There’s nearly something for every party except Labour coming from the Meath East byelection. FG win, FF recover, SF in third place, DDI come fourth, it’s a buffet of political nibbles to be feasted upon.
But let’s look at it from two specific view points:
The first is the effect on real politics, by which I mean actions that will effect, short or long term, the actual lives of our people. By that measure, the parties that broadly support the Troika have overwhelmingly won the election, albeit on a turnout of only 38%. The two interesting notes are the fourth place showing of the Direct Democracy Ireland candidate, and the humiliating result for Labour. Will it force Labour to change policy, which would be a real event, or merely engage in a heave to replace leader but without any concrete change in policy direction?
The second is the de facto Fianna Fail/Fine Gael primary election, the ongoing battle to see which group of associated individuals gets to form the largest gang in the combined conservative centrist pro-Troika bloc in the Dail and implement the broadly same policies. In that regard, the individuals under the Fianna Fail banner recovered some ground whilst the individuals under the Fine Gael banner put up solid resistance. For those people and their in-house concerns, this was an important day.