Voters don't want the return of boom and bust
Published 05/02/2016 | 02:30
Given what this country endured after the crash, the economy and the searing scars of austerity were always going to be foremost in people's thoughts. Voters are wiser and far more savvy than they were when we appeared to be locked in a catastrophic spin-cycle of boom and bust.
Dizzy expectations have visited disaster on us once too often, and Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, should know this better than most.
We don't have to journey too far back in time to those now infamous assurances from Fianna Fáil, that had it that "our fundamentals are sound." As the Taoiseach put it himself: "Paddy likes to know."
And there's a very good reason for that: We have had billions of debt loaded onto the national books while those who were supposed to be looking after the bridge were caught napping. So, at this early stage of the campaign should Mr Kenny require a wake-up call he should remind himself that reason does not sleep just because an election has been called.
When we have State employed financial watchdogs looking askance at spending projections Mr Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan cannot wave away concerns imperiously.
As already pointed out, it is the economy that is the fulcrum of this campaign. Treating the people as stupid: the very people whose work and sacrifices, got our country back on its feet; would be a grave and possibly, even fatal political miscalculation.
Fine Gael has the reputation for being the party of prudence and rectitude. Billions cannot be found down the back of the sofa without explanation. We have already been dragged through the fantastical looking glass one time too many to recognise that the price of a bonanza is frequently a bust.
The Coalition has until now done a reasonable job of managing the public purse, even if Brussels was breathing down their necks practically every step of the way.
This campaign is more of a sprint than a marathon so the parties can not afford to stumble and stagger across the finish line if they want to win the prize of a return to office.