Is this the Enda Fine Gael as we know it?
Deaglán de Bréadún
I’m a humble reporter, not the Prophet Isaiah, but yesterday I wrote here:
Nobody is rushing to the bookies’ shop but the smart money appears to be on Enda Kenny to win the vote today, by about six votes. Darn! I should have gone to the bookies.
It looks like Richard Bruton believed in his own prophecies: he was proved wrong. Field-Marshal Phil Hogan had a ramrod affixed to Enda’s back and marched him into battle.
As a Wexford supporter (God help me!) I was probably one of the few that noticed Enda had brought together those two ancient sporting foes in the form of Kilkennyman Hogan (the political counterpart of Brian Cody, you might say) and Enniscorthy TD Paul Kehoe. If Kenny can unite the Cats and the Yellowbellies, he can do anything
I’m not in Leinster House today so will not venture too far into the prediction game although Michael Noonan for Finance Spokesman sounds a safe bet and Alan Shatter will surely get a promotion, probably to Justice. James Reilly looks a bit like one of those bearded generals from the US Civil War and will most likely move up the chain of command as well.
But Enda ain’t stupid and won’t forget to present the olive branch to his opponents. Some will get a fool’s pardon and others, like Richard, will have to be brought on board for the optics. There will be a few who will be left out in the cold, at least for now. This has been a tough little firefight.
Brian Cowen must surely feel tempted to call a general election sooner than he originally intended, to take advantage of Fine Gael’s disarray. But he would want to move fast as FG has a history of internal squabbles which never really go too far. I still stick to my prediction of June 2011 as the most likely occasion for a run to the country but will keep a watching brief on that one.