A New Party? …. probably not …. October 31, 2012Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
I’m currently reading ‘Radical or Redundant? Minor Parties in Irish Politics’ which is so far anyway an excellent read. One of the things covered is why the much vaunted new party failed to emerge prior to the 2011 General Election. (New Vision, Fís Nua, CPPC, DDI and of course the ULA and some others did emerge and since then others such as Sli Nios Fearr and Tús Nua emerged).
The book notes that…
An opinion poll in the Sunday Independent in June 2010 detected a desire for a new mould-breaker, with the majority of voters feeling a new political party was needed.
A new political movement ‘Democracy Now’,was resultantly established to tap into this sentiment. Its intention was to run a list of high profile non-political candidates, including…Eamon Dunphy…Fintan O’Toole and economist David McWilliams. With as much as €400,000 pledged to the group in one day and a significant number of voluntary staff and even free campaign offices provided, it seemed as if the new group’s aim of twenty seats in the new Dail might not be unrealistic. In the end , however, the aspirations of this movement came to naught, as it decided not to contest the election in the absence of one resource it could not acquire: time.
So even with all that, they didn’t fight the election. Now some may say it wasn’t time but that some of the high profile individuals got cold feet about running. Time though was needed to launch the party, public meetings countrywide, establish a HQ, establish countrywide, get (and vet) potential candidates, get an electoral strategy together and all the other things that go along with running for election.
Despite Fianna Fail and The Greens electoral hammering… Twenty months on from that election there is a significant portion of the electorate disillusioned with the government (mainly Labour) and politics in general. The undecideds in the recent Irish Times MRBI Poll was 33% and in the latest RedC poll for the Sunday Business Post it was 22%. That Business Post poll also told us the ‘softness’ of the Labour and to a far lesser degree the Fine Gael support.
Despite the failure of a ‘mould-breaking’ party to start we still get the odd piece about Michael McDowell, Declan Ganley or the like being ready to spearhead a new party. If the papers get what they want it would be a PDs mark 2.
There probably is room on the right for a niche scrap Croke Park, cut welfare , cut allowances etc or to borrow a phrase ‘Corrective Action’. I presume too that there would be an appetite for burning bondholders here also. However I’d imagine the appeal would be limited unless it had an O’Malley type as leader or at least someone who was well respected.
There is a gap to the Left of Labour also, indeed probably a bigger gap than that of the right. Or as EamonnCork recently put it
What there is a lack of is a new social democratic/socialist party to represent the public servants who are going to get the lash from Croke Park 2, the opponents of the household and water taxes and the victims of austerity. The ULA was never going to be that kind of party because of the parties involved, they have no interest in being mass parties and I say that without prejudice because I have time for both the SP and SWP. But with Labour committed to implementing austerity and SF showing worrying FF type tendencies in the Quinn affair, it strikes me that the space is to the left of centre rather than to the right of centre. If you want something even more right wing than the current dispensation all you have to do is wait for Labour to disappear and FG to govern on its own.
The funny thing is that a part of this group is one that the Greens may have appealed to had they not gone into government and subsequent meltdown.
So Where would this new party come from? disaffected Labour TDs ? a number of the ‘Left’ Independents joining up? or a party emerging from the CAHWT and other campaigns?
Of the four Labour TDs that have jumped ship , whilst they no longer sit on the Labour benches in the Dail and have voted with the opposition against various cuts, none of them have left the party. Groups like The Campaign for Labour Policies and other initiatives indicate that there is an effort to change the direction of the party from within rather than a new formation being founded. Its possible that we may see a leadership challenge within the party if the poll numbers continue to decline. …… were it to succeed then what?
A radical change of direction or a stand on a few issues like cuts to home helps or whatever the cause célèbre of the day is?
If a leadership challenge is unsuccessful then we may have a few more losing the party whip but resignations from the party…. and enough to spearhead a new Left party?
So to a new party with some Left Independents in it. One of the many points from the book was the huge disadvantage a new party would have would be the State funding of the political system.
This manifests itself in various ways.
– Why would (for instance) Left Independents Catherine Murphy or John Halligan jettison their €41,000 leaders allowance to join a new party? Especially when it would probably lead to the loss of some of their constituency staff.
– The changes in the rules regarding political donations makes it very difficult for a new party (especially a Left of centre one) to assemble a war chest to organise and fight elections.
