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

Questions a candidate for Taoiseach should be able to answer.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 25, 2011 in Irish Politics |

In the words of Aaron Sorkin, these are serious times, and we need serious people, and in particular we need a Taoiseach who is clear in his or her mind as to what their objectives are and how they are going to get there. One of the great problems with our national leadership has been that we have had so many men who just wanted to be Taoiseach with no idea why. It was only in office that they started to ponder what they were actually there for.

It is very possible that there will be a debate between the three primary candidates for Taoiseach. I believe it is important that they be able to answer specific questions, and I’d like to suggest some of the questions I would like answered by the candidates. In fact, I wonder would it be such a bad idea if RTE let viewers choose the questions to be put to the candidates?

1. You say you are in favour of protecting the vulnerable, and that logically means that others must carry the burden of greater cutbacks and higher taxes in order to shield the vulnerable. In your mind, at what income level do you believe someone is vulnerable, and so believe that those above should carry the extra burden?

2. As a country, we permitted our public expenditure to exceed our tax revenue to a very substantial extent, which has forced us to sharply cut spending in a recession, something economists have traditionally warned against. If tax revenues were to begin to raise during your term of office, would you prioritise building up a reserve to prevent such sharp cuts in future, or would you immediately begin restoring cuts in public spending?

3. What specific economic statistic would you regard as being the test of success or failure in your first term, be it GDP, GNP or the unemployment rate? For example, at what rate would unemployment have to drop below for you to regard yourself as having a sucessful first term?

4. There has been a lot of talk of political reform, changing the voting system, etc. At the end of your first term, what powers will ordinary voters have to effect political change that they don’t have now? How will it be easier for non-traditional candidates to be elected?

5. Will you rule out any concessions or secret negotiations with Sinn Fein during your term even if they vote for you for Taoiseach without your consent?

6. Do you believe taxpayers should continue to pay for the pension of politicians and public servants who earn, on average, far more than they do? Why should those individuals not fund their own private pensions?

7. Obviously, getting unemployment down will be your priority in office. What will be the second priority, you will hope to have achieved by the end of your first term, and how will it specifically be judged as a success?

1 Comment

david morris
Jan 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm

A cynic might say twas ever thus, but surely role of the incumbent Taoiseach for the past 20+ years has been to ensure that his own nest has been feathered to the nth
degree & to ensure his nearest & dearest chums have also been well looked after.

When formed, the next Irish local guvmint will pursue the same policies as the current administration. It may be permitted to negotiate a token adjustment to the terms of the bailout to big it up, but within 18 months Irish voters will recognise that nothing has changed: that they are still being brutally taxed to pay for someone else’s mistakes & that their economy is still in thrall to Brussels. It is likely that, within 12 months the ECB will have jacked up interest rates, (to let steam off the powerhouse that is the German economy), so that Ireland, having been ruined by having too low a rate imposed on it, will then be obliterated by having too high a rate.

Eventually, some pols will see what is staring their electorate in the face: that Ireland has been wrecked by the euro, that it diverges cyclically and structurally from the Continental economy, and that it won’t be able to recover until monetary sovereignty. is regained.

Kind regards


 

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