Monday, April 14, 2008

PDs leadership 'race'

So the PD leadership 'race' is to conclude this week. Voting has ended, and the results will be announced on Thursday, due to the funeral of Paddy Hillery on Wednesday. It's one thing that those pesky FFers had to ruin the race's momentum with the small matter of the Taoiseach's resignation, but now they have to go and disrupt the results announcement by fixing it so that one of them dies! Is there no end to their cleverness...?

On a more serious note, am I the only lefty in Ireland who hopes the PDs will not go out of existence? Now I'm not the reddest lefty you'll ever meet (a nice pinkish-green would probably cover it), but I do happen to believe that diversity is incredibly important in our parliamentary representation. If everyone of every colour joins FF or FG (and I have good examples of people on both ends of the spectrum in either party), then how are we to know what, if anything, we're voting for?

While I would never describe the PDs (or any political party, for that matter) as honest, I do think it's important for a party to have concrete policy positions on things, even if I don't agree with them. At least I know I don't agree with them.

If there are no PDs, then the furthest-right party we have is Fine Gael. That means FG, which is also full of well-meaning lefties weaned on the milk of Garret FitzGerald's snore-inducing (but, again, well-meaning) Irish Times articles, becomes the repository for everyone with any right-wing tendencies. While it continues to jostle FF and Labour (and, probably, the Greens now) for position in the centre. That just doesn't work.

With a well-functioning tradition, recently at least, of coalition government, there should be enough room for smaller parties in the system. Look at the loss of Joe Higgins from the Dáil and the damage that has done to parliamentary debate.

Having said all of that, whichever of the two senators wins the 'race' (why, oh why, do they keep referring to it as a race?!), will have their work cut out for them. And it doesn't really look like Fiona O'Malley (while well-meaning and liked) has either the support or the sense to do it properly.

We await with interest...

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