Thursday 8 December 2016

Hypocrisy - for the sake of national interest

Kenny's strategy goes back to what the election was all about - who was going to lead the Opposition, writes Ronan Fanning

Ronan Fanning

Published 10/04/2016 | 02:30

NO DEAL: Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, right, rejected Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny’s partnership offer. Photo: RollingNews.ie
NO DEAL: Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, right, rejected Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny’s partnership offer. Photo: RollingNews.ie

'Why does Enda need the Independents if he wants to go into government with Fianna Fail?" an astute friend with minimal interest in the cut and thrust of Irish party politics asked me at lunch last Thursday, before Micheal Martin had rejected the acting Taoiseach's offer of a partnership government.

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The question goes straight to the heart of Mr Kenny's strategic hypocrisy. "Enda knows that there is not a snowball's chance in hell of Fianna Fail's accepting his offer," I replied. "He also knows that he will have to re-enter into negotiations with the Independents in order to form a government and he has to smooth their ruffled feathers and avoid damaging their already grotesquely inflated egos."

Another hypocrisy is the threat that the only alternative to a Fine Gael/Fianna Fail government is an early election. This nonsense has been fostered by the media's passion for a grand coalition, a passion particularly prevalent in RTE, whose news anchors and pundits alike keep telling us that the Dail arithmetic proves that there is no other alternative. The people have voted for Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in broadly equal numbers and the national interest, they solemnly intone, therefore demands that they form a coalition government, despite the fact that because the people had so voted does not mean that they expected or wanted the two parties to make common cause.

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