The Irish election results (and Guido should caveat this by saying on the basis of RTE’s first preference exit poll) show that left-wing parties failed to make the breakthrough with Labour, Sinn Fein and the Greens combined getting 33% of the vote, less than Fine Gael 36%. Adding the Fianna Fail vote the parties of the centre-right got 51% and can count on support from many of the independents.
This will stiffen the resolve of George Osborne to persevere with spending cuts, Fine Gael ran on a “Smaller, Better Government“ platform; reducing the number of overpaid politicians, a referendum on abolishing the second chamber and Lansley style reform of healthcare provision to a more marketised system. Fine Gael are promising to focus on the deficit by prioritising cutting waste and promising that income tax will not be increased. The Irish result shows that voters understand the need for spending cuts and deficit reduction.