Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

Fianna Fail and Fine Gael stand for legitimate policy goals. Honestly.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 21, 2010 in Irish Politics |

A glacier seen moving through an FF policy meeting yesterday.

A glacier seen moving through an FF policy meeting yesterday.

I, like many others, have tended to give FF and FG an unfair press. To those of us not in those parties it has always been a puzzle. Why would anyone interested in politics, that is, the implementation of ideas, join either? Then it dawned on me. Doing nothing is a legitimate policy platform. If one benefits from the status quo, then it is entirely proper for one to join a party that believes in as little change as possible.

It’s at this point that FF and FG people leap up with their shopping lists of positive changes that FF and FG have brought, and it is a fair comment. FF and FG in government, like the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China, have brought in change when to not bring in change was to damage the status quo even more. Take the last 12 years of FF in government. Throwing money at stuff is not change. Cutting taxes was the PDs’ idea. But what did FF bring in that was radical and solely FF? The minimum wage? Possibly. The smoking ban? Would that not have been brought in by whoever was minister for Health? After twelve years, where were the big changes that happened only because FF made them happen?

I’m not being smart here. Maybe I’m wrong? All you FFers out there, let’s hear it.     

4 Comments

James Lawless
Jan 21, 2010 at 11:31 am

Northern Ireland. Definitely. Apart from Bertie’s huge personal contribution (time spent way in excess of any previous incumbent on the issue, and at times to the frustration of his own political advisers who wanted him back at base) the combination of UK Lab and FF here made it happen.


 
Daniel Sullivan
Jan 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm

James, if you’re claiming the north for FF then you have to acknowledge the efforts in the opposite direction that the party went in like opposition to Sunningdale, the Anglo Irish Agreement and the part played by prominent members of a FF government to source arms for the IRA.

Fact is until Reynolds (who some, such as the OPW junior minister, are now trying to do down for his role in restarting efforts on the north by backdating the real impetus to Haughey) FF were all talk about the north but no substance. Bertie did a lot of heavy lifting on the north for sure, but the hard, lonely miles and foundations were laid by others. I would rate the north as a win for constitutional politics on both side of the border and we know where FF stand as regards the constitution, only slightly.


 
Michael Collins
Jan 23, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Jason

You have a point – FF are in the business of getting re-elected, and are not interested in the hard work involved in making gradual improvements to society over several years.

However, I suppose a typical FF piece of legislation was the Official Languages Act 2003. We now have our very own Irish Language Ombudsman, An Coimisinéir Teanga, a shiny new quango presumably well endowed with expensive offices and staff. And public bodies have to send out all their communications in both Irish and English, whether we want it that way or not. Then there was the money wasted by their “success” in getting Irish recognised as a working language in the European Union. The cost of paying a small army of translators to be available just in case an MEP wants to use a cúpla focal is scandalous.

I may be in a minority in not seeing the above as achievements….

MC


 
James Lawless
Jan 25, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Daniel – Our last FG Taoiseach – “sick and tired of the f*&%-ing peace process”? I rest my case..

Michael – I am not an expert, but I understand it to be an urban myth that vast volumes of Irish Language documentation are churned out in the oft chance of being requested somewhere. Instead I believe the various public bodies are required to have capacity to produce an Irish language version of major documents _on request_. Personally I think this is only right.


 

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