– The current model of Political funding is based on previous election performance, so a new party is at an immediate disadvantage to existing parties. The bigger the number of seats won the bigger slice of the political funding pie the existing parties get, whilst the new party gets nothing.
Now could ‘opponents of the household and water taxes and the victims of austerity’ found a new party? possibly but it would more likely be An Anti Austerity Alliance rather than an actual party. Even then what policies would be in common, what agreement would candidates sign (Like The Statement agreed at the foundation of the United Left Alliance) to stand for the new Alliance? The problem too is that its highly unusual for a party without a high profile leader or without electorally experienced candidates to make any kind of breakthrough.
The Local Elections are due in May 2014, so we’ll find out if there’s going to be a new party soon enough.
The case for a wealth tax – Patrick Nulty October 31, 2012Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
Received this today and its interesting reading and despite peoples “misgivings” over Labour in government, I thought it worth posting
Its available to read here
An extract from the documents Conclusion
Cuts to public services that will hurt people in need of healthcare or that will stifle the potential of our young by withdrawing educational supports, are not an inevitable outcome of our need to reduce and eliminate our budget deficit.
There is an alternative to this cuts agenda, an alternative which will see revenue raising measures that target wealth and high income groups take centre stage. Such an approach would not only be more economically just than cuts that disproportionately hit low and middle income families, it would also lead to faster deficit reduction and economic recovery, by releasing unproductive wealth and supporting the domestic economy.
The introduction of a wealth tax should be a key part of this revenue raising strategy.
Other measures which should be considered include:
• The introduction of a 3rd rate of income tax of 48% for those earning more than 100,000 a year which would raise €365 million a year. (Parliamentary response, 26 September 2012) (ix)
Independent think-thank TASC has laid out a menu of revenue raising options in its pre-budget
submission 2012. (x)
• Extension of the Universal Social Charge to all gifts and inheritances and also to all capital gains, whether liable to Capital Gains Tax or not, to raise €200 million a year.
• The ‘number of days’ test for determining the tax residence of an Irish citizen should be reduced from 183/280 days to 90/183 days, yield unknown.
In addition, a Financial Transactions Tax should be introduced. This could yield to the Irish exchequer €500 million by 2020. (xi)
There is always a choice about whether or not to implement cuts that attack the living conditions of the marginalised, the sick, the poor and the elderly. It is time to make the
right choices and pursue viable alternatives such as the introduction of a wealth tax.
On a related note The Campaign For Labour Policies have issued a document with similar sentiments Growth through Solidarity
Backroom in the SBP puzzles over the way in which this government has in its first eighteen months and more tended to overstate and exaggerate supposed ‘victories’ and ‘achievements’ in Europe in relation to restructuring debt. Consequently:
…the Irish government grotesquely [oversold] the results of that EU summit in late June which agreed that “it is imperative to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns”.
This prompted Taoiseach Enda Kenny to talk of a “seismic shift” and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore to speak of a “game-changer”. To date, it has been neither.
For starters, the EU had only agreed to that position at a conceptual level, with the details to be worked out later. The problem is that the devil is in the detail. Without detailed agreement, there might as well be no agreement. Thus, while EU economics commissioner Olli Rehn might have declared in June that there would be a detailed agreement come October, we are still waiting.
All true, all true.
But Backroom interprets this as being an example of a basic dynamic.
If the EU’s June resolution promises so little, it has to be asked why Kenny and Gilmore boost it so much. The answer lies in politicians’ tendency to take short-term political gains.
For most politicians, the long run is merely a series of short runs. Politicians can see their fragile careers come unstuck at very short notice. Think of how quickly Willie O’Dea disappeared from view after he was forced to resign his ministry in February 2010 , when the ramifications of a legal case blew up in his face.
I wonder though. I wouldn’t doubt that there was an element in that. But this government for all its faults isn’t entirely stupid. They are well aware of the fate of their predecessors (although the essential sidelining of FF as a political force has given FG in particular more space than it might otherwise have expected and the hope that it will remain the destination of centre and right of centre voters for the next Dáil. Perhaps it will but look at that FF level of support and consider how much of the electorate remains immune to its blandishments…).
But I suspect that as much a part of this was the sense that all the government had to do was hang on until the EU and others pulled the chestnuts out of the fire. They can, after all, read the data as well as anyone else and they presumably are aware that the current trajectory of economic policy for this state is unsustainable.
Thing is one also wonders whether this has been something of an historic error of perception because it would appear – and the Greek case would bear this out to some extent – that the level of tolerance of extreme socio-economic dislocation is actually much much higher than might have been expected from the EU/ECB (though to a notably lesser extent from the IMF). Frighteningly high to be honest.
