Wednesday, June 13, 2007
INSIDE POLITICS - GREEN MEETING
It's just after 3pm and there are maybe 300 Greens at the crucial meeting that will decide its future. It's a horrible day in Dublin, unrelenting rain, some of it heavy. Will that dampen the Greens, the most ideologically driven party of them all? Hardly. I'd say as the hours wear on, the bulk of the Dublin membership will descend on the Mansion House.
Last night, the look of relief and of achievement was etched on the faces of the party's leadership - and even Ciaran Cuffe, who was perceived as the most wary of FF, said he was delighted with the deal.
But with the Greens its bottom-up democracy. And it just took a couple of minutes of cogitation to realise that this was not in the bag.
There is a minority in the party who don't want to see it deal with FF, come hell or high water. There are other minorities too for whom there can be no compromise on Shannon, or on incineration, or on colocation, or on the motorwarys, or on other issues.
Certainly, the leaked details that the Times did so well to get this morning was damaging. It focused on what the Greens had failed to secure (Shannon, the M3, colocation, Tanaiste) rather than the gains the party had made.
More details kind of filtered out this morning that showed that the Greens have secured some big ticket concessions on the environment and climate change, plus a couple of eye-catching promises on medical cards for young children, those with intellecutal disabilities, plus the securing of funding for the centres who use ABA methods for autistic children.
However, will it be enought to win over delegates. You must remember that there are still many 'fundies' in the Greens as well as the more pragmatic and realistic 'realos'.
And for the Greens to go into Government, they will need to secure a 66% mandates. That's a huge ask by any reckoning.
Talking to Greens today, many think it's delicately balanced and will depend on the turn-out. The more who arrive, the better chance it has of succeeding. But already there's doubts about whether or not it's enough to sway enough.
And there are also rumours circulating that Trevor Sargent may offer to step down as leader tonight. He said he would not lead the Greens into a Government with Fianna Fail. That's just about to happen. There's also a sense that the party membership may try to encourage him to stay.
We are all on tenterhooks!