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Independent Left on the election February 12, 2020

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
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You can read their take here which also engages with the broader context.

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1. Pangurbán - February 12, 2020

A well argued piece which omits the fact that for spbp the focus of effort in some constituencies was to punish apostasy rather than maximize a left vote. See jolly red giants pompous utterances on the candidacy of Sandra Fay

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Dermot M O Connor - February 12, 2020

Patrick Reinsborough calls this ‘DEFECTOR SYNDROME’.

defector syndrome – the tendency of radicals to self-marginalize by exhibiting their dissent is such a way that it only speaks to those who already share their beliefs.

JM Greer on DS:

What media activist Patrick Reinsborough has called “defector syndrome” — the fine art of arguing for your side in such a way that only those who already agree wholeheartedly with your viewpoint will be favorably impressed, while everyone else will be repelled — has played a large role in (failed political movements). I’m thinking here, among other things, of a book on energy issues I got in the mail not long ago, an unwieldy coffee table-sized object that started out with a photo essay in which each page had an slogan in 60-point type, all caps, yelling something or other about the world’s energy situation. It’s hard to imagine that anybody but a true believer in the editor’s point of view would get past the bellowing; I found it unreadable, and I more or less agree with the book’s viewpoint.

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2. Alibaba - February 12, 2020

‘By standing two candidates in Dublin Bay North, Solidarity-People Before Profit saved Haughey’s seat.’

This puts matters in a thoughtful perspective. I don’t dispute the right of groups to stand against one another in electoral times. But I do believe it should be done in a considered way that doesn’t scupper leftist gains.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 12, 2020

Except it is utter bullsh*t.

Lyons has to accept part of the responsibility for his failure as a result of creating a further split on the left – and setting up another ‘left group’ with a handful of people.

Lyons was 4,500 votes behind Haughey – the combined first preference vote of Solidarity-PBP was 2,000 – even if he got everyone of them he wouldn’t have come close to winning the seat and it is worth noting that he didn’t mention his refusal to engage in a transfer agreement with the other left candidates – yet his happy to blame others for his own failures.

Now Lyons always had a tough ask in DBN – he had a LP candidate who made a massive push to win his seat (unlike others) and a high profile SD candidate, along with the SF ‘surge’ – but the pointing of fingers is downright disingenuous and is typical of the antics of sections of the left over the past month (including those who have actually been celebrating Ruth Coppinger’s defeat).

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irishelectionliterature - February 12, 2020

Ah that’s poor form. I’m terribly sorry that she lost her seat and have heard many women (of all political hues) say that she will be a loss to the Dail.

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Alibaba - February 12, 2020

Coppinger is a radical voice and superb activist whose Dáil absence will be sorely missed by one and all. But hey there, JRG, it is an unpersuasive tactic to attribute an inaccurate stance to posters which you then proceed to criticise. Nobody contended that Lyons would have come close to winning if he had secured Solidarity-PBP first preferences

To be fair, the accusation that he refused to engage in a transfer agreement with other left candidates requires scrutiny. We were told: ‘In advance of the next general election, there needs to be a good-faith conversation among the potential left candidates about local government and Dáil seats …’ Bang on correct. But did this happen before the election in DBN and how did it pan out? We should await Independent Left’s response.

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WorldbyStorm - February 12, 2020

+1 re RC

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Jolly Red Giant - February 13, 2020

Alibaba – with all due respect – read the link – Lyons himself claimed ‘The split left vote saved Haughey’s seat’ and went on to claim that he was the best placed candidate to win the seat despite the fact that he received fewer first preferences than the combined Solidarty-PBP vote and received significantly fewer transfers from the SF surplus.

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Daniel Rayner O'Connor - February 12, 2020

If there are so-called lefties celebrating Ruth Coppinger’s defeat, they should be named and shamed here. If they exist, they would appear to be descendants of Bernard Shaw’s ‘Joe Budgit’ who happily supported every right wing cause because its opponents on the left were not wholly in agreement with him.
Mind you,I looked at the 3 socialists’ posters and flyers in DBN and I might have put Lyons as no.1 had he maintained the moral high ground and called for transfers to the others as Murphy did for Sandra Fay.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 13, 2020

Solidarity and Sandra Fay also called for transfers for Paul Murphy. It is also worth noting that Paul Murphy credited his retaining of the seat to SF transfers, while ignoring the 2,400 transfers he received from Solidarity that put him in pole position to win the seat.

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Daniel Rayner O'Connor - February 13, 2020

I am glad that Solidarity gave transfers that elected Paul Murphy. Not living in that constituency, I could go only be irregular viewing of posters.
My first point remains; where are the bona fide lefties who are rejoicing in Ruth Coppinger’s defeat?

