Current state of national political play.

Political Synthesis

It seems that Eamonn Gilmore has been found out as a plethoric puffed-up whinger with Bertie Ahern populist country wrecking pretense at dealing with the budget deficit. I feel sorry for Joan Burton who is Real Labour and is competent (usually). (I still think they were and are wrong on the bank guarantee total opposition.) Labour need to call the heavy hitters – the most successful ever Minister for Finance Ruairi Quinn and the inimitable Pat Rabbitte onto the pitch even if someone has to get a Harlequins blood injury.

Fianna Fail is being found out as even more incompetent than was evident to date. I think they will sink even further in the poll ratings before the real poll offers them a total immersion bath which will present the opportunity for being born again as Fianna Fail Nua. Such is life! It will be Fianna Fail the revivalists party with Atilla the Hun as leader.

Team Fine Gael has had a good 10 days. Michael Noonan has shown that he is a true ministerial heavy hitter. Going in with his finance team of Brian Hayes and Liam Twomey to the Department of Finance showed team Fine Gael taking the Big Match pitch. Then with Richard Bruton, Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney showing competence and composure on TV and radio, Team Fine Gael look like the most impressive and competent available to the Irish people. Leader Enda Kenny’s contribution from the US also chimed with the right notes and high standard. Kenny is more of a Clement Attlee and Sean Lemass than a rhetorician. Enda Kenny has shown that he has gathered a team around him that is impressive in this time of national existential crisis. Fine Gael obviously see that there is a need for a four year aggregate target of 3% by 2014 or we will be unable to stay afloat on the bond markets.

It is likely that the ECB and the EU Commisssion have told the government that they must involve the Opposition to get national agreement on the aggregate figures with a minimum degree of certainty. That must be the reason why Cowen has assented to the unprecedented exposure of the national finances to the Opposition. The reality of the numbers has widened the eyes of Joan Burton.

Gilmore – well he is cultural Stick. There are 340,000 plus public servants in the republic. This is a hugely significant voting block and it is a fair estimate that you could double that number when spouses and partners are added. So the public servants have flocked to Gilmore’s banner in the mistaken belief that there is an easy way out and labour will provide it. This week will have alerted everyone to the reality. Whether that will loosen the Gilmore bond with public sector is debatable because the Irish public have repeatedly shown their electoral appetite for self-delusion. The ultimate illusionist was Bertie Ahern and look where that got him for a while – then check where we are now especially those of us who Ahern suggested should commit suicide for doubting or opposing his particular kind of economic genius.

Fine Gael must continue to serve the country first and resist the temptation to be populist. Details on how the public sector could be rationalised should be prepared sector by sector, department by department. It is clear that much of the HSE functions should revert to the Department of Health.

Sinn Fein have been trying to ignore the ghost in the room ( THE IMF) by claiming that the deficit can be reduced over a longer period. This is likely to happen but should not be a policy position of the alternative government because we will pay dearly for such blather in the markets through higher bond interest rates. However, I am glad that Arthur Morgan has been shown the true state of the nation. The £2 billion Northern Ireland cuts should keep him occupied in trying to aid Martin McGuinness.