Fianna Gael or Fine Fáil, What’s the Difference?

The Tweedle Twins

This wouldn’t be the first time I argued that there’s no difference between the two antiquated, principle-free parties that have dominated this State since independence, but the ridiculous John McNulty case throws it into sharp relief.

The political Tweedle Twins.

Let’s just re-cap what happened.

John McNulty, a failed Council candidate in Donegal, holder of a cultural CV that begins and ends with shouting out the questions in the local GAA table quiz, was appointed to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, for no obvious reason.  Not widely known for his profound knowledge of modern art, McNulty nevertheless accepted the position, though he never got to sit at the boardroom table nor share his erudition with his fellow members.

But by an extraordinary stroke of serendipity, the next thing McNulty knew, he was being nominated to the Senate Cultural and Education Panel, a role requiring some background in, eh, culture or, eh, education.  Of course, you could argue that training the Kilcar Slashers was a sort of cultural foundation, but still, it did his case no harm at all that he could claim to be a board member of IMMA, even though, naturally, the relevant minister, Heather Humphreys knew nothing at all about his impending Senate nomination when appointing him.  Not a damn thing did Heather knnow about John’s forthcoming elevation to the Upper House, even though the rules dictated that he’d have to step down from the IMMA post if appointed (as opposed to elected).

Needless to mention, the IMMA crowd were horrified but what could they do?  Not a dry cravat in the house.

Sadly for McNulty, or perhaps a close shave for him, he was spared the ordeal of sharing canapés with the appalled IMMA luvvies when the whole thing blew up in his face, and in the face of Enda the Earnest who would never dream of sinking to Bertie’s standards of cronyism.  Not a bit of it.  A man who runs up Croke Patrick carrying three iron bicycles while never ceasing from reciting the Our Father in melodious Irish wouldn’t think of pulling a political stroke, or of thinking the electorate are a bunch of idiots.  Right?

As matters stand, McNulty has resigned from his IMMA position without swallowing so much as a single canapé or sipping a solitary sparkling wine at an opening, thus missing out on the most important qualification for becoming an Arts bigwig.   And yet, we still expect him to be appointed (as opposed to being elected) to the Senate, which means his considerable cultural expertise will not be lost to the Nation.  In years to come, I look forward to following John McNulty’s stellar career as a crusading culture and education senator.

Of course, this shabby little stroke wasn’t the first sign of old-style Irish nod-and-wink crony politics in this current holier-than-thou government.  After all, James Reilly was no stranger to such shenanigans and Big Phil did his party’s reputation no good by destroying local democracy in the name of openness.

What do you call an Irish revolution?  More of the same, as I argued here after the old crooks were kicked out to be replaced by the new ones, and nothing I’ve seen so far has changed my point of view on that.  The FG-led coalition looked after every last foreign hedge fund, every scavenger and carpetbagger, to the consternation of the IMF, while crushing the weak and the poor back in Ireland.  Kenny is no Haughey.  He’s not even a Bertie, with the spectacular vision of cronyism implicit in the name Ahern, but he is all the same a humourless, authoritarian gobshite and we need to get rid of  him as soon as possible.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are simply two wings of the same vulture, as I argued here four years ago, and yet again, I’ve seen nothing in the intervening years to make me change my mind.

Isn’t it time to dispense with these two dinosaurs?  Let them coalesce and become the one party they’ve always been.

You could argue that this is Enda Kenny’s raised finger to the Senate he wished to abolish, but therefore, by extension, it’s Enda’s raised finger to the electorate who thwarted his wishes.  Unless we get rid of these two outdated parties  we’ll be stuck forever with this sort of tawdry insult to the people’s intelligence, but sadly, the alternatives are a grimly sad bunch.  There’s no Left left, so our only alternative is the Smoking Gun party and a crowd of brainless anti-everything shouty types.

There isn’t even a Sensible Party.

What does that say about us as a people?


