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Remember back when when all those junior ministers lined up to declare they were willing to lose their positions, and we really didn’t need twenty of them?

It was all part of the Share The Pain the government has been spreading in order to condition the rest of us for pay cuts.

After all, if a couple of half ministers can lose their gigs, and the TDs have to go through the indignity of producing receipts for expenses, then the rest of us can hardly complain if we get landed with a one or two percent income levy, or a levy on a public service pension.

Except, as Joan Burton pointed out when she called for a halving in the number of juniors, the Taoiseach didn’t lop his own ministers when he addressed the Dáil on Tuesday.

The spin doctors have been working overtime in recent weeks, reframing everything from Cowen’s grumpy body language (he doesn’t get enough sleep) to the press conference that was actually a State of the Nation address.

They’ve done a reasonable job. After all, the taoiseach just announced a new tax and radical cuts in government spending, without having it labelled a (not so) minibudget.

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