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Jolly Red Giant - February 13, 2020

The intention was to recycle posters from the 2016 election which had vote no 2 for Paul Murphy – but apparently they had ‘accidentally’ been dumped by a former member of Solidarity. As a result some of the posters that went up were posters that were used in the local elections last year. All the new material produced for the recent election included a call for transfers for Paul Murphy. It should also be noted that there were comments on social media from members of rise saying that they should canvass 1 Paul Murphy – 2 Sean Crowe to try and get votes from SF voters – I don’t know if this was followed through on the doors.

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Alibaba - February 13, 2020

JRG, I think my original essential argument still stands. You did say ‘- the combined first preference vote of Solidarity-PBP was 2,000 – even if he [Lyons] got everyone of them he wouldn’t have come close to winning the seat’ but as nobody argued this, I felt it was missing the point.

You say ‘Lyons himself claimed ‘The split left vote saved Haughey’s seat’.’ I did not hear Lyons say this. Rather it was authored by Conor Kostick.

Having listened to Lyons again he says “I was and still am the strongest left-wing candidate in Dublin Bay North”. Is he gilding the lily? Lyons  tells us he was “the last one in the race” and was eliminated on the 13th count with 6,421 votes. I don’t know how this contrasts with the vote count of the others. 

Lyons says the “seat that was there for the radical left” had been squandered by having two other left wing candidates. This carries of whiff of entitlement to me that I dislike, but I reserve judgement until the I hear the counterarguments of Lyons or the author.

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Daniel Rayner O'Connor - February 13, 2020

It occurs to me that Paul Murphy thanked Crowe rather than Sandra Fay for the decisive transfers because Crowe’s contribution exceeded hers by around 1,000.. I agree, he should have thanked her as well, but then, as we have just seen in two SF cases, clear analytic thinking is not easy in a moment of electoral victory.
More importantly, I repeat: who were the lefties rejoicing in Ruth Coppinger’s defeat? If you haven’t evidence for them, you should withdraw the statement. As it is, you seem to be disseminating gossip such as will poison the conditions for socialist collaboration.

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Liberius - February 14, 2020

It occurs to me that Paul Murphy thanked Crowe rather than Sandra Fay for the decisive transfers because Crowe’s contribution exceeded hers by around 1,000..

Don’t necessarily want to be too involved in this, but, technically these are voter’s own choices and not a gift that anybody needs to be thanked for regardless of whose first preferences they were. Doing that thanking is both obsequious and insulting to the voters. Using myself as an example, nobody asked me to transfer from Terry Kelleher to John Uwhumiakpor to Dean Mulligan but that is what I did, if anybody wants to claim credit for it or thank anyone other than me for it they can go **** themselves.

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WorldbyStorm - February 14, 2020

+1. I really admire your point – this is about citizens and more power to those who voted left and further left.

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pettyburgess - February 14, 2020

JRG is lying here. The SP put up a large number of posters for their DSW candidate. Most of them were new. None of them called for a transfer to Murphy. That should tell you as much as you need to know about what they were at.

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Conor Kostick - February 14, 2020

Just a thought on your way of looking at the figures, I think you should look at the picture after Sinn Féin transfers. In a lot of constituencies the first preference vote for the socialist left was well below Fianna Fail, only to come up massively and overtake them (and others) on the transfer. In Dublin Bay North, after Sinn Féin transfers the combined IL, PBP, Sol vote was 8989 and with a Green elimination to come, I think it’s reasonable to say there would have been a socialist seat in play if there had just been one clear socialist candidate to benefit from the large Sinn Féin surplus.
As for the idea of a transfer pact. That would have been helpful because in parts of the constituency where John was less well known and because he appeared as ‘non-party’ on the ballot, we probably missed out on some left transfers. But sending an email in the middle of the election, when everyone’s material is already printed and especially the An Post leaflet distributed, cannot be considered a good-faith act designed to maximise the left vote. What would it have meant? That we tell people on the doors to vote socialist? We were doing that anyway. Sincere at the time or not, that short email comes across as a quick device intended for use after the election so that those who want to use it can say, ‘we offered an election pact but were it was refused.’
A transfer pact is a good idea, even better would be an agreed candidate strategy. Let’s have that conversation well ahead of the next election.

