| 7.5°C Dublin

Editorial: 'Manifesto mardi gras must be brought back to reality'

Close

Simon Coveney struck a sombre note yesterday. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Simon Coveney struck a sombre note yesterday. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Simon Coveney struck a sombre note yesterday. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Soon the gavel will come crashing down on this auction masquerading as an election, and we can re-engage with the tangible. Politicians used to ply their trade in promises, but as the stakes got higher they moved on to the performance of miracles.

Leprachaun economics has evolved into leprachaun politics.

In the logic of the promised land everyone can have everything. Whatever rainbow coalition emerges, there will be an ever-replenishing pot of gold at its end.

This will go down as the election that was too posh to price.

But yesterday we were handed a timely reminder, outside the election bubble, that a world of trouble awaits if we get too far ahead of ourselves.

On the hustings there will always be a warm round of applause for the "chicken in every pot" routine. The question is where do we turn when the popular choice is not possible?

The trees under which we shelter today are there because someone took the trouble to plant them a long time ago.

Politicians can tout big plans, but it is the taxpayer who works to turn the turbines of our economy.

As our forefathers would have told us the field unfortunately can not be ploughed by dint of turning it over in one's mind; someone has to roll up their sleeves and do the work.

So although the sombre note struck by Simon Coveney yesterday may have come as something of a buzz kill during manifesto mardi gras week, we should heed it nonetheless.

The Tánaiste reminded us that if there is no free trade agreement in place by the end of the year, Ireland will be trading with the UK under WTO rules, which will mean significant tariffs for Ireland. This would be very bad news indeed.

It is something we have known since Brexit was first mooted but became indelicate to mention during the campaign carnival.

Mr Coveney also frankly admitted there has been a competition between parties about how much they want to spend: noting without a strong economy and the right trade deal, all such bets could be off.

Simply put, the prospect of a thunder-head No Deal dark cloud still sits menacingly out there on the not-too-distant horizon.

There are 11 months to finalise a deal with the United Kingdom. We need a stable, responsible government prepared to recognise policies fashioned with an expectation of never-ending growth can immolate.

Ten years ago in the face of savage austerity, the working people of this country, through social cohesion, navigated their way beyond a position from where all our options were bad.

There is no dividend for any party in leading us back to profligacy.

There is an old warning that we must be careful what we wish for. Money is far more likely to create a vacuum than to fill one when we suspend our sense of value.

Irish Independent