Today FF and the Greens looked interested in leaving behind bobby traps for any incoming government as they face a humiliating removal from office. Both have declared their actions as in the national interest. But how much of recent events have been about FF, in particular trying to minimise their forthcoming time in the electoral wilderness and how much is really about the national interest?
Following the Doherty court challenge and his likely victory in DSW, with further by-elections in early spring, independents leaving the ship and an increasingly skittish backbench – a no-confidence expulsion from office looked likely and much of recent weeks posturing could seem to be playing a poor party hand as well as possible.
Nobody expects anything but the worst ever result for FF and close to decimation for the Greens in the next election. It is hard to see why they were hanging onto the levers of power with terrible economic news of their horizon – unless they were just hoping ‘something might come up’.
The Greens buckled first and declared they would, in the national interest, see next year’s budget and 4 year plan agreed, before pulling the trigger on the Government in January.
Cowen and FF gave a post-dated resignation letter a few hours later declaring they also will see this important business through before dissolving the Dial.
However, with two independents Jackie Healy-Rea and Michael Lowry indicating they are withdrawing support from the government, the likely arrival of Doherty on Friday and some FF backbenchers preparing to jump before supporting a punishing budget that will further jeopardise their seats it seems increasingly unlikely the December budget can gain support.
It may require at least one opposition party to abstain in order for the budget/plan to be accepted ahead of an inevitable election in weeks, not months – a booby trap?
Why would they abstain? Well, someone is going to spend the next 5 years overseeing cuts that are the legacy of FF ‘economics’. They have the choice of implementing cuts already in place by FF or imposing them directly post-election.
FG and Labour, the almost guaranteed next government, are going to have to decide between them whether they reject the FF budget and end up accountable for the cuts when in power or if one/both abstains to let them go through as a FF package they are just linked to.
Regardless, they end up covered in the shit FF created and delivering the pain FF caused. An impossible choice, a huge booby trap.
It surely gets worse though as negotiations are not finalised on the bailout, the last card in the Irish deck is gone. The EU/IMF now knows Ireland needs an agreed budget in weeks as they finalise their negotiations – being able to hold out for favourable terms on Corporate taxation while those pumping in the cash worry about how this sorry saga is impacting on their interests is no longer possible.
Low business taxation could be the final victim to FF’s cuteness before their implosion – along with public pensions, salaries and state benefits.
They have taken down their party, their business friends and destroyed Ireland’s economy. The only thing open to question is just how much shit they leave to stick on those that will replace them.