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Latest Sunday Times poll November 18, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This sort of snuck in under the radar... the adjusted figures show: FG 30 per cent, FF 22 per cent, Labour 12 per cent, SF 14 per cent, GP 3 per cent and Independents and others 19 per cent.

The change from the last poll in September is FF + 6%, FG -1%, LP -2%, SF -4%, GP +1% and Independents/Others NC.

Hard to know what to make of it. What would the factors be that would bounce FFs vote upwards like that?

You can download a PDF of the report from here.

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1. tomasoflatharta - November 18, 2012

If these were real general election results, it is unlikely that Fine Gael and Labour would command an overall Dáil majority – I am sure Adrian Kavanagh will do his usual clinical analysis on politicalreform.ie and the picture will be clearer. I think the Savita Halappanavar Abortion Scandal – which will not die down any time soon – may be influencing voting intentions. If Labour deputies continue to put the survival of a right-wing coalition with Fine Gael ahead of saving women’s lives by legislating for abortion immediately,, the party led by Gilmore will rapidly advance towards the electoral fate of the Gormley-led Green Party, demolished electorally by going into coalition with Fianna Fáil in 2007.

2. fergal - November 18, 2012

Tomas-”I think the Savita scandal may be influencing voting intentions”,how so?People are swinging towards FF..a pro-choice party?
“If labour continues to put the survival of a right-wing coalition..ahead of saving women’s lives..the party will advance towards the electoral fate of the Greens”.Remember this is still only year 2 of what R.Quinn called “the revolution of the election of 2011,” three more years to go. Labour are saving a whole country and keeping the more reactionary elements of FG at bay and that’s what matters and only that. Unless you see resignations from Labour over the Savita tragedy it’s business as usual for Labour three years of more power..and then the grandees Pat Rabbitte,Quinn et al can retire and then as you point out it’s obliteration of Labour at the 2016 election

WorldbyStorm - November 18, 2012

It’s interesting to contemplate who would survive from the LP at the next election on various poll ratings. Away to Adrian Kavanagh’s analysis I do go!

3. sonofstan - November 18, 2012

FFers returning home, through disillusionment with their temporary accommodation in Lab and SF.

And re FF as a pro-choice party: did I just spot Averil Power on the front of the Sindo with a candle and a sorrowful expression?

deiseach - November 18, 2012

It has to be that simple. I’m a gene-pool FFer who voted Labour in the last election and have been sorely disappointed. I thought I could rely on my candidate of choice to be a breath of fresh air (that was my first mistake) and promote a genuinely social democrat vision for the future. Instead I got a standard party hack who defends stuff that she would consider an outrage under FF, constantly hustle for votes, and only gets truly exercised when she perceives some slight against the pity-the-poor-hoors brigade. I won’t be voting FF at the next election, the party is still too toxic for me. But I understand how people with longer, happier memories are just itching to backslide.

4. richotto - November 18, 2012

Its nice to get an analysis of the others shortcomings but does anyone here ask why the ULA parties never manage to register anything on these opinion polls? Even the Greens still appear consistently with their 2%. In my opinion they have blown the opportunity of the crisis by talking down to people and not properly engaging on things like the public sector allowances. There are plenty of genuine socialists in the private sector who sadly have no outlet due to these tiny sects totalling a couple of hundred people appearing to be the custodians of the socialist message.

Mark P - November 18, 2012

The polling companies refuse to seperate out the ULA (or the Socialist Party, or People Before Profit) from the “Others” category.

As for the notion that there are “plenty of genuine socialists in the private sector” who are somehow prevented from expressing that socialist sentiment because the socialist left doesn’t put the boot into public sector workers enough, that’s the most entertainingly stupid thing I’ve read today. And I’ve just been reading lifer gibberish on twitter.

5. Jim Monaghan - November 18, 2012

I am to say the least depressed with this. A party which destroyed so much being brought back from the dead. At a time when the far left has degenerated into a group of Gregorys without any real vision of offering an alternative.

6. tomasoflatharta - November 18, 2012

A fair question from richotto : “Its nice to get an analysis of the others shortcomings but does anyone here ask why the ULA parties never manage to register anything on these opinion polls?” This problem would be easily resolved if the ULA Registered as a political party.

7. richotto - November 18, 2012

I can’t accept that a party scoring more than 1% would be refused recognition by polling companies. Its obvious that PBP and Socialist Party cannot manage with their present message to get over that level despite their big media profile nowadays.
On the Mark P comment the position of saying that any talk of public sector abuse can be put down to some kind of bigotry is untenable to the public. People are intelligent enough to see the difference between the low paid public sector and the professionals and others on 60k and over who have been filling their boots at their expense. The ULA parties have been selling the line of all public sector earning under 100k being in the same boat which is nonsense.

sonofstan - November 18, 2012

I can’t accept that a party scoring more than 1% would be refused recognition by polling companies

I’ve been polled twice by RedC over the past year and both times I’ve asked the pollster why the ULA aren’t listed and both times I’ve gotten the stock response – the ULA aren’t a party, and neither the SP or the PbPA have sufficient representation to warrant being listed. It’s a bit like FIFA rankings – it’s aggregated over a few elections, so the Greens will probably disappear of the list eventually, and either or both the SP/ PbPA will appear.

CMK - November 18, 2012

The best way to contain the Left is to ignore its existence. It’s close to 21 months since the GP had any parliamentary representation and yet every poll produced since February 2011 has, without fail, polled for GP support. The SP had 2 TDs and 1 MEP for most of that period and PbP have 2 TDs yet both are invisible for the pollsters. That’s not an oversight but deliberate. Similarly, since February 2011 the leader of a party whose electoral representation amounts to 2 town councillors and 1 county councillor has been a regular on both radio and TV. ‘Electoral representation’ as a criterion for inclusion on radio and TV panels would mean we’d never have to see Eamon Ryan’s face on TV again. I think that if the SP and PbP were to be separated out and given their own polling figures there’d be a fear among the polling companies that.that would serve to legitimate those parties. If you just ignore them and bundle in with ‘others’ that problem doesn’t arise.

Mark P - November 18, 2012

“Public sector abuse”, eh?

Really, Richotto, if you want to peddle the tired old anti-public sector line, following the right wing parties and the right wing media in trying to sow hostility between working class people who work for private companies and those who work for the state or semi-state companies, that’s your right. Feel free to to do, although I should probably warn you that you probably aren’t going to get much traction with that bollocks here.

But please, at least have the self-awareness and basic honesty not to try to present this as the agenda of “plenty” of honest socialists in the private sector who are being disenfranchised by those evil socialist parties with their refusal to blame public sector workers for all that’s wrong with the world.

8. richotto - November 18, 2012

That seems to be grasping at straws. People arn’t stupid and neither are polling companies. If there is any popular affiliation to a registered party those surveyed like yourself (and congrats for being asked twice) would volunteer it and the polling companies would have the wit to include it in their calculations

sonofstan - November 18, 2012

Why don’t you ring them up and ask them – each time I queried the researcher and was given a number to contact, which I did and was told more or less what I posted up there. At least one other person who comments here regularly has also been polled in the same time and asked the same question. Do you think you’re the first person to notice the absence of the ULA from polling info? Unlike you though, most people people don’t infer that this means that *no one* supports them – rather they would understand – or try and find out – how polling works and take it from there. If you answer ‘ULA’ or SP/ PbPA your are included under ‘independents’. It’s a serious misrepresentation and I understand the ULA and its constituent groups have made representations to polling companies about it.

