Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Programme for Government

After Ciaran Cuffe's bluff being called, the Greens stayed at the table until just before last night's main evening news to agree the new programme for government. With the members' convention only 14 hours away you'd think that speedy dissemination would be key but instead nothing appeared over night. Tweets started appearing from party members who arrived at the RDS and still had no documentation to read. Eventually at 11:10 the document was released online and printed copies distributed to the masses shortly thereafter. Nice to see that an informed decision will be made having such a long period of time to digest the contents of the PfG.

The document itself is full of nice aspirations but short on detail. There are no costings anywhere and no indications of where the money might come from to implement any of the proposals. There are a lot of green agenda items ticked off - GM food, forestry, fur farming and public transport. Indeed it is interesting to note that one of the few firm deadlines in the document is 2016 completion of Metro North and the Dart Interconnector. However it is also worth noting that these have been key parts of PfGs and transport policies since the mid ninties so I won't be holding my breath on that.

The CIO role is a good idea, but some of the ideas are very wierd. For a country with some of the highest electricity costs in Europe, to set ourselves up as a Data Centre hub for cloud computing seems odd at best. Providing broadband to every house by 2012 (subject to EU funding) is also laughable. This should have been done at least 8 years ago if not longer. 100Mb to schools is great until you realise that the IT equipment in most schools is donated 4 year old computers that continually fail. Also the students will just use it to access Bebo and Facebook since there will be no investment in upskilling teachers to deal with the new medium.

Of course, all this is moot. The PfG will be accepted and NAMA will fail to be rejected. The NAMA legislation will then be pushed through and assets transferred from the banks before the budget. When the FF back benchers see the budget cuts that are announced the heave will begin and the government will fall. So all that will be achieved is putting the nation in hock for €50-€60B. Go on the Greens!

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