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A Fianna Fáil mudguard… July 10, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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SonofStan brought up a thought last week about the present government, that perhaps Fianna Fáil in its current much reduced state might provide the mudguard to both Fine Gael and the Green Party. And it makes sense. Fianna Fáil is under serious pressure at the polls. It has arrived at the head of the government within a bizarre self-inflicted cloud of disgruntlement, and given the broader circumstances of pandemic and economic crisis, unappealing entitlement. The sense of a steady hand on the tiller is all but absent. Worse again this stands in stark contrast to the example of Fine Gael (at least up to the last month or so when business and media interests appeared to be placing huge pressures on the administration to reopen). Micheál Martin is a curiously anonymous figure, telling to hear on a recent IT podcast after he had become Taoiseach, someone mentioning the Taoiseach in relation to the former incumbent, and then having to hastily correct themselves.

All this will pass, no doubt. But pass to where? What new troubles will appear for Fianna Fáil? And some of it won’t pass – ambitious and thwarted figures on the back benches are going nowhere, the sense that the party is in government by the skin of its teeth may not dissipate. The unsteadiness of the first weeks may come to characterise matters.

And there’s that fundamental political weakness. I referenced this last week in relation to polling research by Kevin Cunningham which shows that Sinn Féin primarily, and Fine Gael to a lesser degree, have appropriated much of Fianna Fáil’s vote. Putting aside unwise and avoidable slips like the Storey funeral where a certain partition mentality may in fact work to SF’s benefit, how much of that vote is likely to return to FF? This FF?

Which leads one back to SoS’s point about FF being the mudguard. Fine Gael appears to have found a larg(ish) and broad based vote. The Green Party has the numbers to emerge from government with TDs remaining in situ unlike 2011, particularly if it can demonstrate that it has succeeded in implementing core areas of its programme. But Fianna Fáil is in a much more perilous situation and even having the position of leading the government may not do it much good. After all Fine Gael didn’t exactly excel earlier this year. There’s a long way to go. But add to this one other aspect. Fine Gael, all things going to plan, return to lead the administration halfway through its term. What is the psychology of that, in political terms, with FF now the subsidiary entity in the government? Two or more years so for FF to sharpen up its act. The start hasn’t exactly been great.

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1. sonofstan - July 10, 2020

You have to say, FG have manouvred skillfully through this – they’ve retained control of all outward-facing ministries, so that the cast that people in the UK and EU meet has barely changed apart from the taoiseach. Coveney, Paschal in his new role, and presumably Varadkar’s portfolio will involve lots of cosy chats with potential FDIs. Whereas FF has saddled themselves with health and housing, the two things that decimated the FG vote way back when. The impression the outside world will get is that the grown-ups are in charge, and they can shake their collective head regretfully at FF: ‘inexperienced’, ‘not really up to it’ etc. before Leo is restored end of ’22 (a somewhat ominous date…..)
Looks as if the party that needs to step up to ‘senior hurling’ isn’t necessarily the Greens. Though I wouldn’t put it past them to screw it up either. Heard Catherine Martin on the radio yesterday and, while she sounds like a marginal improvement on ER, it wasn’t inspiring.

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EWI - July 10, 2020

A Green member of government popping up in the first couple of days to announce that methane emissions are now ‘not important’ is deeply concerning. The capture of the Green Party by the elected parliamentary faction (to their own career ambitions) does smack of a path that is familiar and should be most unwelcome to activists.

There was a very good interview with Lorna Brogue about the widening tensions with the Greens on Tony Grove’s podcast the other day:

https://tortoiseshack.ie/a-green-mudguard-with-cllr-lorna-bogue-ep-317/

Liked by 1 person

2. Alibaba - July 10, 2020

‘… polling research by Kevin Cunningham which shows that Sinn Féin primarily, and Fine Gael to a lesser degree, have appropriated much of Fianna Fáil’s vote.’

You bet. The Fine Gael grabs may go anywhere post-Covid-19-pandemic. Sinn Féin in a formidable Opposition. It has gobbled up Labour and Fianna Fáil votes in the past and is out to get much more of it. Leftists who don’t come together in a new united formation should take note.

