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A ‘third way’ for government formation? April 11, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Entertaining balloon floated by Noel Dempsey in the SBP this weekend. A ‘third way’ no less, between minority government and an FF-FG coalition. And what would that be then?

Why, one that ‘would require courage, innovative thinking, magnanimity and patriotism’ and ‘for those reasons it will probably not find favour’.

Go on so.

The solution is an agreement between the two large parties, and any willing Independents, to work together to provide stable government for five years – while still largely maintaining their individuality and independence.

FG and FF would lead the government for two and a half years each, over the five year term.

They would agree to abide by the budgetary parameters set by the Fiscal Advisory Council each year. They would also agree not to support ‘no confidence’ motions against each other. Apart from those circumstances, all those in the agreement would be free to vote for or against legislation as it arose.

If this seems like a most expedient carve-up, well, so it is. The mention of the FAC is concerning, but given the lack of mileage in the suggestion (at least one hopes) it’s probably neither here nor there.

I’d wonder though. Simply in terms of Ministers getting to know Departments it seems to me plucking them out two and half years in and replacing them with new one’s seems unwise – and don’t get me started on reshuffles.

All that aside Dempsey’s piece is interesting because it provides an insight into one strand of FF thinking. He seems to say that there would be support for such an approach, or indeed a coalition between FF and FG in the Dáil cohort but not amongst party members – no surprise about the latter, but I hadn’t heard that about the former.

Yet again ‘fear of SF’ as the opposition party raises its head. He seems to think this approach might mitigate that. Perhaps. Still he’s probably not wrong in arguing that the electorate will have little patience with FF and FG if they don’t do something with one another.

Comments»

1. Paddy Healy - April 11, 2016

The fundamental reality in politics is that written Agreements aren’t worth the paper they are written on. They have no legal effect. If one party was in power for 2.5 years,why wouldn’t it call a general election instead of handing over to rivals?
FF and FG are competing for the votes of 50% of the population. Being in a grand coalition is tantamount to merging while external support isn’t far from that.
In case of either the “less well off” FF supporters will leave unless FF pulls the plug within a year!

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2. irishelectionliterature - April 11, 2016

The FF Parliamentary Party would certainly be a lot more in favour of Coalition. Not just TD’s but you would also have a cohort of Senators who would be delighted with a stable five years were they to be returned again.
A number of the Senators would be less than enamoured with Martin as he tried to get rid of them in 2011 producing a list of candidates (including Averil Power) that the party wanted to be elected to the Seanad.
Of the TD’s, at least all of the following were happy to engage in talks regarding a coalition, Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher, Billy Kelleher, Michael McGrath, John McGuinness, Fiona O’Loughlin, Robert Troy, Jim O’Callaghan, Brendan Smith, Darragh O’Brien and Marc MacSharry. A number of other new TD’s stayed quiet and it was the likes of Barry Cowen and Thomas Byrne that shouted the meeting down to rule out any coalition. Hence Martin rejected any coalition deal without even talks.
Of course it’s all up in the air and we could yet have an FF minority government supported by FG …but if we end up with a minority FG government supported by FF there will be a lot of very unhappy TD’s knowing that they may have actually had cabinet posts rather than being in opposition.
It will dawn on them that they lost potential power and could end up with the worst of both worlds.

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dublinstreams - April 11, 2016

were you at the meeting?

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irishelectionliterature - April 11, 2016

No but got an account of it from someone who was.

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fergal - April 11, 2016

– there will be a lot of very unhappy TD’s knowing that they may have actually had cabinet posts rather than being in opposition- especially when there are 12- 13 positions in cabinet just for your part so a ff td would have about a one in three chance of becoming a minister- fg td about a one in four chance..

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irishelectionliterature - April 11, 2016

As part of the talks I wonder would each side offer each other Ministries. Not coalition of course but appoint say 5 or 6 FF Ministers to cabinet.

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3. gendjinn - April 11, 2016

Who gets the first 2.5 years of a Dáil that will last 2.6 years?

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dublinstreams - April 11, 2016

the largest party would have to go first

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RosencrantzisDead - April 11, 2016

Why?

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dublinstreams - April 11, 2016

because they are the largest party

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irishelectionliterature - April 11, 2016

and you couldn’t trust the other crowd🙂

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RosencrantzisDead - April 11, 2016

Why would being the largest party matter?

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dublinstreams - April 11, 2016

because it does matter

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RosencrantzisDead - April 11, 2016

Does it?

