What About A Radical Alternative?

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From top: Anti Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit press conference yesterday with from left: Ruth Coppinger, Richard Boyd Barrett, Brid Smith and Paul Murphy; Paul Murphy

Today’s budget debate will largely be a charade.

Paul Murphy writes:

‘Fiscal space’ – it is a trick of misdirection worthy of Houdini. What one issue stood out most in this year’s pre-budget discussion? A debate about whether pensioners or people with disabilities or carers deserve a €5 increase more.

This is the fiscal space and neo-liberal economics in action – artificially creating scarcity and pitting people against each other to fight over who gets what.

It has served to focus discussion on how to share out the relative crumbs of €1.2 billion instead of the total cake of over €230 billion of economic output or a discussion on what kind of economy or society we want.

Years of austerity and regressive budgets have driven inequality to a point where the richest 10% of the population now control 54% net wealth, leaving just 5% for the bottom 50% of the population. Workers’ wages remain lower than in 2008 and have fallen as a percentage of GDP from 53% in 2008 to a projected 40.1% next year.

At the same time, corporate profits rose from €35bn in 2009 to €51bn in 2014 and €75bn in 2015. That is austerity in action – shifting wealth from wages to profits. The fiscal space straitjacket is designed to ensure that continues.

The consequence is a cost of living crisis for workers who are faced with low wages, soaring rents and underfunded public services resulting in unaffordable prices for necessities like childcare.

On the other hand, corporations with soaring profits are guaranteed by Michael Noonan that their tax rate on profits “never has been and never will be up for discussion.”

The starting point of the AAA-PBP budget statement Close the Tax Haven, Redistribute the Wealth, Transform Society was to break out of the fiscal space straitjacket and to end Ireland’s status as a tax haven.

Instead of tinkering at the edges, we set out to outline how vast resources and wealth exist in this country and could be used to transform Ireland from a fiscal paradise for corporations into a socialist green economy that could work for all.

The centre-piece is the need for a break with the capitalist developmental model based on attracting foreign multinationals with low or non-existent corporation tax, low regulation and wages.

That failure is clear when nearly 60 years after attracting foreign capital with tax breaks was presented as a temporary measure to give the economy a boost,

Michael Noonan is still talking about FDI as the “seed potatoes” of economic development. It has resulted in a weak domestic private sector and a basket case economy – where growth figures have no relationship to the reality of the economy or people’s lives.

While the government and Fianna Fail fought over how to spend €1.2 billion, we proposed raising an additional €25 billion in tax and spending an additional €24 billion.

We targeted the raising of at least an additional €4 billion from corporations through a combination of closing tax loopholes like the ‘Double Irish’ and the ‘Knowledge Development Box’ and increasing corporation tax rates.

Although it has largely fallen out of public debate, the question of odious unjust debt and the need to burn the bondholders hasn’t gone away.

The state continue to spend €1 in ever €10 in tax raised on debt servicing – for debt that largely arises from the banking crisis and is not ours. We put forward a strategy of debt repudiation, which would conservatively save at least €3.22 billion.

To fund the scrapping of austerity taxes for working people – water charges, property and the USC, we put forward a series of other taxation measures.

These include the introduction of a Millionaire’s Tax of 2% on net assets exceeding €1 million, which would raise €2.92 billion, a Landlord’s Tax on non family homes, which would raise €450 million and a High-Income Social Charge and new rates of marginal tax on high levels of income to replace the Universal Social Charge and raise €2.33 billion.

In addition, we pointed to the almost €9 billion available in NAMA and the Irish Strategic Investment Fund. These are funds that are not allowed to be invested because of the ‘Expenditure Benchmark’ Fiscal Rule.

That rule must be broken and those funds used to fund major capital programmes – in housing, renewable energy, water, health and childcare.

