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Ten Years Ago Today …. February 25, 2021

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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The General Election that changed Irish Politics. Fianna Fáil hammered like never before, to many an amazing sight seeing them win only 20 seats. Unthinkable a few years earlier that they would be the third largest party well behind Labour and Fine Gael. Labour getting it’s highest ever number of seats and squandering a lot of the goodwill in coalition with Fine Gael. Fine Gael being the biggest party for the first time.

The Greens being wiped out, The United Left Alliance returning 5 TD’s (after no Far Left TD in the 2007-2011 Dail), Sinn Féin winning 14 seats and a lot of very interesting Independents such as Luke Ming Flanagan, Mick Wallace and Stephen Donnelly.

The ramifications of that election and subsequent Government have been something. Many leaving The Labour Party, the Social Democrats being founded, our current arrangement of Fine Gael in with Fianna Fáil, the rise of Sinn Féin,…….

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1. WorldbyStorm - February 25, 2021

Been thinking about your post on this for the last hour or so. It is incredible in retrospect how that changed everything. It’s a completely different political universe.

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Tomboktu - February 25, 2021

But still no left-led government.

Was just the political equivalent of lrage numbers switching to Pesi from Coca Cola, with some going for TK and Schloer?

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irishelectionliterature - February 25, 2021

It is and not over yet as we see FF still stuck in the mid teens in the polls and the possibility of going in as junior partners with SF.
I often think of the image many FF folk have of their party and how it’s totally the opposite of what voters think they are.

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2. CL - February 25, 2021

“Everything must change for everything to remain the same” –

‘The Leopard’ – Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.

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3. sonofstan - February 25, 2021

It did change things though. in 2002 FFG had 112/ 166 seat and in 2007 128/166. Impossible to ever imagine that again.

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CL - February 25, 2021

And this fall in the number of seats held by FFG has resulted in what major social and economic changes?

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sonofstan - February 25, 2021

Some social change – a majority FF govt would never have repealed the 8th or legalised SSM.
Economic change? no, and I don’t have much confidence that an SF-led govt. would effect much change in this regard.

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CL - February 25, 2021

The impetus for these changes came from the changing social mores of the population at large.
Varadkar in 2010 was opposing abortion for victims of rape. He also opposed SSM.
The political system responded to pressure from the people, and the referendums passed.

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sonofstan - February 25, 2021

I still don’t think an FF govt. would have passed either (maybe SSM)
The citizens’ convention was the major turning point in pushing repeal and that wouldn’t have happened under FF

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CL - February 25, 2021

You might be right, but we can never know for sure, since we can only know what happened and not what might have been…

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WorldbyStorm - February 25, 2021

That’s a fair point, but I think FG, for all the Renua split, was largely more socially liberal than FF and much more likely to support, however unwillingly, SSM and Choice. I do think SoS is right, the citizens convention gave considerable cover to FG (as well as being the right thing to do anyhow).

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4. 6to5against - February 26, 2021

I think its clear that there’s been social change. and when you think back to the politics of the 80s and 90s, that really not a small thing. But its also true that economically there has very, very little change, and that the whole political drive for the last ten years has been to more or less recreate the situation as it stood before 2008

But at the same time, the very fact that that might not always be the case is progress of a sort. Before the last election, I remember adding up the polling numbers for all the parties of the left/soft left/very soft left and thinking that between them, they could almost form a government. And then dismissing the thought as naive: This is Ireland, and government will always be by FG or FF. They very fact that I can now really imagine a government without either is hardly evidence that the revolution is nigh, but its a step the right direction.

And if this is about the 2011 election, rather than the 2025 one, the evisceration of FF in 2011 was the first big step. (or, of course, it will turn out to have been a blip and normality will return…)

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5. NFB - February 26, 2021

Making me feel old with this one! The whole time seems like it only happened a little while ago: the chaos in the weeks leading up to the calling of the polls, “Gilmore for Taoiseach”, my old constituency of Limerick East vanishing, “Frankfurt’s Way”.

It was a remarkable evening. I remember the moment some politico, or maybe it was an ousted TD, referring to “a small party like FF” on RTE and thinking I was watching some half-baked counter factual play.

At the time I really did think FF’s drubbing wouldn’t be anywhere near as bad as it was, but they got proper smashed by a furious electorate. Pity in retrospect said electorate put their faith in Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore.

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