2 December 2004 Edition
Coalition ready to cut and run
It seems like a repeating cycle. Here we are once again, with Fianna Fáil asking us to believe in their promise of a better future.
It is tempting to want to believe things could be better, after years of being bludgeoned by Charlie McCreevy on one hand and the Progressive Democrats' attempts to demonise not just republicans but any group in society that don't fit into their cosy conservative collective of the wealthy and powerful.
But are we really expected to fall for it after just one understated budget, that took some very small steps out of the mire into which the coalition partners have sunk themselves in recent years.
Let's talk about what wasn't in this budget. There was no retraction of the stealth taxes of recent years. There was no tax reform, no dealing with childcare, or reform of education spending.
This must be the first budget in memory that didn't mention indigenous business, the powerhouse of the Irish economy, but talked a lot of the international economy.
Seven years of the selfish arrogance of McCreevy's Mé Féinism might have desensitised us enough to believe that this is a good budget. It isn't. It just isn't an incredibly bad one.
Could it be that this government is getting ready to run to the polls in the spring? Then we will have a better chance to say, 'no thanks, we can't believe the hype', whether it is the arrogance of McCreevy, the born again common man bluster of Ahern or indeed the soft tones of Cowen.