While the government continues to treat the housing and homeless crisis as a market problem that needs a market solution, planning to bring in a new first time buyers grant, we took a completely different approach. The state should simply use €4.5 billion of those resources to build 20,000 and acquire 30,000 vacant units and use them as public homes to tackle the housing crisis.

Instead of treating our two-tier health service as an inevitability, we advocated spending an additional €3 billion on health in 2017, as part of developing a National Health Service in Ireland.

That would fund an additional 1,000 acute beds, 5,000 additional healthcare workers, the abolition of prescription charges and the allocation of an additional €200 million to mental health, alongside many other measures.

Instead of subsidising private childcare, we argued for €2 billion investment in the building of a public childcare service, free at the point of access. In addition, we called for additional investment of more than €1 billion into education, providing genuinely free education at all levels, with free school books, an end to voluntary contributions and all third level fees.

In addition, we budgeted €2.19 billion for an end to pay inequality in the public sector between older and more recent entrants and an immediate restoration of pay to 2008 levels.

Finally, as a crucial part of a strategy of transforming the economy along environmentally sustainable socialist lines, based on public ownership, we argue for investment of €3 billion directly by the state in renewable energy, water infrastructure, forestry and green agri-food.

All of this can seen a bit fantastical and undoubtedly will be portrayed as such by the media, if they bother to look outside the fiscal space. It is designed to provoke – to push the boundaries of debate out of the fiscal space and to illustrate the immense wealth that does exist.

The central point is that the obstacle to resolving the many social crises in Ireland is not an absence of resources – it is the fact that their ownership is concentrated in the hands of the big corporations and the super-rich.

The financial resources that could be raised through the taxation measures mentioned are only a small fraction of the resources that could be utilised by a left government with socialist policies to transform people’s lives. For example, using the banking system as a democratic public utility could mean a transformation in terms of public investment.

Public ownership of the key sectors of the economy would enable a paradigm shift to an economy based on renewable energy and sustainable growth – a socialist green economy.

Today’s budget debate will largely be a charade. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil both invited Ireland’s very own Donald Trump, Michael O’Leary, to give them anti-worker, pro-big business addresses.

They will pass a budget that serves his interests. Labour will feign opposition to the very approach it was implementing one year ago. Sinn Féin will oppose much of the budet, but its acceptance of the parameters of fiscal space and the rules of capitalism means they cannot offer a radical alternative.

The outlines of such an alternative is offered in the AAA-PBP budget statement. It requires a mass movement of the left in Ireland to make a left government with radical socialist politics a real possibility.

Paul Murphy is a TD Anti Austerity Alliance. Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulmurphy/AAA

97 thoughts on “What About A Radical Alternative?

  1. Richard Pound

    No BS…Just pure facts.

    Ireland will only be truly free of corruption when FG & FF are ran out of town.

    Stop voting for them.

    1. Anomanomanom

      Well done no-brain Dav, Murphy is one of the worst Tds we have ever had, but you keep up this obsession you have with shirts.

        1. Anomanomanom

          Ok well a shirt is something generally that sleeves and buttons up to the collar. You can also wear cuff links with it and most times pair your shirt with trousers. And obsession is where you basically none stop have a fixation for no reason about someone/something.

          1. Anomanomanom

            My days of double maths ended when I realised the person teaching it knew less than me, that was 17 years ago baby.

          2. martco

            In fairness to u Anom that’s entirely plausible in this fair land. There’s a root cause in there somewhere…

      1. dav

        “one of the worst Tds we have ever had” nice coming from the party of gombeen politics and enda kenny

      2. scottser

        I could do you a list of about thirty tds off the top of my head that should have been done for treason.

      3. :-Joe

        Really, ye don’t say?…..

        Tell us more of your amazing insightful thoughts and all about your opinions of politicians, why you believe Murphy is the worst and maybe add who you voted for in the last few elections just for transparency and honesty.

        Do what you like but you already sound like a fupping brainwashed clown with a chip just regurgitating propaganda on autopilot.

