• -
  • irishtimes.com - Posted: December 6, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

    Man Overboard but the Ship Sails on Regardless

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    An otherwise quiet day has been enlivened by a squawk of dissent from the Labour benches. Newly-elected TD Patrick Nulty has announced his intention to vote against the Budget.

    Michael Noonan started his Budget speech shortly after 3.45 pm. There was little enough in it for the Opposition to get their teeth into. The increase of two per cent in the higher rate of Value-Added Tax had already been well-flagged.

    There were numerous measures to restore the property market from the doldrums. Farmers will be pleased at the measures taken on their behalf – Fine Gael always made sure to look after the agricultural vote.

    Broadly speaking, the commitment to keep income taxes and basic social welfare rates at their current levels seem to have been kept. The approach set out by Brendan Howlin yesterday was aptly summarised in the phrase, “Death by a thousand cuts”.

    It will take a while for the impact of these stealth measures to become apparent and there will no doubt be weeping and gnashing of teeth down the road.

    Already a cut in disability rates for young people is causing a stir. Hardening up the requirements for a widow’s pension is another controversial move.

    Every year there is a plethora of scare-stories in advance of the Budget. In the end, the actual measures announced tend to appear mild. It’s the oldest trick in the political playbook.

    When Michael Noonan finished speaking today, there was silence from the Labour benches and muted applause on the part of Fine Gael colleagues. Given the parlous state of the public finances, nobody was ever going to mistake Noonan for Santa Claus.

    The two speeches today and yesterday were quite a cunning and clever mixture and showed a certain amount of political skill in a very difficult situation. Despite the departure of Tommy Broughan and now Nulty (who needs to cover his left flank from left-winger Joe Higgins), the outlook for this government looks positive for the immediate future. But the situation in the Eurozone is deeply worrying and that, in the end, will probably determine the fate of the Coalition and indeed the rest of us.

    Nulty statement issued at 5.06pm today:

    Speaking in advance of tonight’s Dáil vote Labour T.D. Patrick Nulty announces that he will be voting against the budget:

    “There are four main reasons that I am voting today against the budget. These are:
    ·        It is unjust – it hits people on low and average incomes disproportionately
    ·        It damages our prospects of economic recovery
    ·        Instead of creating jobs it will lead to higher levels of unemployment
    ·        It attacks the marginalised, the sick, the elderly and young people with disabilities

    “The household charge combined with the increase in VAT is deeply regressive, unfair and ultimately counterproductive. People on low and average incomes will be disproportionately affected while the wealthy benefit from flat rate taxation levied in this manner.”

    “The budget by hitting people on low and average incomes hinders our prospects for economic recovery. Because people on low incomes spend, rather than save or invest, these measures take money directly out of the local economy and hit jobs in the already hard pressed retail sector.  There is an alternative to austerity which I have outlined in some detail over the last ten days.  TASC, Social Justice Ireland and ICTU have put forward well-researched proposals that can raise billions from the wealthy. I am disappointed that the Government has not taken these proposals on board. Irish concentration of wealth is one of the highest in the EU-15.  28% of all wealth – housing and financial wealth – is owned by the top 1% of adults. The Government should target this wealth.”

    “The Government decision to further cut the number of jobs is the last thing we need with soaring levels of unemployment. Specifically they have decided:
    ·        To cut 7,500 direct jobs from the economy next year, due to cuts in capital spending.
    ·        To reduce public sector employment by a further 6,000.
    ·        To make cuts in the social protection budget at a time when the ESRI predicts we are going back into recession next year.”

    “The decision to cut child benefit for the 3rd and 4th child is a very clear breach of the pledge by the Labour Party in the last general election to protect this payment from cuts. Larger families are more at risk from poverty so this is an unjust decision. Other measures that are particularly regressive include:

    ·        The cuts to the fuel allowance and back to school allowance which will hit vulnerable old and young people.
    ·        Cuts of €543 million from health which will have a devastating effect.
    ·        The decision to increase public transport fares which will again hit people on low and average incomes disproportionately hard.
    ·        The 47% cut in disability allowance for young people with disabilities who cannot find work.”