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3. stillradical - February 13, 2020

I don’t think it is ‘entitlement’, the fact remains Lyons polled strongly in the 2016 GE gaining twice the votes of the Solidarity candidate, the Solidarity candidate then lost his seat in the 2019 locals and Lyons retained his…There was no argument whatsoever for Solidarity to stand in DBN or in DSW or for that matter in Galway West or Dublin Fingal (polling poorly in both areas). In DF, PBP and Sol stood and I4C lost by less than a couple of hundred votes – they stood for their own interests which they are entitled to do but it does little to enhance the electoral strength of the broader left. In 2011 the ULA broke through with 5 left TDs, 9 years on there are 7 left TDs (excluding Soc Dems, SF etc), while every seat is welcome, this hardly constitutes any great success given the period we’ve been through.

It will be interesting to see how things develop in the coming months. Will PBPA begin to push to build for a broader left alliance, my impression is that they want to and have done for sometime but Solidarity were not in favour of that and PBPA didn’t want to jeopardise splintering the Dail grouping. Solidarity seem to have a very narrow definition of ‘left’ – JRG’s jibes in this thread and others against various reps and parties is revelatory of that. Now that Solidarity are significantly weakened in the Dail alliance (4:1) will PBPA push ahead to organise something?

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4. Fergal - February 14, 2020

JRG is a purist…and only he and his mates in Solidarity/SP get to define what left is*…Purity is over-rated and and rarely if ever worth the hassle**…in an election about change the only change that happened to Sol. was losing 50% of their seats…great loss Ruth C is too – after the local elections…the SP said that SF lost votes cos they tacked rightward…why did SP lose seats then or indeed last week?
*Regis Debray…who fought with Guevara…should be left enough for the SP – said once that people on the left want change…those on the right are content with the status quo…
** Leading to this incredible blame game and eternal self-justification

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5. Conor Kostick - February 14, 2020

cccc

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6. Conor Kostick - February 14, 2020

I wrote the feature in the aftermath of the count and under the influence of frustration and disappointment that we didn’t win. But now a few days have passed and in the light of discussion here and on FB, I’ve revised the section about Sol-PBP to say that we all need to take ownership of the problem of a divided socialist left. So the sub-heading now reads: The split left vote saved Haughey’s seat. And I added this idea: In advance of the next general election, there needs to be a good-faith conversation among the potential left candidates about local government and Dáil seats, in the hope of avoiding this situation arising again.

There might not be a socialist seat in play next time, with Sinn Féin running two candidates. But then again, if Sinn Féin enter government with FF or FG that would create a space to their left. And it’s only a matter of time before Labour, Greens and the SDs show their limits (e.g. by reproducing on a national scale, what they’ve done in Dublin Council, such as selling off public land to developers and backing elite projects like white water rafting). So even if we can’t win next time, we should do the work, especially in working class communities, to offer a socialist alternative to any sense of betrayal. The far right are sniffing around offering their divisive alternatives and while they did very badly, it’s important they don’t get a surge from whatever disillusionment might arise in the future.

Three socialist candidates is obviously a hopeless state of affairs at this time. Two would be a lot better and (until such time as things are really moving heavily to the left) one, best of all. I’m not sure what kind of conversation could take place to move this forward. Perhaps someone with no affiliation or bias between Solidarity, PBP and Independent Left who was acceptable to all could look at the situation and determine the candidate with the best prospect. Also, there is the option of balancing the Dáil seat with giving candidates who don’t get that run a clear, unopposed, stand in the next local elections.

Lastly, for the record. I campaigned for Ruth as well as John as I’m in her constituency and met her team twice to leaflet the schools my kids go to. Everyone in Independent Left was disappointed that she lost her seat. Hopefully, that will be regained next time.

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Alibaba - February 14, 2020

The points you make are well said, important and the prospects are challenging. It is certainly complicated and there is no easy answer. But addressing this by all sides is the best way forward.

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pettyburgess - February 14, 2020

I think that you are being very generous there, Conor. PBP and Solidarity were well aware that their candidates had no chance of any kind to take a seat in DBN. They also had reason to believe that Lyons had a chance. They stood anyway.

My suspicion is that their main objective was maximising first preference vote percentage nationally for the purposes of maximising state funding. It is otherwise hard to explain why Solidarity in particular nominated a load of late announcing candidates who ran limited campaigns in circumstances where their two seats were in serious danger.

I agree that the most important thing is to avoid this sort of nonsense happening again. The socialist left is likely to find it difficult to maintain a foothold in Dail politics over the next period. This kind of fratricidal sectarian stupidity was bad enough previously, it’s completely unacceptable now. The left does need to talk seriously about – at the very least – agreeing to back the strongest candidates who agree to a basic set of conditions (including no coalition). Preferably agreement could go further than that but surely that’s a minimum that all but the most hardened and destructive sectarians should be able to agree to.

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stillradical - February 14, 2020

+1

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