Once again the trees are going up in North Dublin, a sure sign that an election is imminent. Even the newspapers agree with me. I must be a very special person, because this is the second time that a tree has been planted outside my house in the run up to an election. The other one died, along with the promises of the Government that other people elected. At least I could believe in some of the promises.
Not so when I look across the water to the UK. I've never seen my country of birth so divided. I've never felt so down about an election result, with the prospect of the destruction of what is left of the welfare, education and health services. There was a smell of fear on social media from so many friends who wonder will they join the swelling ranks of those who die as a result of Tory austerity policies. The response quickly turned to anger and action, some ill advised, but there could be a lot more of the same. You can only push people so far.
So how did the Tories win? The message went out: unless you're a 'hard-working' family - translation: you earn lots of money - then the economy, the financial markets and even society is not interested in you. If you are part of a 'hard-working' family then all your problems are the fault of immigrants taking your jobs and the unemployed who slob around on the sofa watching Sky News all day, can and fag in hand.
Don't get me wrong, I fully believe that there should be rewards for those who are clever, talented, hard-working, who make the world a better place, who care for others, who build communities, who create companies that provide employment and make things that people want and need. I also believe that some people have got into a social welfare rut in communities where the low rates are supplemented by black market jobs and goods. Sometimes that style of life may seem preferable to an insecure work world of zero hours contracts and poverty wages. Is that not understandable?
I know and understand less about the desire of many in the UK to leave Europe, even though EU policies seem incomprehensible and uncaring much of the time. I don't think it will solve the problems of the underprivileged in the UK and I suspect that dealing with poverty would be the best way to dampen the calls to leave the EU. But it seems that voters don't want to deal with poverty, they want to punish it.
What the Tory voters in their safe suburbs don't seem to understand is that they are always just a few pay cheques or an accident away from becoming one of "them", one of the unemployed, the disabled, the lone parents, the sick or any other vulnerable category you care to mention.
The saddest thing of all for me personally is that I suspect that our right-wing Government party is probably looking at the Tory victory in the UK and working out how to copy it. So now I have to fear for my children and my friends. And somehow find the strength to fight even harder to make sure they do not end up being punished. Just for who they are.
Reasons to be Cheerful - Happy Mothering Sunday #R2BC - Lucky me, the girls made me breakfast in bed Happy Thursday friends, How are you doing? I'm having a funny old week. there is nothing particularity wrong...