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A perfect storm for FFG February 13, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

David McWilliams podcast had a fascinating point – noting that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael had privatised housing in Ireland the last thirty years by putting the onus on the private sector. He suggested that following the SF rise in the polls whether or not they are in government we will see a return to something closer to a council housing of a type familiar to many of us from the 1970s and earlier.

The state owns land, or it buys it, it then zones that land. It then gets a developer to build council houses. It buys the houses off the developer and rents them to tenants.

He also extolled the Austrian model – no less. And he considered this change positive since Irish approaches to housing has been stagnant with extravagant rents and so on going to a ‘drone class’ of landlords.

He also addressed the issue of SF and the IRA. He considered the ‘anti-SF visceral hatred’ and he argued that most people who aren’t in that camp are prepared to understand that parties may start almost as secret societies but over time they become more and more democratic. And there is a check on SF which is the democratic process. He also argued that demographics may be king in this – with a pattern of youth support for SF that outweighs the combined vote in that cohort for FF/FG. Of course this depends on whether that is transitory, but… certainly if one was looking at what parties put forward a youthful and dynamic image one wouldn’t be thinking of FF. From this his suggestion is that one can make a case SF will be the dominant party – perhaps, for the next few decades. And the other parties, the smaller ones, just aren’t able to own issues in the way SF does – as with housing.

Interestingly he thought that the RIC issue served to give SF a legitimacy during the campaign which it might not have had, and that Brexit has so annoyed Irish people due to Britsplaining etc, that there’s an effect there too. Which if one thinks about it adds up to a perfect storm for both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.


1. CL - February 13, 2020

The storm continues with reports of splits.

“The party is split on what to do next and whether or not to work with Sinn Féin….

“Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin will face angry demands from TDs to allow them to serve in opposition after a disastrous General Election.
The move could fast-track Mr Martin’s resignation and trigger a leadership contest….

The ‘split’ appears to have a regional aspect with FF in the west favouring coalition with SF, and the east opposed.


Joe - February 13, 2020

Imagine if it broke into four regional parties. You could have FFE, FFW, FFS, FFU.

Liked by 1 person

CL - February 13, 2020

Micheál Martin is probably saying ‘WTF’


rockroots - February 13, 2020

If not a formal split, I wonder what the chances are that some FF TDs will look at ex-FF independents (or even Chris Andrews) and think ‘sod this – I’ve got a career to think of’.


Dermot M O Connor - February 13, 2020

Yup, SF could be the biggest party in the Dail in the very near future so! All it takes is one FF to say “sod this”.


WorldbyStorm - February 13, 2020

That’s a great point actually. And there’d be a few, perhaps only a handful but that’s all it takes, in FF I’d imagine might contemplate it at some point.


Matt O'D - February 13, 2020

My father after a lifetime of FF officer board Comhairle Ceantair etc membership no longer pays his membership fee, wants Martin removed before he will rejoin. Martin is reviled in west of Ireland FF

Liked by 1 person

2. irishelectionliterature - February 13, 2020

Looking at SF material from the election, the Black and Tans /RIC stuff is in a number of the leaflets that I have but didn’t seem to appear in either the Litir um Thoghchán or the generic leaflet with the picture of Mary Lou and the candidate on the front.


3. Michael Carley - February 13, 2020

The demand that SF go back into government in Northern Ireland also backfired, I think: if SF are good enough to be in government in the statelet where the Provos were bombing and shooting, why couldn’t they be good enough for Dublin?

There’s also a sense that there is a quid pro quo from the ceasefire and GFA: for a while SF have behaved themselves like a “normal” political party, which was one point of the GFA and the constitutional arrangements, so they have to be treated like one.


4. An Sionnach Fionn - February 13, 2020

Who knew that David McWilliams was a fan of the old OSF/RSF “Éire Nua” policy?! 😉 Personally I would be extremely cautious about a federal republic and would favour devolution to the regions (or provinces in this case) over any type of formal federation (which would be inherently unstable given localised communal tensions and bloc-voting in Ulster).

I do agree with him about that Sinn Féin vote being a “loaned” one. At least in large part. Unfortunately some SF reps and activists seem intent on burning through that loaned vote before they even get into government.


Joe - February 13, 2020

the old OSF/RSF “Éire Nua” policy. No. the old PSF/RSF “Éire Nua” policy.

I wonder how “loaned” is that SF vote? The times they are a changing. If people have loaned their votes to SF this time, who will they be giving it back to the next time or the time after? Not FFGLab, I don’t think.
Can’t see SF going the way of Labour, from Spring Tide and 2011 tide to near oblivion. This tide seems different and SF would want to be incompetent arseholes to screw it up – and so far they’ve proved themselves to be far from incompetent.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - February 13, 2020

“Personally I would be extremely cautious about a federal republic and would favour devolution to the regions (or provinces in this case) over any type of formal federation (which would be inherently unstable given localised communal tensions and bloc-voting in Ulster).”

