Fianna Fail a party of the left? Don’t make me laugh!

07 January 2016

Micheal Martin, the man whose election campaign is about whether he can remain (supposed) leader of the opposition, claims Fianna Fáil are a bit to the left.

Historically, he says. Ancient history more like. Nearly a hundred years more like.

He claims Fine Gael are a right wing party. There is no end to his deductive powers.

Left to its own devices Fine Gael would lead a right wing Government, he says. Just like Fianna Fail did when it governed.

Like it did when Deputy Martin served in Government with the PDs and their proxy Charlie McCreevy.

In fact, Deputy Martin’s utterances serve only to remind me of Bertie Ahern’s declaration of fealty to socialism. Only in Deputy Martin’s case, it’s just a ‘bit’ – not the full-blooded stuff.

So Micheal Martin would have us believe that:

  • The party that created a Ponzi economy on tax cuts and property speculation is a party of the left?
  • The party that socialised the debt of the Ponzi Anglo bank is a party of the left?
  • The party that cut the minimum wage is a party of the left?
  • The party that introduced the USC as a tax on low incomes is a party of the left?
  • The party that cut social welfare payments for all recipients is a party of the left?
  • The party that cut medical cards for the elderly is a party of the left?
  • The party that unilaterally cut the pay of all public servants and public service pensioners is a party of the left?
  • The self-styled republican party that threw away our hard-won independence into the hands of the troika is a party of the left?

I could go on.

Micheal Martin has a neck.

He has one overriding ambition in public life: he hopes against hope that the Irish people forget what Fianna Fáil brought down to bear upon them. He is wrong.
The people know well who is responsible for what befell this country over the last decade.

Deputy Martin and Fianna Fáil want people to believe that 2011 is the Irish equivalent of year zero – and to forget everything that went before. The Irish people will not buy that pup.

Deputy Martin knows well that Enda Kenny will lead the next Government. He knows well that Fine Gael will be the largest party in the state after the next election.

And having identified the threat of a Fine Gael government as he sees it – a party, incidentally, with a better record on many trade union issues than Fianna Fáil itself – what is he prepared to do about it as a self-described left-of-centre leader of a small party? Get in there and mix it around with Fine Gael as Labour have done now for five years?

No – in the old Fianna Fáil tradition, he intends to stand idly by. His only concern is whether he can repel the challenge from his pseudo-republican rivals in Sinn Féin.

The Irish people know well the importance of stability at the next election. The economy is growing, jobs are being created and there has been more meaningful political and social reform in this Government since, frankly, the last time Labour were in office.

But they also know the importance of a balanced Government. Think simply of the things Fine Gael might not have done had Labour stood aside in 2011 in the manner that both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin are doing now.

  • There’d have been no marriage equality referendum.
  • The X Case would not have been legislated for.
  • The minimum wage would not have been increased by more than €3,000 a year.
  • There would likely as not have been much deeper spending cuts in line with Fine Gael’s manifesto commitments.
  • Core social welfare payments would likely as not have been cut.
  • It is unlikely there would have been two successive collectively bargained agreements in the public service.
  • There would have been no legislative facilitation of collective bargaining to improve workers’ rights.
  • Social housing is unlikely to have been prioritised for the first capital spending increases since the crash.
  • The political reform agenda of lobbying registration, whistleblower protection, and freedom of information restoration (following its decimation by Deputy Martin’s administration) would not have been progressed.
  • There would be no independent Policing Authority?

The list is endless – tangible Labour achievements in a balanced Government more broadly reflective of the nation as a whole –  a Government with Labour at its core that has guided Ireland back to prosperity.

That, Deputy Martin, is what a left wing party – a proud and true left wing party – can do when it puts its shoulder to the wheel in the national interest.

And Labour is the only party honest enough to offer to play that role again over the next five years. All the rest, and the rhetoric of Deputy Martin in particular, are just words.

Neither Fianna Fáil nor Sinn Féin for that matter are interested in governing Ireland after the next election. Full stop.

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