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Daily, the pre-budget media coverage highlights the demands for taxpayers’ money by every vested interest in the country. At the same time, the media keep warning us that it would be irresponsible to have any element of auction politics in the run up to an election.
To put perspective on this present contradictory democratic discourse, it is interesting to compare it with situations such as Ireland during the boom and present-day Greece.
Firstly we could look at the auction politics that characterised elections in the past. The run-up to the post-2000 boom-time elections saw significant budgetary spending increases that can only be dreamed about today. In contrast to what is happening now, however, these were given relatively favourable media coverage then.
At the other extreme, we should all be glad that we are not in Greece. Their years of auction politics continue to cause havoc for ordinary people. In fact, they are still taking money out of much worse-funded public services.
When we see our own contradictory public debates, we should remember what happened in the past. We should also remember the Greeks cannot afford auction politics and their media have to address a different set of complaints.
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