As Electorate Plumps for Rhetoric and Personalities, Is Frustration Winning War over Political Philosophy? COMMENT

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Byline: Eamon Delaney

THE results reflect the opinion poll predictions. The Fianna Fail vote has sunk further, especially in Dublin; Fine Gael has gained greatly, and once again there is a large disparate protest vote.

The Fianna Fail collapse is somewhat undeserved. There is an international financial crisis and they are only partly to blame for our woes.

Nevertheless, the people want to punish them, and this is what they have done. The parallel with Britain is very interesting and timely. Both Fianna Fail and British Labour have been in power for long periods and their leadership has gone stagnant.

The Irish electorate is proving increasingly volatile. They voted against the Lisbon Treaty last year, for a variety of reasons, but now the electorate is swinging back towards the treaty, as evidenced by their increased support for pro-Lisbon candidates.

Clearly, the people got a fright when they saw what happened to go-it-alone countries like Iceland. However, on the economy, anger is almost enough as a political philosophy.

The election of George Lee on the first count, without any coherent policies or new ideas, is a triumph of frustration and populism. He certainly advocates none of the rough medicine we need.

Voters have proved that, like the political media, they shun ideological differences and prefer the more reassuring world of rhetoric and personalities. …