For those of us who like our politics neat, with no ice or tonic, there’s going to be loads to watch. How badly will FF do? Will FG become the largest party in the country (Fine Gael???? How crazy is that? Up there with “Ladies and Gentlemen, President Michael Dukakis!”) Will Declan Ganley be elected?
One key result worth watching is how the Greens do. It’s reasonable to assume that they won’t win any European seats, so that won’t disappoint them too much. But how will they do in the locals? If the Greens suffer a hammering, and the last MRBI/TMS poll showed them on 3% in Dublin, their heartland, they could lose a substantial number of councillors.
If that happens, you might want to nip out and buy a new pair of canvassing shoes. Bear in mind that the Greens are the most democratically run party in the country. Their members have all the power (Oooh, the novelty! In FF they’re practically stored in pens, and always look so grateful about it.) and could suddenly get that feeling that Labour and PD members got about FF. That “Holy shit I’ve got Fianna Fail all over me! Uggh! The smell!” and decide to cut their losses.
Of course, the Greens could suffer from the same thing that Labour and the PDs suffered. They could look at all their policies they are implementing, and think, God love them, that the people will be grateful and reward them accordingly. Bless. Both the PDs and Labour implemented huge amounts of their policy agenda, and then got their heads kicked in by the voters. Why? Because the Irish people don’t vote on fact but perception, rarely in favour of a specific policy but against one, and the perception about the Greens is that after Shannon and Tara and general Fianna Fail ropeyness (It’s a word!) they have sold out, regardless of how much solid environmental stuff they get through. It might make more sense to demand something from FF (Like another cut in junior ministers or ministerial pensions) and then storm out like Naomi Campbell (Without the violence, obviously.)screaming that they “Can’t work with these people!”