Are the wheels about to come off the new multiparty coalition government before it can even trundle out of the garage? Things are looking difficult for the spindly tricycle hammered together by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens. The much diminished Legion of the Rearguard in FF, championed by the likes of Éamon Ó Cuív and a handful of well-known grassroots’ veterans, has come out in opposition to the draft deal with the support of an even smaller cadre of members more concerned about their future electoral prospects than betraying the party’s republican past. The ghosts of Civil War and the potential for Sinn Féin to annex the political ground lost – or wilfully abandoned – by Fianna Fáil are the concerns exercising the dissidents more than anything else.
Fine Gael members on the other hand seem rather more at ease with the possibility of an imminent partnership with the old foe. While some disquiet is still being expressed within the party there is also a certain degree of smugness at the thought of the Corner Boys coming cap in hand to the door of the Big House. Some of the more historically conscious Blueshirts fancy themselves as modern-day Treatyites feeding the Free State soup to the Soldiers of Destiny by enticing them into a collaborative administration. Even if that means splitting party politics in the country along far more explicit socio-economic lines rather than the blurry right-wing Christian democratic “nationalism” versus centre-right populist “republicanism” that has dominated events in Dáil Éireann for the last ninety years.
If the now diminished big beasts of Irish politics are having a few hiccups in selling the would-be deal to their cubs, some in the Green Party are looking positively nauseous at the thoughts of becoming the minority partner in the proposed Establishment lashup. While the GP leadership and much of the Oireachtas grouping has no such qualms the newer and in most cases considerably younger membership are finding the suggested administration and its bare-boned retread policies far less appealing. Will the possibility of status and influence calm their nerves? It’s remarkable what bitter pills can be swallowed when the prospect of a seat at the top table of a semi-state agency is on offer.
Meanwhile, a taster of what an “Official Ireland Government Inc.” might bring us in the months and years ahead (assuming it survives beyond the autumn) from the Oirish Mirror:
Micheal Martin is facing a battle for the soul of Fianna Fail to fulfil his dream of becoming Taoiseach – amid sinister claims that “Russian bots” are involved in trying to derail the deal.
Opposition in the party to the historic coalition with Fine Gael and the Greens has gathered pace after a disastrous poll showed it at just 14 percent support among voters.
An online group, ‘Fairer Future’ – claiming to have the support of 50 of the party councillors and 1,000 members – is actively campaigning against the agreement.
One of the TDs who helped negotiate the deal has now claimed Twitter accounts based in Russia were seeking to influence the debate.
“It is being retweeted by ‘Russian bots’ which is absolutely extraordinary in the internal affairs of a political party in this country.”
This of course is absolute bollocks. However its also indicative of a party that once marched selflessly on the high road to the republic but long ago took to skulking around some self-serving boreens.
Perhaps if Ireland used that wicked, old fashioned and undemocratic First Past the Post System, it wouldn’t have taken 4½ months for the bus to arrive.
In the long run I think proportional representation is makes for better government. It might be frustrating but I wouldn’t trust greater power to any single political party or electoral phenomenon. If a party has sufficient support it can still win a majority. We used to have (not saying their politics were any good) fairly stable majority governments.
I think the delay was more to do with Covid-19 and politicians avoiding responsibility than STVPR. As soon as the restrictions eased and all “looked” sunny on the pandemic front, boom, real talks and real progress to coalition government.
As to which preventative would fix things if this situation between more common? Since the ROI went with a Presidency that’s a “Referee” type-a middle ground between a Paper Constitutional Monarch and a French style system- could there be circumstances where the President is allowed to set a firm timeline? Say if they can’t form a government in a reasonable time the President can within certain parameters decide on a coalition (like an arranged marriage!!) and pick a Taoiseach and say, “If you can’t agree to something else within two weeks, this is what it’s going to be”. Of course, the President would have to abide by a formula such as drawing the Taoiseach from the party with the most seats, and picking a coalition according to some set of rules, rather than “whatever the President wants”.
It seems to me there could be a lot of such fixes for a slow coalition.
Yes. Because as history demonstrates conclusively, the quickest solution is always the best.
