Rabbitte’s Way


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Pat Rabbitte, former Labour leader, outside the Dáil last week

Hurlers on the ditch can usually criticise without resort to personal invective. That aside, Diarmuid Ferriter’s is a warped assessment of Labour’s performance in Government since 2011 (“Labour’s woes rooted in more than an ungrateful electorate”, Opinion & Analysis, July 11th).

So great was the crisis facing this country in the winter of 2010/11 that only a broadly based government would have held society together. I am convinced that a single-party Fine Gael government – the only viable alternative – would not have survived the first year. That first dismal year saw the new Fine Gael-Labour Government struggle to restore Irish credibility in the EU institutions, keep the troika at bay and contend with Mr Trichet’s threat if we proceeded with burden sharing – as unemployment exceeded 15 per cent. In helping to bring the country back from the brink, Labour had to take some decisions that in normal times it would never have done.

Diarmuid Ferriter would perhaps have preferred if we had spent more time speechifying, dithering and generally faffing around like the Syriza government in Greece, making the crisis even worse and inflicting greater hardship on ordinary citizens. Of course, Syriza has in its ranks more than its fair share of academics with a part-time political sideline. The problem is, as Brendan Behan noted in another context, they know how it’s done but they’re unable to do it themselves.

There is nothing either “patronising or self-pitying” about my view of the “dysfunctional” fragmentation amongst the disparate elements of the political opposition. After what we have come though, the last thing this country needs is a coalition of chaos. Compare this country’s economic health with what unfortunately has engulfed Greece. The stability that we have established and the economic growth now happening offers the prospect, for the first time since the crash, of improved social investment and the gradual restoration of living standards.

Whether or not one is a Syriza fan, it must be obvious that unless we get our finances into kilter and a banking system functioning again, we will not be able to make inroads into poverty or tackle inequality in our society. Who will endure most arising from the cack-handed misgovernance of Greece? It won’t be the wealthy elite or the tax dodgers or the trendy academics advising Syriza on the politics of magical thinking.

The contention that Labour “would have benefitted more from staying in opposition” may be correct. But Labour was not elected in 2011 to stand aside. Prioritising power over principle is the favoured insult of the designer left thrown at every politician from Lloyd George to Barack Obama who dares take on the challenge of political responsibility in difficult times.

Pat Rabbitte
Leinster House,
Dublin 2.

Labour’s way (Irish Times letters page)

Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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58 thoughts on “Rabbitte’s Way

    1. Joe the Lion

      I agree – very well said – anyone who talks so well ought to be a great Minister right? That’s how it works?

      He shows a welcome bit of balls again now that he has no executive power

    2. Christopher

      Yes- “well said” in that in confirms everything I thought about that delusional, nasty blow hard. I am looking forward to Labour’s electoral wipe out in the next election but its a shame people like him will have long left the stage collecting their DISGUSTING pensions.

      Syriza have been in power for less than 10 months- it wasnt THEM that lead Greece to economic ruin, it was centre right parties like Labour/FG that enacted the EU dictacted policies that ruined their country. The only reason we didn’t go as bad was because our historic debt was lower to begin with, fake money from abroad funneling through Ireland as a tax haven, our closest trading partners surging (the US in terms of growth and sterling increasing in value making our exports cheaper to them) and of course the outflow of our unemployed which kept our unemployment going south. It really annoys me to hear people like Pat Rabbit thinking that any of their policies or austerity in general had ANYTHING to do with our so called recovery!

      When are the pensions in the Oireachtas going to be sorted out? In all the cuts you would think that would have been a priority for a progressive government supposedly committed to fairness?!

      1. Twunt

        The self serving twaddle from Varoufakis shows that he was way out of his dept. He wanted to debate economic theory when the game was up.

        Syriza may not have been the architects of Greece’s downfall, but they have not helped the matter in any way and have made it much worse. They threw accusations around like confetti and wanted it all their own way.

      2. realPolithicks

        The problem with career politicians like Rabbitte is that they become contemptuous of the very people who vote them into office. How about implementing the policies you run on in the election.

    3. ollie

      well said? In June pat rabbitte pocketed €1,850 in tax free expenses for 10 days in the dail.
      This is in addition to his generous salary and his multimillion euro pension pot.
      All paid for by a country that is still borrowing money for day to day spend.
      He is a despicible greedy fat cat, nothing more, nothing less.

  1. Drogg

    So he compares himself to Obama, he says we should be thankful that they turned against every political promise they made in the run up to election, we should be happy that we have a country in marginal growth that is already showing signs of another bubble, we should be thankful unemployment is down nothing to do with the 90 thousand young people emigrating a year since they took power and we should be ashamed of ourselves for wanting politicians to put their principles first instead of taking the easiest route for them to get us back to prosperity which they haven’t really done. Between Rabbitte and Brown this morn i think i am going to have to puke to get the rotten taste out of the back of my mouth.

