‘One for everyone in the audience’ was the catch-phrase made famous by Gay Byrne as the ‘Late Late Show’ became a Friday night fixture on RTE, and a national institution.
Having bid farewell to austerity, this one-liner neatly sums up the FG-Labour coalition’s first post-crisis budget. As a book-keeping exercise, budget 2015 is high on political savvy, but light on policy innovation, exactly as one might expect at this stage of the political cycle.
Even comfortably staying within the EU’s 3% of GDP deficit limit will not satisfy the most strident and politically clueless of the austerity hawks, who insisted – in spite of changed ‘facts on the ground’ – on the full €2bn in spending cuts and tax hikes agreed to by a previous government at its lowest ebb. It will be plenty, however, for the European bean counters who have more to be worried about in terms of the deficit rules’ credibility when it comes to the big boys, France and Italy, who have yet to witness austerity’s autumnal embrace.