The Gist: A bonfire of vanities
Its been two weeks since the election. I was away for the last week. Now I’m back, it’s probably time for a bit of a round up. And, it turns out, some strange things have happened.
Three go in, None come out
After nearly two weeks of shadow boxing, the time finally arrived for the first votes for Taoiseach. Briefly, the results were
- Mary Lou McDonald, SF: 45
- Micheál Martin, FF: 41
- Leo Varadkar, FG: 36
- Eamon Ryan, Green: 12
Then we got to see the party leaders reflect on these, entirely inconclusive but nonetheless significant numbers. (You need 80+ to get elected to the job).
Leo Varadkar adopted the party line, which remains ‘Ye’ll see we’re right, and until ye do, ye can stew in it’. This could be described as a novel way of winning public support if it hasn’t been FG’s baseline position for about 90ish years.
Micheál Martin made a speech built like a patchwork quilt, if each patch was a separate piece of whataboutery roughly stitched to the next, explaining why the party which had received the most votes was anathema to democracy. The question of what impact on Fianna Fáil’s future that Micheál Martin’s strangely prickly personality will have deserves more attention.
And Mary Lou McDonald made a speech which pretty much knocked it out of the park. (Bear in mind, I say this as a person from a quite different political point of view).
Hovering behind it all was an Amarach poll (not the gold standard in political polling, it should be remembered) showing SF’s support since the election had risen to 35% while the two civil war parties were at 17% and 18%, with FF in third place.
Unless further polling contradicts, we can expect that to be the end of all talk from FF about another election.
Meanwhile: Social Democrats said they wouldn’t play 3rd wheel to enable a FF/FG gov. This shouldn’t have been too tricky to decide, much as it is straightforward to avoid ordering the Eddie Rockets Arsenic Burger, no matter how big the picture on the menu.
The Green party leadership continue to hum and hah about the idea of playing this sacrificial role. Presumably this will continue until they ask their membership (per their constitution) or the civil war parties rope up enough independents to end the conversation.
Labour continue their internal exile of leaderlessness and decline to play with the other parties while armpit deep in quicksand, and who could blame them?