There is only one question from Ireland after that election, only one thing on this side of the Irish Sea we need to ask you. Oh, England, what have you done? Oh, Wales what have you done?
Yes, I know that most people who voted didn’t vote for the Tories but enough did, enough responded to the Tory message, a message which makes the old insult of I’m-alright-Jack into a virtue. Enough did, so that for the next five years you will live under a Tory government and I can only say that I’m only grateful that doesn’t include me.
I grew up under the Tories and it wasn’t pretty and I could never pretend when it comes to this column that I can treat them in any kind of balanced way.
Growing up in an Irish family in Britain in the 1980s was to witness a deliberate dismantling of one of the great industrial working classes. Not as a side effect of modernity but as part of a political philosophy.
God help you now when David Cameron gets to work and thinks rolling up his sleeves makes him one of the people and supporting Aston Villa or West Ham makes him one of the boys.
Just as a side note, the many columnists of British newspapers, nearly 50 per cent of whom went to public schools like Cameron, compared to roughly seven per cent of the rest of the population, didn’t make much of that slip because they didn’t see much in it. But it was actually quite fundamental.
It showed the deep and enduring fakery of your leading politician. It is not as trivial as it sounds. A bit like your own birthdate, no one is ever going to get confused about which football team they support.
Of course, that didn’t register much here in Ireland, where people once believed Bertie Ahern was just an ordinary punter attending Manchester United games in a private jet, just like everyone else in Salford does.
Instead the response here was along the following lines — the worry about the EU referendum, the uncertainty around it and what it will mean for an Irish economy deeply dependent on a British economy.
Undoubtedly a British exit from the EU would be disastrous for Ireland as our post-Celtic Tiger economy is built not on new houses but on exports and most of those go to or through Britain. The Irish Government is trembling at the thought of Britain’s relationship with Europe getting more complicated or more fraught.
When David Cameron was re-elected Enda Kenny didn’t know whether to laugh or weep. On one hand there is that EU problem but on the other hand David Cameron is his cross-channel political soulmate. So much so that the Tory election victory was greeted here with more than one call from within Fine Gael for Kenny to call a snap election in the hope of riding a blue tide.
In fact, so emboldened did Fine Gael seem to be by the Tory victory that the Finance Minister Michael Noonan let slip any pretence and let his true Blueshirt/Tory self show through.
He told a Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce lunch that the government was doing so well that “before very long, everybody in this country who wants to work, or the kids who are emigrating now, if they want to stay at home, we want there to be a job for them.
Now we all know there are people who will never work, who are allergic to work, so we’re not including those in the statistics.”
And there it is. At a time when nearly 350,000 people in Ireland are still officially unemployed Michael Noonan felt so emboldened that he could talk of those ‘allergic’ to work and how they would not even be included in the statistics.
And, of course, some people don’t want to work, just like some people in A&E departments are time wasters.
But you have to have a certain way of looking at the world to look at a busy A&E department and think, there’s nothing wrong with them, just like you do to look at an unemployment line and think, allergic to work. You have to, in fact, have the kind of mind set fostered by the likes of the Tories in Britain — a divisive, arrogant, privileged, mean-spirited mind.
Five more years of that for you and for us a government so wanting to be like Cameron and Osborne and Duncan-Smith. Oh, England, what have you done?