Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

The next election is too good to waste on Fine Gael.

Posted by Jason O on Nov 19, 2010 in Irish Politics |

In 1993, in Canada, the Progressive Conservatives, the government, went into the general election with 151 seats out of 295 in the federal parliament, and came back with 2. Yes, 2. Now, in fairness, the Canadian electoral system is first past the post. It’s possibly the dumbest voting systems going if you have more than two parties, but it shattered Canadian politics for a decade. Are we heading that way?

Fianna Fail won’t be annihilated, because there are people who A) Don’t seem to understand that voting for Fianna Fail candidates gets you a Fianna Fail government, and B) will always vote Fianna Fail, although you do have to wonder what exactly would Fianna Fail have to do to not get these people’s votes? “Eh….that chopped up body was already here when I got here. And I don’t know who put those puppies in the microwave. And that MAY look like me on the CCTV with that bloodied knife but it isn’t.” But let’s be honest, Fianna Fail are now heading into what has been escalated this week from a very bad election result into a “They’ve blown up the Death Star? With the Emperor on-board? Really? ” moment.

This is the election so many of us have waited our whole lives for. The end of the regime. Hugging in the streets. Music. Hairy Jim Henson puppets dancing everywhere. And yet…

And yet, there’s something missing. See, when the Americans do change, they do JFK, or Bill, or Barack. I cried when Barack was elected. Actually cried, tears down my face, telling people that there was something in my eye as they cried and choked out “It’s very dusty in here, isn’t it, sob!” Even when Tony was elected in 1997 there was a feeling that something special had happened.

So we get to topple the Cowan-Ahernists, the people who led our country to global humiliation. But then it all judders to a halt?

As the smoke clears, as FF tanks burn in the steets, and FF footsoldiers wander bloodied and dazed looking for someone to surrender to…Enda comes out of the smoke? Enda? Ah, here…

I’m sorry, but this is not good enough. We can’t have the most important election in the history of the state since 1948, an election that is a pivotal turn in our national story, and end up electing a crowd of guys who were Fianna Fail and would still be if Dev had had any bottle and said “You know Mick, you’re right. We can do something with this treaty.” We can’t hand over the country to fellas who have only ever excelled at losing. We can’t put in power people that all of us who aren’t in the Cult of Fine Gael know would have done little different in the last ten years. We know that, and the fact that they don’t is evidence enough. We can’t elect people who are are only winning not because we want them but because the other guys are banjaxed.

If there is one thing that comes out of this election, it has to be that change can come to Ireland.

So how? Well, we’ve never had a Labour government. Now, I’m not a fan of Labour. I think they are anti-business, in hock to the public sector and the unions, and regard people who actually create jobs and wealth with suspicion.

But I’ll tell you one thing about Labour: they have a story and a direction and maybe even a picture of what it is they want to do. They do not measure themselves as The Not-Fianna Fail Party. And maybe, just maybe, Labour are smart enough to realise that this is an Indiana Jones grab your hat from under the closing stone wall moment to reach out beyond their comfort zone, to entrepreneurs, to employers,  to businessmen and women who can make a profit AND treat their customers and employees decently. These are the people who will create the growth that funds the taxes that allow for social justice. This is the blink of an eye moment where Eamonn Gilmore could build a grand FDR Democratic Party coalition that does not speak just for the unions or the public sector but speaks for all of us who want a society built on fair opportunity for those who want to work hard and to get on, and a society that will care for those who can’t.

This could be Labour’s Time. But they have to reach out, and confront their own inner sacred cows and demons, but if they do so, they may well find that, for the first time ever in our history, in this extraordinary time, there will be people who have never looked at Labour before now willing to reach back, and transform Labour from being not just the party of the left or of progressivism, but the party of Ireland. 

14 Comments


[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jason O'Mahony, Newsaccess and The Election Blog, Cormac Bohan. Cormac Bohan said: RT @jasonomahony: The next election is too good to waste on Fine Gael: http://jasonomahony.ie/?p=7357 [...]


 
Jeff
Nov 19, 2010 at 9:30 am

Sweet sweet positivity….Jason, God bless you sir. We need people to see, yes today is shitty but the Sun rose and life goes on.

