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I get that some people are very critical of SF… but why make stuff up? October 29, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

Henry McDonald in today’s Guardian on the Presidential election…

Sinn Féin appeared to acknowledge the damage that his IRA legacy had inflicted on McGuinness’s bid. He had hoped to achieve about 20% but may only get around 15% the same as the party polled in February’s general election.

Really, Henry?

When one goes to wiki one will find that Sinn Féin got 9.9 per cent of the vote and:

Sinn Féin also made significant gains. All its sitting TDs were returned with Seán Crowe regaining the seat in Dublin South–West he lost in 2007 and party president Gerry Adams retaining Arthur Morgan’s seat in Louth, topping the poll. In addition to winning targeted seats such as Dublin Central, Dublin North–West and Meath West the party gained unexpected seats in Cork East and Sligo–North Leitrim.[14] It won 14 seats, the best performance for the party’s current incarnation.


1. Reni's hairpiece - October 29, 2011

McDonald is a clown. In a pervious article he stated Gallagher’s company employed 100 currently and was worth €10 billion – the may have been a typo – but knowing McDonalds record probally not.


2. Mark P - October 29, 2011

Having seen the final results, the 13.7% percent vote for SF isn’t all that good. Beforehand I said that anything over 17% would be a good vote, while something in the 13-17% range would be half decent. They’ve just scraped into the bottom end of that half decent range. Not therefore what I’d call a disaster, but not really anything to crow about either.

That they beat Mitchell was funny though.


ejh - October 29, 2011

Always liable to happen to the third-placed candidate, though, don’t you think? When it becomes clear they really can’t win, some of their support is bound to leak away, at the end, to people who want to keep out their least-favoured candidate of the front two.


Roasted Snow - October 29, 2011



Mark P - October 29, 2011

Yes, but that’s much more of a problem in First Past the Post elections. Irish voters are very used to preference voting and tend to be well aware that putting a no hoper first won’t effect the ultimate destination of their vote.

They’d also have hoped to pick up some votes from the Gallagher collapse.


dilettante - October 29, 2011

Mark P,

Are you seriously saying that SP canvassers didn’t use the argument in Dublin West that people shouldn’t waste their vote on other anti-government candidates and should instead give their vote to the strongest anti-government candidate -Coppinger?

And if they didn’t, then maybe they should have done seeing as how a single additional first preference vote would have denied FF their 2nd place “victory” 🙂


Mark P - October 29, 2011

I’m sure they did, but the usual response to people firmly declaring that they were voting for a no-hoper is to ask for the number 2.

Driving up your own first preference vote and driving down that of the minor candidates is useful in a psychological sense, but it rarely makes much difference in terms of actually winning. A 2nd preference after a no-hoper counts for as much as a 1st preference.

I’m sure that there was some squeeze on McGuinness, but they’d have hoped for a significantly better result before the election started and they’d have hoped to benefit more from the Gallagher collapse. I don’t think that just over 13% is a disaster, but I don’t think its notably good either.


3. que - October 29, 2011

seen comments that sf inclined votes leaked to Michael D to keep the money man out.

I am mindul that at that end of the day the only result is the final result but it seems possible.

I think SF must be happy with this even if it only helps safe guard the 14 seats a bit.

Re Deonegals – are we looking at two possible seats in one of them next time (to lazy to check no. of seats sorry )


Tomboktu - October 29, 2011

Re Deonegals – are we looking at two possible seats in one of them next time (to lazy to check no. of seats sorry )

It doesn’t really matter that you haven’t checked the no. of seats. The constituency boundary has two factors that mean any predictions would be no more reliable than the one you have made: an instruction to cut the total number of seat to between 153 and 160, and a constitutional requirement to redistribute the seats in light of the census.


4. Roasted Snow - October 29, 2011

Given the exposure of SG as a FF supporter and then his coming second surely shows that FF are not dead but sadly in time will revamp with perhaps a populist message. For SF surely worrying. The FF vote did not go to them and yet this was the time for them to capitalise on FF’s current demise. So for SF what is the future strategy? Is there more centre left space to occupy? Or is around the 14% about the best achieveable? And to repeat what has been said on a recent thread what does SF really stand for?


5. Occupy Dame Street: DayTwenty One – Indymedia Ireland | Irish Free Press - October 29, 2011

[…] I get that some people are very critical of SF? but why make stuff up? 11:59 Sat Oct 29, 2011 | WorldbyStorm […]


6. NollaigO - October 30, 2011

Mr Harris lies with statistics (or maybe he’s just part of the claimed national numeracy crisis!)

From today’s Sindo (page 18 my edition) :
…McGuinness got 243,030 first preferences, only 22,369 better than SF’s 220,661 Dáil vote [2011] and 17,417 more than SF’s MEP vote [2009] of 225,613.
Sticking to the Dáil vote we can see that SF’s celebrity candidate improved the party’s vote by only 1%…

Ignoring the sleight of hand where he ignores the higher percentage turnout for the Dáil Election, 22,369 is 10.1% of 220661 not 1%.

His is the mathematics of a fool or a rogue!

The thrust of his article is to show that there was a widespread inclination within RTE to slant the Presidental news coverage in favour of McGuinness – demented raving!


CL - October 30, 2011

Maybe the reason Harris doesn’t get to go on TV as much as he would like is because he’s biased against the laws of simple arithmetic.


7. Reni's hairpiece - October 30, 2011

Harris is living proof that care in the community does not work, as he wrote in a recent article (with uncharacteristic self-awareness) sometimes the institutional model of mental health care is the only appropriate response.


