Water, water everywhere and nobody's paying a thing!
Yes folks, the cooling off period is coming to an end and the big bad Government are coming for yet more of your money next year. The softening up process has begun in earnest. To refresh your memory, when it blew up in their faces and they got hammered in the polls, they licked their wounds but did not quit. Instead, they long-fingered water charges in the hope of catching us in good humour later in the year. Well, it's later in the year now.
The old political stroke of an "Independent Review Commission," was put in place. This is where Ministers look after old friends by appointing them to a temporary but lucrative job for a few months carrying generous expenses but requiring little effort. This body then has to merely to look serious, or even grave, when in the public eye in order for the rest of us to form the impression that they are looking fairly at the complexity of the problem. Naturally this Commission is well-briefed in advance because they have the answer they are going to give on day one, so it is only a matter of cobbling together a justification for it.
Their first chairman said so the day after his appointment when he told us he was going to bring in water charges. He got the boot of course for not playing the game. Another more discreet yes-man has been found and the charade is back up and running. A red herring was put into the public domain last week with the suggestion that there may merely be a modest charge. It always begins with a modest charge, doesn't it and before you know where you are, a few years has passes and your water charges are higher than your electricity charges. You see, the hard part is to get us to pay anything but once that precedent has been set and we are paying for our water, jacking it up for a thousand made-up reasons is easy.
I've already had a couple of pops at this HERE and HERE
As per those articles, we Irish are drowning in fresh fucking water. It is about the only natural resource we have in abundance. What we have not got in abundance though is efficient water collection system. We need more water tanks, five or six more of the capacity of the Poulaphouca Reservoir and we'll have the stuff flowing free on tap. With very little treatment it is drinkable.
But the real issue with Irish Water is its possible sale to a foreign multi-national. To make it attractive all our Government needs to do is set up a framework company, force the population to get used to paying a "modest" monthly amount and hey presto! They have a valuable State asset for sale. More insightful voices spotted this scam early on and insiders have hinted darkly that Ireland has been "instructed" to do this very thing by the EU. They want us to sell our birthright to greedy interests so that they can fleece us. If they succeed, then it will be too late to fight back when the new owners make water more expensive than wine. That is the real issue here.
The aspiring new leader of Fine Gael and our next possible leader has never wavered on water charges. Leo Varadkar is determined to get more money from us and he doesn't care who knows. This morning he said that he believes, "The minority government, supported by Fianna Fáil, will survive the expected debate when the contentious issue of water charges comes up for discussion again."
In other words, they'll close ranks and bully it through no matter what the people want. This is the very high-handed attitude that saw them decimated in the last election and it is clear that have learned nothing from it. You can read between the lines of the above statement and see that the Commission decision was taken before the Commission was set up. They will come back with their so-called Independent Review showing that we must pay up or else. Varadkar assumes as much because he's gone past that nonsense to the day of the Dail debate and vote on the matter.
In the same article he reiterated his position on water charges, saying such bills were justifiable for 'reasons of conservation' and were the fairest way to pay. Saudi Arabia needs to conserve water Leo, not storm ridden Atlantic Ireland. Last winter the country nearly broke its moorings and floated off such were the downpours. It was a deluge. Once when it hadn't rained for nearly nine days our back garden was still a sodden mess. It was relentless. All of those millions of gallons of rainwater have since soaked down into the national water table and diviners can find it almost everywhere with their funny sticks. Hell if we did it right we could run an underwater pipe to France and give them freshwater from their taps too. So don't bullshit us Leo with that scarce resource cods wobble. And note that Leo says our water bills are the, "Fairest way to pay." In his twisted mind the debate on whether we should pay is over. Its over because he wants it to be over. He doesn't want to even discuss that anymore and instead wants us to fight over HOW we pay. I'm not fooled by that.
For foreign readers, we Irish let the Insurance scandal go way back in Haughey's time and we're still paying for that with the most expensive car insurance in Europe. We let the bank rip off go because it was so enormous we couldn't get our heads around it. We couldn't believe that our own Government would do something like that to us either. Then we let USC charges go and we even let austerity go in the main. Water charges were a step too far. Non-Irish readers have said to me in the past that water charges are normal. They may be where you are but not here they're not. The French pay no road tax but we're not demanding that here. Indeed we can't because our car tax is what's paying for the Water Company right now.
So, you have been warned lads. It's back to the barricades after Christmas. Already Fianna Fail are backtracking on the water promises that got them into Government. And while you're getting the stones and petrol bombs ready, there's another stealth tax coming called the broadcast tax. This not only covers the TV and radio but it is due on any internet device also. They want to charge you for using your smartphone, laptop and iPad. Is there no end to it? Just think of the myriad of taxes you already have to pay to get on-line in the first place.
It is all bubbling up dangerously for 2017.