On Political Responsibility

at

90415723anne-marie-291x300

From top: Fianna Fáil TDs Barry Cowan and Jim O’Callaghan at Trinity College Dublin yesterday for talks with Fine Gael; Anne Marie McNally

You don’t abandon your political philosophy and direction in order to facilitate the establishment of a Government whose philosophy is entirely at odds with yours.

Anne Marie McNally writes:

Antagonism, confrontation, scepticism, Devil’s advocate; call it what you may, it is the song of the Irish political commentariat when it comes to dealing with politicians trying to articulate a position.

Whether you agree with the position or not is irrelevant – you should still be afforded the opportunity to listen to it and make an assessment based on the argument and not the opinion of the presenting broadcaster of the hour.

As someone involved in communications and messaging it can often be difficult to find a way of articulating a position in a way that will survive the inevitable mainstream media cynicism and its tendency to lean in favour of the safe and comfortable establishment of which it is undoubtedly a part.

You know if you met Joe or Josephine Soap on the street and explained your position they’d understand – they may not agree – but they’d understand it whereas by the time the media has parsed your message there are so many grey areas you could be the next E.L.James.

Op-Eds (Opinion pieces) can be useful in this regard but are notoriously difficult to have placed and certainly not available to you on any type of regular basis.

Right now we’re at the epicentre of the phenomenon. Political correspondents and broadcasters are frothing at the mouth to update you on what’s happening in ‘Government formation’ talks.

Lines are spinning from inside and outside political camps and nobody is sure from one minute to the next who is prepared to deal with who and if ‘being out of talks’ really means what it says and vice versa.

This confusion is entirely understandable, we’re now on day 54 of formation talks and with the Lannigan’s Ball shenanigans ongoing for so long who wouldn’t be confused.

My own party, the Social Democrats, sought to avoid such confusion by laying out a very clear position from day one – the arithmetic returned by the electorate means that no matter how much we dislike it, the only option for Government is based on agreement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

That was true on day one an it’s still true on day 54.

We took a decision not to delay the inevitable talks between the two so we refused to allow the parties to engage us in some shadow-boxing designed to convince the public they were ‘trying their best’ and were at least prepared to engage – yet for 40 of the 54 days neither FG or FF were prepared to engage with the only party they needed to engage with.

Everything that happened in between with Independents and other parties was simply a distraction that has served to delay the process. We didn’t want any part of that. We continue to take a very straightforward position despite the baying of the ‘step up and be responsible’ mob.

We have stated very clearly we will NOT be participating in Government however we will work constructively, with all parties, in a newly reformed Dáil in order to elicit the best outcomes for Irish society.

In a Minority Government scenario the opposition will be equally, if not more, powerful than the Government benches and as a result the Dáil will have to drop the Punch and Judy style politics and judge issues based on their merits rather than their proposers. That benefits everybody.

To my mind political responsibility is about standing for something you believe in, it is not about abandoning your political philosophy and direction in order to facilitate the establishment of a Government whose philosophy is entirely at odds with yours and whose direction for the country is one you actively campaigned against.

To do so would not be responsible it would be downright selling out. You know that old cliché ‘if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything?

A Government for the sake of a Government and with every and any direction is not one worth having and I for one am not willing to fall for anything.

Anne Marie McNally is a founding member of the Social Democrats. Follow Anne Marie on Twitter: @amomcnally

Rollingnews

Sponsored Link

172 thoughts on “On Political Responsibility

  1. Clampers Outside!

    Anyone paying close attention to “the talks” for the last 54 days is really, really wasting their time.

    It’s like reality TV, better off ignoring it and just watch the results WHEN they are announced. Everything else leading to the result is hobby horse stuff for fans of politics.

    The “news” around talks is gossip, second hand info and speculation based on fluffy quotes and quips. It’s not even “news” ffs. It’s not news it’s knuckle dragging ‘filler’ and ‘drama’ over ‘he hasn’t called me’, ‘I’m waiting on a call’ blah-blah-blah-wasters.

    Joe and Josephine cannot affect anything in these ‘talks’ and would be best ignoring them until a result is achieved. One would give oneself high blood pressure listening to the pathetic carry on since election day. Yes, a govt needs to be formed, but listening to the schoolboy/girl squabbling is no more useful than literally listening to the carry on in a real school yard.

    1. nellyb

      “The “news” around talks is gossip, second hand info and speculation based on fluffy quotes and quips.” Sport on, Calmpers, too casual, too ad hoc, too embedded. And downright boring delivery.

    2. Rob_G

      They need to call a new election, simple as. The parties that are willing to govern haven’t been able to make a go of it; the parties unwilling to govern haven’t tried. A new election will rejig the numbers somewhat.

      1. LW

        This narrative surrounding the willing and unwilling is every bit as spurious as the election coverage. Painting FF and FG as noble and responsible is somewhat at odd with the reality.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            AFAIK, every party has at least had a conversation. Fact is though, FF and FG are the two biggest parties and both are centre right. It is up to them to form a government. The fact they haven’t yet prices beyond doubt that both are just election machines that don’t actually care about Ireland. They are professional politicians only interested in status and lifestyle. They are 100% responsible for this ongoing farce.

          2. Vote Rep #1

            “The fact they haven’t yet prices beyond doubt that both are just election machines that don’t actually care about Ireland. ”

            Anne above has just admitted that the SocDems won’t go into government because they want to build their party shows that they are no different from FF/FG. SF and PBP/AAA are also putting their respective parties first. All the parties are the same yet here it would seem that only some are getting flack thrown at them.

