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A view of the latest RedC/SBP poll November 1, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Let us turn to the paper itself where McDowell has harsh words for FF and FG. It was ever thus, wasn’t it? He argues that given how similar the parties are policy wise…

…if as appears likely FF will not seek a mandate to enter into government with FG after the next election and will compound that stance by ruing out an FG-FF coalition, we are collectively stuck with a ‘choice’ between two hotchpotch coalitions kept in office on a supply and confidence arrangement by two equally hotchpotch oppositions.

But this, surely, isn’t a glitch but a feature, necessary to prevent the development of a left, or lefts that could strike for state power, or am I reading matters incorrectly?

McDowell argues that:

This is a recipe for permanent weakness and paralysis in our democracy. The recent faced budget is one token of the de critic vacuum we live in. Current industrial unrest in the public sector simply reflects an expectation of political appeasement and drift.

Up to a point that last. He surely can appreciate that after a decade or so of austerity and wage and condition cuts public sector workers are entirely legitimately seeking some amelioration of their situation. Anyhow, this is more on the nose:

The Oireachtas, our national parliament is on ‘standby’ mode. Ministers and their departments have lost their appetite to legislate or to reform. They prefer to farm out the legislative function to the the citizen’s form and to farm out the Dáil’s function of political accountability to enquiries.

He’s not wrong in that last. This is an administration that is doing the bare minimum and keeping controversy at bay – as best it can. How that works out, well, we’ll see.

He notes the most recent poll:

As for the left the poll suggests that SF may well be in danger of catching Labour’s disease. AAA/PBP is capitalising on abortion, industrial unrest and rent control agitation to steal the limelight from the rest of the comrades.

But he makes a most interesting observation:

But still the Left’s share of the overall vote is static. No party of the Left has the appetite for office, and the politics of protest is a crowded market.

No, not the boilerplate of the last sentence above but the first. There really is just a shifting of ballast on the leftish vote.

When you add the Independent vote of 10 per cent to the 51 per cent support of the Civil War parties, middle Ireland seems to heavily outweighs the Left. But even then, the breakdown of middle Ireland’s vote across FF, FG and the Independents makes for a neutered insipid politics that lacks vision and purpose – except perhaps the purpose of self-preservation most effectively symbolised by Enda Kenny’s long, long goodbye.

And he adds.

The much-vaunted centre is holding on by its fingernails. Middle Ireland is losing confidence in its politics.

Of course, there’s one solution for him, sort of…

If just one TD was elected in each constituency at the next election on a policy platform based on forming a coalition with one or other of the centre parties, we could have an effective government well placed to deal with the consequences of Brexit, public pay policy issues, political reform, local government reform, reform of the grossly unfair LPT which promises severe injustice in certain parts of the country in two years’s time, housing, health and many other issues.

Does the require a new party? It may do. It probably does.

But he must know that given the number of constituencies that’s an impossible challenge for any group. He might also reflect upon the Independent Alliance which, in some ways, is that very group, albeit somewhat more nebulous. And there’s the small problem that ‘new’ parties of the supposed centre are conspicuous by their absence. Renua had many problems, not least its rightward tilt, but that wasn’t it alone. With FF and FG so close, he himself notes that, then what is the percentage in another party which is essentially them in slightly different garb?

Again we come back to the present arrangement. I’d bet that’s just hunky dory for quite a lot of people. At least so long as it persists and so long as FF is in government next time about. New party? Why they don’t want the competition. And neither does the electorate of this state, at least not at the moment.

Comments»

1. Gewerkschaftler - November 1, 2016

But Ireland is far from exceptional here. Two centre right parties committed to the neo-lib playbook that either coalesce (e.g. Germany) or support each other by minority government (Spain).

It’s a consequence of technocratic TINA politics and left alliances can make increasing headwind against them. But so equally can populist rightwing xenophobes and racists. Luckily Ireland has so far escaped the latter.

