Saturday, February 26, 2011
Watching, as an Irish citizen with no great party-political affiliation, with some degree of pride the results coming in from the Irish general election. Following the largest economic reversal of any industrialised country, the main ruling party and the junior government partner have understandably been decimated electorally, with the junior party returning no seats at all and the main ruling party becoming the third largest party in the State from a position of being the largest for almost all the history of the State. However, the main beneficiaries are the main centre-right party and the main centre-left party who almost certainly will now form a government together with a commanding majority. There has been no move whatsoever to things like anti-European sentiment parties, anti-immigration parties, and so on. Both parties are in favour of reducing the deficit, with the largest party being probably more inclined to reduce it more quickly and with more emphasis on cuts rather than taxes. The election seems to be yielding some idiosyncratic independent candidates who have done surprisingly well but nothing that could be seen as ominous in terms of a move toward extremism in Irish society. I think in general, the election is showing a mature Western European democracy trying to come to grips in a sensible way with a major economic crisis. I looking forward to discussing many of their policies on this blog and other fora as the new government begins its tough job.