WorldbyStorm - November 18, 2012

The reason given that the ULA isn’t recorded is that it’s not a registered political party. This is the reason that in the Dáil the ULA has no official existence either (and there’s a question as to whether it did become a registered party ULA TDs would be recognised as such in this Dáil term). It’s a pretty thin reason, but that’s what the polling companies hand their hat on.

Now perhaps the ULA should be a registered party, I certainly think so, but that’s a different question again as to why it’s not registered in polling.

RosencrantzisDead - November 18, 2012

I get polled by RedC a good bit. The ULA is not an option when they ask which party will you vote for – the closest is ‘Independent’.

9. richotto - November 18, 2012

I think Mark P unhappily you prove my point.This shows a view of the world turning in on itself and living in a party line bubble. Theres plenty of evidence to show that many Irish have egalitarian principles so the question is why the two ULA entities have despite huge exposure failed so obviously to gain popular support. By all means call me what you like, if it helps. I think its fair to say though that the more the public have experienced ULA activists the less they seem to like them as can be seen by the turnout at their demos.

Mark P - November 18, 2012

Away and play with the traffic.

WorldbyStorm - November 18, 2012

I don’t think that’s entirely fair richotto. This weekend I’ve been discussing the challenges facing the further left and the lack of permeation of the working class, but that’s very different from saying that ULA activists are somehow a problem in and of themselves and I don’t think that the low turnout at demos can be traced back to some sort of problem with them. People in general might not buy into their ideology or approaches – though clearly sufficient do to keep their support pretty high and Adrian Kavanagh and others point to at least three of the ULA/further left TDs being returned and if things worsen significantly that number will be improved on I’d suspect. GOt to be honest, I’m not a member of the ULA, but I’ve found of their activists to be hard working and enthusiastic and at meetings I’ve been to in the CAHWT etc the response has been from non party political people attending very good to them.

WorldbyStorm - November 18, 2012

Actually what I meant to write was that that wasn’t at all fair richotto.

richotto - November 18, 2012

Thats a fair enough point. To be honest I was reacting to my friend Mark P’s abusiveness and reminded of George Orwells quip that the worst advertisment for a cause is its supporters. I would have a problem as I think a lot of socially minded people would have in excluding a broad based property tax from our tax system. After all its nearly universally held by the left in every other country as a progressive tax on wealth. It should be noted that the highest areas of non compliance are places in rural Ireland which have always taken an opportunistic line on tax avoidance. So the nature of opposition to property tax may being misread as principle based. I would suggest that this may be some explanation on why the support for non compliance sector is’nt being translated into any decernable increase in support for the ULA.

RosencrantzisDead - November 18, 2012

Those are two different points, Richotto. The first one is nonsense; the notion that there are burgeoning socialists in the private sector who cannot bring themselves to support the ULA because they protect the public sector is simply not borne out by the facts (unless they have grown thousands of Eoghan Harris in a vat somewhere).

The second one is questionable. We do not know how much support the ULA have because no polling company keeps ULA data like that.

10. greengoddess2 - November 18, 2012

Eamon Gilmore will be worried at the leadership ratings….

11. richotto - November 18, 2012

I put in my comment “ULA parties” meaning the seperate parties comprising the ULA, namely SP and PBP. Its not much difference what the party designation for opinion polls is in my view as the ULA is a front for these two parties and the public increasingly understand it as such and withhold their support accordingly.
The Greens got about 1.8% in the last election in terrible conditions. The ULA parties got 2.5% in ideal conditions, protest vote, sympathy for general socialist/social democratic principles. The difference was the seats could’nt have fallen more perfectly for any party in Irish political history. In my opinion this went to the head of the powers that be in the ULA and they massively overplayed their hand and now will be very lucky to come back with say three seats next time in my opinion. Instead of engaging with the public they lectured them, refused to properly engage and lost the window to a genuine breakthrough.

Mark P - November 18, 2012

Do you actually have anything of interest to say, Richotto, or are you planning to continue contributing silly little rants about how socialists stole your sweets?

smiffy - November 18, 2012

To be fair to richotto, I think the 1.8%/2.5% isn’t an entirely unreasonable question to raise.

However, I would seriously question his understanding of what ‘properly engaging’ with the public actually entails. From the exchanges here, it seems like it’s little more than pandering to the worst prejudices of the Sunday Independent, and accepting the false dichotomy between public and private sector workers.

It’s also worth saying that however much the last election maybe have been a missed opportunity for the ULA (and that’s open to question) it certainly did a lot better, and has sustained itself more substantially, than that weird group of independents/others, such as the ‘New Vision’ crowd, and other self-appointed gurus of recovery/anti-corruption, who did stand on the kind of principles richotto appears to be advocating.

richotto - November 18, 2012

I don’t see the public sector as a cohesive group that has to be seen as “in the same boat” like FF used to say about us a a country. There are sections that are on average or low pay but plenty from 60k up who took advantage over the years of a manoply situation and weak politicions and ordinary people are seeing that for what it is now. Going around blaming right wing propogandists for talking about it is missing the point. What do want, censorship, or name calling as a form suppression? If a left wing party presents itself as a party of equality it sits very uneasily with prioritising defending people who are earning over twice the average wage for reasons the public can’t accept.

smiffy - November 18, 2012

Twice the average wage isn’t all that much, given that the average wage isn’t all that much either. I’m not blaming the right-wing media for pushing a right-wing agenda; that’s what they do. But it’s entirely self-defeating for anyone on the left to buy into that agenda.

The purpose of the relentless attacks on the public sector is not to bring about some sort of faux-equality. It’s to undermine the employment conditions of all workers. Socialism is about defending and improving the position of workers – all workers – regardless of employer.

WorldbyStorm - November 18, 2012


A moments thought demonstrates the accuracy of smiffy’s point re not trying to push down workers conditions. And particularly not trying to remove conditions in the public sector which directly assist those in the private sector. From my own personal experience organising in the private sector in the early to mid 2000s I know how importnat it was to be able to point to conditions and norms extant in the public sector for their exemplary effect. Indeed much of the economic analysis from the right on the crisis has been explicit that weakening public sector conditions will lead to a further (and from their perspective positive) weakening of private sector conditions.

None of this is to say the public sector is beyond reproach or that no consideration of a raft of matters should be made. But that’s very different to trying to equalise downwards rather than attempting to equalise upwards.

12. richotto - November 18, 2012

Well done Mark P. I’m sure you have an above average sense of humour

Ed - November 18, 2012

Richotto,this is getting to be very tiresome. You are simply refusing to accept the facts as they have been presented to you. Let me repeat it once again:

1) The polling companies do not give people the option of expressing a preference for the ULA

2) The polling companies do not give people the option of expressing a preference for the SP or PBPA

It’s as simple as that. We have had several reasons for why this is the case given in the comments above. But the fact that it IS the case is beyond dispute. For you to keep on saying, ‘no, no, that’s not true, people just don’t support the ULA, if they wanted to express a preference for the ULA they would’ is ludicrous.

