What to do with politicians.
By the time that this is published the general election may have been called. If not then it is not far away. And this got me to thinking. How should I treat the budding TD’s and their sycophantic election workers when they call to my door. My mind went back to shortly after I bought my first motorbike many years ago. Funds were tight so I carried out many of the servicing and repairs myself. An election had been called and aware that I wanted to question budding TD’s my mother called me when Gay Mitchell called to our door. Not wanting to miss the opportunity I hurriedly headed to the door straight from my bike. I was oblivious to the fact that I was bare chested, covered in oil and grime and carrying a massive wrench. I will never forget the look on Gay’s face as I reached the door. All I can say is that I doubt that he would need a laxative for some time after. So after ruling out all the illegal and violent acts I found myself at a loss. So I set about putting together some questions that I could ask them and some statements of opinions that I felt they should hear. Being a pro-active type of person I decided to check out the various party web sites. I could not find any specific policy which mentioned pharmacy on any of their sites. So as the next step I emailed the different press and policy officers to ask them what was their parties policy in relation to community pharmacy. How they see community pharmacy developing, what sort of new services they see being offered to the public by pharmacists and how these might be paid for. At the time of writing I have not had any replies. So how this article ends will depend on how quickly they can cook up something. At the time of writing only the Labour Party had replied to say that they were passing my query on to their Health spokesperson.
Now this may seem a bit unfair but it is based on a further piece of research. While getting contact details for the parties I carried out a search of each of their websites for the word “Pharmacy” and “Pharmacist”. The results were not awe inspiring. Most of the results were from 2007/8 when the dispute with the HSE was at it’s height. The bulk were TD’s jumping up and “The Government should do something about this” type of comment. It would seem that for most of our mainstream political parties community pharmacy doesn’t really exist. We are like the postal workers or road sweepers, we’re there, we provide a service but beyond getting the service as cheap as possible they don’t want to know. At times I just feel like getting them slapping them across the face and yelling at them that pharmacists can do so many things better and cheaper and why don’t they just listen. Then I go and sit in a darkened room, with soft music and thoughts of pink fluffy bunny rabbits and cuddly kittens.
One thing I will miss about the out going Government will be SWMBO Harney. Now that may seem strange to those who know me. But that woman has provided me with so much material for my articles and blog that I will genuinely miss her. So as she is unlikely to stand again (even she wouldn’t be that thick headed) I decided to do a review of her time as Health Minister. One compliment I will give her is that she is one hell of negotiator. She managed to achieve a seat in cabinet for her one Dáil vote. Either than or she has a great set of negatives. Just visualise the scene now. Bertie, Mary and Brian in a menage-a-trois. Even the Star or the Sun would be hard pressed to print that one.
As I considered her performance as Health Minister it occurred to me that there was very little in her actions to suggest Health at all. Her actions were more akin to Minister with nominal responsibility but no accountability for the HSE. According to Mary everything thing that happened in Health was the responsibility of the HSE. But who was responsible for the HSE?
There did not seem to be any communication lines between Dr Steevens Hospital and Leinster House. They seem to operate in parallel universes. So nothing new there.
Outside of the direct health service I judged some of her other actions. And it occurred to me that she was instrumental in destroying Irish jobs. Her last deal with IPHA is a case in point. This is a deal with favours the big brand name multinationals over the mainly Irish based generic companies. So she strengthens the position of foreign based companies with just an office in Dublin over generic companies putting real money into the Irish economy and generating exports. Also it will be seen as a blow for the PI companies. They are extracting value from the multinational brands, giving some to pharmacists and paying Irish based staff, putting real money into the Irish economy. So now we will have the multinationals taking more profit out of Ireland and Irish based companies having to cut back. And I haven’t even started to count the cost of jobs lost in the community pharmacy sector. We have already had pharmacy closures and some high profile receiverships. But to politicians like Harney these are just like buses. There will be another one along in a minute.
It saddens me that she will in all likelihood “retire” from the Dáil when the dissolution comes and we won’t have the comfort of being able to say that at least the voters of Clondalkin kicked her out. After sitting in Government for all of the economic bubble she would probably claim it was all the international bankers fault. And what then? Well she won’t be stuck for a schilling or two. It’s a pity that there is no performance element to TD’s and ministerial pensions. If there was how many of the current Dáil and former TD’s would get anything at all. What a money saver! I’m sure after a respectable period she will take up a number of directorships on the boards of the various foreign multinationals that she helped in their desire for world domination. Now I need to find another darkened room.