Don't be fooled by all those giddy giveaways
According to Bill Clinton, campaign fantasies can win elections, but they don't cut it when it comes to getting a nation moving again. As the Dáil returned yesterday, the competition to roll out the biggest, shiniest, must-have political promise never seemed more intense. Front and centre was the Labour Party's commitment to get childcare costs down to €2 an hour. This, it feels, can be delivered through the agency of a state-subsidised service - and all you have to do to get it is make sure the smaller party in government gets your vote.
As the bazaar opens to exchange slightly used and patched-up promises for the price of a seat in the Dáil, every section of the electorate is being scrutinised through the prism of the focus group.
The usual terms and conditions apply. Once the election is over, all bets may be off; and all those gravity-defying, exorbitant promises may crash back down to earth unless they fit the Budget arithmetic.