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“You’d miss Labour……..” May 31, 2017

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.

“You’d miss Labour” was said to me recently.
In a strange way Labours current troubles can be dated back to September 2008 when they voted against the Bank Guarantee. They shot up by 6 points in the polls and it also gave them a unique selling point (there were no far Left TD’s 2007 to 2011) with an electorate horrified at the blanket guarantee given to the banks. (Incidentally SFs initial support of the Guarantee did them no favours at all) Time went on and the better voting against it looked.
In the 2009 European and Local elections Labour fared very well.
Labour were trusted and in 2011 many had great expectations as they got their best ever election result ….. then they went into government and well we know the rest.
When Labour fared poorly before there was almost always a way back. The WP would have been a challenge in the 80’s , DL in the 90’s but eventually The WP Split and DL , The DSP and The ISO joined up with Labour and they were able to absorb their competition and the Centre Left was all theirs again.
Indeed this is hinted at by Jack O’Connor..

We will have to reach out to people who share our worldview. We have to make approaches to the people who are in the Social Democratic Party and other independent social democrats and democratic socialists.

This time though we have a smaller Labour Party … we have Sinn Fein , The Social Democrats, Solidarity-PBP, The WP and even The Greens occupying the same space as Labour would have covered in the past. There is also the largest Far Left that there has been since the WP in their heyday. Added to that Fianna Fail are pretending to be everybody’s friend and there are Independent TDs that can often be all things to all people. We also have a case where Sinn Fein has a far bigger regional reach than the WP ever had. There is no constituency in the country where Sinn Fein are not active and they would have Councillors in every Constituency in the Country.
So Competition to Labour will mean that its way back is harder.
A Labour Local Area Representative called to the house recently, I missed him but here he was with his team out two years before a Local Election. It’s going to be a long hard two years for him and the other Labour LARs that have been selected. Canvassing is a tiring time consuming business. An election campaign is tiring enough but going to work, coming home and then going out canvassing a few nights a week, being at the local shops over the weekend or whatever must be a tough station.(I know there are tougher things).
As pointed out before these are hard times for Labour and it’s going to be hard for them to improve much for the next few years.

That SBP poll May 31, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

One has to wonder at what is happening in Irish politics at the moment. The latest SBP poll offers us this:

FG 29 +5 (/4 wks)
FF 21 -7 (!!)
SF 15 -3
Ind 14 +4
Lab 6
SD 4
IA 3 +1
SolPBP 3 -1
Green 3
Renua 1
Ors 1 +1

And here’s the first preference vote in 2016.

Fine Gael (25.5%)
Fianna Fáil (24.3%)
Sinn Féin (13.8%)
Labour Party (6.6%)
AAA-PBP (3.9%)
Social Democrats (3.0%)
Green Party (2.7%)
Renua Ireland (2.2%)
Independents 4 Change (1.5%)
Other (16.5%)

What’s interesting is how much of the movement is between FF and FG. And certainly one would have to accept that the focus of attention on the latter party due to the change of leadership is doing them little harm. IEL asked was it possible that Enda Kenny had proven to be a drag on their support. It seems possible.

But the relative lack of movement elsewhere, most of it, bar SF, being within the MOE, suggests that others are broadly speaking happy enough with their choices, at least so far. And that, to an extent, makes sense. If you’re voting Solidarity/PBP or GP or indeed LP (that band of hardy souls) you’re probably not going to go too far from that. SD’s too, perhaps, and even SF sees its vote perhaps streaming somewhat to Independents.

But what isn’t evident is any significant swings from Inds/Others to FF or FG. If that is baked in, at least for a while to come, then movements in support for those parties will largely consist of poaching support from the other before gaining it from Ind/Others. Of course that’s not quite how it works. But the reality of upper limits on both the FG and FF vote across the last year is somewhat surprising. Perhaps they will find it near enough impossible to break above those limits. And after all, to do so they’d have to ‘mine’ the Ind/Other categories too.

