Clientelism is the virus that gives life to the disease of corruption that has destroyed our country.
The corrupt political/administrative elite that spawned the virus has emerged victorious from the recent economic crisis with its powers enhanced.
The pain, suffering and despair of Irish citizens is guaranteed to continue as a result of this victory.
The media are a crucial element in the health of any democracy. It is through the media that most ordinary people turn to for professional analysis of on-going events. Indeed, it is reasonable to assert that a great deal of citizens actually vote according to opinions formed from listening/reading to media professionals.
Sadly, the quality of Irish journalism is very poor. While some journalists are professional, hardworking and objective far too many are either captured, incompetent/ignorant, support a political party or are just bone-lazy.
I’m not quite sure which category Irish Times columnist Stephen Collins fits into but I suspect, from reading his piece in today’s paper, that he has no notion whatsoever of the reality of how Ireland is actually governed.
Here’s what he has to say about the clientelism virus:
While clientelism certainly has negative aspects for good governance there is also a positive aspect to a political system in which the voters have such direct access to their politicians. For instance the social cohesion that marked the country’s response to the financial crisis and the bailout was a testament to the strength of our democratic institutions.