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Austerity fatigue December 14, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.

A telling report in the SBP that ‘Online interest in last week’s budget was unusually low compared to other years, according to figures from [..] internet services company.’

Murphy speculated that the downturn in interest was due to apathy and a “weariness in consumption of budget material”, much of which had already been leaked prior to last Wednesday.
“As an example of the drop, traffic around Budget 2011 would have been in the region of 10GB per second during the two hours of the budget delivery in the Dáil, whereas this year traffic only reached 0.9GB per second at Budget 2013 peak,” Murphy said.
He said this information had been mirrored by similar reports from service providers in Ireland, including INEX, an industry association.

This in a way is not a surprise. The Budget was well trailed – few of the measures were a shock. Moreover in an odd way the structural aspect of this, that being the sense that the Republic is locked in a programme lasting years works in some ways to the Government’s advantage, with bits chipped away year on year. This doesn’t in any way negate the gradual erosion of the Government’s support, and that of the component parties, but it does mean that opposition, outside the political and electoral arena, is quite diffuse. Consider how the protests on the day of the Budget were – given the scale of not just the Budget itself but of the cumulative effect of the previous and future Budgets – muted in the extreme. I was there early on and then had to leave but it was already obvious that the support was from the usual quarters. No harm in that, but four or five years in one might have thought there would be an increasing and visible support from a broader range of people.

It’s not quite resignation. The individual measures are causing great anxiety, and anger as well in parts, as well as the real world effects noted here {Christmas Fair). Nor is it exactly apathy, again for the reasons just noted. But it is a sense that there is little that can be done to redirect the ship of state from its chosen, and previous, course. In part that too is due to the fragmented nature of the opposition to it. Sometimes I think the support for both SF and Independents being so high is a function of a sort of displacement activity, something along the lines of an acceptance that the government is in power making the decisions it is and therefore support for both those alternatives is a sort of gestural effort of opposition, but one that has little impact. It will be very very interesting to see how much of that present support is translated into representation come the next General Election.

But I think leftists and progressives should be concerned by these stats. The general level of inactivity, and lack of enthusiasm for strongly oppositional actions suggests serious problems as regards the next couple of years. And as always there’s the single great question, if the left is not drawing greater strength now, during a generational crisis of capitalism, then when?


1. CL - December 14, 2012

The F.G/Lab/IMF govt. is successfully managing a massive transfer of wealth from the working class to international capital.


2. The Political Idealist - December 17, 2012

Reblogged this on ThePoliticalIdealist.com and commented:
Funnily enough, the UK media has paid no attention to Ireland’s finances after the risk of a debt default dissipated. And it seems that many of the people of Ireland have fallen into depressed lack of action.


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