8. EM - October 30, 2011

Sinn Fein, all said and done, had a poor election. It was argued in yesterday’s Irish News in Belfast and I agree that any other candidate for the party would have held 13.7% in this election. Sinn Fein needs to stop giving itself all the credit for the Peace Process – there were many other key players – John Major in Conservative Party, Ton Blair and Mo Mowlam in Labour, Michael Oatley in British military intelligence community, Fr Alec Reid, Brendan Duddy, Charles Haughey, Bertie Ahern, Albert Reynolds, John Hume, David Trimble, Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson, Jackie McDonald, Robert Ervine, Gusty Spence. The list goes on….but so too does Sinn Fein go on and on.


9. Reni's hairpiece - October 30, 2011

We will never forget you ‘Bobby Ervine”


10. Justin Moran - October 30, 2011

Always interesting to see how other people see our performances!

For me, and a lot of us, we were looking at third place and 15 per cent as the target – there was also once the first polling figures came out, a deep desire to beat Fine Gael. We achieved the first and the last, and we fell short with just under 14 per cent in our share of the vote. It’s still an increase of almost four points since February.

To paraphrase Eamon Dunphy, I think it was a good performance but not a great one. I’d have liked to have broken 15 but I’m not losing much sleep over the fact that we didn’t. I also think Martin’s intervention on Frontline was crucial in stopping Gallagher getting elected.

One factor in not making the 15 was Que’s point on voter drift. Two first-time Sinn Féin voters in February went to Michael D in the last week to keep out Gallagher. A third long-time supporter rang me on polling day to discuss doing the same. As anyone who has canvassed in elections knows, voters often don’t understand PR-STV as well as canvassers and many can be nervous about it. And not just voters, I remember explaining to an RTÉ journalist covering a previous election how preferences worked.

So I do think there was an element of that in not breaking 15 per cent, and there was an appeal to people who would see themselves to the left of Labour in Michael D that the actual Labour party no longer has.

I suppose another factor to be considered is the difficult to determine impact the media campaign made on McGuinness’ performance. Not just the Sindo, but the Irish Independent editorialised against him on polling day, the Evening Herald seemed to come up with something new every day, and broadcasters like Joe Duffy and Miriam O’Callaghan may not have endorsed candidates, but they made it pretty clear who they didn’t want. I do accept that some of those questions might be valid, and I think there may be something to the suggestion that we failed to anticipate them as well as we might. And yes, every candidate took a pasting at one time or another except for Michael D. But there was nothing like the sustained campaign against Martin (excepting the attack that forced Norris out), whether you consider it justified or not, and though I believe those attacks are less and less damaging as time goes by, I can’t pretend they have no impact.

So, to some positives. Important for us is the places where Martin got the vote. Our strong areas from February more or less held their own, a little up or a little down depending on local factors, which considering the Michael D performance is something we’d be happy with.

But we broke 10 per cent in Clare and Dublin North, which we didn’t even contest. In the two Tipperary constituencies we doubled our percentage share of the vote. Performances like that will hopefully be useful to us come the next local and European elections in making breakthroughs in counties with limited, or non-existent, Sinn Féin presence.

Martin’s share of the vote replicated for Sinn Féin in places like Waterford, Cork South Central, Dublin Mid West and others would likely have seen us take seats there. I appreciate some of that might be an FF or ULA or Independent vote coming to us purely for this election and that will now swing back, but the fact that they came to us in the first place means we have a space to contest for them.

So certainly not, as someone suggested on this thread, a ‘poor’ election for us, or as the Sindo suggested, a ‘disastrous’ one. Not the instinctive response of those of us who have spent the a few days now celebrating it, and I’ve waked a few Sinn Féin election performances in my time.

Martin did well, it was a good performance, not the breakthrough that was always unlikely, but good enough to hopefully sow some seeds for the future.


EamonnCork - October 30, 2011

Someone made the point on here that the reason there was such a surge in support for Gallagher was the same reason that so many Irish people support Manchester United. Everyone likes to be on a winner and every poll showing the man doing well resulted in him doing better.
I suspect that had there been time for an opinion poll between the Frontline programme and the election, one which showed the huge slippage in the Gallgher vote, he’d have slipped even further. In which case the McGuinness intervention would have been seen as even more crucial and probably gained SF a few more percentage points. Just conjecture on my part.
I don’t know if it makes much sense extrapolating general election results from presidential results. Next time out after all Labour will be doing well to get half Higgins’s vote and Fine Gael will at the very worst get five times Mitchell’s.


EamonnCork - October 30, 2011

Talking to a few Fgers over the weekend, I didn’t get the impression they were overly worried about Mitchell’s performance. Everyone knew he was a terrible candidate from the get go. Mairead McGuinness would have gone very well for FG with people who voted for Gallagher rather than plumping for a Dublin candidate who seemed to having on ongoing nervous breakdown punctuated by running renditions of the Monty Python Yorkshireman sketch.


11. Jack Jameson - October 31, 2011

The media talk a week before polling day was of ‘President Gallagher’ and poor Michael D coming second – until McGuinness had Gallagher in a spin on Frontline.

Then Michael D was unexpectedly back in the race and it was clearly between the lovable leftish culture vulture and the shifty FF bag man, which undoubtedly swayed some tactical voters from McGuinness to make sure it wasn’t Gallagher.

That McGuinness took the vote he did was, IMHO, creditable given the onslaught by media barons (Star, Indo), clearly partisan print journos and the likes of the clearly not impartial Joe Duffy and Olivia O’Leary on the national station.


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