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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 10, 2009 @ 5:43 pm

    Green evolution

    Harry McGee


    Here’s one of the leading lights in thinking on sustainability, alternative power,  and political integrity. And beside him is Ciaran Cuffe. Couldn’t resist that joke. It’s a snap of the other half of this blog, Deaglán, in the RDS this afternoon in the search for the killer line for Monday’s lead.

    We are, we are told, within an hour of the decision by the Green Party that will decide its immediate fate. Should that be decisions, for there are two votes after all?

    Not really. The way that the motions were worded and scheduled always meant that the Programme for Government vote would be the  crucial one. The Nama motion was always going to be skewed against the dissenters. Persuading 66 per cent plus of the membership to defy the will of the party’s leadership cabal was never going to have a ghostly chancce.

    And for that reason, we saw Nama creeping a good few times into the debate earlier this afternoon on the Programme. With good reason. Nama is so central to the Government that the programme is meaningless without it. It will cost more and have longer term implications than many of the commtiments included in the draft programme.

    The tenor of the debate so far is this: The overwhelming majority of speakers have spoken in favour of the Programme for Government. Only two out of about 30 (chosen at random) have spoken against. Having said that, there were objections from the floor, many to do with Nama. But everybody I’ve spoken to so far believes that a substantial majority will back the programme. How many? I would say 80 per cent. I could be totally wrong on this (and us reporters are not inside the hall after all). But my instinct is no general election. Not yet anyway.

    The Nama vote may be the more interesting ultimately. There’s no chance that it will be rejected. But I just have a sense that those who are opposed to it may get over 30 per cent of the membership to side with them. People may vote tactically in the second vote, registering a kind of protest against Nama, relatively safe in the knowledge that it will be still passed.

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