Timing is everything in politics. There are signs that Fine Gael has got its timing badly wrong again in the run-up to local and European elections, now only nine days away.
That’s two in a row. Five years ago, events over which they had little control were compounded by a series of self-inflicted disasters ensuring a major setback for Fine Gael. Strategically, and as significant for it as a party, was the annihilation of Labour and the resuscitation of Fianna Fáil.
In a single day at the ballot box, the political paradigm which was fundamentally reshaped to its advantage in 2011, was restyled again. Labour — Fine Gael’s most reliable ally — ended up on life support. Fianna Fáil — its only ultimate mainstream opposition — rose from the dead. Its own further mistakes in the general election of 2016 and the electoral collapse of Labour again, left further room for Fianna Fáil. That pushed Fine Gael to the pin of its collar to form a government.
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