Yep – we’re an interesting situation alright – it would appear that the cards are being reshuffled every week.
From a partisan political point of view – we in FG are just interested spectators in the stalls eating popcorn looking on at the potential realignment of the left of centre irish political world. Finally, finally, after me banging on about here and at other places for the last 3 years – the left are showing a bit of unity showing some cop-on and going after the soft populist underbelly of FF – I’ve been waiting for this to happen for ages.
Sinn Fein have a real opportunity here – even more than the Labour party IMHO – its because they vaguely look like the young Fianna Fail – the Fianna Fail that got into power in the 1930s with the whiff of military chic, populist quasi socialist policies and platform, wrapped in the nationalist flag. its a potent mixture, especially in a country largely populated by moany whingy dreamers who think the world owes them a living, that adores gesture politics, and is desperately looking for the “stroke” or placebo that is going to get them out of the current mess consequence free. I dont think Gerry Adams is going to be much a star, positively or negatively for Sinn Fein this time around.
Fianna Failers I know are sh^ttin themselves at this – they’ve no more goodies to bribe the electorate with and they’ll only look silly trying to resurrect the bogeyman in the balaclava – for the majority of FFs centre left vote – that is no longer an issue now – for those for whom it is – they are starting and will be migrating in quite considerable numbers over to Lab and FG – the FF vote will be even further squeezed if SF continue to rise.
Labour are in a bit of bind – they’ve made a lot of hostages to fortune here – drift further to the centre and they’ll lose a lot of their left vote to SF and the various socialists outfits – drift a bit towards the Sinners and the public service vote and middle clas might take a fit of the wobbles and trickle towards FG – it will be interesting to see how Labour square this circle – their lack of coherent policy and non-committments was going to catch up with them some time.
For us in FG – our vote is pretty solid at about 30% – its not going to go very far in either direction from that – Sinn feins rise has secured that. people know where we stand – we’re the boring party poopers who dont drink – but we’ll still be expected to drive everybody home afterwards and come back and clean up after the party – seems to be our raison d’etre now.
As regards coalition partners – if we get 65 seats plus – which is well within our power now and FF get 20 odd seats – my preference would be for a coalition with the remmants of FF – it wont be popular – FF themselves probably would run a mile from it- it would death staring them straight in the face – but, long term, it would be the final nail in the coffin of FF – in This budget FF have kicked the can further down the road on a lot of issues – particularly property taxes and utility charges – these will have to come into force at some stage – for the good of our democracy because local government needs to be funded locally to have any power locally – FF are hoping that the populist outcry over this would set them up nicely to recover by 2016 – my preference would be to essentially handcuff FF to rear fender of the FG car and drag them along with us each step of the way on the rocky road that they have designed and built themselves – thus hopefully by 2016 – the economy will be in better shape – the dail and political system reformed , the senate either abolished or reformed- local government reformed and the IMF sent home with the country off life support and back on its feet again – we’ll get no thanks for it of course – such is the way for FG – but at least Lab and SF will sweep into power in 2016 and FF will be no more –
I’ve no fears for SF in government in 2016 – like FF they’ll be full of fire and brimstone in opposition but once they get behind the wheel, like all socialists, they’ll be out to prove to the markets that they can be even better capitalists than the right wingers – happens all the time – whether a coalition between themselves and labour would last is another thing – but it would be interesting and give the country a semblance of a left/right divide that it so badly needs and allowing the last of the Fianna Fail crony vintage of 1997-2011 drain out of the government and electoral systems.
Interesting times ahead indeed.
Edo 10. 12. 2010