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If these focus groups are meant to be representative… January 30, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This from the IT today, the findings of ‘focus groups’ on politics, political parties and so on. But how representative are the four ‘social groups’ chosen as regards their weight in the broader society? Well…


Ipsos MRBI held four focus-group discussions on behalf of The Irish Times on January 20th and 21st.

The participants were undecided and open voters from four social groups: urban working-class people in the C2 and DE social categories; thirtysomething workers in the modest-income C1 category; a group from Meath and Kildare in the A and B middle and upper-middle classes; and third-level students. Each group contained eight people and was facilitated by Damian Loscher of Ipsos MRBI.


Findings from focus groups are not statistically robust. Their objective is to explore motivations rather than to measure opinions like a traditional poll.

Which seems pretty pointless.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… covers of U2 songs January 30, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

First off if you haven’t read “David Bowie The Cork Years” it’s well worth it…….

It was this wonderful cover of U2s ‘Out of Control’ by Dave Long (ex Into Paradise) posted by the wonderful Fanning Sessions that got me looking for other covers of U2 songs. Most of them that I found aren’t great but I like these ones.

Apartment building economically unviable… so… January 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I read this today – a piece about a supposedly unpublished report from the Department of the Environment which states:

Not withstanding the effects of the economic crash on the property sector, additional restrictions imposed by local authority apartments standards meant that new apartment development would remain economically unviable, the report said.

And I think to myself. If something is economically unviable isn’t that the point at which the state should step in in an active role? No? 

Or is it that we have the now usual default to doing nothing unless commercial entities are willing to be involved. 

Of course we also face the unlovely split between social housing and all other housing, rather than seeing the latter as something the state should be championing much more universally. 

But really what we see here is a good example of where the aversion to the active state (or the state assisting cooperative and mutual forms of endeavour) leads to dismal outcomes. 

Political advertising… January 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Not a bad overview of Lynton Crosby’s stewardship of the Tory campaign last year. The ‘dead cat’ strategy is of particular interest.

Boris Johnson (who had previously employed Crosby as his campaign manager during the 2008 and 2012 London mayoral elections) had once described the strategy like this: “There is one thing that is absolutely certain about throwing a dead cat on the dining room table – and I don’t mean that people will be outraged, alarmed, disgusted. That is true, but irrelevant. The key point, says my Australian friend, is that everyone will shout, ‘Jeez, mate, there’s a dead cat on the table!’ In other words, they will be talking about the dead cat – the thing you want them to talk about – and they will not be talking about the issue that has been causing you so much grief.”

But there’s also this:

Crosby tells me as much. “Advertising is one in a number of tools in a campaign,” he says, before listing direct mail and phone calls as equally important components. “The most effective advertising is that which takes an existing perception and leverages it. Advertising is, of itself, not a very persuasive medium or a mind-changing tool. Its purpose is really to reinforce and trigger existing perceptions.”

And we see that in political activity on a continual basis. Work on the ground is what delivers votes and voters and support to campaigns. In other words that is what builds the perceptions and then advertising in whatever form (including campaigns themselves to an extent) reinforce those perceptions.

Of course there are other issues. Crosby and the Tories played on perceptions of Ed Mliband to considerable effect. And there was a vicious circle wherein the right wing press used the Miliband years to attack the Labour leader which was then taken up before and during the election campaign.

Brexit… and more January 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

William Keegan in the Observer is  unashamedly in favour of membership of the EU, much more so that many/most on this site. But he’s also unashamedly antagonistic to the reigning tropes of the EU – ‘austerity’ and so on so it’s always intriguing to read how he squares various circles. Not sure he quite manages that in his latest column at the weekend, but he does raise the questions as to why the ‘Conservative party should be so obsessed with Brexit’. It’s an interesting question and I think it points to aspects of British identity – particularly on the right amongst other things.
Still he also notes that should there be a Brexit…  


It will not be the end of the world if we leave, but it will almost certainly be the end of the UK, on the reasonable assumption that Scotland would want to break away.


And this is quite pertinent:

The idea that we should tear up treaty arrangements negotiated over decades, and then renegotiate from a position of bargaining weakness, almost beggars belief.

He ultimately feels that Britain as is is ‘perfectly positioned in Europe’ and that there’s no pressure if the decision is to remain in the EU to join any closer union. He concludes:


My own view is that the British remain essentially conservative with a very small “c” and, other things being equal, would balk at such a retrograde step. But the opinion polls are worrying for us pro-Europeans, and the prime minister, although now apparently having stood up to be counted, is terrified of how migration will affect public opinion.

I therefore draw solace from the fact that last week the odds at William Hill were 2-5 for a vote to stay in and 9-5 for Brexit. The big question is: will voters follow the money in the end?

I don’t know. We’ll see.

He says that now… January 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has ruled out a role for Lucinda Creighton’s Renua party in a new coalition government.

Mr Varadkar said he did not think a three-party government, involving Fine Gael, Labour and Renua, would work.



“Particularly when they talk about their red lines, such as the flat tax and some of the other more exotic policies, they’d have to pretty much give up all their red lines and I don’t see them doing that,” he said in an interview with The Irish Times.



…but in four weeks time? And how about a four party coalition? Or five? Or…


This Week At Irish Election Literature January 29, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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Starting off with some 1916 related leaflets
“Easter 1916” leaflet from Sarah Holland of Sinn Fein
“Remembering The Rising” from Jim O’Callaghan giving a map of relevant locations in Dublin Bay South

Easter Rising Centenary leaflet from Seán Haughey

Then the ‘unusual’ Election Times paper from Kate O’Connell of Fine Gael

The Fine Gael General Election Canvass Guide

“Labour ..What Difference Have We Made” a card for Labour Members

Theres loads more with an index of leaflets from The General Election here

Which TD will get the least number of votes in the General Election? January 28, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

Which current TD (Sean Barrett aside) contesting the election will get the lowest votes?
Any suggestions?
Peter Mathews and Eamonn Maloney spring to mind……

Mike Quill January 28, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Many thanks to the person who noted that it is the 50th anniversary of the death of Mike Quill, one of the most significant left-wing Irish labour leaders in New York history. Here is an article from about 10 years ago.

Galway West Constituency Poll January 28, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

The Galway Advertiser has a Constituency poll for Galway West.
They also have a number of articles on the poll.
The results… quota is 16.66%.
Eamon Ó Cúiv (FF) 16%
Trevor Ó Clochartaigh (SF) 12%
Seán Kyne (FG) 10.5%
Noel Grealish (Ind) 10%
Derek Nolan (Lab) 7.5%
Hildegarde Naughton (FG) 7.5%
John O’Mahony (FG) 7%
Catherine Connolly (Ind) 6.5%
John Connolly (FF) 5%
Fidelma Healy-Eames (Ind) 3.5%
Niall Ó Tuathail (SD) 3.5 %
with the others taking between two to 0.5 per cent support each.

Now the sample was low but I think this shows how close and unpredictable the final few seats are. It also shows what a jump in support of a few per cent could do for Labours chances.

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