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Could the LP have salvaged its situation during the last government? August 30, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Some interesting letters in the IT at the weekend about the ILP’s current woes, one of which argued that:

The only chance of saving the Labour Party would have been if Joan Burton, on becoming leader and tánaiste, had withdrawn support for the water charges, and been prepared to bring the government down over it. She didn’t: the Labour Party is now in its completely predictable state.

I find that interesting, but surely it was too late already by then? And difficult to believe that the lobby attached to government at all cost would have been dissuaded from that view. After all there was an effort to push the LP back into coalition in 2016 despite the result. One of the genuine curiosities is the talk about some inside the LP being only too willing to reenter government. One has to ask why.


1. irishelectionliterature - August 30, 2018

The damage was done well before that…. The 2011 Tesco ad. … It was an incredible error done in a rush by Labour HQ without consulting anyone. In turn every other promise they made (like Ruairi Quinns Third Level Fees) was brought up.
Joan Burton changing tack on Water Charges wouldn’t have made any difference, it would have been seen as another cynical U Turn.


2. Jim Monaghan - August 30, 2018

The lure of a ministerial car trumps rebuilding the party and waiting for better days.


3. GW - August 30, 2018

Yes, it was already to late: the rot goes back further than that – the continuity ‘austerity’, pro-banker, anti-citizen government of 2011-2016.


Daniel Rayner O'Connor - August 30, 2018

I’m not so sure. I remember during Fitzgerald’s version of an austerity Government (’82-87) I prophesies that labour would be returned in the next election with between 12 and 2 seats. Dick Spring gained a certain amount of kudos by pulling the plug on the combination and his party got the maximum: 12. Had he not done so, it would probably have been less.
It is not for me to advise the LP, a party from which I departed long ago, but if I were to do so, i would have recommended to them the parable of the two lecherous bulls, which, alas, is rather too prurient to be repeated here.


GW - August 30, 2018

What – the “But Dad, by the time we get there they’ll all be gone!” version? 🙂


Daniel Rayner O'Connor - August 30, 2018

No, the ‘take it easy and we’ll take the lot’ version.


Daniel Rayner O'Connor - August 30, 2018

The above may give the wrong impression of my position. I would regard the fable swarming against over eager pursuit of office at any cost when all you will get is a pittance compared to what you might have gained for your class.
On the other hand, my view of the situation in 2011 would be that, with Labour the second party in the state, in electoral votes for the first time since 1922 and in Dail seats for the first time ever, Gilmore should have put himself forward for taoiseach on a Labour’s way platform in opposition to Kenny. As it was not only did he fail to embarrass FF and FG, but the united Left failed to embarrass him by nominating him. Instead, he followed Ramsay MacDonald in 1931, rather than Ramsay Mac. in 1924,
Of course, as Jack O’Connor insisted, failure to do so could have meant even more draconian austerity policies imposed by the bourgeois parties. The response to that would have been on the streets. Of course that would have been unthinkable to the Labour leaders with their constitutional virus.
As it was, even given their sickness, 6 to 5 is correct in remarking that they could have done better. Their epitaph in the Kenny government must be: they sold out their sell- out.

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John Crisps - August 30, 2018

Agreed. Burton might, might have been able get a bounce in subsequent election and the wider scope for bringing in new blood as a result of that. She would have shown to stand for something, however hypocritical that stance would ostensibly be. But they knew in ’92 and in 2011 that they were borrowing FF votes.


Daniel Rayner O'Connor - August 31, 2018

Correction: ‘fable warning’, not ‘fable swarming’.


Miguel62 - August 31, 2018

Actually the FF votes weren’t “borrowed” insofar as they haven’t come back to FF in any great numbers since then. The historical FF vote of 40% plus or thereabouts is gone and doesn’t look like coming back any time since. It was there for the taking in 2011 by the LP had it rejected the austerity agenda. It could have done this by one of two routes, either (A) staying out of government and building from opposition. Or (B) entering into coalition on the basis of strict and enforced red lines. This would almost inevitably have led in a short time to a principled departure and a FG minority govt as we have now or a FG/FF coalition. Which is back to option (A) Either way would have worked but the opportunity was missed, probably for ever. The notion that LP had to go into government in the national interest is ludicrous and assumes that the massive centre right bloc in the Dáil wouldn’t have cobbled together a government of some sort.


WorldbyStorm - August 31, 2018

Some of that vote went left/SF, some went to FG. Didn’t it?


4. 6to5against - August 30, 2018

There is so much they could have done, even when they had made the decision to go into power and to accept the EU austerity agenda.

Had they consistently stuck with a story line of ‘we have no choice. This is all controlled by the EU,’ they would have limited the damage, but they didn’t do that. Instead, though mumbling that response from time to time, they consistently defended the austerity policies as being the only valid response to the situation, suggesting public workers were to blame for the crisis – and that the citizenship expected far too much from public services and welfare supports.

They could have fought too within the government to at least spread the damage more fairly – remember that all but their final budget were startlingly regressive.

They could have at least prepared the response to the inevitable and entirely predicted housing crisis that would follow their austerity policies – better rent control, and/or site taxes would have done something to alleviate the damage. A more equitable property tax that targeted wealth rather than homes would have both helped with that crisis and provided a better tax base.

They could have honoured the Croke Park deal and protected public workers from further pay cuts. Instead they ‘negotiated’ CP2 with SIPtU, and when that was rejected they forced through a watered down version anyway, imposing extra cuts. This did next to nothing to reduce the budget deficit.

They could of course have opposed water charges. Time has proven that they were not all needed to balance the state’s books.

Why didn’t they do any of this? Because they didn’t want to. They believed in the austerity agenda.


WorldbyStorm - August 30, 2018



EWI - August 30, 2018

They could have honoured the Croke Park deal and protected public workers from further pay cuts. Instead they ‘negotiated’ CP2 with SIPtU

Amusingly enough, under some interrogation our resident gauleiters in IMPACT – and well-connected Labour Party members all! – had to admit that the premature ending of COP1 was at their own initiative.

They claimed Michael Taft & Co’s views on the direction of the Irish economy as their justification – a most dishonest twisting of what the latter were actually saying at that point.

Liked by 1 person

5. 6to5against - August 30, 2018

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