Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fine gael coalition options. Why labour might best be avoided in favour of Sinn Féin

An article submitted by a SF member supporting coalition with Fine Gael. This is a view I fundamentally disagree with, but it is exactly the kind of open debate that
www. was set up to encourage. Please leave your comments below.

Fine Gael coalition options. Why Labour might be best avoided in favour of Sinn Fein.

Just for idle amusement I though I'd imagine what Enda might be thinking if he had two coalition options necessary to get the majority.

One was labour wins 30 seats and the other was an 11 seat SF and one or two independents.

Assume FG had a stormer for arguments sake.

Enda will be mindful that 30 odd Labour TDs will require a lot of cabinet posts. While a coalition with SF might not be his favourite he will know two things - that SF can and already do work in Govt., and that 10 odd SF TDs will require less cabinet posts than Labour.

But maybe he worries that Labour need to be in so as to avoid FG carrying all the blame for hard choices.

The advantage of having labour on the outside though would be that it would prevent FF from being the main opposition. If FF get 40 odd and Labour have 30 odd then FF can’t really be billed as the opposition. It would do more damage to FF to have Labour outside the govt.

So while FG may not be happiest with the prospects of a SF coalition it would allow them more cabinet seats, it would allow them the prospect of more rewards from any future recovery and most important it would allow them to watch FF wither even further on the opposition benches as Labour became the main opposition. Labour is as serious a threat to FG now as FF and there is no point in boosting Labour further if they want to be the big dog.

For SF it allows them to prove to the southern Irish electorate that they can govern, it ends the transfer repellence issue (although that’s probably gone) and they can prove that they are able to moderate some of FG's more libertarian tendencies. They will also profit from FF being only half the opposition. The risk is Labour solidifies its support but that seems to be happening anyhow. The reward is that SF is in Govt. on the upturn and is seen as standing up for the Irish working class while helping build the economy back up.

Finally as regards negotiations - it ain’t going to be easy for FG with either party so that’s a neutral factor.

For both parties big rewards it seems. And while FG might not be our cup of tea I have to ask are the DUP our cup of tea. FG might be the opposite of what we want. Well you know so are the DUP.

Only be engaging with them can we neutralise and then persuade them. DUP and FG


  1. I'm sorry, but i am in Sinn Féin because I believe in justice, unity and equality. What would we achieve in caolition with a right wing party such as FG?

    As a minor party we would be pushed to the side and our influence would be minimal. The only thing that we would prove to the southern electorate is that we would have no princilples what so ever and simply want the trappings of power.

    The northen situation is different and a peace needs to be rebuilt and the divisions of the past must be addressed. However, a time will come in the north where this coalition is no longer workable. Personally,once the peace process is bedded in, institutions running and a bill of rights introduced and running, I would look at ending the coaliton and returning to normal left wing politics.

    We have little in common with the DUP and we must become the voice of all the working people of the north.

  2. Hi,

    As a SF voter I have concerns with the plans of a FG govt. and would certainly not look on it as my dream choice. Certainly the more vocal free-marketers such as Leo V and and the anti-nationalist types such as Brian Hayes would make for uncomfortable bed fellows.

    SF politicians would have to hold their nose.

    However I do think that odious or not the option of coalition is one that all party members and supportes should be open to.

    The reasons are multile:

    (1) FIne Gael will be the only option after the General Election.

    (2) In most cases its either FG or FF who are the coalition options as a left alternative is not yet possible. FF/FG : both are unpleasant parties and against our project and aims. Yet we have no choice. Opposition only provides foot notes.

    (3)If FG are going to be in power do we stay in govt. to moderate their excesses or do we look on from the outside. Do we defend the ordinary person best by saying no FG you should do it another way from the benches or across the table.

    I agree with your points re the north. The situation there is different. But to an extent the DUP coalition provides an example of how we can work to build our vision even in a hostile cabinet.

    As a small party we would need to be mindful of being squeezed into a dead end. Thats a very fair point.

    They say if you are going to sup soup with the devil you need a long spooon. From that point of view I think that SF's spoon could be to treat Fine Gael like a hostile partner and be ready for a battle a day in the defence of the ordinary people of Ireland. We are certainly game for a fight with FG and they wont have it their way.

    This is all supposition but lets think about it and work out the options.

  3. What a load of crap. The day SF go into power with Fine Gael is the day I leave the party

  4. I would also leave the party if it was to go into power with a right wing party like Fine Gael. I doubt it will ever happen though, thankfully.

  5. love the way politics in ireland is about idea's really gives you hope, as in the ireland iam creating on the internet where irish men are great dancers. not like the real one where irish men are shit dancers and our politics in what is apparently the biggest economic melt down in a century sees enda keeny as an alternative.

    signed the realist who would have known going to clontarf with o connell was a shit idea.
    bring back old SF that used to scare the shit out of crooks of all shade in this town

  6. SF will NEVER ever be in power with the blueshirts. Such a proposition is the greatest load of shite I have ever come across. Such tripe is not the agenda and will NEVER be on the agenda. Unlike the so-called parties of the left, thankfully we have a leadership that would NEVER inflict such venom on our members. What a waste of space this blog is. Only a very stupid person could post such a blog.

