cearta.ie

the Irish for rights

We, the People

On the ‘This Week‘ show, on RTE Radio 1 this afternoon, Pat Rabbittee (Leader of Ireland’s Labour Party) artfully danced around presenter Gerald Barry’s questioning about whether Labour will go into coalition with Fianna Fáil after the next general election, expected in early summer. Rabbittee: ‘it won’t arise’; Barry: ‘but if it does?’; Rabbitte: ‘I want Fianna Fáil out’; Barry: ‘but what if?’. And so it goes; and so it went (the full interview is here).

Whatever about Rabbitte’s position now, in my view, if the numbers after the next election are such that the only possible government is a coalition of Fianna Fáil and Labour, then, after the election and the weeks of horsetrading that generate that potential coalition and its programme for goverment, there must be another election, to allow us, the people, to give our imprimatur (or not) to it. At present, we, the people, are being given a choice between a continuation of the current coalition (of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats (PDs), with the possible support of like-minded independents, if necessary) and an alternative (of Fine Gael, the Labour Party, probably the Green Party, and again the support of like-minded independents, if necessary). In the most recent poll, in today’s Sunday Tribune, the government seems to be marginally ahead. In the election, we, the people, will get the chance to choose between these two alternatives. When the dust clears after the election, if neither of these combinations (with or without the tacit support of Sinn Féin) commands sufficient numbers to nominate a Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and thus to form a government, the Fianna Fáil/Labour scenario pursued by Gerald Barry arises.

However, this was not a scenario on which we, the people, voted. As the election is now being faught, the choice is binary, between the incumbent Fianna Fáil/PD coalition and the current Fine Gael/Labour/Green opposition. This is the only choice. If we say we want neither by returning a hung Dáil (lower house of parliament), that is all that can safely be deduced from the election. If the different combination of Fianna Fáil and Labour were thereafter to emerge from the (no longer smoke-filled) rooms of Leinster House, it could only gain democratic legitimacy if it were to put itself before the people as a choice in a further election. The very idea, of course, would fill the parties with horror – politicians hate elections (looking forward them as turkeys to Christmas or Christians to lions). But the political pundits and those who see elections as a spectator sport would relish it (looking forward to it as families to Christmas dinner or the Roman mob to games in the Colosseum). It would be the only way that the Labour Party could with credibility enter into that coalition. And it would be a government chosen by We, the People.

One Response to “We, the People”

  1. […] Less than 24 hours after yesterday’s entry “We, the People” was written, all seems changed. The morning news cycle is dominated by the headline in the Irish Independent that “Rabbitte leaves door open for Ahern pact“. Now, there may not be as much to the story as the headline makes out, as it wasn’t until he had been “pressed repeatedly on the issue” that Rabbittee acknowledged that he “may” (not would) have to “rethink his strategy if the only likely alternative is to call a second election”. […]

Leave a Reply

 

Welcome

Me in a hatHi there! Thanks for dropping by. I'm Eoin O'Dell, and this is my blog: Cearta.ie - the Irish for rights.

"Cearta" really is the Irish word for rights, so the title provides a good sense of the scope of this blog.

In general, I write here about private law, free speech, and cyber law; and, in particular, I write about Irish law and education policy.

Academic links
Academia.edu
ORCID

Subscribe

  • RSS Feed
  • RSS Feed
  • Subscribe via Email
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Archives by month

Categories by topic

My recent tweets

Blogroll (or, really, a non-blogroll)

What I'd like for here is a simple widget that takes the list of feeds from my existing RSS reader and displays it here as a blogroll. Nothing fancy. I'd love a recommendation, if you have one.

I had built a blogroll here on my Google Reader RSS subscriptions. Google Reader produced a line of html for each RSS subscription category, each of which I pasted here. So I had a list of my subscriptions as my blogroll, organised by category, which updated whenever I edited Google Reader. Easy peasy. However, with the sad and unnecessary demise of that product, so also went this blogroll. Please take a moment to mourn Google Reader. If there's an RSS reader which provides a line of html for the list of subscriptions, or for each RSS subscription category as Google Reader did, I'd happily use that. So, as I've already begged, I'd love a recommendation, if you have one.

Meanwhile, please bear with me until I find a new RSS+Blogroll solution

Thanks,

Eoin.

Licence

Creative Commons License

This blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. I am happy for you to reuse and adapt my content, provided that you attribute it to me, and do not use it commercially. Thanks. Eoin

Credit where it’s due

The image in the banner above is a detail from a photograph of the front of Trinity College Dublin night taken by Melanie May.

Others whose technical advice and help have proven invaluable in keeping this show on the road include Dermot Frost, Karlin Lillington, Daithí Mac Síthigh, and Antoin Ó Lachtnáin.

Thanks to Blacknight for hosting.