I know he has been disenchanted especially since the budget and that he thought things over recently. I hope that at some stage in the future he may see himself coming back into the party as I know he still shares many of its core values.
Part of the reason why Labour is losing committed councillors is the failure of the government to implement many of Labour policies. The rescuing of the state from the Fianna Fail induced slump rightly consumes every political day. But if as Eamon Gilmore points out 85% of the work is done, party members do need to address the fundamental question as to what kind of state will emerge from the bail out? Will wealth be shared better? Will opportunity be there for everyone? Will the recovery provide jobs? Will housing be affordable? Can you ever trust a bank?
Labour policy must be about answering yes to all these questions. Its time now to plan beyond the Slán abhaile photo op for the Troika team and to think not in terms of months as we do now but in terms of decades. In Britain during the 2nd world war they planned the Britain there would be after the war ended even though they were unsure as to whether victory was possible. But people need to be given hope. People need to have something to say that all the pain inflicted by policies advocated by Fianna Fail and their developer and banker cronies was worth it.
While opposition thrives on the negative news of opposing spreading the burden of tax on the wealthy, opposition has yet to set out an agenda or vision. That’s why a recent poll showed 22% of Irish people said none of the above when offered different coalition options. It’s my view that the only place to be to ensure change in the future is inside the Labour Party. It’s time that the party leadership responded to that demand for change from members and set out how Ireland will be different and better in the post slump era than before. Otherwise a void will be filled by the people who brought economic and social chaos north and south.
Over to you Eamon.