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CMK - November 1, 2016

‘Identity Ireland’ are listed in Iris Ofiguil for registration as a political party.

http://www.irisoifigiuil.ie/currentissues/Ir281016.pdf

FF/FG largely retain their position because they have extracted the politics out of ‘politics’ and their deep roots in the community. It doesn’t matter that said community will have been largely wrecked by these parties. Look at any local newspaper and it is wall-to-wall photo ops of local FG and FF figures, whether TDs, Cllrs or just ordinary activists. The ‘North County Leader’ is an extreme example as its commitment to promoting FF is fanatical.

McDowell senses something is out of kilter with his understanding of how society should be structured. What that is, of course, he misdiagnoses.

When the government here is largely committed to revenue extraction, facilitating tax avoidance globally, servicing vulture funds’ investments and providing just enough public services to keep a lid on things, all the niceties about ‘vision’ etc are superfluous.

To be a mainstream Irish politician is to be, in the first instance, a collections agent for global capital and a plenipotentiary of capital. McDowell will never see that but can can sense the growing mismatch between what he thinks a government should be doing and what it is actually doing. There is no political theory that covers what the Irish government is doing now.

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2. sonofstan - November 1, 2016

” No party of the Left has the appetite for office,”
More accurtely, no party of the left has an appetite for office as a minority component. If it swung the other way, would either FG or FF take office with SF or – for the sake of argument – AAA/ PbP as the major party?

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Alibaba - November 1, 2016

Starting with the broad assumption, as I do, the media has long since attacked Gerry Adams, sometimes viciously. His leadership is not up for toleration most certainly by Fine Gael and most likely by Fianna Fail.  I was wrong last year to say that Adams  would be gone by mid 2016. I went further and predicted a Sinn Fein and FF kinda merger arrangement as only a matter of time, say four years. I’m not keen on getting it wrong, especially if it becomes characteristic. With changed circumstances, Brexit and whatever, I am more of the view that political acrobatics might deliver a few unexpected results next time round. 

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3. CMK - November 1, 2016
sonofstan - November 1, 2016

Not impossible. I can see two extra seats straight away: DBN and Limerick City. Others? Dublin North? A second seat in DSW?

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WorldbyStorm - November 1, 2016

10 would be feasible on that vote share. Definitely.

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sonofstan - November 1, 2016

Any advance on Limerick City for constituencies outside Dublin that might be AAA/ PBP targets?

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WorldbyStorm - November 1, 2016

I’m not the man to ask. I think DBN would be a good chance (tricky constituency but presumably the SD challenge and some of the indos would be out of the picture). A hold with Brid Smith, one Limerick. A couple more in Dublin. There’s a problem in that, as we know from SF, a party can get a good vote, even a very good one and still not come back with quite the seat numbers it should – relative to percentages. For example, Labour on 10% regularly had 20 or so TDs. SF on 14% got 23. So there’s the issue of is there a structure and membership there and candidates to take advantage of it, or is the vote pooled in a constituency or whatever. But yes, two to four seats extra would surely be doable on 9-10%.

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irishelectionliterature - November 1, 2016

2 in Dublin South West is possible, Zappone is surely a goner and although FG would be favourites to fill her seat I think SF or AAA-PBP could get a second seat here. Louth is the other one (aside from Limerick and Cork) outside Dublin that Kavanagh has predicted.

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CMK - November 1, 2016

Louth is possible, Garrett Weldon came close enough last time round. But his vote is geographically concentrated in Dundalk and he did very poorly in Drogheda and mid-Louth. Louth is, in fact, two constituencies in one: a three seater in Dundalk and a two seater in Drogheda. Weldon would have to activate a base outside Dundalk to build on his solid 3000 first preferences there in February. So far, that hasn’t happened.

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4. murf - November 2, 2016

Any possibility of a WP seat in Dublin or Waterford?

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Joe - November 2, 2016

Nah, I’d say. Cork neither, but prob get its best vote there.

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