Perhaps it is unfair of people to take a job for granted but the 2016 election result was the warning that jobs were not enough
You wouldn't blame Fine Gael's leaders for ruefully reflecting on the ingratitude of the citizenry.
One left-winger claimed on Sunday that Fine Gael had ruined the country. Ruined?
In 2012, unemployment was 16pc, now it's under 5pc. A budget deficit of 30pc has been transformed into a surplus. One-third of the millions of passengers through Dublin Airport are from the C3 and DE social demographic groups.
Irish people spend more than double the EU average on eating out and takeaways, 14.4pc as against 7pc.
Our income tax system is the most progressive in Europe and through the OECD BEPS programme, multinationals are bringing billions in corporate tax into the country.
Meanwhile, international observers are in awe of the incredible job the Government did with Brexit.
But eaten bread is soon forgotten. Perhaps it is unfair of people to take a job for granted but the 2016 election result was the warning that jobs were not enough. Fine Gael lost 26 seats that time and Labour 30. There was no gratitude then and playing the recovery card now was always going to fail. Fine Gael got its warning and didn't heed it.
In fairness, after two terms in government, it is entirely natural that voters want something else, but the party made strategic and tactical errors.
On the strategic front, it is better at war than peace. When faced with the existential threats of the bailout and Brexit, the leadership was highly focused and professional. Once out of bailout, economic drift set in and with Brexit consuming the best minds and most of their energy, they neglected the domestic challenges of health and housing.
Their problem was that it appeared that the failure to tackle housing wasn't just the difficulty in overcoming genuine structural problems, but a question of ideology and drive.
It really looked like the policy was to let the private sector gradually deliver the supply needed. To be fair, it is starting to trickle down - in the next year or two tens of thousands of houses will be delivered. The worst is over and Fine Gael is doomed to watch the results benefit the next government.
But it was too slow. In the meantime, the Land Development Agency, a great idea to consolidate and develop publicly owned land, is still in incubation. When the party had a chance to do something short-term and radical by controlling AirBnB lets, outsourcing responsibility to weak local authorities looked watery. Public housing seemed like a last resort.
You can't blame a 30-year-old stuck paying high rent in an insecure tenancy from concluding that Fine Gael was ideologically resistant to certain solutions, rather than simply being the helpless victim of structural problems and timing.
Fiscally, its settled middle-class supporters couldn't figure out what Fine Gael stood for anymore.
The terms right and left are too crude to apply to Irish politics; conservative and popular are more appropriate.
The more conservative Fine Gaeler wanted the party to run surpluses and use the corporation tax boom to pay off the massive national debt - which at €200bn is still four times higher than it was in 2007.
Instead, the Government got sucked into public sector pay increases without securing corresponding reform. When not giving in to pay demands, it was frittering money away on free stuff.
So they shamefully gave into Garda pay demands at a time when civilianisation was being resisted and widespread corruption was being exposed through the McCabe scandals. Meanwhile, Simon Harris announced he was introducing free contraception even though the Department of Health's own report said it was a waste of money.
Sucking up to pro-choice feminists who were never going to vote for you in the first place showed Fine Gael didn't know its own voters. If it did want to go populist and buy voters, then it could have gone "all-in" and run a deficit. Paschal Donohoe held that off, rightly in my view, but it meant the party was neither one thing nor the other.
Then there were the tactical errors.
First, election timing. Enda Kenny should have called an election in November 2015. Leo Varadkar should have done so in November 2019. Fine Gael was high on Brexit momentum then. By waiting, it was tripped up by Dara Murphy, the RIC row and winter.
Second, communications. I've been dealing with Fine Gael as a journalist for a long time and have always found it inept at the basics of public relations.
For instance, the only minister who ever asked me in for a briefing was Brian Lenihan. You can't expect journalists to write about a government's achievements if it doesn't tell them what they are. Fine Gael needed to hammer home day after day what it was doing rather than adopting an air of wounded defensiveness.
Ireland is not ruined. This is a great country - and that didn't happen by chance. We have huge advantages, which are the result of sound economic policies. Our problems are the problems of success. Incredible progress has been made across the economy and society but there has been a total failure to communicate what those are.
So Fine Gael needs to go into opposition now and let people experiment with change. It needs to regroup, reinvent and when it figures out what its message is, then tell us clearly.
On the upside, Fine Gael is only called to action in times of trouble, so it needn't worry - trouble is always around the corner.