In an article in the Irish Times titled "Time for Gilmore to think the unthinkable" Fintan O’Toole launches an attack on machine politics and makes a case for a Left wing government- presumably consisting of the Labour Party and Sinn Fein. In short he claims that it is time for Eamon Gilmore to opt for the unthinkable and jettison FG as a possible coalition partner. Fintan is a persistent critic of FG. He argues for a Right/ Left divide in Irish politics. Apparently this will be a panacea for all our ills. Oh that it was so simple!
Perhaps he should turn his attention to two countries, which have a Right/ Left divide.Lets look at the UK and Spain:
Today new UK Conservative Party Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne introduced a draconian budget to tackle the economic mess left by the outgoing Socialists (Labour Party). The UK has the second worst deficit in the EU. Only Ireland has a greater deficit problem.
In Spain the Socialist government is battling a huge economic crisis largely of its own making. In both countries the Socialist governments are largely culpable for the horrific economic mess. Clearly a Left/Right divide in politics has failed. Socialist governments love spending and redistribution but are loathe to take harsh economic measures.
In Ireland Fintan wishes to see the disappearance of the FG Party. This would clear the way (as Fintan sees it) for the Left/Right divide. The natural corollary of this is that Labour/ Sinn Fein/Socialist Parties should come together and form a government. He is clearly living in cloud cuckoo land. There are major differences between Labour and Sinn Fein on economic policy with Sinn Fein further to the left of the Labour Party. Further left again is the Trotskyite Socialist Party.
If such a government were formed it would be the coup de grace for an economy which is struggling to stay afloat. Such a government would dodge the deficit problem and massively increase taxation. The Left loves increased taxation.
Clearly left wing commentators such as Fintan O’Toole have lost the run of themselves. At present the Labour Party has 20 seats and Sinn Fein has 4 seats. There are a couple of leftwing Independents. Now the combined Left would need to win at least 84 seats to have a majority in the Dail (assuming that the Ceann Comhairle would also come from the Left). In short the Left would need to win an extra 62 seats to wrest control. This is pie in the sky. On the basis of one public opinion poll left wing commentators are now engaging in self-delusion.
Fintan O’Toole attacks machine politics. Here he leaves the cat out of the bag. FG and FF are better organised throughout the country than Labour and Sinn Fein.
Labour has endeavoured to address this problem by attracting independents into the party. In short the party will become a hotch potch of far left, left and even some conservatives. Herein lie the seeds of its own destruction. This policy is doomed to failure in constituencies throughout the country. The FG and FF political machines will deliver the seats when it matters on Election Day.
Think again Fintan. The left will be in third place after a 2012 general election. Organisationally and policy wise FG is far superior to the Labour Party.