Updated: 18/05/17 : 04:51:39
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Taoiseach picks perfect time to quit, except.....

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

THE NICHE in Irish politics, currently, is in the centre and not -- as some would present it -- on the left or on the right either. 

Enda Kenny read it perfectly, his chosen centrist gap was as narrow as that eye of a needle through which the Biblical camel must pass to reach Paradise.

The Left in the Dáil have had two 'bites' this decade to consider a united front. They prefer to 'bite' at each other instead.

The prospective next leader of Fine Gael would do well to study this weekend how the Dail voted for Taoiseach in 1989, 1992 and again in 2016.

Those were all ''coalition'' concoctions; each time the ultimate winner faced a few Dáil defeats en route.

Lesson One: The Dáil picks the Taoiseach, NOT the party, and does so carefully.

The winner of the Fine Gael leadership next month is NOT automatic to then be Taoiseach, too -- though probably 'Yes.'

Fine Gael knows this Truth better than anybody alive: Not once but twice it's party leader failed to be leader of an inter party Cabinet led by FG.

That happened Fine Gael in 1948 and again in 1954. It nearly happened in 2016.

Watching closely, too, at how the Dáil processes this specific principle in summer 2017 will be Sinn Féin.

Earlier in 2017, the Shinners sought a government at Stormont in which (maybe) the leader of the largest party was not First Minister.

Will Fianna Fáil give the Shinners such a 'gift.' FF will say the odds are shorter on a freeze-over in Hell. 

'They would say that, wouldn't they,' if we may quote from Christine Keeler's famed judgement of politics.

                                        The headline in this morning's Irish Times

Wise Words

Retired Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave holds the patent on words of wisdom when leadership transition is under way in Irish politics.

Cosgrave pithily said of one Castlebar retirement in Irish politics: ''He did more good than his critics ever did.''

It remains the Gold Standard of (good) judgement, those words of Liam Cosgrave can be applied in almost every walk of Life. They apply now to Enda Kenny. 

The effluxion of Time can, sometimes, significantly erode what seem such rock-solid sentiments on the day they are spoken.

History, both long and short, will be the better political judge of the Dáil time served, as Taoiseach especially, by Enda Kenny.

He has picked a good time to quit as party leader; his party are solid in successive polls, he made party history, he made personal history. He made national history???

Mugs Money

Meanwhile, all the Blueshirts' Bitcoins plus their ordinary mugs money will be pitched with Paddy Power and others on one outcome over the next month.

Namely, that all their TDs will safely build sand castles at the seaside this summer having chosen a new leader who went on to be elected Taoiseach.

Some nagging doubt remains that those blue sand castles might yet be build in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

                                       The headline in this morning's Irish Examiner

Seal, Heal

It is hard/difficult/stupid (take your pick!) to see Fianna Fáil stand idly by and let Fine Gael enjoy successive 'honeymoon bounces' all summer and autumn re: their 'new' Taoiseach.

The 'old' Taoiseach is committed to staying in situ.....and maybe -- a small maybe admittedly -- that's what we yet get to see for a couple of months. 

Euro MP and former GAA President Sean Kelly painted a very Hy Brasil 'happy ever after' landscape on RTE's ''Drivetime'' yesterday evening, Wednesday.

Unfolding events were barely an hour old and MEP Kelly can be forgiven for thinking that his party will seal 'n' heal and 100% unite behind whoever emerges.

That'd be a first in world history and besides it contradicts a central narrative espoused by this writer last February.

Namely, that Fine Gael could well be about to see its internal version of the 1979 tussle in Fianna Fáil between Charles Haughey and George Colley.

Fianna Fáil failed to win ANY of three general elections which immediately followed that Bloodbath of the Big Egos. 

It lost two of them and failed to win outright majorities in two further elections in the Eighties.

National politics was riven by the 1979 FF duos (pretend) clash of visions (???) and clash of, did we say, Egos.

Down, Dirty

We even got new parties out of that FF leadership tussle in the Seventies when it got 'Down and Dirty' between two equally ambitious men.

The irony is that FG wants to have its own old party intact after its 2017 tussle between its two equally ambitious men. 

Ah, but it will all be oh, so different in Fine Gael in 2017. Blah. Blah. Blah. 

After the contest they say you will see the Dream Team, the losing lamb will lie down with the winning lion. 

Of course, all the parties always do that. No, they always promise to do so. 

The narrow needle eye into Paradise (remember!) best suits a camel carrying just one hump. Two humps is always harder. 

Besides, Dream Teams are fairytales for adults: Haughey and anybody? Blair and Brown? McGuinness and Foster? Clinton and, eh, forgotten already? 

That should have read, in 2008, Obama and Clinton. That 'what if' perfectly summarises politics - it always becomes 'what if'.....

Links: See Sligo Today 11/5/2017 and Sligo Today 18/2/2017.