        :-J

  2. Jake38

    “All of this can seen a bit fantastical and undoubtedly will be portrayed as such by the media……….”

    No kidding.

  3. DubLoony

    Venezuela took ownership of private businesses. Long story short, they have food riots now, a starving population.
    The alternative budget he proposes is 123% of income. Can’t spend what you don’t have.

    1. Jake38

      123% of proposed income. Most of the income would never materialize due to capital flight.

      Fantasy economics.

      1. DubLoony

        “using the banking system as a democratic public utility”
        “Public ownership of the key sectors of the economy”

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          So he’s talking about nationalising specific sections of the economy like we already do for health and transport. Every country in the world does that. Why then did you compare his plans to Venezuela and not Canada?

          1. Redacted

            Moyeswithexcitment, and our nationalised health and transport services are a beacon of good functioning services to the public!

          1. :-Joe

            Disaster compared to what exactly…. Haughey, Ahern, Cowen, Martin, Kenny… ??….

            He is one of a handful of politicians most likely to implement policies that lead to radical reforms for more progressive change.

            Unless you prefer slower, change only when it’s been glaringly obvious for two decades that we have to, type of change?…

            Another way of looking at it is that hypothetically he’d only get one chance and would be under the heaviest of scrutiny to be booted out asap for any mistake.

            It would only be one term at worst… would that really be such a disaster??

            :-J

        2. Rob_G

          A colleague from AAA/PBP is on the record with wanting a forced nationalisation of Dell, so you can see why talk of nationalisation from this party might make people nervous.

    2. Starina

      in Chile in the 70s they nationalised tons of private businesses and it was so successful that the Yanks couldn’t stand it and instituted Pinochet. you can’t win for losing.

          1. Rob_G

            In case you missed DubLoony’s comment:

            “using the banking system as a democratic public utility”
            “Public ownership of the key sectors of the economy”

          1. Starina

            oh absolutely. sure look at every other country with oil and a history of imperialist occupation, they’re all flourishing.

      1. Cowenwatch

        “In Chile in the 70s, they nationalised tons of private businesses and it was so successful that the Yanks couldn’t stand it and instituted Pinochet. You can’t win for losing.”

        Following that, Chile was used as a petra dish as Pinochet introduced Milton Friedman’s economic policies – neoliberalism on drugs – and well, it didn’t turn out too good for the people of Chile!

    3. :-Joe

      “Venezuela took ownership of private businesses. Long story short”

      I call b.o.l.o.x on this comment and anyone with half a braincell knows there’s no explanation needed.

      Are you another clown on autopilot regurgitating your leaders propoganda by way of your best nonsense argument against the perceived enemy?…. (Rhetorical question btw)

      Have a nice day.

      :-J

  4. Lord Lucan

    Even though this level of spending is probably currently a bit high, at least it address the issues in society that are only getting worse. Inequality, unemployment and the environment. We need to invest now in building homes, broadband, infrastructure and long term revenue generating assets (like off shore wind). This will drive down unemployment and inequality as well as providing a source of money to spend in the future. We also need to consider the impact on the falling pound on our Farmers and food producers as a hard Brexit could have a massive negative effect. Though we would be able to nick a lot of their foreign direct investment too.

      1. Lord Lucan

        Fair point on unemployment it has obviously gotten a lot better as you would expect after a massive recession but is still too high. My main concern about the economy is that we are getting stuck in secular stagnation where unemployment stays relatively high and growth stays low. In terms of inequality I would like to see a society that even if you were earning the average industrial wage you would be able to afford a house and raise a few kids with access to broadband and services (health, childcare) and the like. At the moment people are becoming angry as they feel they are being left behind and this will have serious long term effects such as an aging population that will make the already problematic pension issues of the future much much worse.

