If only we had a new party! The cry goes out. If only we had a party that was made up of people who had an honest reputation, and weren’t funded by the sort of people who turn up at tribunals and tents. If only we had a party that could honestly say it opposed the planning madness of the last ten years. If only we had a party that was serious about fighting corruption and long term strategy and rational planning and reforming politics and devolving local power to local communities. A party like that would clean up!
Turns out we do. And turns out we are squaring up to do to them what Henry Ford did to the village blacksmith. Just think about the logic for a minute: Fianna Fail, the most corrupt party in the country, the party that took us to where we are today, will win at least 10 seats, and probably far more. Even at its low ebb, it will win more seats than the Green party have won in their entire history. And the Green Party? They face total annihilation. Why? Because they went into government? Because they made decisions that every other party would have been forced to make? Or is it because they tried to clean up the political and planning system that got us where we were today. The bastards! Of the five main parties, the Greens were warning about bad planning way ahead of everyone else. So we take them outside and put a political bullet in them? What?
Don’t get me wrong. I was livid when they supported that ludicrous blasphemy thing. My jaw hit the ground as they buckled on Tara and Shannon, two issues where I didn’t really care too much about anyway but which mattered to a lot of their voters. And don’t get me started on neutrality or nuclear power. But they got real on Europe, and delivered on civil partnership and nearly got corporate donations and the elected mayors through after years of other parties yakking about it. And most of all, as I watched John Gormley debate, I couldn’t help thinking that this guy is serious in a time when (to paraphrase President Shepherd) we need serious people. They’re not bought, and they have pursued policies which were unpopular but were right, and that is what we always say we want in our leaders. I campaigned against John Gormley in three general elections, and whilst I disagreed with him on some things, I can tell you one thing: John Gormley is a patriot.
I want a Fine Gael government, but I want it free from Labour’s economic policies (now with an extra dash of Jack O’Connor). I want their economic policies and their pro-Europeanism. But I also want someone serious about the need to change politics and to keep a socially liberal flag at the cabinet to keep an eye on Leo and Lucinda. If the Greens hold a couple of seats, and Enda is close to a majority, there’s a serious chance, if only for the fact that it will cost him less cabinet seats than Labour.
That would, I believe, on balance, be a good thing.