  7. Anon. Regarding going inot power with FG, well I have already stated at the beginning of this blog that I would oppose it 100%.

    As to your comment about this blog being a load of shite, well I'd say your contribution has added nothing to the deabte.

    I posted this because it was sent ot me by an SF supporter and i feel it is worthy of debate. To me there is no difference between fianna fáil and Fianna gael, so why were the leadership of SF not clear at the last election that we would not go into coalition with FF? Why were ff seen as acceptable and FG not? To me neither is!

    We must fight to build an alternative in southern politics and to do this we cannot follow the same path as the labour party and democratic left. We must be clear on this.

    The only way we should consider coalition would be

    1) as part of a radical left including labour, greens, Sinn Féin and socialist party and anyothers.

    2) If SF were teh biggest party and we could call the tune.

  8. Hi,

    I guess the purpose of debating ideas like this is so that we end up with a better understanding of positions rather than just saying to the electorate "we wont do this because thats a pile of crap so it is". Whatever is on the agenda surely being able to reasonably explain our vision is one of them.

    We cant say to the electorate we think FG are such bastards we wont work with them but they can rule over you lot unimpeded. We need reasons and that means having a very detailed set of policies. We do have detailed policies so thats a safeguard for drawing a line in the sand if we need to.

    Still FG will be in Govt. probably by the end of the year.

    SO thats why we need to prepare for these things and think them through no matter how unappealing especially when its very possible this might be a scenario.

    Picture a different scenario again.
    FF somehow seriously damage FG in the last week before a general election. FGs gains dont materialise, Labour and SF do well and Fianna Fail avoids the drubbing.

    The Dail is as follows:
    FF - 60
    FG - 52
    Labour - 30
    Sinn Fein - 13
    Independents/Soc - 10 (inc - Joe Higgins and Finian McG)
    Ceann Comh.- The Bull

    FG invites Labour to the talks but Gilmore sees a chance for real change.He first talks to SF, Joe Higgins and Finian to form a 45 td left wing block and then goes to FG and says rotating Taoiseach is my price and I have first rotation. The opportunity for the country's first left wing Taoiseach plus the fact that the left block is aout 45% of the govt. is before us. A stepping stone to building a majority-left govt. at the next General Election.

    How do we react?


  9. Hi,

    I saw a humourous reference (I assume) on another site that mayeb Frank Flannery had written the above. Well Frank Flannery or any other FGer didnt. I did. Much as I'd like the idea of having some big tactical skill it has to be pointed out that It takes no great foresight to see that this particular option is going to be there after the election.

    The PDs are dead, the transfer repellant greens might have 1-2 seats only, FF aint forming the next govt., Fine Gael aint going to be close enough to going into govt. and only two other parties will remain as coalition options - either Labour or Sinn Fein.

    I dont have this big desire for SF to enter coalition with FG but I do want the party and its membership and supporters to start talking about this and how to handle it if it becomes an option. And by handling it I mean ensuring that in 3 years or 5 years that the republican goals are closer to being achieved, and the party stronger and united.

    I still have doubts this coalition will happen at the end of the day but its going to be an option thats out there and republicans need to discuss this and be able to handle that situation.

    Anyhow this issue can be parked lest it be done to death. Next weekend will provide more than enough material for new discussions.


  10. Sinn Fein now use the banner 'community of equals' to replace socialism. As if socialism is now a dirty word that might lose votes from neo-liberals. This is worrying. But whats more worrying is that they would even contemplate going into government with any party that supports the free-market economy. If they are are a socialist party this could never be an option. 'The end justifies the means' arguement doesn't wash. This is a Machiavellian term and as we know he was an advisor to totalitarian kings. As a Sinn Fein supporter my vote hangs in the balance.

  11. Anon,

    I am interested in the point you make that:

    is that they would even contemplate going into government with any party that supports the free-market economy. If they are are a socialist party this could never be an option

    Okay fair enough but then there then needs to be a very strong plan which will protect ordinary people from being exploited by pro-free market govts . All other parties in Leinster house are comfortable with pushing a free-market agenda so if a socialist party cannot go into coalition with them then it must lay out a strong plan that will deliver them 45% of the vote so that they can rule alone and deliver the change needed.

    Machiavelli said In the actions of men, and especially of Princes, from which there is no appeal, the end justifies the means.

    More important for us on the left he also said:
    in the actions of all men, and especially those of Princes... one looks at the result.

    The only thing we should be focussed on is delivering results that meaningfully deliver a better society. If we dont deliver then whats the point. Thats why I suggested that we should be ready to even consider a coalition with a party like FG. Cause if thats what it takes to deliver then thats what needs to be done. Good to mull things over anyhow, no?

    As regards your vote being in the balance no need to worry as was noted i, like you, am a supporter and not a member. Coalition with FG is only a suggested talking point cause debating things like that is good. SF has recommitted itself to its Socialist Republican roots, which is a good thing. Its also doing that in the best way possible by providing detailed policies on what needs to be done.

    That way results can be delivered which of course is what we need to see.


  12. fine GAEL must get rid of senate critics while they carry on were FF LEFT OFF,beware SF might be next.
    old age pensioner