There is a touch of Roald Dahl about a plan to deliver edible playgrounds for children, get your five a day while you play. The grand plan also gets hands on with internet porn; promising to protect children from online adult content. Remember there are no good apples on pornhub and nothing says privacy like blue-ray. FF also disapprove of revenge porn and with talks of enacting new laws to criminalise rompy romances gone bad there might be a whole new recruitment programme needed in Templemore, because the regular porn programme they currently have leaves new garda completely unprepared for the real world of Tinder blackmail.
FF plan on reducing USC which is ridiculous considering it is the fairest tax we have. Any reduction in USC means the lower income household pays USC for longer. What we need is for lower earners to take home a fairer portion of their wages by increasing the income tax brackets. I’ve discussed this in unconscionability previously. There is plenty of wording about middle income earners but don’t forget rich people love more money too and FF haven’t forgotten about them either. They plan to reduce capital gains tax from 33% to 25%; which could be the difference of between €250m to €500m in the budget every year. Basically freeing up casino money for property hoarders. Remember our public expenditure remains the same and this is a lot of money to make up in any budget so this should be a huge consideration if you’re thinking about voting for FF. To put it in context over a period of ten years this is the cost of one Bank bailout, and we’re still paying for the last one. So until our debt is clear I think the wealth holders should continue to pay their share.
FF’s big give away is a €2,000 tax credit for child minders, which will no doubt buy them some votes. Speaking of which there’s also more money for the public sector, with the planned introduction of a living wage of €12.30 per hour. An Ireland for all, especially if you’re in the inner circle.
FF put a big focus on Health and Housing in the way you’d expect an established party of their stature to have done, especially when they’re looking to gain seats. FF want to increase bed capacity, which could mean more beds or bigger beds; two people to a bed is one way of solving the trolley crises and has been known to cure some illnesses (temporarily). I’ll be talking more about these topics later so let’s move on. On trend they’ve also gone after the green vote promising to ban plastics and smoky coal.
There is big talk on tackling knife crime and dangerous gambling which is welcomed. There is also a full section on education and rural Ireland. The big promise here is broadband and mobile phone coverage, both pipedreams of the western world. Sensible developments include introducing commercial rate relief for rural business which might give some small towns a lifeline, for many more this would have been handy in 1980.
There is an entire page dedicated to the FAI, six pages for farmers, and a page on a new app called “Fix My Pothole”; which is basically the Healy Rae manifesto (proven vote earner).
In the arts section FF promise to deliver a Republic of Readers which is both non committal and lazy. That’s the job of our schools and art is about much more than public libraries. Book clubs for old folks is an awful attempt to win votes and they might as well lead with the slogan “some knitting done, more knitting to do”, because Michael-D tea cosies are of more modern artistic value than say Cecelia Ahern’s “PS I Love You”. This section really annoys me because I keep imagining some nice old lady trapped in a once fully occupied five bedroom house, wishing she had wifi so she could skype her kids who had to immigrate to Australia because Fianna Fail frantic economics left them without a future at home, and Michael Martin turns up to the door one day to read her a chapter from Robinson Crusoe and the worst thing is that she invites him in and makes him tea and he drinks it.
There are some final pages on Brexit, the border, and the defence forces. The big call out being some poorly thought out words about a free trade agreement with the UK; and I doubt the EU will leave the backdoor open for Boris.
(Picture by Harry Burton @HBtoons)