Monday 23 April 2018

Well, so long to the revolution

Alan Shatter is a minister whose political achievements consistently add up to less than the sum of the inflationary claims of his admirers
Alan Shatter is a minister whose political achievements consistently add up to less than the sum of the inflationary claims of his admirers

It might appear premature to suggest that today's Sunday Independent/Millward Brown poll has fired the starting gun for election 2016 before the local and European elections have even begun. But, outside of noting the political establishment already appears to be more focused on 2016 than the mere political exigencies of the day, the chilly political landscape unveiled by Millward Brown contains the seeds of serious political ramifications for an already destabilised Coalition. One of these may even be the possibility that an election will occur far earlier than the current cherished due date of March 2016.

A key factor in any such development is the state of a Labour party whose race appears to have been run before the starting gun is even fired. Our political landscape may be in a unique state of flux, but one imperishable certainty continues to survive. To borrow the 'Hello Divorce; Bye-bye Daddy' slogan in the 1996 divorce campaign, Labour's alliance with Fine Gael appears to have held fast to the old political rule of 'Hello Coalition; Bye-bye Labour'. Though Fine Gael eyes will be smiling today, they would be wise to recognise the Sunday Independent poll will have wider consequences than the internal questioning it must spark within a Labour Party that has dipped dangerously below the threshold of political viability.

While the stability of a government will not be enhanced by the gathering fear within Labour that it is facing into a Green Party-style meltdown, Fine Gael too are not without their woes when it comes to the knotty question of political sustainability. The sensitivities surrounding the Department of Justice mean it is all the more important that any incumbent retains some degree of public confidence. This, unfortunately, is not the case with the current incumbent, who has become embroiled in too many wars for all of them to be somebody else's fault. Mr Shatter is a minister whose political achievements consistently add up to less than the sum of the inflationary claims of his admirers. Today's findings indicate he has forfeited the public confidence of the citizens as thoroughly as the private confidence of his cabinet colleagues. Once again Mr Shatter, we say, time to go before you wear out your welcome. Oh, wait, you already have.

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