‘How did it come to this?’ FG supporters are asking

January 27th, 2020 12:00 PM

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Taoiseach Varadkar warns of ‘real risk’ of return to a Fianna Fáil-led government!

A RECENT opinion poll showed that Fine Gael’s approval rating has taken a ferocious nose-dive – a disaster that some commentators suggested might be politically fatal for Our Vlad.
And, irony of ironies, it wasn’t long before explanations surfaced that the ghosts of those bloody Black and Tans might be responsible! Yes, that policing scum sent to Ireland in March 1920 with the task of putting manners on the natives and to make this country ‘hell for the rebels to live in’!
How else could Fine Gael’s poor showing in a recent poll be explained? Indeed, some critics crudely attributed the disaster to the dog’s dinner Vlad made of the Black and Tan-RIC controversy, particularly his handling of a proposed commemoration of the Royal Irish Constabulary, a police force still remembered with loathing.
According to a Sunday Times opinion poll, Fine Gael is lagging 12 percentage points behind Fianna Fáil, which is at 32 points. At 20 points, Fine Gael is just one point ahead of Sinn Féin, which boasts of 19 percentage points. The response from some FG supporters was incredulity: ‘How did it come to this?’ they asked.
To be fair to the man, the most Varadkar could do was to focus attention on the result of the opinion poll and warn that coming down the line was a ‘real risk’ of a return to a Fianna Fáil-led government !

Act as motivator
And, if that happened, everyone knew that the implications for the country would be as serious as an overdue mortgage: we would be bereft of political redemption – as simple as that!
Vlad’s sidekick, Simon Coveney, tried to put a brave face on matters. ‘I think this will act as a motivator for Fine Gael,’ he exclaimed.
Hurting Coveney was the fact that, in recent years, poll-wise Fine Gael has been in the high twenties or early thirties, but this recent public evaluation gave the party such a blow to the goolies that it had been knocked for six.
To his credit, Coveney managed to get across the point that Fine Gael, at all costs, would have to respond to people’s concerns regarding homelessness, health and crime. But, others asked if there was a possibility that the current poll controversy might be nothing more than a blip in the party’s fortunes?
An interesting consequence is that Sinn Féin will demand, with some justification, an entitlement to participate in RTÉ’s leaders’ debate which, originally, was restricted to the big beasts, Varadkar and Martin.
Nonetheless, an argument is floating around that both Sinn Féin and Fine Gael are too low in the polls to justify a place in a RTÉ studio debate. Could we then have the weird situation that Mickey Martin will be talking to himself?

New republican family
Then there’s the nightmare scenario of pressure being put on Fianna Fáil to change its tactics with regard to a coalition with Sinn Féin. This line of thought has prompted far-out speculation that the two parties, FF and SF, could establish a kind of coalition that would make for a re-assembled republican family of a type not seen in Irish politics since before the Civil War.
Or, as a wag crudely put it: ‘Is the day approaching when Sinn Féin will be incorporated into an updated version of Fianna Fáil cute hoorism?’
And, if Fianna Fáil doesn’t take account of some sort of a coalition with SF, what’s then on the political menu for De Valera’s Soldiers of Destiny? Coalition with Fine Gael Blueshirts and the inevitable consequence of turning SF into the official Opposition?
Or, the worst option of all: a FF coalition with the Greenies and some independent headbangers?
Certainly, with Fianna Fáil having a 12-point lead over Fine Gael, Varadkar was prompted to warn of ‘a real danger’ emerging after the next election. He explained it this way: ‘We know what happens every time Fianna Fáil gets into power, it ends badly. It ends with a boom and a bust, with unemployment and what else, having to wave our friends off at airports when they’re forced to emigrate.’
As for the Green Party, well, it’s stuck at 7%, despite its well-honed, off-the-wall guff, such as opposing the Cork to Limerick motorway!
In the meantime, Howlin’s Labour Party, Gawd help us, is stuck at 4% and would be better off doing something humane, such as dissolving itself on the basis that it represents practically nobody, not even the cloth-cap brigade!

Size matters
Kevin, son of colourful former mini-minister for grub, Ned O’Keeffe, caused quite a stir when he tweeted an image of his campaign poster plastered onto the side of a stretch limousine. A grinning Kevin stood nearby.
Immediately, punters assumed he was going around in a limo, seeking votes for re-election to the Dáil. The backlash was vicious, with comments suggesting that O’Keeffe was off his rocker if he thought he could impress people with the size of his limo.
They morality brigade accused him of being ‘out of touch’ and of ignoring the homeless crisis – all of which encouraged an embarrassed O’Keeffe to confess it was a joke and that he had not been canvassing in a stretch limo.
All he had done was to post a picture of himself with a poster proclaiming: ‘After a long day, needed a fill.’
It was nothing more than a bit of a laugh.
‘I just happened to pull in at a filling station and, just for a joke, I said: “Lads, can we put a sticker on the car and take a photo? It was shocking that Twitter users thought I’d bought a stretch limousine.’
But the mob wasn’t impressed, although one commentator wondered why a pig farmer from East Cork couldn’t have a limo. ‘Is he not allowed nice things?’ he cryptically asked.
Kevin O’Keeffe’s Da, Nedser, never drove a limo although he was in politics for more than 25 years – which, if the reader will forgive the pun, was a bit of a stretch, especially as Ned didn’t have much to chauffeur it !
(That’s terrible! You’re sacked – Ed)

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