I can’t say I’ve met every journalist in Dublin or even most of them. But I can say that I’ve never met a journalist who supported Fianna Fail.
And as an avid reader of newspapers I’ve never come across a journalist who could be identified with Fianna Fail. Some would back Fianna Fail policies, for sure, but never the party itself.
It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that published opinion and comment in this country for the past ten years has been one long anti-Fianna Fail tirade.
Day in, day out, week in, week out, year after year, after year, the vanguard of the fourth estate has blamed every Irish woe on Fianna Fail. Every smartarse with a wordprocessor has thrown every cheap jibe and verbal wisecrack at the party.
And here we are, a few days short of the 2002 General Election, and do you know what?
They haven’t laid a finger on Fianna Fail. Not as much as a fingernail.
Fianna Fail is the most successful party in Europe and probably the most successful in the democratic world. They have been in power in Ireland for some 50 of the last 70 years.
When it comes to politics this party is the crème-de-la-crème. The masters.
Even in the UK with its artificial two party system, neither of the main political parties can match Fianna Fail for sheer political nous and staying power. The British Labour and Conservative parties are mere amateurs compared to Fianna Fail.
The question is: why are journalists so hostile to Fianna Fail and why does it matter so little?
The answer probably has something to do with jealousy. Columnists, like myself, write articles in order to influence things. But while we do the reasoning, Fianna Fail has its hands on the levers of power.
Secondly, most writers (like myself) are highly opinionated. Generally our views are ideologically-based. We’d like to think we have principles.
Fianna Fail are the antitheses of ideological. They are a populist party. They do what needs to be done. When nationalisation was all the rage, Fianna Fail nationalised. Now privatisation is in, Fianna Fail privatises.
Fianna Fail is the conservative party which legalised contraceptives and homosexuality. The republican party which cut a deal with the unionists. The nationalist party which drives us further into Europe. The family party who brought us individualisation. The traditionalist party led by the guy living with his mot.
They have a human organisation that stretches into every part of Irish life. They are far more influenced by what they hear in the pub or at the church gate than what the intelligentsia say in the editorials.
I’m like the rest of the media pack. I have never once gave a voting preference to Fianna Fail. I will probably never vote for them. But I admire them and I dislike the anti-Fianna Fail bias in the media.
In the tussle for power in Ireland, Fianna Fail leaves us in the ha’penny place.
We think we’re smart.
They are way ahead of us. Way ahead.
|As Well As That. . .|
…but that doesn’t mean you should vote for them
Just because Fianna Fail is good at getting power doesn’t mean that you have to vote for them.
Especially when there is an alternative.
Fine Gael have published a sports policy which says they will spend the money Fianna Fail is going to spend on the Bertie Bowl on facilities in local communities.
I believe them. If the Rainbow Coalition is reformed, locals communities will see the benefits. We in Dublin desperately need resources going to local communities.
Vote for the Rainbow
Personally, I’m voting Green
Since the last election in 1997 our economy has grown by about 50 per cent. It is a staggering achievement, unmatched by any other economy in the world.
But ask yourself: has the quality of life in Dublin increased by 50 per cent?
This is vital. The city is struggling to remain on a human scale. We need a philosophy that puts families, communities and the environment further up the agenda.
You could do worse than vote Green.
And finally, make sure you vote
Last week, Aung Sung Suu Kyi was released from house arrest in Myanmar (formally Burma). She (a freeman of our city) is the elected, legitimate leader of her country, a land that has suffered under a diabolical military dictatorship.
Millions of Burmese would desperately love to vote for her again but they haven’t got the right.
We have that right and a system that allows you to influence the election down to your nth preference.
Make sure you use your vote.