Campaign Gist: Dismal science, SF quarantine
Day 12 of the Campaign and everything seems to be in a state of uncertainty.
As previously remarked, party manifestos are bunk. However, responses to questions about those manifestos can be helpful in assessing how parties go about dealing with the non-bunk bits of life. So, for example, your FG response is to make bold, unsupported assertions and appeal to authority- "We have the plans", they said. It's a tricky position to take nine years into power as it prompts the obvious response- why have you only thought of them now, then? Fianna Fáil addresses claims it's promising something for everyone; "if you look at this manifesto it is a prudent enough approach." A sly acceptance of the premise of the question.
The problem for voters is that the promises become a fluttering whirlwind of numbers, spinning around them. Reporting on them blurs into a drone with arguments for and against figures that lack any solidity to begin with.
Economics was once called the dismal science, but surely addressing these irrational numbers must be even more dispiriting.
Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have said they absolutely will not go into coalition with Sinn Féin. Equally, Fianna Fáil have said they won't go into coalition with Fine Gael. Then again, they've been in not-coalition with them for five years now. And at the same time, Fine Gael worked hard to re-establish the Northerm Ireland Execuitve, returning Sinn Féin to government. Its a riddle how any of this is even meant to fit together. What's so strange is how these long-held contradictions are just accepted as normal.
We're deep into the campaign and, after the first week sent all the plans into a tailspin, nobody has seen any momentum build behind any of their positive proposals. Mostly it's been a sequence of reactive announcments trying to address eruptions like the pension-age disaster. This is regrettable, given the ten year projects we need to be urgently starting- from rebuilding health to demographic shifts (those pensions again) and, most of all, climate.