Forty Shades of Green Sing Off Same Hymn-Sheet
Deaglán de Bréadún
The Green vote was something of a triumph for the party leadership. Whatever their critics think of them, you can’t quarrel with a tally of 84% for the revised Programme for Government and a 68% rejection of the anti-Nama motion.
Hmm, wish I could get that vote in Dublin South-East (Photograph by Brenda Fitzsimons)
The Greens are a very democratic party but it would have been truly democratic to have released the revised Programme a few days in advance of the convention in order to give members time to consider it properly.
As things stood, when I arrived at the RDS around 11 am, the Programme hadn’t yet been printed, although it was available on the party’s website. Inevitably the parts leaked to the media were the sexier items such as maintaining free third-level fees and hiring extra teachers. People were voting on a document that most of them would not have had a proper opportunity to read and consider.
Sinn Féin also holds conferences in the RDS Concert Hall but they generally allow the media to sit-in on the proceedings. Labour is also very open, as I recall. Yesterday, Security guards made sure we didn’t penetrate the inner sanctum of the Greens, but it would have been interesting and informative to hear the debate and would probably have benefited the party as well. Maybe it’s time for a change of approach here. (Not every day one can describe the “Shinners”, given the past history of their movement, as more democratic than the others!)
The Nama opponents seem to be split between docrtinaire anti-Nama and proponents of more stringent conditions for Nama. But it now looks as if Nama is going to sail through and, like it or not, we shall be stuck with it for the next ten years at least.
Then it’s on to the Budget. John Gormley sent out a strong signal that the Budget was going to be extremely tough but that the Greens would be backing it, at least in its essentials. Fasten your seatbelts, folks!