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Green Party Posturing - But not turning a New Leaf
Joe Higgins is standing for the Dublin Constituency in the Euro Elections to be held on Friday, June 5th
There is fear and loathing in the vegetable patch. The greens are nervous and restive. Inclement environmental conditions have sapped their once bright emerald hue leaving them looking pale and sickly. But worse is to come.
Rumours abound of an army of ravenous caterpillars waiting to crawl all over them and expected to do so on June 5th. The greens know the consequences. Their once succulent leaves shredded, what beckons is a humiliating journey to the compost heap.
Greens, however, have strong survival instincts and so they are desperately trying to stave off the evil day. ‘I’m off to Tralee,’ Twittered Senator Dan Boyle, ‘ to say something controversial.’ That something was a call for the renegotiation of their Programme for Government with Fianna Fail.
Vote Joe Higgins on June 5th
Pathetic really. The Greens have lost any sense of shame after two years of abandoning just about everything they said they stood for. That can be the only explanation for them failing to appreciate just how crass this opportunist posturing is and for failing to see that just about everybody sees through it.
Two days ago Minister Eamon Ryan said on radio that one issue they would raise in a renegotiation would be ‘to prioritise public transport.’ Really? This comes just weeks after he colluded in the axing of 120 Dublin buses along with 290 drivers, thus deteriorating public transport in the capital.
The appearance of Frank Dunlop at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Monday to be sentenced for admitted corruption and bribery of politicians, should have been deeply embarrassing for Green Party leaders – that is if they were still capable of being embarrassed. The former Government Press Secretary had paid off numerous Councillors, many from Fianna Fail, to secure their support for land rezoning that would enormously enrich a handful of landowners, mostly developers. For the Greeens it should have been a forceful reminder of the sordid role of their partners in government in the corruption of planning throughout Dublin County in the 1980s and ‘90s.
While in opposition, The Green Party found this crony corruption to be outrageous. Former Leader, Trevor Sargent, dined out for years on an episode in the Chamber of Dublin County Council in 1993 when he was jostled by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael Councillors for having implied that money was passing from developers to them to secure land rezoning.
But just look at where the Green Party has positioned itself now. It put a party whose Councillors corrupted planning back into power. This corruption was not a victimless crime. Communities in Dublin are still struggling to cope with the consequences of decisions made in that era which allowed Fianna Fail’s crony developers to throw up tens of thousands of houses and apartments without the necessary infrastructure.
But worse was to follow. The same cronyism that had Councillors and developers in cahoots at local level was replicated on a grand scale at national level when Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats handed over a full 20% of the economy to a handful of major developers and bankers. Consequently we had a ten year orgy of speculation and profiteering that so distorted the public finances, that when the inevitable crash came, public services faced disaster.
The same Fianna Fail Party which is directly responsible for this disaster is determined to get its brand of crony capitalism out of the hole by a sustained and savage attack on the innocent victims of the crash, ordinary working people. And the Greens are riding shotgun for the party of the speculators as it puts the boot into Health, Education and living standards.
Other policy decisions from the Fianna Fail/PD era also come back to haunt. Two major companies SR Technics and Eircom have announced the massacre of over one thousand jobs each. Both were publicly owned enterprises and, if still in public ownership, with investment and involvement by their workforces in decision making, could be rock solid employers. Instead they are contributing to the chilling prospect of 690,000 unemployed by the end of 2010.
The Green Party used to speak of sustainability, subsidiarity and local democracy. But the party is utterly silent as a Chief Executive flies in from Zurich to tell the 1,150 workers at SR Technics in Dublin that they are to be axed because it suits the company to shift its business elsewhere. And the Green Minister for Communications is equally silent as Eircom, also owned by a multinational, adds to the unemployment nightmare while many places in Ireland cry out for broadband investment.
Against this litany of betrayal of supposed core principles in the interests of being in power and the bitter disappointment of their supporters who took party leaders at their words, the Greens won’t be saved by a call for renegotiation of Government policy. Nevertheless, expect the posturing to intensify between now and June 5th.