          3. Nigel

            Also, everyone knows what happens to smaller parties that go into government with these guys. Wily individual independents tend to fare better by leveraging parochial benefits and not giving a toss what sort of spectacle it presents to the country as a whole

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            “Anne above has just admitted that the SocDems won’t go into government because they want to build their party shows that they are no different from FF/FG.”

            No it doesn’t. We have no alternative to FG and FG. That is a huge problem because both of them have no interest in improving Irish society. They’re just interested in furthering their own careers. We need a new alternative. That takes time. If every new party bails out FF and FG when they inevitably fail at the ballot box, we’ll *never* have an alternative. I don’t know about Shorthall and Donnelly but 100% Murphy is primarily motivated by a sense of righteous indignation. We need leaders like her. The best option for Ireland is for the SDs to take time and build towards a real alternative to the FF/FG monopoly. Then we will start to.see real change.

  2. Il Toro

    What utter rubbish from a wanna be TD, every TD has a duty to try and form a government, a minority government could be formed with FG , Social Democrats and only 4 other indos , why not ? More like the un-social democrats refusing to engage in discussions, they are just copping out, just like donnelly did on the banking inquiry, another form of cute hoor politics, you will go far in irish politics Anne

    1. Nigel

      Taking a long-term approach to building up a viable alternative party, which the country desperately needs, is a perfectly valid strategy. Requiring smaller parties to be the sacrificial grist in the austerity coalition mill allows FG and FF to keep bouncing back.

  3. Harry Molloy

    I completely understand your argument regarding selling out Anne Marie, but when you have a situation where you have smaller parties like your own, or the more radical AAA, you are never going to be large enough to form a majority government in the foreseeable future therefore the only real way you can hope to implement any of your policies and have any influence is by compromising and forming part of a government. getting into bed with the enemy if you will.

    the more honest message from you would be that the Soc dems are risk adverse and do not want to damage their party while it’s in its infancy by being a junior coalition partner.

    1. nellyb

      Harry, what is “radical” in local context? People seriously call building metro in Dublin radical. Subsidized childcare is radical, though it existed for small pockets of semi-states and nobody pointed finger at it as communist descent. We should really be careful with that word, it’s been wh0r€d a lot lately.
      [apologies for nitpicking]

      1. classter

        AAA are rather radical.

        I don’t say that as some slur.

        Have a listen to Paul Murphy chatting with Tariq Ali – articulate, thoughtful & radical.

    2. Clampers Outside!

      I agree with that Harry. All and every coalition has compromises. If all parties were steadfast and uncompromising as Anne claims we’d never have a govt, which says to me that maybe Anne and the Soc Dems want another election… I’m not saying that’s a good or bad thing…. but it looks that way.
      Anne, is that so?

      1. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

        Who cares what Anne wants? The public rejected her the last time

        The only beneficiary from this re-election nonsense is the establishment parties as they alone have the budget and financial backing to go back on the hustings.

        Hopefully a lot of these mé féiner Independents will be completely wiped out next time. They contribute little or nothing to political discourse with their tantrum-throwing and inexperience.

          1. My Meat is Murder

            Good – you’re part of the problem then also. I vote for individuals who put the national interest at the head of personal, party or local interest. Soc Dems are just Labour lite and you’re welcome to them. I won’t vote for those idiots again.

          2. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

            I agree with what Meat said Calmers though I’m not as aggressive as he is ;)

            I suppose I spoke to the point that Anne is just some randomer failed election candidate. As such I don’t value her opinion any more than say, yours ;)

          3. Nigel

            Literally the only people this description absolutely matches at the moment are the Greens. I wouldn’t have pegged you.

          4. Anne

            “I agree with what Meat said Calmers though I’m not as aggressive as he is ;)”

            Yes Sybil… he’s less aggressive than your other side.
            freak.

    3. Nigel

      Letting another party get stamped out in its infancy by the all-devouring political machines that are FF/FG guarantees we’re stuck with them i the long term. There’s no point in going into coalition before the party is ready, that’s a disservice to their voters.

      1. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

        Then there is no point in voting for them or in paying taxes to support their upkeep.

        If as a minority party they won’t get into coalition now when will they get in bed with other parties?

        No taxation without representation!

    4. donal

      I wrote the following reply in a different thread on here last week, it is as true now as it was then.

      Maths…
      There are no workable numbers that allow a majority to be formed by FG + others or FF + others unless the others includes SF and AAA/PBP and there is no prospect of FG and SF agreeing a program for government. A FG led majority would need FG+SD+LAB+GP+ a minimum of 18 independents. There are not 18 independents who easily fit in with the SD/LAB/GP worldview.

      No government can be formed without FG and FF agreeing something, no other party can be blamed for not being involved in a futile talking exercise unless FG and FF have some agreement.”

    5. donal

      I wrote the following reply in a different thread on here last week, it is as true now as it was then.

      ”Maths…
      There are no workable numbers that allow a majority to be formed by FG + others or FF + others unless the others includes SF and AAA/PBP and there is no prospect of FG and SF agreeing a program for government. A FG led majority would need FG+SD+LAB+GP+ a minimum of 18 independents. There are not 18 independents who easily fit in with the SD/LAB/GP worldview.

      No government can be formed without FG and FF agreeing something, no other party can be blamed for not being involved in a futile talking exercise unless FG and FF have some agreement.”

      1. Harry Molloy

        can form part of a minority government however, there are minority governments all over Europe

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          FF and FG can form a majority and they’re both centre right. Why hasn’t that happened yet? I’d be very dissappointed if I voted for FF or FG.

