Watching the strong performance of UKIP in the English county council elections, I couldn’t help thinking how an English version of Fianna Fáil would do.
I suspect quite well, especially when one considers that one of the more curious aspects of modern British politics is the breakdown in traditional concepts of left and right along the political spectrum.
In particular, the assumption that left voters go to the centre before the right, or vice versa, just isn’t true. A more accurate reality is that modern British voters are prone to cherry picking from various points along the political spectrum, being left wing on health care and spending, but right wing on immigration and law and order. Tony Blair (a Fianna Failer if there ever was one) recognised this, and translated it into three successive election victories. Nigel Farage does too, judging by UKIP’s cross party appeal.
But what really would work for an English FF would be its classlessness, the fact that both entrepreneurs and social welfare recipients would feel perfectly comfortable lobbying the party, and not feel that the party owed a pre-loyalty to a different section of society. Fianna Fail’s centrist “whatever works” approach is a very attractive proposition for the modern non-tribal consumer-voter, provided it is accompanied by competence and not marred by self-obsessed corruption dressed up as party loyalty, something which Fianna Fáil suffered from in Ireland.
Perhaps Fianna Fáil should consider opening a UK franchise. After all, isn’t that effectively what it is in Ireland?