Kenny invites Greens into opposition coalition…

For those of you thoroughly fed up with Northern Irish politics (or the endless procrastination that passes for NI politics), here’s an interesting snippet from the Republic. Enda Kenny has clearly done the maths on this year’s general election and found his Mullingar pact with Labour wanting, and is inviting the Greens into a possible Labour/FG government.

  • Yokel

    Whats really notable is how little attention the day long crisis got on politics.ie

  • Dualta

    Excellent news whether or not the Greens bite. This is a big leg up for their public profile.

    Think about it, the other all-island party might beat SF into government in the south.

  • Henry94

    Dualta

    If they do it will be with Fianna Fail

  • Tochais Síoraí

    FG need the PDs or the Greens, I don’t think the former was ever an option because of the Labour Party so if FG want to be in govt, it’ll be with the Greens and Labour. It’s a no brainer.

    This statement is just an attempt to take the media spotlight away from that clown Deasy and put FG back as a credible leading party of government.

  • Mick Fealty

    Does the Greens no harm either way Henry, in the short term at least. Sargent should be working out his in-government strategy now (whichever way they jump), with a mind to strengthening his party’s credentials in the long term.

    In that they will face some of the same problems SF are processing at the moment: ie how to transform a largely oppositionalist movement into one prepared to work for positive outcomes inside government.

  • Crataegus

    The statement benefits Greens and increases their profile and credibility, but I would have thought they would be better keeping their options open if only for the reasons of transfers. What they should do instead is put some realistic markers down as to what policies they would want implemented as a partner in government. Perhaps flirt with FF and FG and play it to get publicity, talk themselves up. But they are such a dour bunch and I can’t imagine them doing anything so frivolous.

    Always think of Greens as a sign of affluence, people with adequate money, a good education, and a troubled conscience vote Green.

  • mickhall

    I hope they do not bite this particular poisoned apple, they will not have enough pull to make it worth while. Germany is a warning to any Green Party, they were given prominence in a SPD coalition, without a great deal of power out side the Foreign Ministry. Thus they were tarred with all the down side of Shroders government, without any means to alter it, thus much of the rank and file green party disagreed with their actions whilst in government, as to did their electorate , thus come the election they were punished badly, at both a national and local level.

    The same will happen in Ireland, much better for them to work towards becoming the main component of a progressive opposition in the RoI;
    and look towards working with other progressive parties in the next Dail and in the future look to going into government as a progressive block with real pull to change things.

  • George

    Mick,
    the Green vote in Germany dropped from 8.5 to 8.1% in the 2005 Bundestagswahl.

    Hardly what I would call punished badly.

    In the three Landestag elections in 2006:

    Berlin 13.1 up 4% on 2002
    Mecklenberg 3.3 up 1.5%
    Baden-Württemberg 11.1 up 4%
    Rheinland-Pfalz 5.1 down 0.1%
    Sachsen-Anhalt 3.6 up 1.6%

    Seems being in government gave the Greens the “respectability” they needed to increase their vote.

  • George

    oops,
    obviously more than 3 elections in 2006.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Not sure about that Mick – FG are very lightweight – if Lab & the Greens form a coalition with them they’ll have a disproportionate share of the power within that coalition. They, particularly the Greens will have sharper focus and in most cases, more ability.

    FG have lost most of their big hitters over the past decade and their biggest problem in this election will be trying to hide their lack of talent.

  • mickhall

    George,

    im not a stats man, far from it, do you have the votes cast for the Greens in the 2002 and 2005?

    Tochais Síoraí

    I see the point your making if the Lab and Greens both enter a coalition, although your last paragraph points to one of the reasons why it might not be an attractive proposition.

    Myself I genuinely feel at this stage a party like the Greens is built for opposition, not least because the Dail gives them a platform on the environment that can be somewhat self censored if they have ministerial responsibilities, but then I’m an incorrigible oppositionist myself, or so i am told. 😉 whilst not a green myself, I also believe a healthy Green party is an asset to any nation.

  • Kloot

    their biggest problem in this election will be trying to hide their lack of talent.

    Very true. They just don’t have a strong shadow front bench. And even if they do, the public just dont know who they are.

    I spotted on of those supposedly “Negative campaigning” posters in the DART station over xmas. It was a large picture of McDowell with the following text

    “Dont want one party government, well this man made it a reality”.

