Friday 15 December 2017

We must do what is dull and unexciting - but sensible

James Downey

James Downey

All of us who have reached a certain age remember, usually without affection, a game played by the Fine Gael and Labour parties in advance of general elections.

The game hinged on the question whether the two parties would fight the election independently or together. Fighting together meant agreeing a "voting pact" in which they would recommend their respective supporters to transfer their preferences to their partners.

Neither course of action worked particularly well. Irish voters like to make their own decisions - usually close to the last minute, and often for not very good reasons. But they also like stability and certainty. Without a pact, they tend to feel that the alliance is not giving them a real choice to elect a plausible government.

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