You may have noticed some Yes posters from a group calling itself “The Liberals”. I was curious myself, so made inquiries, and got the following reply.
” We’re a small society of about 150 members founded in June 2008 to promote progressive policy and liberal issues. We felt there was a need to create a public advocacy group outside the party political process which can lobby on such issues as smaller government, separation of powers, dignity in the workplace legislation etc etc.”
You can email them here.
Personally, I think the country could do with a liberal party, but here’s where the fighting starts. Put two Irish liberals together, and they’ll agree on gay rights and how awful Youth Defence are and what a good thing the EU is. But get them talking economics and taxes, and that’s where the snots will start flying.
Are the Liberals going to be just another version of the Labour Party or TASC? In terms of providing an alternative viewpoint, the country needs a grouping that will put the private sector worker first, in the same way that FF/FG/Labour have put public sector workers first. Oh sure, they’ll contest that, but the facts speak for themselves. Public sector workers are better paid, and have better terms and conditions because private sector workers subsidise them, and there is no political grouping in the country saying that.
On the continent, liberals tend to be socially liberal but economically conservative, from the Dutch VVD to the German FDP to the Danish Venstre party. They win anything from 10% to 20% of the vote, speaking up for middle class people who work for a living and generate wealth. Don’t we have people like that in Ireland who deserve a voice?