Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fianna Fail leave poisoned chalice for new regime

You have to take your hat off to Fianna Fail because Tuesday’s budget proved for certain that they are ‘the most cunning and the most devious of all’.

Without breaking a sweat, the party top brass rallied together to pen a budget that had so many hallmarks of sliveen-ism that should earn in a place in history as the ultimate ‘screw you’ budget.

The people of Ireland are today counting the cost of what the budget means for them.

But on a political level, the budget was a sneaky and deadly handball right into the hands of the next government.

Like the last sting of a dying wasp, the dying Fianna Fail-led Government has tossed some of the most savage cuts right into the hands of the next Government.

Take the controversial Site Value (property) Tax, for example. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan announced in his four-year plan that a flat payment of €100 would be introduced in 2012.

Why didn’t he introduce that charge in Tuesday’s budget? Because he wanted the next Government - a possible Fine Gael and Labour coalition - to have to implement that savage cost and bear the wrath of a nation.

And what about the domestic water charges? In the four year plan, Lenihan said they would be in place by 2014.

Why not a nominal charge of €100 now? Because he wanted that dirty hike to be announced by Fine Gael and Labour.

The State pension will not remain untouched for long. Lenihan made the cunning decision not to change it this year knowing that next year, cuts will have to be made in it and the government that will do that will not be his.

And don’t be fooled by attempts by the political elite to show that they are prepared to lead by example by taking pay cuts.

What Lenihan has effectively done is cut the salary of the next government as he knows there are only weeks left in this current one.

It was a cleverly tactical move by Lenihan - cut the pay of their political opponents before they get into office. There is little they can do about it then!

In the vast confines of Government Buildings, Brian Lenihan and Brian Cowen dusted off an antique chalice and filled it with poison.

And in one budget, it has passed this poison chalice - and many of the most difficult cuts and hikes to come - to his political opponents.

When Fine Gael and Labour move to the Government side of the house next year - as they are expected to do - they won’t have many reasons to celebrate.

Their first budget will be bloody and unpopular - and they have Brian Lenihan to thank for that.

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