Saturday 3 December 2016

FG strategy has put a limit to the seats they can win

Beyond this election, we need to see a new party of the centre-right take to the stage, writes Michael McDowell

Published 20/02/2011 | 05:00

The latest poll does not indicate any last-minute surge in support one way or the other. But of course, we haven't reached the "last minute" yet. Labour appears to have come off worst in its scrap with Fine Gael and the "Gilmore for Taoiseach" posters are going to become collectors' items -- just as the famous 1969 Labour poster "The Seventies Will Be Socialist" became iconic symbols of over-reaching ambition.

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Hindsight is 20:20 vision. The candidate strategy devised last year by Fine Gael was rational in its ambition. It was designed to maximise the party's seats on a projected support level of 30 to 33 per cent of the vote. But as a result, FG will now do extremely well to get 75 or 76 seats.

The big problem it faces is that there are simply not going to be five, six, seven or eight independents who share the FG outlook on what should be done now. At the most, I see three. Most of the independents or smaller party candidates who are likely to be elected have a left or hard-left political outlook and simply could not support a centre-right austerity programme.

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