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

The PDs walk off into the sunset, mostly misunderstood.

Posted by Jason O on Jul 27, 2009 in Irish Politics |

In a surprise for the Left, Dick Dastardly was not actually a Progressive Democrat TD.

In a surprise for the Left, Dick Dastardly was not actually a Progressive Democrat TD.

Sometimes, listening to the opinions of those who slate the PDs is like listening to someone describe a cartoon baddy, like Dick Dastardly. After all, they tend to talk about the PDs as a far right Thatcherite villian-of-the-piece when the party just wasn’t like that.

There has been a certain glee in particular taken by some who attempt to equate the current economic crisis with the policies of the PDs, pointing fingers at the party’s perceived obsession with free markets and competition at all cost. And yet, the worst aspects of the country’s woes are not the result of PD policy, but the party’s own failure not to vigourously pursue those policies more.

Take our public finances: The ranting about “rightwing” cutbacks misses the fact that the reason public spending was allowed get that high was because the PDs weren’t that rightwing in government. Same with benchmarking and public sector pensions. They were allowed reach their current unsustainable heights under a PD government. If only the PDs had actually been as ideological as their enemies state, we’d actually be in a better place than we are now.

The truth is, the PD monster was created by the left who lacked the courage to actually attempt to convince the Irish people of their own bona fides. Instead they settled for the lazy fall-back of having some cartoon villain to blame for everything. All the promises of the left require high public spending, which require ordinary workers to pay high taxes, as they do, for example, in Sweden. Essentially, if a people make a compact with the state, lower consumer spending power in return for good public services, that’s perfectly noble. But that is not what they Irish left offer: Instead, they pretend that you can have both, low taxes (Including no water or bin taxes) but high spending paid for by the Crock O’ Gold solution of heavy taxes on the rich.

They don’t want to answer what happens when the rich hightail it out of the country, because that means increased PAYE on Sean and Mary Citizen, and the left haven’t the guts to sell that.

The country needs a party that isn’t anti-public sector, just pro-private sector. The PDs’s opponents managed to convince their voters that that was the case. If only it had been true. 

An Irish Times article about the PDs I wrote last year here.

2 Comments

SK
Jul 28, 2009 at 9:36 am

I am disappointed they are going. I felt bereft of real choice at the local and European elections. No other party out there represents my views now.

I have a huge amount of time for Mary Harney and the thankless task she has taken on herself (and chosen to stick with when it would have been far easier to cut and run). If the PD’s ever disappointed me it was in sticking too close to FF. They should have gone into the last general election on their own. As it was I think people no longer trusted them to “keep FF honest” and so they became relevant, and redundant in the eyes of most voters.


 
Jason O
Jul 28, 2009 at 10:06 am

SK- Makes me hark back to the golden days of Dessie putting manners on the bastards.


 

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