Talking to Fianna Fail people, it’s clear that there is a lot of internal discussion going on within that party as to its future. Within that context, I reckon one of Fianna Fail’s greatest obstacles is its in-built nervousness about openly discussing options, which is an historical hangover from when it was once the most powerful party in the country. I write quite a lot about Fianna Fail, because I find it the most interesting non-left party in the country at the moment, but I’m always surprised at the reaction to comments I make about the party, on this blog or Facebook/Twitter. Many FFers engage, a little nervously, and usually through private channels, but some almost get a twitch at the idea of an outsider like me passing comment. I can even recall one pretty much telling me to mind my own business, whilst then waxing lyrically about how the party was a National Movement!
It has to be said, however, that Fianna Fail needs to talk to non-Fianna Failers (perhaps through an app that the public has to pay a nominal amount for? It would stop a whole load of anti-FF baiters from downloading if they thought they were giving FF money!) if it wishes to recover, because in its current state, there is a danger that it could just spend its time looking into itself, and that would not be a good thing. A TD recently told me that what surprised him most about Fianna Fail in its current climate is how rural it is becoming in its thinking. This is not a bad thing in itself, as rural voters are entitled to representation like everyone else, but if Fianna Fail is happy to primarily become a party of rural interests, it should get used to being a small party.
I mentioned this point to someone recently, and contrasted it with Fianna Fail’s liberal bill on gay rights, and my surprise that a predominantly rural party didn’t kick up about it. His answer was very telling: “It’s worse than that. They’re not just rural conservatives. They actually don’t care about the gay rights bill because they don’t care about all that legislation stuff!”