The latest issue of Village magazine, on shelves now.
Via Village editorial:
This edition of Village explores at length the extent to which the coalition government delivered on its Programme for Government. It’s a fair test and it shows that, beyond economic stability, the Government has been a disappointment.
Labour certainly does not have the Fine Gael appeal of consistency. It never does what its manifestos promise. Worse, a number of its senior TDs have allowed themselves to appear smug and ideologically jaded or even, in Alan Kelly’s case, dangerous. Because of the elasticity of its conscience Labour has long attracted the wrong type of representatives.
Fianna Fáil is tainted by its reckless past and the incoherence of its platform. It believes serving the people and business in equal measure is viable. It has learnt little beyond the need to regulate the banks.
Sinn Féin’s commitment to a Left agenda is unclear bearing in mind its defining preference for irredentist nationalism over ideology, its governing strategy in the North and its willingness to coalesce with Fianna Fáil. Its performance at local-authority level is not impressive or particularly leftist. It is cultist, and ambivalent about democracy and transparency, and its leaders lie casually about its, and particularly its leader Gerry Adams’, past.
Renua seems like a somehow unendearing chip off Fine Gael’s Christian Democratic block, with a penchant for propriety.
The Independent Alliance (dubbed Shane Féin) is utterly incoherent of policy and membership. If ex-stockbroker Mr Ross and turfcutter Michael Fitzmaurice ever breathed an atom of the same political air, Village cannot imagine where it was.
Village has a weakness for the Social Democrats, whose mild platform is essentially the same as Labour’s, though strangely more pro-business, but whose small membership is more prepossessing. Its antipathy to water taxes is expedient but regrettable.
The radical Left offers the huge appeal of integrity and seriousness but its opposition to property taxes is inexcusable, and its focus on opposition to water taxes rather than a broader anti-inequality platform, including opposition to the iniquities of Nama, corruption and the resurrection of the developer classes has sold its revolutionary ideology short.
The Green Party’s policies are often radical, and its agenda mature, but it is not hard-minded and it achieved so little in the last government that it is difficult to be enthusiastic.
The non-ideological, non-visionary parties of the pragmatic centre hold little appeal, even when mitigated by somewhat more thoughtful ones.
A coalition of the parties of the left, radical left and the Greens would, as always, best promote Village’s agenda, if no doubt imperfectly.