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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 4, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

    Doing a Deal for a New Coalition

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    As we await the conclusion of the Fine Gael-Labour talks, a group of anti-coalition Labour activists have held a press conference to declare their opposition to the deal in advance. But the prospects of any reasonable-looking agreement being rejected by a Labour special conference are very remote indeed.

    Approximately the last ten days of the Labour campaign were dominated by the message that, If you don’t vote for us you are going to get single-party, unrestrained Fine Gael government.

    Instead of doing a Michael McDowell and shinning up a lamppost in Ranelagh with a poster, Labour opted for Tesco-style ads warning of the implications for ordinary voters if FG had Merrion Street all to itself.

    Prominent trade union leaders also spoke up and, although this annoyed elements of the middle class who had no intention of voting Labour in the first place, the union intervention probably activated public sector workers in particular to make a point of going to the polling-booth on 25 February. 

    The Labour dissidents are concerned that the smaller party will be used as a mudguard for what the anti-coalitionists would consider hard-right Fine Gael policies.  Since FG has never been in power on its own, it is hard to assess what kind of fist the party would make of government in those circumstances.

    It is probable that the Programme for Government we are expecting to emerge from the talks will be endorsed by an overwhelming majority of Labour delegates on Sunday, or whenever the conference takes place.

    Thinking a year ahead, it would be a minor – no, major -miracle if the incoming government were not significantly less popular than it is now. It seems unlikely voters believed life would be all that much better under Enda and Eamon but there was clearly a feeling that FF needed a good kicking for allowing the crisis to develop to such a toxic extent on its watch.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel is becoming the strict schoolmarm of Irish popular culture. Is there a cultural difference here, with “thrifty” Teutons seeking to restrain “feckless” Celts and Latins?

    No surprise to hear the make-up of the Cabinet is being left to the two party leaders. It’s not something that could be decided between the negotiating teams since they have such a personal interest in the matter!

    Meanwhile Colonel Gaddafy hangs on in Libya, where teenagers and young adults have risked, and in many cases lost, their lives seeking an end to his regime. The shape of the future in the region remains unclear but the masses have arrived on the historical stage and they aren’t leaving anytime soon.

    It brings home the extent to which we take democracy for granted here in Ireland and elsewhere and how fortunate we are to live in a society where differences can be thrashed out and to a greater or lesser extent accommodated in a peaceful manner.

    • Fergal says:

      So these Labour anti-coalition people are opposed to a deal that hasn’t even been drawn up and publicised? Sounds a bit barmy to me.

    • “German Chancellor Angela Merkel is becoming the strict schoolmarm of Irish popular culture. Is there a cultural difference here, with “thrifty” Teutons seeking to restrain “feckless” Celts and Latins?”

      Complete MYTH

    • sinki sinki says:

      Those anti-coalition peeps might be right. Did an anagram search for EndaKennyEamonGilmore — so far have come up with:
      A ADENINE MONGREL MONKEY !!
      Still working on it…………

    • sinki sinki minxi says:

      Ok, so the Fine Gael/Labour negotiating teams have been working long into the night on possible coalition for the two parties to become at one in forming a stable government. Well (and there’s a definite parallel) I have been working long into the night on the formation of a single name to be formed out of Fine Gael Labour (by way of anagram) if these parties merge for coalition; and so given the coalition that’s possibly in it, here’s two possible anagrams for FINE GAEL LABOUR

      A REAL BEFOULING (which is kind of negative)
      A RULING BEEFALO (which is kind of positive)
      (Beefalo = hardy breed of cattle resulting from crossing domestic cattle with the American buffalo which yields leaner beef than conventional breeds)
      Oh but here’s two anagrams for ENDA KENNY EAMON GILMORE (both unflattering unfortunately)
      A LONE MEANDERING MONKEY
      DANGER ONE MENIAL MONKEY

    • With the greatest respect, sinki sinki minxi, maybe you need to get out more :-)

    • sinki sinki minxi says:

      Thanks for respect Deaglán – together with “the greatest” of…………but was, of course, only joking about “staying up all night.” Got anagram results in 2 seconds from “Andy’s Anagram Solver” online…
      Anyway, I have no confidence in this new coalition of pretenders.
      None whatsoever.
      Anyway (+2), “staying in” is the new “going out” in a spondoolicks crisis.

    • Emmett says:

      keeping with the political theme, i spent the weekend writing ” The Ming Song ” in homage to a fellow Roscommon Man who was elected recently !

      Check it out @

      http://mythicshot.bandcamp.com/

    • Bellminx says:

      Now if Luke “Ming” Flanagan gets Gerry “Mongo” Adams onside they could build up a right little empire in opposition. But wait ! Who could save us ! Why our very own FFlash Gordon of course – Ming and Mongo would be no match for Micheál “FFlash” Martin ! Cue FFlash theme song
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS4_Z84-rRE
      FFlash! He’ll save every one of us !

    • Kynos says:

      “It brings home the extent to which we take democracy for granted here in Ireland and elsewhere and how fortunate we are to live in a society where differences can be thrashed out and to a greater or lesser extent accommodated in a peaceful manner.” -what democracy?? Was Lisbon 2 democratic??? Was the socialisation of private debt to the extent of 200 billion millstones hung round our and our children’s and our children’s children’s necks to bail out the cronies and controllers of the Irish so-called government democratic? Indeed those controllers include many’s a foreign despot and their banks and now we are slaves in a land that still has the temerity to boast in its notional anthem that the air of Ireland is so free that no man can breathe it and remain a slave. Yeah. 72 years after refusing to fight the German He’s gotten us to do to ourselves using our Visa cards what He could never do using His V2s. Bah. Democracy schmockrazy.

    • kyorrection says:

      Well of course WE got us to do to ourselves iwth our Visa cards what Fritz couldn’t do with His V2. But my points otherwise remain.

    • RayD says:

      A very foolish bad start has been made with aspects such as the programme management type arrangements which will lead to hazy decision making whereas clarity is required. Too many cooks… etc.

      We also break up Finance as has happened twice brfore with disastrous results – remember Depts of Economic Planning and Development and of Public Service.

      I’m afraid politicians are doomed to remember and repeat the mistakes of the past. This will not be an enjoyable marriage never mind the honeymoon!


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