Monday, February 19, 2007

W(h)ither the PDs?

Take McDowell’s word for it - it can’t be auction politics if it’s the PDs who are doing it, but there’s no doubting the desperation of their pre-election promises, spurred by that recent 1% opinion poll result.

Even if the PDs don’t achieve melt-down in the upcoming election, there seems to be a growing consensus that Fianna Fail are likely to lose seats and will need a larger coalition partner if it’s to form part of the next Government, hence the constant wooing of Labour.

So even if McDowell returns with the same number of seats - or even a modest increase - the PDs are likely to find themselves sitting on the opposition benches.

It’s hard to see what relevance or influence they’ll have from that particular perch. McDowell has discarded any remaining shreds of the moral authority which was long the hallmark of the party, though which had been rapidly fading as the party made compromise after compromise in order to stay in Government. The PDs have progressed from supposedly being a watchdog to prevent Fianna Fail excesses to being their poodle and political mudguard.

McDowell’s not a consensus player and had managed to insult just about every existing opposition party on an ongoing basis for the past several years, so he’s hardly going to be welcomed into the “opposition club”.

Without any input to Government decisions or influence on public opinion, the PDs will undoubtedly wither and their membership drift away to apathy or other political parties. Even if they don’t implode at the upcoming election, it’s hard to see them survive the following Dail term as a coherent political force.

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