If Power Starts Slipping to the Streets …
Deaglán de Bréadún
Not for the first time, one wonders why politicians agree to appear on the Vincent Browne show on TV3. You can watch his interview this week with Labour deputy leader and finance spokeswoman Joan Burton by clicking here. To his credit, Browne makes a valiant effort to extract some detail from Deputy Burton as to what Labour would do about the economic crisis if it were in power. Like a medieval knight taking part in a siege, he throws himself again and again into the fray.
All to no avail. Joan Burton’s consistent response is that she cannot give a detailed response because Labour don’t have the full facts. Browne pleads and pleads, at times almost bursting into mock tears, but the Deputy continues to stonewall. I have to say that, not since Kevin Barry has an Irish political figure held up so well under interrogation.
The interview was a big talking-point in Leinster House next day. Some said Browne went too far and should have treated his guest a little more gently. Others took the view that it was time Labour stepped up to the plate, stopped playing politics and indulging in opposition for its own sake: the state of the country was far too serious for that.
Of course, if Labour spells out what cuts, for example, it would make in power, then the party will lose support. Remember how vague Obama kept things in his campaign?
Again I predict: the parties in the Dáil will finally unite on the economy in a bid to persuade the public to put aside its anger and pull together for the common good. But the danger is that, as with the first Lisbon referendum, they will leave it too late. By that time, power may have started slipping towards the streets.
Then we’ll really be in trouble.