Maybe if the ULA was given as an option it would only get 1%, or 2%. I think one of the few times when people were allowed to express a preference for the SP, they got 1% if I remember rightly. Right now, that’s a matter for speculation. But if you expect people to continue engaging with you on this thread, it’s time for you to recognise the facts as they are. Your claim that the ULA isn’t getting support because of its line on public-sector workers doesn’t convince me in the slightest, but you can at least make that argument; it’s not something that can be settled beyond doubt. But it is absolutely clear and beyond any dispute that the polling companies do not allow people to express a preference for the ULA, the SP or the PBPA. If you continue to ignore this, it’s impossible for anyone to discuss things with you. We can’t have a discussion that’s based on making things up to suit your argument.

WorldbyStorm - November 18, 2012


richotto - November 18, 2012

Ok, what you’re saying is that the polling companies are willfully refusing to do their job by deliberately obscuring the support for the constituent parties of the ULA. These seem like classic excuses to me from participants getting poor results. Is’nt that similar to the line the Republicans were spinning for all it was worth in the US election? Sorry,but I think its reasonable to trust the professionals with the track record until proved otherwise. If that makes me off the wall in your eyes then so be it.
The public sector high end wages issue was just an example I used of lack of engagement with public opinion. Much more important is the set up of the parties on the far left which demand total loyalty and committment, and a high sub rate and have very few ordinary Joe Soap members as the other parties do.

WorldbyStorm - November 18, 2012

richotto, you seem unaware of the form the polling companies have in this area. Long after the WP lost its last sitting TD they retained the WP as part of their polling process. Something that was inexplicable – even for those of us who would have been sympathetic to the party. We see the same dynamic as regards the Green Party which has lost not just all national representation but almost all its previous local representation.

‘Getting poor results’? How is it possible to tell one way or another whether there are poor or good results from the polls, though if you care to look at the headline figures Independents and Others on 19 per cent would probably see most ULA TDs returned and perhaps a few new ones as well (RBB is the one most in danger because of the CC being in his constituency).

All the rest of your post is irrelevant to that issue. Fine, you can have a gripe with the form and structure of further left parties – I’ve my own criticisms, but to try to suggest there’s evidence that they lack support from the approach of polling companies is very unconvincing.

Ed - November 19, 2012

“If that makes me off the wall in your eyes then so be it.”

It makes you, in my eyes, someone who makes things up to suit his argument and refuses to acknowledge the facts.

13. sonofstan - November 18, 2012

Richotto, FFS, have you paid attention to anything that’s been said? For the last time, when you’re polled over the phone by a polling company, they don’t say ‘who would you vote for?’ and let you supply the answer – they offer you options ‘FG, FF, Labour, SF, etc’ and ask you to choose one. So if they ask and I say ‘ULA/ SP/ PbPA’ it goes into independents and other.

Nobody’s making excuses for poor performance or anything – we have no idea how the ULA or its constituent parts are performing in polls because no one is measuring it. Have you got that? For the umpteenth time?

14. richotto - November 18, 2012

You seem to be saying that all the polling companies have a rule which excludes or suppresses the true level of support for parties of the ULA. With all due respect I believe thats wishful thinking. Political activists hav’nt much to teach the polling companies in terms of doing their job effectively. Its been refined to a near perfect measureing tool of public opinion for quite some time now.
Also, not so fast please in wishing the Greens out of existence. As I said the Greens got 1.8% in the last election, probably down to their hard core. SP and PBP got just 1% each with a strong wind at their back which they may not have next time around. A few seats in the Dail should’nt mask the similarity in support. With transfer patterns for small parties seats can go as quickly as they came as the Greens and PD’s found out.

sonofstan - November 18, 2012

I give up.

RosencrantzisDead - November 18, 2012

Richotto, look at the OP:
FG 30 per cent, FF 22 per cent, Labour 12 per cent, SF 14 per cent, GP 3 per cent and Independents and others 19 per cent.

Now, this is a Behaviours and Attitudes poll. Do you see the term United Left Alliance, Socialist Party, Socialist Worker Party, People Before Profit Alliance or Workers and Unemployed Action Group in that sentence?

Now, look at Red C: http://redcresearch.ie/news/fine-gael-gains-while-labour-support-appears-vulnerable

Do you see the term United Left Alliance, Socialist Party, Socialist Worker Party, People Before Profit Alliance or Workers and Unemployed Action Group in that linked piece? If you click on the detailed report in the link do they give you a further breakdown of how people vote in the ‘Independent’ category.

I cannot locate the latest Millward Brown/Lansdowne poll, but they usually follow the same format. (Here is an example: http://politicalreform.ie/2011/02/15/irish-independentmillward-brown-poll-16th-february-kenny-krusades-on/). Do you see the term United Left Alliance, Socialist Party, Socialist Worker Party, People Before Profit Alliance or Workers and Unemployed Action Group in that linked piece?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, you are a troll.

If you answered ‘no’ to all of these and want to know why this is the case – it is because the ULA et al. are too small to count. This is exactly what everyone has been saying above.

RosencrantzisDead - November 18, 2012

The ULA should read the SP and other parties. Combined they may form a larger chunk of the Independents (who are on 19 percent collectively.

gabbagabbahey - November 18, 2012

what page of the RedC report gives the breakdown of the independents vote? all I can find is a table on p. 8 that gives support for Socialist Party (0%/0% compared to 1% in GE ’11) and ‘Other Party’ (1% or <1% adjusted), both less than the GP figures.

RosencrantzisDead - November 19, 2012

They don’t give a breakdown. There should be a question mark at the end of that sentence.

15. richotto - November 18, 2012

“Too small to count”. That about says it. Thanks for the links by the way.
Its not a hairsplitting argument about how professional polling companies are. The point is the ULA parties were supposed to be out of the era of obscure micro parties but they’re retreated back into their Leninist shells with not much to show for the profile the seats in the Dail gets them.

RosencrantzisDead - November 18, 2012

It is when you deny reality. And it also when you use this denial of reality to support your arguments about the ULA.

16. richotto - November 18, 2012

Is there anyone cliaming on the basis of whats above that either SP or PBP could have something in excess of 1%? A bit of shyness there.

smiffy - November 18, 2012

No one can know. That’s the point!

RosencrantzisDead - November 18, 2012

Is there anyone claiming that richotto is anything but a troll? Speak up, if you dare.

17. richotto - November 18, 2012

Ok, If thats what the optimists are saying….

smiffy - November 18, 2012

It seems like you’re the one engaged in wishful thinking. You’ve been given a clear explanation of why it’s not possible to judge the level of support the ULA parties have (other than to say that it’s something below the level attributed to independents).

But you’re ignoring that, because you prefer to think that the support is minimal in any case. Choose to believe whatever you want. But don’t think that your beliefs are based on anything other than your own prejudices.

WorldbyStorm - November 18, 2012

Okay, one more try.

richotto. I don’t think anyone has made any claim as to the vote share for the ULA constituent parties except for you. So there’s no way of knowing the optimism or otherwise of those of us here (frankly I suspect that support for SP and PBPA and others in the ULA is pooled in individual constituencies – making it difficult to read much into national levels of support – much as it was with the WP in the 80s and early 1990s and the DL in the 1990s.