        1. Cowenwatch

          When Ceaușescu came to power in Romania, not only did he make abortion illegal but if a woman wasn’t pregnant she was fined so after a couple of generations Romania’s population soared. By the end of the 80’s there was a lot of unemployed, hungry and pissed off young people who took on the might of Ceaușescu’s State and, well it ended badly, very badly for him!

          Following the Dictator’s overthrow and death, a commentator from the previous generation noted: ‘We would never thought of that’!

  5. Harry Molloy

    hi there neighbour! how do you afford your lovely home when you only, supposedly, draw down €1800 per month?

      1. Harry Molloy

        Paul has a nice house on Ballinteer avenue but only takes 1800 in wages, he says.
        Apartments on that avenue are going 1600 for a two bed.

        I don’t like Paul because I think he’s insincere.

          1. Harry Molloy

            I don’t know that but would imagine own since he sold his apartment in tallaght, after paying his property tax, before moving.

        1. :-Joe

          So you don’t think he is sincere because you believe that “how can he be a committed communist red in the bed if he has a nice house that costs more than he earns to rent per month.”… oh what a moral dilemma… how can he be trusted?

          I know I’m being presumptious and taking the piss but If that’s the case, all jokes aside that’s amazing logic.

          Hmmm what interests me more is…..are you a 60+ year old, a US war veteran or someone that votes conservative/republican by any chance?

          :-J

    1. veritas

      if you look at youtube you may come across some nutters in america who claim not to be the person paul but to be soverign citizen paul or settler paul which exempts then from the laws of the us .maybe our person paul only takes 1800euro and settler paul owns the house and takes the remainder of the salary.

      1. Feidlim MacSásta

        yeah yeah we know what freeman are. And thanks but I’ll decide for myself who the ‘nutters’ are.

  6. rotide

    Im so glad we’ll never see any of these jokers in government.

    that alternative budget yesterday was the most naive piece of rubbish ever printed. even Syriza wouldn’t produce something that badly thought out.

    1. :-Joe

      Good auld retard…

      Another clown on autopilot regurgitating the propoganda for the team…

      Just spouting your usual nonsense to be fair….

      :-J

    2. :-Joe

      My mistake, I didn’t mean to write “retard”.

      The words sound similar and must be a freudian slip or something…

      :-J

  7. b

    “All of this can seen a bit fantastical and undoubtedly will be portrayed as such by the media,……. It is designed to provoke”

    Paul Murphy perfectly explained there – spouting utter unworkable bollocks designed to provoke people to vote for him

    There’s up to 10bln in new revenue in this budget that even if it could be collected would be unavailable for next year’s budget – would love to see the austerity in the spending plans then.

  8. Coppélia

    “We targeted the raising of at least an additional €4 billion from corporations through a combination of closing tax loopholes like the ‘Double Irish”

    Double Irish is being phased out by 2020.

  9. Fact Checker

    Here is one claim: “The state continue to spend €1 in ever €10 in tax raised on debt servicing – for debt that largely arises from the banking crisis and is not ours. We put forward a strategy of debt repudiation, which would conservatively save at least €3.22 billion.”

    National debt is about €200bn. Only €64bn of that was direct support to the banks, and €12bn has already been taken back by way of fees, sales of notes, etc. So this leaves €52bn, or about a quarter of total outstanind. I would anticipate in the long run that more will come in once more stakes of banks are sold.

    As regards the remainder, the vast majority of Irish national debt is accounted for by government expenditure exceeding revenue every year since 2008.

    So the annual debt interest cost of the banking crisis is about one euro in every 40 of tax revenue taken in. That is a lot. But even if it disappeared in a puff of smoke it would not change the budgetary arithmetic hugely.

    1. Cian

      €40 billion of the debt is leftover from Haughey’s give-away budgets in the 80s & 90s. At the height of the boom years we never paid off that debt.

      1. Fact Checker

        Fair point. National debt in nominal terms remained almost exactly the same between 1994 and 2007.

