Sunday 21 January 2018

Leaders should listen to people

The old political saying about fooling people may not apply that well in Ireland. Based on today's poll of their situation and attitudes, it would be hard to fool the Irish any of the time.

The findings portray a well-informed, rational citizenry. Government ministers and advisers would do well to study them carefully. They show how financially stretched everyday budgets are. That indicates how foolish it is to expect consumer-led growth just by instilling confidence. But the poll also shows a people very well aware of the realities of their situation, and probably prepared to respond to policies they see as fair and sensible.

One sign of that is the finding that only 11pc would prefer a rise in income taxes to pay for household services rather than charges. Politicians tend to be cynical about such findings, saying that people always claim they are against tax rises, but then protest furiously when charges are introduced. They may see support for their cynicism from the question on who paid the household charge. Almost half those liable did not pay, but they included many for whom €100 was a lot of money.

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