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So - the inevitable has happened and we are about to have a General Election. In a day of shambles for the Government and my old classmate Brian Cowen, I can only think that the Election will at least clear the air (and a lot of Fianna Fáil seats). Many people will conveniently forget that they voted Fianna Fáil into government in the 2007 election and will use the ballot box on March 11th as a instrument of revenge against Cowen and everything Fianna Fáil.
If Brian Cowen combed his hair or scratched his arse, his enemies would say that he was putting Fianna Fáil first and the country second - the man can do no right. Only two and a half short years ago he could do no wrong.
Sadly, Brian Cowen's days as Taoiseach are nearly over - and I'm sure even he will be relieved at this. He is a very smart man, but will look back in years to come and will surely think that things could have been done differently (but perhaps not better). His autobiography will make for very interesting reading. I do know this - if Fianna Fáil had lost the last General Election we would all be calling on him now to save the country.
Be careful what you wish for. I listened to Joan Burton of Labour on the drive-time radio this evening and she was already making excuses for the next government when she said that tough times were ahead, that it would not be easy to "fix" the economy, and that we would experience a jobs deficit even if the new government puts the economy back on track. Enda Kenny as Taoiseach is hardly inspirational - but he will surely be in the Taoiseach's office after the next election. All he has to do is run on an ABC (Anyone But Cowen) ticket.
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I watched Pat Kenny's TV programme and debate on the Dún Laoghaire constituency last Monday evening - this is where I will be voting. Eamon Gilmore and Ivana Bacik will get no votes from me - all Labour have to offer is empty rhetoric based on "Fianna Fáil has mis-managed the economy". There is (as yet) no substance to anything they say that I have heard. Seán Barrett (son of a postman he told us - the Dún Laoghaire An Post vote is surely his?) is an honest man, but too old to make a difference. His job is to hold the Fine Gael seat - he will not be a Minister. His running mate, Mary Mitchell-O'Conner was obviously given a script before the debate as she trotted out the same old shite no matter what questions she was asked. Richard Boyd-Barret did nothing to dissuade me from the impression that he really belongs in the Monster Raving Loony Party. There's Ciarán Cuffe of the Greens - but I've never voted green and am not about to start now. This leaves independent Victor Boyhan (who I once voted for in a local election), and the two Fianna Fáil candidates - Mary Hanafin and Barry Andrews.
I have alway voted Mary Hanafin #1, and will probably do so again. I look around the Dún Laoghaire constituency and see no one else that I want to vote for. We live in a democracy and I can vote for whoever I want - I know that some of my (few) readers will be incredulous at the thoughts of anybody voting for Fianna Fáil.
Changing the colour of the paint leaves the same wall - just with a different colour. How long will it be before the Fine Gael/Labour government starts to fall in the polls, and that Enda Kenny becomes an unpopular Taoiseach? How long before the first scandal hits the new government? How long before the first series of savage cuts to health, education, and social welfare will be implemented by the new government? How long before a new Fine Gael Minister orders a new Merc, or a Labour Minister tries to explain that shutting hospital wards is a good thing and is necessary for the good of the country?
All that's going to change is the names of the Ministers driving around in Mercs.