Sonofstan has explained that when asked by polling companies “they offer you options ‘FG, FF, Labour, SF, etc’ and ask you to choose one. So if they ask and I say ‘ULA/ SP/ PbPA’ it goes into independents and other. ” ie Independents and Other is the category that the ULA fits into.

Crucially this suggests that the polling companies themselves have no idea as to the level of support for the ULA constituent parties.

As regards the ULA not catching fire as a massive alternative to all others, well, I wonder if there’s anyone here who would disagree with you. And as regards this crisis being a good time for a further left party to do well, true again, except that that picture is muddied by three other elements, firstly the arrival of SF as a serious force, a force that had been consolidating on the ground for over a decade – whatever the dip in 2007, and the increasing attractiveness of actual Indepedents of various stripes. TBH I think the ULA did pretty well in the context of those two facts. The third element is the increase in support for the LP in the years just prior to 2011, which provided yet another challenge to the further left. In other words when the crisis broke there were three other alternatives to the further left in situ and ready to roll (and the ULA had been around for what, twelve months prior to the 2011 election, not a long time as these things go).

To put it another way, despite trojan work on the ground which delivered new seats for RBB, CD and JC the environment suddenly became massively more competitive above and beyond the traditional options for voters. And few would disagree too that the softer radicalism of the other options was fairly attractive to voters who for various reasons might find the ULA a bit of a step too far.

18. greengoddess2 - November 18, 2012

Shouldn’t there be a separate thread on this issue.? Not my place of course but this issue of the ULA seems to be only one possible aspect of this poll.

19. richotto - November 18, 2012

There is some evidence apart from lack of presence in the polls. Beaten into third place in a by election in Joe Higgins’ constituency, membership of ULA less than 400 and declining, ramping up of street demos resulting only in embarrassing turnouts. We’ll have to wait and see for something more substantial. No point though party hacks just shooting the messanger, thats doing no service to socialism. I’m just appaled at the poor leadership which is setting back the cause I believe in.

WorldbyStorm - November 18, 2012

Ah, but that’s a very different argument – and one that many here might share at least some agreement with some aspects of, though perhaps you could tone down the rather gleeful approach, to the one you pose above about polling companies and the methodologies and supposed cover up. If you wanted to discuss that then perhaps you’d have been better off coming straight out and saying so rather than going down the polling route. Otherwise it just seems like concern trolling on a massive scale

sonofstan - November 18, 2012

Beaten into third place in a by election in Joe Higgins’ constituency

Do we need to explain PR to you as well? Joe Higgins came in third in Dublin West in the GE – after Joan Burton and Varadkar. For Ruth Coppinger to do slightly better without JH’s personal vote was quite an achievement in the context, not the disappointment you paint it.

20. richotto - November 18, 2012

Sorry if I sound happy about the lack of progress. Quite the opposite and like others here I’ve made my contribution. Don’t know exactly what a concern troll is but then the party liners would label any criticism like its made in bad faith, that never seems to change.

WorldbyStorm - November 18, 2012

I’m not a party liner and I have no problems with critiques, and criticism of the ULA, or any organisation on the left or further left if it is constructive and done openly and without rancour.

ejh - November 19, 2012

Don’t know exactly what a concern troll is

Have you considered looking it up?

21. irishelectionliterature - November 18, 2012

Full poll available here and on the second last page you’ll see that they still list The Workers Party but fail to have Parties that have TDs listed.
In fact the SP, ULA or PBPA are not mentioned once in the report.

22. richotto - November 19, 2012

I do understand the point about ULA parties not beng on the list but its stretching a point to suggest that there is some form of opinion poll suppression going on. Polling companies would be keeping an eye on the makeup on the independent category and if there was a half decent SP or PBP representation I’m sure they would have been added to the list of parties. On the positive side for the ULA I think a lot of votes for the ULA TD’S are personal and not party loyal votes which could mean an understating of SP and PBP strength.

Ed - November 19, 2012

“if there was a half decent SP or PBP representation I’m sure they would have been added to the list of parties.”

This is your own dogmatic belief. You have offered no evidence to back it up.

richotto - November 19, 2012

Its not dogmatic at all Ed. Its only common sense to regard the polling companies as being professional and accurate at this stage. Its something thats been refined over and over with proven credablility. Of course they would be monitoring the “others” category to see if anything stands out.

sonofstan - November 19, 2012

How exactly would they be doing this?

As I – and others – on this thread have pointed out, primary polling data is gathered by people in call centres, who, in my experience, from accents and pronunciations of political party names, are not necessarily situated in Ireland. So when they get someone like me, asking about the ULA, it’ll still go down as other, and unless they note my response in more detail – unlikely working to a quota and on min. wage – how will the polling company ever know?

Your faith in the both ‘common sense’ and the professionalism and accuracy of polling companies is to be admired.

richotto - November 19, 2012

Ok sonofstan but thats just your experience. I remember just over two years ago being visited by a pollster, Irish, yes probably on minimum wage. I stated my preference, ULA. She knew what I was talking about and took a note. I did feel sure it was properly recorded at the time.

Ed - November 19, 2012

At this point, you really need to look up the meaning of the term ‘concern troll’.

richotto - November 19, 2012

Ok, I’ll take the hint and push off then. As the party hacks can’t rely on facts or any credible argument its heap on the abuse time. Carry on in the bubble and stay the course but you’ll have to take it out not just on me but on the electorate in time.

que - November 19, 2012


part of the issue is that the ULA are being ignored and reasonably should be listed, or at the least in its constituent parts which have representation in DE. Thats not that far a request.
Some of the points made are reasonable there.

You also raise reasonable points. the fact that the ULA isnt actually a party militates against the ULA being included. The claims that some make that there is a strong vote hidden in the others % is fanciful is maybe a bit too hopeful and yeah in general the ULA is a mess but then so is the Green party.

So accepting the ULA are minuscule, ineffectual, inconsequential and marginal I can still agree that the exclusion of at least its constituents is unfair.

Reconciling what you argue and other reasonable points aint tough but because you wont do it but keep making the same point some feel you are trolling. Maybe thats unfair maybe its not.

Ed - November 19, 2012

No Richotto, you are just making things up, offering no evidence to support your claims, ignoring the detailed responses showing why you are mistaken, and then dismissing anyone who challenges your right to invent facts to suit yourself as a ‘party hack’. Your performance on this thread is a classic example of concern trolling. It’s tiresome beyond belief.

23. D_D - November 19, 2012

Eh, meanwhile back at the poll. The Labour Party, down (again) by 2%, Independents/Others, No Change.

24. TheOtherRiverR(h)ine - November 19, 2012

Zanu-FF at 22% makes me sick.
Labour and FG not surprising. Labour are at their core vote and FG are the only party of the centre right atm. A drop of 4% for SF is not great for them. Could be doing better though they might improve after the budget. I can’t seem to think why the shift from SF to FF is occuring.

Regarding the ULA not being included: tbh I can understand given the fact that they’re not a registered party. I would’ve assumed that not including the SP or PbP would be down to relatively small membership and geographic concentration but IELB’s post on the WP being included in the report but not other parties with TDs is strange.

