Wednesday 18 October 2017

Martin and Varadkar face to face again with the SF question

Summer is normally a politics-free zone. That it isn't this year shows an election is coming

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Eilis O'Hanlon

The "phoney war" was the period after September 1939 when all sides had declared war on one another, but the actual fighting, bar the odd skirmish, still hadn't begun. Instead armies spent the months eyeing one another warily, preparing for battle.

Irish politics is in a similarly unreal state of heightened vigilance right now. It definitely feels as if there's an election in the offing, but no date has been set for a showdown, and there won't be one for some time. Nonetheless the parties are quietly amassing the troops, drawing up plans, poring over strategies, sneaking out a few ideas here and there to see how they go down.

In this political phoney war, parties to the impending conflict are even pretending that war hasn't been declared at all, and that the ramshackle confidence and supply motion which holds the current Government together can survive long term. Right now, they're prepared to look the Irish people straight in the eye and outright lie that their minds are still fixed on Monday, April 12, 2021, the latest date on which the election for the next Dail must be held.

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