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That alternative coalition waiting in the wings… June 23, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

It’s intriguing to me that talking to various people and reading the Phoenix there is a sense that the Labour Party (and some would say, though the Phoenix doesn’t mention them, the Social Democrats as well) are limbering up to work with Fianna Fáil at the nearest available opportunity. Still, perhaps that’s not so likely. Fianna Fáil may increase their number of TDs to the sixties, though at this point there’s no evidence at all that they’re breaking free of the mid-20s in percentages. As to the Social Democrats perhaps one seat extra, perhaps two. But three or four? Hard to see. So say they’ve five or so TDs. What of Labour. This is particularly interesting because their cohort in the Dáil are not in the first flush of youth. Or the second flush either, or the third. Indeed there’s only two TDs who are under 59 years of age, that’s Sean Sherlock at 43 and Alan Kelly at 40. Now given how difficult it was for some of the Labour Party cohort to even make it into the Dáil, and granted that might change, one would have to wonder at their broad electability. I don’t see any of the rest necessarily hanging up their spurs quite yet. And particularly not if there’s an election in the next two years. But then, given the LPs ratings they’d better not. Frankly the LP is doing abysmally. There are the younger guns in the Seanad. But they are refugees from hyper-competitive constituencies where SF (and perhaps the further left) are well placed for seats ahead of them. Maybe all will be well there. Maybe not.

So, let’s take a rain check. FF on 60. The LP on… say 7 or 8 on a good day, a very good day for them. The SDs on 5 or 6. 74 at best. 6 short of an overall majority. Now I know we’re in a new phase – or so we are told regularly. The ‘new politics’ and all that. But… I’m a sceptical soul and I wonder whether that new politics will last all the way to the next election. And that being the case who would work with this wondrous new government?

Or would we see matters flip with FF in the FG position in government but only partly in power? But that being the case wouldn’t it be easier for FF to forge a government with the independents? Indeed FG might find it easier to support them in that instance.

And as the Phoenix notes, an LP recovery is likely going to take a lot longer than two years.

But lest we take too much pleasure in FF and FG’s woes, it’s worth noting that there’s no clear alternative – not even a ‘left-led’ coalition, in the offing. SF is likely to make some gains, though if it is still mired at 17% come the next election there may be questions as to whether it has hit a ceiling – and whether even a change in the leadership can see it push through that ceiling. All others are as all others are. Doing reasonably well, but nowhere near close to challenging for state power.

Indeed one could make a case that we remain stuck in a political environment where power will continue to be passed between FG and FF into the forseeable future with a good deal of churn beyond those parties, but no entities coming close to doing more than, at best, share power, with the larger parties.

The more things change… etc.


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