Coalition snatching defeat from jaws of victory in referendum
IT is looking increasingly likely that the referendum on the fiscal compact will be defeated. While it is much too early to be definitive, the polls are going the wrong way for the Yes campaign and the Government appears as determined as ever to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Now that every vote matters, it is worth remembering that the No camp contains supporters of austerity as well as the economic illiterates who support Sinn Fein's line.
Most of these austerity-loving No voters will vote against the compact in the hope that we will be excluded from the ESM which will force the Government to finally make some effort to live within its means.
The group is something of a silent minority. Many are pro-European and many are deeply unhappy to be sitting in the same corner as Sinn Fein and the unions, which is why their opinions are rarely heard.
'Sunday Business Post' columnist Cormac Lucey gave perhaps the most articulate expression to their fears and hopes in a column last weekend but don't expect many others to follow.
The debate is already so dishonest that people thinking along these lines are unwelcome in both camps because both camps are seeking to portray themselves as opposed to austerity.
The No camp can be roughly divided into three groups.
The first group is the largest and includes all those who are victims of austerity and disillusioned by the three main parties. These poor saps actually believe that failure to ratify the fiscal compact will alleviate this austerity.
The second group are agitators who are exploiting the first group's anger and hope that economic collapse will usher in chaos and a new republic.
The third group contain voters who are tired of promises about responsible government and hope that preventing the Government from borrowing from Europe will finally force the Coalition to begin governing.
The last group is probably the smallest and least significant, but in a referendum where every vote could be important, any post-vote analysis should be sophisticated enough to accept that not everybody who voted No was dancing to Sinn Fein's tune.
If the Government fails to carry the day, it will have been defeated by a pincer movement from the right as well as the left.