The Chairman and dissident Fine Gael February 20, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
As Dr.Nightdub noted here, a entertaining report in the Independent at the weekend. It went as follows:
AMID growing discontent within the ranks of Fine Gael over the abortion issue, speculation is mounting that dissident members have been in talks with former Libertas leader Declan Ganley about forming a new party.
All this on foot of Lucinda Creighton’s well voiced opposition to legislation for X and John Bruton’s belief that any such legislation is ‘contrary to the Constitution’. In a way it’s useful to see how some in FG have tilted so sharply towards an anti-abortion position. The apple surely didn’t fall far from the political tree there. And yet what does Bruton base his assertion on? It would seem to be little more than a belief that his interpretation of language is the key – conveniently ignoring the role of the Supreme Court in determining the constitutionality of these matters. Indeed one has to wonder at his judgement when he uses the following line… “And, in any normal language, a risk is not equal to a certainty”. Normal language? This man once was Taoiseach.
Telling that both his successor as FG Taoiseach and one E. Gilmore should rebuff his thoughts and point to the basic point that ‘the Government would act within the Constitution in legislating to give effect to the Supreme Court judgment in the X case’.
Still, could this rip FG apart – or at least dislodge a tranche of FG TDs who would clamber aboard the Chairman’s wagon?
I can’t see it. I genuinely can’t. And not just because the article in the Independent quotes Ganley – in his most vague mode – and not one Fine Gael TD.
Mr Ganley said the abortion debate had the potential to be the issue that drives him back into politics.
“When you see huge promises being broken on ‘not one more cent to bondholders’ or on abortion, it puts it up there in the light that this needs to be addressed,” he said.
“There isn’t two weeks that go by that there isn’t some type of contact with somebody.
“There would be little point in doing it if you didn’t have heavy calibre individuals involved.
“I’m not interested in ever going out there and making a symbolic stand. You need top drawer people and that takes time.”
And where was the Chairman speaking from?
a pro-life meeting organised by the Life Institute in the Red Cow Hotel in Dublin,
[he] told activists that he was considering a return to politics.
Now fair enough, but the basic problem is this. Imagine for a moment – and yes, this is a bit of a stretch for most who read this site – that you happen to be a Fine Gael TD with pro-life views. Would it really make sense to join another party of untested provenance as distinct from remaining within Fine Gael and – and this is hardly being overly optimistic – having the opportunity to shape the form of abortion provision in the society, and better yet having the prospect at some future date of being able to overturn or constrain any legislation introduced by this government. Indeed let’s consider this from a slightly different angle. Pragmatically what is the best option for effecting change, being outside the tent with the Chairman and a band of pure but (politically) impotent Deputies of varying numbers, or being inside it in an actual governing party?
In a way this is an argument very familiar to those of us on the left, albeit dressed up in new clothes. But the reality that there’s little chance of a serious rupture in FG, or even a minor rupture (I’d be genuinely surprised if even one TD walked on the abortion issue), is one that is mirrored by the unlikelihood of a rupture in Labour, or the establishment of a new party to its left. There is no life beyond the party is not something that only applied to the orthodox CPs back in the day.