Last Saturday’s episode of The Emergency on Newstalk 106 featured a sketch about door-to-door canvassing for elections in Germany in 1949, shortly after World War II. Two canvassers introduce themselves as members of the Nazi party and ask the incredulous householder if he would consider giving his vote to the Nazis. The householder is aghast and tells them “No! ... Impossible! ... you destroyed the country!” The comparison in our own time and place with Fianna Fáil (which is what the sketch writers were aiming at) was immediate, obvious, and not a little amusing in a bitter-sweet kind of way.
Today’s elections come in three varieties:
- There shall be a by-election to fill Dáil seats left vacant by the repose of two TDs, namely
- Seamus Brennan (†9 July 2008)
- Tony Gregory (†2 January 2009)
These elections concern the Dublin South and Dublin Central constituencies respectively, and as such Melancholicus (who lives in Dublin North-West) has no vote in either of them. Here are the contenders in each:
- Dublin South:
Shay Brennan (son of the late Seamus Brennan)
George Lee (former RTÉ economic analyst turned FG candidate)
George Lee is the hot favourite to win here.
- Dublin Central:
Maurice Ahern (Bertie’s other brother)
Ivana Bacik (good grief!)
Maureen O’Sullivan (the Gregory candidate)
The late Tony Gregory’s seat will probably go to Independent Maureen O’Sullivan, billed as “the Gregory candidate”, or else to Christy Burke of Sinn Féin. Paul O’Loughlin (Christian Solidarity), who has stood for Dáil elections in this constituency on previous occasions, can be confident of his usual 200 or so votes. Even the Nazis, in their first serious electoral outing in 1928, while winning a derisive 2% of the overall vote, did better than Christian Solidarity ever did or will. Malachy Steenson (Workers’ Party) and Pat Talbot (Immigration Control Platform) have no chance.
It is safe to say that neither of the government parties (FF and Green) will win a seat in either constituency, although the young and untried Shay Brennan may well benefit from the dynastic nature of Irish politics.
- Then there are the elections for the European parliament. For this purpose Ireland is divided into four constituencies: Dublin, East, North West and South. Three seats are up for grabs in each. Melancholicus shall here confine his attention only to Dublin, since this is where he shall be voting. The candidates are as follows:
Eoin Ryan (outgoing MEP)
Gay Mitchell (outgoing MEP)
Proinsias de Rossa (outgoing MEP)
Mary Lou McDonald (outgoing MEP)
Deirdre de Burca
This is a tough one to call. The fact that only three seats are available means at least one of the sitting MEPs will lose his/her seat. Melancholicus was briefly tempted to cast his vote for Mary Lou, if only to force Eoin Ryan out, but also toyed with the idea of sending Joe Higgins off to Brussels out of sheer bloody-mindedness. Regular readers of Infelix Ego know this writer’s opinion of Socialism, but politics aside, Mr. Higgins is in many respects an admirable man. In the end, however, Melancholicus shall be responsible and vote instead for Caroline Simons as the candidate most fully representing his attitude to the EU.
- Finally there are the local elections to city and county councils throughout the country. Attention here will be confined to your blogger’s home ward of Artane-Whitehall. Here be the list:
Sean Paul Mahon (outgoing councillor)
Julia Carmichael (outgoing councillor)
Declan Flanagan (outgoing councillor)
Paddy Bourke (outgoing councillor)
Andrew Montague (outgoing councillor)
Larry O’Toole (outgoing councillor)
A motley crew, and no mistake. There are only 5 seats available in this ward, which means at least one of the sitting councillors will lose a seat. Melancholicus is not even going to attempt to guess who will win here, for he is trying to decide how he shall vote on this one. Fianna Fáil do not deserve to retain their seats. However, he is loath to vote Fine Gael despite coming from a long line of blueshirts, and voting Labour is absolutely out of the question. Perhaps one or other of the two independents — but Melancholicus knows neither of them, and he never casts a vote for someone he knows nothing about. The only alternative is to cast a spoiled vote. He has never spoiled a vote before, but there is a first time for everything. A spoiled vote at least registers a protest, and hence is better than boycotting the polling station altogether.
The main problem with such elections is that there are almost no credible alternatives to the grasping, venal party currently in government. This is not a general election, but a catastrophic defeat for Fianna Fáil in the local elections may precipitate a general election, in which the main government party has no assurance of success. Fianna Fáil do not deserve a majority in the Dáil, or even a share in coalition government, but what other alternative have we? Any coalition not involving Fianna Fáil must of necessity involve the Labour party. Labour has always been on the left, but since its absorption of Democratic Left in 1999 it has swung even further leftwards. Any coalition in which Labour has a share will forge ahead with ‘multicultural’ fascism, political correctness and social engineering. Expect such a government to produce a raft of ‘progressive’ legislation. The consequences for the defence of human life, marriage, the family, education and even religious freedom could be severe.
There is no conservative party, socially speaking, in Ireland—not even Fianna Fáil, although the track record of the latter is generally better than that of other parties. But we can’t keep voting Fianna Fáil forever. No party should be kept in power longer than three terms; Fianna Fáil have already proved themselves incapable of keeping their hands clean.
But what alternative? It is maddening.