That leaves the government positioned on the unforgiving territory of a possibly cosmetic ‘deal’ on debt which on closer examination will be largely meaningless in terms of its impacts on the state and citizenry.
Irish Socialist Republicanism 1909–36 by Adrian Grant – Launch October 31, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Irish Socialist Republicanism 1909–36
by Adrian Grant
from 6.30 to 8 p.m. on Monday 5 November
in the Irish Labour History Society Museum,
Beggars Bush Barracks, Haddington Road, Dublin 4.
This book will be launched by
Dr Brian Hanley
School of History & Archives
University College Dublin
To learn more about this book, please see:
What you want to say… Open Thread, 31st October, 2012 October 31, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.
Seeing as we’re talking about that debt ‘deal’… October 30, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
It’s funny. I’ve noted before how the rhetoric about Croke Park is almost entirely hollow, given that the outcomes positive (and negative) from jettisoning it are never outlined. So it is that in piece after piece in the Business Post or the Irish Times it is simply assumed that to do away with it is self-evidently “a good thing”. Yet there’s an odd echo of this in relation to the restructuring of debts from the bank bailout. There the narrative up until recently is one of such a deal being almost an inevitability and that it will without question do us good.
Except, except, dig a little deeper into the surrounding rhetoric and suddenly it seems a lot less clear cut that there will be any benefit at all from such a restructuring for citizens.
Take by way of example Cliff Taylor’s thoughts in the most recent SBP where…
…it now looks likely that there will be some deal…
But he also notes…
However, what is not clear is just how significant this deal would be.
Because when it comes to fiscal measures that impact directly upon citizens he asks the key question:
What does it all mean for the annual budgets?
If the €3.1 billion payment on the promissory note is postponed next March, some commentary has suggested it would mean €3.1 billion less in savings would need to be found in the budget. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
The capital amount of the promissory note – the €31 billion originally promised – has already been counted in as part of our national debt and accounted for in a previous year’s deficit.
This means that next year’s budget targets – and the need for cuts of €3.5 billion – have already been set, excluding any consideration of repayments of capital on the promissory note.
And he goes further suggesting that
The troika would be unlikely to agree to the government easing up on planned cutbacks or tax hikes. However, there would be a bit more leeway in the annual figures for a few years and some margin for error in case economic growth does not recover, which is now a serious risk.
Does that sound like an improvement on our current position in any substantive way? Indeed does that sound like it would be something that would be measurable as an improvement?
I think this is important because it essentially proves the lie about the similar rhetoric about the Croke Park Agreement where the suggestion is that monies clawed ‘back’ from that would somehow ameliorate expenditure cuts elsewhere. But the same logic operates. If the troika isn’t willing to allow cutbacks or tax hikes eased up on foot of monies from a ‘deal’ why would it do likewise with monies from the end of the CPA?
And what’s crucial about this is that it demonstrates that the policies being forged are ones that go far beyond an economic tourniquet to ‘save’ the Irish economy, but are instead part and parcel of a very political worldview implemented to arrive at certain outcomes in terms of restructuring this state and this economy and beyond that this society.
Taylor asks the question ‘what if we get no deal?’
And his answer points to the near lack of distinction in real terms whether one is forthcoming or not:
I think we are likely to get some kind of deal. However, there is a risk that the deal may not significantly alter our debt and deficit arithmetic. The problem is that, if the economy does not start to grow again, our debt ratio could rise further.
Now most of us on the left have perhaps been dubious from the start about how a ‘deal’ would function, even were it possible given the visceral aversion towards it from Merkel et al. And while the rhetoric about the achievability of such a deal has improved markedly in the last week it has been fairly obvious that it is thoroughly hedged.
That’s not to say that something won’t happen, something that will be presented as a ‘deal’. But if there is no measurable difference between having a ‘deal’ and not having one the political ramifications of that (quite apart from the destructive nature of the economic implications) may be very very important.
Consider the political capital already expended by FG and the LP on the matter. This has been, to some degree, their get out of jail free card – the “game-changer” as Eamon Gilmore put it. But if the game remains almost precisely the same, at least as most of us citizens see it…
Some more thoughts on that latest SBP/RedC poll… October 30, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
First thing, a ray of sunshine for all the parties concerned. All the results remain within the bands that are now long established of party support. Not one party has stepped outside those bands. Even the slight spike upwards for Fianna Fáil to 19 per cent echoes a result from May. Granted when contextualised in relation to the recent Irish Times Ipsos/MRBI poll it looks… well, a bit more feasible as a genuine increase for that party. But still. March this year saw Fine Gael on 34 per cent and here they are back there again.
