Fear of an election? May 24, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
One of the reasons TDs wanted Howlin to take over without a long internal debate is the belief among many of them that the Government is not going to last more than a few months and they need to be ready for an election at any time.
Three thoughts strike me. First that they may be right in that respect – it certainly would be sensible to treat this Dáil term as an extended pre-election period. Though, whether anyone is going to go very soon is more open to question giving the state of the polls. Secondly that they’re remarkably optimistic for a party who did so poorly last time out that matters would change in the interim – particularly given their polling numbers are decreasing yet further. Thirdly, that oddly enough a contest with Kelly and Howlin going head to head might actually have been useful for them in terms of redefining the LP. Of course, it might not, but one thing that seems to me reasonably certain is that for the LP the issue is to change the narrative in relation to the party. Part of that process is making the last government seem like then, rather than a little before now – and that is a distinction with meaning.
The problem is that Alan Kelly seems even more wedded to the record of that government than might be expected. So perhaps an Alan Kelly LP would be all about the then. Not that a Howlin LP is going to be much different. It was genuinely remarkable to see Kevin Humphrey’s being so loyal to Jobbridge. When the SBP amongst others is saying that the scheme is tilted too much towards employers who are exploiting those on it, well, these things are clues.
One interesting aspect of the Kelly debacle was the sense of entitlement that came from that quarter. Another was the rather entertaining fact that others had been elected under precisely the same system and no complaint had been raised by him, or his colleagues, as regards the way it worked. I tend to the view that if an organisation has a structure and processes that are broadly agreed by its members then it is near pointless to complain if they are worked as they can be. A more useful question is to ask why the supposed of alternative of Kelly appears to be no alternative at all and what that tells us about the situation of the LP today.
I don’t know if this will hobble Howlin in the future, is it too much like inside baseball to resonate negatively further afield? But it is telling perhaps that long before last week a narrative regarding his wish to be elected without a contest had already been established (Phoenix, if I recall correctly, had something on this). But in a way, and this is another aspect that is important to keep in mind, it doesn’t matter. The LP is largely irrelevant in this Dáil. What Howlin can do to alter that state of affairs remains difficult to discern.