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A Labour Leadership contest May 10, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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With Joan Burton expected to step down today…What a choice they have!
It appears to be Sean Sherlock or Alan Kelly. With the Parliamentary Party shorn of any real Left Wing choices (like Labour in the UK had with Corbyn) it really is a tough job for whoever gets it.
Where do you start? They will be almost irrelevant in the Dail and surely next time around we won’t see Joan Burton (67), Jan O’Sullivan (65) and possibly Brendan Howlin (60) , Brendan Ryan (63) and even Willie Penrose (59). They should get a number of new Councillors elected in 2019 but if there is a General Election before that then they could end up with even less than the current 7 that they hold. There will be retirements and Penrose could struggle, indeed Sherlock is probably the safest of the lot.
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin , Ged Nash, Kevin Humphreys would be in with a chance but hard to see too many other places that you could currently say Labour are in with a decent shout of a seat.
There is a possibility too that a change in leadership in Sinn Fein and Fine Gael will dampen any prospects of a Labour recovery.
As an aside I was watching the Assembly Election coverage and most of the Northern Sinn Fein names were unfamiliar to me. Adams and McGuinness were household names all over the Island and beyond. It’s going to be very difficult for them to chose a new leader that resonates in both parts of the Island. Mary Lou is probably the only one that would be able to carry it off. A Sinn Fein led by Mary Lou would be a slightly different beast than one led by Adams. I’m sure the media could dig up different lines of attack but I think she has the potential to further damage Labour.

Comments»

1. roddy - May 10, 2016

A “big name” is not really needed in the North.A reputation at local level is suffice.When McGuinness left my constituency of Mid Ulster to contest Foyle,know nothings in the media said his absence would hit SF.Step forward Ian Milne,low profile in political terms but with a CV that would put any Tan war veteran in the halfpenny place.The only posters he appeared on during the conflict were “wanted” posters that most people imagine to have only existed in cowboy films.His exploits included exiting Portlaoise jail by the front gate and taking the said gate with him by blowing it off it’s hinges,touring the free state in hijacked Garda cars and pinning down hundreds of British soldiers as they swept South Derry in vain attempts to catch him.His jail time in total over 3 decades approached 18 years so when I see people describe young Johnny come latelys as “anti establishment ” compared to SF it really makes me laugh.When the votes were counted Ian topped the poll taking the 5th highest vote in all the North,his 2 running mates close behind ,all 3 elected on the first count and everybody away home by “first tae”!

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irishelectionliterature - May 10, 2016

My point was that there are very few of the Northern Sinn Fein public Reps known in the Republic and that in all likelihood the next SF leader will have to be from the Republic.
Sinn Feins success in the Assembly Elections probably shows that a big name is not needed.
As a matter of interest which SF MLA would be likely to replace Martin McGuinness when he eventually steps down from his duties as Deputy First Minister?

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gendjinn - May 10, 2016

Everyone is expecting Mary Lou McDonald, and she’s certainly been giving the grooming to step in.

Thing is. I kinda have to call bullshit on the idea that “the south” gets a turn at leadership of an all Ireland party. Isn’t that echoing a partitionist framing that we should dispense with wherever possible?

Also, I say there’s a hard national conversation coming in 2022/23 when we start examining the consequences of partition through centenaries. The few anecdotes roddy has shared of abandonment of northern nationalists by the south is going to have to be addressed. In that context a northern party, with a new southern leader might face tough political headwinds in the north.

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benmadigan - May 10, 2016

Re:”The few anecdotes roddy has shared of abandonment of northern nationalists ” – think the feeling of abandonment is growing.

The penny dropped hard with the last FG government with its policy to intervene as little as possible and never, ever upset the British.

The penny rang loudly as it hit the floor when the President decided not to attend a 1916 centenary dinner organized by Belfast City hall, once the Unionists had declined their invitations.

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gendjinn - May 11, 2016

FG were always like that. AIA notwithstanding. You should have heard the various anecdotes about FG pols in the 80s we heard from my relative in the civil service. Bastards the lot of them.

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gendjinn - May 10, 2016

Another shocking and resounding defeat for Sinn Fein. And for catholic, sectarian terrorism in general. amirite?

The impression I got was this assembly election was the most low key, boring and understated election in NI that I can recall. There didn’t seem to be as much passion, venom or even interest on the blogs or in the papers.

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2. gendjinn - May 10, 2016

What new blood will head towards Labour? Surely anyone that previously thought Labour would head to SF, or further left to the exciting new kids on the block?

I think that leaves them depending on those who are already committed to the party. As you point out the national talent is precariously vulnerable, likely to lose half or more in the next GE. So what is the bench like in LG? Are there candidates to step up in 5 years (or likely less)?

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irishelectionliterature - May 10, 2016

If there is an election before the Locals in 2019 they will have little or no new blood with a chance of winning a seat.
The other elephant in the room is the Unions. How long more can Labour hang on to them?

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CMK - May 10, 2016

Labour have the union executives and many of the top officials in the bag. Indeed, the fall-back is for the union movement to sustain Labour over the coming years, nurse it back to health and make it a viable vehicle for the union upper echelons again. The union movement debased itself between 2011-2016 in support of Labour: FEMPI, JobBridge, silence over attacks on loan parents. The ‘collective bargaining rights’ that aren’t really collective bargaining rights introduced by Ged Nash last year are almost worthless when set against what union members lost over that five year period. SIPTU will be used as an incubator to keep Labour figures employed over the coming years as part of the effort to resuscitate it. Ditto with IMPACT. The views of members, however, may well be very different. It will an interesting one to watch……..

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gendjinn - May 10, 2016

Agree with CMK here. I remember watching the union leaders getting in & out of mercs along with the various Labour ministers in the 80s. It seemed obvious they’d been co-opted.

They haven’t really done much since then to prove otherwise.

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3. roddy - May 10, 2016

Up here ,I would imagine Conor Murphy will replace McGuinness.

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gendjinn - May 11, 2016

I would have thought the discrimination lawsuit would have knocked him out of the running? But he certainly would be more than capable for the job, but boy would U heads explode!

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4. rockroots - May 10, 2016

It’s very telling to see the Labour old guard out in force today, congratulating Joan Burton on her wonderful record in Social Protection, declaring that voters are already starting to rally around the flag again after their temporary insanity on election day. This bloody-minded refusal to acknowledge reality, blaming the electorate for not properly appreciating their genius (compared, say, with a slightly wounded FG attitude), is entertaining from the outside, but it doesn’t augur well for the future of the party.

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PaddyM - May 10, 2016

Trying to define themselves as *the* Irish Water party is truly bizarre. They would need to realise very bloody quickly that acting as the political wing of the Irish Times editorial page has brought them to the straits they’re in.

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WorldbyStorm - May 11, 2016

True, but I’ve a thought about the reason they’re taking the line they are which I’ll expand on later today.

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5. The water charges party | The Cedar Lounge Revolution - May 12, 2016

[…] The point was made this week by PaddyM amongst others that Labour is doubling down on being the Iris… It’s a great point and deeply puzzling. Here is a policy that has failed in every real sense. Whose delivery structures are about to be completely overhauled, whose funding mechanism faces the chop and where those who did pay in are likely to get rebates sooner rather than later. To lash oneself to the mast of that endeavour is curious in the extreme. […]

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