There is a widespread presumption aboard in the media that the Green’s get together over the weekend on the review of the program for government is merely an exercise in being seen by the membership to at least be going through the motions. And that getting the An Bord Snip Nua report out early is just a new effort at convincing the public that the government has nothing to hide and that the way forward for Lisbon will be cleared of too much speculation.
But what if it’s not?
What if the government is deliberately trying to engineer a situation whereby they collapse in the face of the decisions they face resulting in the need of an election once the Dail were to resume in September and timed to coincide with the Lisbon Treaty vote?
FF once there was a general election underway would probably see their support sneak back around the 30% mark which would be a recoverable position. The Greens while their % would be down nationally might be able to rally support to least some of their seating TDs. Sure people will say that FF would be looking at losing 1 in 4 TDs but just as the parliamentary party has no great personal loyalty to Brian Cowen so too has he no loyalty to the parliamentary party. His interest would be above and beyond all else the wider FF family. And that could be best served in his view by a spell in opposition while avoiding harsh measures that will make the 80s look like the 90s.
This would leave FF with almost a full Dail term to regroup and recover while FG and Labour would have had to take very, very painful decisions faced with an opposition lead by, my guess, Dermot Ahern which would have the default position of the Irish electorate to rely on in arguing that any and all harsh measures were the fault of the current government not a preceding one.
Is this likely? Not so much. But is it just possible? You betcha!