Common statement of aims could aid Coalition – Hayes

Fine Gael strategist rules out joint manifesto with Labour ahead of general election

A common statement of aims from Fine Gael and Labour on issues such as taxation and health could ignite the election campaign and swing support back to the Coalition in the days before polling, a Fine Gael strategist has said.

Dublin MEP Brian Hayes, who sits on the party’s election strategy committee, ruled out a joint manifesto from the parties but said voters must be offered more than just a transfer pact to persuade them to return the Coalition.

He also said two-thirds of votes for the Government parties must transfer between Fine Gael and Labour candidates if the Coalition was to hold many of the marginal seats it would need to be re-elected.

Mr Hayes said a common statement of aims in areas such as taxation, childcare and health reform would illustrate the priorities for a second term.


Rainbow coalition

A similar approach, albeit unsuccessful, was taken in 1997 when the rainbow coalition was seeking re-election and Mr Hayes suggested this is a template that could be followed.

“If we are looking at 3 per cent growth per year, that’s 15 per cent over a five-year term,” he said.

“That’s a lot of money and we need to show people what we would do in areas like childcare and the universal social charge.”

People need a reason to transfer between the two parties and a transfer pact alone is not enough, he said.

“A number of joint principles – four, five six – would have a real effect on the campaign.”

He said this would mean some in Labour would need to drop traditional suspicions they hold when it comes to Fine Gael intentions.