No time for complacency

30th January, 2011

The polls in today’s newspapers make for interesting reading. As I predicted on Friday, compared to earlier in the month Fianna Fail have received a small increase in support following the elevation of Michael Martin to the leadership. The increase is nothing like the game changer many were hoping for, and with Labour support seeming to be stuck at around the levels of the 1992 Spring Tide, Fine Gael remain firmly in the lead.

There is a lesson in all this.

Once upon a time, Fianna Fail thought that no matter what they did, they would win elections. Complacency led them to think that Ireland was Fianna Fail and, regardless of their performance, the electorate would return them as the biggest party.

Labour, too, became complacent last year when a few polls suggested they could become the biggest party, leading them to shift the focus from policy to personality- “Gilmore for Taoiseach” seemed the be all and end all of their offering to the electorate.

Fine Gael have learnt the lesson of the danger of complacency. There is no guaranteed outcome to this election. There are no alternatives to solid policy proposals. Nothing but hard work, consistency and respect for the voters will see us cross the line.