But that isn’t happening – yet. So far those in those areas appear indifferent to Varadkar or Coveney’s charms (and what if this election contest in FG has the opposite effect to the intended, where a May-like focus as in UK GE2017 means that people see Varadkar and don’t exactly warm to him?) . Is that going to be factored in in relation to the date of the next election. It surely is.

Latest UK GE 2017 Poll Projection May 31, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

As noted by Dermot O’Connor in comments… from The Times.

The Conservative Party could be in line to lose 20 seats and Labour gain nearly 30 in next week’s general election, according to new modelling by one of the country’s leading pollsters.

YouGov’s first constituency-by- constituency estimate of the election result predicts that the Tories would fall short of an overall majority by 16 seats, leading to a hung parliament.

Early days yet, but.

What you want to say – 31st May, 2017 May 31, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

The Irish Left: What is to be Done? A Monthly thread… May 2017 May 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

SoS suggested some time back that we should do this thread regularly. And it is worth considering matters in the light of changing circumstances.

So, a couple of issues to throw into the pot. A change of leadership in Fine Gael, what if any are the implications for the left? Some comprehensive debunking of the idea the LP is exhibiting a revival in Dublin – but how is it going for others in that city? And what about more widely? And how prepared is the left for the next election?

Public sector wages… May 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Stephen Kinsella had a piece in the SBP recently about public sector wages which is unusually sympathetic. Not entirely – this is the SBP, this is S. Kinsella, but much more so than might be expected. And he makes two excellent points and one that is more questionable. For the latter he argues that tenure should be taken more into account in such negotiations. I’m unsure about that. How can one quantify it? How should it be quantified? And there’s always the suspicion that if push came to shove security of tenure would be a disposable commodity.

As to the former, he notes that public sector wages are spent on private sector goods. As he notes ‘cutting one entails cuts to the other’. Secondly he makes a crucial point made here only this week in response to another piece on the same topic.

Workers should look forward to a long retirement pad for by their work and by their employers. This should be true regardless of whether they work in the private secotr of the public sector… the real discussion should be why so many in the private sector have no pensions, and no relative security of tenure. 

Spot on.

What we are reading and the CLR book club Week 22 May 2017 May 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

How about those of us who want to start re-reading Sean Swan’s ‘Official Irish Republicanism: 1962-1972’. It’s available from various online and offline sources. How do we proceed? Read chapters and have thoughts each week in this column? If so, how many chapters, so we are at least on the same page? The Intro alone is so comprehensive shall we take that and then address questions in it.

And what are people reading at the moment?

UK GE2017 campaign: This wasn’t meant to happen… May 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Labour now in some polls four or more points ahead of its 2015 level. Jeremy Corbyn performing so well that some think he was markedly better than May in the interviews and public Q&As last night. Of course for all that the Tories remain further ahead and have inbuilt structural advantages (no Scotland to worry about, a phenomenon where increased LP vote share piles up in constituencies where there is no contest etc), hence the fact that even significant upticks in the LP vote does not transfer into seat gains. But even so. What was meant to be a coronation for May has turned into something quite quite different.

How different? Look at Andrew Rawnsley’s column titles from the last month. The last month, which started with a Labour ‘catastrophe’ at the local elections and has proceeded to ‘The Supreme Leaders doesn’t seem so invincible now’. That in the space of precisely four weeks.

Perhaps that is because as he notes criticisms of Corbyn are ‘baked in’, and as people see him, or rather more people see him, his calmness and articulacy outweighs the negative aspects.

As Rawnsley noted at the weekend (and I think he’s useful as a sort of mainstream benchmark, as it were):

What such a very presidential Tory campaign, which has boiled down to saying that Mrs May is simply entitled to be prime minister, has invited people to do is make a closer inspection of her character. Many voters began the campaign saying that they liked what they saw, but they were working on the basis of not having seen all that much of a woman who rarely looks at ease under scrutiny. A few of us have said for some time that she is not the most awesome political genius ever to walk the planet. She is a mixed bag of strengths and weaknesses who has been greatly flattered by the absence of competition from within her own party and among her rival leaders.

I have long anticipated a downward correction in how she is regarded. Where I was wrong was in thinking this re-evaluation would begin after the election rather than during it.


