The Irish Election

Well another Irish general election has gone by without anybody in other parts of world actually paying any attention. In fact, I met my Irish friend Gary for a few pints in Stockholm tonight and he had in fact no idea that there had even been an election in the old country.

Anyway, the “Soldiers of Destiny” did very well and will continue to be in charge for the foreseeable future (yes, the biggest political party in Ireland has the Gaelic name “Fianna Fail” which translates as “The Soldiers as Destiny”). However, chuckling is not really appropriate as the second biggest party has the name “Fine Gael” which means “Tribe of the Irish”. What a fucking country…

The best news in this election was the collapse of the Progressive Democrats, the big fat liberal twats. Instead the Greens have powered into position as the 4th largest party in the country, with 5% of the national vote and 6 seats in the Dáil (the Parliament).

The Irish Greens have been quite a success story, going from 1 seat in 1989 to 6 today. And I can personally vouch for their intelligence and determination, having been part of the campaign team that got John Gormley into the Dáil in 1997. Yes, I knocked on doors and distributed leaflets, with a total budget of close to zero, but we still managed to beat the bigger, fatter, more well-funded politicos by a grand total of 27 votes by using the ancient techniques of shoe-leather, bravado and bullshit.

So, as we look forward to another 4 years with our almighty leader, the Teflon Taoiseach, let us recall the words of that grand old Irish song:

“The English came and took our land,
But then we bought it back with our Microsoft shares,
and that’s just grand.”

/ paddy


6 thoughts on “The Irish Election

  1. Det mest roande av allt med den irländska valrörelsen att FF gick till val utan ett enda politiskt budskap. Vi kunde i alla fall inte hitta några på alla de tusentals valaffischer som följde oss genom landet. “Rösta på Bertie´s team så får du vad du förtjänar” ungefär.

    Har den någon melodi den där sången???

  2. What you may not know, PK, is that the election is over … but not for you. While the members of the Dail have been elected, the Seanad elections have still to take place, and as a University graduate, you have a vote! The Seanad, you’ll recall, is generally constituted in line with the social theories of Mussolini (the Irish constitution having been written in 1937, when he was flavour of the month), and so generally nobody has a vote for most of the seats. The Universities, however, which used to have Dail seats up until the 1920s, then moved up to the Seanad, where they remain – so all Irish University graduates (except those from Limerick) can vote for David Norris et al to be a thorn in the side of the government. Yay!

  3. I’m confused for the same reason as Anna. What are the politics of the FF, FG and LAB like? Corporative fascists? Trotskian communists? New Labour?

  4. Annaa: Who needs policies when you have all the power..?

    Conor: Even more I didn’t know about the Irish political process. Can I vote over the Internet..?

    Martin: You know, it’s hard to say. FF are sort of centrist, I think, although full of corruption and dizzy with too much power for too long. FG are more centre-right. Labour is sort of watered down socialist. And the PDs are the most conservative of the bunch. Check Wikipedia for more dirt.

    Funnily enough we don’t have a “Christian Democrat” party, but I suppose it is assumed that everybody in Ireland is a Catholic.

  5. According to your BBC link “Fine Gael would be seen as slightly to its (FF) left.” Strange. I think you are more correct about FG been slightly right though they are more liberal which confuses things.

    The election result is depressing and confusing. Although FF did really well, annecdotely no one admits voting for them! Everybody claimed they wanted a change of government but it seems likely we’ll get pretty much the same one back in again, FF,PD and independents who are generally people who got booted out of FF for being too FF like ie. corrupt.

    Obviously I don’t personally know everyone who voted, but people seem to have voted for low taxes for themselves and fuck everything else such as the health sevice, transport, housing, envrionment, old people, children and the disadvantaged in general. What does this say about us as a country?

    The only slim hope is that the Greens end up in coalition with FF and they might be able to put some manners on them – the very reason why FF will resist it if possible.

    Highlight was uberfuher Michael Mcdowell loosing his seat to John Gormley and announcing his retirement from public life – just six months after he forced himself as leader of the PD’s (privatise everything party) in a take over.

    PS Paddy: You have to vote by post for the Seanad and its impossible to contact them by internet to give them your address – I’ve been trying! Your vote may still be sent to Kerry though….
    Ivana Bacik is standing this time, remember her?

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