Government coalition negotiations (continuning updates)…

Again, apologies for the outage, we ARE working on it… In the meantime, we’re keeping an ear to ground for whether the Greens have been able to agree a new Programme for Government ahead of a scheduled meeting of the party’s convention tomorrow where they have to get 75% 2/3 approval to get it past… Late last night, Ciaran Cuffe blogged that failure to agree would have seen himself and his colleagues head into a General Election that would almost certainly wipe them out in Irish parliamentary politics… According to Newstalk, education appears to be the last sticking point… We’ll bring you word when the news breaks…

Update: After 50 hours of talks, the Taoiseach and John Gormley now expected to intervene to try and get talks back on track… The outcome expected tonight… Adds: Cian reckons the talk from the Greens is more than brinkmanshipUpdate: Here’s the latest from Senator Dan Boyle who doesn’t normally mess about and expresses some of the frustration the Green team is feeling inside the room (below the fold); then Gormley and Biffo… Deal was done earlier…

Agreement: Green smoke… But only Green Party members will get to see it before tomorrow… Suzy’s started the live blog for tomorrow already

There’s an air of unreality on the part of the Fianna Fáil team in terms of what they can and can’t do, and what being in Government is going to be like for them for the next two or three years,” he said.

He said that both sides were aware that should the talks collapse, it would lead to a disastrous General Election for both parties.

Read more: http://breakingnews.ie/ireland/ff-have-air-of-unreality-at-programme-for-government-talks-429583.html#ixzz0TS9VsyhN

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  • So it’s down to two:
    1. turkeys voting for an early Christmas (matching, no doubt, similar lack of enthusiasm among the vegetables of the FF back-benches); and
    2. the necessary two-thirds majority the Green constitution demands.

    Am I to believe the turkeys will strut off, simply because of the difference between a 27:1 and 28:1 pupil/teacher ratio? Especially since the Green leadership seem to have isolated NAMA as a separate (and, seemingly, not a break) issue.

    Still, collapse of the coalition would be nice. And just. And right. And proper. But it won’t solve anything, either way.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    If the greens pull the plug they have little or no chance of getting back into government (must check PP for the odds) and if they stay, as there is no guarantee that NAMA will be a success, they will be blamed for not letting the oppostion have a go. It is also extremely dangerous for the FF government to promise the Greens something which is not in the interests of the country just to to stay in power.

    On balance it is to be hoped that they pull the plug at least there might be a sensible debate based on all the alternative ways forward rather than the current feeling that the government is simply trying to save its own neck.

  • DR

    so what are the odds on the government falling?
    wish El Gord as as wobbly these forever elections are stressful

  • Mick Fealty

    The burden of proving their bona fides may be politically unbearable.

    If they do go, then everyone will believe they were serious but their support will be so fragmented they’ll be all but finished…

    Many inside Fianna Fail reckon Greens have no choice. Newstalk reporter reflects a media view that this is all about playing the optics for the party.

    If they stay in then keep an eye on the quality of the reforms being offered…

  • Marcus

    I will be at the Green Party meeting tomorrow, really do not know how this is going to go down.

    http://cuffestreet.blogspot.com/

    I think Ciaran Cuffe TD has summed up our feelings quite well on the coalition.

    Except for the bit on Nama for me personally.

    There is no doubt that tomorrows meeting will be one of the most important in our parties history.

  • George Burns

    It’s 2/3rds approval not 75%.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Marcus,

    up unitl the Ceann Comhairle and the FAS issues I was probably on balance against an election but now I simply cant see how the government has the moral authority to push through the necessary tough measures – if you addd in the risk with NAMA – on Wednesday another ‘distinguished’ economist(financial witchdoctor) stated it was waste of money – better for the Greens to say they tried and take their political medicine just as the Plain People of Ireland have to take their economic medicine.

    Never too late to do the right thing.

  • Sorry: can’t resist this one:

    Told ya so.

    See first post above.

    Once upon a time there some faint hope that Greens represented some force for change …

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Malcolm,

    re. your first post – “It wont solve anything either way”

    Surely if there is an election there can be a greater/proper debate about NAMA – that would not just be ‘nice’ but surely absolutely essential.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit @ 11:03 AM:

    You are quite right.

    The NAMA thing won’t go away.

    However, the Green leadership (now, there‘s a contradiction in terms!) sanitized the vote on NAMA as a separate issue: an issue that wasn’t going to be a breaking point over these inter-party negotiations. The Green TDs have signed up to save the present government; and therefore are committed to NAMA (while implying it’s the best worst “solution”).

    I just feel NAMA is too BIG to be properly argued in the context of a panic general Election. Moreover, that would be a General Election the result of which would fragment the Dáil — not necessarily to be deplored. Now consider what happens thereafter:

    FF obviously lose seats, but (because of the way the Irish system works, with local patronage, personal votes, and feudal fiefs) not to the extent past record might demand;
    FG gain similarly; but not enough to come near a majority;
    Gilmore and Labour (who would surely increase representation, but not by much) hopefully stick to their word, and have enough sense not to go near a coalition;
    PD are already gone; the Greens would (on the local election results) be eliminated as a national force;
    SF might make an odd gain; but seem to have blown it;
    the rest are also rans.

    In that mess, the best hope for any radical is a grand coalition (doubtless touted as “a government of national unity”) with Labour as the Opposition. What odds even such a scenario ensures the onward march of NAMA? Particularly since it seems to be the “solution” of choice for the international bankers, the EU, and all of the other great-and-good.

    This isn’t the revolutionary moment; but we’re getting damn close.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Maclolm,

    Messy yes – but surely necessary -I can see how the public will stomach cutbacks, paycuts etc form a government so totally undermined – it is a tired, old, dreadful cliche, but they have lost the authoity to govern because of cronyism, and incompetence and there must be at least some suspicion they are hiding some dirt (e.g. in Anglo) which keeps them from making the right choices.

    Also surely the more debate about NAMA the better.

    I really hope and think the Greens pull the plug – current odds with the papal predciton PP on a ‘green mutiny’ – 1/2 no 6/4 yes.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit @ 11:45 AM:

    Of course, there’s a consummation devoutedly to be wished. And a disreputable stitch-up of an Administration to be dished. If only …

    No wonder Mr Power does so well with that spread of odds.

    I’l be watching this space (once I’ve finished the last sixty pages of Stieg Larsson III) — but I ha’ my severe doots about this one.

  • susan

    Malcolm, RTE now has a link the full text of the proposed Programme:

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/1010/greens.html

  • susan

    The official Green Party summary, and links to the deal in both word and pdf file here:

    http://www.greenparty.ie/en/government/renewed_programme_for_government

  • susan @12.22 & @ 12:31 PM:

    Thanks for the heads-up.

    Vouchers for expenses … corporate donations … (those two must have been buggers to push through in the present climate) … no reintroduction of third-tier fees (yet) … fifty more teachers (over three years) …

    And that’s enough to bring the tree-huggers and the beardies-and-sandals on board?

    Why am I not surprised it’s the People’s Trevor, Mr Flip-flop Sargent, put up as cheer-leader?

    OK, OK: I’m bitter.

  • susan

    Malcolm: Just because you are bitter does not mean you are not right.