State of the southern parties, according to Jason O’Mahoney…

If Jason O’Mahoney is not in your reader, or in your Twitterverse, you should fix that now. Here’s some highlights from his state of the parties (the added emphases are mine):

Fine Gael: continue to consolidate themselves as the dominant party of the centre-right, business, stability and the political status quo. That’s not to be disparaging, as that’s a considerable constituency in any western country, and set’s them up to be the largest party in the next Dail. Many of its younger deputies, though talented, have basically surrendered their reformist instincts to Enda’s no-change-if-possible conservatism. Having said all that, The Party of The Recovery is a powerful platform to stand on.

Sinn Fein: are rapidly becoming the anti-Fine Gael. Not as left wing as they pretend (their wealth tax has more loopholes than Irish corporate taxation law) but setting themselves up not so much as the party of the have-nots as the want-someone-elses. Again, a considerable constituency that could leave them in largest party status if they can get over the we’ll-shoot-you-if-you-disagree baggage.

Fianna Fail: I never believed that FF was finished in 2011, and I still don’t. One aspect of FF that the media is missing is the sheer talent outside the Dail party, especially amongst their younger councillors. FF is in the odd position of having a Dail party that sounds like a crowd of county councillors, whilst many of its young reps (Averil Power, Paul McAuliffe, Kate Feeney, James Lawless, Malcolm Byrne) sound like thoughtful legislators, and tend to be better informed too. The party still suffers from an inability to restrain its knee-jerk populist pandering, and a leader with the right vision but an unwillingness to enforce it on the party.

Labour: Joan Burton seems to be settling on a strategy of humility for the overblown promises of the Gilmore for Taoiseach era and quiet delivery for Labour’s public sector constituency. Given the circumstances, it’s not the worst plan.

Do read the whole thing, since the most important elements are over at: http://jasonomahony.ie/state-of-the-parties-4/#sthash.JJEu67tu.S1tSjJwQ.dpuf

 

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  • Michael Henry

    Named individuals in every party there except Sinn Fein-it’s hard to hide the hate-

  • Jag

    SFers are just not sophisticated enough when it comes to bread and butter politics.

    For the past 8 years, their mantra has been “austerity is not working”. Yet, their alternative budget (which is balanced) is more austere than the Government’s €500m expansionary budget. There’s nothing “fully costed” about their budget – they ask the Department of Finance to estimate the additional tax you’d generating by taxing those over €100k by an extra 7%; the DoF responds that the figure is x, but then qualify it “ASSUMING THERE IS NO CHANGE IN BEHAVIOUR BY TAXPAYERS”. If you’re on €250k a year and your marginal rate increases by 7%, your behavior will change, perhaps not to the extent of emigrating but agreeing a more tax efficient rewards package.

    The context for their fruition may never be as perfect as it was last May, and with an economy expanding at a rate of knots, they’ll find Labour has the organisation and history to challenge and effectively compete for the left-wing vote. The biggest party in the State? Not in 2016.

  • NMS

    Jag I have to agree with you. The opposition (SF & FF) are both floundering. The real idealogical opposition to the Government is coming from a wing of the Catholic Church and some of those in the Trades Unions. The Living Wage campaign is a good example of this. http://www.livingwage.ie

    The lack of broader work experience and especially education among the SF elected reps (never before has a party’s elected TDs had a lower level of education than the public average) is clearly a drawback in understanding legislation. They haven’t even got a teacher in their midst! The “rethink” on the Local Property Tax and on water charges shows that those pulling the strings, haven’t unlike the likes of Pearse Doherty & Peadar Tóibín learnt the lessons of their previous dalliance with the Trots over waste disposal. The campaigns against non payment led to local authorities unable to stay in waste activities and led directly to the recent Greyhound dispute.

    They also have a problem serving two masters, what is good for Ireland is in many cases bad news for UKNI. For example, there was an excellent NERI working papers on the effects of VAT on the amount of tax people pay. The logic of the papers is that a cut in the standard VAT rate would be a very progressive move. The lead author was a member of the most recent Commision on Taxation. http://www.nerinstitute.net/research/author/michealcollins/

    However this of course would be a disaster for all those places in UKNI, such as Londonderry & Newry which depend on Euro shoppers, particularly with the current strength of sterling. Binn bhéal ina thost ó Pearse agus a chairde ó dheas.