25. Jim Monaghan - November 19, 2012

Where does it show which vote is moving to which party.One lot going down and another going up does not equate to a straight transfer.

Mark P - November 19, 2012

It doesn’t. To get that kind of detail, tracking the changed attitudes of a very small percentage of the sample in a way that would give you statistically useful information, you’d need to have an enormous sample size. Certainly a much bigger one than Irish polling firms use or than the people who commission polls are going to pay for.

A similar problem exists when they give figures for attitudes to particular issues amongst supporters of different parties, or when they give party support by region or class: The sample sizes are smaller and the figures therefore less reliable.

26. Jolly Red Giant - November 20, 2012

Polling firms operate with a sample of 1,000 that produces a result of 95% confidence interval with a 3.4% + or – margin of error. In other words This means that in 95 out of every 100 samples of the same size and type, the results obtained will vary by no more than plus or minus 3.4 percentage points from the result achieved if every member of the population.was interviewed.

27. John Stephenson - November 20, 2012

One significant factor in the increased FF % must surely be the leader, Micheal Martin: a consistent and impressive performer projecting integrity, sincerity and likeability. (And I’m a smoker, damn him!)

dmfod - November 20, 2012

Is that a joke? Martin would certainly have to be ‘an impressive performer’ for anyone to believe he projects ‘integrity’ and ‘sincerity’. The word that always come to mind whenever I see him is ‘glic’.

28. John Stephenson - November 20, 2012

I didn’t post here to engage in snide sideswipes, dmfod, nor online faction fighting. I simply answered the question at the top of the page with a reasonable assumption. Martin now stands at 42% in the same poll that gave FF 22%. So he must be a factor… like it or not. You clearly don’t. Too bad.

Ed - November 20, 2012

‘Likeability’ is in the eye of the beholder really, but Martin can only project ‘integrity’ and ‘sincerity’ in the way that Bertie Ahern could project the image of an ordinary, decent bloke – it’s a sham, it just means he’s a good actor.

29. Red Hand - November 20, 2012

Martin won a bit of support for the smoking ban. Like it or not, he does come across as ‘likeable’- to people who probably don’t post on Cedar Lounge. Its a factor. Cowan was a disaster. Kenny seems to have the human touch (I thinks he’s a clown but others like him), Reilly turns people off, as did Harney, Varaker pisses people off for instance, Joe Higgins was ‘liked’ by lots of people in the past (a bit less so now, his profile isn’t what it was). Its all crap but people do judge books by their covers.

Ed - November 20, 2012

I don’t want to be too much of a Marxist killjoy, saying individuals don’t matter in history; sometimes they do. But with the major personalities of Irish politics in the last few years, I really think it’s more a case of circumstances making the man or woman than vice versa. Just think back to the 2007 election: after FF came out ahead, people were swooning over Bertie Ahern (I remember Ivan Yates telling us all we was a ‘political tsunami’), and Cowen was meant to be even more impressive, a really tough political operator, more than a match for any of his rivals. Then the arse fell out of the economy, and what happened? Ahern was lucky to be out of there by then, but his image now is that he was a shabby little crook and a cute hoor. Cowen became a laughing stock. And the same thing happened with Gordon Brown: he had a reputation for being very, very competent, the steel behind Blair’s sheen, then when the recession kicked in, all of a sudden he was a doddering old fool.

I think with Kenny, apart from the media-generated hype, there’s probably a sense that a lot of people really want to believe that we’ve turned the corner and the worst is behind us; in a way you can’t blame them, it’s a pretty bleak outlook otherwise. So I reckon that’s why people are willing to buy into the idea that Kenny is basically ok. I mean I just can’t believe it has much or anything to do with his personal qualities, he’s a really weird guy, he says things that make you wonder what f**king planet he comes from. Martin, well, the point I was making is that likeability is subjective, whereas you need to actually be sincere, otherwise you’re just a good actor (sincerity was a big part of Tony Blair’s persona, and the guy wouldn’t know sincerity if it slapped him in the face).

dmfod - November 21, 2012

Exactly – and a lot of it comes down to how the media choose to portray politicians. When FF were in power before the crash, they portrayed Kenny accurately as a dim bulb, after the crash they needed a safe pair of right wing hands, so he became Mr. ‘decent skin’, he mightn’t be a rocket scientist, but sure at least we can trust him, unlike those sly bastards in FF who told us all a pack of lies. Remember “Paddy likes to know what’s going on”? Back then, Martin’s media persona was like the rest of FF, a slippery eel in a shiny suit spinning and spinning. Now the public are remembering ‘hang on Kenny’s actually a idiot!’ so Martin is rehabilitated as ‘competent’, ‘on top of his brief’ etc. etc.

30. sonofstan - November 20, 2012

I think Enda makes people feel protective in a ‘leave him alone, he’s doing his best’ kind of way.

31. John Stephenson - November 21, 2012

While I agree with Ed that likeabilty is subjective, I don’t think it’s possible to assume that projecting integrity and sincerity is a sham in every case, nor that Martin is no different from ‘Whatever yer having yerself’ Ahern, and so, a sham. This remains to be established, or not. It is lazy to assume that all politicians are the same ie phoney, insincere and self-serving. It is also anti-democratic, in the sense that such argument ultimately serves only totalitarianism, which relies on the notion that all elected representatives are corrupt/ineffectual and should be disposed of. Further, it is a cynical pessimism to deny the possibilty that any democratic force can purge and renew itself. Decency is not the preserve of the high-minded Left, but a widely distributed human quality.

dmfod - November 21, 2012

Yes John, but it’s not at all lazy to assume all FF politicians are the same ie phoney, insincere,self-serving and corrupt/ineffectual and that they should all be disposed of. It just takes a basic level of political awareness and a memory span longer than the last 12 months.

32. John Stephenson - November 21, 2012

I disagree, dmfod, and would argue to the contrary that it is only those with a short memory span or an irrational hatred of FF who argue that “ALL” FF politicians are phoney etc. and that the party should be disposed of. I became active in politics 40 years ago as a member of the Republican Clubs and SF (Official). I left them after the Seamus Costello assassination in 1977. It took a very considered political and cultural journey before I would eventually join FF in 1981, where I discovered something that any anti-FFer who has never experienced it simply fail to comprehend when they address the issue: it’s very broadly based, decent and patriotic membership. The contrast between the Stalinist ‘stickie’ Cumann & Comhairle meetings, and the open, pluralist and, yes, progressive FF meetings was stark. None were more sickened by the actions of the likes of Burke and Lalor than these folk. None were more disappointed by CJH, and ultimately also, Ahern. Of course, Frank Dunlop and his ilk wouldn’t have bothered with a small party, not in power; so it can be argued that FF’s undoing was its electoral success. Like many FFers I turned my back on what had become an arrogant and complacent upper echelon, deeply compromised by its corporate associations, and found myself campaigning for New Independent, Gerard Mannix Flynn in the 2009 local election. But the 2011 election was just the medicine FF deserved, and I am now back, part of a nationwide groundswell of ordinary FFers to renew a party, whose historic good far outweighs its bad, and to render it worthy of the Irish people again. Call me a blind optimist, or even deluded, but do not dare to say that I and others like me should be “disposed of”. I opposed the demonisation of SF (Provisional) in the 80s; I won’t have it happen to FF now.

