by Paul Goodman
For three reasons –
- Fine Gael's leadership, TDs and members haven't thought of trying (in most cases).
- The most dramatic feature of Ireland's election was the voters' repudiation of Fianna Fail. They'd rage if Fine Gael let them back into government though the back door.
- Ireland's electoral politics are shaped by the rivalry of the two civil war parties.
Or, rather, they have been. But while I accept that Enda Kenny can scarcely invite his party's ancient enemy into government, does the politics of the 1920s really make sense for Ireland the best part of 100 years later?
Imagine the realignment that a Fianna Fail-Fine Gael government would deliver –
On the centre-right, such a government would have 88 seats in the Dail and thus – if a few independents are thrown in – a workable majority. And it would bring together two parties of essentially like mind about the market economy, deficit reduction, business and lower taxes.
On the centre-left, Labour – with 36 seats – would become the unquestioned official opposition. They'd therefore neither be compromised, in the view of their supporters, by backing Fine Gael-led deficit reduction measures in a coalition; nor would they leave Sinn Fein poised to bid to be the main opposition force.
Yes, I appreciate that Sinn Fein have 13 seats to Fianna Fail's 18. But Sinn Fein is heading up, and Fianna Fail is tumbling down. It will be on the floor for quite a bit. Which leaves Sinn Fein ready to claim, in the event of the likely Fine Gael-Labour coalition, that Labour's "sold out the workers".
So: Fianna Fail-Fine Gael coalition. You know it makes sense. (As, judging by his analysis in this piece, does Guido Fawkes.)