A few final observations.
Andrea Pappin and I have been really surprised at the response to our site www.election2011.ie with a lot of people asking us very detailed questions. Have lost count the number of times people have asked me how STV works and how to fill in their ballot paper to deliver a specific outcome. If people generally are paying as much attention as the people talking to me, Fianna Fail are about to be not as much transfer toxic as suffer a transfer allergy akin to Osama Bin Laden at a Texas hoedown.
I really like how engaged we have all been with this, and hope it doesn’t fade away.
It’s hard to believe how many people, even in these cynical times, take political promises at face value. I keep meeting people who are voting Sinn Fein who when I ask do they really believe that the solutions are that easy admit that it’s probably too good to be true. I think they just want to vote for something hopeful.
Unless they confound the polls, Labour will surely have to confront the fact that 80% of the Irish people are just not buying what they are selling, and if they want to be the dominant party of Irish politics, core values have to be re-evaluated. The fact is that Labour are just not believed on the unions or taxes, despite their protests. Labour needs its clause four moment.
If I had to put money on the outcome, I’d say an FG/Green coalition. And Trevor Sargent to return as leader of the Greens. Also reckon that there will be a public backlash against the new government if they do a traditional Jackie Healy-Rae style deal with an independent. Enda may just have to dare the independents to vote him down and trigger a general election. One thing about Enda: No one has ever accused him of being weak. I can’t see Labour doing a deal with Fine Gael if they don’t really have the power to bring down the government. Or perhaps Enda will just wait until Fianna Fail decontaminates itself?
Heard a rumour that the Gardai are assigning extra guards to Fianna Fail headquarters in case there’s a Stasi/Baath party moment of exuberance from the newly liberated citizenry.
Things to look forward to at the count: The two “F**king Hell!” moments, when someone we don’t expect to be elected is (Harry McGee is tipping Mick Wallace. Wexford man in work just did the same thing) and when someone we expect isn’t (I’d put money on a senior Labour figure accidentally losing their seat to their running mate on the “Sure, so-and-so is safe” basis)
Finally, as we watch the streets of Tripoli and Cairo, we do have something special here, naff and all as that sounds. For all their many, many flaws, Fianna Fail will leave office peacefully if they lose. Probably.