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Very little between ‘Tweedledum and Tweedledee’ of Irish politics

The people have spoken and Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have emerged as the two largest parties.

Over the years these two parties have been jokingly dubbed “Tweedledum and Tweedledee”, owing to the painfully obvious fact that, despite all protestations to the contrary by both there’s not a whit of difference between them in terms of economic or social policies or their overall political ethos.

They might reflect on what happened to the original characters in the Alice in Wonderland masterpiece. Tweedledum and Tweedledee looked the same, talked the same, and anyone looking at or listening to them couldn’t tell the difference.

Yet they doggedly insisted they were different, and even went to the extremes of engaging in mock battles to drive home this meaningless point.

But then, one day as they were sparring and battling away as usual in a frenzied exchange of imaginary blows, what looked like enormous storm clouds began to form in the sky, and these then morphed into a monstrous crow that swooped from the heavens in their direction.

The lads very quickly forgot all their imaginary differences.

The parties can learn from this episode in a children’s classic: This is no time for false pride and mock battles.

The challenges faced by the nation are far bigger than any perceived dissimilarities between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

The economic recovery is too precious to be imperilled by instability.

The housing crisis needs to be solved, the health service is crying out for fairness and efficiency and a myriad of other compelling issues await decisive no-nonsense handling by a government with guts.

So the big two had better get their dual acts together before that metaphorical crow comes swooping (or crashing) down on us and the icy winds of recession and misery are once again blowing around our ankles.

John Fitzgerald

Lower Coyne Street

Callan

Co Kilkenny

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