While you poke around the fridge and takeaway menus to stave off hunger and the Sunday night fear, our man Ragbags takes a look at the latest Punch and Judy show over on Kildare St.
Let’s see if we can cut through the bullshit in double-quick time while you juggle between the flashbacks and brave yourself for another week of it.
Today is 51 days since the election. To recap, the old Civil War political system of swapping tweedle-dum Fianna Fail (plus mudguard) for tweedle-dee Fine Gael (and a Labour Party footstool) every 5 years got the Nelson’s Pillar treatment in the February election.
The establishment parties now need to work out a new Punch and Judy show between themselves, to somehow control government and opposition at the same time. There are gigantic bank bailouts that need paying – but they only got about two-thirds of the vote between themselves.
So. it’s tricky.
It’s going to take some technocratic ingenuity to ignore how several hundred thousand troublesome proles voted and steady the goodship of the BaNAMA Republic.
Administering the Shit
The numbers show there can’t be a government without Fine Gael and Fianna Fail coming to some grubby little deal. Fine Gael want to drag Fianna Fail into the quagmire of administering the shit.
Fianna Fail want to implement the exact same elite programme – but know if they play second fiddle they won’t be in any shape come the next election.
After several rounds of shadow-boxing and posturing, this week Fianna Fail conceded they couldn’t form a minority government.
Michael Lowry and hybrid liberal-gombeen Katherine Zappone were the only extra votes for Enda. Once again, Mehole Martin could not summon any extra support.
Martin agreed that if Fine Gael can pull another 6 TDs into their mess, some major details withstanding, they could support a Fine Gael-led minority government. Martin even used his party’s 1916 commemoration to attack the arrogance of (the previous) “majority government”.
It’s always good to be reminded of the republican virtues of minority rule.
Shopping for Footstools
Why is 6 important?
In Thursday’s vote, 28 TDs used their cowardly new abstention button to clear a way for Enda.
That 28 and the 52 who voted for Enda, together hit the symbolic Dail majority mark of 80. The 28 broadly represent two chunks of society – the parties of the spineless Irish middle class and gombeens making a few quid out of rural devastation post-2008.
By only needing six, Fine Gael can play them against each other in the negotiations. Or, if they’re really skilled in their skullduggery, even divide both chunks and take a few from each for a more effective mudguard and disorganised rivals.
The cynical game of “divide and conquer” hath begun.
This weekend the front page of the Sindo says “Independents Hold Nation to 13bn Ransom – Astonishing ‘Pork-Barrel-List of Demands Exposed’. The Week in Politics had four independent TDs on to grill and shame them.
That Fiscal Space evaporated pretty quick, didn’t it?
On the other side, SIPTU’s Jack O’Connor has called for Labour to re-take their post in government with Fine Gael, fighting to defend us all at the Gates of Hell. Labour, realising they are totally fucked, are thinking if they’re going down anyway (according to another poll this weekend), they might as well do it with their noses in the trough.
They are selling it as a ‘Progressive Left Alliance’ within which Labour, the Greens and Social Democrats band together to perform their historic duty as a rainbow-coloured prop for Fine Gael. And together with the Blueshirts, tell the poor and oppressed to get fucked.
To give this the impression of momentum, under the tentative new grand non-coalition arrangement, the Green Party also signaled it might now be safe to propose themselves as the figurative ‘fig-leaf’ of legitimacy. The fresh quorn meat?
As Crap As House of Cards
In effect we would be getting a renewal of the previous government which was so heavily rejected by the public.
Shane Ross TD of the Independents Alliance called Enda Kenny a ‘political corpse’ after that result. So, Fine Gael-Labour back in would be a post-democratic zombie government of the political undead.
With a few leaves sellotaped to the moving cadaver for the craic.
How’s it all going to work out? Dunno. Probably a holding formation as above until an election in 18 months. It’s all a bit Mexican stand-off. Fine Gael marshaling enough of anyone for any length of time will be like herding cats and could require leaning too heavily on Fianna Fail.
The Fianna Fail deal relies on getting some fudge on Irish Water and knowing they intend to bring it crashing down around Fine Gael at a moment of their choosing.
With healthy new Irish Water boycott figures expected this week and noise about Enda Kenny’s head being offered up, we’ll probably get one ritualistic sacrifice and maybe even a telling-off from The Markets or Michael D to seal the deal.
It’s as crap as House of Cards.