        2. donal

          A minority government needs the acquiescence of the opposition to succeed, if the opposition reject every proposal the minority government make then the government falls. If FG are to lead a minority government they need to have agreed some basic parameters of what they will do with FF. No point FG agreeing a programme for government with anyone unless they know FF won’t rip up that agreement. Hence, FG can’t promise anything to any smaller party until they have spoken to FF, so what is the point in having those discussions. Let FG and FF talk, come to some sort of programme for gov that FG will run and FF won’t continually block, and then let the smaller parties suggest legislation and amendments to legislation that the Dail can then vote on.
          If FG and FF can’t agree something then it has to be second election

  4. DubLoony

    Step ip and be responsible “mob” – like the people who elected Soc Dems or just electorate in general who are fed up of the game playing for last 54 days?

  5. b

    i’ve listed to alot of what the Soc Dems are proposing as policies and they are not radically different from those of FF/FG – during the debates Stephen Donnelly was talking about housing and healthcare policies that are vastly similiar to what FG are proposing, just that the execution of them is always going to be difficult

    i find that very hard to reconcile that with the comment ” You don’t abandon your political philosophy and direction in order to facilitate the establishment of a Government whose philosophy is entirely at odds with yours.”

    SocDems will never get an opportunity to enter government without it being in coalition, which by definition entails compromise on positions. Do they think they would have to compromise on their ‘philosophy’ less in a SF led coalition?

    i guess some people will always be content standing outside the tent and weeing in

    1. DubLoony

      Unless a party has an over whelming majority, everyone has to compromise to form a government.
      Unless you are Soc. Dems, SF, AAPAPA,
      Doesn’t apply to Labour of course. They compromised and were called traitors.

    2. MoyestWithExcitement

      “SocDems will never get an opportunity to enter government without it being in coalition, ”

      Except by staying away from the toxic FF/FG/Lab, they have bad real opportunity to build up their network and present a real alternative to those scummy parties in 3 or 4 years. They could form a majority government on their own in the bit too distant future. It’s far better for the country if they do work on that.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          I think they could have enough candidates and enough goodwill from the public to have a shot at doing that. Labour are done. FF and FG gave proved beyond doubt that politics is about power as ooposed to governance and society these past 54 days.

          1. Owen C

            “They could form a majority government on their own in the bit too distant future.”

            So having had 3 candidates going into this election, and 3 candidates after the election, you think they will have more than 78 candidates in what sort of time frame?

  6. Tony

    Cowards. Getting elected but no danger of actually serving the people. Just as slimy as Sinn Féin. But whats even worse is the Soc Dems are actually pretending its a virtuous thing.

      1. Owen C

        They could be quasi-king-makers in a minority government situation where FF was willing to accept a FG+10 sort of grouping.

          1. Owen C

            Not all the power. Soccies could simply focus on one or two issues which they wanted implemented as part of their agreement to support FG. That doesn’t mean they have “sold out” on the other 100 issues facing the Dail. Its just a way of getting a practical victory on certain things, as opposed to 10 years on the opposition benches doing feck all in real terms.

          2. ahjayzis

            In a minority situation they can support whatever measures they like and get them across the line. Your scenario doesn’t confer a benefit, apart from complicity in the dozens of other issues FG will put through that go against what they believe in.

            How can you be mad at a social democratic party for not getting into bed with the christian democratic party when another, identical right-wing party is refusing to form a majority government with them?

            It’s blatant deflection, FF/FG are the natural government in this Dail, with zero ideological conflicts – it’s blame shifting to point the finger at the 3-deputy party ideologically opposed to both of them.

          3. Owen C

            “complicity in the dozens of other issues FG will put through”

            Everything that is wrong with Irish politics in 11 words. The Soccies have 3 seats. They have a miniscule mandate from the people. Delivering on one or two issues would be a huge victory for practical effective politics. And I’m not pointing the blame at them, simply pointing out that they can have an impact on the next government if they want. They’re non-impact is currently a choice, not an imposition.

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            “it’s blame shifting to point the finger at the 3-deputy party ideologically opposed to both of them.”

            Isn’t it crazy? The 2 biggest parties are centre right, they refuse to go into government together but we should be giving out to the SDs?!? It’s almost like some people know that they could form a credible alternative in a few years if left to it.

          5. ahjayzis

            What impact though? More than Labour had when they formed a third of the government benches?

            Labour was the lynchpin in the last government, a government seen to be thoroughly of the right – the SocDems would be three seats who could come and go as they please, as it’ll be Fianna Fail holding the power of veto and the power to collapse the government.

            What leverage do you think they’d actually have? I know we turn our nose up at electoral considerations entering these discussion but they have to, one or two issues might be fine and dandy but weighed up against the likelihood that the SocDems will no longer exist after implementing them make it a pretty piss-poor trade-off.

          6. Owen C

            we are looking at a long term fracturing of the previous civil war make up of the Dail, where F? + Labour would have previously given a fairly stable government coalition. In the future, more complicated coalition governments will have to be formed, often involving parties of differing political persuasions, unless FF and FG can resolve their differences in a more meaningful manner (in which case the policies of SD, AAA, IA, SF etc are probably somewhat meaningless). So practical coalition agreements are going to be required. Its immature and simply bad politics to think that no compromises can be made on core party beliefs (though these areas of compromise should be communicated ahead of the election, not after) if we are to have functioning governments over the next decade.

            Also, big shout out to Moyestie for the hilarious “SDs can be a alternative/majority in a few years”. Awesome stand up routine you have going here.

          7. ahjayzis

            Owen, you’re ignoring that there’s a natural, stable and ideologically cohesive government right in front of us. Fianna Fail + Fine Gael.