        However offsetting this the NPRF discretionary portfolio was €21bn in 2007 – much of which was used for bank recapitalization.

        The gap between primary expenditure and revenue between 2008 and 2014 was substantial and accounts for the bulk of national debt as it stands today.

        1. Cian

          True. Although to be fair so we should add the NPRF’s €21 to your 52bnabove. And to say that the bailout cost is approx 1/3 of the national debt.
          While the banks may give some return, the interest on the older IMF debt is higher than the new debt.
          So about €1 in every €30 of tax revenue taken in goes to pay bailout.

  10. Cian

    “…a Landlord’s Tax on non family homes, which would raise €450 million”… the landlords would just add this tax onto the their existing rents. So you just raised (already high) rents some more.

  11. Cian

    oh, and what about increasing the inheritance tax? Surely that would be one of the first items for stopping inequality?

    1. Feidlim MacSásta

      Rich people can avoid that by paying for weddings, house deposits, school fees, etc. The wealthy have the money to buy advice on tax which they also share among their peers at the golf club and thereby swindle the country out of millions every year.

      But apparently it’s single mothers from the flats who are the thieving monsters.

  12. Rugbyfan

    ‘Ireland’s very own Donald Trump, Michael O’Leary’
    Michael O’Leary is far away from Trump. For this hero to say otherwise is misguided!

    1. Nigel

      Yeah, O’Leary’s a blowhard bigmouth with a race-to-the-bottom approach, bur he’s not an accused-rapist con-man with a string of failed businesses behind him capitalising on extreme far-right disaffection to get his hands on political power.

    2. Rob_G

      Michael O’Leary has done more for workers in Europe than Paul Murphy and assorted socialists have ever achieved: workers from all over can now get jobs in any part of Europe and visit their families much more often than was possible before.

      1. :-Joe

        I think your confusing a man who runs an airline with the whole airline industry that was already heading in the direction of cheap flights with or without Ryanair.

        Either way, whatever about O’Leary’s achievements he is a loudmouth blowhard establishment propagandist for privitised profit at the publics expense.

        Your argument amounts to about as much as “Say what you like, Mussolini got the trains to run on time”….

        Well in that case and apart from not being true, not many people using them were getting a fair shake from their facist dictator..

        TLDR: Your argument makes you sound like you might be stupid enough to end up encouraging facist policies against your own self interest. IMO.

        :-J

        1. rotide

          No, Ryanair perfected the model and MOL was and is a large part of that.

          You’re simply wrong. Not everything can be bent to fit your pre-determined narrative.

        2. Rob_G

          Does a it still count for a Godwin if one uses Mussolini/fascists in place of Hitler/Nazis in one’s dumb analogy?

          1. Cowenwatch

            ”Michael O’Leary has done more for workers in Europe than Paul Murphy and assorted socialists have ever achieved”!

            So, socialist parties and trade unions have done nothing at all for workers?

            Good man Rob, I needed a good laugh. I’d have my ten year old down the mines with the pony if that was the case and, of course, if I had a ten year old and a pony!

  13. The Other Guy

    1. “…a Landlord’s Tax on non family homes, which would raise €450 million” – would this also apply to the vast numbers of young families and couples who are living in one of their properties and renting the other because they can’t sell it because it’s in huge negative equity (there are plenty of people still in negative equity)? Also isn’t this exactly the reason we have Capital Gains Tax? So that landlords who own properties for profit are already paying a tax on that profit? Not to mention the succinct point by @Cian above that these landlords will simply offset their liability by increasing rents. Making the housing issue worse.

    2. “We targeted the raising of at least an additional €4 billion from corporations through a combination of closing tax loopholes like the ‘Double Irish” – As pointed out above, the double Irish is on the outs. But also what other things is he talking about? Does he intend on increasing the Corporation tax to a point where we’re just not competitive enough to attract FDI. Let’s not forget that on of the biggest tools available to the UK post brexit will be to lower their corporation tax. So if he plans on increasing it then to what level? Perhaps it’s a better idea to ensure that companies are in fact paying 12.5%.

