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Imagine a rather different coalition government… December 6, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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…for that is what a piece in the current edition of the Phoenix points to. In the course of a profile of Brendan Howlin (rather hostile to put it mildly) it casts a cold eye on an interview he had in the Irish Times where…

…he told how Labour had ditched the ‘ludicrous idea’ of another coalition with FG, omitting to mention that Howlin, Burton and Kelly had rushed to accept Enda Kenny’s offer of two cabinet places (Burton and Howlin, natch) plus Kelly as a super junior. Only an outraged membership in these minsters’ constituencies booed a move that could have proved terminal for the oldest political party in Ireland.

I’d heard rumours about that offer but never taken it entirely seriously, and yet it makes sense, not merely because it appears it existed in something a bit more tangible than simple political musings. For Kenny it would have delivered seven TDs immediately to the fold. He might well have had the chance to be a bit more selective about the independent components in his government of all the talents.

But for Labour? It would have been a massive gamble after the loss it suffered this year. The greatest impediment to them would be the simple fact that the government would be unstable, likely to last much less than a five year term, hardly enough time to solidify their political identity after the catastrophe, let alone reap any rewards for being in government (again!). Though I’ve always felt that there’s an odd disconnect between the line they had that participation in 2011-16 was necessary in the national interest. Is it not necessary today? Perhaps not.

And look at how the government actually is today, its support neither decreasing nor increasing. Hard not to think that it would have been too easy to paint it as same old same old were the LP there. And all that stuff about the ‘new politics’ which I presume none of us find at all credible would be even more threadbare.

Still, easy to see how for some it would make sense.

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