People are asking what changed in FF to prompt the challenge to Brian Cowen, was it Anglo was it his answers in the Dail, was it the new info about who else was there? It wasn’t. It was as I noted on Political Reform on Saturday, the fact that many TDs with the election looming had actually gone out on the doors in seriousness for the first time in years. And they started with areas they knew had always been good for them.
FF activities of the last while mirror nothing as much as the frankly deluded manner in which FG approached the 2002 election. The party was completely blind as to the reality they were being presented with by the polls and carried on as it was business as usual when in fact the changed economic environment in a time of plenty meant that the usual rules didn’t apply.
It appears that only in the last week or so has it appeared that reality has dawned on them. Perhaps this is because with the starting of a countdown last November by the Greens to the calling of the election, some of their senior people like Batt O’Keeffe and their supporters have actually had to go out on the doors for the first time in earnest in many years and the reaction is far, far worse than they ever imagined it might be. With people who they knew well and had voted for them personally for years telling them bluntly that they would not do so this time out. They each thought as individuals that while the party might have lost support that they would personally be ok, the mentality that lead people to think that Alan Dukes or Nora Owen couldn’t possibly lose their seats or that DSE couldn’t possibly not elect a FG TD.
So now we appear to have FF TDs seeking to be either for or against Cowen heading into the election with the hope that the public will give them the benefit of the doubt in the polling booth and that enough of them survive for there to be a FF party to rebuild. It is a risky strategy as it is possible that such divisions will harm the intra-party transfers that FF will need to safe seats. Too divided a local ticket and they might as well be running for different and opposing parties.