That Gay Mitchell vote October 30, 2011Posted by irishelectionliterature in Fine Gael, Irish Politics, Uncategorized.
Tags: fine gael, Irish Politics
Amidst Sean Gallaghers collapse and Michael Ds victory , it was a very very bad day for Fine Gael. A poor performance in Dublin West was overshadowed by a shocking performance by Gay Mitchell. Finishing by a distance in fourth place, he was even outpolled by Dana and Mary Davis in a number of constituencies.
On a regional level he was outpolled by David Norris in Dublin and the rest of Leinster. The only constituency he polled in double figures was in his native Dublin South Central where he got 12.1% of the vote.
In a dirty campaign Mitchell had few if any skeletons in his closet. Still it was plainly a woeful candidate selection, seen by many as TDs and Senators giving one in the eye to their leader and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
There’s the poor show and possibly more importantly there is the money. No expenses. Not a penny back on whatever Fine Gael spent on the campaign (quoted by one paper as possibly €700,000) , and it must have been a small fortune. Mitchell produced an array of leaflets , Posters, T-Shirts and so on. There were Mitchell buses , Billboards, ads in National and Local media.
I was surprised at one of the main themes of the Mitchell campaign, which was the candidates background. Its rare in election material or in campaigns that candidates will focus on hardship growing up as Mitchell did. So much so that he was lampooned on radio skits along the Monty Pythonesque lines of “We were lucky to have shoes”.
Whilst the final Televised debate pulled the rug from under Sean Gallagher, the first one spelt the end of Mitchells campaign. He appeared angry and confrontational as he attacked Martin McGuinness. In effect he carried on in a most unpresidential manner.
The strange thing is that he didn’t need to attack McGuinness, none of the other candidates really did, the media were going to do that and there were also a number of incidents during the campaign where McGuinness was confronted by his past.
I’ve been amused listening to FG friends giving out about these Parliamentary Party rebels and how they cost the party a fortune by backing Mitchell …. then finding out that these FG friends voted for Michael D. !
We are told that Presidential Elections are different and of course they are , but a Fine Gael candidate finishing on 6.4% shows that party loyalty isn’t once what it was.
I suspect even Avril Doyle never mind Pat Cox or Mairead McGuinness would have fared far better. They would have at least got some money back.