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

PD leader to join Labour? Why the shock?

Posted by Jason O on Feb 16, 2009 in Irish Politics |

 There seems to be some surprise at recent speculation that PD leader Senator Ciaran Cannon may join the Labour party. I would suggest that the people who express ideological outrage at this might actually benefit from climbing out of the academic closet for a bit and spending some time in Irish politics.

The fact is, neither the Labour party nor the Progressive Democrats are as far apart as it has suited both parties to pretend to be. A play-act, by the way, mostly suited to assuaging the ideological headbangers in both parties.

In government, the “right wing Thatcherite” PDs let benchmarking and massive public spending growth go through on the nod. No Friedmanites these! In government Labour brought in a tax amnesty for the rich, and failed to bring in union recognition or the minimum wage, so hardly a page torn from the Big Book of Socialism either.

And yet, both parties boast a predominantly middle class electorate, are socially liberal, and have an inbuilt suspicion of  Fianna Fail for similar reasons. Also, both parties actually take the whole ethics in government thing quite seriously.  

Yes, there are differences on some things like private hospitals and the unions, but you’ll find those differences within FF and FG too. 

It’s not a surprise that he may head Labour way. Why, I can think of one very senior PD who only joined the party after being told they would not get a nomination in the Labour party.

And no, I ain’t tellin’.

1 Comment

Dan Sullivan
Feb 17, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Sure we all know it was Liz at this stage that dabbled with Labour. I don;’t think this is much of a shock given the real politik on the ground in Galway East nor Cannon’s own history coming into political with his prior work with groups orientated towards social services. Fair dues to him.


 

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