Eddie Hobbs - Tuesday, February 08, 2011
In January 147 years ago, Francis Cleburne, the son of a Ballincollig doctor and a General in the Rebel Army of Tennesse called for the arming of slaves. Confederate politicians were horrified. To accept the truth that slaves could make good soldiers meant their whole theory of slavery was wrong. Over 10% of the US population had become casualties and the economy of the South was in ruins by the time the politicians woke up. Freed blacks finally formed Confederate regiments but it was too late. Just a month later the South surrendered. Cleburne’s honesty meant he was passed over for promotion. The politicians saw to that. He died leading his men at the Battle of Franklin and is remembered still today for his courage and foresight. None of the politicians are remembered.
Micheal Martin just issued the Fianna Fail manifesto. It’s a remarkable document that airbrushes out the last decade of history as if it hadn’t happened. There isn’t a single word about what his cabinet has done to the country, It’s a terrible pity that Martin doesn’t have the pantalones to do the right thing. His cynical reappointment of Willie O’Dea to his front bench tells us all we need to know about Martin’s earlier apology -pure political theatre. Politicians play politics but the price is paid elsewhere in misery. It’s all so drearily familiar.
Martin’s attempt wash off the economic blood on his hands will fail until he issues a manifesto that openly condemns the actions of previous leaders, Ahern and Cowen and accepts that Fianna Fail destroyed the boom and grossly mishandled the bust. Instead we are treated to a manifesto that could have written by a political student – and not the party in power.
• “The Strenghts of our Economy” have survived the downturn. The misspelling on the first page says it all. Fianna Fail remind us that this includes the highest proportion of graduates aged 25 -35 in the EU. There isn’t a word about the 100,000 emigrating.
• Fianna Fail successfully took €20 billion out of the economy. That’s right but more than half that is in increased tax. Meanwhile the public pay adjustment at €1.8 billion represents just 9%. Fianna Fail chose to immunise the most powerful.
• Fianna Fail has destroyed the National Pension Reserve Fund but hasn’t laid a finger on the massive €108 billion in promises it backs including to his former cabinet colleagues who walked away with pots worth €4m - €6m each. There is to be no reductions. Instead the private sector is to be hit for €865 million.
• The banks will be strong we are told, but not a word about the fact banks continue to bleed cash and now owe well over €100 billion to the ECB and the Irish Central Bank in emergency liquidity funding. Think overdraft.
• Fianna Fail tear chunks out of Labour’s daft policy to borrow more and spread even more pain out longer but offer little hope of renegotiating the deal.
See that’s the problem. To tackle the issues Micheal Martin has to wash all the blood from his hands by admitting to catastrophic failure at the very heart of Fianna Fail leadership for;
• The daft property boom economics
• The botched bank guarantee
• The lies about Lehmann
• The lousy bailout negotiations
Pity. Patrick Cleburne would have been ashamed of his fellow Corkman.
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