Politicians are renowned for spin, propaganda, false promises and for downright lies. When elections are in the offing ‘Sure, that’s what you do’,as Pat Rabbitte put it.
And clearly Renua Ireland’s Lucinda Creighton considers herself something of a master of these particular dark arts.
Lucinda’s problem and Renua’s problem is that essentially they are a policy free-zone. This is because their only real reason for existence is that Lucinda and her pals were kicked out of Fine Gael for refusing to vote, on a right wing bigoted basis, for the woefully inadequate Protection of Life Act last year.
But this doesn’t deter Ms Cretin and her Dejavu crew. What they lack in real policies they make up for in spin, PR and empty metaphors. And some of the media, like the Irish Times, lend a helping hand, describing her as ‘the luminous woman in white’.
Like almost all politicians hoping for your vote Luminous Lucinda promises ‘renewal’, ‘integrity’, ‘to keep their promises’ and bring in ‘fresh blood’.
A good way of testing whether or not a policy or promise means anything is to ask if it would be possible to promise the opposite of it. Thus the promise to scrap water charges is at least meaningful because you could also promise to retain them. Similarly a promise to raise corporation tax would be real because an opposing party might pledge not to raise it or even to lower it.
But imagine saying vote for us – we are opposed to renewal and integrity and we are going to break our promises and try to keep out all fresh blood.
Then there was the luminous one’s promise to ‘govern in sunshine’ – as if that meant anything at all. Actually Lucinda if you ever get back into government you will have govern in rain and cloud – this is Ireland not the Costa del Sol.
One apparent exception to this was the pledge to publish all cabinet minutes within 48 hours. Anyone who knows anything about how politics really works in this and every other country will know this is a promise made for the breaking.
All that will happen is that when Ms Creighton goes, as she will if she gets the chance, into coalition with Fine Gael, or Fianna Fail for that matter, she will say we wanted to publish the minutes but our coalition partners didn’t agree. Or else the minutes will be so censored that publishing them will make no difference.
Lucinda also says Renua stands for ‘transparency’. Brilliant! Is there are a party, business or organisation in Ireland that doesn’t claim to stand for ‘transparency’ these days?
As it happens there was one question on which Renua has been totally transparent. Within hours of their launch Renua TD Terence Flanagan was asked on Drive Time what Renua would do for PAYE workers. Answer came there none – total silence bar a shuffling of papers.
This it has to be said was a rare example of political honesty – a real moment of truth. What will Renua do for the workers? Absolutely nothing!. We couldn’t have put it better