So they made it!! After 70 days finally a new government has been elected when on Friday Enda Kenny (Fine Gael) was re-elected as the Taoiseach.
It is called a “minority government” that is tolerated by Fianna Fail and supported by some of the Independent TDs. When the Taoiseach got elected, the Fianna Fail TDs abstained and therefore a handful of Independents was enough for Enda Kenny to get the majority.
Odd that Micheal Martin didn’t want to be in power since it was offered to him to be part of the government through a coalition. But the reason why Micheal Martin’s Fianna Fail didn’t want to get involved and form a Grand Coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail is because they were worried that the electors would punish them for it in the next elections. In recent elections the smaller coalition partner (i.e. Greens and Labour) was always blamed more for a screw up of the government than the dominating party and Micheal Martin didn’t want to risk that.
So the solution was a to tolerate a minority Fine Gael government. But does that REALLY change the situation?
Is Fianna Fail now NOT part of the government and will they by innocent if Enda Kenny does a bad job?? Actually NOT AT ALL!! This is really a coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, just with the odd configuration that Fianna Fail will not contribute in a positive way in the day to day running of the country.
Why do I call it a coalition? Well, if you sit down with the other party for days and negotiate a “deal” that will last for three years, during which Fianna Fail will support whatever Fine Gael does then you can’t claim anymore that you are innocent! It is like standing next to someone who commits a criminal act and not doing anything. You will NOT get away with your “I had nothing to do with it!” claim.
So this new government is a Grand Coalition, just not by name! And if Enda Kenny screws up and Fianna Fail won’t stop him because they promised to support him for 3 years, then Fianna Fail will also have to be appropriately punished for it! Don’t fall for Micheal Martin’s trick!
Tonight’s Leader’s Debate on RTE1 was the first I saw live. (The other two I saw only partially.) …and I was not impressed with the future Taoiseach.
Enda Kenny did NOT know his facts, he was aloof, arrogant, not in the slightest passionate and – like a broken record – talks about his 5-point plan constantly. The guy on TV tonight is definitely not want as my “leader”.
Having said that, Micheal Martin is not much better. He did impress me this evening, though. He is passionate and knows his facts, but what I can’t get over is why he never cared enough about the facts before and while he was a Minister in the previous governments. So, a NO to Micheal Martin, but there is potential in a few years time if he sorts out his more or less useless party.
That leaves Eamonn Gilmore: He was taking on Micheal Martin and was cosy-ing up to Enda Kenny. My problem with Gilmore is his past. Labour sounds some where slightly left of centre, but Gilmore’s roots where in the party “Democratic Left”, which then merged with Labour. So he would be more in the socialist corner of Labour. And since the the current economic situation can – in my opinion – not be solved with socialism, he would be a problem if in any powerful position.
Bottom line…AGAIN!!…I would not know who to vote for!
Over the last few weeks we haven’t experienced and big surprises. None of the candidates has lipped on any banana skins. They are all still plodding along and are trying their best to get as many votes as possible, but if we can trust the opinion polls, there have been shifts in opinion based on general performance of the parties.
Fine Gael has strengthened their position, Labour has lost, which to me is an indication that people didn’t like Labour’s attack on Fine Gael. Fianna Fail is down, but not out. Because nobody in Ireland can vote for a party, but instead you only vote for one local person – who by coincidence belongs to a party – an opinion poll that asks what party you want to govern the country is bound to be flawed.
Interesting is as well, how Micheal Martin talks and behaves as if he has never been involved in a government. Martin had a number of senior ministerial positions and certainly could have used his influence in the past to make a difference. He never did. But now he is trying to tell the electorate that they should vote for the candidates of his party. Interesting! I expect that they will get more TDs than the opinion polls indicate, but without a doubt they will be far away from the government for the next 5 years.
Sinn Fein? Well, Gerry Adams is doing better than I had expected and I am shocked about the high figures they got in the opinion poll. The SF position somewhere between socialist freedom fighters, terrorists and left-of-centre party wouldn’t leave me any room to vote for them, but an amazingly large group of voters has no issue with that at all.
Greens? Who?? Yes, they will be slaughtered for keeping the Fianna Fail government in power for so long and it is deserved. In my opinion they are totally un-votable for.
Independents are the remaining bundle of fun. For me it is one of the best indicators of the failed democratic structure in Ireland that individuals can be voted. Never it should be possible for a single person to get into a parliament. As long as it is possible that person is totally dependent on his/her voters in the constituency and that makes this politician corrupt (not in a financial sense, but in a sense that he has to do what his/her voters want, to get voted again). Yes, there is ONE Independent that I could support: Shane Ross, sounds sound and seems to make sense AND is not a parish-pump politician. But he should have set-up a party before the election instead of being an independent candidate.
Micheal Martin was at some Business Meeting this morning and in a slightly different accent than his own said 6 words “You Irish very good at software”. www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/0214/breaking58.html
He was using an atrocious “Chinese” accent to say this sentence and it was a stupid and nonsensical way of getting the facts across. But immediately hegot accused of discrimination. Discrimination? Did He say somethign negative? That foreigners (incl. me) have a different accent than Irish people is a fact. Copying it for comedic reasons can be funny. Copying it in the way and context it was done, is just stupid.
Last night’s first TV Debate on TV3 was interesting and at the same time boring. Boring because there was nothing new, but I wouldn’t really have expected any new revelations. I found it surprising how calm, cool and competent the two participants came across.
Micheal Martin from Fianna Fail and Eamonn Gilmore from Labour had their first boxing match. Vincent Brown from TV3 didn’t shine in his usual way, but just kept the two combatants under control.
Enda Kenny from Fine Gael refused to attend the debate and I think it was a bad decision. TV3 (and the two combatants) just ignored that, which was a lot smarter than having an empty chair there as initially mooted.
Did it change my opinion about either of the candidates? Well, Gilmore and Martin didn’t embarrass themselves, so that is a good start. I have even less trust in Kenny than before, but neither of the two who did face each other blew me away. I would call it a draw!
I might add more to this later this evening, if I get a chance, so check back if you get a chance. :-)