Fine Gael & Labour excuse tearing up of election promises


As the first step to sorting out some sort of coalition deal Fine Gael & Labour in a co-ordinated move last night announced that they had discovered the financial situation was worse than expected.  This follows only days after the election and the subsequent vote by all but two of Labour's central council to enter into coalition talks with Fine Gael.  Clearly the scene is being set for not only Labour but also Fine Gael to abandon the promises they were elected for, only days after the supposed exercise in 'democracy' of Election 2011 and before a government has even been formed.  So much for Enda Kenny's proclamation of  "a democratic revolution at the ballot box", instead it's the usual Dail as parliament is meant to work, free from the interference of the masses. 

The announcements came from the two parties' Finance spokespeople, Joan Burton for Labour and Michael Noonan for Fine Gael just after 9pm last night.  These two parties control 116 of the 166 Dail seats between them and the announcements followed two days of secret briefings from The National Treasury Management Agency, the Central Bank governor and senior officials from the Department of Finance.  The Irish Times reported this announcement is the usual coded manner of the parties had said the briefings had "painted a very serious picture, and included information which neither party was aware until now."

During the election Labour & Fine Gael differed on how fast to attack the living standards of workers in Ireland to pay off the ECB debt arising from the speculation of the super rich in Ireland and their counterparts in Europe. The parties are required to follow the instructions of the ECB/IMF over the next four years, with new sets of instructions being issued every three months as the IMF monitor progress. Labour & Fine Gael also differed during the election in quite how many public sector workers should lose their jobs in order to pay for the failed gamble of these bankers and property speculators.  

This announcement is no doubt designed to help explain why the attacks have to be escalated beyond the level talked about during the election.  The major advantage to the richest 1% who run Irish society will be that with Labour in government, opposition to these attacks will be further undermined by the fact that so many union leaders and community organisers are tied to the Labour Party.  Presumably for this reason the UNITE union has called on Labour not to enter coalition, UNITE has been one of the more militant unions in arguing for the need for action rather than talk to halt the attacks on workers in Ireland.  Perhaps not surprizingly the same union leaders that headed up pushing inaction and waffle have argued that the unions shouldn't comment on coalition while quietly including rhetoric that supports coalition, if sometimes in a somewhat incomprehensible manner.  Jack O'Connor of SIPTU for instance commented that "I am sure that in the negotiations they will try to reach agreement on aspects of the manufactories that are broadly reconcilable."

All of which is a reminder that the election has changed very little except the names of the ministers implementing the cuts.  Labour in government may at least have the advantage that it will be much more obvious to many union members that the union leadership need to be organised against, in most cases, rather that waited on to set the lead.  There is no significant left in the Irish Labour Party but that small faction that does exist is now going to have to decide whether to remain as members of a party that will be implementing the most savage cuts at the behest of the ECB that have ever been seen in this country, or to move outside of that party in organising resistance.