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The struggle of the age February 23, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Hilarious efforts to paint Varadkar and Coveney as interesting political figures in the Irish Times this week. And if they are uninteresting, I suppose one could point to some fascinating assumptions in the articles about them:

As a politician he is incredibly shrewd, as a person Varadkar is a deeply private man. When he made the decision to come out as a gay man he was greeted with instant respect and affection.
Within the party it gave a rare insight into a man who has earned a reputation as being uncomfortable in large social situations and evasive. His decision endeared Varadkar and the Fine Gael party to a new legion of supporters.

Really? Does that ring true?

And even if there’s something about the following, I wonder if it’s not a bit overstated:

His name is instantly recognisable, even to those who pay little or no interest to the world in which he operates. That ability has made him irresistible to some within Fine Gael. TDs often remark on how Varadkar’s face on a poster will instantly secure them more votes.

And as to his rival. Wait, that’s it on Varadkar? What does he believe in? What does he represent? There’s nothing there, is there?

Coveney by contrast is:

…by all accounts, sincere in all of his endeavours. He rarely shirks from a challenge, and asked for the Minister for Housing portfolio.
He is often classified as aloof and restrained because he does not schmooze well. Coveney keeps his distance.
He wants to stand on merit based on his policies. He, however, is the safe bet – a conservative who fails to excite in the same way as his nearest rival.

Okay, he’s conservative. He’s… er… sincere. He’s… What is he again? Is Varadkar not conservative?


…has a small number of close allies in Leinster House. His supporters have been dubbed the “Coveney Committee”, and have been less glaring in their backing. They favour a longer campaign, believing it will benefit them most.
They also do not want to push Kenny. They know he and his supporters will play a significant role in who wins the leadership.

Jesus wept. This is the struggle of our times. This is the great choice before us. Or the FG party and subsequently likely to be ‘our’ Taoiseach.
But wait, another piece from Kevin Cunningham, former strategist for the BLP and pollster with ‘Ireland Thinks’ suggests that:

For a long time there has been a casual disregard of ideological differences between supporters of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. However, a fissure has emerged between the two camps that might widen considerably with a Varadkar leadership.

Go on.

Fianna Fáil’s revival in 2016 was predominantly in rural towns that had been left behind. Voters in 2016 responded to significant differences between the Dublin recovery and the recovery of the rest of the country. The party’s support increased in Dublin by 3 per cent compared with 8 per cent in all other parts of the country.
While the two tribes are inseparable in respect of perceptions of left and right, small differences emerge along elitist-populist or global- local dimension, similar to the US and UK.


The postelection surveys by Red C and B&A show that Fianna Fáil supporters are less likely to have a third-level education. They are also older, significantly more working class, and more likely to live in a rural town. Most intriguingly, clear ideological differences emerge when voters are also asked for the probability that they would vote for either of the two parties.
In this straight choice, those more likely to favour Fianna Fáil are also more likely to favour restrictive measures in respect of immigration from non-EU countries (62per cent to 53 per cent in agreement). They are more likely to value the importance of a local TD (67 to 58), and less likely to believe that ordinary people get their fair share (66 to 55).

And the candidates? Well candidate actually, for Coveney doesn’t get a look in.

While significant, these differences are small, though it is undoubtedly the case that a Varadkar leadership would magnify these differences.
In his words, the future of Fine Gael is “Liberalism, globalism, equality of opportunity, enterprise and greater personal liberty and responsibility” (Sunday Independent, February 12th).
This classical liberal philosophy is diametrically opposed to what Fianna Fáil advocates under Micheál Martin. Varadkar laments this social democratic approach as being defined by higher taxes, more government, more spending, government intervention and leaning towards policies of nationalism and protectionism.


This is reinforced by recent evidence from the December Ireland Thinks poll, which showed that a Leo Varadkar leadership increases support for Fine Gael by 7 per cent. In this scenario, large numbers of younger, middle-class, university-educated voters switch allegiance from Fianna Fáil, with the party losing roughly a quarter of its under-40 voters in direct transfers to Fine Gael.
Most pertinent, though, Fianna Fáil also loses its liberal wing. We estimate their appetite for classical liberalism by asking whether a respondent agrees with the statement: “People should be free to do as they wish.”


Curiously though some of that loss is, or so Cunningham argues, mitigated by ‘the acquisition of Stephen Donnelly’. All this seems a bit spit-balling to me, but hey, what do I know? And what of this parting shot?

The one remaining aspect of this is where it leaves Sinn Féin. It is strategically sensible for Fianna Fáil to amplify its elite views, given that its primary opposition to leading the next government is Fine Gael. However, this leaves an opening for Sinn Féin, which is left with a free run to appeal to working-class voters – those “losers” of globalisation.


1. dublinstreams - February 23, 2017

did you watch the Coveney McWilliams interview wbs?


2. EWI - February 23, 2017

When he made the decision to come out as a gay man he was greeted with instant respect and affection.

This is possibly the stupidest thing written in the Irish Times this week. And shows up the liberal D4 bubble that the IT exists in, pining for a new St. Garret.


3. dublinstreams - February 23, 2017

and did he make the decision? or was he outed.


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