  2. Clampers Outside!

    No Pat, people are pissed with your ilk for lumping so much on the poor and not taxing the wealthy enough, plus where are the political reforms. Your own manifesto for 2011 says on page one and I quote “Jobs, Reform, Fairness.”

    None of which did you deliver… you did nothing on reform of politics, the Seanad referendum was a platitude, you may as well have said the usual govt line for avoiding doing anything and said “we’ll do a review” instead of a costly pointless referendum, because nothing has happened since.

    Fairness… big fail. You deserted the poor, and then punished them. Over 20% of working people are on less than a ‘living wage’… we’re second highest in the world after the corporation they call USA (anyone who thinks USA is a democracy is a deluded fool).

    Jobs…. yes, the drop from 15% is happening, but what about quality of work pay – see above. Also without real hard figs crossed with emigration those under 34… you cannot really claim to have done a huge amount here either.

    And to be completely honest Pat, who cares what you say, you’re just some lying gobsh*te who will say anything to get in to power and secure himself a nice pension, you said so yourself, which I’m sure will be handsome having served as a Minister twice.

    Fupp off Pat, you’re done. And your excuses are old. The recovery is happening, but you being on the left, should have made sure the burden was better spread, you failed, fupp off you lying slieveen.

    1. Dubloony

      God this is getting tedious….

      Restoration and increased scope of FOI legislation, register of lobbyists.
      Restoration of minimum wage cuts, collective bargaining legislation.
      USC applied at higher rates, removing poorest from it and the poorest from the tax net.
      Emigration was high yes but employment now up to 1.9 million, revenue take indicates that they are not all low paid.
      Low pay commission in progress.
      Unlike Greece, we still have a functioning welfare system which Labour protected. In Greece & Spain, they just get cut off with 0 benefits
      And so on.

      If you want to see how bad it could have gotten, read this:

      1. Ernie Ball

        Unilaterally reneging on Croke Park in 2013 when it was due to run to 2014

        Blackmailing of public sector workers into Haddington Road agreement via FEMPI legislation while the Croke Park agreement still had nearly a year to run

        Proclaiming the “emergency” to be over while leaving in place “emergency” legislation

        Feathering [redacted’s] nest with establishement of Irish Water, funded through stealth taxation

        Consistent repaying of even unsecured Anglo bonds not covered by the blanket 2008 “guarantee” to the tune of billions while cutting the ar*e out of the public sector

        Increased university fees to €3,000 or so

        Schools with 33 students to a class

        I voted Labour in 2011. Never again. Think I’ll go for the Social Democrats…

        1. Dubloony

          33 in a class? there used to be 42 in mine when growing up.
          All the new school buildings? Nice aren’t they?
          Emphasis on literacy at an early age, reform of junior cert cycle. School enrollment policy reform.
          High class education not just for an elite. Too may kids dropping out early leading to lifelong difficulties.

          The whole introduction of Irish Water was a debacle, FG Phil Hogan.

          As for all the ex-Labour voters, am surprised that Labour wasn’t a majority government given the amount of them.

          1. DD

            Ha ha ha, Slave Labour saying that the Irish Water farce is all Fine Gael’s fault.

            There’s a fierce bang of desperation off ya.

          2. ollie

            being educated in a class of 42 has affected your sense of reality dubloony.
            All the new school buildings? spending on school facilities is way below the EU average

            Emphasis on literacy at an early age, reform of junior cert cycle. School enrollment policy reform. No reforms passed to date.

            High class education not just for an elite. Too may kids dropping out early leading to lifelong difficulties. No actions taken to prevent kids dropping out of education.

            tell me, have you ever met a man in a pub with a pint in each hand?

        2. classter

          ‘cutting the ar*e out of the public sector’ is a gross exaggeration.

          The public sector has kept much of the gains accrued since 1997, even if where the tax take no longer (if ever sicne it was based on construction) justifies it.

          The ratio of public sector pay to private sector pay in Ireland is one of the highest in the developed world.

      2. Clampers Outside!

        I dunno about you but I’ve always believed Labour was about protecting low paid workers. That’s their job. On that they failed because low paid workers bore a higher burden in the collapse.

        It is that simple.

        I never said they did nothing, and I have been on here before saying that they have been completely incompetent at letting people know what they have done…. which, even with your lovely list, was not enough… for the poor and low paid, who vote Labour more than other higher paid workers got screwed.

        20%+ of our workforce today are on below the living wage. 20+ !

        There’s plenty in your list that is “coming”…. we’ve all heard that before….. The poor shared the heavier burden, that’s a fact.

        On that they failed.

        And stop the Greek comparison. Greece took a different route to Ireland, they haven’t implemented this round of austerity yet, and you or I don’t know how the spread of the burden will occur.
        It is in that application of austerity that Labour failed the less well off. How Greece will spread it, who knows.
        But we know the FG/L govt did implement austerity, and on that, Labour should have spread the burden wider, they didn’t.

