It was only a matter of time before this government let the privatisation genie out of the bottle.
Word from Kildare Street is that a “minority stake” in the ESB, a company “of strategic significance in the Irish economy ” is up for sale.
There’s a lot to suggest that this the thin end of the wedge.
For a start, it’s fitting that the announcement came did not from Leo Varadkar.
Instead, in a a prime example of the sorry state of socialism in Ireland, it was left to Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte to sell us out again.
The problem with the privatisation genie – like the property genie – is that once he’s let out of the bottle, he’s impossible to put back in.
Rather than sticking up for the working Joe, post-socialist man Pat will soon be espousing the virtues of private ownership and competition, and telling us how they will combine to drive prices down, without being able to cite a single example of where this has happened.
The reality is of course that the new owners will want a return on their investment and prices will rise even quicker than they are at the moment.
For those who doubt it, Sweden deregulated the electricity market a few years ago amidst a fanfare of promises of competition and lower prices.
Of course, the opposite was the case as speculation by energy traders forced prices up as they searched for profit.
Recently, the very newspapers that trumpeted this free market triumph expressed their outrage as helpless customers were ripped off at ever opportunity.
In the most extreme of cases (Russia), we witnessed how the selling-out of the nation’s energy infrastructure and resources created a whole new class of super-rich.
Along with it came corruption on a scale that even Michael Lowry might notice.
Pat and his supposed socialists in the Labour party are not content to facilitate the free market in taking all our money via the bailout; they won’t be happy until they’ve given away all our assets too.
For despite the supposedly unprecedented scale and scope of the credit crunch and subsequent debt crisis, there is nothing new here.
The IMF, like the free marketeers of Fine Gael and the Labour party, is still ideologically driven and utterly intent on selling out Ireland, and not necessairily to the highest bidder.
They do this despite ample evidence that such a sell-out causes more damage than good.
But of course by the time this becomes apparent, it will be too late. The genie won’t be going back into the bottle.
And in the end we’ll be left with Pat, our king of the socialist sell-out.