Pat Leahy has some interesting material on what people want from government, ugarnered from the latest Irish Times MRBI polling, from which he concludes there’s been a sharp tack to the left:
The findings are clear. Offered the option of increasing public sector pay, just 6 per cent of respondents who expressed a preference said that it should be the Government’s first priority; just 8 per cent said it should be the second priority.
By contrast, offered the option of recruiting more gardaí, teachers and nurses, 27 per cent said it should be the first priority, while a further 30 per cent said it should be the Government’s second priority.
The most popular choice for the Government’s first preference was increasing capital spending on roads, schools and hospitals, with 35 per cent nominating it. A further 28 per cent said it should be the second priority.
Just 14 per cent wanted the Government to increase welfare payments as the first priority, while 18 per cent preferred tax cuts.
Fine Gael has clearly understood this: observers in all parties have noted that the programme for government is a more social democratic document than the Labour Party manifesto was. The preference of the minority Government for greater public spending is written all over their speeches and statements since it took office.
The recent budget confirmed it. Of the €3 billion that the budget and pre-agreed spending increases (mostly Lansdowne Road costs and extra health spending) contained, just less than €300 million – one tenth – went on tax cuts. The Government has been putting public money where its mouth is.
It’s odd that across the world it is the right wwhich is turning to the left whilst the left is getting squeezed out to the margins.
In the Republic the actual left is uhopelessly split between Poudjadiste type railing against Water Charges and trying to be look sensible.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty