"[It's] the dearth of ideas and the dearth of policies"

Oftentimes posts on the Irish Times Politics blog are about the theatrics, minutiae, of politics. Such theatrics and details, while sometimes making for interesting reads for politics obsessives, are often fairly meaningless in a wider context. Dermot Ahern slagged off who? Which Green minister of state doesn’t get along with which minister? The wider public doesn’t really care.

This post by Harry McGee is about politics and governence in a broader context.

What really scares me is that all the mantras that we all bought into were wrong. Low taxes were a myth. Perhaps low corporation tax was the only exception to that. The only reason we got away with them for so long was because of the property boom and the temporary bonanza in once-off transactional taxes like stamps, VAT, capital gains tax, and capital acquisition tax. As long as we continued to build record numbers of houses and scored obscene loans securitised on obscene valuations of properties we didn’t own, we could continue on our journey into never-never land.

What worries me about the situation we are in is the dearth of ideas and the dearth of policies. We’ve had a couple of announcements about job creation that are more fluffy than solid. The green and smart economy initiative looks all very well until you realise that some of the jobs (tidal energy) are still a long way off. Moreover, some of the jobs are merely replacements for existing jobs (alternative energy replacing conventional energy). And then you find out that the Government hasn’t actually put its money where its mouth is in terms of stumping up the money for its ‘ambitious’ (yeah!) national home retrofitting project (the one that’s supposed to provide gazillions of jobs in the construction sector). []

It’s headed ‘The mess we’re in and the meaningless speculation about a reshuffle’ (though ‘…and the speculation about a meaningless reshuffle’ may describe the content slightly better) and it’s definitely worth a read.

Disclosure: As a freelance one of a number of companies which chips in to pay my bills is Irish Times Ltd.