The Government has staked out its election turf with aspirational Budget
Imagine Michael Noonan with a thick, luxuriant George Micheal-esque 'Careless Whisper' mullet. Then think of Brendan Howlin, his Andrew Ridgely-style sidekick, crooning 'Club Tropicana, drinks are free'. Now you get the picture. We are in the mid-1980s and the government has just delivered a classic, almost Tory 1980s budget.
By focusing on the self-employed and those moving towards the upper-middle, the Government has staked out its election turf. This is an aspirational budget, aimed at convincing the middle classes that this is the government you can trust.
The message is clear: Fine Gael will look after the financial interests of the broad middle, and Labour will tack on the nice bits about being compassionate and championing votes for marriage equality and the like. The package is Ronald Regan without the nasty bits. By elbowing out the rest from the centre, the government is trying to marginalize all the opposition into 'high risk' categories. This is a very sensible electoral move. The Coalition is saying a vote for us, Fine Gael, will allow you to take a bit more home and you will also get the nice, cuddly progressive agenda of the Labour Party.