General election 2016 is in full swing, and with only a couple of days left before voting begins the polls are indicating that Labour, the junior coalition partner in the present government, will be the whipping boy while Fine Gael are tipped to be returned as the largest party. With Labour predicted to take a serious hit for failing its constituents in the execution of a Fine Gael led rightest austerity program, pressure is already mounting for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to put the Civil War to bed and leap into a unity coalition for the sake of “stable government.”
Leo Varadkar, the current Minister for Health, who has overseen the greatest healthcare crisis since tuberculosis, isn’t the only one to see that such a coalition would be a nightmare. Had the two Civil War adversaries decide to bury the hatchet to “Keep the Recovery Going” and form the basis of the next coalition, it would form a formidable working group to batter home the EU’s austerity masterplan. Five years of the fire and the frying pan is a fate worse than death for an Ireland in the midst of an economy driven suicide epidemic.
Given the long absence of either a strong or a united political left in the country Sinn Féin are likely to be the winners of the Labour Party’s meltdown, but many still feel baulkish about lending their support to a party that remains so associated with violence in the North. This polite reticence over Sinn Féin makes little sense in a nation established down the barrel of the gun. Not one hundred years ago the fathers of Fianna Fáil were the Old IRA and Fine Gael the Irish pro-Nazi Blueshirts. Yes, Sinn Féin does have an agenda for a united Ireland, but since 1998 the armed struggle has become – for them at least – a thing of the past. It would appear that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s middle class boom boxes are for remembering everyone else’s history but their own.
'I Couldn't possibly vote SF, my conscience!!' Well, vote FF FGLAB, you can have the suffering of thousands of kids on yours. Suck it up.—
Agent Ath Whinger (@agentathcliath) February 24, 2016
In the meantime, since the last general election, a quiet revolution has been happening in Ireland. In fact this is merely a reflection of a global phenomenon. Young people – those between 18 and 35 – have been returning to polling stations. Our recent Marriage Equality referendum played a significant part in this re-politicisation for sure, but the internationalisation of disaster capitalism – of which Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are the Irish franchises – has forced a reaction in an ever increasing dislocated youth. It remains to be seen what way this cohort will vote on Friday, but it is clear that any real opposition to austerity will require the working together of what is the left in Ireland and Sinn Féin.