A generation of Independents may be on the way out… November 7, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
The thought struck me recently that some of the independents may be on their last lap. Now this isn’t due to their wanting it to be, but consider that a raft of them have been in the Dáil two, in some instances three or more terms. And age wise a number of them are reaching their mid to late sixties.
Those who have achieved government office are in a peculiar situation. It has always seemed to me that once a politician arrives at that point often they seem to lose interest subsequently in the cut and thrust of parliamentary politics. And while it is far from inconceivable that – for example – the Independent Alliance, were it returned in any numbers, would join an FF-led coalition, there’s also the prospect that voters may inflict some damage on its ranks.
So roughly put, it is not difficult to see at least four or five in this category, and perhaps many more. And at the election after that there’s more again. This winnowing of the ranks has intriguing ramifications.
What is particularly interesting is the question as to who replaces those TDs? Is it FF or SF or other independents? Who is best positioned to do so? And there’s the question as to which of these independents has been encouraging successors? If there’s one thing that experience suggests it is that independents are far from great in doing that particular exercise.
And much depends on whether the independent ‘brand’ has been damaged or enhanced by one tranche of them entering government. It has been noted here before that no more can it be said that independents ‘do nothing’. Some clearly have had an appetite to do something – though to what purpose it is still far too soon to tell. Or are independents so diverse that they can, as it were, function as a sort of short hand for the electorate, radical, conservative, active in government or opposition, left wing, right wing, ‘centrist’? All the above? And therefore seeing them as a homogenous unit is completely incorrect, more they are a shifting mass that has many different and contradictory aspects that are defined more by their immediate location and orientation than by a broader dynamic?
That could be quite a strength in the future.
And the oddity of the polls is that the hit taken by Independents in general has been much lesser than might have been expected. This dovetails with a thought that was put to me by someone that this government is utterly characterless, that it raises no strong passions either for or against. The person I was talking to wondered if this was a function of a lack of interest, or rather a disillusion, with politics. That after a decade of turbulence people were fed up, particularly as in Leinster the economy is improving. That said there’s a lot more to this state than Leinster.
Do others here have that perception?