Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Battleground for the next election

PD leader Michael McDowell continues with his effort to frighten the electorate by branding the opposition as “the slump coalition”. However, the next election is likely be fought out on a somewhat different battleground than that chosen by McDowell and his coalition partners.

In reality, there will be little difference in the broad economic and taxation policies of either coalition team put before the electorate, or indeed, in practice after the election. Also, there appear to be few fears among the electorate that any mainstream party will adopt a “tax & spend” approach. The fact that a majority of the electorate seem to prefer Labour rather than the PDs in Government with Fianna Fail, suggests that there is little fear of an economic slump as an outcome of the election.

Where the election battle should be fought is on the ability of either side to get the public services to work effectively and efficiently, making them accountable for delivering value for the enormous sums of public money being spent annually.

In this regard, the contest will be between the proven inability of the current coalition to achieve this objective against the unproven ability of the rainbow coalition to deliver the necessary leadership and change.

Will it be the devil you know or the devil you don’t know?

Footnote: Published as a letter in the Irish Independent.

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