Whatever it takes

The Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), Brian Cowen today addressed the Fianna Fail Ard-Fheis – you can read his speech here. On this occasion I feel he produced the right mix of realism and caution on the one hand, and determination and optimism on the other. It was also good to see his emphasis on universities and innovation as key pillars of Ireland’s future prospects.

There are two things that still bother me. First, I don’t believe that the government’s emphasis on spreading the pain over three years or so is wise. There is, I believe, a readiness in the population to take whatever medicine is needed, provided it is fairly distributed and provided there is a vision as to what will come afterwards. The prospect of a series of continuing painful measures over a period of time robs people of the necessary optimism; a drip-drip of new cuts and tax increases has a debilitating effect. Why not get it over with now, however painful, so that we can anticipate improvements after that? A process of tax-raising budgets and spending reductions every few months is not an appealing one.

Secondly, addressing Fianna Fail is not the same thing as addressing the nation. It is time, I believe (and has been for a while), for the Taoiseach to speak to the population on television and radio, and to set out his vision and our prospects in a realistic but visionary manner. I confess that I do not understand why he has not done so before now. And right now it is urgent.

Explore posts in the same categories: economy, politics

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