I’m a great believer in the maxim "know thy enemy" so I did a little research on the term “auction politics” and discovered that unsurprisingly the phrase is widely misused today. Once upon a time the phrase “auction politics”, derived from the latin “politicus auctionus”, referred to the politics involved in organising an auction. Nowadays the phrase is used to describe an unsettling new political strategy developed 6 months ago and used exclusively to date in Ireland. Irish politicians’ are trying to "buy" our votes by offering to do things if elected. Forget bird flu, this left wing cancer must be stopped before it spreads abroad.
Left wing cancer? Think about it for one second. How does anybody ever win an auction? They spend the most money. Auction politics is leading to politicians offering the sun, the moon and the stars before the election, each desperately trying to outbid the other. Tax cuts here, more social welfare there and more government investment here. Who’s going to pay for all this? That’s right, me and you the hard working people who pay taxes and get by with the minimum of fuss. Politicians are trying to use my money to buy my vote. That right there, ladies and gentlemen, is what’s wrong with socialism.
The cheek of it. Let them use their own money to buy my vote or use my money to buy me another persons vote.
What’s worse is that society as a whole will become even more dependent on government handouts in the meantime. If politicians follow through on these populist guarantees then society will soften up, get lazy and go around with its hands outstretched. Hard work and graft will be a thing of the past. The very things that have made the capitalist system such a success are being attacked here. Thomas Jefferson once said that “democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
Here’s the funny thing; the political parties agree with me that auction politics is wrong. They use the term as a lazy slur every time a political opponent makes a point they can’t be bothered engaging in honest debate. (Just look what happened with Bertie after the Ard Fheis) Still, they can’t help themselves. Take Mary Lou McDonald, who yesterday come out and correctly attacked the opposition parties for indulging in a bit of auction politics. Yet in the very same breath Mary Lou is pledging to raise the minimum wage to 60% of the average industrial wage. Blatant auction politics and the pot calling the kettle black. They can’t help themselves.
That’s why I’m thankful for Bertie Ahern’s and Fianna Fail’s point blank refusal to partake in this dangerous left wing practice. Following the Ard Fheis Bertie was attacked for making 50+ promises ahead of the election. “Auction politics”, the opposition parties cried. “He’s a hypocrite” was the charge. The fact is Bertie set out Fianna Fail’s plan for government. He told us what he will do when he’s elected, not what he would do if he is elected. That semantic distinction is imperative to grasp. Enda, Pat and the rest will fulfil their pledges if you vote for them. Bertie will follow through on his promises regardless. You see, unlike the other parties, Bertie is not trying to buy our votes with his 50+ plus promises. Bertie will fulfill his promises and I’d challenge anybody to tell me how someone can fulfil a promise without making it first.
The faith of this country lies in your democratic hands dear readers. Let me close by saying that I trust you. I know you will not be seduced by auction politics. Refuse to vote for parties and politicians who practice auction politics and we can rid the world of this threat to democracy. We can get back to the days of yore, when elections were fought honestly and neither side tried to tempt you into voting for them.