LeftAtTheCross - November 21, 2012

John, I’m afraid you’re a blind optimist, and deluded. FF is a populist party which indeed has a history as a social movement but which has entirely absorbed the narrative of neo-liberalism, albeit newly wrapped in the rhetoric of modern-day neoliberal social democracy. It’s not the people that vote for FF that are the problem here, nor the grassroots of the party, but the party machine from top to bottom is an apolitical populist leaf in the wind, blowing this way and that in the wind of whatever dominant narrative is being promoted by the elites of the day. It is a hollow shell ideologically, with its only purpose being to win political office and to perpetuate the status quo. FF=FG. Tweedledum and Tweedledee. No difference in terms of outcomes, and it is outcomes that matter, not the rhetoric and election menifesto with promises that won’t be kept because of the over-riding TINA mantra of the elites.

CL - November 21, 2012

‘neoliberal social democracy’-an oxymoron?

LeftAtTheCross - November 21, 2012

CL, it does seem contradictory I admit but I was trying to convey the difference between what we tend to consider the “traditional” social democracy of the post-war period, which created welfare states and nationalised primary industries, with the current social democracy which is continuing the neoliberal Reagan/Thatcher policies of actively dismantling the welfare state and privatising what remains of publicly owned industry and infrastructure. If you can think if a clearer description than “neoliberal social democracy” I’ll be more than happy to use it in future.

Cl - November 21, 2012

I see your point and tend to agree.
A number of left critics have made the point that social democracy although it set out to change capitalism, what has happened is that capitalism has changed social democracy.
‘neoliberal social democracy’ does capture the inconsistency of those who profess to be social democrats, while imposing austerity, privatisation and further commodidization of the labour force.

33. John Stephenson - November 21, 2012

*blushes* … hate that typo classic error “it’s” for possessive “its” in Line 9, and missing plural in Line 8. (How do I edit my own Posts here? Help for newbie please?) My “errors of thought”, I’ll stand over, cumrids!

sonofstan - November 21, 2012

You can’t edit your posts here: we all get caught with our grammatical pants down on occasion.

34. John Stephenson - November 21, 2012

…er…missing SINGULAR…”fails”. Are we able to proof our posts here?

35. John Stephenson - November 21, 2012

Thanks, sonofstan, for the bad news; and to LeftAtTheCross for a reasoned analysis. I hold a rather perverse theory about the positive value of the ideological free zone which characterises the post-Dev FF. Another day. I don’t hope to convert you “stubborn lefties” here to the FF cause, but I do hope to inform your positions on the subject from an insider’s perspective. Attitude is no substitute for knowledge.

btw: I rather like the Neo-Liberal Social Democrat coinage, I’ve used “public private partnership social democrats” to describe Irish Labour, but yrs is a neater description of almost every bourgeois political party in Europe today, encompassing even modern CDU, Tories and Gaullists still living in denial of their accumulated SD dimension. So Tweedledum v Tweedledee translates as Centre v Centre. Can the Centre hold?!

I’ll leave all that to another topic. My point in this topic was that Martin is a factor in the FF poll rise. I see no reason to alter that view.

WorldbyStorm - November 21, 2012

Putting your genuinely interesting political journey to one side, I get that Martin can come across as reasonable enough to the general electorate, but I’m just wondering why now John? Do you think it’s a cumulative thing? It’s just that I can’t see what combination of factors or events would propel him forward at this particular point in time.

36. John Stephenson - November 21, 2012

Indeed, WbS, there is no one factor or event to point to, rather the cumulative effect of his (and his front bench’s) performance, which has been steady in opposition to a government which I think we can all agree has earned more than the decline in popularity registered so far. The Sunday Times report suggests that this is a direct swing from Labour, and I noted there a strong F class figure for FF. So, the question really is: why has it not gone to SF? SF’s appeal to the lumpen proletariat is clearly not extending to the blue collar and beyond, and may even be weakening in the urban welfare-dependent ghettoes. (I guess that’s the thing about successful populist parties, Left at the Cross: they give the people what they ask for, not what they ardently believe they need for their own good.) But the people also sometimes know when the populist appeal is unrealistic, and I think SF have slipped up there. Martin and his team come across as sensible and reasonable, while SF now has a bigger credibility deficit to overcome, as memories of Troika 2010 fade. Gerry A in the Dail feels like a ghost from the past, and Mary Lou has yet to get her stridency charmed up enough to appeal. Doherty is impressive, but I don’t need to tell you about the, er, ‘Free State’ voters feelings about Nor’n accents in the mouths of Shinners. Some memories take longer to fade. But they will, too. Patience. The fact is that FF have a longer history of delivering “down here”, and for many, they delivered good times, and might yet do so again. Personally, I hope we aren’t given a chance to prove that for another eight years, as there’s an Augean stable to be cleaned…

LeftAtTheCross - November 22, 2012

“(I guess that’s the thing about successful populist parties, Left at the Cross: they give the people what they ask for, not what they ardently believe they need for their own good”

John, that is somewhat missing the point that what the people ask for is informed by a narrative that is shaped by the existing elites, in other words one which is formulated not to threaten the status quo in any substantial sense. It’s not in fact that ideology is actually missing from populism, only that populism doesn’t acknowledge how the prevailing ideology is underpinning it. Post-ideologcal politics is a contradiction in terms.

John Stephenson - November 22, 2012

I’m with you to a degree, LatC. There is an argument that we are all now reduced to dumb participants in a grand spectacle driven by late capitalism (How old can it get? *LOL*) My feeling is that this may be too determinist, and, again, pessimistic. “The prevailing ideology” is no more than that: prevailing. So consumerist reductionism and democratic disempowerment have within themselves their own destruction. What will matter is changing objective circumstances, or “Events, dear boy” as Macmillan would have it. Perversely, you may say, I think FFs history (especially its recent hand burning with corporate cynicism), and it’s – shall we say apparent – lack of ideology at this stage, renders it viable still as a democratic vehicle for progressive change. Oddly, it has less baggage now than ever. Of course, this depends on a true “renewal”, but I wouldn’t be bothered with any of this if I weren’t an optimist.

sonofstan - November 22, 2012

FF as a vehicle of political post-modernism eh? ‘an incredulity towards meta-narratives’ enabling to cope with a pluralist (non-) totality. Good stuff……

How is it different in this regard from (say)NuLabour, the Democrats, any number of post-ideological formations? that strangely always end up as vehicles of the prevailing ideology. Maybe you need baggage as sandbags against the tide

LeftAtTheCross - November 22, 2012

John, the question is how will an atomised and depoliticised electorate or a populist party assess the objective circumstances and formulate an appropriate strategy without having any ideological compass to guide it through the storm? Will it use the compass provided free every week in the Sindo? Will it take the route of least resistance and avoid making genuinely difficult choices, i.e. opposition to the power elites and their political agenda which has brought us to where we are, by latching onto a quasi-fascist corporate populism, Ganley on steroids, putting on the green jersey, we’re all in this together, there is no alternative etc.? Or worse again a real fascism such as that offered by the Golden Dawn in Greece at the moment? I agree with you that the contradictions of liberal democracy are being exposed in the current circumstances of democratic disempowerment, here under current and previous governments, in technocrat Monti’s Italy, and in ND/PASOK’s Greece. The question is not whether the seeds of destruction have been sown, but what will grow in its place. Clearly it is difficult for those on the Left to have any faith in a re-spin of the populism that brought us to this point. Will FF make those difficult decisions, or will it be cute hoorist deals and spin-doctoring and more of the same? FF=FG.

