May 25th, 2007 by Donagh
So I was wrong. Many people were. Before the time passes completely and the recent memory of the last week of the election campaign is wiped out of our collective memory by the inevitable rewrite once the negotiations for government begins, we should remember that lots of people thought that Fianna Fail were going to get less than 2002 rather than more. Edit: 78 seats means 2 seats less than 2002.
But now itâ€™s like an episode of Time Tunnel, with the Irish electorate spinning round and round as they swirl back in time. A few days from now weâ€™ll all land with a thump, scratch our heads and wonder whether its 2007 or 1977. Two big parties and a country on the edge of an economic downturn.
While FF donâ€™t have an absolute majority yet, their rallying around the country would suggest that it might happen yet. And all we have to console ourselves is the possible demise of the Progressive Democrats (if only Mary Harney gets in should they change their name to the Progressive Democrat). We await the results of the bloodbath between John Gormley and Michael McDowell, who at time of writing have only 230 votes between them in Dublin South East, with nervous interest.
The news is all over the place. McDowell lost to Gormley and has announced his retirement, Liz O’Donnell is gone, Harney has secured her seat. The most they can expect is three seats though. Will McDowell accept a Senate seat and squirm his way back to the top of the PDs again. He seemed unequivocal on his decision and anyway, his wife confirmed it to Charlie Bird. That seems to make it so.
While the wipe out of the PDs is good news, especially the resignation of McDowell the failure of Joe Higgins to get elected is a serious blow to the quality of political debate in the Dail. Curiously, with McDowell and Higgins gone, the Dail will be a much blander place. Add to that the fact that there might be 20 extra Fine Gaels and we have the new era of blamange politics, a great wobbly jelly of conformity.
Clearly Fianna Fail’s message that the economy would go pear shaped without them was what concentrated the mind of the electorate in the end.