    3. “Michael Noonan is still talking about FDI as the “seed potatoes” of economic development. It has resulted in a weak domestic private sector and a basket case economy – where growth figures have no relationship to the reality of the economy or people’s lives.” – What exactly is it that he thinks our private sector would be without FDI? I’d love to hear.

    4. “Finally, as a crucial part of a strategy of transforming the economy along environmentally sustainable socialist lines, based on public ownership, we argue for investment of €3 billion directly by the state in renewable energy, water infrastructure, forestry and green agri-food.” – I have a number of issue with this part.

    He’s insinuating that Socialism and environmental sustainability go hand in hand. Which is just not true. These policies are, but he’s insinuating that to be environmentally friendly you have to be a socialist. Poppycock.

    He wants to invest money into renewable energy, water infrastructure, forestry and green agri-food. And you know what, I think that’s laudable. We should be doing these things. But to infer that doing all this will sustain the country and provide enough employement and therefore tax revenue to sustain us into the future is horsesh!t. A green agri sector would undoubtedly provide jobs. By all means we should aim to be the organic food basket of Europe, but that’s not going to sustain the country. Nope. No sir.

    5. “For example, using the banking system as a democratic public utility could mean a transformation in terms of public investment.” – Yeah it would. In to paying salaries. Oops I mean wages. (Because ‘workers’ get paid wages you see). This is what the ‘squeezed middle’ is talking about. Statements like this is what make us mad. How about we make sure our public services actually work like they should and then, maybe, we won’t need to pull funds from other places instead of just throwing good money after bad.

    Just a few things off the top of my head.

  14. Nigel

    Feck this alternative budget nonsense. None of the social problems targeted here will be fixed by any of these measures. propose large-scale widespread deep-rooted reforms of politics, local government and public services. The point about austerity isn’t really whether it was the right policy or not, it’s that it should never have been necessary. I’m all for Green investments, but who really trusts any Irish government with any sort of investment nowadays?

    1. Nigel

      Y’know if I’d just put the third sentence last, that comment might be more readable. Oh for an edit function.

    2. Jake38

      @NIgel. Agree fully. Start with reform of political system to reduce parochialism (single seat constituencies, fewer TDs, list system) and of the public service (redundancies where required and accountability for performance).

      it’ll never happen.

    3. :-Joe

      All the budget does is reinforce the stranglehold the establishment has on the country and protects the wealth of the already wealthy part of society.

      If you want widescal reforms all in one go you are deluded. You have to chip away one step at a time and achieve reform by incremental changes.

      A budget that empowers the whole society together and not just the establishment and super wealthy is an incremental change towards widescale reform.

      If you keep voting the same idiots into government they will get lazy and do what they want for themselves and their mates.

      You reap what you sow…. etc etc.

      :-J

      1. Nigel

        Actually, if I had elaborated, i would have said that you won’t get that reform all in one go, you can’t get that reform all in one and I wouldn’t trust anyone who said otherwise. What do we want? Gradual incremental change! When do we want it? Gradually!

  15. :-Joe

    Maith an fear Paul Murphy T.D.

    Once again a repectable alternative has been put forward that will never get a chance under our pseudo-democratic system.

    ….and to all you clowns who keep voting against society as a whole and for your deluded notion of your own best interests from supporting the establishment for big business party(FF/FG/Lab):

    Congratulations to you, what will pass again for a “budget” is nothing new because it’s just business as usual. It is your budget and it’s effect on furthering the same inequalities on society is your responsibility.

    You support this system because you voted for it and will keep voting for it until the possibility of one day when you finally wake up from your own ignorance and become a more progressive and civic minded citizen who believes in equality and democracy before another small profit.

    Scumbags running wild all over the place….

