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“They” didn’t vote for FF to…  April 7, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I’m fascinated by some of the arguments FF is offering for not engaging in government with FG.

Mr Martin was told by his members the party cannot enter a partnership with Fine Gael after the electorate had rejected them.

It’s hard to know precisely what standard is being applied. Is it that FG didn’t get 50% of the seats? Or that it lost seats? FF has sought government in both those instances, and gained it too.

Willy O’Dea’s comment is a little more precise.

“I wouldn’t support it myself. The people voted to get rid of the outgoing government. They voted to get rid of Enda Kenny.”

Certainly the outgoing government lost seats, many seats in the case of the LP, fewer in the case of FG. But again in light of the above thoughts on what standard is being applied that alone doesn’t seem to be a deal-breaker. Moreover, although FF gained seats, it still wound up with fewer than FG.

In that instance isn’t it more plausible that either ‘none of the above’ or ‘work it out amongst yourselves’ are possible interpretations of votes (and in any case anthropomorphising electoral politics is always a hiding to nothing)? Or simply that the will of the Irish people is not settled.

This has further implications. For those who say return to the polls in order to get a better read of that will isn’t that disregarding, and potentially delegitimising that vote earlier this year?

Frankly I’m sanguine about all this – not least because I’ve no horse in the race. Given that there’s no bar on parties going into coalition with one another it is difficult to see why people should act as if there is anything other than a self-imposed prohibition. In fairness to O’Dea he does seem to finesse his comments. Take the following:

The people who supported me didn’t contemplate that I would be part of an arrangement which would involve, ultimately, putting Enda Kenny back as Taoiseach. Sharing mercs and perks with Fine Gael.
“There has been a serious diminution of trust in politics in this country. Part of that is rooted in the apparent tendency of politicians to say one thing and do another.
“We promised before the election that we would not go into coalition with Fine Gael. We are going to remain true. We are not going to renege on promises made to the people.

That’s all very noble of him, but I note that that formula of words would allow for FF support of an FG minority government. Albeit he couches it in this way:

“But we are prepared to be responsible. A Fianna Fáil minority government is our preference.”

Yeah, well, good luck with that. Martin’s vote yesterday should put paid to any such notions. There just aren’t the votes there.

But isn’t the simple fact that FF and FG are engaging in talks a breach of that trust with the Irish people? Shouldn’t FF, by it’s own logic, be speeding towards the exit sign? Perhaps it is at that and all this is merely optics in order to prevent it from being shown as unwilling to engage in the slightest.

Latest word today is that they’ll support an FG minority government. Terms and conditions attached, no doubt.


1. dublinstreams - April 7, 2016

if FF wanted to form minority government why didn’t they press for more detailed talks with others sooner?

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2016

You’ve hit the nail on the head I think.


gendjinn - April 8, 2016

Perhaps they didn’t think FG would make such an apparently generous offer? Or none at all and just go to GE?

Or more problematic, did they not think it through at all?


2. PaddyM - April 7, 2016

To be fair, I’m old enough to remember much of the outrage directed at Labour in 1992 for propping up a FF government led by Reynolds which had been “rejected” by the electorate by going from 77 seats to 68. (The media chorus at the time demanded that Labour should have instead propped up a FG party led by John Bruton which had just gone from 55 to 43.)

FG have lost one-third of their seats – against their own expectations and the expectations of the same gaggle of pol. corrs who are now demanding a grand coalition for “stability”‘s sake. I think the term “rejected” is appropriate enough to use on this occasion.


paulculloty82 - April 7, 2016

IIRC, wasn’t the Rainbow Spring’s original choice, but Bruton wouldn’t go in with DL in ’92?


WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2016

I always thought the argument in a PRSTV system in regard to rejection was overdone (for example I think Reynolds had every right to get a government together at the time and it wasn’t the worst government by a long chalk) though I agree parts of the media went hopping mad over it all. My thoughts though are that rejection is almost irrelevant if FG (or FF) can pull off a workable government arrangement. Legitimacy always comes from votes in the Dáil cast by those elected to the Dáil.


WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2016

Yep, Rainbow was but Bruton was anti-DL. Too close to the WP era. Amazing what a couple of years did for his views on that – eh?


Pasionario - April 7, 2016

There was some clash over the PDs too. Bruton wanted to include them in a coalition with Labour, said so publicly in his usual subtle way without consulting Spring who then went off in a huff to Reynolds.


WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2016

I seem to recall that too.


3. sonofstan - April 7, 2016

So ff are afraid to go into government as more or less equal partners because they’ll thereby become unpopular and sf will benefit. Shows huge self-confidence doesn’t it? Actually, the fear of sf as the opposition shows, by the lights of the two main parties , a lack of confidence in either themselves or the electorate.


WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2016

Yep, it’s absurd isn’t it? Mind you all that aside I wonder what FF’s take on the economic situation in the next two to three years is. Not great one might think to judge from the aversion to power.


irishelectionliterature - April 7, 2016

Nothing to do with SF, just pure tribal hatred of FG masked up in a thousand different excuses.
They are over the moon with themselves having given Enda the two fingers.
They hate FG so much they even turned down the option of Martin being Taoiseach for a while.


4. Paddy Healy - April 7, 2016

As I have said many times, FF can’t enter coalition with FG without destroying itself.
The maority of FF supporters vote FF BECAUSE IT IS NOT FG!!!
They would no longer have any reason to vote for FF, if it was in coalition with FG

Liked by 1 person

5. benmadigan - April 7, 2016

Forgive me if I’m wrong. Don’t FF have to have an Ard Fheis to sanction coalition with FG? Any sign of one being organized? if not . . . .


WorldbyStorm - April 8, 2016

I think they do.


irishelectionliterature - April 8, 2016

They do but it won’t get to that stage.


6. dmoc - April 8, 2016

Regarding “not having a horse in this race”. There a (Polish, I think) expression that’s even better (and more apt):

“I don’t have a dead guy at this funeral”.

Liked by 2 people

Ed - April 8, 2016



7. gendjinn - April 8, 2016

It is a conundrum. The numbers dictate a minority FG or FG/FF coalition. Probably more IND/OTH involvement in the former than the latter.

But large chunks of FF & FG define themselves in opposition to the other. Passionately. Perhaps FF more so than FG, or at least an FG mollified by being the largest party.

Electoral outcome & FF membership appear to be on a collision course. Will Martin have the political skill to thread that needle?

If I was FF I’d spin something like:

There are serious policy differences with FG where we need to find common ground
But for the sake of the country in these perilous times we must try….
At the end of these discussions, our membership and perhaps the electorate may need to endorse the programme for government

Are any of them saying anything or are they in hiding?


irishelectionliterature - April 8, 2016

That’s the mistake they made, they didn’t even make a charade of it.


gendjinn - April 8, 2016

Neither Haughey nor Ahern would have stood for such rank incompetence.


8. irishelectionliterature - April 9, 2016

Thomas Byrne has a great Facebook post …..

“Fianna Fáil built up a lot of trust with the electorate over the last number of years since we were put out of office in 2011. Repeatedly before, during and after the recent election, all of us in Fianna Fáil gave a commitment not to return Enda Kenny to office.
We don’t want to throw that trust away. We value it too much. Our word is our bond. We won’t go into coalition with Fine Gael. We want to implement our policies towards a fairer society, to implement our manifesto especially to get kids out of hotels.”

Look at the last lines
“We won’t go into coalition with Fine Gael. We want to implement our policies towards a fairer society, to implement our manifesto especially to get kids out of hotels.”

Surely by going into Coalition with Fine Gael a good portion of your policies would be implemented!


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