Don’t get me wrong. Coalition government is about give and take, and people who expect the junior party in government to not concede on absolutely anything are being naive. But the Green position on blasphemy is different, for two reasons.
1. The first is that this is surely one of those policies that we never ever expected Greens to vote for. Did John Gormley or Ciaran Cuffe ever imagine that they’d be voting to make it easier to prosecute someone for selling “The Life of Brian”? The Green Party voting for such a socially conservative measure is like them voting for nuclear power. So out of left-field that surely even Fianna Fail are amazed that they are going along with it.
2. Why not say No to Fianna Fail on this? This is not a confidence issue, nor is it one of economic necessity. If the Greens refused to support this, would FF backbenchers demand an immediate election? They would in their eye. Put it another way. If a gang of FF TDs got stroppy about this the government would scrap it.
I voted for the Greens in the European Election because I felt they are being responsible in government. But this is a decider issue for many people like me. If the Greens aren’t willing to face down Fianna Fail on this, what are they willing to face them down on? The Greens would want to remember one thing: Many voters ( Including ex-PDs) were willing to give the Greens a chance because whilst they don’t agree with everything they espouse, they thought their ethos was in the right place. But this stinks.
If the Greens fail to deliver on this, they’d better not think that their potential voters will forget about it, because there are plenty of bloggers and others who are going to make sure that the votes of individual Green TDs and Senators to allow for people selling Richard Dawkins books to be prosecuted will not be forgotten. This isn’t a threat: This is holding our elected officials to account, and I sincerely hope John “Ban the Life of Brian” Gormley realises this. Stand up and say No now John. It isn’t too late.