Tuesday, September 19, 2006

PDs loss of integrity

What has happened to political integrity in the Progressive Democrats since Des O'Malley took a back seat?

Since the 1997 election, the survival instinct may have forced them to cling to Fianna Fáil, holding their noses in the face of tribunal scandals and ministerial incompetence. In those circumstances, some compromise of their supposedly high standards could be regarded as inevitable.

However, the McCreevy-Parlon decentralisation plan, unveiled in the 2003 budget, was as shameful a piece of political cute-hoorism as you'll ever see. The PDs were seen to be involved in the divvy-up of public service jobs, scattered to various constituencies with little or no regard to the same Government's much touted National Spatial Strategy, published only a year earlier.

This exercise exposed the PDs as being just as morally bankrupt as their FF partners in crime. You only have to think of "Parlon Country" to conjure up an appropriate image of gombeen politics in action.

Now we have the attempt to buy the middle-class vote in urban centres by promising a major reform of stamp duty on houses. I was expecting a giveaway pre-election budget from the Fianna Fáil wing of the current coalition, but they've been outflanked by the PDs.

Mr McDowell claims the Government doesn't need the money raised annually by this tax, at a time when there are clearly insufficient funds going into psychiatric hospitals, refurbishing school buildings, providing social housing, caring for the elderly, services to the handicapped and those with special needs, etc, etc.

The party's name should be changed from PD to SS - Shameful and Shameless.

Footnote: Published as a letter in the Irish Times and the Irish Independent (the latter dropped the SS punchline).

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