Wednesday 28 September 2016

A gormless coalition fails to get grand coalition

Published 13/03/2016 | 02:30

Cartoon by Jim Cogan
Cartoon by Jim Cogan

For the third week in a row, and in defiance of the dying media chorus calling for a grand coalition, I want to repeat two firm predictions.

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First, Micheal Martin will not go into a coalition with Fine Gael - but he may offer a minority Fine Gael government security of tenure for two years.

Second, Martin's principled decision to go into Opposition will save Irish democracy from a Sinn Fein-dominated government in 2021.

These two truths will take time to digest. Three weeks of browbeating by a consensus of commentators have confused even normally clear heads.

Last week, the gormless coalition calling for a grand coalition stretched across the entire political and media spectrum.

But I was glad to be out of step with the asinine alliance stretching from Gerry Adams at one end to John Bruton and Alan Dukes at the other.

Basically, that gormless coalition was trying to stampede Micheal Martin into giving up the struggle with Sinn Fein so as to prop up a Fine Gael government.

Twice in the past 20 years I have seen - and opposed - a similar stampede.

In both cases the media chorus was supporting another crucial stage in Sinn Fein's sinister project.

In the 1980s, a media consensus claimed lifting Section 31 would allow RTE reporters to put Sinn Fein on the spot.

But as I predicted in my pamphlet, Television and Terrorism, Sinn Fein ran rings around RTE reporters.

Again, after the Good Friday Agreement, the media clamoured for Sinn Fein to be taken fully into the Northern political fold without decommissioning. Bertie Ahern blocked that.

We are now watching the death throes of a third politically delinquent media campaign that has contemptibly ignored the single most important issue in Irish politics.

A grand coalition of FG and FF would almost guarantee a Sinn Fein-led coalition in 2021, on which the IRA would have influence.

Given that grandees of Fine Gael joined the gormless coalition for a grand coalition, many good people were led astray.

For example, one of my regular readers, Ian Lee, in a letter today, cannot fathom why I am so adamantly against a grand coalition.

Alas, Ian is not alone. Many who loathe Sinn Fein cannot see my problem with a grand coalition.

Citing the alleged anachronism of two civil war parties without major policy differences they call on them to coalesce in the national interest.

But the American Civil War has been over a lot longer than the Irish Civil War. Yet Republicans and Democrats, with no major policy differences, still dominate politics.

More seriously, citing the "national interest" as a reason for coalition is a retreat from reality - and would do lasting damage to economic stability and Irish democracy.

Rather than repeat myself on this matter, let me call as witness the most experienced IRA watcher, Ed Moloney, author of A Secret History of the IRA.

Moloney can't be dismissed as a mouthpiece of mine.

Even before the first count had finished, Moloney published a prophetic piece in his Broken Elbow blog.

The graphic title of his piece said simply: 'FG-FF "Grand Coalition" Would Be Sinn Fein's Wet Dream.'

Moloney correctly concludes that Sinn Fein "would use the life of that arrangement to infiltrate and subvert both the Labour Party and the various Independents in the Dail".

With what result? "Sinn Fein would emerge larger and healthier and ready to take power, either by itself or in coalition with whichever party was willing. It would then gobble up that party in turn."

Referring to Sinn Fein's military discipline, Moloney concludes with a mordant reminder. "You don't stay at the top of the greasy pole known as the IRA without having very sharp claws."

Jim Cogan's cartoon today perfectly captures the picture that Sinn Fein would project of the Dail to the almost 70pc of voters who told pollsters they felt no benefit from the recovery.

On one side, a bloated government of fat cats, squabbling over the spoils of office: who gets what on what state board and which cushy job.

On the other side, Sinn Fein TDs, posing as tribunes of the people, as in the Roman Forum.

Incredibly, Sinn Fein's project was being aided and abetted by what Lenin called 'useful idiots', the political and media mandarins calling for a grand coalition.

Luckily for Irish democracy, Micheal Martin and Fianna Fail are standing firmly in Sinn Fein's path.

Before the election, the same media mandarins told you that Fianna Fail would do a deal with Sinn Fein or Fine Gael, having crunched the numbers.

But the mandarins got it totally wrong. Martin has crunched the numbers all right, but not for selfish, short-term reasons.

The first number he crunched was that a massive majority of Irish voters (84pc) refused to vote for Sinn Fein. Because they are afraid of that party.

As always, the Irish people are ahead of a blind and blase media which airily waves away the danger of an Opposition dominated by Sinn Fein.

But Martin was also crunching exit polls showing that 80pc of Sinn Fein's 2011 voters remained loyal.

And pondering the fact that a fourth (25.1pc) of the crucial 25-34 age group and nearly a fifth (22.4pc) among the 18-24 group support Sinn Fein.

From which Martin has correctly concluded that Sinn Fein will control the future if Fianna Fail does not fight it to a finish for the heart and minds of the majority of Irish working people.

That is why Martin has ignored Fine Gael feelers offering him a historic first choice at rotating Taoiseach.

That is why the Fianna Fail shadow front bench, has stayed so firmly on anti- Sinn Fein message.

That is why I have such contempt for the gormless coalition for a grand coalition which failed to answer a simple question.

If Micheal Martin and Fianna Fail are just another pack of political poltroons seeking high office, then why on earth would they reject feelers from Fine Gael offering a rotating Taoiseach and cushy Cabinet posts?

The answer is that Micheal Martin is a patriot with principles, and the Fianna Fail shadow front bench is not foolish enough to destroy a great party for a mess of Fine Gael pottage.

Micheal Martin has now taken on the thankless task of making sure Sinn Fein does not become the sole voice of Irish working people.

Thankless, because principles provoke fury in a Dublin media faction which lacks any of its own.

Last Thursday, Lisa Chambers, a newly elected Fianna Fail TD, nominated Micheal Martin for Taoiseach.

Lisa Chambers is also Lt Lisa Chambers, 6 Inf Bn (Army Reserve), the only TD licensed by our State to bear arms in defence of our democracy.

With politicians of that calibre, neither Fianna Fail nor the Irish people need fear the future.

Sunday Independent

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