John Stephenson - November 22, 2012

Really meaty challenges, guys, thanks. These are precisely the questions I should be posing to myself, and in a general way have been considering, but without that sharpness of focus. I have no readymade answers nor will I be glib here. After the past few days of leisure, I’ll be busy again until Sunday. I look forward to exploring these truly important matters with you again from then. I like the sense created in our discourse that it’s all to play for in Ireland today, as things have not been this critical since the revolutionary fervour of the late 60s/early 70s. Though I must say already that I don’t believe we’re on any tipping point into either fascism or socialist revolution here. Compliance is still the primary symptom of our current insecurities. Till later…

LeftAtTheCross - November 22, 2012

John, I agree that there’s no tipping point visible in the immediate future, but history doesn’t always progress at a steady rate, there were probably people in Greece a few years ago who were equally complacent, and then things accelerated. Not that Greece is necessarily at a tipping point just yet either, but its a lot closer than might have been expected, which is the point.

37. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - November 22, 2012

A former Sticky- Fianna Failer is not unknown, but a Fianna Failer who seems to think that its 1932 is slightly suspicious. Also your claims that the FF ranks were disgusted by Haughey et al doesn’t really stand up to examination-they loved their crooks.
John Stephenson, that’s Sean MacStoifain as Gaelige isn’t it?

38. John Stephenson - November 22, 2012

Sean MacStiofain is ainm dom, the other is a distant cousin whom I never met. I see you’re prone to misattribution Branno, as your avatar would suggest. The ultra left have never been bothered much with accuracy. It spoils the illusions.

sonofstan - November 22, 2012

Best user name here though.

39. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - November 22, 2012

I suspect CLR legs are being pulled…..let me know if refusing to pay the land annuities and demanding the Treaty ports back is on the agenda for next year’s Ard Fheis

WorldbyStorm - November 22, 2012

And as you noted, the Haughey stuff sounds… just wrong, given the historical record.

40. John Stephenson - November 22, 2012

I was Administrating a Discussion Boards system as early as the 90s, and am an Admin in a Yank-based site even today; so I know that it is a standard right wing reaction to any Newbie to regard them as a potential Troll, or at least not what they present themselves to be. As a left progressive, I’ve always operated against this reactionary territorial tendency. Apart from paranoid exclusionism, censorship is another bugbear of mine.

This is the first time I’ve registered my real name as my Username anywhere, as I figured an FFer at CLR should be totally open, and not some anonymous sniper. I’ve always enjoyed the nominal PIRA CO coincidence, and am chuffed that SoS has thus accorded my real name avatar of the month, so to speak.

I don’t honestly know what Branno is talking about with all the 1932 stuff. There’s nothing in what I’ve posted to prompt that. But it does seem that there’s an honest ignorance here about CJH and FF. So I’ll clarify that, as I was one of those who joined FF on foot of his election as leader, and have first hand knowledge of the era in FF.

From the day in 1979 he took over, there were many thousands in FF who considered him unsuitable. These Colleyites considered him vulgar and shady, and agreed with Garret FitzGerald about “a flawed pedigree” vav the national question. Some of these would in due course leave for the PD’s, but not many. Party loyalty is a strong suit in FF, and most stayed in the party, still unhappy about CJ.

I was not one of them. I was like many others, who saw him as a man who would not turn his back on northern nationalists & republicans, who would cut through the civil service here to get social improvements implemented, and get the Irish economy moving again. Many of us would slowly but steadily become disillusioned, so that by the 90s, the large Ard Fheis rallies that lazy historians use to argue mass adulation, consisted of only the hardcore Charlieites. It’s hard for small left wing parties to realise that a heaving RDS rally can represent only a small percentage of a party.

But even these CJH loyalists were gutted when it emerged definitively that he was a tax dodger, and in the pockets of fat cats (not a successful businessman in his own right). By the end, CJH was seen by all in FF as a let down at best, but mainly a disgrace. It is simply an ignorant lie to say, as Branno did, that “FF loved its crooks”.

Certainly not Burke and Lawlor, who were never liked in the general party, being seen as Dublin bullies and CJH hatchet-men. Every big party has its rotten apples (SF can’t feel too happy about Tom McFeely at the moment), and these were loathed NOT loved in FF.

The above is for the benefit of those who are interested in history over received opinion or partisan propaganda. I don’t intend to argue any case for CJH here, just describe the FF party at the time.

sonofstan - November 22, 2012

am chuffed that SoS has thus accorded my real name avatar of the month, so to speak.

Hate to spoil it, but I actually meant Branno etc. :) – sorry it wasn’t clear.

dmfod - November 22, 2012

If FF cared so much about corruption, why did it hang on to ‘bad apples’ like Haughey, Burke and Ahern until the last possible moment and why do FFers consistently turn up in the tribunals as the most corrupt party re. rezoning, when other parties were also involved in local government? Branno is right that FF loved its crooks – just only until they got caught.

Jonathan - November 22, 2012

“By the end, CJH was seen by all in FF as a let down at best, but mainly a disgrace.” Strangely, that’s not reflected on his biography at the FF website (see here: http://www.fiannafail.ie/content/pages/charles-haughey/). Not a mention of tribunals, or secret donations, or bank debt write-offs, or anything negative at all; instead, all we have is “The Haughey years were full of drama – despite various distractions there were achievements.” Patriot to his fingertips, eh?

41. Red Hand - November 22, 2012

That’s very interesting. But am I right in thinking that the big questions about Haughey and the Gallaghers and rezoning, property etc go back to the 1960s and were well known then?

42. ? - November 22, 2012

The sight of Brian Cowen receiving a standing ovation and the younger FF’ers mobbing Ahern at this years Ard Fheis doesn’t indicate a party that has changed much. I can imagine there being decent older members dismayed at what has happened in the past but I don’t think I could trust anyone my age (27) or younger that would join, especially looking at some of those in student politics who seemed to have already developed some of the parties traits. The problem with FF is that they will defend certain people in the party as long as possible and when they can do it any longer it becomes the past and can no longer be mentioned.

43. John Stephenson - November 22, 2012

I’ve said that party loyalty is a major feature of FF. This has its pitfalls as well as its merits. Inured to unfounded calumnies since the 1920s, FF’s natural reaction was to reject the corruption claims and stand by their own… until there could be no shadow of a doubt. For decades, no telling evidence was ever offered by the journalists who said as much, so this made the claims easier to dismiss by FFers as mere partisan slander. So when the truth was finally demonstrated judicially about a few at the top, the whole party was tarred with the brush. It has paid the price for that.

btw: Ahern was not mobbed by young FFers at the last Ard Fheis, but this is the kind of apocrypha that makes it so lazily easy to paint grey black. Yet, it must be said, he too gave the State some service. Calling Ahern a liar, or Charlie a crook, is as simplistic and insufficient as calling Adams a murderer, or Daly an adulteress, or Norris a bugger. It’s a poor substitute for political analysis.

sonofstan - November 22, 2012

You’re ignoring an essential distinction there: Bertie being a liar, Charlie a crook and Adams a murderer are directly relevant to their respective political careers: whoever Clare Daly or David Norris decide to sleep with isn’t.

