Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Election - So Far

Just a few days into this campaign, but a few observations arising out of it so far

Fine Gael are still getting away with presenting themselves as the ‘difference’.  They have been able to sit there without feeling the need to present policy positions.  Instead they are just hiding behind the notion that they are listening. 

 I don’t think that there has been enough reference to ideology so far.  The progressive left may well be missing an opportunity to point out the inherent failings of the dominant political paradigm.  The banks failed because there was insufficient democratic control over them.  Fine Gael, like Fianna Fail, champion deregulation to free up business activity – or more accurately, to give undue advantage to the private sector.  The public sector should be about democratic ownership and accountability, the removal of effective regulation leads to zero accountability.  Fine Gael has been a subscriber to Irish Thatcherism every bit as much as Fianna Fail.  The inherent failings of this approach are the root cause of our current financial difficulties and also the visible divisions that exists in society – the huge inequality.

Labour are struggling to distance themselves from the consensus for cuts.  They are vulnerable on the question of supporting the finance bill and saying that their rationale is to move the election forward a few weeks is questionable.  No more than FG, Labour are open to be nailed on the charge that they are happy to let this government take the hit for budgetary measures that they will shake their heads at but do nothing to change in post election period.   Labour would also be very sensitive to the charge that they will be responsible for keeping Irish Thatcherism alive by supporting Fine Gael instead of using this opportunity to nail it now and build a new political and economic dispensation.

As I have said before, there is an opportunity to have an election campaign that serves to educate as much as wrest power.  What seems clear from public responses on media shows like Liveline or The Frontline is that the anger and frustration is turned towards FF and individual bankers and bondholders.  The link to a future government implementing the same ideological approach is missing.  FG are getting away with it.


  1. If everybody in SF could carry it like Pearse the party would be able to make a difference.


  2. I think my above comment has been confirmed by the events of this week. The performance of the SF president has been woeful. Incomprehensibly terrible. Pearse has been making solid progress with the right arguments. Even if we disagree on some points there is a sense that he is genuine. Gerry is exposing SF to the risk he exposed it to in 07 with yet another demonstration of economic ignorance. Has nothing been learned? SF can't afford to carry such buffoonry. It has to emulate the seriousness of Pearse throughout the party. Come on lads, get it together.