Thursday 19 January 2017

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail now do battle for middle classes

Pay rises versus cuts, and the question of who replaces Enda Kenny as leader, will be central to the next election

Published 20/11/2016 | 02:30

Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Tom Burke
Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Tom Burke

The votes of 'blue collar workers' were critical to the result of the US presidential election. What is lesser stated is that such voters also had a ground-breaking influence on the outcome of the General Election here, in that it was they who delivered this 'new politics'.

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However, the votes of the middle classes will prove to be even more critical in the next election if government here is to return to a more traditional, some would say more stable, form of coalition. That is why the battle for the hearts and minds of middle class voters is now under way between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, and will only become more intense from now on.

Of course, not all the middle classes vote in the same way, but by and large, they tend to: for them, the next election will be a straight choice between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail. Therefore, the public sector pay issue, as well as the direction of Fine Gael under a new leader, will be factors in determining the result. I identify these issues because they currently dominate, or are underlying the national political discourse.

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