WHERE DID IT ALL GO WRONG?
At the time of writing, (Tuesday 1st March), the General Election counts continue. Of the 158 seats available, there are three still to be decided. But the picture is sufficiently clear for the main parties to start the horse-trading and they are doing just that.
Fine Gael swept into this election full of confidence and bravado with the motto, "Keep the Recovery going." The fact that most of us have felt no recovery at all just never occurred to them for the simple reason that they ignored us all or shouted us down when we disagreed. The net result is that they simply didn't know the awful truth because they didn't want to know. But an election is a great leveler and a humbling experience for those super-egos who forgot why they were elected.
The last time out the electorate treated an arrogant Fianna Fail party to an explosive thrashing giving them only 20 seats to cool their heels in. By comparison, Fine Gael promised a whole new way even promising to reduce the number of seats to 150 by the time this election rolled around. In short order though they morphed into a bully even more intimidating than Fianna Fail had been. As a result, Fine Gael went from 76 seats in 2011 to 49 so far with three more yet to be decided. And speaking of kicks up the hole, Labour have gone from 37 seats to 6 in only five years of their arrogant co-rule. There is a sweet poetic justice in those numbers, is there not?
Conversely, the short memories of the Irish saw Fianna Fail more than double their seats over the five years going from 20 seats to 44. Sinn Fein went up too from 14 to 23 seats. The real story of this election though is the smaller parties and independents. This loose grouping managed 19 seats last time out but this time they have 33 between them so far.
The big picture is that out of the 155 seats so far decided, the ex-Government coalition parties have 55 so everyone that wasn't in Government for the last five years have 100 between them. Wow! I wonder if there's a message in there somewhere. 'Renua' a sort of Fine Gael for quasi-socialists couldn't even win one seat. The undeniably attractive Lucinda and her high-minded principles were roundly shunned by the people.
Like many of you reading this, I was fooled completely by Enda Kenny's stated desire for changes in Irish politics and the human face of Government he promised. What we got in reality was the bullying and insults of Phil Hogan, the man rewarded by Fine Gael for 'putting manners on us,' with the position of MEP in Europe. The banshee-shrill voice of Joan Burton screamed about equality before the election and then promptly became a cheer-leader for the banks and big business when her ample arse hit the seat in the Dail.
Of course, it's still all to play for and the schemers are already figuring out how best to feather their own nests for the term of office and fuck the electorate and their wishes. The strident denials of deals between them pre-election have given way to the urgent need for the enriching experience of Leinster House and five years on the piss at our expense.
Watch this space.