Democratic revenge: a dish best eaten cold

As I write this at 22:46 GMT, it’s clear that the Irish electorate has handed out a really severe thrashing to Fianna Fail, the party which has dominated Irish politics since the 1930s and which was the architect of the country’s current economic predicament. And what a thrashing: the Deputy Prime Minister, for example, has just lost her seat in Donegal — something that nobody believed would happen.

What’s going through my mind is all the prior journalistic speculation about why the Irish people seemed so passive in the face of what was happening to them as they were forced to pay up for the stupidity, venality and criminality of the people who ran their banks and their politics. Why were there no riots in the streets, like there were in Greece? Why were people apparently taking it lying down?

Well, now we know: my countrymen were biding their time, waiting to hand out the punishment in an impeccably democratic way — through the ballot box.

It’s an awesome moment. Though not perfect: Gerry Adams has just been elected to a seat in the Dáil.