I thought I’d take a risk and write this morning about the outcome of the campaign before knowing the result, if only to write honestly about the campaign rather than with the benefit of hindsight.
Firstly, there were certain factors which I think will probably shape the final outcome, if not decide it entirely:
The first was the election of Francois Hollande, which shook the Yes side badly, because here was a major player suggesting that the world will not fall in if we vote No. He stepped back from it a bit, but the damage was done, and a lot of soft Yes votes certainly started looking again at their choice. Richard Bruton’s accidental blurting out of a straight answer about a second vote was embarrassing, but then he wasn’t exactly letting a state secret out.
For the No side, I’m not sure they ever quite recovered from the early part of the campaign where they struggled to answer the “yes, but where WILL the money come from?” question. Richard Boyd Barrett’s honest answer, through €10 billion in new taxes, was novel, as was Mary Lou’s new found respect for the IMF.
In terms of bizarre aspects of the campaign, someone really needs to tell Nigel Farage that he isn’t helping the No side, God love him. By all accounts a decent and fun fella, he has the unfortunate ability to remind Irish people of the man sent by an absentee landlord to put you and your children off your quarter acre.
Labour’s surreal bank guarantee posters had all the hallmarks of a gang of people who spend too much time in Leinster House scoring points in the chamber. Nobody gives a toss how Sinn Fein voted on the bank guarantee. It had the air of a political strategy designed using a protractor and graph paper.
Pat Kenny’s performance on the Frontline debate. Hmmm.
One other curio: I’m surprised how the right-wing Vote No to defund the Croke Park Agreement message never took off. I’m also surprised at the number of people who told me they were voting Yes because the treaty would stop future governments, especially a Sinn Fein government, from going hogwild spending, again, another argument you did not hear much in the media.
Finally, a request: We don’t know the result yet. When we do, can we please be spared the “The people have spoken clearly and courageously/The people were obviously bullied” ding-dong of old? Please? Just watch how quickly our friends in the UK go from “plucky little Ireland” to “what do you expect from the Irish?” if we vote Yes.