Tight Budgets & Double Edged Swords


The current ongoing negotiations involving Fine Gael and Fianna Fail (who have not suspiciously revealed what their price is for agreeing to get into bed yet again with their supposed foe) are still ongoing with the Green Party. These negotiations are not on one way helped in part by the ongoing Covid-19 situation as it has further created a financial crises for any future government of Ireland to try run a state they will eventually wield power over!

The Current State Of Finances.

Whatever personal dreams each of the parties hold, as their core issues to address or see instigated, their eventual policy options of the next government will be seriously reined in. Due to Covid-19 alone, there won’t be much money for anything extra, never mind trying to cover the very basics of state running.

To take a quote from an Irish Times article (link): “One person, who receives a weekly briefing, explains it as follows: “Every week they give us the figures, and we think, Jesus, is it really that bad? Then the following week they give us a new set of figures which are worse, and we think, Jesus, it wasn’t that bad last week after all!

Official Government projections suggest the country is on course for a record deficit of €23 billion this year – an astounding figure when you consider that total Government spending will be in the region of €70 billion this year. /End Quote.

And there we have what’s called “The Rub“…

Keep definitely in mind that all individual political parties (and certain individuals within them) wish to each come out of the current government formation talks with a win either for their own party or themselves (if only to also save their own party position and backside with fellow members already out to ‘get them’). All those looking for wins, each needs to go back to their respective parties in order to then persuade all party able to vote for accepting a deal with others, to then go into joint government.

A win for their own party would help sell that deal as all would know equally that the ‘win’ would be something they could also take to voters at the next upcoming local elections and general election after that (if not before the locals, if talks fail or there is early government collapse). A clear win however, is made hard to large gain given the current state of financial ability – or lack there of – for own party plans or desires to be actually achieved. A definite win will be tried sought anyway – and tried grabbed by each party or even independent involved with the formation talks. Who gains the best ‘win’ has yet to emerge!

The upside of there being less to create a ‘win’ (anything extra beyond ordinary state running) is that those wins will have to be kept in low finance numbers. This might be obvious but it also means that the likes of the Green Party cannot push for any major party multi agendas that will not only cost the state (taxpayer) more serious money – to be pulled from their pockets or bank accounts – but also that such wins will have to be deliberately reined in due to lack of available finances. This will come much to the relief of other parties who would hate to have their government partners able to gain a serious one up win over them. In short, they all want to walk away with something but not give away something that puts the other in a better PR position.

The excuse that money has to be tighter controlled due to Covid-19 costs alone, is a very handy excuse to reel out if one individual party gets too ambitious over the rest. All parties involved know the general state of financial play regarding Ireland and they each equally know, the others will be keeping future elections in mind too!

The Green Party have the notion (one of many) about shifting billions of euros from road-building to public transport. The fact that these plans will be hampered by the structure of the roads budget alone (says one report HERE), is not deterring them. What’s another tax then imposed on the public to pay for their additional plans?

Other plans might be devastating, for example, to farmers and their cattle herds that will see them lose money while also knock-on effect, put other jobs and skills out of work and less practiced. For this, sooner or later if it happens, the state will be paying for all this too in social welfare payments or farm assistance contributions – and this is only one area of many that negotiating parties are currently haggling over. All will contribute to more financial strain = more of the public taxed, levied, charged, etc…

For all the grand plans that the individual parties are self-inventing, in public PR “For the good of the state” and in private, so they can gain a favorable ‘win’ that will eventually transform into votes, Financial restrictions will hold them all back to some or great extent. so they might be then fighting over scraps of money to be dug up though old or new taxes – or from cuts quietly imposed while they then louder make a big song and dance about their own efforts in producing something big (that also makes them look good).

If there is a ‘safe bet’ from all the talks going on, it is speculated that in time it will mean the public having to cough up more money. The banks, multi-corporations, the private hospitals, the tax exiles, the well paid, perked and pensioned elected and company directors and owners? Not so much!

Double edged swords or double standards, “Old politics” is still alive and kicking in Ireland with the usual lot. That’s not for changing if they can help it. Hell, they won’t even talk about core fundamental changes such as laws, human rights in Ireland and greater accountability or more elected and officials. Elected nearly choke on the words if they are tried to be forced out by rare decent journalists willing to operate above biased levels of their editors, newspaper bosses and radio owners.

In short, expect more of the same as previously – and don’t expect real fundamental change. The only ‘boats going to be rocked’ again is yours, certainly not theirs if they can help it!

About Jeffrey Rudd

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