Reading the story in the media (especially the UK’s media) half the stories make it sound like Ireland has descended into Somalian like anarchy with Max Max like road gangs roving the dual carriage ways looking for the juice the precious juice.


 
david morris
Nov 19, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Jeff – early days, mate.


 
david morris
Nov 19, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Damn that reply button. Its on a hair trigger !

You neglected to note that the upcoming election will also be contested by one Adams G.

Ireland really is screwed if its salvation is provided by an unrepentant murderer and terrorist
(sorry, I should of course more correctly have described Mr Adams as the revered freedom fighter).

Mind how you go


 
4li5t4ir
Nov 19, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Jesus, thank fuck I found this blog [via Reddit]. That was one of the funniest and most irreverent takes on the state of Irish politics I have read in a long time; and well over due it was, as a fervent RTE Radio 1 listener I spend most days with a razor blade pressed against my wrist with all this “news”.


 
Daniel Sullivan
Nov 20, 2010 at 10:58 am

Going to have to respond to this from my own, cos it’s too damn long to do it here.


 
Michael Mc Loughlin
Nov 20, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Ah yes Labour anti business, they left the business community in a shocking state when ruairi quinn was finance and et&e minister! Great to see how they have recovered since, particularly those poor banks…leaders of the buiness community they are!


 
steve white
Nov 21, 2010 at 12:39 am

just another post having a go at labour zzzzz


 
Jason O
Nov 21, 2010 at 11:01 am

Name them Mick. Give me the names of 5 mid-sized private employers willing to endorse Labour, because Labour in the UK were able to, as were the Democrats in the US. Ruairi was a damn good Min of Fin, and the last, if memory serves, to actually have a budget surplus. He’s also spoken very highly of by business people I know. But he’s the only one. By getting defensive like this, I think Labour is missing the point. You have a golden opportunity here. Never mind FF, FG are capable of being swept aside now. The country is crying out for a new way, and Labour is well placed, but it has to adapt to the broader electorate, not expect, as it has in the past, the electorate to adapt to it. And deep down, I think the McLoughlins and the Garretts know this to be true.


 
Jason O
Nov 21, 2010 at 11:02 am

Steve, did you actually read the blog?


 

[...] going to take issue with Jason’s reasons for his view that the next election is too good to waste on Fine Gael but then I’m going to end up agreeing with him for quite different [...]


 
Luke
Nov 24, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Time for Labour, oh dear.

We need cuts and reform in the public sector, sweeping reform of the welfare state, less red tape and costs for business, and the privatisation of our semi-states. Which part of that will Labour actually support? They’d prefer to tax us more. They have said this all week in the media when asked about the cuts.

There is no magic pot of gold under a rainbow that the public sector are going to dig up anytime soon. At least FG have called for cuts and a reduction in the size of our bloated government.

I’m not a fan of Enda and would much prefer Richard as leader, but unfortunately FG backbenchers decided the fate of the party over the summer.


 
Tomassi
Dec 6, 2010 at 1:16 am

Can’t say I agree with any of that.
In my view, it seems Barack hasn’t really brought a whole load of change, and it seems Americans are beginning to subscribe to that view.
Fine Gael were never Fianna Fáil, and to suggest that they would have been Fianna Fáil had Dev not opposed the Treaty is a lazy analysis of the origins of the Civil War.
We can’t hand the country over to fellas that have excelled at losing. This proclamation would have to extend to Labour also, and indeed every other party in the state.
You’re not a fan of Labour. They’re anti all these things you state. But maybe they will change! Well to be honest they don’t look like it, and even if they did, what would they be doing? Abandoning any left leanings they still have and become another full-on centrist party. Just what Ireland needs.
It seems to me that you are looking at politics as some sort of image contest, where Eamon Gilmore’s media-friendly image is whooping Enda Kenny’s ass, without bothering to look at any policies, which is what politics is supposed to be actually about.


 
Jason O
Dec 6, 2010 at 8:13 am

Barack Obama has brought in healthcare reform to a greater degree than any president before him. That alone is a huge achievement, especially considering the huge resources put in by the Republicans and the health insurers to oppose it. If it were not so significant, why would they utilise such vast resources against it?

I suggest respectfully you may wish to read the post again. My point is that Labour should change. Your point is presumably that even if we had no civil war FF and FG would have organically emerged. That’s an interesting point, and one you should expand on.


 

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