St. Patrick's Day is looming once again and following a similar post last year by Hot Ginger and Dynamite: Focáil leat Lawlor, this leads me to wonder what party I would support if I were in the Republic of Ireland.
It's not as easy as it sounds. None of the main parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, are clearly defined ideologically in a left-right sense. For supporters of other parties this isn't so difficult - there are direct counterparts of both Labour and the Greens, although both are smaller. There's also a party that unashamedly calls itself a Liberal party and has the same international affiliations as the Liberal Democrats, namely the Progressive Democrats, although they're considerably to the right of our Lib Dems. "Very Orange Book" is perhaps the best way to sum it up.
A Eurosceptic, free market Atlanticist Conservative who feels tough on law and order could thus look at the various parties and be left confused (there is no Irish affiliate to most of the international bodies that the UK Conservative Party is a member of). But some parties stand out more than others.
There is an interesting test online at SelectSmart.com: Political Party Chooser - Republic of Ireland and my results are as follows:
1. Progressive Democrats.
3. Fine Gael
5. Fianna Fáil
6. Sinn Féin
And indeed looking at their policies on their website and public statements, particularly the tone of Michael McDowell on Sinn Féin, the PDs are probably the party I would plump for.
But what does everyone else get?