God love them, but put a ball right in front of the blues and they’ll fall on their arse. Level-pegging with the most unpopular govt in the history of the state? WTF? The thing about FG is that I should be a die-hard blue. I’m on the centre-right, I think FF needs to be put out of government, I’m pro-EU, I’m anti-Provo, I don’t trust Labour with my money, I should be a solid Fine Gaeler. Yet not only can I not bring myself to join FG, I get an almost girlish giggling pleasure in seeing FG do badly? Why is that?
The problem for me is that FG refuse to change. They refuse to debate what they are for other than not being Fianna Fail. As a party, they are shockingly insular, seemingly listening only to each other, and getting to the stage where the parliamentary party are actually beginning to breed with each other. We’re almost heading into political “You got a purty mouth for a blue!” banjo country. All they talk about is Fianna Fail. Even their policies are based on the opposite of what FF are doing. If FF decided to wholesale implement FG’s policies, they’d still complain. The country needs a functioning values based centre-right party, and instead we get Michael Ring and Enda Kenny making promises about public spending that are just not possible. At least under Garrett they were actually a socially liberal party to FF’s conservatism.
FG have got to get it into their heads that being the Not Fianna Fail party is not enough, because it assumes that FG have some sort of right to form a government, as opposed to an obligation to convince the Irish people of their merits. The fact that they did not think to consult Labour about the pairing arrangement, or the fact that Enda announces major constitutional changes or front bench pay cuts without consulting his own parliamentary party, shows an amateurism bordering on recklessness. These people want to be the government, for Christ’s sake. This is not good enough. But what’s even more worrying is that they can’t seem to grasp that the reason they have been leading FF in the polls is not because of their own efforts, but because of anger with FF. If FF manage to reinvent themselves (and FF is nothing if not adaptable) FG could find themselves heading for their seventh electoral kicking, the most extraordinary thing being that they will actually be surprised if it happens.