One of the more interesting aspects about the political time we find ourselves in is the fact that politics is beginning to divide into sides. This is a good thing. People need to take stock of their interests, and stand behind candidates or groups who speak for them, as best they can. The SIPTU march on Saturday is an example of that: It will, I assume, be dominated by people paid either directly by the taxpayers (the public sector) or funded by the taxpayers (NGOs and their interest groups). If you don’t believe that, then I ask you to count how many “Scrap the Croke Park Agreement” placards you’ll see. Public sector workers make up 19% of the workforce: Anyone really believe they will only make up that proportion of the marchers?
Don’t get me wrong: They are entitled to stand up for themselves. But let us be very clear. They do not speak for the Irish people as a whole . They speak for one self-interested sector of the people, and I use the phrase self-interested not in a pejorative sense. The unifying factors of their beliefs are a) an Anti-FF agenda, which, to be fair to them, is shared by the great majority, and b) a belief that their entitlement to public monies funded by other taxpayers is a greater entitlement than that of those taxpayers to keep their own money.
It is the debating of that second belief that should be at the heart of the election, not because it is right wing or left wing, but because it is being honest about what sort of society we should be.