Saturday 17 March 2018

Ivan Yates: Why Martin will end up as Tanaiste in coalition with FG

Under spectacular UK summer sunshine, children swarmed to seaside resorts from Brighton to Blackpool. I paused to watch in Weymouth as young kids were enthralled with a Punch and Judy show. The appeal? They were engrossed with banter, bickering and battering. It was harmless, name-calling fun. Last week's post-party think-ins and Dail recall reminded me of this shallow slapstick routine.

Despite horrendous financial stresses, our political leaders play petty games. The main division between FF and FG is Seanad abolition. The Taoiseach is refusing a head-on debate. He was accused of being a dictator. How does this guff pass for serious political debate? He is getting away with being the most unaccountable leader in Europe – refusing to do, initially, interviews with Vincent Browne on TV3, but now any in-depth probing. It's absurd. His minders won't let him debate his key parliamentary reform.

This "control-freak" approach has served Enda well. His 38 years in the Dail and climb to the top have been achieved without holding any radical opinions or profound convictions. His sole passions are Fine Gael and Mayo. He made two pronouncements in Portlaoise: a mid-term reshuffle of ministers (after local/European elections next June) and a prediction that the Government would serve its full term until March 2016. Enda is starting to think about life after the troika exit.

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