John Stephenson - November 22, 2012

A very fair distinction SoS, but my point was about the uselessness of name-calling as such. All mentioned have considerable depth and complexity in their contributions to Irish political life, with many useful achievements which can too easily be negated by mere schoolyard epithets, whoever they come from, or why, or about what. I couldn’t believe it when I heard the estimable Clare Daly so described by some scapular wearer, as if that said it all. “And sure, he’s ONLY a feckin’ tax-dodging builder.”

44. John Stephenson - November 22, 2012

Afterthought: another bit of false history which is now regularly trotted out by young radicals who can’t be bothered to check their facts is that FF was proven in the planning tribunal to be far and away the most corrupt of the parties. It is no absolution for our sins to point out that FG and Labour had their share of bribe-takers, and FG has a higher rate of convictions in this regard. But I guess many here might anyway say: “what do you expect from the whole lot of them?”

WorldbyStorm - November 22, 2012

Yes, that would most likely be the response.

LeftAtTheCross - November 22, 2012

Pots calling kettles black. If anything it only goes to show that the political machines of all three parties are geared towards self-interest, careerism, graft. What else could be expected though, seriously, when there’s no other over-riding motivation for people to get involved in politics through those essentially apolitical channels?

John Stephenson - November 22, 2012

Quote: What else could be expected though, seriously, when there’s no other over-riding motivation for people to get involved in politics through those essentially apolitical channels?

Spot on, LatC!

RosencrantzisDead - November 22, 2012

They must hand this stuff out at the local cumann because every time corruption is brought up FF deploy the ‘tu quoque’ defence. In doing so, they join a very select brotherhood, which includes luminaries such as Otto Skorzeny and several gentlemen who ran rape camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 90s.

I have to say that I was never swayed by it. This is primarily because the other offending parties are ones which I have an intense distaste for.

45. Jolly Red Giant - November 22, 2012

In terms of opinion polls – the one time the Socialist Party was polled by Red C the report indicated that the socialist Party was on 6% in Dublin.
They later claimed that they made a typo and it should have been 3%
Now in this opinion poll Red C said that ‘Others’ including the Socialist Party were on 28% – assuming they had a typo and didn’t change the figures for political reasons – who had the other 25% in Dublin.
Second issue with this – the Socialist Party received 18681 votes in four Dublin constituencies – accordong to this Red C poll the Socialist Party on 3% would receive 16340 votes (the poll was taken before Clare Daly’s resignation from the SP) – 6% would be almost 33,000 votes. Now does anyone seriously believe that the Socialist Party will actually drop votes in the next election particularly as it is likely to run more candidates than in the last one (and I am ignoring Clare Daly’s vote in both).

46. richotto - November 22, 2012

The 3% figure is not surprising in that it would correspond pretty closely to the SP vote in the last election. The national vote for SP was 1% nearly all in Dublin apart from one constituency in Cork. Could the SP drop votes at the next election? Why not? Conditions are much more stable now giving encouragement to govt party supporters. SF and FF are the ones making the ground in opposition politics. The appetite for pure protest politics is dimishing and the radical left hav’nt articulated a more reasoned case in its place. The vote for the No to the bailout referendum with a large campaign on both sides was less than expected, less than the anti vote in the childrens referendum where the No campaign was almost non existent in comparrison. The main economic focus has moved from blaming the banks to getting on with it and how to sort out the public finances. The Clare Daly resignation and the embarrasing public recriminations hacks away at the vital core of support in North Dublin.

RosencrantzisDead - November 22, 2012

The SP share in the 2011 GE was 1.2% of first prefs. 3% represents a 150% increase. Even a slight drop would still be an increase and refutes your hypothesis that they are suffering because they fail to put the boot into the public sector.

CMK - November 22, 2012

That’s a frankly incredible analysis and could only be written by someone semi-detached from contemporary Irish political conditions.

‘Appetite for pure protest politics is diminishing’? 2,000 outside the Dáil yesterday; 15,000 in Waterford earlier this month; 6,000 in Navan recently; 15,000 on Saturday for Savita and hopefully a good turnout on Saturday with lots more to come. In one month alone tens of thousands out on the streets in support of political demands and articulating opposition to austerity. All this with a property tax to come and huge unresolved business surrounding the household tax boycott.

‘The main economic focus has moved from blaming the banks to getting on with it and how to sort out the public finances.’

What planet are you on? The main economic focus for who? That’s the main focus for the media-political-business nexus
who are completely insulated from the current crisis. The costs of the banks are being deliberately suppressed: 19 billion this year, 17 billion next year, 5 billion the year after then back up to 13 billion. But, sure, ‘the money’s just not there’. There is a second ‘bailout’ barrelling down the tracks towards us and it will knock the stuffing out of a huge layer of ordinary people in this state and will severely destabilise this polity. The complacency in your comment is grossly misplaced. Significant radicalisation, which could go either to the Left or Right, is certain over the next ten years.

Returning to your ‘main economic focus’ point. For millions the main focus is trying to make ends meet, for tens of thousands it’s getting out of here as soon as possible, for the unemployed it’s getting a job in a situation where the political economic elite are seemingly quite contented with 15% official unemployment.

For those people the ‘public finances’, which are being used as a rod for the backs of ordinary people, are completely abstract and likely well down the priority list after personal and family economic survival. For those who are insulated from this crisis, abstractions like ‘the public finances’ or the ‘deficit’ are overriding priorities.

SF and FF are making hay now but both are committed to austerity. SF are dedicatedly implementing cutbacks in the North and FF are adopting populism as a tactic to augment their electoral standing. When both get back in to office here they will implement whatever the Trioka demand, without question. But they will do so in circumstances unthinkable from those that pertain today.

Ed - November 23, 2012

+1. Either completely delusional and detached from reality as it exists outside the pages of the Sindo, or a troll.

47. richotto - November 22, 2012

The 3% that Jolly Red Giant mentions above refers only to Dublin. Its not a national figure. Given that Dublin has less than a third of the seats in the last Dail and the vote outside Dublin was apart from one constituency virtually nil that averages out at 1% give or take a small margin.

Jolly Red Giant - November 23, 2012

And the point I was making is that the number for Dublin at 3% was wrong – maybe it was their margin of error nonsense or maybe it was a bit of manoeuvring to prevent any indication of a momentum for the Socialist Party (like happened in the Euros) – either way the 3% is flatly wrong.

48. richotto - November 23, 2012

Ok, we’re entitled to our opinion on the accuracy of the Red C poll figure. I would’nt consider as reasonable though your implication that the figure may have been dishonestly arrived at.
On the Euros I think that should be taken in its context which is far removed from a general election situation. It would be more akin to the Presidential election with no public awareness of choices and consequences of voting for one candidate or another, a bit of a beauty contest with opportunity for a protest vote and minority parties and independents being entertained to a far greater extent. Also the Sinn Fein seat which was taken effectively was partly down to SF in Dublin particularly at the bottom of a trough post 2007 election.

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