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Doomed I tell you! Or why there (probably) won’t be an election in the wake of Shatter May 9, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.

Stephen Collins makes the point (in a column that SonofStan notes has a very strange piece of analysis) that who could have predicted that this week it would be Fine Gael and Labour whose woes were filling the news, given that last week it was SF and Adams and at the weekend it was one M. Martin and Mary Hanafin making the news. But there we have it.

That election result on May 23rd may well determine how the Coalition grapples with the necessity to produce one more relatively tough budget in October. If it is really bad, even just for one of the Coalition parties, the Government’s future could well be in doubt.

An election-battered Coalition might find it impossible to do what is required and that could bring its life to a conclusion sooner than anybody had anticipated.

I don’t believe it, though circumstances might change in such a way as to force the issue in that direction. But my sense is that given the rhetoric we read earlier in the week where LP sources were, if not blissfully happy, sanguine that the Local and European elections were ‘mid-term’ contests whose impact would be limited, and given that governments have a propensity to hang on until the bitter end this crew won’t shift until the last possible moment.

Look at the Cowen government, which became the equivalent of a battered Flying Fortress in the skies over Germany (work with me on this one), bits and pieces falling away from it as it attempted to stay in the air just a little longer and go just that bit further. That last manic reshuffle of the then FF minority government just before the election said it all, almost utter and complete denial as to their actual situation.

Now Kenny seems to be a more measured man than Cowen, and Gilmore too, but I’d bet that they will be pinning their hopes on polls turning.

Thing is those polls continue (even accounting for that mild upward tick for the LP in this weeks latest SBP one) to look dismal for the government and the most likely outcome either an FG minority government or a national coalition between FG and FF.

I’d also be deeply dubious that the LP will leave government in advance of an election – that’s not the style of the current crew. They see themselves, I suspect, as the most serious administration in years, working in the national interest, perhaps not expecting the thanks of a grateful nation any time soon, but someday being certain that they will be vindicated.

Their party may be falling apart, and let’s see how well or otherwise it does in Dublin, but they’re dedicated to reaching Berlin – so to speak.

Collins concludes with this ringing set of phrases:

The Opposition has had a field day because it has been fighting the Government on the ground of its choosing on justice and related issues.
If the Coalition can’t set the political agenda in the second half of the year it will be doomed.
Well sure, but choose your timescale and we’re all doomed. Let’s note that we’re now less than twenty-four months from the next election, so the final curtain is approaching fairly rapidly anyhow.

Finally on Shatter himself. Talented, intelligent, worthy in certain ways, but to the outside observer apparently unable to contain a disproportionate sense of his own good judgement and the bad judgement or worse of those who would disagree with him. Harry McGee notes that:

He also had a habit of playing the opponent and not the ball. Those who complained were targeted for a public hairdrying by Shatter – Mick Wallace, Clare Daly, Luke Ming Flanagan, John Wilson, GSOC and Maurice McCabe.

Totally and utterly unnecessary. Bizarrely so (and by the way, read the last line of this, which says what many others who should say won’t about the fact that from the moment Shatter imparted confidential information he was, and should have been, a goner).

BTW, is Stephen Collins entirely serious when he says:

The other side of the coin is that Martin, who was in trouble 24 hours ago, can claim credit for forcing the whistleblower issue on to the agenda, with its devastating consequences for Shatter.

Surely agency rests as well with Clare Daly and Mick Wallace. No?


1. steve white - May 9, 2014

michael martin was good enough to note the wallace first brought the confidential recipients warning atleast http://www.kildarestreet.com/debates/?id=2014-02-12a.125&s=screw#g126

but gets it wrong saying wallace first qouted last week when it was months before



maybe the difference is martin has more opportunity to challenge the taoiseach himself


BB - May 9, 2014

Quite so. I suspect that garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe handed in a dossier of claims to Micheal Martin because he knew that the leader of the key Opposition party would not resist the opportunity to set the alarm bells ringing. And Coalition bashing was a bonus point for Martin too.


2. Ed - May 9, 2014

Clare Daly, Mick Wallace and others like them don’t exist “Inside Politics”. Collins once heard a rumour that there were political forces outside FF, FG and Labour, but dismissed it with a shudder before cuddling up to his Michael McDowell duvet cover to sleep.


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