Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

Should Fianna Fail openly consult the public about its future?

Posted by Jason O on Feb 28, 2012 in Irish Politics

It's our party and we'll cry if we want to.

It's our party and we'll cry if we want to.

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!”

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