Updated: 18/02/17 : 04:49:34
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Fine Gael could face aftermath like Haughey, Colley

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

LIKE MATADORS, waiting for blood -- one unforgettable image.

You say it's definitely Spanish,  you'd bet your bottom dollar it belongs to sport, well their sorta sport.

Wrong. Wrong. The image belongs to politics, to Irish politics.

It describes that (unique) defeat at the hands of your own party supporters.

Okay, not too hard to work out where this is heading.

The defeat described, above, by Thomas McCarthy in his poem ''First Convention'' is Fianna Fáil, but not uniquely so.

Nor is there anything unique about the upcoming head to head for the leadership of Fine Gael.

Too Young

Both Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar are too young to remember the December 1979 Fianna Fáil showdown between Charles Haughey and George Colley.

They will live to learn, to learn all about it.....and especially learn about its aftermath.

There was a cartoon in The Irish Times in those years which explains the polarity caused by the closeness of the duo's contest.

It showed Haughey seeming to saw Fianna Fáil into two halves, which reflected the close contest.

The caption had a quip from the sidelines, along the lines: ''The real illusion is when he pretends to put the two halves together again.''

             Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney with life preservers on ready to sink or swim

Throwing Stones

Familiar already, okay. Add the ingredient, now fermenting nicely, of the overthrow of Enda Kenny.

Most of those throwing stones at Kenny so far are non entities who've achieved nothing whatever in national politics.

That will possibly, probably, change over this weekend and in the 48 hours at the start of next week. Big Boys will show up, one by one.

The strategy looks like drip-drip.....and no that's not another reference to those backbenchers.

Those backbenchers are (probably) gonna be the leaders in a little while, too.

Travelling World

They're gonna be travelling the world as junior ministers when the spoils get given out by The New Leader.

That's the theory of how it is all supposed to work. Guess what? It seldom works out.

Fianna Fáil can upend their applecart any morning of any year. They will, too.

Just as with Fianna Fáil for much of the 1980s, the (close) Fine Gael leadership and their respective camps will linger on the backbenchers, all of them.

Then and only then will you see how corrosive the upcoming contest will have been.