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The “Week In Politics Election 2011” book June 12, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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Bought the “Week In Politics Election 2011” book the other day and its a welcome addition to the bookshelf.

As you might imagine I’m a big fan of this genre of publication. I’ve assorted Nealons Guides, Magill Guides, “This Week” guides, Tallyman guides on the bookshelf covering each General Election since 1981. I’ve some others such as Whelan and Kevin Rafters book on the 1991 Local Elections and  the excellent “That’s Politics” which covered the 2004 Local Elections. Also a big bag of Newspaper Election supplements litters the Attic along with all the other election related material.
(*Despite efforts I’ve yet to get my hands on Seamus Brennans book on the 1985 Local Elections and am curious if there was anything published on the 1999 and 2009 Local Elections. )

So how does RTEs latest effort fare in comparison to other offerings in the genre. First off its 17.99 which isn’t bad considering some of the 2007 Election books were a lot dearer. The results are laid out well at Constituency, Regional and National level. The constituency analysis is written by two heavyweights in Sean Donnelly and Michael Gallagher. In general this analysis is good and up there with the Magill books of the early 80s. It does though almost always fail to mention anyone who got less than 1000 votes, which is often where the best election stories are.
Donnelly also writes a nice range of stats and analysis on transfers, vote management and other trends within the election. There is also a section on elections since 1918.
RTE staff feature in many of the articles on the Election and campaign with amongst others Sean O’Rourke, David Davin-Power, David McCullagh, Bryan Dobson and Brian Dowling contributing. Other include Michael Marsh, Olivia O’Leary as well as Prof David Farrell and Dr Jane Suiter.
Needless to say much is made of the collapse of Fianna Fail and The Greens. The emergence of the ULA gets a small enough mention. The role of  New Media, the TV debates are also covered.
One of the most fascinating parts of the book though is a number of questions asked to each TD. Not all seem to have replied, which is a pity. The one question that caught my eye was

“Is there any particular event that brought home to you just how serious the economic crisis had become?”
The answers told a lot.

“The IMF/EU bailout” or “The arrival of the IMF” was a very common theme. the other main ones were
“Emigration” , “Unemployment”, “job losses”, “The collapse of the building industry” , “Length of dole queues”, “increase in the number of suicides”…..

Other questions included “Politican (living or dead) you most admire?” (Ghandi, Mandela , James Connolly all featuring prominently. “Priority as a TD? “.

The questions add nicely to the profiles and you get to learn all sorts of mostly useless facts like Dessie Ellis being a dab hand in Karate, FGs Catherine Byrne having been a LOI womens soccer player and showband singer and  that Clare Daly plays the piano and violin.

Almost the Last word though to a few answers to the question ….

“Why did you stand for election?”

To win a seat for Fianna Fail” -John Browne FF Wexford
To bring about Social and Political change” -Ruairi Quinn
Because I am committed to politics and public service” -Michael Lowry

All in All the book is pretty good and much recommended. I can see myself turning to it for many years to come.

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