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So, if FF are on the rise… February 21, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.

Backroom makes an interesting point in the SBP this weekend. He points to the release of the Irish Times poll showing Fianna Fáil as the party drawing the largest support from potential voters as being a crucial factor in raining on the Government’s promissory note parade.

Whatever about the minutiae of last weekend’s poll, the big picture was awful and the timing was worse. A week ago last Thursday, Enda Kenny was riding through the triumphal arch at the head of conquering legions, the promissory note was on a bonfire and the former Anglo Irish Bank (IRBC) was being razed to the ground. Then on the Friday afternoon just as the Backroom was repairing to the reserved seating in Doheney and Nesbitts to reflect on a world come right, word arrived that the Soldiers of Destiny were back. The Backroom looked fairly ridiculous sitting in front of those creamy pints.

Entertainingly, for Backroom wrote before the Sunday Times poll which reinforced the Irish Times poll figures that:

It beats Banagher that the Soldiers are back. Let’s see how their numbers hold up when the next poll is out and the hitherto unappreciative Irish people have had time to reflect fully on all that has been done for them. It could be a fluke. The poll was taken before the promissory note deal was done. On the other hand, it could be a true insight into the perfidious heart of the Irish people.

I know I keep banging on about a disconnect between politics/politicians and citizens, but in those sentences above one sees it exemplified in an essential purity. Backroom’s analysis is on rooted in concepts of political activity as deBordian spectacle – the ‘deal’ is done and from that deal will flow all good things for the parties to that deal.
Except that’s not how it has panned out. Still Backroom continues:

If the poll is not a fluke, there are still crumbs of comfort for the government. Even if the Soldiers are the most popular party nationally, they are a mob of culchies. They are only on 11 per cent and in fourth place in Dublin.
Whatever their poll numbers, they haven’t found the candidates to harvest that vote – and it is candidates who will win the local elections next year. Having a minimum of six seats in every electoral area should mean that even Labour can get a few councillors elected.

Much of the above is true (though dragging in the term culchies’ seems both inappropriate and inapposite in every sense). For FF good poll ratings – albeit abysmal ones when contrasted with their pre-2008 ratings (47% was the figure they achieved in the Summer of that year) – aren’t enough. There’s a lot that has to done. But the point isn’t where they are today, it’s where they will be in three years time, and in that respect the polls are very positive indeed with a shift back towards them – and earlier than many of us would have predicted.

But interestingly, Backroom points the finger of blame not just at Labour – ‘flatlining’ on 10%, but at a specific figure.

And Rabbitte’s omnipresence on the airwaves is driving voters away as successfully now as before.
There was schadenfreude in the Backroom when Rabbitte was barred from the Vincent Browne show because he was already so well aired on the telly that night, he wasn’t wanted. But the man doesn’t learn. His advisers either don’t or won’t tell him that being Minister for Communications doesn’t involve him appearing before a live microphone every day. The self-satisfaction ratings when Rabbitte and his troupe are in the snug in Doheny & Nesbitts are stratospheric. Sometimes, in the Backroom, you have to send one of those missives and damn the consequences. It’s not all about mutual admiration.

Now, maybe it’s the residual Marxist in me, complaining at being listened to less and less, but every once in a while making a good point – for example, that it’s not about personalities. Or at least it’s not just about personalities. For confusing the message and the medium is a mugs game, in politics and all else. The problems of the Labour Party are not about Rabbitte, or Doheny’s, albeit those can be symptoms. It’s about the actions the Labour Party is taking in government.

Perhaps more interestingly again is the following:

In the Backroom, talk of a Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil government is frequently overheard. But another monster is also climbing out of the swamp. If Labour is bottoming out in the low teens and Fianna Fáil climb to 30 per cent and perhaps beyond, a Fianna Fáil-Labour coalition may have the numbers.
For the Workers Party veterans leading Labour, that would be the last position left in the political Kama Sutra. It is possible, of course, that they might break the habit of a lifetime and lead a shattered party into opposition, rather than stay in government. Having seized the levers of power, they now know what the slippery, malodorous substance in hand actually is.

Interesting point there about the figures. It’s certainly not difficult to see FF adding another five or ten per cent onto their current tally. And with an LP on or around 10 per cent? Definitely not impossible. On paper.

Will it happen? A lot yet to happen before it gets to that point.


1. Irishelectionliterature - February 21, 2013

Dublin does appear to still be a big problem for FF . Its something that they are worried about. Averil power is the most high profile dub they have. Its only natural that rural crime and other non Dublin issues are the focus of their tds as they are local issues for them. Stephen Collins had a piece on the irresponsibility of Ff in opposition last saturday. I laughed as i read it, did he expect anything else?


EamonnCork - February 21, 2013

I love this crack about ‘responsibility’ from the likes of Collins. The irony is that perhaps the single most irresponsible act in the history of the state was the bank guarantee which Collins et al actually praised for its, well, responsibility.


2. doctorfive - February 21, 2013

Rise of FF or decline of the other two. Their shaping up to oppose xcase legislation while may not prove too damaging will do them no favours in Dublin all the same.

Moncieff had a voxpop with members of the Party on Tuesday. People who were still in secondary school in 2008. Came across as people largely untouched by bust, repeating the same slogans & excuses. Desperate stuff.


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