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New party aims for a Minimum Lifestyle Standard


Lucinda Crieghton TD and Eddie Hobbs revealed plans for her party to run a candidate in every constituency in the upcoming general election

Lucinda Crieghton TD and Eddie Hobbs revealed plans for her party to run a candidate in every constituency in the upcoming general election

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Lucinda Crieghton TD and Eddie Hobbs revealed plans for her party to run a candidate in every constituency in the upcoming general election

The Irish public get it. There is an overwhelming latent demand for real reform, not the tokenism of this Government which promised reform and then delivered Irish Water, a super quango stitched together in a classic insider deal and foisted on a public that immediately saw it for what it was: the last straw.

The coalition misread the general election result as an event, not a process, and settled for incremental and token change, failing to address the underlying issues and sweeping aside the widely held and unchanged public view of a broken system; a system mired in cronyism, clientelism and inheritance.

Like many, I've stood by in growing frustration and helplessness, but now find I can help shape a new direction among those who feel exactly the same. Like many, I'm deeply concerned about the promotion of divisive and cynical policies that rely on punishing the human spirit for invention and innovation, targeting high-performance workers and plundering human capital to the point of threatening the economic sustainability of this island.

Ireland remains at highly elevated levels of risk from both national and private debt, sustaining itself by a once-off trough in global borrowing rates that cannot be maintained into the future.

Political stability doesn't just attract sustainable credit costs, but also investment and confidence - still, the Irish people want independent voices in the Dail; people who actually can think and say what they truly believe and not be stymied by a whip system that encourages a command and control of all ideas and thoughts. This is a fundamental principle of our new party, but independence of thought needs to match a coherent strategy, so that when people go to the ballot box at the next general election, they can be given a clear alternative choice on a stable economy and not one lurching towards metastatic Statism or one propped up by a flash mob of soloists.

On Friday, we announced the formation of a new political party, recognising firstly that neither conventional capitalism that relies on trickle-down economics, nor socialism that seeks to crush human diversity, are reliable. The first will merely recycle us back into the broken model that relies on bolstering property power, and the second will plunder our most vital resource: human inventiveness, innovation and spirit. But, how do we use the best of one, releasing entrepreneurship across the private, social and public sectors, while aiming for the objective of the other, raising lifestyle standards from the bottom up, not from the top down?

The overarching principle of the fledgling party is to introduce a new measure at the bottom, deep beneath the high measure of GDP which has little meaning when taxes and Government intermediation costs are crushing family budgets. We are committed to introducing a Minimum Lifestyle Standard as the primary objective, a clearly identifiable weekly income formulated within bands already measured by organisations like the Vincentian Partnership, whose work fed into the Insolvency Act guidelines, and The Policy Institute at Trinity College.

That means that struggling families, whether squeezed by joblessness or patchy income, will have a clear view of the primary objective of government. Meanwhile, the net contributors, the taxpayer, will see and measure the result of their transfers in reaching them, through a reformed public sector that is incentivised to make itself as nimble and efficient as possible, getting the best from technologies, modern systems of public management and the human capacity to innovate.

Both are joined at the hip. The highest level of pass-through at the fastest speed from taxpayers to recipients is how public sector units ought to be measured and remunerated for excellence. Under these conditions, Irish Water, a super quango stitched up through a classic opaque insider deal, could never have been considered.

The other three founding principles relate to political reform, public services reform and liberating entrepreneurship across the private, public and social sectors. There may come a time when the Irish people's natural spirit is crushed, when there is no hope, when despair overwhelms adventure, when we choose cynical politics that divide us - but not today.

Today, there is a queue of people lined up to herald why this party cannot live past its birth. Despite this, we are confident from the tailwind already blowing, that the bigger audience, the Irish people, will help us challenge in every constituency, to give them the choice on every ballot paper to finally complete the task abandoned after the last general election and fix our broken systems of governance.

We are appealing to those, who grasp these core principles from which detailed policies will now flow, to come forward with the skills we require in thought leadership, in administration, in fundraising and in local advocacy. We need help from a cross section of society, social workers, doctors, change analysts, actuaries, economists, mothers, retirees and plain old-fashioned networkers, who have the talent to manage volunteerism effectively. We are appealing to those with fresh faces, new thinking and ambition, who have the freedom to stand for public office.

Visit www.rebootireland.com and please join us.

Sunday Independent