I have to say that I’m impressed with Fine Gael’s budget proposals, primarily because the party seems to have taken on the fact that it is spending that needs to be cut, rather than taxes raised. They have outlined cuts in the public sector, a cap on public salaries of €200k, and their property tax proposals are worth looking at, given the fact that a PT is inevitable.
As I said, for the first time in a long time, I’m impressed with FG. I just wish they’d get serious about the political reform stuff. Their New Politics document has a lot of good stuff in it, but reducing the Dail by 20 TDs is just tokenism. If they really believe in it, why not ask the people to allow the Dail to reduce its size by whatever it feels is fit? That way, future governments could reduce it even more without a referendum.
Their proposals on a citizen assembly on electoral reform is a cop-out because they couldn’t get agreement in the parliamentary party, and even in the document they are vague about what happens to the report of the CA. What’s the bets it’ll go to another Oireachtas Committee, which would be actually hilarious as the original Oireachtas committee on electoral reform suggested a CA. So we end up with a committee calling for an assembly to draft a report to be submitted to a committee made up of the people who called for the committee to set up an assembly in the first place. To paraphrase Mel Brooks in “Blazing Saddles”, “Committee? Committee? We don’t need no stinking committee!”
In Canada, when British Columbia set up a CA on electoral reform, the report went direct to the people to be voted on. If Fine Gael are serious about bringing political change, they should commit to letting the people make the final call on whatever comes out of the CA.