Our political system is dominated by two big parties, Phinney, Gael and Fianna Fail. The countries have a clear dividing line between the leading political groups but in Ireland, were different.
So what, if anything, does divide the two power centers of Irish politics? In Ireland we don't fish the international pattern, but closeness of the village community viewed as family, friendship, commerce and politics, making each a personal affair. You see there's a big block on the left. Basically, people who favor higher taxes to pay for better public services, state involvement in the economy. And then there's a bloc on the right who back lower taxes and favorite market solutions. But in Ireland, with two big parties and they're both, broadly speaking, right ish. Down the decades, they've moved further right or to the left, but they've generally sat around the center of the political spectrum.
This is the way of things in Ireland. It is the politicians role provide the linkage between country man and bureaucrats.
So where are they today? At the last general election, party carried out an exit poll asking people to place themselves on a left right scale of zero being very left wing and tending very right wing.
The mean or average voter was at four point nine eight pretty much bang in the centre.
But supporters of Fine Gael and Thena Fall were at five point eight four and five point seven respectively. In other words, both are slightly to the right of the average voter and the two are almost exactly the same. So in crude terms, they're both targeting the same market, but there could be differences on other issues. So nationalism, for instance, and that's the issue that divided Fini Gale and Fianna Fail in the first place.
To stem from the Sinn Fein party, which split in the early 1920s over the Anglo Irish Treaty, the local common and or branch of Fianna Fáil traces its genealogy directly from the first Sinn Fein common in the peninsula. Secretary of the Commons John MacIntyre.
Fianna Fáil descended from followers of Aymond Devil Arah, who thought the treaty didn't give Ireland no freedom, while in a Gael's political ancestors went with Michael Collins, who saw it as the best deal available.
Like Harry Shields, who since the day in 1921 when he raised his hand for the treaty, remained a loyal member of the other party.
[Being a girl, we had a meeting being held up, and they will do all we can know. And then. And they made you work? Yeah. If I get caught, I would have played. I shook hands anyway, who were for or against to give that game when a group played, a few of them young children. Andrew clear that the treaty had been good to you, and I know it kept my hand from that. I always wanted that bag. ]
Nowadays, being a fool would see itself as founder on the national question, basically more engaged in the idea of a united Ireland for what it has taken a hard nationalist line in opposition. It's not always the same in government. And the key example is Charlie Harvey's response to the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, which basically gave the republic a say in the affairs of Northern Ireland in return for recognition of the border point denounced it as a sellout.
While he was in opposition, in the light of my political objectives, which are the ultimate reunification of Ireland, in my view, this agreement today, there was serious damage to that concept and puts it away into the far distant future, if ever. But once he got back into government, he worked it like it was his idea all along. In the same way, Fine Gael sees itself as the party of law and order tough on Republican paramilitaries. But then in the 1950s, if any gay led government refused, introduce and termina to stop the IRA border campaign. When deviltry got back in, the IRA leaders very quickly found themselves in turn on the border campaign just run out of steam.
If it's not the six counties and it's not the left writing, the other dividing line in European politics is very often well, Europe, but both parties are very pro EU. Broadly similar when it comes to church state relations as well.
So what is it that in 1999, two political scientists, Michael Gallaher and Michael March, decided to ask members of any Gaelic ferry question they discovered to their surprise a thirty nine percent of Finegan or saw no real policy difference between their party and 3:47, as Gallaher and March concluded with considerable understatement.
This was a pattern that we would not expect to find in any other European country.
So you could say the persistence of the divide is partly down to tradition, but also habits. For decades, people tended to vote for the party that their parents voted for. So much so the party activists, particularly in rural areas, could actually tell which households voted which way.
[Mandy, you know some of them better than myself. I think that's forced her to hear what she had to vasili in the fall. And let's just cross a different deal. Yes. The next she got her shallow hershe butler as tricolour would have been found in the file. But his wavefront been Fanueil and I don't know what with voted off to the right, but furnished home from him.]
From there, the differences seemed to overcome differences of perception, how they see themselves and how they see each other. Finegan would see itself as the party most loyal to the state, which it always points out was. Hounded by the party's forerunners, paedophile members insisted it wasn't a party, but more a national movement representing all classes and sectors of society. For decades claimed to be the real Labor Party. And it consistently won huge working class support.
But at the same time, winning the support of business people, it claimed it was just better at politics and better at government than 50 Gael. Until the economic crash destroyed its reputation for competence and left a trail in its traditional rival.
Since then, it's been trying to rebuild. But there's an election coming up sooner, if not later. And the Fianna Fáil leader me hallmarked will be looking to get into the peace box office. Like every one of the party's leaders before him, success matters to both parties. Being in power, matters to both parties winning or losing matters to both parties. And maybe that's the real difference between them. Rainfall teashop Sean Lamar certainly thought so. Asked back in the 60s to explain the difference between his party and Finn Gael, he had a succinct answer.
Simple, simply said were in their eyes.