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By-elections aftermath… December 4, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

A pretty good RTÉ Your Politics edition after the by-elections hosted by Aine Lawlor (available on iTunes and in podcast form) with Aisling Kenny, Paul Cunningham and Mícheál Lehane along with Odran Flynn and one-time FF government advisor Gerard Howlin. What came across most clearly was the threat the renewed Green Party vote presents to Fine Gael. Where FG once though they had a good lock on Dublin and other urban centres, as compared to FF, they now see the GP slipping and eating into what was described as a ‘not materially middle class vote, more aspirant and life style’. In other words the GP may be functioning similarly to the PDs back in the day. That’s a bitter pill for FG because it cuts into their support base and simultaneously offers a coalition partner for FF next time out.

Meanwhile SF’s achievement in Dublin Mid West was acknowledged, albeit with the slight caveat that that was the constituency for them to do particularly well in, if ever there was one. But I think that for SF this is a real boost at a time when they need it. And more over it is a very public one. There’s been some chatter on social media of one sort or another about how the ROI electorate is disenchanted with SF for not going back into Storming. Frankly I think that’s an hollow analysis – I doubt the electorate cares overly much about that, at least day to day. Rather SF has flagged in part due to losing a core leadership and having to come to terms with a newer one, as well as being oddly sidelined in a Dáil with so many voices from left right and centre. And it’s perilous terrain that centre-left ground they are on.

Tellingly the panel was deeply dubious about the SDs prospects, to the point that some thought that the two TDs currently in situ might have a real fight on their hands to return to the Dáil. Indeed there was a prediction they might go the way of the PDs after this election. As noted the SDs have no clear identity. And the point as also made that they ‘made a strategic mistake in not having a leader’. It is true they’re curiously diffuse. Albeit as was alluded to there’s no end of fractures inside them.

Now this is odd in a way given how relatively well they did at the local elections. But it is true, to date the SDs have seemed to be not so much a party as part of a party whose function is ultimately to prop up a government. Whether they are going to be able to fulfil that function, or whether any of them will be elected to do so is an open question. And with an older rival staking out much the same ground, albeit from the environmental side, they’re obviously squeezed.

I know I keep saying this, but I can’t help but feel the Taoiseach was unwise to leave it so long to go for an election. That time has allowed a certain


1. NFB - December 4, 2019

I don’t see how Catherine Murphy or Roisin Shortall go from poll-topping and first count elections in 2016, to losing their seats. But that doesn’t mean the SD’s aren’t facing into a dead-end.


WorldbyStorm - December 4, 2019

I don’t claim any great knowledge of their constituencies so I’d certainly think your caveat about that is plausible. More broadly I just can’t see where the SDs have a breakout.


NFB - December 4, 2019

Quite right. Gary Gannon was the only one with potential for a Dail seat I think, but likely enough that he’s ruined what little chance he has with recent actions in DCC.

I had great time for the SD’s once but as soon as Donnelly left the cracks became very evident.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - December 4, 2019

Agreed, can’t see it happening for him now, and I’d even say that the last year or two hasn’t been kind to him in terms of the constituency.

Can’t disagree with the idea floated above that a single leader would probably have been a better idea.


2. 1729torus - December 4, 2019

The longer an election is delayed, the more of a threat to FG the Greens become. Eamon Ryan wants to repeat what the German Greens managed to do.


tafkaGW - December 4, 2019

Sure. Eco-capitalist greenwash party touts itself as coalition partner for neolib party.

Embrace and extend.

Which is why the RoI is crying out for a genuine eco-socialist alliance.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - December 4, 2019

+1. Indeed existing parties could step into that gap. But agree too, the GPs are a huge threat to FG.


3. Tomboktu - December 5, 2019

“Meanwhile SF’s achievement in Dublin Mid West was acknowledged, albeit with the slight caveat that that was the constituency for them to do particularly well in, if ever there was one.”

I’d have thought that would be Dublin South West, not Mid West.


WorldbyStorm - December 5, 2019

Fair point, I think they meant more in the sense that winning the by-election was ‘easier’ due to logistical and other aspects on the ground. But yes, DSW would certainly have made life easier for them next time around.

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