Is FG Sinn Fein in disguise?
The Punt was amused by an interesting question from a reporter at yesterday's unveiling of the Government's plans to spend the €6bn odd still left in Charlie McCreevy's National Pensions Reserve Fund.
The left-field question was straight-forward enough: has the Government now adopted Sinn Fein's election manifesto as its economic policy? The goggle-eyed response from the minister (one of five attending yesterday's announcement) suggested that this was one question that had not been anticipated by the Government's handlers.
The query is legitimate. Two years ago, The Punt spent several happy weeks following government and opposition candidates around during the election campaign that brought the current regime to power. While they could rarely agree on anything, the two parties were united in their derision for Sinn Fein's economic manifesto. While that manifesto was certainly short on solutions to state overspending, it seems that other parts of the document have been adopted lock, stock and barrel by Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan.
While Fine Gael is busy stealing Sinn Fein's clothing, it has also dumped the policies that the two parties once shared.
Their joint determination to stick it to the bondholders now seems quaint in light of FG's actions, while Michael Noonan's hearty dislike of the National Asset Management Agency is also a thing of the past judging by his recent comments on just how brilliant a job the agency is doing these days. Mr Noonan may have campaigned in Fine Gael poetry, but he is governing, in part, in Sinn Fein prose.