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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: May 12, 2009 @ 6:55 pm

    Fine Gael and Labour – a parting of the ways?

    Harry McGee

    1. Statement issued by Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton this afternoon (first few paragraphs):

    “Neither nationalisation nor NAMA – FG is only Party that will protect
    taxpayers’ interests and get lending going again – Bruton

    Instead of wasting taxpayers’ money by propping up dodgy developer debt and
    bailing out international bond markets, the Government should invest scarce
    taxpayers’ money in clean banks with healthy balance sheets and an appetite
    to  lend  to struggling Irish businesses, Fine Gael Deputy Leader & Finance
    Spokesman Richard Bruton TD said today (Tuesday).”

    2. Statement issued by Labour’s Joan Burton this afternoon (first few paragraphs):

    Leader of the Labour Party
    Moving Dail Motion on Temporary Nationalisation of Banks
    Tuesday, 12 May, 2009


    How clearcut is that? Diametrically opposed viewpoints… Fine Gael and Labour more strongly opposed to each other’s policies than they are with the Government’s!

    Is the split between the erstwhile perennial coaliton partners permament?

    Fintan O’Toole is again calling on Labour not to go into coalition with Fine Gael.

    But this time it might be real.

    One thing is for certain, there is no love lost betwen Alex White and George Lee in Dublin South… Already Alex has called into question the wherewithal of Enda Kenny.

    For once, Fianna Fail could go on the attack, with Noel Dempsey trying to do a bit of ‘wedge’ attacking at the weekend, as he highlighted the discordant tone struck by White.

    You can’t blame White. He’s like the kid who has spent hours on the beach carefully sculpting a sand castle. And then Georgie Lee enters the scene and immediately tramples all over the castle.

    • An Fear Bolg says:

      Were FG and Labour ever together on any issues?

      The only issue that unites them is FF. FG/Lab have always been a tenuous coalition that can implode at any time.

      Paschal Donohue (do I have the right Paschal?) was on Week in Politics I think the other night and had the right mantra – a vote for FG is the only vote that will guarantee FF will not be in government.

      They need to seize on that. Be bold – if polls are indicating real voting intentions, they could displace FF and go into coalition with the Greens/Indendents.

    • Major Alfonso says:

      “a vote for FG is the only vote that will guarantee FF will not be in government.”

      So what’s changed? The thrust of Fintan’s piece was that FF may be displaced as a pole in terms of government formation altogether. I’m not worried about FF getting back into power and neither are many voters, they won’t be back in the next government, they can erase that as motive for voting FG, never mind as THE motive for voting FG. People know how to order their preferences, and FF can forget about transfers from most other candidates, just like the PDs had their transfer from FF vaporise after their repeated wobblies. Getting a regular right/left system with a moderating field of independents and small parties would be a wonderful thing. Only we’ll have to put up with the petty clientelism that works against candidates who haven’t been stamping their name on constituencies since the grandfather’s day, the petty clientelism built into the system by the current stv system. Mixed member system please!

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      Shock – Horror. Competing political parties express differing views while campaigning for election! The Greens were concerned about life on Planet Bertie but appear to manage to adapt in the end.

    • Mel says:

      Fintan once again ignores the fact that Fine Gael recovered in 2004 to become the largest Irish party in the European parliament without having agreed to any alliance with Labour. FG has its own idenity, a strong organisation and can stand on its own feet.

      The Mullingar accord was agreed in the autumn of 2004 after FG had bounced back in the local and Euroepan elections of that year.

      As for Labour, they’re just bitter that FG have found a great candidate in George Lee for dublin South and they cannot accept that FG is currently leading the way when it comes to policy formulation today.

      Also, FF and Labour have much more in common with each other than FG have with FF and if they want to attach themselves to the ship that whas wrecked our country Labour and Alex White will pay the price at the polls..

    • Maurice O'Leary says:

      Fintan O’Toole once again falls into the trap of trying to impose an ideological model on Irish politics,

      In Ireland, the division is between those that are driven by policy and those who are only interested in gaining power.

      Sadly, the temporary eclipse of FF does not mean that they will go away. Not even the eceonomic catastrophe wil persuade sufficient Irish people that cute hoors are bad for your health.

    • Ray D says:

      As a Dublin South voter, I say that George will not do it.

    • Brian Boru says:

      FG should ditch Labour if numbers allow after the General Election. They are not compatible on economic-policy, notably on public-sector reform. The media want Labour in govt because they share their left-liberal PC ideology, notably on asylum. But we don’t elect the media to govern us. FG should, if possible, coalesce with the Greens and Independents instead. If the last TNS-MRBI poll held up in a GE with FG on 38% and the Greens on 3%, then going on 1997, that might be sufficient to govern with the support of Independents. The way would then be clear for a Left-Right alignment in Irish politics with the statist-core of FF merging with that of Labour to form some kind of Social Democratic Party. Maybe then, our elections would become true contests of ideas rather than rehashes of the Civil War.

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