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Independent… 1 April 12, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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One particularly interesting aspect of the current government formation processes is the way in which so many Independent TDs have been highly visible in the process. This, of course, is expedient – it counters charges that they are irrelevant (Fine Gael’s kind and unilateral offer of inclusion of them in an FG/FF partnership government also is on harm). But note the way in which centripetal forces have functioned. Simply put both the Independent Alliance, and arguably to a great degree, and the ‘rural’ TDs have developed and maintained an identity as groups. Indeed the latter have even brought on, as a sort of sidebar, the Healy-Rae’s – who, whatever their ideological approaches are two of the shrewdest individuals in Irish politics. This means that in effect 11 or so individual Independent TDs have been involved from the off with one or two more orbiting the process from somewhat further out.

One can entirely disagree with them doing so while acknowledging that this will do them absolutely no harm at all at the next election. You wanted relevant, you wanted people who would fight for your corner, well, you got it. And we’ll be as ‘responsible’ next time out. One can almost write the texts of the radio and television interviews.

Moreover since blame is accreting to Fianna Fáil primarily, though FG isn’t getting away free on this one either, they come out of it looking particularly well.

Perhaps this is simply testament to the fact that centre right independents now have considerable political weight. There’s fourteen of them (I’m counting both Halligan and F. McGrath in). I could included one or two more who are functionally of a mind with this. But more important – I think – is the fact they’re working in concert and within two fairly easily defined groups that are clearly able to make some common cause with one another.

It’s telling, perhaps, that on paper there are about 11, possibly 12 or thirteen ‘left’ independents and smaller party TDs, excluding the SDs and the GP. And yet due to the fissiparous nature of their allegiances as well as – again correctly – not being involved in these processes, their voices are near enough absent in the broader narrative.

If all this ends in tears, if matters turn particularly ugly between FG and FF the left independents and others will have the satisfaction of saying how pointless it all was, and that may play well. The centre right independents will also be able to say that they did the best they could.

Difficult to see them not returning in numbers next time out, however soon it is.

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