Wednesday 17 July 2019

Ivan Yates

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Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow. Photo: PA

Ivan Yates: 'Don't panic yet: Bercow will be adult in the room' 

One of my favourite BBC television programmes was 'Call My Bluff'. Its quintessentially English characters like Frank Muir (with trademark elegant dickie bow) and Arthur Marshall duelled with host Robert Robinson to explain the meaning of the rarest of words. With total plausibility, they postulated fanciful definitions - until their bluff was called. Brexit resembles a never-ending high-stakes version of the show, repurposed for the 21st century.

A cupcake with the name Leo spelled out with icing is distributed at a campaign event yesterday. Picture: Collins

This race is done and dusted: FG's young guns will bring Leo to power 

On February 18 - 13 weeks ago - I wrote in the Irish Independent: "I believe its Leo's to lose… I would be shocked if Leo does not win". I was accused of supporting and spinning on behalf of Leo. Not true. I simply listened to the class of 2011 - the surge of newly elected Fine Gael TDs who would determine the future direction of the party. I now believe the race is virtually done and dusted. My best guess is Leo will win by 63pc to 37pc.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Fine Gael (left) with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin

Fine Gael's awkward truth: it's a rabbit in the headlights and will end up as electoral roadkill 

The problem with sleepwalking is that you don't realise you're doing it until you crash into something solid. Fine Gael is sleepwalking. What is the party's strategy for the next general election? It has none. When Fianna Fáil pulls the plug on propping up the current feckless, fragile administration, Fine Gael will have so luxuriated in the moment of continued government that it will blind itself...

Brendan Howlin seems more at ease in himself without the tattoo of austerity on his forehead Photo: Frank Mc Grath

The Yates Anthology: Why there's still life left in Labour Party 

Not unlike Fine Gael in 2002, or Fianna Fáil in 2011, the Labour Party's final demise was predicted after February's disastrous rout, losing 30 seats. Combined with the loss of 100 councillors in local elections in May 2014, its national network was decimated. Ministers remained in denial, blaming pundits of unfair bias. Having predicted they'd end up with seven TDs, I took no glee seeing polls of 4-6pc proving uncannily accurate.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny after he cast his vote. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The Yates Anthology: Fine Gael's silver bullet strategy 

It's been a really bad 2016 so far for Fine Gael. Its seats have vaporised and now there is no clear sense of direction in the new Dáil. It urgently needs to devise a strategy that allows it to participate in a sustainable government, while simultaneously patching up the battered ship to weather the next election. It faces the grim prospect of being in office but not in power, forming a lame-duck minority administration that'll be kicked about by most TDs on the opposition benches. The party also needs a new leader's face on election posters.

Gerry Adams

Politicians jumping ship on Irish Water 

The election is over and, surprise surprise, we face another fine mess. Evidence, as if it were needed, that democracy is over-rated - the problem is, they haven't invented anything better. Only 59 TDs elected to our shiny new Dáil support the retention of water charges of €160/€260 annually. This includes members of the Green Party, who want free water allowances and tax relief. Labour and Fine Gael were scalded on the issue of Irish Water on the doorsteps of the nation.