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Bertie: "Anyone for Government?"

2.13.2006

It caught my eye as soon as I walked into the newsagents yesterday (hurrah from advertising), but yesterdays story in the Tribune about Berties openness to offers surely rocks the boat.

Bertie opened up the opportunity of a coalition with Labour should the maths of the next election make it necessary.

Just a few thoughts, FFs internal polls must be suggesting that there is a hell of a close shave coming up at the next election and that the current PD/FF setup may have to be jettisoned for Bertie to achieve his longstanding goal to be third-term Taoiseach.

Second, the relationship in the second term between the PDs and FF has not been the same since the removal of Kildares finest to Brussels. Since then Macreevy has been annoying folk in the EU while the PDs have been on the losing side of a large number of policy clashes. The relationship between them is bound the be put under strain when the minority party is seen to be sidelined (over the Airport e.g.), ineffective (Harney in Health) and/or a tad wild (McDowell).

The PDs have also been courting all comers which could ultimately lead to the odd conversion of the teams to FF/Lab and FG/PDs.

Bertie is playing the right game in terms of getting Labour into bed by appealing to the Unions. They have for a long time been men Bertie has nurtured ties with (since Labour minister in the 80s and before). They know he is a man with whom one can make a deal, and perhaps he is right that Union leaders do often cast votes FFs way. However they are also intertwined with the very essence of the Labour party and can stand in the position of king-makers come election day (although not to the extent of the Unions in thte UK Labor Party).

If it turns out that the only feasible coalition is Fianna Fail and Labour Pat Rabbitte may have to fall on the sword he planted in Mullingar. However he may not. While the Labour voting public is widely seen as being split over coalition with FF, the activists tend to favour Rabbittes attention to detail and organisational ability over the other contenders (who are often termed 'weak' in that department). Still the press have a key role in this regard and would crucify a man who has, never explicitly but nonetheless, ruled out government with FF.

Whether or not an FF/Labour coalition would achieve anything, have any merit or even be something to talk about is a post for another day. At the moment though, the fact that both governing parties are casting about for partners suggests that things are deteriorating in Cabinet Office.

*Michael D. refused to be drawn on his own candidacy next year. This suggests to me, that some in the party have been told to "go home and prepare for government", while Sinn Fein are pariahs there will be a large role for kingmakers on 12%-19%.

RR
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  1. Blogger Simon | 11:58 p.m. |  

    i would put sinn fein on 5-8 % remember labour are only on about 17%

  2. Blogger Cian | 12:11 a.m. |  

    Im still not sure about Sinn Fein, the ability to predict their success or not is down to how much of a vote they mobilise that doesnt normally vote. It could easily be 5-8 but equally 10-14 is possible.
    I myself reckon it will be Labour who fill that kingmakers role i doubt SF would be a)there ahead of labour and b) considered by both parties as a partner.

    RR

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