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3. irishelectionliterature - July 10, 2020

The lack of discipline within FF has been unreal. It’s all about them (and their disappointed communities) . As someone said to me during the week it was meant to be the Greens that would be the ones to bring instability!. Plus if that Cowen leak story is correct there is going to be some serious internal party bloodletting.
The catch all nature of FF has meant that they stand for lot’s of things to different people. Looking at the Government you can see the Greens got a lot of what they wanted, FG got a lot of what they wanted and FF got to hold the office of Taoiseach.
Already there are signs of various factions at play. There’s those disappointed with what job they got, those outraged at getting nothing, ordinary backbenchers and then he likes of McGuinness, O’Callaghan and O’Cuiv.
Then having the Health portfolio…. foreign travel, quarantine for visitors are going to become massive issues in the coming weeks. It’s Donnelly that has to make the decisions and Martin that has to communicate them. From talking to various people, they’re very wary of tourists coming here, especially from the UK and the US. If there is an outbreak related to that and any form of redoing the lockdown than FF will suffer. Varadkar and Harris no doubt got things wrong but there was an element of public trust in what they were doing and they communicated very well with the public. Coming out of the lockdown is a much harder thing to manage and it’s FF that are seen as managing it.
The next poll will be very interesting.

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sonofstan - July 10, 2020

“Looking at the Government you can see the Greens got a lot of what they wanted, FG got a lot of what they wanted and FF got to hold the office of Taoiseach”

It’s like that joke Zizek told a million times. Comrade explaining why the societ system was the best of all worlds:
“from capitalism we took the technology, from fascism the model of the state, from social democracy, the welfare system”

And what did you take from communism?

“the name”

Liked by 1 person

EWI - July 10, 2020

The lack of discipline within FF has been unreal

I’m assuming that foremost to thr mind here has been an awareness that for many (and likely the party itself) this is the last gasp at being a major partner in government – and therefore getting those career-apex minsterial positions.

When the principles have departed, personal ambition is all that’s left (see also, E. Ryan).

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roddy - July 10, 2020

I always regarded O’Cuiv as being essentially decent.

Liked by 1 person

Liberius - July 10, 2020

So “essentially decent” he was submitting written questions like these to the Minister of Health during an ****ing pandemic!

Éamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)

621. To ask the Minister for Health when the temporary measures he introduced as part of his response to the Covid-19 pandemic in relation to doctors being allowed to prescribe abortion pills after a teleconference with a patient rather than a physical visit, as required heretofore, will be rescinded in view of the reduction of pressure of work on general practitioners in recent weeks and the assurance by general practitioners to all patients that it is safe to visit their general practitioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8125/20]

Éamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)

622. To ask the Minister for Health the medical advice given to him before he changed the regulations in relation to the need for a physical visit to a doctor before abortion pills could be prescribed, which he said was in response to the changed circumstances due to Covid-19; who gave this advice; whether he is willing to publish the advice given to him on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8126/20]

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roddy - July 10, 2020

Yes O’Cuiv is conservative on social issues but he was never afraid to champion the cause of those suffering miscarriages of justice etc when many “liberals” sided with the RUC and their ilk.

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Liberius - July 10, 2020

Some of us have slightly more demanding standards for what constitutes “essentially decent” that extend to not trying to undermine the ability of people to access basic healthcare during an ongoing crisis, those questions are dated the 27th of May, it’s not ancient history, there were 68 new cases and 16 deaths reported on that day.

Liked by 1 person

4. irishelectionliterature - July 10, 2020

I see Ken McFadden has been doing media interviews about the Thomas Byrne allegation. Going to be some weekend for FF

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sonofstan - July 10, 2020

Natural party of government, eh?

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irishelectionliterature - July 10, 2020

It’s a crazy situation, Martin can’t really sack him for it but he’ll be lucky to have any non family canvassers at the next election, that’s assuming he got through a selection convention.
Fun weekend ahead!

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tomasoflatharta - July 10, 2020

I doubt Mr McFadden will ever get a ministerial driver job!

Liked by 1 person

5. CL - July 13, 2020

“This is not just the chronic indiscipline that Fianna Fáil TDs have displayed in opposition; it is the every-man-for-himself behaviour of a pack of looters.”-Pat Leahy
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/pat-leahy-fianna-f%C3%A1il-acting-like-a-circular-firing-squad-1.4301652

Liked by 1 person

6. Alibaba - July 13, 2020

The latest twist in the Cowen controversy about whether he evaded a Garda is gripping. Cowen objects to “this incorrect record and am taking steps under the Data Protection Act to have it corrected.”. If he can correct this record, anybody can correct a record. That’s a dangerous precedent. The issue isn’t just disclosure of a leak, rather it is also about evidence and how it gets dealt with. 

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