    “I remain 100% committed to the values and principles of the Irish Labour Party. I put forward a number of constructive proposals in advance of the budget that outlined how the Government could increase revenues to narrow the budget deficit as required. I am not prepared to support measures which damage our economic recovery while attacking the weak, the sick, the marginalised and the vulnerable.”

    • Peter Finn says:

      Salud This budget must not in any sense reflect the urgency needed in financial terms to obey the rules laid out by Sarkozy and Merkel. Today we are seeing ireland pussyfooting when it comes to force in expression .
      The irish Budget in my opinion seems to so weak in its approach it will only foment civil unrest and a feeling of betrayl . To this will be added the searing hatred that we are forced to do this without recourse to a get out clause The pressure is on to prove what a series of b*ll*cks we truly are when the 3% limit is surpassed we will come crying to the two central controllers and beg to be excused This must not happen and Kenny doesn’t see that whilst we have long since relinquished economic sovereignty to Europe we need not succumb to the feline supine pose.

      The steps needed are not these ones and even Kenny and Noonan appear to understand that this is window dressing , hairdresserss’ assistants work not the work of politicians with due deligence and regard for the future. Any measure presented is a measure of decor and design not a measure of spinal changes to a system which has wrought the havoc . Policy decisions are made within the confines of established mores and this will never cut the mustard when the difference between poverty and starvation is not that great. The animus of an individual irish citizen has not been stylized no evidence of the strength of will needed, no evdence of the promised land , no promise of the future gains All measures strike a cord of despair and desolation without the glimmer of a spark to ignite the will that is needed if we must survive or return to the 30s .
      Plans need to be revised and plans to instill effort through support is now a much needed trump card Who is holding this card and what vein of inductry has the key to the revival of individual perception and effort to succeed despite all

      I suggest three broad strands for growth
      1 Power production be increased to allow wind power in Summer to flood certain valleys in the West to create hydro energy in the colder months
      2 a Bond issue be launched to create fealty and fidelity in Ireland The name I choose is the FBI or the Fidelity Bond in Ireland where the employers pay their staff in bonds which are reduced from their wages but held inescrow for 10 years or until death whichever is the earlier On death they are immediately refundable These FBIs earn interest at 1% above the mainstream bank interest pot of interests over the year and is either payable in bonds or in cash . These FBIs are open to all who wish to support ireland both at home and abroad The issue is for a ten year rolling Debenture on Ireland ten years will not see an end to the crisis or moreso a return to the 1999 2004 period but it will alleviate the suffering over time into a reasoned economy and employment Further details of the FBIs can be had later
      3 Expenditure on public bodies be controlled not by local audit committes but by businesses from other countries or even other continents . Every expense within the Dail be examined to remove marginal teaming and lading . Video conferencing be introduced to reduce the overheads of Assembly and all Video Conferencing be monitored and available to the public in every sense

      These are just three proposals and there are several more which can be the backdrop for reform and re-alignment of political will otherwise we sit back and adopt what has today become known as the BIS -MARCK policy adopted by Merkel and Sarkozy
      The Bis*Marck does have some credence but this is for the near future , the crisi is now and it should be the subject of astringent measures Those measures of Kenny are not astingent enough and will be the subkect of political gain for certain parties espousing the virue of socailism in minutiae This polictial imbalance does nothing to solve the crisis alas but is endemic in the proposals of Enda Kenny.

    • Barbera says:

      “Man Overboard but the Ship Sails on Regardless”

      That would be the Ship of Fools Deaglán……..The SS Calamity no doubt

    • Poli-tricks says:

      There has been an Armada of Fools sailing through the polictical sphere for the past 30 years or more in this country…………..

Search Politics