It seems that political parties are like buses: you wait for ages for one to come along and then two appear together. Of course the first turned out to be a three-wheeled clown-car whose antics brought much gaiety to the life of the nation, while the second seems to be stalled as several would-be drivers bicker over who’s in charge, which direction they are going, or if they are even going at all. From the Irish Times:
“A group of Independent TDs will meet next weekend in the hope of launching a national movement that could form part of the next government.
Councillors from around the country have been invited to a meeting in Tullamore, Co Offaly, next Saturday to join five TDs in a national alliance of Independents.
Dublin TD Finian McGrath, one of the driving forces behind the movement, told The Irish Times that if enough of them could win Dáil seats they could be in government after the election.
He said the group would stand on an agreed set of principles and these would form the basis of any negotiations on the formation of government.
The other TDs involved are Shane Ross, Michael Fitzmaurice, John Halligan and Tom Fleming.
Mr McGrath said a whip system would apply on economic and budgetary issues but not on moral or social issues.”
Am I the only one to be puzzled by a political philosophy that does not see economic and budgetary issues as moral and social ones too? After all budgetary actions by governments and states have real and immediate social consequences for their citizenry. The imposition of “austernomics” by the right-leaning parties of Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fáil and the late departed Greens, has had a devastating effect on communities across this island nation. Is there not a moral case, a moral stand, to be made against those who would balkanise Irish society into castes of haves, barely-haves and never-will-haves? If one opposes supposed economic recovery through the expulsion of young people and the impoverishment of old people is that not a matter of “conscience”?
So what exactly are acceptable moral and social issues? And who defines them?