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Green Election Manifesto Launch

3.17.2006



Well that is perhaps a tad of an overstatement. The initial phase of the Green's 50 Steps programme is launched today. There are two major things to bear in mind;

1. The plan itself

2. The contrast in tone, content and rhetoric versus the alterative government.


1. The plan is set to be released in 50 stages over the course of the next election. Its an interesting tactic in and of itself, maintaining a certain momentum, profile and also placing education at the center of the Green campaign over a long period.

The eyecatcher is a promise to invest the guts of E1 Billion in education in the first year of government, oh dear oh dear says Micheal, here comes another bust-time tax and spend leftie-communist government. Only that those crafty Greens are talking big. They reckon a targetted programme of spending 1 billion euro can be done without necessitating any additional taxation.

Dan Boyle: "There are a number of mechanisms by which the tax take can be raised without increasing the headline tax rates. In any event we anticipate that the additional investment in education will actually save the taxpayer money in the longer term,"

Good stuff though, they decided not to bother specifying these mechanisms until Stages 23 and 37 [or thereabouts ;) ] They argue that the funding will go to specific intiatives, designed to tackle some of the education systems deepest problems.

'"But let me stress, it is not simply about money, it is about looking at the areas where urgent change is needed and if this needs additional investment, so be it. Key areas where additional spending will be needed include adult education, implementation of the McIver report recommendations and school building projects."

So the Greens have decided that there is much to be done and much ground to be gained in the "qulaity of life" issues. I agree, for the majority of people in this country quality of life issues represents the deepest failure of politics. Some may say we expect too much, I disagree for even if our expectations were drastically lowered, the satisfaction of those expectations is still unlikely. The people of Ireland are responsive to big ideas, argued coherently and backed up with costings. If they can do it and show they can, then perhaps they will succeed in creating the bigger narrative framework so lacking in the "alternative government".

On a sidenote: Clever Trevor argues that this plan makes huge sense if one considers the E500,000 a year spent per young offender in prison.“Although this party is committed to putting an extra one billion euro into education, the reality is that this Green Party initiative would actually be an investment and save the country money in less crime, more equity and a better quality of life for all our people.”

Which is fair enough, though I smell an area ripe for money to be taken from and respent on education. While the policy is nice and shiny now, wait until FF and PDs get stuck in.

2. The contrast between the Green approach to this election policy and that of our nascent Coalition in Waiting couldnt be sharper. I voiced my own dissatisfaction at the tone of the FG/Labour managerialist strategy yesterday. When one thinks of two issues- managerialism and Education-I know which one is more associated with politics and which less so. The Greens can run and make decent ground on quality of life issues if the coalition leave it too late to take the lesson from Rip off Republic and begin to construct a more grabbing idea. They could too focus on better quality of life (which doesnt have to = state provision) focus on drawing the represented closer to the representatives.

The Green party are at their best when they are talking positive talk. As lefties they excel in it, and also like good lefties get carried a way just a bit. But the route they are taking in independence is the route that Rabbitte shunned. If it proves the better path, then FG and Labour may rue the missed opportunities early in this campaign.

Breaking News say the plan is to release this one a week over 14 Months, does anyone think this is an effective way of drawing policy together? Or simply a gimmick for sustained publicity ultimately offering little to the debate on education

C


Irishelection

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