Manurefesto (14 Days To Election)

Time running out for the canvassers at this stage but we’ll keep on trucking. A few things happening today.

Fine Gael are, in the midst of the usual outright lies about public spending and cuts, not making any promises about this student nurses row. I know a few people who will suffer from that and I’m not especially happy. These are the people who deliver our children into the world: 80% of the actual wage is a small price to pay for that job.

Manifesto time for the Greens and Labour. Nothing from the Green’s on Defence, the usual overly insistant nonsense that Israel “must” do this and that. Gormely would be better served sticking to Irish affairs I suppose.

Labour do have some things to say about defence though. And here it is:

Labour in government will pursue a policy of positive neutrality, and we are opposed to Ireland participating in international mutual defence alliances. In line with our policy of positive neutrality, Labour will implement measures to restrict the use of Irish airspace, airports and related facilities for purposes not in line with the dictates of international law, with permission for military use of such facilities allowable only for international missions with explicit UN Security Council approval.

What the hell is positive neutrality? Is there negative neutrality? Does Labour really think they’re being sneaky with this “clearly aimed at Shannon and the US Air Force” nonsense?

Excellent stuff really. I wonder who Labour will blame when Shannon closes a few years later?

Labour is committed to retaining the ‘triple lock’, under which Irish defence forces can only participate in missions abroad with government approval, Dáil approval, and under a UN mandate. Labour will give priority to achieving progress within the UN on the range of treaties and negotiations in the field of weapons of mass destruction, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the efforts to rid the world of landmines, cluster munitions and biological weapons.

The bloody triple-lock. Labour scream to high heaven about Fianna Fail losing our sovereignty with the bailout, then support a system where Beijing tells us what we can and cannot do with our armed forces.

I tried contacting people in Labour Youth to talk about this issue by the way, and received no response. Funny that.

Acknowledging the current budgetary restraints, Ireland nevertheless needs to plan ahead to ensure that our defence forces are fit for purpose over the coming decade.
The Irish Defence Force have a proud tradition of participating in peacekeeping missions abroad, and are an important pillar of Irish diplomacy.

Labour will ensure that the Defence Forces are appropriately equipped and staffed to meet Ireland’s obligations to United Nations and EU peacekeeping missions. In particular, Labour will ensure that the Medical Corps is fit for purpose, and able to attract sufficient personnel, and will develop an appropriate timescale for the renewal of the naval fleet.

A nice lack of commitment on anything here. “Appropriate timescale” for the navy? I’m guessing that’s code for “keep using those ships with the holes in them for a while”.

The Reserve Defence Force is a valuable resource, which will be optimised in overseas missions with the Defence Forces. Labour also supports greater coordination between RDF and Civil Defence at home. A stronger role for the RDF will be facilitated by the appointment of a Brigadier General to the RDF.

A Brigadier General who will do what exactly? Moreover, the actual Defence Forces don’t have enough Generals. Furthermore, what is it exactly you want the Civil Defence teams and the Reserves to do together? Details!

Labour will publish a White Paper on the Defence Forces setting out our vision for the Defence Forces to 2020. This will include a strategy to restore the strength of the Defence Forces to 10,500 members.

I can support both of these, though I wonder how different a Labour White Paper will be from the Fianna Fail White Paper of the last decade.

Such a paper will also consider what the appropriate role for PDFORRA might be within the wider Trade Union movement.

What the hell does this mean? Seriously, I’m drawing a blank.

Finally, it should also map out how Ireland will deal with future, unorthodox attacks, such as cyber warfare.

I’m sorry Labour, could you be slightly more vague about all of this? I really want to find the people who wrote this and ask them to define “cyber warfare” to me as they understand it, what exactly the attackers (whoever they are) will be targeting.

Large parts of this whole thing scream that the authors didn’t actually know what they were talking about. Maybe that’s why the other parties are being quiet on the topic of defence and the like, lacking the expertise to say anything?

Anyway, I’ll give props to Labour for writing something at least. Not much else happening today to be honest, we seem to be hitting a weekend lull. Some nonsense about Ministerial pensions and party leaders being asked to give them up. Great. Glad the country has saved 40’000 Euro in the face of that “billions upon billions” of debt.

This entry was posted in General Election 2011, Ireland, Irish Defence Forces, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Manurefesto (14 Days To Election)

  1. Pingback: NFBs General Election Index | Never Felt Better

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