Richard Waghorne kindly reproduces a series of three columns charting the changing of the guard in the PDs for the Irish Daily Mail. Whilst he welcomes McDowell’s elevation he has some reservations about the gap between the Minister’s promises and actual delivery:
There’s nothing unforgivably wrong with a flight of oratory and combative positioning – especially after unanimously claiming the leadership – but only if it’s backed up by the hard work of practical politics and meaningful reform. McDowell’s past record on that count is pretty mixed. He’s quicker to announce reforms than complete them. More worrying, despite posing as the embodiment of principled politics, the PDs have been known to cave to pragmatic dealings when it suited.
If Richard is right, there may some benefit in having Harney’s industry and attention to detail in Health, whilst the Minister of Justice heads the election campaign. Though his party’s vulnerability to Cabinet consensus, undermines somewhat Clare Short’s idea (sound file) that electoral reform is a way of getting individual ministers out of the straightjacket of close central control.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty