Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Progressive Democrats: Lust for Power

The PD's have been talking up the possibility of further lowering income taxes after the next election. This is, of course, their stock in trade, following the American capitalist model of small government, empowering the individual. Critics have denounced such moves as undermining further investment in schools, hospitals and other state services. Politically, it is allegedly aimed at the middle income earners, where the PD's see potential for growth, those specifically have benefited from all the Celtic Tiger years, including, no doubt, your correspondant.

I don't like the PD's, I never have. McDowell is an arrogant so and so, and is too right wing in terms of civil liberties for my liking. Harney seems snide, and the rest of them are like the rest of the Fianna Fail muppets. However, one has to hand it to them, they are still here. Also, there have been some good things. The economy, which they claim sole credit for, is undoubtedly booming, and will continue to boom for another while at least. A serendipitous coalescence of policy and market it may have been, but successful nonetheless. There are a number of substantial problems with this.

The PD's are fundamentally anti-social. The whole 'are we living in a society or an economy' thing is targeted at them. Social in respect of this particular argument is about government, and what the government does for us. The PD's simply believe that government should not be overly intrusive, and choice theory requires that the government does not dominate services, including basic social services. This includes health and education. Both schools and now hospitals are being built in public-private partnerships. Nurses are not being hired, agency nurses are being contracted. Even the head of the HSE is on a 5 year contract. Teachers are finding it more and more difficult to secure permanency, more difficult than at any time in the past. Gardai are not being hired - private security firms are being allocated things like money minding, and MMD has even toyed with outsourcing the prison service. Instead of 2,000 new Gardai, we are getting 4,000 unpaid part-timers.

The PD's are fundamentally acultural. They do not believe in culture as a national resource, no more than they believe in the nation as icon, the nation as brand, the nation as identity. It is not something that should be invested in. It is not a part of the economy, no more than the Irish language is a part of the economy. This is disturbing.

Ultimately, if the PD's get their way, we will all be earning loads of money, and have no public services. We will, of course, have money to spend on private services, which will abound. Those who remain at the bottom will be imperilled. A little bit of inequality is no bad thing, MMD said two years ago. Maybe, but some are invariably more unequal than others, and do we as a society have a duty to protect them?

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