FIANNA FÁIL KEPT THE GREENS TALKING for six days - and, after several Green deadlines had expired, the Greens eventually walked out. No sooner had they left the room than the crafty Fianna Fáil heads began to lure them back. Remember, while they are talking to Fianna Fáil, they cannot be negotiating with Fine Gael and the presumption that Bartholomew Ahern will again be Taoiseach is a winning headline for the media.
UNDECIDED INDEPENDENTS, the two PD deputies and even the four Sinn Féin deputies are supposed to feel threatened if they don't join the winning Fianna Fáil bandwagon. So, the media pundits who always seem to decide these matters have declared that the new Government will consist of 78 Fianna Fáilers, 4 Independents and 2 PDs with the possible addition of the 6 Green members to give "stability" to Bartholomew Ahern's new Government. Why only 4 Independents? Because the fifth, Anthony Gregory, is in Bartholomew's own constituency and Bartholomew could not be seen, in return for Gregory's support, to be giving favours to his own voters that had been bargained from him by a rival in his own backyard. So, he never approached Gregory.
THERE IS A PRESUMPTION in Fianna Fáil that the other four Independents are ready to play ball and the 2 PDs are taken for granted. The Independents and PDs have not said this themselves and all of them, being pragmatic people, have left their options open even at this late stage. The dallying with the Greens is an important public exercise on the part of Fianna Fáil in helping people to make up their minds fast.
SO, ENDA KENNY'S DECISION not to concede defeat on the night of the count or since, in spite of scoffing by radio, TV and other media pundits, has paid dividends for everyone except Fianna Fáil. If the latter do go into Government, it will be at the maximum cost to themselves whether their partners are the mixed grill of Greens, Independents and PDs or the Labour Party. Until now, Labour have been left out of the equation, probably because they would demand five ministries.
AND NOT EVEN the stability of Government desired by Bartholomew would be worth the wrath that would fall on his head if he had to concede so much to an Opposition Party. Meanwhile, Enda Kenny is keeping his cool, knowing that there is always a chance, however small, that the winning chips might fall into his lap.