    :-J

    1. Rob_G

      What is ‘psudeo-democratic’ about our parliamentary system? The party that got a plurality is leading the govt. The party that you like didn’t win (they got 4% of 1st preferences in the last election). You don’t like it, tough sh*t, that’s how democracy works.

      1. :-Joe

        Clearly you know nothing about how a democracy works….

        Yes it is a pseudo democracy when the illuision of choice leads to the exact same results. it’s not even a binary choice of one or the other. it’s far far worse because you think that you have options.

        In reality, the majority of people in general are always voting for one half of the same party or the other. The establishment for big business and private wealth party run by FF/FG and recently Lab have fully joined in on the game. All with the same self interests and serving the same destructive ends and not in any of your best interests by any stretch of imagination.

        No other party currently has any chance of even competing for majority control of governance in this country, hence the word “pseudo” in relation to democracy and you can apply that almost everywhere in the world.

        If you don’t like facts I feel bad for you son,
        I got ninety-nine problems and you ain’t one…

        :-J

          1. :-Joe

            I used to get “it” and then they changed what “it” was.

            Now I no longer feel stupid, afraid and lonely in ignorance because I took the time to educate myself about what “it” really is.

            I’m still learning about “it” every day and the more and more I learn… the less I understand.

            :-J

    2. The Other Guy

      Ok Joe. Let’s talk about pseudo-democratic systems shall we. Like how you’re comrade there Paul Murphy got to replace his party colleague as an MEP without actually having to secure a vote. Which gave him the platform that gave him enough public notoriety that he then was able to turn into votes that secured a seat 2014.

      How democratic that was.

        1. :-Joe

          No need to worry, the last thing I would get to criticising you for is your spelling.

          Petty behaviour should be ignored or pointed at repeatedly while laughing out loud.

          :-J

      1. :-Joe

        I’m not convinced by what you said on how he got his seat, have you got any information or links to back up your claim. I can’t be bothered to look it up myself because I really don’t care either way.

        I honestly couldn’t give two farts how he got his seat if it wasn’t illegal. If you know it was illegal then just report him. The dail is full of unworthy do-nothing greedy idiots and there’s nothing democratic about them either., At least he is using his seat and doing his job well in standing up for people and not private profit alone.

        The “OK let’s talk shall we” and “comrade” remark is hilarious because it shows off nothing more than your level of arrogance, ignorance, and simple minded thinking.

        Ok now I’ll return the favour and try to judge you…..

        Ye, he must be my “comrade” because you think I am like him or must be a supporter and that annoys you because you are programmed to automatically hate anything outside of your little bubble of establishment propaganda. The biggest threat always get’s the most hate and the establishment hates the so-called “looney left” because it itself is fundamentally so-called “right-wing” and knows a progressive social and real democratic set of policies would lead to less power, control and greed for the establishment.

        At a guess, you are an aspiring middle class individual who tells people that you vote for progressive politics much like the social democrats would espouse. You enjoy empty vacuous statements like “change”, “hope” and “a new approach” but in reality, you always vote for FF/FG/Lab or whoever seems to be the least bad at the time.It’s FF when they have been punished enough then it’s FG after they have been bad for too long. Right?..

        You can’t imagine voting any other way because you have become another pathetic brainwashed drone sleepwalking through politics and the life of a citizen, afraid to be seen not to follow the herd of your family, friends and colleagues as an independant thinker who is capable of critical thought. Right?..

        It’ was a long shot and I’ve most likely got you all wrong… see that’s the problem with snap judments on people when you don’t know anything about them.

        I could be wrong about that too though ….. it’s happened before a few times.

        :-J

        1. The Other Guy

          I’ll go through this in stages shall I.

          1. The correction was for my own benefit to be honest. I don’t mind them per se, but I do find that BS commentators find that a typo is reason enough to discount your comments.

