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WI: Fine Gael are in power during the GFC

Uhura's Mazda

lying on his back, urinating over his own belly
Published by SLP
Location
Tamaki Makaurau
#1
As all people with a passing knowledge of Irish politics are aware, Fianna Fail (fuck you, I'm not doing diacritics) are the Party of Government and were consistently the largest party in the Dail until 2011, when they utterly collapsed down to 20 seats after a truly awful few years, dominated by the sudden decline of the Celtic Paper Tiger, cack-handed responses to the banking crisis, the results of the Mahon Tribunal, the whole Lisbon Treaty saga, and that time Brian Cowen did a radio interview while blatantly smashed.

One of the reasons for the poor response to the GFC was the fact that successive Fianna Fail governments had spent literally all of the money on pork barrel spending and fixing roads.

In the 2007 election, polls predicted that Fianna Fail would lose 20 seats, but the campaign was unusually long and the end result was a loss of only four seats, which allowed Bertie Ahern to continue in power with the support of the Greens and Progressive Democrats. But it was close - Fine Gael and Labour together were only 12 seats off a majority.

So what if the campaign had gone a bit worse for FF, and Enda Kenny had come to power in 2007, in coalition with Labour, just before everything went to shit? How would relations with Europe have been affected? Would the GFC have been handled differently? Would the blame for the awfulness now fall on FG-Labour, or would the FF overspending line have stuck, as in OTL? And would FF be any closer to re-taking their traditional position ITTL?
 

SteveBP

If-Christ-Had-Not-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Da
Location
Tāmaki Makaurau
#2
Basically FG-Labour would’ve been destroyed more completely than FF and FF would have returned to power maybe with a coalition with indies and genepool FF indies and maybe the Greens who may have benefited from former Labour voters.

There’s no way any mud would stick to FF, they’re pretty slippery customers.
 

RyanF

Abbot of Unreason
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Falkirk
#3
An effect of this might be to keep Sinn Fein at under 10 TDs come to next election, thought they might pick up what they did from FF voters but from Labour voters instead.

And might being in opposition lead to the Progressive Democrats not voting in November 2008 to wind up the party?
 

RyanF

Abbot of Unreason
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Falkirk
#6
On this subject, with Fianna Fail buoyant post the GFC (blaming everything on the last Labour Blueshirt government) and their position as the nature party of government in Ireland more secure than ever, might they be tempted to begin standing candidates in Northern Ireland as early as the 2011 Assembly/local elections; or if not the 2014 local elections?
 

Gonzo

Actually nostalgic for Peter Robinson
#9
It is important who Fianna Fail choose as their leader in opposition. Their leadership race OTL in 2008 was very sparse owning to the fact no one stood against Brian Cowen. I could see Brian Lenihan Jnr. in the running as well as perhaps Dermot Ahern (no relation to Bertie) or Micheal Martin. I think Lenihan would have a good chance of victory, though his health does become a pretty major issue come the next general election. While undoubtedly there'd be a sympathy vote (IIRC he was one of the few, if not the only government minister not reviled around the time of the 2011 GE IRL), though there will be concerns about how long he could last. While obviously he'd be under less stress than he was OTL as Finance Minister, I still think he'd be unlikely to hold out in the long run. A Lenihan or MM led party would do quite well in 2011 - a Cowen led party wouldn't do as well owing to his OTL... shortcomings. Depending on how unpopular the govt. is, Fianna Fail might finally be able to achieve what they had for so long coveted - a majority - which had been elusive in 2002 (owing to tactical voting for the PDs). I agree with other posters here, a minority government is probably quite likely with support from Independent and proto-Fianna Fail TDs and maybe the Greens (who may fail to be annihilated if they aren't in govt.). Labour very well may bear the brunt of public anger much like their fall post-Rainbow Coalition in 1997. The election could however be an unwelcome return to 2002 for Fine Gael.