            Honestly, you’re castigating a party for not signing up for oblivion by betrayal of all their principles when those two identikit parties are refusing to do business purely, *purely* because of electoral politics.

          8. ahjayzis

            ““complicity in the dozens of other issues FG will put through”

            Everything that is wrong with Irish politics in 11 words”

            Right back at you. Jettisoning everything you stood for election on is what’s wrong with Irish politics.

            Funny it’s somehow wrong when left wing parties refuse to support right wing policies.

            Believing in something is something I find valuable in politicians.

          9. Owen C

            would you stop saying I’m castigating and blaming. I’m not. You’re creating that view through some over defensive and sensitive support of the SocDem position. I’m simply pointing out how they could have an impact on government rather than on opposition. There seems to be a view here that the SocDems are better off being the hardline principled opposition rather than a compromising government partner. I think that is an unfortunate position where they have essentially offloaded the responsibility to govern the country to all the other parties in favour of sticking to their principles. Thats a laudible position, but don’t be surprised if a lot of the non-political people who simply want basic effective governance aren’t impressed by it.

            In the event of another election, should the SocDems continue to refuse to govern with either FF or FG, in the event of a broadly similar outcome to the election?

          10. MoyestWithExcitement

            It’s mad how the volunteers are frothing over a party with 3 TDs not propping up the right wing failures of FF and FG. It’s almost as if they think these guys could very well generate a lot of support from people and so want to pish on their chips as often as possible.

          11. Owen C

            “Volunteers”? Christ. Not alligned with any party. Never have, unlikely to ever. Family never alligned with any party.

            This isn’t about the Soccies “propping up” FG or FF. Its about a complete unwillingness to even look at whether they could enact some sort of actual change if they became part of a government coalition. Why not set out the list of 4-5 items they would like covered (either strongly for or strongly against) in the program for government. Make it public. Say they will talk to either FG or FF if those 4-5 items are agreed on. If not, no big deal, happy to sit in opposition. Thats an honest, straight talking position. Not willing to countenance a FF or FG coalition and happy to sit on the opposition benches is exactly the sort of “career politics strategy” that the Soccies were supposed to be different from.

          12. Owen C

            Also…

            “It’s almost as if they think these guys could very well generate a lot of support from people”

            ….even though two months ago they didn’t?

          13. ahjayzis

            Two months ago they got 3%, 60,000 votes after existing for only six months, with no prior local election result as a basis for candidates.

            Not bad for 6 months of work, I’d have thought.

          14. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

            So let me get this right-

            FF won’t talk to FG
            FG won’t talk to Shinners
            Soc Dems won’t talk to anyone
            Shinners won’t talk to anyone

            conclusion – they’re all the fupping same
            THROW THESE FUPPING BUMS OUT!

          15. Owen C

            Their 3 TDs got 22,800 first preference votes in 2011.

            Their 14 candidates got 64,000 first preference votes and 3 returned TDs in 2016. They are the 7th biggest party or grouping in Dail Eireann.

            It was decent, but not spectacular. They would have been favourites to win the 3 seats they won, so they performed in line if not slightly disappointingly vs pre-election forecasts.

          16. bob

            There’s a lot of rubbish in there, Owen, but I want to call you out on one thing:

            “though these areas of compromise should be communicated ahead of the election, not after”

            How would that work? Surely each party/individual stands on their own platform and when the votes are counted compromises are made based on the respective levels of support.

            The alternative is to pre-arrange running partners which is never popular with the voting public, particularly for the smaller party.

          17. bob

            Also, all parties should be banned from ruling out specific coalitions prior to an election. Or at least I would hope they are punished at the ballot box if they do. It’s a cop out and is why we’re where we are.

            There’ll be another election, with broadly the same result… except this time FF will hope to have overtaken FG, but they’ll have to form the government between them regardless. Depressing, but I can’t see much alternative. Although SF will manage the vote better and pick up a few seats too, but not enough to overtake FF/FG

          18. Owen C

            Bob, i don’t mean in elections generally, i mean in an election that comes about through an inability of FF and FG to come to an agreement. A second election, absent a surprisingly large shift in voter preferences, will likely come out with something similar in terms of a result: FG and FF the large parties, SF the mid sized party, Labour/SD/AAA/Greens the smaller parties, and Independents a potential bolt on. All of those smaller parties are not going to a lead party in government, nor are they likely to be a ‘balancing’ party (in theory) like Labour were supposed to be with FG in 2011. They will be a small party. This is a simple fact. They should be honest with the public as to who they are willing to go into coalition with (or not), and what sort of program for government they would be willing to sign up to. To simply do an election re-run, with all parties claiming they should be the next lead party in government, is literally the definition of stupidity.

          19. bob

            That’s fair enough Owen, but as far as I know Green and SD didn’t rule any coalitions in or out before the election. They’re ruling it out now because the numbers don’t add up. They only add up for FF and FG, and FF don’t want to for political reasons. SF to an extent are culpable, but given that FF/FG both ruled them out anyway it’s hard to give them a hard time.

            It’s stupid for small parties to tie themselves to specific coalitions, when as you admit yourself, the numbers still won’t add up after another election. The only difference is FF want another election because they think they can overtake FG. Political posturing.

    1. donal

      I wrote the following reply in a different thread on here last week, it is as true now as it was then.

      ”Maths…
      There are no workable numbers that allow a majority to be formed by FG + others or FF + others unless the others includes SF and AAA/PBP and there is no prospect of FG and SF agreeing a program for government. A FG led majority would need FG+SD+LAB+GP+ a minimum of 18 independents. There are not 18 independents who easily fit in with the SD/LAB/GP worldview.

