I’ve held off from commenting on the increasingly likely government partnership between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in the hopes that something more substantial might become available than last Wednesday’s wafer-thin policy framework document. Long on aspiration, short on detail, the twenty-four page publication read more like a feel-good Instagram post than a manifesto for future government. Hence the derision in some press quarters and pretty much across the entirety of Irish social media with even elected representatives from both parties expressing scepticism or outright embarrassment about the discussion document. Pearse Doherty was undoubtedly correct when he observed that if Sinn Féin had published a similar free-for-all manifesto they would have been ““laughed out of it”. A criticism echoed by Stephen Collins in the Irish Times as the doughty defender of the overclass uncharacteristically turned his ire on the parties of the right.
So, the likelihood is that we will have a Fianna Fáil-led administration within a few weeks, fulfilling the desperate desire by Micheál Martin not to go down in history as the first FF leader never to be Taoiseach. And being of a cynical frame of mind I suspect that this ambition is just as much a factor in the ongoing negotiations as anything else. The question now is, what do we do Varadkar and Coveney? And will Eamon Ryan, the posterboy of eco-neoliberlism in Ireland, overcome the reluctance of the Green Party membership to put an environmentally-friendly gloss on a conservative government, thus fulfilling his own ambitions for a return to the “perks and mercs” of high office?
The absence of substance along with the absence of a majority of TDs in the manifesto and pact suggests that Leo is toying with FF, hoping to keep increasing in the polls and then have another election once COVID is “handled”. Michael the frog and Leo the scorpion in the old tale.
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A bit like New Labour and Old Tories in the UK.
Two cheeks from the same arse in the current new liberal Ireland. But people want change and this coalition will not bring it. They’ve both had ample opportunity to do so and haven’t.
A proper national health service. The building of good social housing for rent. A fairer more equitable distribution of wealth creation. That’s what’s needed. But Coronavirus May play a huge hand in what is to come in the not too distant future.
Across the water, the UK economy is wrecked. Deciding to sacrifice a few old on a deeply flawed herd immunity strategy where the government deliberately allowed the virus to spread whilst telling people through mass advertising that they were well prepared to deal with the virus has turned a crisis into a disaster.
With the UK in continuing lock down, for at least another three weeks, and possibly even more the economy dies as surely as the death toll rises. With the so called great financial power that the U.K. is supposed to be unable to secure sufficient personal protection equipment for front line doctors and nurses, the future is grim. And concealing the death toll through not declaring all those who have died outside hospital will do nothing to hide the trajectory of the country.
Spreading the virus was their policy. And spread it they did. But for Ireland it unfortunately has this plague nation on its doorstep and it will drag Ireland down too.
Yes change is coming and I don’t think the future is going to be bright for new liberal parties – even a Irish one’s, and certainly not British ones.
‘Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalized, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community”.- Aneurin Bevanl
SF results was a wake up call, they are flashing the cash and so far it appears to have bumped up the approval ratings for FG, watch and see