Only Labour will deliver progressive social change – White

24 February 2016

Progressive and left-leaning voters have a choice to make on Friday.

They can vote for the far left, or for parties who have adopted a left-wing stance as a flag of convenience. One of these, Sinn Fein, says it will not enter Government unless Gerry Adams is Taoiseach.

The others will spend the next five years – maybe the next fifty years – comfortably in opposition, where they will call for things to change again, and again, and again.

Alternatively, progressive and left-leaning people can vote for Labour on Friday:

  • The only left-of-centre party with a pedigree of actually delivering progressive change;
  • The only left-of-centre option that is serious about being a party of Government, which means being a party of progress, not a party of perpetual protest;
  • The only left-of-centre party with a programme of further progressive reform, which we are committed to – and capable of – delivering as a coalition partner.

Parties of the so-called left say they will never compromise. In our political system, where the only certainty is that we will have some form of coalition after Friday, this is effectively a declaration that they do not intend to be in Government.

In effect, these parties and groupings are offering the status quo when it comes to social change and the liberal agenda.

Because you don’t have to compromise in opposition – but you cannot achieve much either.

Labour, on the other hand, is a serious party of Government, with a proud track record of persuading and negotiating with coalition partners – usually reluctant coalition partners – to achieve and advance social progress.

In the last Dáil, this approach delivered real change, including:

  • The X Case legislation
  • The provision of many more multi-denominational schools
  • The end of discrimination against lesbian and gay teachers
  • The Children and Family relationship Act
  • And, of course, the marriage equality referendum.

If re-elected to Government, repealing the eighth amendment to our constitution will be a top priority for Labour.

It is inconceivable that an arrangement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will result in any progress on the eighth taking place in the next half-decade.

And while so-called parties of the left will be content to grandstand, and ‘call for’ a referendum, only Labour will deliver it.

And we will also campaign strongly and unequivocally for a ‘yes’ vote, and advance legislation for a new medical and legal framework.

I believe that women and men who care about repealing the eighth amendment must conclude that Labour is the one and only party offering an unequivocal – and achievable – pledge to deliver the change they desire.

It will only happen if the next Government includes a political party that is both wholly committed to repeal the eighth, AND understands what it takes to actually deliver – rather than just demand – progressive social change. That party is the Labour Party.


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