Never underestimate the voter etc
As a quick follow-on to this morning, there are a number of strands to the Fianna Fail campaign other than the nuclear option of: vote Yes or else we’re all goners. Brian Cowen’s delivery of the speech won’t have Barack Obama quaking in his boots but the content was interesting… and substantial (devoid of a lot of the cliched guff to which he can be prone). You can read it for yourself HERE .
So here are my own observations, without having had the luxury of proper contemplation.
1. The party will major on the benefit of being in the European Union and what it has done for us (hundreds of thousands of jobs).
2. It will tie in the country’s economic lot with that of Europe and say that Ireland will struggle to overcome the crisis if it is left on its own. This will annoy the left-wing groups campaigning for a No vote.
3. It will attack the No campaigns much more vigorously and, occasionally, viciously. We saw an inkling of it at the Ogra conference in Cork where Micheal Martin and Batt O’Keeffe both launched broadsides against Cóir. They said that the group and Youth Defence were indistinguishable. It will attack rather than trying to explain… a tactic designed to ensure it is on the back foot as rarely as possible.
4. It will argue repeatedly that No voters have got what they wanted on the Commissioner, the tax status, military neutralisty and abortion hoping that this will sway those who trended No last time, rather than plumped No.
5. It will be careful about doing too much with Fine Gael and Labour on the basis that it may give the impression that the establishment is all lining up and dictating to us about what we should do. That tactic did not work last year. Michae Martin all but ruled it out today saying the people prefer to have parties pursuing individual campaigns.
6. It will allow Civic Groups like Ireland for Europe (Pat Cox’s outfit) play a leading role.
Will it work? If it doesn’t Brian Cowen’s days as Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fail will be numbered. He’s had an awful year. He did well on his visit to Obama. He gave one great speech. But otherwise it’s been just bleak bleak bleak.