Just a few thoughts on the referendum… November 12, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
… no real time to write now, but a couple of points and questions struck me.
Firstly that while the measure passed this is something of a defeat for the government. Now it wasn’t much of a campaign, and I’d be one who found the claims of the No side, such as it was, alarmist. But even still this doesn’t work well for the government. They come out of the campaign with a Supreme Court judgement that at the very least is negative for them. And this feeds yet further into a perception of a government that seems much less assured than it once did. Not good.
Secondly that it might – stress on might – suggest yet disenchantment (and again, that’s putting it mildly) in areas that the government, or rather one party, might hope to look for support, that being Labour. Working class voters (at least as defined by the media) appeared less than ecstatic at the proposal.
Thirdly, what effect is this going to have on future campaigns. Saturday voting doesn’t appear to have been a positive in terms of turn-out, but then again perhaps this simply didn’t exercise most people much one way or the other. The relative closeness of the result may be a factor that many people figured it was in the bag, but what of other referendums? Will this somewhat soften the enthusiasm for the government on other measures (note how a head of steam in opposition to the Seanad abolition is beginning to develop in the media and elsewhere) which they might conceivably lose? After all the opposition to the referendum was pretty much the further reaches… as I’ve noted previously when Rónán Mullen is on board on the Yes side one can take it pretty much as read that there’s a broad orthodoxy on a measure. What happens if they come up against a better organised and more vociferous opposition in further votes?
One further thought. In this vote the left, broadly defined or not, was pretty much notable by its absence (calling for a YES vote in almost all instances). Does that have any implications for the future?