If I was Enda Kenny, I’d be worried.
He rescued his party from political oblivion in 2002, bringing them back from 31 to 51 seats in 2007.
Thanks in part to Biffo’s cluelessness, he now finds himself at the head of a party with 38% support in the latest poll, about to deliver a historic drubbing to Fianna Fail.
But Enda still has problems. His personal satisfaction rating is only 33%, which must give him pause for thought no matter how much Richard Bruton protests his loyalty.
Enter George Lee.
George is a problem. Expected to romp home in the Dublin South byelection, he needs a prominent Fine Gael front bench portfolio.
Unfortunately, Richard Bruton has Finance sewn up. There’s nowhere for George to go. But if Bruton moved up to take the party leadership, then it creates a vacancy tailor made for Lee.
All of which must be quite tempting for Richard Bruton, and equally worrying for Enda Kenny.
On Enda’s side, he becomes much more difficult to dislodge if, as seems inevitable, he delivers a series of victories in the June elections.
Could Kenny become the first leader to lose his job because his party is too popular?
I think Lee can and will be accommodated in other ways than putting him in Finance, which is far too prominent a portfolio for a rookie even if he is experienced in the field of economics.
My bet is that Varadkar will be moved and Lee will be put into ENTEMP – Coughlan is seen as a weak link for the FF front bench and a strong personality like Lee could take advantage of that far more than Varadkar has so far.
There’s also the possibility that a whole new portfolio will be made up just for Lee… he will have to be given something, though, if they want him to hold his seat in a GE.
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