No FG/Lab majority in the next Seanad

Amongst all the fallout from the recent local elections in the republic one that has gone somewhat unheralded (just as the same effect was largely missed in 2009 for the FF/Greens) is the impact that the results have on future collation building after the next general election. While the task of assembly the numbers to elect a Taoiseach and hence a appoint a cabinet rests on the numbers in the Dáil, the job of governing or the practical tasks of … Read more

How to run a PR top up system with multi-seat constituencies

The point of multi seat constituencies is to provide the electorate with a choice not alone of party but of personnel. It is in effect a nascent instant primary system. However political parties don’t see it like that and tend towards running the minimal slate of candidates because they are currently fearful of using it as such because of the effect of transfers on the number of seats they


Read moreHow to run a PR top up system with multi-seat constituencies

What is the contest in Fine Gael about.

The contest in FG is not urban or rural as Elaine Byrne suggested but between the politics of “what” and “how” as compared with the politics of “who, and where and when”. There is not inconsiderable number in Irish politics across the party divide for whom the intoning of the party name is the answer to all questions. This is great stuff at the time of an Ard Fheis when rallying the troops but holds less water when faced with more practical problems as we are now.

Read moreWhat is the contest in Fine Gael about.

What are the prospects for a smooth change in FG?

I suspect that it is obvious at this point that the possibility of a change at the top of FG has increased in the last 48 hours and I suspect, despite the way things are being played in the media, the likelihood of this change over being a smooth and relatively bloodless one has increased too. I believe that Enda Kenny knows that his race as currently constituted has been run and a significant change in approach is needed. It would seem plain to me that neither he nor the party at large simply can’t overcome the incorrect perception of him that has fixed itself in the mind of the electorate. I say this as a fan of the man, I believe he would be a superb Taoiseach but too large a portion of the electorate can’t see that and no matter what we do we appear to not be able to make the electorate see that. So the key question then becomes what do we do about it?

Read moreWhat are the prospects for a smooth change in FG?

John McGuiness may have fired starting gun on FF Leadership heave

Speaking on KCLR (Kilkenny-Carlow Local Radio) this morning John McGuiness TD (FF) spoke of the weak leadership of Brian Cowen, that he needed to move beyond tribalism and called on him to “consider his position”. All sorts of rumours floating about as to how many other FF TDs would join a heave as opposed to confining themselves to simple local radio moaning and whether or not McGuinness is a stalking horse for someone in particular. McGuinness has been previously very … Read more

Killian Forde and the Moguls of Irish politics

The departure/defection/eloping of Cllr Killian Forde from Sinn Fein to the Labour party appears to be causing considerably more discussion that the earlier leavings of Christy Burke or Louise Minihan. While this is perhaps because he has left and joined another party, it is also possibly because it was more about policy and the party’s overall direction rather than what was happening on the ground in particular wards or constituencies. We’re all aware that Christy Burke was less than impressed … Read more

The Program for Government: a possible mandate for a gerrymander?

An interesting constitutional problem, thrown up by the outcome of the local elections, which has not as yet been covered in the mainstream media is that no government comprised of FF and any likely set of partners can now to command a majority in the Seanad after the next general election. Even if they were to form a government with someone like the Labour party, they would end up falling just short. Forming a government with anyone else from SF … Read more

New Poll numbers make grim reading for Irish Government

The new MRBI poll numbers to be reported in tomorrow’s Irish times make for truly awful reading for the government and An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen. After the summer period when traditionally FF numbers have tended to go up with the Oireachtas not sitting and the absence of real new, this makes the drop which goes so much against the seasonal trend look even worse. Fianna Fáil, 17 per cent (down 3 points); Fine Gael, 34 per cent (down 2 points); … Read more

FG – Manama

It is interesting that some folks are caught up with the notion that it’s either NAMA or nothing or that the opposition don’t have any ideas of their own. People might not agree with what the opposition are offering but that doesn’t mean they aren’t offering anything. Labour are talking nationalisation, if temporarily, SF and Socialist Party would look for that to be a more permanent feature of the banking environment either partially or totally. Of course there will be … Read more

Where do we go from here?

It will take some time for people to digest the full consequences of yesterday’s budget. And once they’ve got their heads around that they have to remember that there are at least 2/3 budgets more like this to come. The big headlines are the tax hikes and the bad bank proposals. But there are other measures in here that will cause problems, and there will be more that will leak out over the coming week such as the doubling of … Read more

Lenihan’s winks will be as important as his nods

Lenihan has a couple of jobs to do today the main two are the economic one and the other political. The economic job can be divided into two one the very immediate deficit and the other the longer term task of closing the overall deficit. The political job is also twofold to convince people that he has been fair and that similar to the second economic one that he has an overall long term goal and that the government has … Read more

Playing a long game

The FF Ard Fheis with the strong television presence of various young candidates got me thinking about FF’s future; they do have one you know just as FG had one in 2002. It is just all too tempting for most of us (myself included) in writing commentary to simply write them off. It occurred to me that with all the talk of the impeding collapse of the government that FF might have decided to stay their course and simply ride … Read more

Doorstep challenge ’09

A good while back I wrote here about trying to invert the common political process as we know it in Ireland whereby the candidate comes to your home and seeks to impress upon you what it is they are really, really interested in. My idea was along the lines of the public challenging the candidate on the issues that actually concerned the voter, (in particular I was hoping that people might challenge them with some outlandish topics, ’tis the fecking … Read more

Why Obama couldn’t happen here

Many commentators and the public generally have been wondering in recent weeks given the disastrous absence of anything resembling leadership from the government why is that we do not have our own Obama on the horizon. I find it surprising that people like Vincent Browne forget so easily that we have a cabinet system of government that sits on top of a parliamentary system. For me the question is really an answer in search of an appropriate question. They start … Read more

Are we seeing further evidence of corrosion in the FF base?

With the outburst from Cllr and 2007 General election Noreen Ryan of FF in Limerick against the mighty local political totem that is Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea, are we seeing the strain of the negative national mood beginning to tell? Many of those commenting are missing the local context in the timing of all this as the FF local selection interviews were talking place in Limerick over the last week or so. It may simply be that the new … Read more

How bloody could the electoral consequences of 2009 budget be?

So after more than a week and a half and a bank holiday the media and the politicians are still coming to terms with the budget aftermath. Taking a quick look at the Red C poll published in the Business Post on Sunday last, it was bad news for the government and FF in particular but how bad really? No one seriously thinks at this point that FF would get 26% if there was a general election in the next … Read more

Bertie’s downfall

Iar-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern had a not so great fall yesterday sustaining a fractured leg in the process. While there were no doubt considerable well-wishers the humour of the gallows was swiftly deployed over on Some of the best bits are below.mccafferty cat opened by wondering ’Could Cowen sort out a medical card for him I wonder?’ Aindriu – ‘Perhaps he was attempting suicide after seeing what a horlicks Cowen et al are making of things?’ Locke – ‘It says … Read more

The Lenihan Levy and other post budget reactions…

The reaction so far to Brian Lenihan’s first budget is that (a) this isn’t going to fix the problem of the unbalanced nature of the tax revenue base (b) the predicted parameters are (unemployment 7.3%, negative growth this year of 1.5% and next year 1%, and the deficit of 6.5%) very much on the optimistic side and hence they are hostages to fortune (c) and Lenihan has been far too technocratic in his choices and his demeanour on this – … Read more