By Red Hugh
In recent days, as anyone who has watched any news programme will tell you, there has been a concerted effort by the Labour Party leadership to portray themselves as the party who did a lot of the heavy lifting during our ‘recovery’, made the tough decisions and curbed the excesses of an ideological right wing Fine Gael thus protecting the working people.
In her ‘Week in Politics’ interview on Sunday Joan Burton, the party leader, suggested her party’s fortunes are on the rise as people realise the good work they have done, and they’ll do a lot better than the polls indicate.
How much of that is wishful thinking and how much is based on interpretation of the polls I don’t know.
Burton and, indeed, some of the Labour party activists, took it as a positive sign that people now treat them politely on the doorsteps, a vast improvement on the outright abuse visited on them on at the two most recent election campaigns.
Indeed, it’s worth mentioning that Labour all but got wiped out at those two elections, the European and Local Government elections.
Alex White, the Communications Minister, said over the weekend the difference between Labour and the other left of centre parties (can anyone really say anymore that Labour is left of centre?) is that they want to be in government because it’s only in government they can make changes to benefit their constituency.
The others, he suggested, wanted to stay in opposition and espouse populist stances without having to take the tough decisions.
Most of the Labour ministers and spokespersons point to two increases in the minimum wage and the successful implementation of the same sex marriage referendum as somehow balancing the ‘good’ with the ‘evil’ of the other policies they have been part of introducing.
Speaking personally, I would hate to be a Labour Party candidate trying to sell the ‘what we have done in government’ message at the doorsteps.
The other side of the ‘heavy lifting’ and the ‘tough decisions’ gave us a party which has been part of a government which took medical cards from children with cancer, tried to impose draconian water charges, has seen a huge increase in homelessness and a massive deterioration in our health services.
And we’ll not even mention the 47 or so taxes which have been increased, the hundreds of thousands who have emigrated, the lengthy dole queues right along the west coast….
I would think most working people could ask in amazement how’s that helping the working class? And you say that’s protecting the less well off?
Having said all that I would not be one bit surprised to see them back in coalition with Fine Gael after the next election. That’s the sort of electorate we have.