      No government can be formed without FG and FF agreeing something, no other party can be blamed for not being involved in a futile talking exercise unless FG and FF have some agreement.”

  7. some old queen

    I really wonder about people criticising minor parties who are unwilling to commit suicide ‘in the national interest’ while deliberately ignoring the elephant in the room.

    Here it is. Why do FF and FF not want to go into government together? What is it exactly that these two centre right parties cannot reconcile? And as for the media, why are they not asking these questions?

    1. DubLoony

      Would love to know.
      Only thing I can think of is that FF want to control both the government formation as well as opposition to keep SF out.

    2. Clampers Outside!

      But this is the thing, Anne hasn’t actually said that in simple terms. It’s all a bit fluffy. Anne, is it a case of the Soc Dems don’t want to be ripped apart by going into a coalition…? If that’s the case, can you just say it straight out, and leave out the fluff, thanks?

      After all, before the election the Soc Dems sold us (me anyway) the idea that the Soc Dems were a straight talking party, but there is no straight talking in the piece above.

      BTW – I voted no.1 SocDems in both GE/Seanad…. I think an answer to the question is due Anne, thanks.

      1. ahjayzis

        It’s blatantly obvious. They have to weigh up whether whatever concessions they can wheedle out of FG and FF (both will have veto) will be worth the party going out of existence in it’s infancy.

        The decision has to be is this the best we can ever do, is this the most influence we’ll ever have, versus where they want to take the party. That’s not self interest, it’s rational reasoning.

        SocDems dont want to go in because they’ll cease to exist as a result – Fianna Fail don’t want to go in because it might mean their return to largest party status will be delayed. But it’s the SocDems getting the flack?

        1. Clampers Outside!

          Soc Dems are not getting flack for not going into govt, not from me.

          Anne-Marie’s piece is getting flack for not just saying it straight out…. “We will not” or “we will” go into govt with X or Y.

          Just say it already, either way.

    3. Andy

      Because FF gain votes for being anti-FG.
      Similar to the way SF has gained votes by being anti FF/FG/Labour
      Similar to the way AAA/PBP/SP gained votes by being anti-SF

      It’s not about serving the people. It’s about these people keeping their jobs.
      Any sliver of compromise might cost them votes which could cost them their jobs!

  8. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

    Complete and utter rubbish – what a clown

    No wonder the public didn’t elect you.

    Politics is the art of the possible and taking such an obstinate view to negotiations to form a government is a sign of a low competence level in politics – a view with which incidentally the public concurred in your case.

      1. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

        Different point soq. In fact FF/FG have moved more to align their policies in recent weeks.

        What I predict is another government and a landslide win for the majority parties.

        1. some old queen

          Whiter it is a different point or not is debatable. Either way. you never answered my question.

          What are the major policy differences which prevent FF and FG from going into government together?

          1. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

            I didn’t answer your point soq as you were clearly trying to reset the agenda

            never mind – I’ll humour you

            reliable sources tell me the major issue is whether to serve the sandwiches cut as triangles or as rectangles at the “discussions” they are having.

          2. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

            @ nigel – no I would say it is over who is afraid of SF gaining ground more.

            Well – we know who that is.

          3. some old queen

            @ They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

            Too right I am trying to reset the agenda and if I am critical of Ann-Marie it is in that she is even defending her party’s position. PDs, Greens and Labour all burnt to a cinder because they propped up the Fainna Gael quango. The pattern is so clear that the demise of the Social Democrats is almost guaranteed.

          4. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

            I disagree soq and I prefer the nomenclature Fine Fail anyway :)

            In those cases the smaller parties were annihilated by one dominant partner, experience in Scotland and our own Rainbow Coalition in the 90s was a lot more positive. There was a guy on the radio this morning talking about this – how cohesive minority broad coalition governments can be in practice. Evidence shows it is not a certainty to fail.

  9. Owen C

    If we have another election, every party needs to explicitly spell out:

    1. If they are willing to go into coalition government, or if they are merely running as an “opposition”/reformist candidate. At least let people know if they’re vote has any chance of actually supporting a government
    2. If they are willing to go into coalition, who are they willing to go into govt with, who are they unwilling to go into govt with, and what are the red line issues they will not yield on (for or against).
    3. All parties should explicitly state they will not compromise on pledges made in 1 and 2 above.
    4. Independents should be asked whether they will insist on any local constituency issues as part of any national government.

    We know no one party is gonna have a majority, with a reasonable level of certainty. We also know FF or FG are unlikely to be able to rely on Labour as the sole coalition partner in any government, again with a reasonable level of certainty. As such, Independents and smaller parties will have to make up some part of the next government coalition. Any fresh election campaign should thus be centred almost exclusively around that issue so people can make informed decisions and so parties/candidates can be held to account for their decisions post-election.

    1. ahjayzis

      Seriously, why aren’t you explaining the logic of FG+FF refusing to form a government?

      Can you think of any coalition party more ideologically aligned to either of them than each other?

      You’re just continually propagating it as an immutable political fact and deflecting the issue to uninvolved parties, it’s really ridiculous.

      1. Owen C

        FF and FG are being ridiculous in not agreeing on something yet. I have never denied this. This doesn’t give the Soccies a free pass to sit on their hands. Pointing out the weakness/problems with the Soccies position does not somehow make people in favour of FF/FG antics, even though you keep seeming to imply this is the position people are taking.

        1. ahjayzis

          I really fail to understand why you can’t see why they’ve made that decision.

          It’s a bad trade-off by any measure, a few token gestures from FF and FG in return for the death of the party. That’s not self interest, that’s believing that growing the party instead of selling out can lead to bigger wins in future.