Got to say you’ve convinced me on this, ASF. A reverse GFA/BA is one thing. A federation/federal approach is quite a different thing.


Ron - February 13, 2020

In fairness wasnt Anthony Coughlan and some other sticky fellow travellers involved with developing Eire Nua?

I think the idea has merit to be honest.

Liked by 1 person

5. sonofstan - February 13, 2020

What must spook the tweedles is that SF can win everywhere. Labour came close twice, but places like Mayo, Donegal, Cavan-Monaghan were out of reach.

Liked by 1 person

6. An Sionnach Fionn - February 13, 2020

Yep, PSF indeed. Thanks!

I agree, it won’t be a Spring Tide backlash but SF could easily drop ten seats or more if its senior members keep making obvious mistakes like we’ve seen since Sunday. They need to delete those Twitter apps. For now. And rein in the late night pub celebrations. Or we’ll be back to the local and Euro elections and SF taking a drubbing.

The “sliotair mums” could easily go FF. Or just not turn up on polling day. And that is what FF is counting on. SF making more and more mistakes, and alienating more and more centrist voters. Dublin is not Belfast. And even Belfast is not Belfast any more.

SF supporters playing at 20th century republicanism in a 21st century context is a just handing ammunition to SF’s political enemies.

Senior hurling and all that.

Liked by 1 person

7. Paul Culloty - February 13, 2020


CL - February 13, 2020

“Mr Martin is said to have referenced the incident where Waterford Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane shouted “up the Ra” at a party event after the election.
He claimed it showed that the “mask slipped” in pointing to reasons that Sinn Féin should not be in government.”


Paul Culloty - February 13, 2020


WorldbyStorm - February 13, 2020

Hahah, the old gang, up to their old tricks. What are the odds on a reverse confidence and supply for an FF + possibly GP or INDS government for a couple of years? What a state we’re in.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - February 13, 2020

BTW, due to a family health emergency, thankfully under control I’ve had a fair few taxi rides across the city this week to get to hospital and back, and if that’s any yardstick a second election would the sentiment appears to be one where SF would clean up. Ive never heard anything like it. Genuinely. People who can’t stand SF have had their families voting for the party, or others who are of the ‘plague on all their houses’ variety talk about voting for them or having voted for them. it’s funny, there’s a serous current of anger out there in the electorate that I haven’ heard since the water charges campaign. And currently it is pro-SF.


Dermot M O Connor - February 13, 2020

Great to hear about the zeitgeist!

From my perch out here in Oregon, I could infer it somewhat from the anecdotal stories on various sites – as well as through RTE! All the vox pops were so hostile to FFG, the voices were angry. It speaks volumes for how insulated the Irish ruling ‘elites’ are that they thought they had a chance. I realised in the last week that I could barely remember ONE person saying they were voting FG… but a LOT saying SF, and that was via the state organ, not exactly a SF friendly operation!

FF and FG are hated, and it’s about time.

I remember after the 2011 FF meltdown they hired a tory consultant to give them advice about how to recover (he’d been active during the wilderness years after the Blair governments). His advice was “don’t be fooled by the occasional good poll” and “Don’t be fooled by the local and euro elections”. You’ll have good locals, good euros and good polls, they don’t signify. Even the ‘recovery’ in 2016 turns out to be have been ephemeral. More fool them.

FF refusing SF so clearly is fantastic. Can’t see how they can claw back from that position, it’s too unequivocally anti SF, giving themselves zero wiggle room. Lets SF off the hook, SF get to be the positive message party. No more ‘hurler on the ditch’ shite being flung at them.

So some form of

1 FFG supplyCON / coalition
2 FF/GRN/IND/SD/whatever
3 minority SF coalition
4 second GE

Either way, SF wins. #1 only stable numerically as a formal coalition with FF/FG and the Greens or SDs/Inds. #2 very unstable, with possible or even likely second GE within a year… bring it on!

So here’s a question that you lads would have a better idea of than myself: would an election so soon after the first help the smaller parties more than the large? They would have the advantage of the previous GE effectively being a very expensive opinion poll with a MOE of 0%, so they’d know, for example, which seats to target (at their size, they can’t really know their support in national polls as they’re within the MOE. The GE shows them the 6th seats in five seaters that just needed one more push. Focus on them, reduce resources on no-hopers, for example. The larger parties could do same, but they’re more like bulldozers – whereas SDs, Greens PBP etc have more limited resources, and need to maximise votes on a much smaller scale than FFG, would be my thought. Also, posters are still printed, those can’t be cheap.


