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Greens give African issues Momentum

6.28.2005

The Green Party are using their private members time this week to attempt to refocus attention on our responsibilities to other third world countries. For those who are living in a cave, tomorrow at 6.30 is the Make poverty history rally at the Spire.
These issues are bread and butter to the green party and a very opportune time for them to come to the fore and offer some leadership on the issue. The move somewhat sidesteps labour and also seems to be the result of not being tied to a coalition. I say this because in not being tied to any one wagon they can gorage their own path policy-wise and force the agenda is a few select areas. This would be stymied by the need to stay on-message in any coalition arrangement.
So the greens hard nosed electoral politics seems to be in osund affairs following their decision ot stay independent. Now on an issue like this they could do a lot of running in their traditionally strong affluent areas.
In terms of their core statement to the Dail and comments by the leaders, the greens are looking for some major scores.
Some of the main points in the motion are
a)forcing government to commit to a date by which time we will be contributing .7% of GDP in Aid. This is standard enough opposition fare although the comment from John Gormley that berite was only holding it out in order to get on the Security Council must sting with the Taoiseach. Having said that we made a commitment, foolish or not we must in all seriousness examine how and when we should meet that promise. the sooner the better, especially in terms of moral credit and fair play.
b) This is where the greens move from the standard fare to show why they are so associated with lefty causes. The motion calls for recogntion that debt and aid are only part of any wide ranging solution and call for proper agricultural market access and subsidy structure which promote growth and development abroad aswell as secure livelihoods here. In this Dan Boyle reckons that bogey man Blair is an ally and that the government cannot compromise on its view of 100% debt cancellation.
c) The restriction of Arms trading to promote peaceful initiatives and try to cut down on the strife and civil war which is ripping the south to pieces and renegotiation of Kyoto to encompass restraints on developing countries as well as the west.
Overall these are classic green areas of interest and a well timed piece of good publicity for the green party. The policies are ones both FF and FG may wince at but certainly wouldnt restrain anyone from entering government with them. Principle is a wonderful thing to have in a party but more than this when the greens actually talk up their principles they score very well in the affluent south dublin and leinster constituencies.
ITs all huff and bluster in front of the DAil but in staying out of any coalition arrangement the greens have space on the left which labour are moving out of that they can now move into. voters on the left will be pleased to see someone doing some independent running on the issue of debt and poverty.
It may interest people to know that the greens didnt have much to say on financing of the initiative on the GDP, in terms of CAP and Agriculutre reform they do seem to be on top of their brief.
Its a rare week they get to do some running in the dail but this could stand to them long term.
RR

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