The 'fudge it' Budget that tried to please all
One of the many curiosities of the 'new politics' is that it appears to afford parties the opportunity to be both inside and outside the tent at the same time. Budget 2017 was the first demonstrable, physics-defying proof of this. Fianna Fáil was able to both claim credit and simultaneously attack a Budget, although it had agreed the substance of it under the Confidence and Supply arrangement.
But several days after its introduction, the sense of dissatisfaction and puzzlement regarding the contents of the sixth Budget introduced by Michael Noonan deepens.
At first glance there might be something almost admirable about the connivance of Fianna Fáil in being able to brazenly walk away with the bouquets meant for the very party it is supposedly keeping on life support. The net effect of it all is that Fine Gael will do well to extract any meaningful political traction from its disbursement of a sizeable €1.3bn of fiscal space. It has achieved the distinction of giving something away, and at the same time leaving beneficiaries with the feeling that they have been mugged.