Rash pledges of auction politics - Election fever

DESPITE Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s protestations that this Government will run its full course before he calls a general election next year, a clamour for an early ballot is rising as Fine Gael backbenchers urge him to go to the country sooner rather than later. 

Buoyed by the latest opinion poll results, putting the Fine Gael/Labour Coalition at 38% and now within touching distance of polling a majority vote on a joint electoral platform, it is not surprising they want to ride the growing wave of popularity in hope that voters will be influenced by welcome signs that the economy is now the fastest growing in Europe.

Yet, while there have undoubtedly been very positive changes in recent times, the polls also show that 62% of the electorate say they have yet to feel the benefits of what is clearly a macro-economic revival which has yet to have a trickle-down effect for people in the grassroots of society. While the Coalition may have a positive story to tell on the job creation front, where unemployment has shrunk from 15% to just over 9%, the majority of voters are still struggling to survive. With one in three households more than two years behind in mortgage payments, a tsunami of evictions looms.

Cautious by nature, Mr Kenny is unlikely to be rushed into a decision. However, he may be tempted to take advantage of the shameless auction politics going on, with the Coalition rashly promising something for everyone in the audience.

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