Irish Times Editorial on Gilmore states the obvious. This should be followed by an endorsement of Kenny if logic is to prevail.

What Labour would do
ALL THE main political parties accept the need to reduce the budget deficit to 3 per cent of GDP by 2014. The Government has agreed that approach with the European Commission and euro zone member governments. How this ambitious target can best be achieved is what now most concerns the commission. And the Government has agreed to provide it with the details next month. In a multi-annual fiscal plan, which is not the norm in Ireland, the Government has pledged to provide an outline of the spending cuts and tax rises needed to achieve that reduction in the deficit over the next four years.

In these circumstances, it goes without saying that how the commission assesses the Government’s fiscal plan, and whether the bond markets find it and the contents of the December budget credible, will be critical. Their respective responses will have a major bearing on whether Ireland can return to the bond markets early next year and borrow at lower interest rates than before; or whether instead the State may find itself struggling to borrow at even higher rates. The stakes for our sovereignty and independence to govern ourselves could not be higher.
Clearly, the credibility of the Government’s fiscal plan is critical. But no less important is the attitude of the Opposition parties, given the possibility that there may be a change of government within months. While it is unreasonable to expect Fine Gael and Labour to embrace a consensus on the policy decisions for four budgets at this stage in the life of this Government, each party does have a duty to act responsibly at this time of national crisis.
The Labour Party seems set to play a central role in any likely new administration. However, remarks by party leader Eamon Gilmore earlier this week raise questions about Labour’s readiness for the tough decision making required in government.
Mr Gilmore has indicated that Labour in office will neither cut social welfare nor reduce child benefit, nor introduce a property tax. He does favour a third income tax rate for those earning over €100,000 and he would favour water charges – but only after metering has been introduced. He pledged that he would “not hit middle income Ireland”. These statements raise the question as to how Mr Gilmore would find the €3 billion, not to mention the massive €4.3 billion now being spoken about, in the December budget, given his reluctance to raise taxes or cut spending.
His soft option policy approach, which involves giving the least offence to the greatest number of potential voters, has not impeded Labour’s steady advance in the opinion polls nor, indeed, his own satisfaction ratings. It may be that Labour believes that the British general election campaign can be replicated here where the then opposition parties steered clear of the small detail of budgetary decisions. But, Mr Gilmore should remember that it will be much more difficult for the third party to conduct such a campaign here when Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the general public will want to know its policy options.