Updated: 02/03/17 : 06:13:16
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Funny thing happened on way to election

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

THE HEADLINE was a snapshot in time which may never be seen in our lifetimes again.

Huh? ''FG on course to be biggest party by far after election,'' said The Irish Times main story of Thursday November 26th 2015. By far. 

Sinn Féin had edged back in front of Fianna Fáil that day and Gerry Adams personal rating was up four points.

Strong Performance

The paper's then political editor Stephen Collins seemed safe to predict that ''.....Fine Gael set to post strong election performance.''

Labour's goose was already cooking and in that late 2015 poll they were still falling and stood at just seven percent.

That November day Fine Gael stood at 30% in The Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.

Forever Bridesmaid

Sinn Féin stood on 21% and Fianna Fáil on a mere 19% -- forever to be bridesmaid, far into the future.

So we thought.....sixteen months ago. The headline was a snapshot we may never see again in our lifetimes.

Funds Squandered

Times change. Fine Gael's goose was about to cook in public as it called a disastrous national poll for February 2016.

Just before that, half a million Euro of their party funds was squandered in a futile fight with its own TD John Perry in Sligo. It lost.

Then, nothing went right as storm after storm physically battered the people in the eight weeks between that opinion poll and Election Day 2016.

Less Prospects

Fine Gael has even less prospects than February 2016 if it manages in March 2017 to topple its own Government. 

It is hard for the layman to find evidence of 100% 'good faith' in FG's comprehension of what it undertook in negotiations with Fianna Fáil less than a year ago.

It deserves a good hiding if it tried a smart one with the FF negotiators of the 'confidence and supply' deal. 

And Fine Gael, in its own olden language deserves 'a kick up the transom,' if it thought it would (or had) 'got away with it' on Irish water.

The 'First Holy Communion' poster boy image Fine Gael has -- of itself -- on Europe is not widely shared by Jo Public.

Besides all that, this is the party played a 'sthum' game of silence on its lawful obligations to Europe after the €13 billion fine re: Apple.

Water does not seem like the sort of issue on which a government could fall.

But then back in 1989 the Emperor Haughey-hito returned from a trip to Japan and hastily led his party to the polls on a smaller issue.

Media Cheerleaders

Fine Gael faces a hiding at the polls if we do have a March or April election on the issue of water charges.

Internally, any attempt to short-circuit its leadership election mechanism in the event of a snap poll would lead to open dissention afterwards.

Meanwhile, tool up for those national media cheerleaders who want water charges.