From Saturday’s Irish Times. Reading this, I was struck by just how empty it was as an article. Enda is a decent man, and one of integrity. But where are the new ideas? Fine Gael has over 50 full time parliamentary researchers paid by the taxpayer, so is it really so unreasonable to expect a swathe of well thought out alternatives, or at least have their party leader highlight them as opposed to making shockingly mediocre observations?
I decided to analyse the article by certain categories. They were:
1. % of article were Enda talks about Fianna Fail: 17%. (94 out of 565 words)
2. % of article where Enda gives the specific Fine Gael alternative: 3.5% (20 out of 565 words)
3. The “Mary Lou” Test. % of article made up of statements that could easily have been made by Mary Lou McDonald: 59% (334 words out of 565)
Read it below yourself. Maybe I expect too much, and maybe these statements mean something to other people. After all, it’s a piece in the Saturday Irish Times, not a state of the union address. But I just found it appalling that when given an opportunity to write a general piece outlining the alternative platform of the alternate Taoiseach, we get this?
(My comments in capitals.)
” ON THIS day 60 years ago, a Fine Gael taoiseach, John A Costello, declared Ireland a republic.
The declaration was an emphatic vindication of Michael Collins’s claim that the 1921 Treaty gave Ireland not its ultimate freedom, “but the freedom to achieve it”.
Sixty years after this major event it is a matter of regret that the Fianna Fáil Government has no plans to commemorate it. We have seen previous narrow interpretations of our history from Fianna Fáil and it belittles them and our past.(THREE SENTENCES IN, AND ALREADY TALKING ABOUT FIANNA FAIL! IT’S LIKE THEY HAVE A TEENAGE CRUSH ON THEM.)
Today, however, we must ask ourselves one simple question: what kind of republic did Ireland become after this declaration made while on a State visit to Canada? Ireland in the 1950s and the 1960s became a republic of low growth and low ambition; a republic whose chief export was its own citizens. (OBVIOUS STATEMENT NO.1)
After a Fianna Fáil-inspired boom-and-bust cycle through the 1970s and 1980s, successive governments got our economy on track. (FIANNA FAIL INSPIRED? FROM 1973 TO 1977, 1981, AND 1982-1987 FINE GAEL RAN THE COUNTRY!) In doing so they started to deliver on the aspirations of our people. Three score years (THREE SCORE YEARS? WHAT YEAR IS THIS? 1861?) after Costello’s declaration, however, and our republic is in very serious trouble. Unemployment is heading towards 500,000; our economy will contract by at least 7 per cent this year, and a savage Budget has added €4,000 to the tax bill of an average family. Small and medium-sized businesses are struggling to survive, as we all pay a huge price for the Government’s bubble economy. Disastrously, the Government thinks it can tax our economy back to recovery.(OBVIOUS STATEMENT NO.2 FOLLOWING BY VAGUE GO AT FF)
Thousands of young people(WILL SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!), crippled by negative equity and burdened by ever increasing tax hikes, are starting to leave our shores. Where is the sense of hope for these people? Who is speaking up for those paying the price for the mistakes of others? No one in Government is. We’re in this current mess not because Fianna Fáil’s policies failed, but because they succeeded. (STILL TALKING ABOUT FF)
I believe that the party that founded the State (SINN FEIN?) and declared a republic (FG, LABOUR, NATIONAL LABOUR, THE FARMERS PARTY, CLANN NA POBLACHTA, AND JAMES DILLON, WHO WAS KICKED OUT OF FINE GAEL FOR THE CRIME OF HAVING AN ORIGINAL IDEA. ) is the party to lead our country to its next stage of development. That party is Fine Gael. The idea of the republic is one that fills me with a sense of responsibility and hope(AND THE REST OF US QUEASINESS). The idea that the State belongs to no one, because it belongs to everyone, is key. That message has been lost as the Government has ruled for the few and ignored the many. (HAD TO PUT NEW BATTERIES IN MY CLICHE DETECTOR AFTER THIS PARAGRAPH.)
Today, more than ever, we need a reinvigorated republic. Ireland needs a government that is on the side of the people(I WOULD LIKE HIM TO DEFINE WHO ARE NOT THE PEOPLE. I SAY THE BASTARDS WHO WORK FOR NTL.); a government that will make the tough decisions to get our public finances in order, but knows that the most immediate priority is to get people to work. That is why Fine Gael has unveiled an €11 billion fiscal stimulus plan to get 100,000 people back to work. (FINALLY, HE MENTIONS AN FG POLICY, WHICH IS NICE.)
Ireland needs a government that is not afraid of new ideas, and is willing to embrace change. Fine Gael can and does embrace change. We will shortly unveil proposals for the most radical reform of the health system since the foundation of the State, reforms that will end a two-tier system of healthcare provision. (BUT NOT MENTION THEM HERE, BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY IMPORTANT THINGS ALREADY SAID IN THIS PIECE.)
I believe that our country’s best days are still ahead. (OH FOR F**K’S SAKE! ARE THEY PULLING THESE THINGS OUT OF A HAT?) Fine Gael doesn’t just offer optimism in our future, though. We offer new ideas(AGAIN, NOT HERE.), new ambition and a new vision. Led by the party that declared our republic, we can and will create a republic worthy of all our people.”