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4. Paddy Healy - April 11, 2016

I am assuming that these comments are tongue in cheek
It is just a load of b…….aloney to get Dempsey on the media.
Would you trust your competitors and agree to go second?
How many ministries would each of the two big parties have to give independents to become the bigger bloc and have the right to go first?
How about Mattie McGrath and the pro-life for Taoiseach? UP TIPP!!

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5. dublinstreams - April 11, 2016
6. gendjinn - April 11, 2016

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re in a hall of mirrors: SINDO says SF BAD!
“Whatever the outcome of the talks to form a government, and whatever their ultimate motivations, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and those Independents are to be commended for listening to, and at least attempting to meet the will of the people, while Sinn Fein and far Left, in particular, has sat on their mandate, hiding behind the forlorn, or at least far distant prospect of the benighted time when their day will come. The electorate as a whole should take note.”

Then ye think of the Hearst papers, the NYTimes and the Iraq debacle.

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Ed - April 12, 2016

“The electorate as a whole should take note.”

Those parts of the electorate who voted for SF or the radical left, yet somehow thought that ‘we won’t go into government unless we’re the biggest party’ (SF) or ‘we won’t go into government with right-wing parties full stop’ (rad-left) really meant ‘our votes are for sale to the highest bidder, roll up roll up, do I hear a junior ministerial position?’ The sight of parties sticking to their electoral mandate must really enrage the Sindo: ‘STOP IT RIGHT NOW if this catches on ALL THE PARTIES WILL HAVE TO BLOODY DO IT!!!’

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Ed - April 12, 2016

The snide comment about ‘the forlorn, or at least far distant prospect of the benighted time when their day will come’ should obviously be read in the light of the admission by Stephen Collins, after years of telling Labour it was their sacred duty to go into government with FG and the voters would reward them eventually, that if they had remained in opposition after the 2011 election they would now be the largest party.

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gendjinn - April 13, 2016

Isn’t it just.

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7. CL - April 11, 2016

“we need to move to a reformed political system which ends the days of dominant governments and gives every TD the right and obligation to participate in the work of the Oireachtas….
there is absolutely no need to have a situation where government has the first, last and only word on every matter…”-Miceal Martin.
http://www.irishexaminer.com/viewpoints/analysis/good-will-and-openness-to-new-ways-needed-to-make-minority-government-work-392298.html

A dilution of the power of the executive… a strengthening of the power of the legislature through the committee system…a blurring of the distinction between government and opposition…
F.F as enabler of a F.G government, and still the main opposition…the assimilation of many mandates to the extreme centre….the isolation of S.F., …real political reform?

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makedoanmend - April 12, 2016

The entrepreneurial politician?

…beholden to no party political platform nor electorial programs, to no political philosophy and no political vision…

…every new day a new clean slate

…when independents are becoming the norm…why not join-up and then everyone can ‘buy and sell’ their concerns…and change their minds/positions depending upon liquidity events and/or upon receipt of new opinion poll data…data driven, instantaneously…

…pure market politics…

…what’s not to like?…the nation state and its culture become Ireland Inc. in practice…anyone for CEO?

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Jim Monaghan - April 12, 2016

Indeed every TD wants an enhanced role for the Dail Hence all the private meetings between FF, Fg and independents. This is enhancement the Orwellian way.

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WorldbyStorm - April 12, 2016

+1

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dublinstreams - April 12, 2016

good point, if you were going to have Dail how would you have it work?

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8. Paddy Healy - April 14, 2016

Lanigan’s Ball?
Why is Lanigan’s Ball Continuing in Leinster house?
The fundamental reason is that very bad times are coming and they all know it.
FG can’t afford to be in power without FF Sharing the blame
FF can’t be in power without SF sharing the blame
Most conservative independents can’t throw their lot in with FF or FG because if it collapses, they will have compromised their status as independents.

Why do we know rough times are coming? David McWilliams yesterday(Irish Independent) agreed with my contention that the game is up on FDI.

In a correction to the globalisation system the big powers are ending the export of tax revenue to countries such as Ireland.
More wp.me/pKzXa-oM
Multi-nationals account for 90% of Irish exports, a huge contributor to GDP
Under the FISCAL TREATY in addition to 7 billion in interest annually, debt must be paid down not rolled over.

If contrary to recent growth trends (distorted by Multi-national financial movements), GDP stagnates or decreases the paying down of debt will be more onerous as the requirement is to reduce the debt to GDP RATIO.