    2. Anne

      “so people can make informed decisions”

      Lets consider that people already made informed decisions when they voted.
      FG & FF will only do worse if another election is called soon IMO.

  10. bisted

    ‘…As someone involved in communications and messaging..’ should have known from the way you are very prone to lecture from the moral high ground that you are a practitioner of the dark arts…

  11. joe

    I don’t get it.

    FF & FG (who both got 20%+ each of the popular vote, tried to form governments and are still in negotiations with each other to find consensus) are somehow the bad guys

    SD & GP (who got less than 3% each, have refused to partake in any negotiations or consensus whatsoever) are the good guys

    1. donal

      I wrote the following reply in a different thread on here last week, it is as true now as it was then.

      ”Maths…
      There are no workable numbers that allow a majority to be formed by FG + others or FF + others unless the others includes SF and AAA/PBP and there is no prospect of FG and SF agreeing a program for government. A FG led majority would need FG+SD+LAB+GP+ a minimum of 18 independents. There are not 18 independents who easily fit in with the SD/LAB/GP worldview.

      No government can be formed without FG and FF agreeing something, no other party can be blamed for not being involved in a futile talking exercise unless FG and FF have some agreement.”

  12. J

    Annemarie, do you not think that having a “different philosphy” in coalition would only serve to temper and restrain ? I think the SD are abdicating their responsibility, and by shuffling the old silent majority card they have managed to reveal their true “conservative” selves. I won’t vote for them again .

    1. ahjayzis

      Have you just arrived in Ireland and missed the last five years?

      ONE THIRD of the last government identified as left-wing, there was no restraint and temperance.

      3 TD’s versus 50 Fine Gael and a half dozen right-wing independents and you think they’ll get a better result. Get a grip.

      AGAIN – you have two right-wing parties with a majority who are abdicating their responsibility, what a completely ridiculous comment, there’s a pallet truck full of planks in your eye.

      1. DubLoony

        “ONE THIRD of the last government identified as left-wing, there was no restraint and temperance.”
        Not true.

        If there was no restraint, there would not have a €3,000 a year increase in minimum wage, no overhaul of labour relations mechanisms, no collective bargaining legislation, no whistleblowers legislation, no lobbyists register.
        Literacy in primary schools would not have been prioritized, no book rental schemes, policy on kids uniforms changes, no school building projects.
        And so on.
        There have been huge changes in last 5 years in the face of the worst recession that this country has ever seen.
        Is it perfect? No. Is 5 years enough to change an entire political & economic system that has been build up over 90 years? No.

        1. Nigel

          Yeah, they should fall on their swords for an electorate who will only punish them for it and then return the two relics.

    2. LW

      Did you really vote for them last time? and you want them to go in with FG? And you think that three TDs can temper and restrain where labour’s 30 odd couldn’t?

    3. MoyestWithExcitement

      You didn’t vote for them at all. “They’re really terrible and I should know because I used to like them so eve time should listen to me” is a very old and transparent tactic.

      1. J

        “ONE THIRD of the last government identified as left-wing, there was no restraint and temperance.
        Labour”. Darling, the EU and IMF had them in handcuffs.

        1. ahjayzis

          They prevented action on the Moriarty recommendations?
          They demanded NAMA sell our stuff for a song?
          The MOU contained dictats that every budget must be regressive?
          The ECB has a special hatred for single parents and the disabled?

    4. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

      Exactly, They are complete bums playing the ‘reform’ card simply for short term personal gain.
      We’ve been sold down the river by these three card trick shysters.

  13. ahjayzis

    The utter indignant hysteria at what I assume to be right-wing voters that left-wing deputies won’t do their bidding is ridiculous, petulant crap. The right won the election. The right are refusing to go into government together. But it’s the left wing parties fault, of course. We need the merry dance of FF and FG playing musical chairs to continue for some reason.

    Because your party got more votes than mine, doesn’t mean my party needs to become your party’s mudguard, support their policies or anything else – because they weren’t voted in to do that. Labour took that course and abandoned their voters last time.

    Left wing parties refuse to govern in a right-wing way because they’ll be utterly and rightfully obliterated for reneging on their principles and they’re lambasted.
    Right wing parties refuse to govern because they might lose a seat or two to the other right wing party and they’re putting the national interest first. Listen to yourselves FFS.

    Anyone firing at the smaller parties without confronting the civil war elephant in the room is a fossil, your two parties are identical in outlook and ideology, if they can’t find it in themselves to go into government together that’s no one else’s fault but theirs.

    1. Vote Rep #1

      “The utter indignant hysteria at what I assume to be right-wing voters that left-wing deputies won’t do their bidding is ridiculous, petulant crap. The right won the election. The right are refusing to go into government together. But it’s the left wing parties fault, of course. ”

      You see, I am not thinking left/right, I am not blaming one side or the other. I am looking at the TD’s as whole. Smaller parties don’t want to go into government as it would harm their party = good. FF/FG don’t want to go into government as it would harm their party = bad. I have no problem with the smaller parties not going into government and wanting to build their party, just don’t get on a high horse about other parties also not wanting to damage their own parties. Its pretty hypocritical.

      FYI, I voted SocDec #1 in the last election, no votes went to FG or FF.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        FF and FG have proven themselves to be career politicians. Smaller parties are usually full of people that want to make a difference. FF and FG don’t want government because it will cost them the power they’ve had since the foundation of the state. the SDs don’t want it now because it means they’ll be in a better position to achieve change later down the line. It doesn’t make any sense to compare SDs position to that of FF and FG. Very different motivations. It’s like comparing the water protest marches to the paddy’s day parade.

