The lead in to this general election has been characterised by snide and petty attacks from Labour party leader Eamon Gilmore on the FG party. Elements in the Labour Party amongst others have been engaged in an ugly personalised campaign against Enda Kenny. Gilmore’s attacks have been marked by selectivity with the truth. He has attempted to paint FG and FF as one and the same. Incidentally many would argue that Sinn Fein and Labour are one and the same. Gilmore is terrified of a five party debate, which would include Sinn Fein as Sinn Fein has been nibbling away at Labour support.
He attempted to peddle the possibility of an FG/FF coalition or an FG minority government supported by FF. Of course this is utter nonsense. Today he completely misrepresented the FG position on the IMF/EU deal. We have had caustic remarks from Gilmore about the trip by Michael Noonan and Enda Kenny to Brussels to meet European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso to make it clear that if FG were elected into office it would seek to renegotiate the bailout package. In essence he was behaving like a spoilt child. FG opposed benchmarking when it was not popular to do it. Labour and FF supported it. It is a bit rich of Gilmore to lecture others. After all this is the man who could not take a stand on the Croke Park Deal. He refused to recommend a Yes vote to workers when it was absolutely essential to secure a positive outcome in the national interest. He awaited the outcome and then promptly welcomed it. Now we hear that Labour has changed its tax policy in another u-turn.
Gilmore is strong on the politics of condemnation and populism. Every speech is peppered with the word change. Rhetoric trips off the lips of Eamon like water cascading down a waterfall. He is the leader of a party, which backed a tax amnesty in 1993.
If Gilmore had the courage of his convictions he would stand sufficient candidates to win the election. Instead Labour is standing just 67 candidates. 84 seats are required for an overall majority. Eamon wishes to be all things to all men. It is time for him to get off the fence and spell out the hard realities. Rhetoric and flowery language is no substitute for policy. This country needs political cowardice like a hole in the head.