Ironically though the politicians fill the media discourse, they have effectively made themselves redundant. The combination of the fiscal treaty and disastrous over-reliance on FDI means that The country has negligible sovereignty for as long as its leaders cling to now globalised capitalism.
As Brian Hayes FG, MEP said on radio yesterday: “the reality is that we never had an industrial revolution in Ireland or colonies, we have no choice but to depend on FDI”
(in marxist lingo this used to be rendered as follows: “failure to complete the bourgeois revolution has left the country severely weakened and its sovereignty severely limited”)
The policies of FG, FF and Labour over the last 80 years have brought us to a situation in which we are less sovereign now than we were in 1937

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fergal - April 14, 2016

Paddy- there was a bit of an industrial revolution up in the Lagan Valley- wouldn’t expect Hayes to say that. It’s a funny argument- Switzerland never had an industrial revolution- and leaving out the dodgy banks- it has a rich tradition of small manufacturing- chocolate, cheese, watches, wooden toys, furniture etc- so, h-id never really neded to depend on FDI- slightly different story there today…
Did anynody see Catherine Connolly on Vincent Browne the other- very impressive.

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CL - April 14, 2016

Not to worry. We’ll be fine so long as the Bundestag approves the budget.

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Paddy Healy - April 14, 2016

There are exceptions to every generalised statement
Swiss independence has survived world wars because it is convenient for the big European powers
(The Congress of Vienna of 1815 fully reestablished Swiss independence and the European powers agreed to recognize permanent Swiss neutrality)
Henry Joy failed as well as Bagenal Harvey and Fr Murphy
Normal understanding of the tasks of the national bourgeois revolution includeovertrowing feudalism/colonial domination and uniting the national market which provides the basis for economic development leading to the to the unleashing of a NATIONWIDE industrial revolution. This never happened in Ireland
By the time the war of independence started there was very numerous small farmers and workers and the capitalist and their politicians were terrified of continuing the war of liberation lest they be overtrown themselves in the process. This fear not only drove the free staters to partition and counter-revolution it also paralysed the IRA leaders who preferred to let Collins recruit a paid army against them rather than take pre-emptive action agains thim. The justification for the Devalera-Collins Pact in the Post-treaty election was the “red brigandage at large in Munster”
(See “the Singing Flame” by Ernie O’Malley)

Unlike Belgium and Holland Ireland has no dominant large indigenous industry to this day

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9. Paddy Healy - April 14, 2016

Addendum;There is a widespread suspicion that the CIA leaked the Panama Papers to further American global capitalist interests

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10. Paddy Healy - June 7, 2016

VOTING ON LABOUR PARTY WORKERS RIGHTS MOTION REVEALS ALL ABOUT POLITICAL LINE UP IN DÁIL AND DIFFERENTIATION ON THE LEFT!!
BLOW BY BLOW COMMENTARY ON DEVELOPMENTS IN Dáil Debate by Paddy Healy http://wp.me/pKzXa-ps
INDEPENDENTS FOR CHANGE (except Tommy Broughan) and SINN FEIN, ABSTAIN ON AAA-PBP AMENDMENT WHICH GREATLY STRENGTHENED WORKERS RIGHTS
Seamus Healy and Tommy Broughan Voted for AAA-PBP AMENDMENT
MATTIE MCGRATH AND RURALS VOTE WITH FG-ENDAPENDENTS TO SET ASIDE LABOUR PARTY MOTION (FINIAN MCGRATH VOTED WITH FG BUT JOHN HALLIGAN DID NOT VOTE—FG offering Mattie McGrath Leas Ceann Comhairle post-Sunday Times!)
SINN FÉINN FAILED TO PRESS FOR RECORDED VOTE ON ITS AMENDMENT THOUGH CLARE DALY I4C and MICK BARRY AAA-PBP HAD PROMISED TO SUPPORT IT. WHY WAS RECORDED VOTE NOT PRESSED BY SF ? (FG and/or FF would have had to join with the Labour Party to defeat it as SF was guaranteed c. 40 votes!!!)

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11. oconnorlysaght - June 7, 2016

Paddy, Reading your contribution from 14/04, you should remember that Connolly remarked that c19, independent or not, Ireland would not have been able to compete industrially simply because it lacked sufficient quantities of the staple minerals, coal and iron. Independence might have allowed the new state to overcome the negative results of its bourgeoisie’s attempts to lay foundations for a capitalist economy through native banking and railways; under the union, the banks exported capital and the railways emigrants and live cattle. It is possible, too, that an independent capitalist Ireland might have broken the stranglehold of the live cattle interest. (On this and the banks, I refer for further reading Conor McCabe’s ‘Sins of the Father’)
The most likely alternative history of an independent Ireland post-1800 would seem to be a Danish one, of agrarian capitalism. Whether that scenario would have been more conducive to workers’ state power than it has been in Denmark (or, indeed, in Ireland) is another matter.

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