An Sionnach Fionn - February 13, 2020

That FF coalition with Greens and others sounds more likely than not, with FG voting with FF and allies to get Martin across the line. Though not necessarily in a formal arrangement. The Greens and possibly SocDems and/or Labour – if it changes its mind about entering government – will give FF the “progressive” gloss it requires to try and spin an FF-led administration as the “change” voters wanted.

And the media will play ball with that.

I’m more pessimistic than not.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - February 14, 2020

Yep, agreed


8. Paul Culloty - February 13, 2020

At least the Soc Dems seems wise to the machinations:


9. CL - February 14, 2020

The aftermath of the economic collapse.

“From 2011, the government developed a raft of policies aimed at selling off distressed residential real estate and commercial land. Various tax policies were designed to encourage international investors to buy up these distressed assets at knockdown prices. Big real estate investors flooded into the market and bought the assets with gusto.
But they hoarded these assets until prices started to rise again. House prices increased rapidly from 2014 onwards, quickly pricing a new generation out of housing. Those who could afford to buy new homes were pushed further and further away from the city, with poor public transport links, creating car dependence and long traffic congested commutes….
a large part of Irish growth was a result of being a tax haven. Irish GDP is €324 billion. But modified gross national income is €197 billion. This represents the real size of national income, and it is €124 billion smaller than GDP….
About 80% of the Irish population have gross incomes of less than €50,000 a year….
The 2020 election was a vote for change. It was a vote against Fianna Fail/Fine Gael and the centre-right policy consensus that has governed Irish politics for decades….
Sinn Féin generated a powerful narrative that it is the party that represents working people against the privileged….
Given the legacy effect of austerity, and the inequality generating effects of Ireland’s growth model, the rise of Sinn Féin can be understood as the dog that finally barked.”

The right-wing policy consensus of FFG has generated the social and economic crisis leading to the Sinn Fein resurgence.

The 33rd Dáil will likely be controlled by FFG in the interest of predatory, parasitical capital. The privileged elite that caused the crisis are incapable of solving it.

The ruling class is treating Ireland’s largest political party as a pariah, thus removing any danger that Sinn Fein would be assimilated to established power structures and its radical promise neutered.

The mostly working class Sinn Fein voters have delivered a shock to the entrenched system of social, political and economic privilege. As a new FFG government attempts to implement policies, based on a failed economic philosophy, more shocks,-economic and political-will intensify the crisis.


10. tafkaGW - February 14, 2020

So the smarter, more agile, heads in FF didn’t win out, luckily. FF refuses coalition with SF.

Good so: it means eventually FF must do a deal with FG and bring in some sucker party like the Greens or line up FF-genepool independents.

SF becomes an effective opposition and we must work to ensure the new government is short-lived: inside and outside the Dáil.


CL - February 14, 2020

No good option available for FF and FG. The least bad is for them to coalesce,-though past habit weighs heavily on both, a psychological reluctance to end the old con game of being a phony alternative to one another. And a real fear of SF as an energized, effective opposition.
But another election risks the appalling vista of further empowering SF.
SF has the advantage but needs temper its ambition for immediate office. (But who am i to tell the republican movement how to play the long game!)…

“the economic crash of 2008 has demolished the Irish party system….
this was clearly a left-wing vote…
It’s possible that this opportunity for change will be squandered. But right now, the momentum in Irish politics is with the Left, and the traditional conservative parties are on the back foot…
the much-vaunted economic recovery has never lived up to the hype…..
the same banks that would have gone to the wall without state support charge interest rates well above the eurozone average, while politicians like Leo Varadkar claim that US vulture funds make a valuable contribution to the housing market….
Sinn Féin can tack towards the left or towards the center, depending on what seems most advantageous at the time. Sinn Féin is a left-nationalist party for which nationalism comes first…
things are likely to be very different in the South if Sinn Féin doesn’t satisfy the desire for change that powered its recent surge….
Sinn Féin won’t have the same leeway in the South: either it delivers on at least some of its pledges, or it may find its voters looking for a new home…
The volatility of Irish electoral politics cuts both ways…..

Trying to push through significant reforms in a governing alliance with the center right is the road to nowhere — especially since those parties will be anxious to cut Sinn Féin down to size by scuppering its projects and associating it with unpopular measures. Sinn Féin’s well-honed sense of political pragmatism may be enough to stop the party from going down that road, even if its core ideology allows for it. At any rate, the conservative stabilization of Irish politics so ardently desired by the “stake in the country people,” as Liam Mellows once called them, hasn’t arrived yet.”-Daniel Finn


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