Thankfully those days are long gone and we can objectively view the errors of former national heroes in their true colours.
We will all have more time to reflect on our newfound relative penury as the Orwellian terminology and euphemisms make their impact on our salaries and payslips in May. Taxes are now Levies (much less threatening), ceilings are lowered on all entry points for same, and these were doubled, including one introduced in last October's "budget horribilis". Most salaries will be pushed back by a number of years with average monthly cuts in take-home pay of between €200-€400 - that's public sector, factoring in the Pension Levy I blogged about here.
The Labour Party called it the "Budget from Hell" and it certainly hits the lower earner and those on social welfare, as the Christmas bonus payment of a week's extra pay has been cut, and the grant for providing The one cut that really annoyed me was the cut in the grant to provide emergency alarms for older people, which is a lifeline for those living alone or in isolation.
So all in all it's been quite a week, we still are reeling from the impact of this budget, as there is a sense that while not making the catastrophic blunders of October's budget - like the near-blanket withdrawal of medical cards from over-70s - they still appear to have let the bankers and developers off the hook. The medical card debacle was reversed in jig-time after massive street protests showing that the erstwhile children of the 60's hadn't lost their revolutionary zeal.
The taxpayers and citizens now have the government putting its hands in their pockets for the foreseeable future to buy back the toxic assets of the banks and developers at what seems to be massively over-valued rates. This is all to be determined by a new "bad bank" hiding behind another euphemism - the National Asset Management Agency or NAMA - which appeared with Orwellian rapidity on Budget Day.
It remains to be seen where we will all end up in this crisis. An end to vulgar excess we can all do with, but the general impression is that the little people will still end up bearing the brunt of it all.