10 thoughts on “Fianna Gael or Fine Fáil, What’s the Difference?

  1. The difference is that Fianna Fail (ie Bertie) would probably have gotten away with it. Enda lacks the “cute hoor” skills….

  2. You should have more faith in the lefts politics then repeating the rights mantra of sinn fein and the anti austerity crowd. from what i see both SF and the AA have the working classes interests at heart which neither the FF/FG have the slightest interest in.there be enough muck throwing from the media to try an discredit the left to keep the status quo without those of us wanting change adding to it. focusing on the postives from these parties is the way to go imho.

  3. Yeah, as someone who is a member of sf and has been at a few protests like anti water charges, proper social housing household tax,these are things worth protesting about and benefit us all yet some idiots in the media whenever they see a protest use the same mantra thats just the shinners and the anti everything types,mention the troubles, if its sf mention there attire/employment status if protesting, and they move on. no discussion on the merits of the protest just smears. if you want change having a go at the people who might provide it is counterproductive.

  4. Well Kevin, you came here advising me to have faith, yet you show little enough faith in my integrity so all I can advise you is to fuck off.

  5. You are spot on Bock. Unfortunately there does seem to be an attitude of anything but Sinn Fein in some quarters. I’m not suggesting they are the solution although I’d be broadly supportive of their social policies and they couldn’t be any worse than the bullshit coming from Noonan et al. Part of a tired and corrupt establishment that has gone the way all institutions do eventually in regarding itself as more important than the reason for its existence.

  6. Can some trusted media / institution carry out a survey of sitting TD’s and ask them to enter the Dail classifying themselves as centre or centre left, centre right, right, left, extreme right or extreme left, carried out as an experiment it should show how the country works as at the moment Irish politics looks like a broad (Catholic) church where nothing changes and nobody can be put in a category that denotes their philosophy without this the country is behaving like a headless chicken. Beyond analysis “the Irish can’t be psychoanalysed”

  7. Hello all.
    Very little difference, (if any) between FG and FF, and I sincerely suspect one could add SF and Labour and still not see any significant difference between any of them. My own observations lead me to this conclusion due to the fact they share what I choose to term, “the party ethos”.

    The Party comes before the electorate.
    The Party is all.
    The Party is self-serving.
    The Party will have a whip, specifically to punish those TD’s who’s conscience, or electorate may push them towards voting against what the party wants, (or is told to want) by Europe, and beyond.

    All the parties have this whip. All of them will use it.

    The independents at least have the ability to vote as their electorate would have them vote.

    Please tell me that I am a naive eejit who understands nothing about politics. Please tell me I’m wrong.

  8. I think a major part of the problem boils down to the fact that there are plenty of eminently good and talented people who could make a valuable contribution to our political (and by extension, civic, economic etc) life in Ireland. The problem is that they’re not involved in politics and moreover, won’t get involved. There seems to be a kind of acceptance in Ireland that talented people in general do not run for political office.

    I’m in a position that I know most of the people elected to my local county council to the extent that I’d know the majority of councillors to talk to. Some are ok people but you really couldn’t trust them to make any kind of decision which would impinge on people’s lives. I actually believe that a random selection of people from the electoral register would be an improvement. It’s that bad. These councillors then form the basis of the cohort of candidates that we elect to Dail Eireann…..well maybe the ones without fairly basic literacy and numerical skills stay at local level but the rest aren’t much better. and they’re such a sameness about them… many IT professionals are there in the Dail, how many musicians, successful business people, horticulturalists, engineers, inventors, fukkin candlestick makers…. whatever??? Just not another small town lawyer or teacher please.

    How do we get to a place where we have a representative cross section of society in our parliament? How do we start to behave more responsibly that we start to elect better people to positions of power? Maybe start in primary schools – proper civic education with a strong emphasis on cause and effect. I hate to think it’s too late for the rest of us but you gotta start somewhere.

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