Political and business correspondent Jim O’ Brien sounds off on the cycle of empty poltical gestures in Ireland.
The 2011 General Election was all about change and reform. A change in our political masters from one centre-right government to another, if not more, of a right-wing government. OK we had the greens, and that’s really it. Fine Gael has Labour, but do you see any changes in the policies that have been implemented to more progressive ones? I used to moan about Vincent Browne talking about the same topics, but I soon realised that for the first time in Ireland’s political history, and probably the last time, a political party could communicate an honest and direct manifesto. The British electorate knew their fate in 2010: cuts, cuts, cuts. We did also, but political manipulation still occured. Why? Fine Gael wanted an overall majority. Why didn’t I believe Fine Gael when they said there would be no increases in income tax, or any hospital foreclosures, or even the line that Fine Gael would not give the banks “one more red cent?” Such a line was hammered home consistently by Enda Kenny and James Reilly. The only thing this government will ever do consistently…..the wrong policies.
In his Observer debut, new political and business correspondent Jim O’ Brien discusses the problems facing the British and American economies
The latest calculations by the guys who make fortune tellers look professional outlined the fragile state both the British and American economies face. Economists have warned that the threat of a double dip recession is more probable than ever. When the US sneezes the rest of the world gets a cold, and one Scottish comedian added, ’and Scotland takes a stroke’. Why all of a sudden, the US economy which was predicted to grow this year by 4%, looks set to only grow by 1.8%, at least half what is needed to achieve a net employment surplus. The British economy also remains stagnate too. The question that many people ask is why such countries, especially Britain, whose unemployment rate has remained around 8% is in such a position? Why is it that the US government has committed itself to $4 trillion of cuts over the next decade? This time we cannot blame the financial markets, but the usual suspects, the politicians.
The pre-season friendly edition
In lieu of any Maynooth news to talk about, Dave, Shane and Brian return to talk broader current affairs. Topics include the Irish Presidential Race, the US Republican Presidential nominees, the UK Riots, and balloon animals.
[Shane’s Bottle Shock event is here ]
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