Tag Archives: Fine Gael

Political choices

There is a super article on Irish Left Review by Alison Spillane and Adam Larragy examining the politics of paying off bondholders, and the opportunity costs involved:

http://www.irishleftreview.org/2011/07/29/joining-dots-bondholders-public-spe…

(I haven’t figured out how to embed links yet via a mobile e-mail client, sorry)

As the authors rightly note, cutting assistance for children with special needs while paying off wealthy investors is a political choice on the part of elected representatives (who were not elected to do any such thing). It is not some inexorable machination of proper order. Fine Gael and the Labour party are deliberately making these political choices. Why are they doing this? One fairly compelling answer is: because they want to, and if they didn’t want to, they wouldn’t do it. These politicians do not have to take part in the dispossession of the poor, sick, and vulnerable (for starters). Their leaders did not have to meet with Dominique Strauss-Kahn in advance of the last election and insist they would be the faithful executors of the IMF’s will. They do not have to perpetuate the con trick that these people must be dispossessed now in order to avoid being dispossessed even more in future. If you wanted to protect people, why would you strip away whatever threadbare protections for a decent and healthy life? If Fine Gael and Labour are doing this, it is because they have proven themselves willing servants of the same ideology that propels the ECB and the IMF, not because they are unwilling hostages to troika demands.

There are obvious reasons why the owning class might want a population in fear of ill health and destitution, but these are no reason for anyone else to be complicit in making their dreams come true. Faced with this, everyone, not just Fine Gael and Labour, has political choices to make.

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‘sharp differences’, blunt realities.

Despite sharp differences between the Government parties over the initial proposals to reform the JLC system put forward by Mr Bruton, Labour TDs yesterday strongly supported the final measures which were approved by the Cabinet this week.

The only sharp differences are in terms of rhetoric, not substance. When push comes to shove, it is as Labour minister Brendan Howlin said a few weeks back, “we like successful companies“. And it is a particular sort of success: the success that comes from delivering a greater share of the surplus for business owners.

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