Tuesday 17 October 2017

Beginning of the end for this Government

Ivan Yates

Ivan Yates

These election results represent the beginning of the end for this Government. They crystalise the defining moment when it became apparent that combined totals of Fine Gael and Labour TDs in the General Election of spring 2016 will not exceed 80 seats. Both parties lost 12pc support. One in four of all voters that propelled them into office have had enough and voted for Independents or Sinn Fein. Minimum losses of 20 seats each seem inevitable.

More alarmingly, many previous Government supporters stayed at home – giving the Government the benefit of the doubt this time, because there was no new centre party alternative and many voters are not yet prepared to forgive Fianna Fail. Both factors may be different next time out. The middle-class backlash has still to emerge or be appropriately accommodated.

Politics at the highest level is a professional business. Notwithstanding hundreds of community-based locally motivated new councillors getting elected, political parties are run by professional apparatchiks; ministers and party leaders are surrounded by full-time paid advisers, directors and programme managers. They return to their office work today. Those amongst Fine Gael and Labour need to take a profound reality check. They aren't serving their masters well. The people have sent a warning. For your own sake, you better listen. Like previous Green and Fianna Fail operators before, you face unemployment. Ignore unprecedented voter volatility at your peril.

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