        1. Vote Rep #1

          I get that. I just think that it is a bit much to then complain about other parties not doing what you have no intention of doing for the very reasons that you won’t do it. SF have actually been the main culprits at this. This is the first time I’ve seen SDs do it.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            But it’s not for the “very reasons that you won’t do it.” as I outlined in my last post. FF and FG are trying to protect the power they’ve had since the foundation of the state. the SDs are trying to put themselves in a position to offer a credible alternative in a couple of years. FF abd FG are trying to protect their careers. The SDs want to build up a credible alternative for the Irish peoole. The reasons are not the same at all.

          2. some old queen

            SF said they would not go into government unless they were the major party. Their upfront stance has gained them votes. Now read that again. They GAINED votes because they stated they would not be going into government. And now, the excuse for not forming a government is to keep them out of opposition too. If opposing benches are such an ineffective place to be, why such efforts to prevent SF from being there?

        2. Harry Molloy

          “Smaller parties are usually full of people that want to make a difference”

          You need to sit in government to make a difference

          1. Rob_G

            You complain about FG & FF being ‘career politicians’; at least they willing to expend some political capital by entering into talks with their ‘old enemy’ to form a govt; the smaller parties are acknowledging that they couldn’t be arsed, as making real-world decisions might impact on their ideological purity and cause them to lose votes.

            If that isn’t ‘career politician’ cynicism, I don’t know what is.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            It took them nearly 2 months to speak to each other when they’d form a comfortable majority and ideologically aligned more closely with each other than any other party. They didn’t want to speak because going into power together will damage their careers. The SDs want to provide an alternative to those parties. Going into government now when they’re just starting will see them go the same way as Democratic Left and the Greens. Their motivations for not going into govt are completely different to FF and FG. It’s utterly bizarre that you guys have decided to blame a party with 3 TDs for not forming a government when you could have formed one with your natural brothers weeks ago.

          3. Rob_G

            FF wanted to introduce a basic income policy – Soc Dems are much more natural bedfellows with FF than FF would be with FG.

            The one thing that was clear from the election was that the the electorate didn’t want any more FG fiscal rectitude; it was incumbent upon FF to form a grand coaltion of the left, but unfortunately none of the other parties wanted to even attempt to get their policies implemented.

            (btw, it isn’t correct to say that FG are ‘my guys’; its true that I think their policies were best for the economy, but there is much that I do not see eye-to-eye with them on).

          4. Rob_G

            Re: the Democratic Left & the Greens

            – very true, but the PDs got an awful lot of their policies implemented when they were in power. Any FF-led govt would be so reliant on SF/left-wing independents that the left would be able to significantly shape the policies of the cabinet.

          5. MoyestWithExcitement

            I’m really not sure you’re going to convince anyone that FF are left wing but fair play for your efforts.

          6. MoyestWithExcitement

            “Any FF-led govt would be so reliant on SF/left-wing independents that the left would be able to significantly shape the policies of the cabinet.”

            How did that work out for Labour?

          7. Rob_G

            ‘Left wing’ and ‘right wing’ are relative terms.

            Labour was a much, much smaller coalition partner; if FF joined up with SF/SD/AAA-PBP, etc, there would be a significant left-wing element to the govt.

            Due to the nature of our electoral system; coalition govts are almost a certainty; parties should strive to enter into govt and get some of their policies implemented. If every party refused to countenance going into govt except as the larger partner, we’d never have a govt

          8. ahjayzis

            @Rob_G

            Citing the example of two right-wing parties (FF+PDs) successfully coalescing isn’t an argument for left wing parties to adopt right-wing policies.
            The PDs were an offshoot of FG and FF, after all.

          9. MoyestWithExcitement

            I can tell you categorically that FF and SDs won’t be partnering with SF. There are dodgy things we don’t know about with SF apparently. So that leaves a party with 3 TDs going onto a party with 42. Labour had 20 odd when they propped up FG and they STILL got masacred. I don’t see how you can rationally advocate for SDs to go into government unless you know full well it will kill them and that is what you want.

          10. Nigel

            You need to build up a strong support base and a lot more TDs before you can sit in government effectively. FF and FG must love it when small parties burn down the future for their sake.

      2. ahjayzis

        It’s not a matter of small parties not wanting to go into government though, it’s small parties not wanting to play the most junior of junior partners to a bigger party completely at odds with their beliefs, principles, policies and outlook. For every issue the SocDems get through, they would have to support and fight for ten issues they in reality oppose.

        Left/right is simplifying it, but the SocDems entire basis for existing is in opposition to the worldview and system of short termist, corruption blind governance the two big parties have presided over.

        You’re focusing on the number of deputies and arithmetic and completely disregarding what parties stand for – a common bias when it comes to parties of the left.

      3. Andy

        + 95%

        But instead of “protect their parties” it’s “protect their jobs”

        People need to stop thinking about these people as politicians in the constitutional sense. This is their full time jobs – they need the salary. SocDem’s are no different.

        The only opposition TD I’m looking forward to seeing is Eamon Ryan – it seems he doesn’t give a crap about keeping his job.

    2. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

      I think you’re the one who is sounding a bit angry there ahjaysiz.

      The Left here are unelectable, disunified and transparently self-serving.

      They don’t present a compelling alternative.

      Did you miss all the votes for Taoiseach? Understandable as you live abroad.

      The Left were notable by not supporting any of the candidates put forward.

      Even those idiots in Shinnerland put forward Gerry Adams. At least they tried ;)

      To your points in the two centre right parties. I don’t agree that people voted for FF and FG.

      Historically people who vote for FF vote for them because they’re not FG. You may not like it.

