Government Mistakes. You Pay

Fine Gael has launched its winter campaign against the Government and shows no sign of resting on its poll poistion. The campaign aims to highlight the governments mistakes and Fine Gael’s alternative to the budget. The campiagn consists of a website with online videos, regional meetings and asking people for there say.

Speaking on the launch of the campaign Fine Gael Leader, Enda Kenny said

We want to hear what the public have to say about the future direction for our country. We have set out an alternative to the current Government’s approach based on tough but fair policies that protect the vulnerable in our society but tackle wasteful and excessive spending. This campaign exposes the Government’s failings in the recent Budget and promotes our better alternative. It also allows for both virtual and actual interaction between our Party and the public. We look forward to meeting thousands of people around the country over the coming weeks as we organise our public meetings, but we also look forward to getting reaction to our campaign online at our campaign website

Commenting on the campaign, Deputy Leader and Finance Spokesman Richard Bruton said:

The recent Budget from this Government risks turning a recession in to a depression. It was ill-conceived and made fundamental errors in the way it was framed. Current spending continues to increase at an unsustainable rate while capital spending has been cut. Pay costs continue to rise for existing staff numbers yet front line services are cut for the most vulnerable. The Fine Gael approach would give our small businesses a chance to trade their way out of trouble and would also have better protected the more vulnerable members of our society. This campaign will, I believe, help promote that message to a wide and diverse audience.

Strangely enough there is no meeting for Cork City. Must get on to public reps about that! Do have a look about the website.

FG cement gains in new poll

There is a poll in the Irish Times tomorrow and I have been sent the topline figures. I assume it has been carried aout by TNS/MRB which bears out the poll in last months Sunday Business Post

Fianna Fail: 27 (-15)
Fine Gael: 34 (+11)
Labour: 14 (-1)

I’ll update this with the other parties when I get the times tomorrow.

Leader satisfaction ratings show a big drop for Brian Cowen plummeting 21% to a satisfaction rating of 26%. Enda Kenny also sees a fall of 2% to 33% while Eamon Gilmore rises 3% to 38%.

Fianna Fail seams to be the big losers from the budget seeing their support drop a massive 15% with Fine Gael beeing the major benifactor. I am looking forward to seeing the numbers on the Green Party to see will they go the same way as the PD’s or will people associate them with the Budget. More on this tomorrow

Convention Time hits Cork South Central!

Well three conventions take place in the Cork South Central Dáil Constituency this week. I have a vote in one of them, Cork South West Local Electoral Area . This is where it gets strange. I don’t live in Cork South West LEA, I live in Cork South Central LEA, in which I don’t have a vote! This is all due to my branches which are in Cork South West. They are Michael Collins Branch (Bandon Road) and UCCYFG.

Anyway the Conventions being held are the follwoing:
On Thursday 9th for the convention for the Carrigaline/Harbour Area will take place. Nominated are Cllr. John Collins, Cllr. Tim Lombard and Mr. Dave O’Byrne.

Saturday 11th sees both the Cork South East and Cork South West Conventions. Nominated in Cork South East are Cllr. Jim Corr, Clrr Laura McGonigle and Mr. Des Cahill. Nominated in Cork South West are Cllr. Brian Birmingham, Cllr. John Buttimer and Mr. Barry Keane.

I won’t make the meeting on Thursday night due to work but will be at the conventions on Saturday where I have a vote. I am glad to see Fine Gael putting forward three candidates in those three LEA’s and I hope they put at least two forward in Cork South Central LEA.

Also I hear Fianna Fail will not be holding local conventions and instead head office (Coughlan from what I hear) will be selecting the candidates. There is democracy at work!

Convention for Ireland South Euro Constituency, which will be contested, will hopefully be happening before Christmas.

Upcoming Political Conferences

With the Democratic Convention over and done with and the Republican Convention on this week political focus for conferences move closer to our shores with the Autumn UK Conferences and with Fine Gael National Conference also coming up.

