#Aras11: How was it for …Labour?

Well, pretty magnificent. The old Dog for the hard road. Candidate selection was the critical factor. Michael D Higgins is one of the few professional politicians who can speak both engagingly and passionately about the Constitution. And the only one who managed to project himself in the role of President.

By all accounts his farewell speech to his Labour colleagues was both powerful and emotional. But it was a farewell. There is little doubting the mans intention to play the role as laid down in the Constitution, not activist nor outspoken but as a key functionary in the running of the state.

In the end he caned the other candidates as each of their party colours came to light. But Labour will not likely allow itself to be tracked into believing that a vote in a Presidential election is the same as that in a Dail election. Higgins had two key boosters. The Fine Gael candidate flatlined,so it made sense to vote for a coalition partner. And two, unusually for Labour Higgins is not only a west of Ireland man he held a seat there for most of his political career.

In no other election is the campaign as critical. That’s because the electorate is genuinely national, and, less formally than in France, people are forced to drop their normal allegiences to either pick or block winners.

Nevertheless, Labour headed off a strong challenge in Dublin West from Ruth Cottinger of the Socialist Party, ironically on a near oppositionist ticket making bed closures in a local hospital (by coalition health minister, James Reilly) the key issue in the process making Labour the first government party to win a by election in a political generation.

All in all, all in all, pretty orgasmic for the red team. But come Monday, it’s back to government porridge and the difficult long haul to the next general election.

  • HeinzGuderian

    I would just like to take this opportunity to wish Mr Higgins all the best in his new job.
    All the way from The Shire to The Aras,is no mean feat.

  • edgeoftheunion

    Good post Mick.
    After everything it can be said that the most presidential candidate won. I was agog at the Gallagher lead in the polls, but in the end it worked for the best. Perhaps being able to speak eloquently on the Constitution should go in there as a sine qua non.

  • Well…pretty embarrassing.
    Headed for defeat on Monday night, Labour won thru absolutely no act f their own. They were handed the election by Sinn Féin…Republicans as kingmakers so to speak.
    A Fianna Fáil revival by proxy was nipped in the bud. It was a bit like Snakes and Ladders. Gallagher hit the big long snake on #98.
    Higgins got the easiest ride of all the serious candidates. In fairness thats a lot to do with the fact that he is a blameless if rather boring man who deserved the easiest ride. But there was more than a hint of bias in his favour.
    No matter how dirty the Media can get……Sinn Féin can get dirtier.
    So “adh mór ort” to my President. Great………but hardly magnificent.
    He will represent me and mine with decency and integrity and will bore for us on the international stage. A man after my own heart.
    But are Sinn Féin calculating an tUachtaráns age as much much as any insurance broker.
    In seven years he is unlikely to get a second term at age 77. Quite properly his age was not an issue this time.
    But a retirement within seven years?
    Could SF be that calculating?
    After Monday, Id say yes. Indeed I would have said it before Monday.