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Out to launch: The jargon and the jibes of party campaigns

This morning, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour dusted down the soapboxes as they give green light to first day of electioneering.

Green is for go: the jargon and the buzzwords were out in force at political launches this morning
Green is for go: the jargon and the buzzwords were out in force at political launches this morning
Image: Wlodi via Flickr.com

THERE IS NO time to lose in the less than three weeks run-up to the general election. Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour know it so they were quick out of the blocks on Wednesday, 2 February, with campaign launches and manifestos. The following morning, it was the turn of the Green Party. People Before Profit presented their nine candidates on Friday last, 4 February – and yesterday, Sinn Fein launched theirs at the National Gallery.

Here’s what you need to know about what the parties promised at their launches – and how they said it:

FIANNA FAIL

Where: Speech by Micheal Martin at party HQ on Lower Mount Street.

The Slogan: Real Plan. Better Future.

The Plan:

  • Fianna Fail will publish their manifesto next Monday which Martin says will reveal their “Real Plan to lead Ireland to a Better Future”;  it will be an “economic blueprint that the next Dail can draw upon to create jobs”.
  • The party will also want to show how politics and government “can be reformed to ensure that the mistakes of the past can’t happen again”.

The Rivalry: On Enda Kenny – “The man who claims he’s ready to be Taoiseach in five weeks’ time is refusing to debate in any forum where we can have a serious discussion about vital issues.”

On Labour and Fine Gael – “The fundamental problem with the plans that Fine Gael spoke of yesterday is that the Labour Party, their prospective partner, is opposed to so many of them. Ireland cannot afford a tug of war government.”

Buzzwords: “New politics”; “debate”; “reform”.

FINE GAEL

Where: Speech by Enda Kenny unveiling their Five Point Plan at the party election HQ near Leeson Street Bridge.

The Slogan: Get Ireland Working.

The Plan:

  • Create 20,000 jobs every year over the next four years “by focusing on spending cuts rather than job-destroying tax increases”; NewERA plan to invest €7bn in “green infrastructure”.
  • Partial loan guarantee scheme to give credits to SMEs; abolish the lower rate of employer PRSI to “encourage the creation and retention of jobs”.
  • Abolish 145 State bodies and companies. Reduce the public service by 30,000 by 2014 (accused of wanting to fire public servants, Kenny said they would be looking for ‘voluntary redundancies’); salary cap of €200,000 “for everyone”; dismantle the HSE and FAS.
  • Political reform by cutting the number of TDs by 20; abolishing the Seanad; give Dail committees “full powers of investigation”; establish a whistleblowers’ charter; strengthen local government.
  • FairCare system to replace HSE; Universal Health Insurance to start in 2016, based on Dutch healthcare system; set up special unit to manage waiting lists.

The Rivalry: The party’s Phil Hogan and James Reilly put the boxing gloves on to criticise the political system and the HSE, respectively. Richard Bruton also said the public backed them in the wish for “reform”. The main argument Fine Gael had this morning was with journalists, rather than other political parties. The press conference started late and Kenny and his colleagues left before some journalists managed to ask a question.

Buzzwords: “Credible”; “reform”; “back on its feet”; “cost-effective”.

LABOUR

Where: Eamon Gilmore in front a glass-plated window at the Gravity Bar level in the Guinness Storehouse.

The Slogan: One Ireland: Jobs, Reform, Fairness.

The Plan:

  • Labour will release a detailed policy document “almost every day”; they announce the Labour manifesto on Friday week, 11 February.
  • They published their fiscal strategy today, Thursday 3 February, “setting out some €7bn in net adjustments, after we have found the resources to invest in jobs and health reform”.

The Rivalry: Gilmore maintains that the general election is “a three-way contest, between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour”. However, as he discounts Fiann Fail for “failing” the country and Fine Gael from “learning nothing from those mistakes”, he insists that it is Labour that is the “party of jobs, the party of reform, the party of fairness”.

Buzzwords: “One Ireland”; “change”;  ”democracy”; “le cheile”; “jobs, reform…” – you get the idea.

GREEN PARTY

Where: John Gormley in the The Sugar Club nightclub on Lower Leeson Street.

The Slogan: Renewing Ireland

The Plan:

  • To show that the Greens are “not latter day converts” to the agenda of change and reform.
  • To hold others to account, and to return six TDs who could do that job in the Dail.
  • To produce a jobs creation policy that will be “real” and provide “sustainable growth”.

The Rivalry: The Greens were in fighting mode today. Gormley accused Labour of adopting a “three monkeys” approach to the economy to “pretend that the crisis does not exist” and to say that they can renegotiate the IMF deal. Dan Boyle said Fine Gael would not be able to cut the 30,000 public jobs they want to without impacting on services and that Labour was making a “misleading” claim about being able to restore public finances without hitting middle and lower income earners. Somehow Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein got away without taking a direct hit from the Greens.

Buzzwords: “Resilient”; “change and reform”; “honest”; “held to account”.

SINN FEIN

Where: Gerry Adams in the National Gallery, Dublin.

The Slogan: Sinn Fein – The only real alternative.

The Plan:

  • To bring about “root and branch reform” of the political system.
  • The protection and creation of jobs through their ten-point jobs plan.
  • Continued support for the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.
  • Reverse budget cuts.

The Rivalry: As a party putting itself forward as a “real alternative”, SF naturally aligns itself as a “stronger voice for citizens”, ie, for the little guy versus the “elites”. Gerry Adams wrote off pretty much every other party by saying it was “the only party to spell out clearly that it would reverse the cuts to public services and social welfare introduced in Budget 2011″.

Buzzwords: “Real change”; “Republican principles”; “working families”; “unemployed”; “corrupt elite”.

PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT

Where: All nine candidates of the PBP group – which is part of the United Left Alliance (that umbrella group also includes the likes of Socialist Party MEP Joe Higgins)  - in Dublin on Friday, February 4.

The Slogan: People Power

The Plan:

  • To provide a real alternative to the mainstream political establishment. According to Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett, that includes burning the bondholders and reversing cuts to pay, social welfare and public services.
  • To tax the wealthy, according to Cllr Joan Collins.
  • The PBP candidates have all signed a pledge to commit to taking only the average industrial wage. The remainder of their TDs’ salaries (should they win a seat) will be donated to campaigns and community organisations.

The Rivalry: All the “mainstream parties” – for that read FF, FG and Labour – got burned by the PBP candidates who say that those larger parties are “all committed to the same policies of cutbacks and austerity”. Boyd Barrett said that a Fine Gael-Labour government was not actually an alternative as they will support the IMF deal which PBP says is “not only unjust but it is economic madness”. Collins, last previously seen telling Bertie Ahern he was a disgrace on his last day of the Dail, had a pop at the Greens and Fianna Fail and the “golden circle of developers and bankers”.

Buzzwords: “Jobs, housing, health, education”; “economic madness”; “mainstream politics”; “elites”; “crony-type politics”.

See if any of the leaders’ jargon could give you a full house on TheJournal.ie’s election bingo>

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