Bloody Awful Country

When Enda Kenny was elected Taoiseach in 2011, Fine Gael waved its dick at the poorest in society and intimated that it was going to screw them. As protection it stuck the condom of the Labour Party on its tool and then set about its rapacious endeavour, robbing the poor to pay the rich.

As a safeguard measure, it worked up to a point. A substantial body of voters, feeling absolutely betrayed by the party they elected to protect them from Fine Gael, only to see Labour protect Fine Gael instead, in a rage ripped the condom to shreds. Fine Gael, while hurt, sustained nothing like the drubbing Labour took. “We got 19 per cent of the votes and 80 per cent of the blame, they complain.”

Exactly as Fine Gael planned it to be. Hence its silent motto Practice safe tax, Wear a Labour condom. 

For what it did to those it promised to protect but instead shafted, it was heartening to see Labour get the wallop it deserved. Just a pity Fine Gael was not taken down a peg or two more as well. It still looks certain to be the main party albeit with seriously clipped wings.

With about 10 seats left to be decided the election will primarily be remembered as heralding the resurrection of Fianna Fail. This society's political culture augured well for a comeback being on the cards for the party. Yet opinion polls were never favourable to it and invariably had Sinn Fein breathing down its neck and, on a bad day, pulling ahead of the Soldiers of Destiny. 

In a bid to put clear blue sea between it and the rest Sinn Fein has lumped Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail in the austerity camp, while seeking to conceal its own complicity in the austerity “attacks on working people by the Tory Government and by the Stormont Executive.” 

The outcome of the popular vote has to amount to a catastrophic failure on Sinn Fein's part to get its analysis across. Less than fourteen per cent of the electorate had sufficient confidence in it to give it a first preference. Worse, in response to the austerity parties the electorate gave the bulk of its anti-government vote to what Sinn Fein claims is another austerity party. Brendan Morley would appear to have called it right:
Sinn Fein, naturally, has already proclaimed its performance in this election as a great achievement for the party. In fact, it is anything but. Privately, they will be sorely disappointed with a result that is at the bottom of the scale of what was achievable this time around.

Thus, the second big story of the election: how underwhelming and underachieving the Sinn Fein performance actually was. Having anticipated the party to do much better I was both pleased and surprised that it failed to. It's leadership emulates Labour, believing in nothing other than office. The party will of course use the forward momentum it attained to mask the serious strategic failure. If ever there was a time to displace Fianna Fail it was now. The moment has passed. In the symbolically important year that is in it “Sinn Fein will not be in power on both sides of the Border for the 100th anniversary of the Rising”.

How a government that can politically manage a strategic state is pulled together out of the chaotic conundrum the electorate has bestowed on its elected representatives remains to be seen. 

One possibility, remote albeit because Fine Gael probably retains some principles,  is a Fine Gael-Sinn Fein coalition with a few Independents to make up the difference. Although the newly elected Sinn Fein TD, Eoin O’Broin, has moved quite forcefully to rule that out, there is a sense that he suspects that his party leader would jump into such an arrangement at the drop of a hat and has moved to cut it off at the pass. 

A coalition government of blue shirts and green shirts would be no more difficult for Sinn Fein than its participation in the North's austerity executive alongside the DUP. It does however bring back memories of what Reginald Maudling said when he ordered a drink on the plane after visiting Belfast: "For God's sake bring me a large Scotch. What a bloody awful country.”


  1. The Irish Labour Party is finding out what the liberal democrats learnt, that being in a coalition with party's of opposite views, particularly a minority party is to shoot themselves in the foot. For a Labour Party to remove health cards from Down syndrome sufferers is the lowest of the low. They. Got what they deserved.

  2. AM,
    Oh what a tangled spell we weave

    Not sure just how big a failure this is for SF. The election results would seem to imply that the degree of failure implied is not just as deep-rooted as imagined. They may not have achieved their aspirations of replacing FF, which was utopian to say the least, but they have done extremely well in taking it over 60% increase in their vote...don’t quote me on that figure though!
    They’ll absorb all on the opposition benches including any discontent among the FF faithful who will form a grand coalition with FG...anything for power and money and that is what destroyed Labour and the LibDems in Britain.
    FF called on the old guard and it responded irrespective of how much it as a party had previously screwed them and the country...a true reflection of northern political behaviour and also of Syriza in Greece!

    I think what is amazing is that besides the plethora of independents and SF, the status quo has been restored by the two main parties. The response of the people being,
    ‘Yeah, I know you shafted me and are likely to do it again and again but I’m going to vote for you because I hate those other bastards.........whoever they may be’

    May be we are ‘thick paddies’ after all?

  3. For the first time the furiously angry - and genuinely patriotic - Irish Diaspora were able to vote, and vote they did, in their tens of thousands. But who did they vote for?

  4. A spectacular failure is indeed right especially when one takes into account the level of feelings against austerity and corruption and the machination of the Right2Change machine (another massive failure).
    Only one thing is missing is that SF did not get enough seats. I would have liked to see how tempted they would have been with the possibility of a coalition with FF. Alas that option is out, I think and it leaves SF able to pontificate about keeping their promise of not going into a coalition as a minority partner or propping up an austerity party.

    Have a listen to Padraig McLochlainn and David Cullinane in today's RTE Interesting isn't it, the spin one puts on things. And they are off again talking about how left they are and about Right2Change and giving out about people attacking them, people not being honest, not being responsible. Can anyone tell me who are the 2 spokespersons referring to when they say that there are some on the left who do not want to be in government? That's kind of rhetorical because I think I know who they are talking about. You know I firmly believe SF did not want to be in government but want to be the main opposition. Usually it's the one who first shouts about farting is the one who did it.
    It is a spectacular failure also because people in the 'South' or the 26 counties do not know SF tract record both past and present.

  5. There is a sense that he suspects that his party leader would jump into such an arrangement at the drop of a hat and has moved to cut it off at the pass.

    Just love to read this.

    Annabel, UK