Johnny Fallon: The jury is still out on whether the FF leadership has the bottle to take the necessary risks to make a real comeback
JUST a year ago we were facing a dramatic change in the political landscape. Fianna Fáil was bracing itself to face Armageddon. Serious question marks would hang over the future of Ireland’s most successful political organisation. One year on and those questions have not gone away. Fianna Fail has learned that it cannot take anything for granted. Its poll position has not improved in the intervening time, but such was the state it found itself in last year that this alone may be seen as some kind of stabilisation.
Much more will be required in the time ahead, however, and the party still needs to demonstrate a real change in how it acts and how it talks if it is to continue its survival. Many at the bottom get this. They are listening to the talk from neighbours and friends everyday in pubs and workplaces. The jury is still out for those at the top, but it is only in this coming year that they can prove that they have the nerve to take some risks and really embrace change.
In a strange way while the numbers of the political landscape changed, the turf wars would be immediately familiar to any observer from Ireland’s political past. Sinn Fein still operates in an environment more favourable to their policies and ideas than ever before, yet like Fianna Fail they are somewhat stagnant. Yes, the polls have shown slight rises but, given the environment and the difficulties the government face, SF strategists will know that some real risks are required on their part if they are to break into the mid-twenties in a poll. They took risks and moved from their past before during the peace process and may have to resurrect that spirit in order to broaden their appeal again.