The Liberal Democrats start off the Conference season with their conference in Bournemouth from Saturday 13th to Wednesday 17 September.

Then comes the Labour Party conference which will take place between Saturday, 20 September and Wednesday, 24 September in Manchester

Ending the conference season for the major parties in the UK, the Conservative Party will hold their conference from the 28th September to the 1st of October in Birmingham.

Of the regional parties Plaid Cymru will hold their conference from the 11th to the 13th of September in Aberystwyth, while the SNP in Scotland will hold their conference from Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th of October in Perth.

Finally here in Ireland Fine Gael’s National Conference will take place from Friday 21st November to Sunday 23rd in Whites Hotel, Wexford Town where I shall be in attendance if I can get the time off work.

Plenty of speech reading coming up! It will be a fun Autumn!

Fine Gael – Right of Centre, Left of Centre of Just Centre?

One of the arguments I got into during the social evening at YFG Summer School was where FG stood on the political spectrum. Now I consider my self to be centre-right. Economically and with regards to Law and Order I am definitely right of centre though with social issues (abortion, civil unions etc) I drift slightly past centre.

Fine Gael itself is a Christian Democratic Party being a member of the European Peoples Party at the European Level and the Centrist Democrat International (formerly Christian Democrat International) which are both part of a Christian Democrat tradition.

But what is a Christian Democracy?

Wikipedia defines it as thus:

It is a political philosophy focusing on the health of the community in all areas of community existence. This community orientation is often considered conservative (or right-leaning) in regard to moral and cultural issues and progressive (or left-leaning) in regard to social justice, labor and socio-economic issues. More specifically, Christian democratic parties generally claim a strong social conscience, in the sense of great respect for the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death (that is, a pro-life stance), emphasizing the alleviation of poverty, and maintenance of a basic level of societal protection (and a limited welfare state if necessary) keeping the weak from abandonment and destitution, and the incentivising of (and if necessary the restraint of) market forces for the common good. It may also be seen as liberal as it upholds human rights and individual initiative (read personal responsibility). It may be seen as federalistic and traditional in that it emphasizes sphere sovereignty and subsidiarity, and maintaining local and regional cultural distinctives, as well as upholding universal traditions.

I suppose that is the problem with Christian Democracy, it can be seen as both right and left. I still firmly believe that Fine Gael is right of centre due to its policies on law and order, its economic proposals and its stance on a number of issues.

Those who claimed that we were left of centre harked back to Garret (“The Good”) FitzGerald claiming he took us left of centre. I disagree with this. I don’t think he did, then again if he did, Dukes, Bruton, Noonan, and Kenny and have taken us back to being a party of the right.

What about me? Am I a Christian democrat? I suppose this is the conundrum i find myself in as a non-Christian supporting a Christian democratic party. Maybe that is why I find myself describing FG as Right of centre.

Whats the opinion of everyone else?

Cork Fine Gael Voice

A project by some friends and myself is slowly getting off the ground. The project is Cork’s Fine Gael Voice. We are slowly starting and highlighting news story’s involving Fine Gaeler’s in Cork. We would love to hear from people who would like to get involved as contributors or in any other way!

Check it out!

EPP Meet in Dublin: Who was there?

So there has been a bit about Merkel’s trip to Dublin for the EPP meeting co-chaired by Enda Kenny and President of the EPP, Wilfried Martens.

So who else was there?

The Minister of Belgium, Yves Leterme was there along with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister of Malta, Tonio Borg. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Radek Sikorski, Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece, Yannis Valinakis, Minister of the Czech Republic, Cyril Svoboda, and Foreign Affairs Minister of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Antonio Milososki also attended.

The following party leaders also attended, the leader of GERB (Bulgaria), Boyko Borissov; the Chairman of TS-LK (Lithuania), Andrius Kubilius; the Chairman of the CDA Group in the Dutch Parliament, Pieter Van Geel; along with the Chairman of the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, Joseph Daul.

Sounds like a fun party?