But… then again. SF appears to be dipping. Not hugely, but given that last May they hit 21 per cent their current position of 17 per cent is a disappointment, and no mistake. Although they dropped four points between May and June from 21 to 16 before rising to 18 per cent so a one per cent drop may be nothing at all. And their average since the last election (granted they received just under 10 per cent then) has been 16 per cent. Not yet time to panic, but perhaps a long hard look at why they’ve done so well in recent times and why they’re not doing quite so well now is in order. It could be, and this may be reflected in the slightly declining fortunes of the Independents and Others, that there’s simply much less activism at the moment. Think back to last May and the household tax campaign and others were on a role. It’s not going to be long until there’s more opportunities for them and the Indo’s/Others to ply their wares, so to speak.
Fine Gael by contrast may be very happy indeed. 34 per cent is a solid poll rating and while far from the heady heights they hit in April and May of last year where they were tipping and exceeding 40 per cent it’s substantial enough. Curiously all this is on foot of the Reilly debacle. Could it be that standing by his man has reaped benefits for Kenny, as well as putting the boot into the Labour Party? The LP might want to think about that too.
Labour have to think about that too. Woman overboard hasn’t played well for them. One wonders if in the tug of war (well not so much, but they could have if they tried) with Fine Gael a less supine response might have been better for Gilmore et al. Granted so far they’ve not dipped below 13 per cent in a RedC poll since the election (they hit 13 per cent last May as well – interesting month that actually). But who would bet on them staying higher than 13 per cent in the wake of the next Budget. Though noises off in Europe might bring them some comfort.
Or perhaps not. Pat Leahy in the SBP argues that:
This problem is serious not just because Labour is unpopular – few in the party will be surprised about that, given the economic landscape faced by the government. It is serious because, even when the government achieves a success, as it did last weekend in persuading German chancellor Angela Merkel to issue her joint statement backing Ireland as a special case in Europe, it seems to be Fine Gael which gets the credit.
It’s also serious because it could get worse: the data suggests that support for Labour could fall much more sharply, much more quickly.
And he points out the central contradiction of the LP’s position in government:
In this case, there’s a constituency among the public which believes that Labour shouldn’t be doing austerity in government. This suggests that the attacks on Labour’s left flank is where the party is more vulnerable.
It underlines the trap for Labour inherent in being part of this government: getting blamed for austerity, but getting no credit if anything is achieved.
Fianna Fáil will be happy enough. But two per cent on their election total is not the comeback that one M. Martin desires, or needs. Richard Colwell of RedC puts it like this:
Likewise, Fianna Fáil could also be seeing some small green shoots of growth in support. This month the party secured a 19 per cent first preference vote again, a high point since the election, which it last achieved four months ago.
More interesting though is that if we were to apply the Red C ‘spiral of silence’ analysis (which allocates 50 per cent of voters saying they don’t know, or refuse to tell us how they will vote, back to the party they voted for previously), based on 2007 voting behaviour rather than 2011, Fianna Fáil could be as high as 21 per cent.
As high as 21 per cent? What a difference two years make.
And the Independents/Others shed a point. Now down to their election rating. No cause for wailing and gnashing of teeth there. At that level they’d still return near enough historic numbers for the contemporary era. Still, the lack of coherence there can’t be helping, though it also can’t be helped.
But, for all of that the polls seem to suggest just an hint that the political landscape we’ve seen for the best part of two years may be fracturing slightly, that the inexorable rise of SF may be slowing, that the Independents may be sliding somewhat, that FF may be slowly – painfully slowly – consolidating its support, while the LP sheds yet more of it.
And here’s a thought. Look at the LP. Fourth in terms of the political parties, fifth if we throw the Independents and Others into the mix. That’s not a comfortable place for it to be. Worse still look at the graph. Where SF and FF have been broadly speaking increasing their support across the last two years the LP has been shedding its support. For every small respite it loses more subsequently. Only the Independents appear to be following a similar path, and in their case a more protracted one.
Colwell makes an interesting point:
Underlying this headline-grabbing finding for Labour is the fact that over half of all coalition supporters are either becoming disillusioned or losing faith in the party they currently state they are supporting.
