The Liberals.

Here come the Liberals.

Here come the Liberals.

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? 

5 thoughts on “The Liberals.

  1. Derek,
    My point is that the only reason that one corner has better rights than the other three is because the other three exist to subsidise it. Is it viable to extend those rights to the rest of the economy? With substantial tax increases on both business and individuals, it may be, but show me the middle income worker willing to pay those taxes? Even public sector workers objected to the 7.5% pension contribution as a tax, even though they get the money and more back upon maturity.
    Where is the fairness? Why should I pay taxes, and fund my own private pension, and then be expected to pay to fund the pensions of public sector people who are earning more than me,
    and can afford to fund their own pensions? It is, quite simply, not fair.

  2. Jason. I’m surprised by your comments on the disparities that exist between the private and public sector. I’m always bewildered when I hear people complain that their is one corner of the economy left where hard-won worker rights to somewhat more than adequate working conditions and remuneration. Is the reality not that the supply-side regulatory frameworks in post-industrial countries favour the rights of employers to the degree where workers are now considered to be nothing more than another factor of an input/output equation. They even have a word for it – ‘human capital’ , the HEA, enterprise Ireland and the IDA are very fond of that one. Is it not time that we stopped scapegoating the public sector and asked why companies are now, overwhelmingly, structured so that the first thing to go when exponential positive growth ceases (which is inevitable) is the ‘human capital’?

  3. The thing is, I’m not anti-public sector. Of course they will stand up for their own interest, and fair play to them. I just want someone to stand up for my interest, as it’s my pocket that their hand goes into to fund all this stuff.

  4. “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.”

    Colm McCarthy made a pretty good job of saying that last night and given he recently compiled a report for the FF govt (an advance instalment of which was enacted last Feb), and has addressed the last FG think in, it should* be a safe bet that such ‘enllightenment’ will enter the mainstream.

    *Of course we all know that should does not always equate to will in politics unfortunately..

  5. If they get the candidates out there and don’t say anything too controversial (“we support eating babies”) then they could pull 10% or so just as a protest vote in the next election (like the PDs did in 1987). The trick then is to sustain and build on it.

    I’d agree with you that there is a gap there for a party for the urban middle class. It will be interesting to see what this lot come out with.

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