          2. I used ‘comrade’ because his ideas remind me quite somewhat of Fluther. And where you say that we ‘clowns’ keep voting against society, it strikes me what you actually mean is that we keep voting against the ‘worker’. And besides – you said we were all clowns because we didn’t vote the way you wanted us to. Strikes me as the way lots of far left people talk. So I used comrade to imply you and Paul are quite far left. Am I wrong?

          3. I never said he got his seat illegally. What I said was that he got his EP seat without having to go to the polls. That he was a designated alternate doesn’t mean he’d have won a popular vote for that seat. The point being he got into his seat without having to go to the polls. So if you want to talk pseudo democracy, then that surely is a case in point. Just because his political beliefs are in line with yours don’t make it so.

          4. Your “aspiring middle class” comment is off by the way. I’m comfortably middle class thanks. Your point about who I vote for is way off though. My vote is based on policy and which party I think has the more sensible workable plans. But the AAA/PBP alliance economic plans can’t and won’t work. And it’s not down to some industrial complex, keep the ‘workers’ in their place thing. It’s because the I don’t see how they account for bringing money in.

          e.g. Murphy’s point about FDI is off. While I agree that they should pay the actual rate of tax set (12.5%) I don’t think he gets that we’re a small island on the far west of Europe. He speaks of our private sector, but doesn’t speak of what actual industry that’s in. Does he mean agri? Because Agri on it’s own isn’t going to build schools, open hospital beds or reduce homelessness. So we need FDI. Without it, we can’t sustain the economy. All the green energy in the world isn’t going to change that.

          I believe in a system that means while the corporations pay the actual rate of tax, a condition of their getting that rate is that they’ll provide jobs that aren’t just sales and accounting. That they actually create and run things from here to get that rate. I also think it’s worth investigating that they be asked to fund certain projects that benefit the areas that they are located in.

          “You enjoy empty vacuous statements like “change”, “hope” and “a new approach” – There’s nothing empty or vacuous about words like change or hope when it means that members of our LGBT community are finally allowed to get married. And there’ll be nothing vacuous or empty about them when it means women will finally have the right to self determination over their own bodies.

          As for a new approach? What new approach? Half the county still votes along civil war lines and until we get rid of that mentality then we’ll still be in trouble. I’ll vote for people who I think (because at the end of the day it’s all about personal opinion) have smart plans. Except for SF. I can’t and won’t vote for them. And if anything, it’s the likes of the AAA/PBP who are the ones who are talking about “a new approach”.

          A new approach would be instead of looking at how much/little tax we’re paying we actually fix the issue of quality of service first and then we look at the tax. A new approach means not kicking the middle class for having the gall to complaining about their tax burden when they get sweet F A for it. A new approach is creating tax credits for people who have children in childcare. A new approach is allowing those who are familial childminders register as such and not taxing them so that people for whom a creche isn’t available can avail of such a tax break.

          You toss around words like herd and brainwashed like you think you’re the highest authority on politics. You’re not. You’re there complaining bitterly that not everyone thinks like you and telling us we’re all sheep. And you know what. That budget was a load of old boll*x yesterday. I get it. But at least they showed how they’re going to pay for it. Murphy’s plans don’t take into account wealth flight, FDI relocation and the fact that someone, somewhere has to pay at the end of the day.

      2. Fact Checker

        Paul was Joe Higgins’ designated alternate in the 2009 EP elections.

        It was not a big surprise that Joe would run for the Dail in 2011. hence his repkacement by Paul.

        Paul has since won a seat in two Dail elections.

        1. The Other Guy

          I get that is why he replaced Higgins – my point still stands. He didn’t have to go to the polls.

  16. Jake38

    Yes, a budget dreamed up by a party who got a whopping 3.8% of the vote at the last election would be way more democratic.

      1. :-Joe

        Yes but more importantly the represent a credible alternative budget for a a more progressive direction that should be at least tried once in our life times.

        More of the same… the beatings will continue until moral improves….

        :-J

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