A Ceilidh Mόr has been called for, by the Soldiers of Destiny; Election time looms. The countdown has begun.
There will be dancing and merrymaking ,jigs and reels, bodhráns, rirá and ruaille buaille. A 'hung' result looms.The Soldiers may not make up the numbers. Sinn Fein and Independents, could cause disarray. Fine Gael may be ditched by their Labour partners, ever hungry for the spoils of office, in the ruthless scramble for a Car with a Star.
Fianna Fail may interview many partners for the new Riverdance .! Ever opportunistic and pragmatic they will lie down with the Devil if need be. Every political promise is a lie before it is uttered. Saint Bert, the Father of Lies, will not lack suitors. One thing is certain, the party that sleeps with Fianna Fail will self destruct-irrevocably. Question is,whom can the people really trust to shun them.?
Would you buy a used car (with a star..) from either party?
The two wealthiest (republican) political parties in the land are moving closer.A natural alliance.
Both have a war chest amassed through the proceeds of corruption or criminality.
Gerry Adams has protested the refusal to grant him a visa to the United States to raise money there for Sinn Féin. The protest has no validity. He and Sinn Féin should not be allowed to raise money in the US for the party. In fact, they should not be allowed to raise money anywhere, through any means.
People in America, willing to offer money to Sinn Féin, have no entitlement to influence the Irish electoral process, north or south. Only people in Ireland have that entitlement and only they should be permitted to influence election outcomes. Therefore, the raising of money anywhere abroad for any of the parties operating here is wrong and should be stopped by legislation. This applies not just to Sinn Féin but also to the other parties that have raised money in the US, including Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
In fact, the raising of money at home to fund political parties should be stopped as well. All fundraising should be stopped, whether abroad or at home. There is a fundamental unfairness in a system whereby parties that represent the interests of the rich have an advantage over parties representing the interests of people who cannot afford to finance political parties. And, whatever the protestation, finance does afford an advantage, in terms of opinion polling, marketing, research, the staffing of offices and campaigns.
The Progressive Democrats are celebrating their 20th anniversary at present. That party was founded on an avalanche of cash that poured in at its inception. Rich people and relatively rich people perceived, correctly, that the Progressive Democrats would represent their interests and they contributed lavishly, at least in the beginnings of that party, to its coffers. They have not been disappointed. The Progressive Democrats have delivered in income tax cuts, capital gains tax cuts, plus opportunities for spectacular enrichment in the property boom.
Democratic Left was founded a few years later, from the embers of The Workers Party. Democratic Left purported to represent the interests of people who were poor. No avalanche of funds poured into that party's coffers because those with money perceived (perhaps wrongly) that the Democratic Left people would not represent their interests.
A fair political system demands that parties are funded equally and this can be done only by the State on a fair basis. It demands that all candidates who obtain the sanction of, say, 500 electors in their constituency, get access to equal funds, which may or may not be pooled in the case of parties. In the interim between elections, parties should be funded on the basis of their electoral support, with a proviso that newly emerging parties that attract the support – via signatures – of, say, 10,000 electors, get an agreed funding as well.
It is the only fair basis for the funding of political parties. The standard objection that the electorate would not condone such expenditure of public monies on political parties would be unlikely to carry weight if the electorate understood this was the only fair way of ensuring fair elections and fair representation
It's equality, stupid!
by Gerry Adams
Thursday, November 10, 2005(Writing in the "Village Magazine".!)
We are either in for one of the longest election campaigns in recent times or Bertie's going to call a snap election if and when he thinks the conditions for such a contest would be most advantageous for Fianna Fáil. Timing will be everything. All the Leinster House parties are very clearly on an election footing.
It is comforting to see all the party leaders dusting down and rediscovering their parties' republican objectives. For all the other superficial differences between them, the main parties of Government and 'Opposition' are united on one issue. They are all agin the Shinners.
One of the issues which they are zeroing in on is Sinn Féin's attitude to public finances. The electorate is being told that Sinn Féin cannot be trusted with the economy. Like everyone else republicans recognise the huge strides made by the Irish economy and welcome the prosperity of the past decade. The reduction of unemployment is a major collective achievement. But there's also a vital need for improved public services and better quality of life for all.
The health of the state cannot be measured only by how much wealth it produces. The real test is in how that wealth is used for the benefit of citizens. The real test is the equality test. And the big question is, for whom are we building the economy? In this state at least one in four children lives in poverty, one in five students leaves school without a second-level qualification and one in four adults has literacy problems.
A simple trip to work can take hours, ill-health can mean days languishing in a hospital waiting room.
This state now has a growing number of working poor. That is people in decent jobs who are burdened with huge mortgages and the high cost of services. People in reasonably good employment often cannot afford decent healthcare. Their quality of life is reduced by poor public transport and unavailable or unaffordable childcare, as well as poor public services. This is also a state where the gap between the rich and the poor is, next to the USA, the most unequal in the industrialised world.
So the economy fails the equality test. This brings us back to the big question: for whom is the economy being built? When Sinn Féin is in government our focus will be to ensure that the economy continues to prosper as we bring equality into public finances. This requires a reform of the tax system.
There is also a massive amount of inefficiency and incompetence in the management of the public purse. So the objective of a review of the tax system will be to create a progressive, efficient and egalitarian tax system which will enable the state to deliver the infrastructure and public services which society needs. This ultimately will have a beneficial impact on all of society, including the business sector.
The Government should be spending almost twice as much on social protection if it is to conform to the overall pattern evident among EU member states. A recent study by the Combat Poverty Agency found that social spending per head is 61 per cent of the European Union average. The problem is that Government policy is against building public services – it is, in fact, about privatising these services. This means that the economy is being run in the private not public interest.
For example, the government lowered corporation tax and robbed the people of €400 million which could have been used to fund public services. They then hiked up Value Added Tax which is a tax on essential goods needed by citizens in their everyday lives. Sinn Féin would bring corporation tax back to 17 and a half per cent. There is no reason why big business should be able to avoid paying their fair share while ordinary people have to subsidise them. Many economists have said that corporation tax can be at seventeen and a half per cent and still remain competitive. Those who suggest that the banks would pull out are engaging in scare tactics. The Banks cannot afford to pull out.
It also seems to me that there is something immoral about tax avoidance schemes which favour property investors, speculators, stud farm owners, and developers of private hospitals or car parks. If there is a case to be made for tax avoidance schemes for particular projects that's fair enough but it needs to be costed. The Department of Finance refuses to tell us the cost to the public purse of most of these tax breaks. Common sense dictates that the government should be able to explain the benefits to society of these tax reliefs and the costs. That is if the economy was being run to benefit society as a whole.
There are other inequalities in the tax system. For example, over half a million PAYE earners pay the top 42 per cent rate of income tax. While 18 per cent of the top earners pay less than 15 per cent. In fact some pay no tax at all. This includes 30 people who earned over €1 million.
It is little wonder that the conservative parties are attacking Sinn Féin policies. It's also worth noting that for decades these same parties said that Sinn Féin didn't have policies. But what possible objection could they have to these reforms.?
In he end Bertie didn't need Gerry or Pat: The Green party did nicely thank you.! 'Doctor' Gormley was also best qualified to tackle the Cryptosporidium Plague which the IFA (Nitrates everywhere) and Gombeen County Councillors (one off septic tanks overflowing9 had helped unleash on the unsuspecting population. two birds with one stone. Wasn't Bertie a wise oul..