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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: February 14, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

    FG is the new FF

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    One of the first things to remembers about politics is that logic is a very poor guide. We may be in a phase in our evolution as a State when that maxim is about to be proven yet again.

    Logic suggests that Fine Gael should not be doing as well as they are. Their leader is someone whose capacities have been questioned by opponents on a consistent basis. He does not do as well in leadership polls as others do. He has had some less-than-happy outings on TV and radio. Remember the Late Late, that radio interview with Gavin Jennings …?

    Yet there they are, Fine Gael, inching up the poll-ratings and people are talking about the “ Big Mo” (for momentum.) Labour are slowing down. FF are static, the wind seems to have gone out of their balloon again after an initial recovery when Micheál M. took over the leadership. Sinn Fein are bobbing around, doing okay but not setting the world on fire.

    What does it all tell us? People want stability. Why do you think they voted for FF all those years? Now you could say that FG is the new FF.

    The election isn’t until Friday week but some tentative conclusions are possible. People are fed up with wrangling. Another coalition looks like a wranglefest to a lot of voters. Although FG and Labour agree on more than people think, but it’s the disagreements that are getting the headlines.

    The decline in the Fianna Fail vote is going to have dramatic effects on the election result, we all know that. But some of the effects may only come to light when the votes are being counted. Some of you will remember the Tullymander from 1977, which was supposed to keep the FG-Labour coalition in power but it ended up helping to give FF a massive majority.

    Labour are well aware of what’s happening. The fightback is already under way. This morning at a news conference, Deputy Roisin Shortall was raising questions about FG’s plan to ditch 30,000 public sector workers and she suggested this would mean losing one out of every six nurses as well as two teachers from every school.

    Expect more of this from Labour in the coming fortnight.

    Meanwhile, Enda K’s trips to Europe are a PR executive’s dream. He goes over, gets his pic taken with bigshots like Barrroso and Merkel then swans home, having been first item on the TV news.

    Why haven’t the other leaders taken a leaf out of his book, especially after they saw how well the initial visit to Barroso went down?

    These trips are making Enda Kenny look like he’s Taoiseach already. 

    Oops, debate coming up, gotta go.

    • Eoin says:

      I was in Paris a couple of times. Does this make me a candidate for Prime Minister of France ?

    • Eoin says:

      Have Sam, Katie and Michael been watching the same debate as I have ? They say that Enda was the winner. In my opinion he didn’t. He looked wooden, sounded flat and has the charisma of Pinnochio. He didn’t say anything of any depth beyond the Fine Gael soundbite. No detail beyond the script of the 5 point plan. Do people really think that Enda could be Taoiseach ? There seems to be a deep want from the Press for Fine Gael to be the leaders of the next government. Why ? What can they do that will be different to what went before and what can they do for those in Negative equity, unemployed, and living in the commuter ghost estates of the Midlands ?

    • BellmInx says:

      OMG That was insufferably boring, which I put down to the RTE/ Pat Kenny factor. Not a patch on the TV3 debate with Vincent Browne. A five-way debate just does not, I repeat, just does not work and where, where I ask again, does Kat Penny get his audiences from? Are they drugged before they go live on air? And the best the analysts can come up with so far is that Enda didn’t make a gaffe!! Well HOORAH..!! Isn’t it just wonderful Enda didn’t embarrass himself and the Press corps backing FG heaves a great sigh of relief. Not for long. Micheál Martin is in a league of his own and it would have been better for him not to have turned up at that fiasco. Vincent Browne on TV3 brought out the best in Micheál Martin and Eamon Gilmore but Pat Kenny — he just doesn’t get it. TV3 wins hands down over RTE. I’d prefer to give my licence fee to TV3..!!

    • Robert says:

      FG are the new FF alright. Like FF they are the rich man’s friend.

    • RayD says:

      Before they opened their mouths I predicted that Sam, Katie and Matt would all say that Gerry was useless, destroyed in the debate, and knew nothing. And sure enough that was what they said. Go over to Vinnie B and you get a view that was balanced and even Jim thought Gerry was very good.

      I thought that Gerry was excellent in that he stayed firmly on message, spoke entirely to his audience, and fortified the SF vote as a result. I thought Enda was wooden and simply spouted preopared lines and nothing else. And he will be Taoiseach – God help us.

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