Why did FF reject debate on a national government?

Fianna Fail strategists may well be regretting their decision to reject any talk about a national government earlier this year, following publication of today’s Irish Times poll.

The Soldiers of Destiny are now in a perfect storm. There is unpopular legislation to be passed and a savage budget to come. All of which increases the possibility of back bench rebellion, Green Party mutiny and a snap election before Christmas.

As if that was not enough the national mood is now clearly for change. The fact that Fine Gael and Labour have never been tested on their policies is secondary to what appears to be an overwhelming desire to clear the cabinet table. An election will give the country a new team, but where is the plan for national recovery which is so desperately needed?

It’s probably too late to reach for the lifeboat but surely someone somewhere in Government Buildings must be thinking about a plan B. No matter who is in power the difficult decisions will still need to be taken.

The question is why was debate about the possibility of a national government not encouraged by Fianna Fail when they had the opportunity to do so?

  • Eric

    I don’t think there ever was a chance of a national government. That was more a media creation.

    That level of sharing with opponents goes against Fianna Fail’s genetic makeup. Fianna Fail won 78 seats at the last general election. They would win half that if there was an election now. FG and Labour are not going to enter government until there has been an election when their strength is vastly increased – why go in pre-election.

    We are in unchartered waters – there needs to be an election so a government (of whatever hue) has a mandate to carry out its policies. The 2007 government has no mandate to carry out its present policy agenda

  • A unity government, not a national government surely?

  • Big Maggie

    “The Soldiers of Destiny are now in a perfect storm.”

    I do wish people would stop translating Fianna Fáil thus.

    The mythical Fianna were mercenaries and bandits, whereas Fianna Fáil are … oh, wait :^)

  • Brian Walker

    Conall,
    I don’t follow the details of the politics like I used to but from across the water I ask:
    1. How is a national government viable when the FF/FG policies towards the banks are diametrically opposed? I suspect a national “bad bank” is an illusion given how long it takes to set up and sustain any bank. The least worst option is probably what FF are doing.

    2. The natural instinct of any government is to hang on for better days. Politcally from FF’s point of view, this is not a bad bet given that FG support looks soft and the Opposition is divided. Governments tend to survive between elections unless/until they or society implodes.
    No sign of this happening, despite much disaffection and concern.

    3. The more natural political development would be a combined opposition programme leading to an electoral pact which – am I right?_ looks remote. They could yet play dearly for this failure.

    4. Whatever is said publicly it must be a moot point that the opposition actually want to take office in any case, until the storm clears a bit.