Sunday night 22.20
I’m sitting at a table in the middle of the vast indoor auditorium at RDS Simmonscourt, after filing the latest copy on the Dublin euro constituency. In the distance George Hook is holding court at the Newstalk braodcasting stand watched by an audience of political hangers-on and anoraks. All of the Euro candidates are here.
I’ve been drumming out copy all day so Seamus Heaney can rest easy in his bed tonight.
But I will share a couple of observations.
Lord, forgive me for giving out about Twitter in the past. It was brilliant this weekend. Not just from RTE but from all the other 100 of sources who overloaded my iphone with information. I even tweeted (see I’m catching on to the lingo) myself twice this weekned (I know, I really extended myself).
The Greens are in a dark place. From 18 to 3 councillors. It’s the second big narrative of the weekend. There’s a line from Macbeth that comes to mind:
“I am in blood steeped in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er.”
Or to be a little less high faluting. They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
More damned if they don’t. They are going to have to stay in Government or they are gone.
The biggest story – well the political one besides the showbiz story of George Lee – is the evisceration of Fianna Fail. It shows the cyclical nature of politics. Labour were reduced to one councillor in Dublin in 1985. Fine Gael had only three TDs in Dublin after the disaster of 2002. Now Fianna Fail is facing its own crisis, having been salamandered in the capital.
A break: Third count for Dublin announced. The gap between Eoin Ryan and Joe Higgins is 13,000. Fianna Fail is still holding out a slim hope of, well, holding out. Full recount ordered at the request of Deirdre de Burca.
Looks like we will be here until 3am.
Fianna Fail should never have won in 2007. The party’s Government cycle had expired. But Fine Gael had been so badly wounded in 2002 that it had not fully recovered. And Cowen and Bertie put in two barnstorming performances that scythed the Fine Gaelers.
And Cowen? It’s not looking good for him. For a long time I thought he was doing rope-a-dope, taking the knocks and waiting until the final rounds (later this year; early next year) to strike back. Media and oppositon can be Pavlovian – “God, this is really bad for the Government, isn’t it? – portraying difficulties as full-blown crises.
This time is different. I have a sense that we are entering the endgame.