Labour: The unhappy lot of being the minor party in coalition
Fine Gael's top brass have hitched their wagon to the Labour party, talking of a clear choice at the next election between "stable and coherent government or chaos and instability". It's an appealing offer to voters who will be wary of change now that there are signs of recovery and job creation. One can almost see the campaign slogan on the posters coming into focus.
The Labour party's conference this weekend is an opportunity to answer the party's critics and naysayers, particularly on the far left, where it has lost considerable ground to independents and Sinn Féin. Leo Varadkar, a leader-in-waiting of Fine Gael put the boot in to Sinn Féin last weekend, labelling Gerry Adams a "self-serving phoney". Alan Kelly, in similar vein, this week decried the unsustainable policies of populist parties like Sinn Féin and far-left independents as representing "a desire to create insurrection chaos and instability".
So at last it seems the gloves are off. For too long the cacophony of protest has been given too much space both by the media and by the heavy hitters in the Government. Labour in particular has not been assertive enough in taking on the populism of Sinn Féin and as a result are languishing in the polls.