    The SF Budget document does however show that the party retains its sense of humour – they suggest an increase of 125 new tax inspectors to tackle evasion. I wonder what Gerry’s best friend Slab thinks of that?

    FF don’t have the SF problem of a lack of knowledge or experience, they lack an understanding of what has happened. At this point in relation to existing FF, the party is over. Their electorate is dying and they have failed to find a new role. There is clearly a role for a socially conservative party, which is perhaps economically interventionist. Such parties exist in Scandinavia under titles as Centre Party or Christian Democrats (real Christians), but it will be hard to carve out such a role. The recent local elections saw them win back some of that vote in Dublin LEAs such as Clontarf. Their Budget proposals, were more coherent than those of SF, but involved the normal pandering to farmers (4% of the economy) and a string of proposals targeting FDI & multi nationals, I presume written by Feargal O’Rourke of PWC.

    The LP’s problem is the end of the conditions that created post war social democracy. The collapse in the votes of all such parties throughout Europe is the main political development so far within Europe in 21st Century.

    Fine Gael will pick up transfers because when it comes down to a choice between a Provo and anyone else, Irish people who vote for FF, Labour or Greens/Comhaontas Glas will choose anyone else. In many cases the anyone else will be a Fine Gael candidate. Those who do not vote SF, see the shadow of the gunman in their candidates.

    May I add, if I was advising FG, I would try to change the law to allow all EU born people to vote, not just the Queen’s subjects. The Eastern Europeans are for the most part, their type of people.

  • NMS

    Jag I have to agree with you. The opposition (SF & FF) are both floundering. The real idealogical opposition to the Government is coming from a wing of the Catholic Church and some of those in the Trades Unions. The Living Wage campaign is a good example of this. http://www.livingwage.ie

    The lack of broader work experience and especially education among the SF elected reps (never before has a party’s elected TDs had a lower level of education than the public average) is clearly a drawback in understanding legislation. They haven’t even got a teacher in their midst! The “rethink” on the Local Property Tax and on water charges shows that those pulling the strings, haven’t unlike the likes of Pearse Doherty & Peadar Tóibín learnt the lessons of their previous dalliance with the Trots over waste disposal. The campaigns against non payment led to local authorities unable to stay in waste activities and led directly to the recent Greyhound dispute.

    They also have a problem serving two masters, what is good for Ireland is in many cases bad news for UKNI. For example, there was an excellent NERI working papers on the effects of VAT on the amount of tax people pay. The logic of the papers is that a cut in the standard VAT rate would be a very progressive move. The lead author was a member of the most recent Commision on Taxation. http://www.nerinstitute.net/research/author/michealcollins/

    However this of course would be a disaster for all those places in UKNI, such as Londonderry & Newry which depend on Euro shoppers, particularly with the current strength of sterling. Binn bhéal ina thost ó Pearse agus a chairde ó dheas.

    The SF Budget document does however show that the party retains its sense of humour – they suggest an increase of 125 new tax inspectors to tackle evasion. I wonder what Gerry’s best friend Slab thinks of that?

    FF don’t have the SF problem of a lack of knowledge or experience, they lack an understanding of what has happened. At this point in relation to existing FF, the party is over. Their electorate is dying and they have failed to find a new role. There is clearly a role for a socially conservative party, which is perhaps economically interventionist. Such parties exist in Scandinavia under titles as Centre Party or Christian Democrats (real Christians), but it will be hard to carve out such a role. The recent local elections saw them win back some of that vote in Dublin LEAs such as Clontarf. Their Budget proposals, were more coherent than those of SF, but involved the normal pandering to farmers (4% of the economy) and a string of proposals targeting FDI & multi nationals, I presume written by Feargal O’Rourke of PWC.

    The LP’s problem is the end of the conditions that created post war social democracy. The collapse in the votes of all such parties throughout Europe is the main political development so far within Europe in 21st Century.

    Fine Gael will pick up transfers because when it comes down to a choice between a Provo and anyone else, Irish people who vote for FF, Labour or Greens/Comhaontas Glas will choose anyone else. In many cases the anyone else will be a Fine Gael candidate. Those who do not vote SF, see the shadow of the gunman in their candidates.

    May I add, if I was advising FG, I would try to change the law to allow all EU born people to vote, not just the Queen’s subjects. The Eastern Europeans are for the most part, their type of people.