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This weekend’s RedC February 23, 2013

Posted by Oireachtas Retort in Uncategorized.

Now then

FG 28 (nc); FF 26 (+5); lab 12 (+1); SF 16 (-3); ind 18 (-3).


1. WorldbyStorm - February 23, 2013

Well, that’s that, FF definitely on the rise and reflected across all recent polls.


2. richotto - February 23, 2013

It should’nt be too surprising given that in the last election people voted for the least possible change. The trend for SF is significant over the past year. They hav’nt capitalized on their second place status. It was required at that stage that they change from being seen purely as a protest party to one capable of doing the job itself.


Northside Socialist - February 24, 2013

” It was required at that stage that they change from being seen purely as a protest party to one capable of doing the job itself.”

By “doing the job” do you mean implementing austerity cuts on behalf of the Troika?


3. Hank Tree - February 23, 2013

From my understanding of the recent polls, FF’s rise is outside of Dublin. I once heard it said about the FG/Lab coalition of the 1980s that they couldn’t pass a sleeping dog without giving it a kick. History seems to be repeating itself here. FG and Lab are kicking things and its pissing off a good chunk of the electorate. Perhaps the balance of power has swung too far in the metropolitan direction and the resurgence in FF is a rebalancing.


4. Dr. X - February 24, 2013

There are two points of possible relevance here:

1. Are enough people returning to FF to ensure that it escapes its apparent long-term fate of being a declining party of the elderly and the rural areas?

2. FF was hegemonic for so long not only because it was a genuinely mass party (90,000 members at its height, wasn’t it?) but also because it had connections throughout all levels of society, connections strong enough to ensure that its claim to being the “national movement” was not an idle boast, however debatable that claim may have been. Could such a situation ever arise again? Twenty-first century Ireland, the Ireland in which SF struggles to break out of mere protest party status, is a society in which it seems difficult for any new contender in politics to achieve the kind of hegemony through social connections that FF had in the twentieth century. That being the case, we (or should I say “you”, as I am no longer residentin the jurisdiction) may be in for an indefinite period of rule by zombie parties left over from our grandparents’ time.


EWI - February 24, 2013

That being the case, we (or should I say “you”, as I am no longer residentin the jurisdiction) may be in for an indefinite period of rule by zombie parties left over from our grandparents’ time.

And, if we’re lucky and the electorate actually manages to vote a real protest, with occasional coalitions-of-the-willing imposed by the errand-boys of finance (the IMF and ECB) and headed by hand-picked reliable, pliant technocrats.


5. richotto - February 24, 2013

You could call all countries as beset by inertia based on the past on that basis. I would characterise parties as more like businesses who keep going by having to serve interest groups on an ongoing basis. While a lot has changed over the past few years it should’nt be overestimated how much many so called ordinary people still have and want to hold on to. Theres a kind of marxist reading here of society composed of an elite and the downtrodden often expressed casually in media as sub 100k. That has to be put under scrutiny. How can for instance a teacher on 70k speak with the same sense of grievance as an insecure private sector worker on 15-20k? In reality the likes of the teacher and a lot of other relatively comfortably off people are the ones proping up the pro status quo parties.


6. CL - February 24, 2013

There is little depth to any of the support for the main neoliberal parties. And a large percentage say ‘don’t know’. And no wonder. Noonan’s line is: there is lots of goodwill for Ireland in Europe, because Ireland has ‘taken one for the team”
“The elite journalists on €220,000 and downwards, relentlessly urging nurses and cops, train drivers and record keepers to stop being so greedy and think of Ireland – have they “taken one”?

The bankers on €600k? The CEOs on €500k and €300k? The professionals on €200k? The managers on €100k – the folks our leaders have so stalwartly protected from tax increases on high incomes?”

In the interview with Bloomberg News Noonan is expressing what Daniel Corkery called ‘the colonized mind’.


7. egoldstein76 - February 24, 2013

With every poll I see, more often than not showing either a drop or a levelling out in support for those on the broad left opposed to the current status quo (or at the very least not seeming to breack the 20ish% glass ceiling), I am left wondering whether anyone has attempted to factor in the effects of emigration into them?

During the PN debate (I think it was) I saw Pearse Doherty mention a figure of 80,000 for the number of young people who left last year. Whether that is an accurate figure or not I am certain from what I have personally witnessed that the number is definitely large. If we factor in that the various polls over the years have shown a large number of the voters who were being attracted to parties like SF and the ULA were in the ‘young’ bracket then it is worth considering the effect this would have on the broad left. Indeed, anyone who visted England, US, or Australia etc. during the 70s, 80s, and 90s couldn’t have helped but notice that a sizeable number of the diaspora were highly critical of the Irish establishment (in many cases broadening out into support for the likes of the IRA (to take one example) etc.).

This brings to mind something I remember reading in the ‘Liam Mellows and the Irish Revolution’ book about one of the factors in the British government’s refusal to award substantial numbers of War/munitions etc. contracts to Irish companies during WWI/pre-1916. If I rememeber correctly, the thesis was that they expected trouble, identified the need to minimise the number of young people who might cause trouble in the country, and thus knowing the history of emigration from Ireland since the famine, believed that the lack of jobs would drive the young away and minimise the possibility of rebellion.