      But that’s reality. It’s like the people who support Liverpool or Man United.

      It’s tribalism. It’s the will of the people. It’s a country thing. Maybe you just don’t understand.

      1. ahjayzis

        Absolute rubbish.

        A quick scan of the Wikipedia results page shows 45 TDs with left-wing parties, not including left-wing indpendents. So unelectable they got elected, eh?

        FG voters transferred more to FF than Labour or any other party in 2016
        FF voters transferred more to FG than any other party in 2016

        FG and FF voters prefer each others party more than any other party.
        The tribalism is confined to the hardcore party die-hards, the actual voters know what they both represent and know they both represent the same bloody thing.

        http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/election-2016/analysis-election-2016-transfer-patterns-34494879.html

        1. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

          Citation needed other than the Irish Independent.

          But yes as I figured you just don’t understand it – the peasant bogger mentality.

          You’re too sophisticated ;)

          I meant unelectable as a government not as individuals.

          1. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

            We’re talking about two different things petal

            You’re talking about vote transfers to labour now whereas originally you were whining about how FF won’t coalesce with FG.

            Well sorry love but people who give transfers to the left or FG are by definition not the diehards, do you accept that or is that too much for your pretty little head to take in? These people are not the party activists who will make a grand coalition happening. Your figures are somewhat encouraging though I admit.

      2. Anne

        “Did you miss all the votes for Taoiseach? Understandable as you live abroad.”

        There’s these things called digital antennas.. and if you have a satellite dish and you can tune in to certain satellites – hotbird, astra, to pick up free to air stations all over Europe. There’s also mobdro.

        You’d miss as much as if you were home.. being abroad is irreverent these days. Just sayin’

  14. Rob_G

    To all of the posters above who classify FF as right wing:

    Govt spending trebled (trebled!) under FF when they were last in Govt. They are ‘big government’ statists; FF & Labour (and, for that matter, Soc Dems) would be much more natural partners in govt than FG & Labour.

    1. ahjayzis

      The whole left-wing means massive, uncosted, unsustainable spending is a right wing slur.
      By that metric the Fine Gael manifesto was the most left wing of them all, as it promised the most spending.

      What did they spend it on? Tax cuts and child benefit, in lieu of state supported childcare and the economies of scale that represents. Benefit supplements to assist poor people in housing, in lieu of constructing social housing that also benefits from scale, and pays for itself after twenty years and then accrues a profit. The list goes on.
      They were populists through and through on the economy, conservatives on social issues.

      Socially they’re the most conservative, economically Fine Gael are the most conservative, but they’re both fundamentally centre right parties and miles along the spectrum from the other parties.

      1. Rob_G

        How does one spend on a tax cut(?)

        – it’s true that FG tried to buy the electorate as well; they should have promised to give everything for free, as that seemed to work for all the other parties.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Yes of course. Anyone who doesn’t vote for the right wingers are free loading bums who want everything handed to them. Thats a winning strategy as Mitt Romney can attes…wait.

        2. ahjayzis

          Tax cuts are tax expenditures, Rob. Expenditure in that you have so much money, and you choose to have less money by conscious decision – that’s spending.

          1. Rob_G

            A tax cut is forgoing income; surely it is the opposite of expenditure?

            (though your point on FG’s giveaway budget stands)

          2. ahjayzis

            That depends how you see it I suppose, I see it as a bribe to the electorate, which counts as spending. Foregone income suggests it’s an investment, to my mind it was a spending decision.

    2. Nigel

      It’s adorable that you think government spending doesn’t increase under right-wing parties.

  15. Harry Molloy

    Well what is positive about this entire thread is that there is some interesting debate, good points put forward from both sides, and we all seem to be treating each others arguments with respect.

    Everyone give yourselves a pat on the back :) (I think it’s because the sun is out)

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        I need to adopt some of that thinking. Fupp it, I’m heading to the Dail to get baked.

    1. They Tried To Make Me Go To Rehab

      I was thinking the same actually, it’s an excellent debate so far.

  16. Steve

    Bloody hell we (FG) need to end this farce. Put Leo in the big seat, call a summer election and go after the marginal indo seats. Sure ye never know with enough hard work we might even squeeze keating in ahead of kenny in Dublin mid west.

  17. Kieran NYC

    Seems that a lot of left-wing types on here are campaigning hard for a stable, long-term FG/FF government. Daft. That’s why the Left in Ireland never gets anywhere. The hardcore refuse to compromise an inch. Screw actually trying to help *anyone*, don’t want to be called traitors like Labour in case you can’t help *everyone*. They’d rather five years of right wing policy instead so they can stay smug.

    Btw politics is about compromise to get stuff done. They even learned that up North. We can see where everyone being a bunch of fanatical principled absolutists is getting the country at the moment. Absolutely nowhere.

    1. ahjayzis

      The left in Ireland does go places, Labour’s had the Spring Tide and the Gilmore Gale, massively accumulated political capital. And burnt through it in a matter of years by supporting a right-wing dominated government.

      I’d like to see where the left wing goes when it’s not laying down with the devil every chance it gets, when it stops being one step forward, two steps back.

      Compromise sounds much nicer when it’s your side who are always the bigger party calling the shots, the right will throw a few much-wanted sops to social issues like women’s rights and gay rights, but the architecture of the state and the ingrained inequality remains the same.

  18. some old queen

    “Btw politics is about compromise to get stuff done. They even learned that up North. ”

    Up north, both FF and FG when in government took turns in lecturing everyone about the need to work together for the greater good. Surely you can see the irony in your statement?

    Or is it a case of do as I say not as I do?

Comments are closed.

Sponsored Link
Broadsheet.ie