Thursday, 9 December 2010


A Nation Protests


The biggest problem with our recent hair shirt budget is how it will disaffect thousands of people who already feel marginalised, driving them further away from the political mainstream. People who depend on government payouts to live on have all experienced cuts in their weekly payments. The blind, the disabled, the unemployed, the carers, those on a minimum wage will all have less money to spend as a result of the adjustments being passed through our parliament even as I write. The mantra of the Finance Minister is that ‘we will all feel the pain’ which is tantamount to equating the inconvenience of a mild headache with the traumatic aftermath of an amputated limb ! Of course the middle class and the rich will be affected by reductions to their take home pay ( and in some cases huge mortgage repayments bringing them to the wire!) but the effect on those solely depending on government allowances is inevitably catastrophic in every single case.

Pearse Doherty celebrates Sinn Fein's
election victory in Donegal

Our political parties seem incapable of taking their fiscal scalpel to the very rich in our society while the poor are a soft target upon which a surgical strike can easily be made. The gross unfairness of this recurring injustice is already causing some to look politically in directions that they would never have considered before, especially to the parties of the ultra left like Sinn Fein. I think if I was in one of the targeted ‘poor’ groups and everything else being equal I would at least be listening with a keener ear to the ‘sharing the wealth of the nation’ rhetoric of these left wing Republicans. The widespread cynicism towards politicians of all hues plays well for the S.F.’ers and it is likely that this party will experience an upsurge of support in the upcoming election. As matters economic have upstaged every other issue for the last two years it will hardly matter where the Left stand on issues such as abortion and gay marriage, if they manage to persuade those marginalised by the cuts that a fairer society is around the corner. And if that happens we have only the cavalier behaviour of our politicians and bankers to blame, for consistently ignoring the mass of citizens of this state as they ploughed merrily on rampaging and devastating the wealth of the nation.

If nothing else the events of the last two years have clearly shown that the Money men call the shots in 21st century Europe. The mysterious Bondholders who gamble staggering amounts of money on international markets are the behind-the-scene figures upon which the future of whole states depend. Perhaps we should have paid closer attention to the unmasking of the real controller of this world in the pages of the New Testament. Jesus blew the whistle on the old enemy when He announced, “ Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.” (John 12:31)) Early in His public mission Jesus had encountered the Ruler of this world (Matthew 4:1-11) and wrestled with him in the wilderness, in fact one of Satan’s temptations was to offer the Lord ‘all the kingdoms of this world’, ( implying that they were his to give.)

The heart of the economic realities that affect all our lives is hard and relentless and often energised by a spirit that is anti-God and excludes those who are weakest among us. Jesus put it starkly when He said that a follower of His could not serve God and Mammon (the world’s monetary spirit). We ignore the poor among us at our peril not just because of the potential of social unrest but because their interests are close to God’s heart and we are obligated to love them in real practical ways. How sad that Sinn Fein should be one of the few voices raised in their defence, where is the public Christian outcry at these viscous cuts that will effect those least able to afford them. We stay silent wrapped up in our own comfort zone at a terrible price, while a whole generation are seduced by loud and bold declarations that in the end can never deliver the sought for equality and justice. The ‘god’ of this world can only be overcome in the power of the ‘Prince of Peace’ who alone can take away our hearts of stone and transform us from within. The real revolution turns one life at a time, day by day into a force for change that even the Gates of Hell cannot withstand.

Gerard O'Shea

1 comment:

Tony said...

That's the only kind of revolution I want to be involved in!