Labour in the Margin of Error November 16, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
Last weekends Sunday Times poll showed Labour on 3% and while I’ve a feeling that they will get back up to 5 or 6% come an Election I reckon that they need 3 years at least to be in any shape to contest an election successfully. It’s amazing to think they were 32% above their current position at one stage in 2010. At that stage they also recruited high profile candidates from areas of the Country where Labour would not have been traditionally strong. They looked like a National Party then.
It took the Greens years to recover after their 2009 and 2011 drubbings. Even now morale must be very poor in Labour. The truth is that pre this years election many in Labour failed to see the writing on the wall . There were leaks of internal reports showing that they could get as few as 14 seats but nothing compared to the electoral devastation that happened. I suspect they took the result of the Marriage Equality Campaign personally, equated the good reception they got in areas during that campaign to them being popular.The shiny new HQ was vacated, staff were sadly let go. A lot of TDs and Senators lost jobs…..
There is now a different Dail dynamic too. Where in the past Labour could leave government and get up on their high horse against a new FF led government, now they are in the queue behind FF, SF, Independents and followed by AAAPBP. The opposition benches are fairly crowded.
This in turn leads to less TV or Radio time for Labour. Their profile is way down. The same map but this time where Labour stand today. Traditional areas like Cork City, Meath, Sligo and Wicklow lie blank.Areas previously with Labour public Reps are blank (The abolition of Town Councils hit Labour a bit).
So Brendan Howlin has to hope to rebuild the party. ITour the grassroots and try and get the parties confidence and message back. From experience it’s fairly disheartening canvassing when doors are being shut , insults being doled out and voters not very friendly. You might give it a miss the odd night , especially as canvassing can be a tiring pain in the backside. If I were Howlin I’d latch on to something positive and try and campaign around that, get the enjoyable evenings back again….. trouble is having been so recently in Government it’s hard to find the right issue.
Another thing they need to do is change their attitude of what sounded like moaning at an ungrateful electorate. A feeling that Labour were the Bees Knees and Cats Pajamas in Government. Recognise that they made mistakes, what the mistakes were be it pre-election promises in 2011 or whatever but also their tone which in some cases was almost “we know whats good for you”.
This could take years and we’re more than likely to have a General Election (or two) before the next Local Elections in 2019. Labour need the new blood Local Elections could bring.
As it stands will Labours 7 TD’s be running the next time? Howlin, Sherlock and Ryan look safe but will Jan O’Sullivan , Joan Burton or Willie Penrose retire? None of the three are safe. Which leaves Alan Kelly, a hard one to call.
As for gaining seats well I’d imagine there would be a massive effort to get Aodhán O’Ríordáin, Kevin Humphreys, Deidre Kingston , Ged Nash and some others elected but they could easily return with less than 7 TD’s …. and then a heave against Howlin ?
In a way it took Labour to become unpopular for the Greens to come back and look almost fresh again, Fianna Fail are well on their way to being back too. The Labour Party has too much tradition and History to die off but the centre is a very crowded place in Irish Politics at the moment. A General Election will tell an awful lot about how long it will take them to get back. I suppose too they have to define what they are aiming for , what is being back? …..