Playing Junior B Hurling Now

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From top: Ciaran Cuffe, Dan Boyle and Eamon Ryan during the break of a conference of members of the Green Party on whether or not to enter a coalition Government with Fianna Fail, June 2007; Dan Boyle

It is inexcusable that five weeks after a general election the two largest parties, ideologically indistinct, have yet to seriously broach the subject of being in government together.

Dan Boyle writes:

This time around, to the relief of many, I have had absolutely nothing to do with talks on forming a new government.

From what I have been able to gleam it seems that Fine Gael has learned absolutely nothing either from the recent election.

Like the other centre right party (with whom it has ‘nothing’ in common) it believes itself to be natural party of government.

When circumstances have deprived them of that they reach out to others, whom they believe will be happy with a seat at the big table, to allow Fine Gael to continue to do what it has always done in government.

It was the party’s approach in the last government that contributed to its loss of mandate. The last thing the party should expect is to be able to carry on as it has before.

I sat across a table when [Fianna Fáil grandee] Seamus Brennan made his “You’re playing senior hurling now lads.” remark. It was funny and was said without malice. However it had an implied intent of letting us know what our supposed place was.

Fine Gael seem to be approaching these discussions on government without humour, expecting a respect that frankly it isn’t due. Without being willing to shed any of its acquired baggage Fine Gael is making it impossible to acquire new partners to form a new government.

Perhaps that’s its intention.

Whatever the strategy, or lack of it, it is inexcusable that five weeks after a general election the two largest parties, ideologically indistinct, have yet to seriously broach the subject of being in government together.

In Spain or Portugal clear ideological differences exist among their political parties, making coherent government there difficult.

In Ireland it is only nuances of tone magnified by ego, pride and imagined slights, that prevent Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil from looking in the mirror and seeing each other’s reflection.

We’ve done single party majority and minority governments. We’ve done two party and multi party coalitions. Now it’s time for the Grand Coalition. It’s the last dance of the evening where the band is playing the last song in its repertoire.

It isn’t the government I want. I’m fairly sure the policies it will put in place will rub badly with me and many others. It is though the government that most of the voters in Ireland want and have chosen. It reflects the Ireland of 2016.

If it happens I don’t see it heralding any great left right divide in Irish politics. The salami slicing of the left will ensure that doesn’t happen.

We also need to be aware that over the last decade of electoral change the left vote hasn’t really changed at all. Sinn Féin’s vote has increased by about 7%. PABAPA secured less votes in this election than The Greens did in 2007.

The left vote may have gotten harder but it hasn’t gotten any larger.

So to my friends in Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil I say give it a bash lads. It’s not as if you have any principles to lose.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD (and senator). Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

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22 thoughts on “Playing Junior B Hurling Now

  1. dav

    I reckon the blushirt indifference to the suffering of the Irish people is taken from the top, only after enda whingers resigns & someone intelligent takes his place, can they actually be taken somewhat seriously

  2. panga panga

    total delaying tactics shredders and IT sharpshooters try to cover tracks…..
    betchya!

    1. Panty Christ

      This. Plus the €7000 they’ve each been paid since taking up a TD seat five weeks ago and have done absolutely nothing for it.

  3. Clampers Outside!

    Alan Kelly ate humble pie and apologised for his party members for his… “power is a drug…. and I can handle it” comment, yesterday.

    I’d love to have been in the room to hear that gombeen crawl :)

    1. Harry Molloy

      I’m no fan of him but I didn’t mind that comment. most politicians enjoy that bit of power, look at Paul Murphy for example.

      Kelly was stupid and naive to say it to a paper though

      1. Clampers Outside!

        Kelly was stupid and naive to say it to a paper though…. precisely. It was amateur hour. He is a spoofer though, just re-read that nonsense above. All full of enthusiasm, as if something new landed on his lap….. fupp off Alan, you’re foolin’ no one.

  4. ollie

    “The left vote may have gotten harder but it hasn’t gotten any larger.”
    I think you’ve made a mistake when you calculated the left wing vote Dan. Did you happen to include the right wing Labour party in error?

  5. 15 cents

    FG as a party are unbelievably stubborn, they ploughed on thru the elections with blunder after blunder, making no excuses, and still somehow, came out the other side as most popular party. they know now they can do however they please and they wont actually lose power, so why would they change their ways? once their locla candidates remain popular in their own towns, they’ll be voted in. the system doesnt work. hillbillies who only care about having their road fixed, vote for their local guy, and then in turn that decides who runs the whole country. its a mess. and ive had enough, its too frustrating to live in ireland, i love it dearly and more than any other country, but the government have made it impossible for young people to live here, and have sold off everything the people in 1916 fought for. its so sad, so frustrating, and ive tried sticking with it, but i cant any more, this country is for one demographic and one only, and if ur not in that demographic your skunnered.

  6. Panty Christ

    Would you believe Clancy barracks is now owned by a an American real estate company. Was it for apartment living?

  7. DubLoony

    Why do people thin SF is a party of the left?
    They are a populist Nationalist party who will blow where the wind takes them to get a vote.
    They have more in common with FF than any of the others
    PBP/AAA/TLAs have no love lost with any party, or indeed themselves.

  8. bisted

    ‘…This time around, to the relief of many, I have had absolutely nothing to do with talks on forming a new government.’
    …yes but why Dan…how could it come to this…their key negotiator sidelined, exiled even? On the bright side…the greens seem to have discovered ‘the split’ …you are well on the way to being considered left wing.

  9. Spaghetti Hoop

    I agree with Boyler here. Finding it increasingly shocking that a government has not been formed and I would have expected Michael D to be calling the shots at this stage. FF and FG have met each other from either sides of the tunnel and need to grow up and start taking governance seriously and respect their mandates.

    Btw, who is the moody dreamboat with the yellow tie?

    1. Kieran NYC

      They don’t seem to be in a rush about it either. How many weeks has it been now? How long is the country just going to run on autopilot?

  10. rotide

    Think Dan is spot on here again.

    Also agree with Hoop that at some stage michael D needs to step in.

    I thought that senior hurling comment was classic :)

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