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February 2008

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Mark Waters

The first step to building a fair society is to get into government so that you can implement your policies. Unfortunately, the Irish electorate is so sophisticated that convoluted policies that talk about targeted programs and poverty traps won't wash with it. It's the bottom line that counts and a 2% tax cut will just about do it.

Spending more and taxing less is the only political philosophy that the Irish electorate has ever gone for with any enthusiasm. It's a core Fianna Fáil value.

To be ruthlessly pragmatic about it Labour and Fine Gael have limited chances of getting power unless they can undercut the low tax "economy, stupid" mantra of FF/PD.

It will really put the government on the spot when they're asked "what have you done for us besides the low tax economy". Up to now their fallback position has always been the economy. It was an easy stick to beat Labour with. Now that has been taken out of the equation.

The hope is that the cost of this tactic is not too high since an 18% tax rate will probably wreck the country if they're ever crazy enough to go ahead and actually follow through with it.

Luke Mc

I agree with Mark. On balance, I was heartened by this announcement. This campaign was going to be fought by the Government on a "Labour = High Taxes" platform. It would have been difficult to counter without a major policy initiative. Now they are directionless and we have the ridiculous spectacle of the PDs scrambling into the auction room like Michael Noonan at the last election.

Hopefully Labour can now move the debate onto more fertile territory that is in keeping with our own values - such as the Government's dire record on public services.

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