June 26th, 2006

Hung Parliament : LDs Should Learn from the PDs

For Guinness-related reasons too vaguely remembered to go into, Guido is actually a member of a political party* – the Irish Progressive Democrats. They are, it is fair to say, the political ringmasters for the Celtic Tiger despite being a minority party. The party has had the utmost influence over Irish economic policy since their founding twenty years ago, pursuing a liberalising agenda of reducing taxes and red tape. A decade ago when Mary Harney was elected the new Progressive Democrats leader she set out her agenda as:
“To lead a crusade of self-reliance which will inspire and energise our people to solve the many problems facing us. Part of this Crusade means less state interference in many aspects of the economy. It means less confiscation by the state of what people earn; it means less bureaucratic red tape that is infuriating small business people, in particular. And it also means less anti-competitive and over-priced state monopolies, which are stifling enterprise. Part of this crusade also means people not always looking to the state to do things for them, but getting on with the job themselves.”

Does that sound a bit like Ming’s re-launch speech? After twenty years of policies informed by that outlook, Ireland has a high-growth, low tax, enterprise culture. The Irish are now richer per capita than the British with unemployment at 2%, an incredible turnaround – something the LibDem anti-modernisers should reflect upon. The liberal PDs may have kept their more conservative Fianna Fáil coalition partners in power, but they largely got their dynamic programme implemented.

With boundary changes and the Tories rejoining the reality based community, the most likely outcome at the next general election is that the country will have rejected New Labour and all their statist ways, so will the LibDems choose to keep the old regime under new management in power, or will they seek to further a Liberal-Conservative Irish-style agenda? It’s a straight choice…

*Incidentally and for the record, my gut political instincts, particularly when drunk, are anarcho-capitalist.



Seen Elsewhere

Osborne’s Daycare Obsession is a Time Bomb | Kathy Gyngell
BBC Marr Pinko Trying to Ban the Queen | Speccie
Eric Hobsbawm: Companion of Dishonour | Standpoint
Guido Party Gossip | Iain Dale
Russell Brand Comes Out as 9/11 Truther | Guardian
Health Revolution is Underway | Fraser Nelson
UKIP Gets Professional | Red Box
Kelly Tolhurst Wins Rochester Open Primary | BBC
No.10 Ambushed by EU Prosperity Tax | Times
10 Years of Guido | Iain Dale
Tory MP Tells Leftie Jon Snow to Retire | Guardian


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Rob Colvile reviews Russell Brand’s new book:

“Oddly, the person I feel sorriest for isn’t Brand himself – although he certainly comes across as a rather pitiable figure, projecting his own brokenness on to the world around him – but Johann Hari. Drummed out of Fleet Street for plagiarism, the former Independent columnist has washed up as “my mate Johann, who’s been doing research for this book”. For a genuinely talented polemicist, it would have been a humbling experience to have to treat this sub-undergraduate dross as the scintillating wisdom of a philosopher-king.”



Mycroft says:

Have you read the last bit of Animal Farm?

You know where the animals are looking through the Farmhouse window?

My TV screen was that window at lunch-time today.

Be careful, the sudden self-congratulatory tone, the slightly pudgy outline of indulgence and you become exactly what you should despise.

The jolly face of the Quisling Cameron poses for your camera has mesmerised and deceived you, you who were once not so deceived.

You were no firebrand, you were a damp squib in my opinion, sorry.

You need a damned good kick up the ahse!


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