The campaign has made some of her deficiencies more apparent to her fellow Tories, the media and the electorate. The dreadful mess she got herself into over social care was a defining moment. A highly contentious policy on a very combustible issue was conceived with virtually no consultation of ministers, not even those relevant to its implementation. When it provoked ferocious hostility, other Tories were very happy for it to be “her manifesto” and therefore not one they felt they had any responsibility to defend. Only a few May loyalists – the work and pensions secretary, Damian Green, prominent among them – were prepared to do battle for her. So were some commentators who commended Mrs May for her audacity. They were left to feel like fools when their support was rewarded with a screeching U-turn by Mrs Strong and Stable. She became the first party leader to ditch a central manifesto policy in the middle of a campaign. She then took everyone else for fools by trying to pretend that “nothing has changed” when it so palpably had. It was the first time in her 10 months as prime minister that I have seen journalists respond to her with open mockery.

Last night she encountered similar open mockery from her audience. Never a good look for a Prime Minister and absolutely poison in the context of an election campaign.

Of course it is essential to keep in mind that this does not mean that the LP is cruising towards victory. Anything but. But it does mean that far from being a busted flush the LP is very much a going concern, that Corbyn’s leadership is – one would expect – somewhat more certain than it was even a month ago and that his gentle efforts to push it in a mildly leftward direction can continue into the next parliament. If the LD threat can be seen off that too will be a considerable gain. At the start of this election campaign my greatest concern and fear and expectation was that this would be a matter of simple survival (or at least rescuing as much as possible from the ruins). That it has turned into something quite different, that it has weakened May and strengthened the LP, was beyond expectation or hope. It is great to see. A week to go. Every day counts in clawing back space for the left.

Those UK Election debates… May 29, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Corbyn first and doing well, very well in fact.

T. May up soon.

Difficult not to think that opponents of the LP leadership, both internal and external, have been very unwise. Firing off so much ammunition in advance of GE2017 left them a lot less in reserve for days like this. And it allowed the public to get a sense of Corbyn (as well as allowing him to fashion credible answers to the obvious questions). Lowering expectations is all very well, but Corbyn is no neophyte, whatever the caricature and has allowed him to present a much more commanding figure.

Moreover the determination to remain as leader despite all this has, in a weird way, almost offered him the equivalent of the dreaded ‘Clause IV’ moment, in reverse. Facing down internal opponents has been for far too long a badge of political prowess – but Corbyn was forced into this, and through the leadership challenge went the distance, has perhaps legitimised him.

None of this means that the BLP will win in a week or so. But it has meant that, paradoxically and counterintuitively he is in remarkably good shape, much much better than expected. As Ed noted before, the leadership in the BLP has (with a couple of obvious exceptions) played a blinder so far.

Anti-partitionists? May 29, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Good point here from Noel Whelan in relation to how Varadkar and Coveney offer no path away from the (generally acknowledged) Dáil ‘logjam’. It is remarkable how static matters are – and one has to suspect that this suits almost everyone involved. There’s time to recuperate, marshal forces, and build for the future for the broad spectrum of Irish political groups and parties. Moreover as the campaigns dissipate as campaigns tend to do it offers a breathing space to work out what to do next.

Here’s an oddity that perhaps is suggestive of how the candidates attempt to carve out electoral ground in the Republic.

Northern Ireland gets more prominence in both documents then might have been expected. It illustrates the extent to which Brexit has transformed the context for Northern Ireland policy over the last year. Varadkar in his document talks of “preparing for the possibility that a United Ireland or shared sovereignty will occur in our lifetime”. He is not specific about those preparations merely saying that we “should explore how we can co-operate more fully on this island and between these islands”.
Coveney’s document goes even further. He says Fine Gael “should develop a positive economic and strategic case for the reunification of Ireland over time and within the EU”. He promises a White Paper on possible reunification to be published before November together with an All-Island Forum and a Dáil committee to explore possible options for the future of North-South relations. Both of them however have emphatically ruled out a Border poll “at this time”.

Who’d have thought it? And yet, and yet. An Sionnach Fionn has some measured thoughts on just how empty all this actually is.

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