Alex Massie

The End of the Party?

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Following this post on Fianna Fail, a Dublin correspondent cautions against underestimating the stubbornness of their hold upon the people:

Fianna Fail will rise again. For two reasons: i) Fine Gael and Labour may need the support of lots of other parties to get anything done. The scope for internal disagreement is immense. It is likely that they will lose popular support very quickly if they preside over savage cuts, which they will have to do; ii) For those of us old enough to remember, Fianna Fail acted like thugs in opposition. They opposed everything (including the Anglo-Irish Agreement) and whipped up popular hysteria against the government over the smallest issue. This will work again. They will be in government again within five years. You can bank on it.

This is depressingly plausible. In theory this election should be an opportunity for a fresh start and the longer-term reorientation of Irish politics along a more conventional left-right axis. In practice we shouldn't be surprised if this proves not to be the case and not just because it will most probably produce another left-right coalition. Just as significantly, it may end up being the case that the only thing worse than losing this election is winning it.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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