This appears to underpin the feeling that Ireland is coming to the end of its tether with regard to austerity, and suggests that the forthcoming budget could be a breaking point for many.
I think he may be right. All the too and fro over a deal in Europe seems from a position of five years of austerity, or near enough, to be almost beside the point. Enough is enough? Not quite yet. But perhaps soon.
1930 Local Election Results for Dublin City Council October 30, 2012Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
These are the 1930 Local Election Results for 5 of the 6 wards for Dublin City Council. (Missing Area No 1)
A few things of note. Jim Larkin elected for the Irish Workers League and Jim Larkin Junior elected for the Revolutionary Workers League. Another candidate was elected for the Labour—Municipal Workers group which (I think) was a left wing breakaway from Labour.
We also have a Commercial Register where the City’s businessmen (and women) get to vote in a number of Councillors themselves.
No. 5 Area. -
6 seats. 33,457 -voters. Valid votes, 14,136.
Spoiled votes 245. Absentees, 19,076. Quota, 2,020.
The first count was as follows:—
R. Renson (CG.) 2,496
P Caffrey (I.) 1,585
Mrs. Maud Walsh (I.) 1,451
Batt O’Connor, T.D. (C.G.) 1444
Mrs M.S Kettle (I.) 1,253
Dr Conn’ Murphy (FF) 1,046
Wm. McMillin (CG.) 873
Henry Barry (L.) 766
G. F. Gillespie (L.) 707
John Lumsden (I.W.L) 611
John Noctor (L) 579
John Govan (C.G.) 570
T. F. O’Breslin (F.F.) 404
A. Woods (F.F.) 261
No. 4 Area.
Five seats. 21,845 voters. 10,972 polled.
Spoiled votes, 260; absentees, 10.613. Quota, 1,829.
Thomas. Lawlor (L.M.W.) 1,894
P. S. Doyle, T.D. (CG.) 1,734
Wm. O’Connor (CG) 1,613
Denis D. Healy (F.F.) 959
P. J. Medlar (Ind.) 859
Mary O’Connor (Ind) 789
Patrick Rigney (F.F.) 664
John Groome (C.G) 638
Patrick Cunningham (I.W.L.) 468
John Nugent (I.W.L.) 273
Michl. Vaughan (Ind.) 241
J. F. Reynolds (F.F.) 223
Seamus Robinson (F.F) 183
A S. Kelly (Ind.) 155
M. C. Scully (B Assocn.) 150
Esther McGregor (B Assocn) 129
No. 3 Area.
Electorate—30,117 Spoiled votes 241
Valid votes 13373 Quota 1,730
Senator L. O’Neill (Independent) 2,687
Sean T. O’Kelly (FF) 2,092
J. Costello. (Constitutional Group) 1,001
J. Cahill (Constitutional Group) 1,043
Jim Larkin (jun.) (Revolutionary Workers Party)967
Jas. Gately (Independent) 838
M. O’Sullivan (Lab.) 793
J Farren (Lab) 673;
P.S. Leigh (Constitutional Group) 571;
E. Burke (FF) 473;
J J Hart (National Businessmens Assoc) 448;
Kevin J. Kenny (National Businessmens Assoc) 445;
Cluskey (IWL) 387;
Paul (National Businessmens Assoc) 205;
Mc Ginley (FF) 145;
Sunderland (IWL) 112;
Hilary Williams (IWL) 86
Thos. Williams (FF) 85;
Gaffney (Ind) 73..
NO. 2 AREA 6 seats
Total electorate 29,828 Valid Votes 15,556
Spoiled Votes 284 Quota 2,223
Senator Alfie Byrne (CG)6434
J. Larkin (IWL) 2,637
Patk Belton (Progressive) 1,137
Mrs. T. Clarke(FF) 844
John Ryan (CG) 739
Cormac Breathnach (FF) 608
John Donnelly 583
Eamonn Cooney (FF) 492
Mr Syl O’Farrell (CG) 486
Martin Leyden (Lab) 394
Michael Doran (Ind) 362
P. Timmins (Lab) 281
Sean Ryan (FF) 137
T. F. O’Driscoll (Protectionist) 113
John Kenny (IWL) 92
Seumas McGowan 83
Thos. Devlin (IWL) 55
Jas. Mallon (Ind) 40
5 seats quota 411
J Hubbard Clark (Chamber of Commerce) 472
E McLoughlin (Chamber of Commerce) 348
W. J. O’Hara (Licensed Trade) 330
Sir Thos Roinson (Chamber of Commerce) 325
David Coyle (National Businessmens Assoc) 269
J.J. Higgins (Licensed Trade) 252
D. J. Cogan (Chamber of Commerce) 198
JJ Farrell (Independent) 176
M J O’Reilly (Chamber of Commerce) 120
H C Neill Watson (Independent) 77
H J Downey (Independent) 73
STATE OF THE PARTIES
Chamber af Commerce 5 candidates 3 elected
Constitutional Group 17 / 11
Fianna Fail 19/ 5
Independent 17 / 7
Labour 10/ 3
Irish Workers’ League 12/ 1
Progressive 1/ 1
Revolutionary Workers 2 / 1
Licensed Trade 2 / 1
Business Men’s Assocn. 8 / 1
Labour—Municipal Workers 1/ 1
Chilling… October 29, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy.
