Some good people got hammered on Friday, primarily because their association with Fianna Fail pretty much overruled, in the eyes of voters, anything that they personally offered. Sure, they got some traditional Fianna Fail votes, but then there were more voters who might have given them a vote until they saw the FF logo, and then it was invite to a meeting of the Gary Glitter Junior Members Fan Club country. And as for the famous Fianna Fail “machine”, forget it. It’s like a aul fella’s mickey: Worn out, smells of piss and you’d be mortified to take it out in public. Fianna Fail is a franchise operation now, and not a particularly good one at that.
Yet these are, for the most part, good people, and have carried the burden of Fianna Fail’s actions in government with them. So what for them now?
They will know themselves what’s wrong with Fianna Fail. A lot of the crap they got on the doorsteps is unavoidable. We have to cut back on public spending or increase taxes because that is life, and people who tell you that there is a magical painless solution, “Taxing the rich”, are either idiots or liars.
But there is a lot that Fianna Fail can do to at least show the Irish people that it is sincere. The party was dragged into reforming junior ministers and some TDs expenses. It has basically bottled out of Oireachtas pensions reform, because, as one Fianna Failer put it to me, “the Parliamentary Party won’t wear it”. In other words, even in the middle of this crisis, there are still a majority of FF TDs worrying about their own pockets.
Well, keep up that attitude, and there won’t be much of a parliamentary party to worry about. But here’s the thing: I keep meeting Fianna Fail people who are as appalled as I am about various actions of the government, and yet never say a peep within the party. Why is it, for example, that there isn’t a single Fianna Fail blogger who tells it straight to his own party? Is FF really so delicate that any sort of constructive criticism is regarded as treason or making trouble? If that’s the way it is going to be in Fianna Fail then the party deserves to get the shit hammered out of it in a general election.
After all, if Fianna Failers aren’t willing to save themselves, why should the voters bother?