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Two years since Election 2016 February 27, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

As Noel Whelan reminded us in an article in the IT last week. And Whelan makes a number of interesting points having considered the polls in the subsequent period up to now. He argues that FG is well ahead of FF but that it is not in a position to gamble all on returning a number significant enough to do away with the current arrangement. FF is nowhere near the numbers for an overall majority, or even a reverse confidence and supply agreement. SF under McDonald has yet to manifest a serious upward tick in support, and all others aren’t in the picture for government formation.

His conclusion:

In reality Varadkar is as likely to surge further in a campaign as he is to slip. Much will depend on the circumstances in which that election is called. It is difficult to see, however, how he or his party could do well enough to remove the need for dependence on another confidence and supply arrangements.
The polls suggest there is currently no rational political reason why either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael should want an election at this stage.

Interestingly, the Phoenix takes a different view in the latest edition (as always well worth a read), arguing that Fine Gael want to precipitate an election as soon as possible, though the timeline the Phoenix points to, around the next Budget in the Autumn or early in 2019, seems quite a long way away. For the Phoenix FG is eager to run to the country. For Whelan it isn’t.

I suspect that the reality is perhaps between those two points. And one has to factor in the increase in FF’s poll support in the RedC/SBP poll at the weekend. That’s only one poll, and yet, were that to be sustained…

The entertaining thing is that in the last two years I have heard incessantly how at a point generally fixed on three months from wherever one is there will be an election – that FG will call it or FF conspire to make it happen in order that they get a majority. That some of those who tell me this in earnest tones are themselves candidates is telling. But none of it is particularly convincing. My feeling from the off was that once a government deal was cobbled together the chances were it would survive at least one or possibly two budgets, and actually the longer it survived the more likely it was to keep on surviving.

Before Christmas it seemed to me almost unbelievable that there would be an actual collapse of the government and election that would run into the Christmas period. It just did not make political sense – and those who then claimed once that crisis was resolved that it would be in the early New Year were no more convincing.

Those of us who cast our minds back to 2010/11 will remember all too well how frantically the then government sought to retain power. That’s the thing. For all the stuff about increased majorities and so on the reality is that once in situ politicians are generally happy to coast until the next election. And that government that fell in 2011 was surely one of the most precarious arrangements on record. So no surprise that this one which has FF locked in too, albeit externally, is moving along quite happily. It certainly doesn’t feel like an administration on its last legs or only extant at the gift of FF. Anything but. I wonder now do Martin etc regret not pushing for a second election in 2016. Perhaps, but they too must recognise that that might only have led to an utterly enraged electorate who were all too happy for the political parties sort out matters.

As it stands – and again events excepted, unless the polls showed a strong consistent lead opening up, and even then, I’d put some money on its surviving another year at least. Which brings us neatly into local and EU election territory. And after that…


1. Daire O'Criodain - February 27, 2018

To be fair, at least part of the reason why the FF/Green coalition held on so long in the run up to the 2011 election was that its members faced the prospect not just of going out of government but also the worst seat massacre in Irish elections since 1918…… Hard to see present incumbents risking devastation on any similar scale.


WorldbyStorm - February 27, 2018

That is an excellent point which I should have factored in. Still if you were FF with variable polls or even Fg the guarantee of positive outcomes – well let’s say it is mixed at this point – both should hold what they have and see increased numbers but they will need a bit more for an actual ‘tide’ so on the individual level… and of course the other thought is too nakedly an obvious contrived collapse by either could seriously rebound. So yeah the fear was indeed a much greater factor in 2010-11 but no slam dunk quite yet. That said if FG crept up to 35/6 I think all bets off. What’s your thought s on that?


2. Dermot O Connor - February 28, 2018

The MLM boost when/if it comes will squeeze FF and Labour, moreso than FG. The likelihood of SF bleeding a few % off of FF in particular is well worth the wait.


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