One small quote from the Winterbourne View care home case where care workers acted in frankly savage ways:
The judge condemned Castlebeck for the way Winterbourne View was run. “It is common ground in this case that the hospital was run with a view to profit and with a scandalous lack of regard to the interests of its residents and staff,” he said.
Left Archive: The Achievement of Socialism, Brendan Halligan M.E.P., c.1983, Irish Labour Party October 29, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Labour Party, Irish Left Online Document Archive.
To download the above file click on the following: The Achievement of Socialism
Many thanks to Michael Taft for scanning and forwarding this document to the Archive.
This document was a pamphlet written by then Labour M.E.P. Brendan Halligan in 1983. It was written as an outline of a possible way forward for the Labour Party in a context where it had been in coalition with Fine Gael previously. It is based on a presentation Halligan made to a Dublin Regional Council symposium in June of that year on the future of the party. Although 23 printed pages it is quite short and can easily be read at one sitting.
The Preface outlines the reasons for his writing the pamphlet. He starts:
The Labour Party is under threat of electoral extinction.
Over the last thirteen years the party’s share of the vote has been halved, its socialism diluted, its ability to develop policies destroyed and its membership decimated.
The main cause of Labour’s decline has been its permanent commitment to coalition with Fine Gael. Arguably it is the only reason.
Like manny others I did not always think so. But I do now. The socialism of the Labour Party and its commitment to coalition are inextricably bound up with each other. In present circumstances they are mutually exclusive and the argument that coalition is purely an electoral tactic and essentially has nothing to do with socialism has been proven disastrously wrong by the experience eof the past decade and a half.
Some of what he writes has a particular resonance in the years subsequent to its first publication. For example he references Brendan Corish’s assertion at the 1967 Labour Party Conference that ‘the Seventies will be Socialist’, and notes that…
…today no [Labour] Party leader could proclaim the future to be socialist, no matter how distant the time horizon. The disappearance of a vision in which Labour plays the key role in re-arranging irish political forces is a psychological reality which we all instinctively recognise. It is the true measure of our decline, more accurate than any statistical analysis of our electoral fortunes since then.
Interestingly he also argues that ‘things can only get worse’, in particularly due to ‘the state of Exchequer finances’. And he argues ‘it is quite immaterial that this was caused by the 1977 Fianna Fáil Election Manifesto and the budgetary policy pursued by that Government up to 1981. What is material is that the present coalition has committed itself to eliminating the current budget deficit of one billion pounds in 1982 prices. This can only be achieved by raising income taxes to that amount (the equivalent of increasing income tax by another 60%), or by cutbacks in current expenditure (the equivalent of the entire health service) or by some horrendous combination of both’.
And he continues:
It is obvious the LP cannot avoid the political odium which will attach to these policies. In essence, Labour will preside over the dismantling of the social services it did so much to create…the semi-state is being prepared for dismemberment… by the time they have completed their cutbacks in the social services and the state sector they will have earned life membership of the Thatcher/Reagan Club.
Halligan considers the problems implicit in coalition with Fine Gael and notes the problems of being unable to forge a separate identity. He also noters how this impacts on the ability of the LP to fend off others on the left because of a gap which opens there due to their participation in government. He specifically references the threat of the Workers Party in this respect. Later in the pamphlet he puts forward a number of actions that he believes are necessary for the Labour Party to undertake in order to rework its identity, these being in the short, medium and long term.
It provides an interesting counterpoint with the Labour Left document posted in the Archive some while back. For those curious as to Halligan’s career subsequent to this, wiki provides some background.