People are looking at the talk around the FF confidence motion and wondering why is Michael Martin doing this now, and why is it him that is leading it?
The main reason I suspect is that the heave is designed to allow particular FF TDs who are standing in the next election to nail themselves down in the minds of the electorate as the official FF opposition to Brian Cowen and the government’s harsher measures and thus ensure that it is they and not their running mates that will be the people returned to the Dail at election time. I had noted previously that the makeup of the FF parliamentary party could be so changed in the aftermath of the election such that the prospects of one leader ship contender might increase while those of another decreased. Martin didn’t go for a heave long before now because in his view Lenihan would win any outright vote with the current parliamentary party.
However, by moving this close to the election and with the opinions and pronouncements of the likes of Michael Kennedy or Michael Moynihan fresh in their minds many FF inclined voters might cast their vote for those TD rather than their constituency mates. Thus altering the balance of support within the next FF parliamentary party.
This heave is but the first major engagement of the sure to be bloody battle of Mount st. as the supporters of various generals who would be the king over the water in the next Dail try to shift things one way or another in the interests of their favourite. And it won’t be the last engagement before election day either.