- Feb 16, 2018
Ex-taoiseach Bertie Ahern also says Stormont could move to a voluntary coalition "in time".
As far back as the forties, there were people saying there was no difference between FF and FG, in recent decades it has come up repeatedly in Europe when asked what the difference is between the two parties, it was hard to point it out. FF and FG supporters and members are at pains to point out their perceived differences, but that's the problem with perception, it's irrelevant if the broader base of voters and observers can't see those differences no matter how much some may protest otherwise.The Republic of Ireland, he said, was moving to a system of "three big parties", involving Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin.
"Young people are more educated now and people are travelling and I suppose those old ways of identifications are not what they were," he told Talkback.
"For the foreseeable future I think you're probably going to find Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael joining together, I think that's the way it will go.
For my own part, I find the following reasons to see FF and FG as one and the same:
- They largely share an older demographic of older and more conservative voters with only FG having any appeal to younger age groups.
- Observing their representatives at the different levels of government, they often vote together and any policy differences are usually marginal. They both carry the torch for the older model of Catholic conservatism that held through up until more recent times. Often you'll find that FF and FG members and reps are quite congenial and amenable with each other sharing a similar world view.
- Both parties largely have the same macro-economic outlook, choosing to be followers of orthodoxy rather than choosing innovation through alternative and disruptive ideas.
- In the context of the current government, FF now follow the FG model of letting the CS wag the dog instead of ministers waging the tail(CS). Again this leads to both a lack of innovation as well as failing the principle that politicians are there to whip the permanent government to their constituents interests. Solutions to problems in Health and Housing can't arise through this model. The two parties lead to manage as opposed to leading.
- With the above in mind, a critical analysis of the parties shows a failure of ability to differentiate between the two parties through positive argument. There is an ingrained reliance through the older model of politics in attacking others as opposed to projecting vision and demonstrating leadership. Recently I challenged supporters both here and in other online forms to put forward a vision of how the parties would improve citizens lives and resolve the problems of Health and Housing where both have struggled. Very little was put forth.