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Thursday, February 5, 2009

BaFFled by the BluFFer spin?

Today’s Irish Independent gives over 2 pages to an attack on Labour Party Leader Eamon Gilmore TD. Unusual that, today they could have led with 320 jobs set to go at IBM and Boston Scientific or indeed they could have covered the rally in Waterford in support of the Glass factory or the crystal workers sit in at Deloitte’s Dublin offices. However, such news mightn’t go down well at Castlemartin.
No, the “Indo” attacked Eamon Gilmore because in their words he refuses to outline proposals to cut €2B from public spending while attacking the government. Think about that for a moment, this government told us in July “re-adjustments” would be sufficient to keep spending in line with the 08 budget. They did a U turn and brought forward Budget ’09 to October then did a U-turn on their plans. In December they set out their vision in a revised economic plan. In January they still were off course so they announced a series of cuts that will in all likelihood fail to turn public finances around.
So the 2 page tirade obviously begs the question if the government with their civil servants have failed in 4 attempts to tackle the problem, why tackle Labour about the alternative given that the party leader isn’t being briefed on day to day developments? Fine Gael have effectively shadowed Fianna Fail in their wish to protect banks and speculators and called for a pay freeze in the public sector. Indeed one wonders how far you’d call Fine Gael’s view as an alternative, cutting Dublin Bus, ending decentralisation and letting 5K staff go.
So fair enough what would Labour do? Here’s a few things for starters; stop the haemorrhaging of construction jobs by building schools and insulating homes. Save €1B by scrapping the Harney plan for private hospitals on public land. Introducing new taxes to target the wealthy who spend much of their time outside away from their stately Irish homes (like Castlemartin?). Abolish interest relief for landlords on rental properties and save €80M, Introduce an Earn or Learn scheme to retrain our workforce for the new jobs in the new economy we’ll build. Re-engineer the Anglo Irish as a vehicle to draw down cash from the European Investment Bank designed for small business. There’s lots can be done to get the economy right and re-boot public finances as a result. You don’t need the speculators from the Galway Tent for everything. A small temporary cut in VAT would restore consumer confidence.
A recent poll showed that not even a majority of Fianna Fail or green voters think that this government can turn things around. Today’s article comes from the same stable that ran the infamous “Its Pay Back Time” against Labour in 1997. Pay back is on its way back but this time it’ll be Fianna Fail who’ll be getting it in spades, especially from building workers. This reality is beginning to sink in Middle Abbey St.
But surely those who live in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones. Independent Newspapers' share price has slumped, last month it's owner was insisting his investment in Waterford Wedgewoood would suceed. Who's bluffing now?

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