Monday, May 14, 2007

The Giants of Mediocrity Are Left To Slug It Out

In an article in the Sunday Independent, May 13th 2007, Alan Ruddock writes about the forthcoming TV debate between Bertie Ahern, leader of Fianna Fail and Enda Kenny of Fine Gael to be held this coming Thursday night on RTE television as part of Ireland's general election.

Referring to the issue of abortion-

'Which of the two men is best placed to quell unrest in the public service, yet at the same time drive through the essential reforms to make it more efficient? Which man will be tougher on crime, but equally trusted not to destroy our civil liberties in the process? And which of them has the strength of character to make difficult decisions in the broader national interest?

Depressingly the indications are that both will fail any critical test. Ahern is a serial avoider of difficult decisions, and it has been his timidity and fear of confrontation that has created the bloated and unreformed colossus that masquerades as our 'public service' sector. Ahern's fear of tough decisions has also meant that he fails on basic legislative duties too.

Promised and essential legislation to deal with the fall-out from our abortion referenda has been ducked for five years; bad laws on statutory rape survive because he could not bring himself to call a referendum; libel laws remain unreformed, despite any number of false starts.

The list of legislative failure rooted in political cowardice is long and igmoninious. Kenny, though, promises more of the same, and has already assured the Irish Catholic that he, too, will consciously avoid his democratic duty and will fail to legislate on abortion. If he is prepared to ignore abortion, then you can be sure that he will find plenty more tough decisions to avoid. '

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