Watching Denis Naughten agonising over Roscommon hospital must surely make Irish opposition politicians think twice about making throwaway promises at election time. He’s a good five years away from re-election, and could recover, but it goes to show that the Celtic Tiger days of throwing spending promises around during an election campaign could actually get you in the end. I’ll bet both he and John Perry will be far more cautious in their commitments next time, and that would not be a bad thing for Irish politics. The smarter deputies and senators in Fianna Fail will pay heed.
Labour’s Joanna Tuffy TD made some interesting points about political reform yesterday. She is correct that there is a hint of gimmickry about Fine Gael’s approach (seriously, who believes that the length of the president’s term of office is a huge issue? FG, apparently) but she made a remark which I found refreshingly honest about her own political beliefs: “The idea of reducing the size and cost of government is a right-wing ideology and Tea Party philosophy,” Presumably, she uses “right-wing” in a pejorative sense, which means that she regards at least maintaining the size and cost of government as being the more noble aspiration. I disagree with her, but it’s an honest point of view. I actually have become far more convinced in the ideology of downsizing government, for the simple reason that I just do not believe it is possible for an Irish government to spend money properly, and so giving them as little as possible is the least worst option.
Finally, as I pay my €160 television licence, I was thinking “what do I get for this?” I get certain RTE personalities who seemed to be paid money detached from reality. But I also get a pretty good news service, and, it has to be said, my latest guilty pleasure on a Friday night: Double brand new episodes of “Nurse Jackie” and “The Big C”. Well done to RTE for a) getting good shows, and b) putting on double episodes, which is a great innovation for those of us used to watching TV on box-sets. Alright so, you get my €160 for another year with the minimum of bitching. But you’ve got to do something about those salaries.