The Irish election, predictably, has brought the humiliation of Fianna Fail, down to just 15% of the vote, and a likely centre-left coalition between Fine Gael and Labour. Not surprisingly, given the almighty mess that the government made of handling the financial crisis.
It is predictable that voters punish incumbents when things are going badly. However, the scale of the punishment is unusual, because things are going unusually badly. We know that political parties are weaker than they used to be, and that electoral politics is getting more volatile - this was the case even before 2008. There are prospects now for major changes in democratic party systems - quite what form they will take is difficult to say. But it seems a good bet that parties protesting against the establishment are likely to do well, since most mainstream opposition parties had pretty much signed up to the economic orthodoxy that led to disaster.