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VERY END
JANUARY
90
We all love a good political row or, better still, a good election.
We came close enough towards the end of 2017. That
particular eventuality has only been postponed, certainly not
cancelled indefinitely. Insofar as they are able to, each of the
main players will be looking towards timing an election run
to their own advantage. That's the nature of politics. Fine
Gael has had a couple of positive polls on foot of its election
of a new leader and, probably, on account of a bit of mild
Brit-bashing by the Taoiseach and his deputy. Meanwhile,
Micheál Martin was conscious of acting in a statesman-like
fashion at a time of major importance for Ireland, with the
Brexit negotiations at a critical stage. Martin knows full well
that the next election, whenever it is held, is his do-or-die
opportunity. He has led Fianna Fáil back from the brink of,
if not extinction, then certainly irrelevance. He could be the
next Taoiseach, or he could be the only former Fianna Fáil
leader never to have held that position. His finger can push
the election button at any time, provided he can create a
reason for it that will stand up to public scrutiny in the heat
of an election campaign. That shouldn't be too difficult, given
the precarious position of the Government in the Dáil and the
number of skeletons that keep popping out of Leinster House
cupboards.
Sinn Féin is awaiting the electoral traction it expects to receive
from the assumption of leadership of the party by blessed
Mary Lou. No need for a leadership election there, nor in the
appointment of a leader to the northern wing. Far less messy,
of course, but the question must be asked: who actually
makes these totally consensual appointments? Mary Lou has
built a reputation as a forceful and articulate politician and
now that Sinn Féin has recognised the reality of accepting
southern politics as it is rather than as it would like it to be,
the party could well form a part of the next Government.
The threat of Sinn Féin scooping up Fianna Fáil votes is
not lost on Micheál Martin. That's why he refuses to even
consider Sinn Féin as a future coalition partner. Neither
will he want Fine Gael to gain any further popularity
before an election. If the economy continues to perform,
then a relatively generous Budget next autumn might be a
budget too far for the Fianna Fáil party's confidence and
supply commitment. Is that a prediction of a mid-summer
election? Perhaps. No matter how bitter such an election
could become, it would certainly be less rancorous that the
expected `Repeal the Eighth' referendum that is due to be held
this side of mid-year.
Meanwhile, the Labour party is still labouring badly in the
polls. More's the pity, as it has a legitimate and important role
to play on the left of Irish democratic politics.
It will be interesting to see how the smaller groupings and
Independents fare in the next election. Opinion polls would
suggest that electoral interest in some of their brands of
political populism is waning but time, and votes, will tell
in due course. Street politics and 'crowd democracy' has
its place but, in the absence of a 'hot water' topic or some
as-yet-unforeseen political banana skin, we could see far
fewer Independent faces in the next Dáil. We must hope that,
whatever the make-up of the next government, it secures a
strong enough mandate to lead us through a critical period
that will include the endgame and aftermath of Brexit,
whatever the shape or form of that messy divorce.
ANYONE FOR A
ELECTION?
Leinster House.
As we grow up, our bones and muscles grow and get stronger.
And as we age, sadly, it all goes into reverse. Exercise helps.
Getting more calcium, protein and Vitamin D into your diet helps, too.
Take the exercise, and take ProU every day. Fortifi ed with protein,
calcium and Vitamin D, ProU also happens to be a tasty, delicious range
of Greek-style yoghurts made with Ireland's fi nest dairy produce.
Every day.
Take care. Take
ProU.
As we grow up, our bones and muscles grow and get stronger.
And as we age, sadly, it all goes into reverse. Exercise helps.
Getting more calcium, protein and Vitamin D into your diet helps, too.
Take the exercise, and take ProU every day. Fortifi ed with protein,
calcium and Vitamin D, ProU also happens to be a tasty, delicious range
of Greek-style yoghurts made with Ireland's fi nest dairy produce.
Every day.
Take care. Take
ProU.
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