This article is an observational piece.
Make of it what you will.
Over the last 12 months, perhaps a little more, we have seen four elections, ranging in stature from having national, regional and global importance. Referendums from the UK, the USA, here and back to the UK, all conjuring up results which were deemed ‘unexpected’. The polls, the market researchers, the mainstream media and political commentators had gotten their predictions considerably wrong. From Brexit to Trump and the Rise of the Left across The British Isles, the ‘surprise’ was notable.
The results obtained would lead a statistician to conclude that a trend was forming. A diagonal trendline would run through the data plots obtained. Full marks!
It’s difficult to deny that a certain narrative from the electorate is being expressed. The question is: is there a willingness to listen to this narrative?
The narrative is that austerity bestowed upon populations, and the expansion of the wealth divide across the Western World is driving swathes people together. People, from almost all strands of society are beginning to mobilise. Significant portions of the population are willing to march to voice their concerns on fundamental issues. Working Class people are beginning to realise the power of their vote. Younger voters are turning out to vote in greater numbers than ever before. The typical voter apathy of yester-year is evaporating. Fast.
Realisation is dawning that it’s the only at the ballot box that people feel they can register their frustrations in the most effective way and be listened to.
Brexit. Irish General Election 2016. Trump. British General Election 2017.
There’s a new narrative of motivation and mobilisation sweeping across Western nations.
There’s strength in numbers.
There’s strength in ‘community’.
Ordinary people are realising that only through working together, helping each other can they achieve a semblance of respect, dignity and a vision of prosperity for themselves and their families. The ‘squeezed-middle’, especially the mammies in such families, are wondering why are they sacrificing precious time spent with their children growing up, just so they can earn the money to repay back the mortgage that only a two-parent working household can achieve?
It’s mortgage or memories. You can’t have both.
And the ‘squeezed-middle’ are now realising, ‘what’s it all for?’ Previous generations never questioned it – it’s just the way it was. No matter how hard they try, the next rung up the prosperity ladder remains elusive.
The over-riding narrative from the electorate is that: societal ‘change is happening’.
From the ‘bottom up’.
‘Top down’ politics does not work for everyone.
People are responding. People like myself. People like Josh and Jason from The Michan Spot in Smithfield, Ray and Team from McCabe’s Deli (Townsend Street), Massimo and Sinead from The Vape Caffe (Capel Street), James and the Team from Fetch (The Liberties), Florin from Dublin Web Design, Phil Doyle from Longstone Walking Tours, Ralph Smyth (from Ralph Smyth Tours), Kevin and Zoe from Two Pups Coffee (Francis Street).
These guys, like myself are part of the entrepreneurial community. A community which can see no other way than doing things for themselves. A creative, willing and brave community. A community willing to commit their own blood, sweat and tears to achieve their dreams.
There doesn’t seem to be an alternative.
It’s these people who become the glue between the ‘larger bricks’ of society. They ensure continuity, conduction, sustainability of the economy. They are a support network, themselves. They bring life to a community. They keep it going in spirit and practice. Community spirit is alive and well in Dublin (and Ireland).
However, the aforementioned support network needs increased support. And it’s not the support that costs money. The ‘Striving Class’ Communities need the boost that only the political and influential classes can bring. A genuine and unified message must fill the airwaves and TV screens that people should support these SME’s as much as possible. There must be encouragement and incentives to ‘shop local’.
During the run-up to Christmas 2016, not once did I hear a government minister tell people, the wider nation to spend a fraction (perhaps 10%) of their Christmas budget on supporting a local business endeavour. Instead of verbally and visually supporting the indigenous ‘Coffee and Shoe-Leather’ Community, the unprompted population where simply left to pick up the valueless 10 euro bargains from the shelves at our larger department stores.
And that said it all.
Do the political / influential classes really care?
Is it all about balance sheets and profits?
So, as Leo Varadkar was officially sworn in as the Taoiseach, and Ms. Regina Doherty promoted to the Ministry of Employment and Social Protection, it is vital that we witness their positive, motivational impact on the ordinary ‘striving communities’ across Ireland.
Let’s see and hear them encouraging the wider masses to visit their local butchers, their local hairdressers, their local fashion shops, their local bookshop, their local newsagent, their local…
The new narrative is this: it’s only through working together, through every strand of society that we can all benefit and prosper. We need to hear ministers encourage and support those of us who are trying to make something happen for ourselves and the wider community.
‘Those who get up early in the morning… and don’t go to bed till late at night’.
The people who dare to dream.
1. Coffee and Shoe Leather
2. McCabes – Take a second look
3. Vape Caffe – Finding Massimo
4. The Michan Spot
5. The deadly darlin walking tour
6. Dublin Horrid History – part 1
7. Dublin Horrid History – part 2
8. Just like Dublin Bus three come along at once