        If you have a link on what Labour did for registration of lobbyists I’d like to know have a look if you have a link, thanks, because to my knowledge, nothing has been done in this area for quite some time.

  3. tony

    Good man pat. Ferriter and his perpetually angry Irish times colleagues need to be called out for their well paid chin stroking bullcrap. Easy to talk.

  4. bisted

    ‘…Prioritising power over principle’….yes Pat, well said. Add to that in you own case the arrogant sneering contempt for the electorate, your supporters and your own party members.

  5. ahjayzis

    Member of left wing party surprised his electorate aren’t rewarding him for participating in right-wing government.

    I’m so done with this condescending windbag – piss off Pat, you’re worth every penny of the few hundred grand we’re about to pay you to do nothing for the rest of your miserable life.

  6. PeteS

    Would people please stop giving this irrelevant piece of crap a platform to rewrite history and make himself out to be some sort of hero without anybody challenging him? He’s everywhere at the moment, and I wish he’d just f*** off permanently.

  7. Custo

    with you’re incessant talking
    You’re becoming a pest

    Rabbite, Rabbite, Rabbite, RabbiteRabbiteRabbiteRabbiteRabbiteRabbiteRabbiteRabbite

  8. Unreconstructed

    Praising himself and his party for taking the “hard” decisions, when in fact they took few decisions at all; instead they studiously followed the bailout dictated by the Troika…
    And this after lots of talk of burning bondholders, etc.
    The state finances and banking system had to be saved, it seems, before one could tackle poverty or make inroads against inequality…funny that those objectives are always conditional while the health of banks, etc. are always paramount. Always one excuse or another to sideline the socially vulnerable. And this from a supposed socialist.

  9. LookingOn

    Add the emigrated, the Jokebridge, the ‘Activated’ to the number showing up as being unemployed, and you see the real ‘success’ of Labour.
    The emigrated did the figures a favour. If the level of emigration didn’t happen, there’d be 200,000 – 300,000 more on the live register.
    Pat ‘the bluster and bullsh**’ Rabbitte should do us all a favour and slide back into his burrow.

  10. Humans Eh!

    I see that austerity didn’t affect his food shop every week.
    He is actually wearing that car as a jacket.

    But that’s just something I say in the run up to something else.

    Go awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay toxic man

    1. ahyeah

      An ill-fitting jacket at that. I’ve personally witnessed Pat’s helpers grease up his flanks in order to get into and out of his vehicle.

  11. GOS

    Good to see FG and Lab have people ready to comment on BS

    Rabbitte’s tale is a joke. If you come into government, accept a plan you campaigned against and don’t introduce a budget for 9 months you have no basis for claiming to have dramatically turned anything around.

    Shouting at Ferriter because he has the audacity to have the position which Labour used to seek votes on in 2011 says more about rabbitte than Ferriter

    This type of arrogant drivel is at the heart of why Labour will get an unmerciful kicking in the GE

      1. Sham Bob

        Nice find. Like the way they included the wine tax, like they thought that’s what their middle-class voters really cared about.

    1. Vote Rep #1

      “Good to see FG and Lab have people ready to comment on BS”

      Everyone that has a different opinion of you is a bot. The fact that you are commenting against the government shows that you are either a Paul-Murphy-propaganda-bot or a a shinnerbot. Isn’t that the way it works?

        1. Vote Rep #1

          Make comments not necessarily complaining about government, government shill. Make comments complaining about government, just normal people with issues with the government. Gotcha.

  12. Walter-Ego

    The man is a parasite. he lied his way to get into power “isn’t that what one tends to do during election”, then gorged on the states teat so much he’s fallen to the right and is spewing any old bile and rubbish like a fattened leech.

  13. bisted

    ….eat your hearts out BS headline writers…just saw this: Rabitte bites Ferriter
    (h/t Veronica Walsh aka @VCurrentAffairs)

  14. ollie

    ireland is paying 20% of it’s tax take on interest on it’s debt. As debt is still increasing interest will also increase.
    So, our debt presently is €181 billion . If we reduce this by 50% over the next 10 years we will have to pay €9 billion on top of the €8 billion interest we are currently paying.
    Therefore, 40% of our current tax take needs to go on debt repayments. Even allowing for a boomier (I love that word) economy we are well and truly in the s**t, yet instead of supporting Greece now our leaders choose to kick them.

    This level of debt is not sustainable yet all of the state media are choosing to ignore this fact.

    1. classter

      A relatively small amount of our debt is down to the bank bailout.

      There is no chance that other European countries are going to agree to take on all of our debt – and why would they?

      Most of our debt is down to the persistent current account deficit that we run. And yet if the govt tries to address this, they are hammered for it.

  15. KevM

    It really does show the lack of imagination from the gov benches. Had they waited for that year, they would be walking into the first left wing gov in the history of the state. Muppet.

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