None of that is to say that there is a grand conspiracy, but with the ‘normalisation’ of emigration among successive generations in Ireland, it’s not a large leap to suspect that at some level this has been internalised within the powers that be.

Parallel to all of that is that the mainstream media are more than happy to ignore sich considerations and use these polls to reassure us that we are all content with the alternating FF/FG government roundabout, while also portraying any sort of left alternative as unrealistic.


shea - February 24, 2013

would say its very much a factor. i have heard it said that twice in the last 160 the emigration tap was cut off due to out side factors. The first time coincided with the land league the second with the rising.


John Cunningham - February 24, 2013

This was the view of emigration held by Alexis Fitzgerald in 1956, when he was an advisor to Taoiseach, John A. Costello

“High emigration, granted a population excess, releases social tension which would otherwise explode, and makes possible a stability of manners and customs which would otherwise be the subject of radical change. It is a national advantage that it is easy for emigrants to establish their lives in other parts of the world not merely from the point of view of Irish society but from the point of view of the individuals concerned whose horizon of opportunity is widened.”


Bartholomew - February 24, 2013

And to my knowledge, the first person to make the point about the Land War and 1916 coming after periods of low emigration was David Fitzpatrick, who was discussed here last week. It was in a brilliant short book called ‘Irish Emigration’.


richotto - February 24, 2013

Theres also the implicit policy of the comfortable middle class (including public sector) I referred to above to let eventual emigrants pay the price as in previous generations rather than share the wealth of the country more equally.


EWI - February 24, 2013

I’ve yet to meet any public sector workers who approve a policy of emigration. Certainly I don’t have the policy of a younger sibling being forced to emigrate.

Poor trolling. D-.


Dr. X - February 24, 2013

Not too sure about this one. Greece and Spain both have significant diaspora communities, maybe not as big as ours, but real all the same.

My friend from Barcelona told me once that there’s a whole genre of songs that go something like “my grandfather went to Cuba” (i.e. Cuba in the 1890s) and her family were all anarchists back when it really mattered. . .


egoldstein76 - February 24, 2013

I take your point, but I think the world today is very different – we are white (and in comparison with the whiteness of those from the Med that, unfortunately does make a difference I feel) and English speaking which counts for a lot in getting into countries like the US and Oz. Certainly, any Greeks and Spaniards that I have spoken to don’t seem to give the impression that they have the same numbers emigrating.

Putting that aside though, I feel that the fixation with the opinion polls, while ignoring the exodus, skews the argument in favour of the establishment and fits neatly into the political/economic divide that capitalism thrives on. An argument made for, or a poll taking account of, those who have left would challenge the media portrayal of FG/FF as the only show in town, and highlight the reality that the crisis is human made.


Dr. X - February 24, 2013

Being English-speaking is still significant, being white not so much. I’m not saying the Irish complexion is irrelevant, just that some receiving countries don’t make it part of their criteria for accepting new immigrants (as early as 1971, Canada had a majority of its immigrants from non-European backgrounds).

You’re right about the polls, though. They don’t passively reflect reality, they actively shape it.


shea - February 24, 2013

we have an emigration rate that some put as high as 87,000 in a year, others put it around 35,000 when returning and inward migration is factored in. both numbers are considerably high considering we had a state high birth rate of 75,000 in 2012. crude way of describing it but we are possibly exporting at least 40% of a comparable birth crop in a given year. would be surprised if there are many comparable states in europe.



richotto - February 24, 2013

I did say it was an implicit policy. Forced emigration was always avoidable in this country but lobbyists and vested interests with power to look after themselves in allocation of the states rescources were highly successful in doing so. This was at the expense of neccessary funds for job creation policies such as infrastructure and public works. Thats just a simple fact.


WorldbyStorm - February 24, 2013

Even were that accurate, and I think it’s highly contestable, it seems to me to stand some way distant from your original contention. It’s also possible to argue that the sentiment towards broadly (albeit often rhetorically) if diffusely more redistributive rather than less redistributive parties in terms of voting patterns would suggest PS workers in particular went for the former. Though given that in 2007 the LP itself played with ideas like cutting income taxes the range of choices for the former have been diminished by the political classes themselves.


RosencrantzisDead - February 25, 2013

In fairness, WbS, this ‘implicit’ policy and more is written about in the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Merrion Street’. Both Enda Kenny and Eoghan Harris have seen a copy of it.


irishelectionliterature - February 25, 2013

Was talking to a Portuguese colleague about emigration patterns there and whilst there are only a few like him that went to Ireland, most go to the old Portuguese colonies of Brazil and Angola, both countries with growing economies.

Regarding Irish Emigrants depriving the Left of votes, well their parents in rural Ireland (and of course there is emigration in urban areas) are still voting for FG or FF and were voting for FF and FG when waving goodbye to their children during the last recession too.


shea - February 25, 2013

irish election.

maybe their parents or people they leave behind benefit from remittance or save money from one less mouth to feed or competition for work in the locality.


8. ivorthorne - February 24, 2013

FF left government but their successors continued their policies. For many on the center right, this just proved that all politicians are the same. They swallow the TINA argument. When there is no difference between FF and FG is it really so shocking that they have similar poll ratings?


9. doctorfive - February 26, 2013

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