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Mission impossible – FF and FG in coalition… May 18, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Ed and IEL have some thoughts here which I think dovetail with the following post…

 

Tom McGurk suggests in the SBP at the weekend that FF and FG should enter coalition. Why so? Because the current arrangements are impotent, that there’s a ‘price being paid’ in relation to issues like water charges and because participation of independent ministers has led to their indifference to ‘the disciplines of cabinet government’. And then, of course, there’s Brexit. We’ll always have Brexit.

And the EU, we’ll always have the EU, for McGurk…

What makes the sense of a FG/FF coalition so compelling is the fact that after 40 odd years in Europe the power of the Dáil is hugely circumscribed. Essentially it is an EU implementation and monitoring committee, a part of the determined EU political devolutionary project that has effectively ended all concepts of national parliamentary sovereignty.

This latter argument is so wide of the mark that it’s impossible to take seriously. If McGurk genuinely believes that then his grasp of Irish politics, indeed European politics, is minimal. But it is in such stark contradiction with the rest of his piece – and blatantly so, that it makes no sense. If the Dáil is just a rubber stamp then what possible difference would an FG/FF coalition make in relation to any issue at all? It could make none. There would not be an ounce of sense in the idea. Yet he writes a column near enough demanding it.

Or is it that he is, as usual, exaggerating wildly in regard to the lack of sovereignty that EU membership represents? Sure could!

And by the by, just on sovereignty, and this is addressed elsewhere here this week, what about that sovereignty. The British decision to leave the EU and all the negative effects which even he is forced to accept will follow on from that might just offer a hint of a clue as to why untrammelled national sovereignty is a potentially hugely damaging thing to smaller states when exercised by large and powerful states even if only indirectly. But of course to admit that would be to accept that some constraints on national sovereignty may actually be worthwhile. And he cannot do that.

Anyhow, be that as it may be. There’s obvious reasons why FF and FG will do all they can to avoid coalition – he himself in the piece notes that this is about ‘maintaing the old political structures’. But it’s more than that because the confidence and supply arrangement is not the old politics. Or anything like it. So there’s no ‘maintaining’ them. Rather it’s a case of hoping that normal service will be resumed soon.

And, from their perspective, it makes sense. Two centre right parties offers two career paths, two centres of power, and power in perpetuity, with little instability. Business as usual is business as usual and there’s a lot of people invested in that. Much better therefore to allow for the possibility that in two years or five or ten they’ll be back competing against one another, that the current period is just a blip, an inconvenience. And keep in mind that no other party has led a coalition in the history of this state, no other party has been larger than at least one of them… that’s a staggering thought. Only the LP came close and even there FG forged way ahead of it. And how often was the LP larger than at least one of them? Only once. The same occasion.

So no, they will do everything including dealing with one another directly to ensure that their virtual duopoly on power in this state is sustained into the future. Why would they do otherwise?

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