Anyone who has spent any time minding a group of small children knows it: The tipping point. It goes like this. Children have a bit of a ‘moment’ and shout and scream but often, one or more of the other children will stand back, look at the unfolding situation and do some strategic thinking. “I will get more out of this by being neutral or even helpful right now.” They abstain from the tantrum. You think you have at least raised one of them right. They will get the next biscuit they ask for.
Then sometimes it doesn’t work like that. All the children go off at the same time. As if coordinated by a shadowy figure with a remote control. You are assailed at all sides. It cascades. In the middle of a tantrum, one child lashes out and hurts themselves off the corner of the table. You get stressed. The stress hormones leach out of your kneecaps. The baby sharks react as if there’s blood in the water. You get more stressed. It’s a negative feedback loop. It’s like climate change. Melting permafrost leading to methane burps and before you know the atmosphere has caught fire and everything has a weird orange Venusian glow. A spouse might pop in at that moment (optional) to ask if you’ve seen their keys and “what’s all this noise” and you just lose it.
This is how I feel now with this government. They all need to just stop for one second. Or they’ll do themselves an injury off the corner of the cabinet. And there are a good few corners in that Cabinet.
I know that politicians are rarely completely venal or completely altruistic. They are like the rest of us. A bit sound but can be a bit of a nob. Clever at some things and then confounded by the string on sewn paper bags. Call me naive but I genuinely believe that apart from the odd sociopath or idler, most politicians work hard and try their best.
But after breaking the record for Worst Start By A Government Ever, this shower are headed for Worst Government Ever. It is an office where the managers don’t trust each other. I’ve worked in an office where two managers don’t get on. It was a nightmare. It was only fixed when one left. We don’t have the option now. But we need a reset.
I’m not saying they need a team-building day at Trabolgan but something needs to change. They need to start again. Someone with a bit of time needs to draw up A List of Everything. Because at the moment it doesn’t look like that list exists. Things keep being forgotten. Armed with that list, they all need to go somewhere, maybe a beach or a bog, socially distanced with Bluetooth speakers. And go through The List. They get ONE chance to give out about what’s gone wrong so far. And then just COP THE EFF ON.
We are in a serious mess with Brexit and The Virus. I don’t care what party is in power or what will happen to them after. I’d like them to succeed in stabilising things. But I know this. We’ll remember who acted the bollox. We’ll remember who didn’t help. We’ll remember the bluffers.
If they’re any way concerned about legacy, they need to ask themselves: “When I look back on it what did I do? Did I act the shnake or did I help a bit? Was I clear? Could I do my job?” So Taoiseach/Tanaiste/Minister/Backbencher when you start open your mouths next: just ask a simple question: Am I helping?