Why just look at the UK? They are doing wonderfully from their first-past-the-post system. Their experience with Corona is on a par with that of New Zealand and they are easily forging ahead with international trade treaties in time for leaving the EU with no deal in January. Their prospects are bright!
yeah, right the UK system from the 18th Century and cuts out millions of voters ,UKIP 2010 came third in terms of votes with 12.6%, but won only one seat, AfD got the same and are the o opposition in Germany no time for both of them .UK Independent reported that under PR the result would have been a hung Parliament :
Boris Johnson would have been denied a majority in parliament if the UK had used the voting system adopted for European parliament polls at the general election, new research shows.
Analysis of results by the Electoral Reform Society shows the Conservatives would have won 77 fewer seats under the regional list proportional representation method of voting.
While Labour would have won 10 more seats and the Greens another 11, the Liberal Democrats would have been the biggest beneficiaries by taking 59 more seats.
The proportional representation system used in our European parliament elections would have left the Tories with only 288 seats, the largest party in a hung parliament – leaving open the possibility of a “rainbow” coalition government.
But it did not take 4½ months to give birth to twins. The English of course love the sudden death system: their PMs are mostly out within 24 hours chastened and humiliated. The brave leave by the front entrance, the wimps by the rear. The English have never lost their taste for public executions.
ok, so it didn’t take 4.5 months but I mean, so what? I believe that is unprecedented in Irish history. But not in the wider European and global community.
Faster isn’t usually better, well unless it’s Patton pretending to rescue the 101st, but as is the case here taking a longer time doesn’t always guarantee superior outcomes either.
But when the results came in, the die was cast and the interregnum was more about FF/FG coming to terms with reality.
I can tell you, comparing both systems: Ratio of voters to Representative; Multi-seat constituencies; PR; Written constitution which still has the right to silence in custody, unlike the UK. I got to go with the Republic, flaws and all. The UK is a nightmare by comparison.
There are numerous ways in all styles of Republic to make it so a government is formed within a week or two of the newly elected taking their offices-regardless of election cycle. One is you can simply have one of many formulas as to what the coalition is going to be based on the numbers….it’s decided with the final election results so nothing has to be agreed on. The government is decided and it’s on them to make it work. Another is to define the government by the presence of said offices, not who happens to hold them, a Prime Minister can be elected by simple majority or the choice of the party with the most seats (selected before election) with or without any coalition agreements. Or you can put a time limit saying if they don’t pick a coalition within two weeks of taking up their appointed offices, the President, or a pre-appointed Third Party gets to make the decision.
If new cabinet members are not selected promptly the old cabinet simply stays until the new one is selected. Any style of Republic can set up so they don’t need to form a coalition at all to have all the offices and cabinet filled and have the government up and running. There are plenty of ways to do it.
The sky has fallen Grace: we agree on something at last!
That russiaphobic nonsense seems to be the line of first and last resort for neolibs across the Atlantic sphere points to a common authority immune to ideas of national self determination. The blueshirts were always potential Quislings in waiting, but I have little faith that any of their proposed collaborators have a single spinal disk between them.
You’re taking it well, ASF. 😂
LOL! Aren’t I just! Well, politics is my sport, so I’m enjoying it. But a Continuity State government for another 4 years makes my skin crawl. At least it has put a proper right-left split in the politics of the country. And put to bed any nonsense about FF and FG being different parties. In the future they’ll be like those rival Continental parties of the right that take chunks out of each come come election time but will immediately hop back into government with each other as soon as the counting is all over.
My only hope is that Leo pulls the plug early if the expected FF bounce fails to materialise and FG holds onto most of its high polling.
Covid-19 delayed the formation of a new government because nobody wanted to be tainted with the hard decisions.
Now Covid-19 is preventing FG from benefiting from the high polling to go to the country and possibly gain a majority slot in government.
The parable about the frog and the scorpion springs to mind. I am already visualizing MM’s look of bewildered betrayal when Leo deftly slides the knife in between his ribs.
When the vaccine arrives Leo will declare that the unity govt to deal with the pandemic and economic crisis has failed and we need elections. But you are right, only if the polling remains the same. Which, c’mon, it’s likely to despite the 346 deaths per million failure and myriad other failures of the FG/FF lashup.