"I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth." (Karl Popper)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

OK Go - Here it goes again; and, Labour's missteps

That's the name of a song with a rather cool video. It's also the thought of politics watchers, as today the election was called for May 24th.

"In the weeks ahead I pledge to give the Irish people the campaign they deserve: a campaign of issues and policies, not insults and attacks,"
said the Taoiseach."I am more interested in attacking problems than attacking people."

"Today marks the beginning of the end of ten years of Fianna Fáil/PD broken promises and complacency," said Enda Kenny. "The people of Ireland know that this Government won't do in 15 years what they haven't done in the last 10."

The Examiner
notes that the P.D.'s were the first party to launch their election manifesto:
"The Progressive Democrats were the first party out of the traps in erecting election posters and also launching a manifesto which contained seven key pledges.Tánaiste Michael McDowell and his party vowed to abolish stamp duty for first-time house buyers, ensure patients were admitted to accident and emergency services within six hours and increase the number of Gardaí from 14,000 to 16,000."
Pat Rabbitte's response was to accuse the P.D.'s of "promoting selfishness". That is surely a mistake, for two reasons: Firstly, the electorate are well disposed to targeted tax cuts, and Labour has indeed only recently announced a cut in the lower tax rate to 18%, as well as popular stamp duty reform proposals - so ridiculing McDowell for pushing the tax-cutting agenda will not help establish Rabbitte's own bona fides on the subject with floating voters. Secondly, it will only give McDowell and the Government grounds for saying Rabbitte is not genuine in his conversion to tax cuts, and would drop them at the first sight of economic storm clouds.

Then Rabbitte "backed his colleague Ruairí Quinn's warning to the Taoiseach not to use the peace process for electoral gain by addressing peers and MPs at Westminster in the House of Commons and Lords during the campaign." Another mistake, surely: Whatever the public thinks of the healthcare system, public transport or any of the contentious issues, it credits Ahern with having overseen the birth and (eventually) the full implementation of the Good Friday agreement on his watch. The public won't begrudge him the chance to make history at Westminster and Labour won't do themselves any good to be sniping from the sidelines. It looks like Labour has made the first two mistakes of the campaign. After their poor showing in Friday's Irish Times opinion poll (both untimely, after Rabbitte's strong convention speech), Rabbitte and co. could do without any more.


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