    For the first few days I actually thought it was a PD poster, such was the vagueness of the message, it wasnt until i read the underlying bit about FG that I realised the point they were trying to make

  • Crataegus

    Mickhall

    I always thought politics was about getting into government, enacting policy and influencing decisions. To be asked and say, “we don’t want to sully our hands,” is going to look a bit weird to their voters for it will be seen that a vote for them is indeed a wasted vote. If the opportunity arises they have to go for it in some form or other.

    Coalition government is about compromise and cooperation and I think a bit of that would benefit the environmental movement who quite frankly can be a real pious, unreal, pain in the rear. I notice they are being coy about the advances showing a maturity of judgement, for I would imagine they will need FF transfers in many constituencies if they are to increase representation.

    With regards Germany I thought being in government actually improved then? They were completely off the wall prior to that, and I thought that they did a good job in the foreign office. Wish Britain had as capable a perspective. However one of the areas in that caused them problems was in relation to the Foreign ministry and illegal immigration from Eastern Europe. I thought their economic positioning was very interesting as they seemed to wish reform unlike their senior partners.

    A spell in reality would do them good. In the context of NI look at what long periods without responsibility do to political parties!

  • mickhall

    crataegus,

    I take your point in your last paragraph, but I do not believe politics is only about being in government. An effective opposition is worth its weight in gold, for example, one of the problems within the UK going back thirty five years is that strong governments have been opposed by very weak and incompetent oppositions. This has left a democratic deficit which the media, the judges and the street has attempted to fill, none with a great deal of success.

    The problem in government for a small party like the Greens is they are governed by Cabinet responsibility, thus if in government, despite at times having access to key info they can only use it by leaking etc. Whilst in opposition they have a real platform in parliament with which to forewarn and thus for-arm the electorate.

    If the science on global warming is correct, the Greens are likely to grow and they may have the potential to become a major player. I am not certain of this but I cannot find an example of a minor party who have prospered after going into opposition with either of the two main Irish parties.

    Thus the judgement the Green Party must make is whether their cause benefits by entering a coalition, or will it simply be a case of a handful of Green politicians careers benefiting. Tough call for any party, although I doubt many people vote Green today expecting them to form part of the government.

    In many ways the Greens are like SF in that they both started life as political movements rather than the more tradition political party, and both[German Greens] are having difficulty making up their minds how to proceed in the future. The shinners have adopted the traditional party road, i hope the green decide otherwise, as there is room for wooly hats, sandals and a bit of home grown in politics.

  • Crataegus

    Mickhall

    I take your point, perhaps I am just getting a bit weary of more of the same and wish passionately for anything different anywhere North, South or in Britain! I would like to see a little idealism in politics and really don’t care if it is left or right, and on the way I don’t care if they make a few mistakes. Anything is better than the calculating focus group approach and the self serving smugness of some. A bit of leadership and a few principles would be nice.

    In all probability the next government is again FF and I don’t think the issue of partnership will arise. Getting into bed with that lot would require body armour and food tasters. I would doubt if such a Union would work, that said I have great respect for Albert Reynolds so they may not be that bad in reality, but Bertie is certainly no fool and far from straight forward.

    I imagine FG made the offer to boost their own flagging credibility, and, as has been pointed out, a coalition with them may be fairly benign. It may actually be a beneficial experience for basically urban Greens to cooperate with a party that has a wider and a large rural base and wider interest groups.

    In the past I read a lot of the manifestoes from various parties and frankly a lot of the Green ones were less than half baked, though more recently they seem to be adopting more pragmatic positions probably with a view to having them implemented.

    I am not so sure how the Greens would work with Labour and the three parties would have in the back of their minds contesting against each other for seats come the next election.

    The other question is could the others work with Greens? It is hard to gauge from a few radio interviews, but their TDs seem a sensible enough bunch, but are unproven. They seem quite able unlike some of the SF offering. However I have distant memories of a debate with a MS McKenna, and whilst I would recognise her obvious sincerity if it were me I would hate like heel to have to work with her, or have people like her in the wings. The sort of person who you could like and respect one minute and the next would have you swearing expletives. An Irish Clare Short and a real fire brand.

    I still think if they get the opportunity they should jump.