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A grateful electorate? Pull the other one… September 23, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

So, the Liberals won in Canada, just about, but I found myself agreeing with Terry Prone this week. The thought had struck me reading about the Canadian election that Justin Trudeau had made a rookie error in assuming that a national grateful for his handling of the pandemic and the vaccine roll-out would, when faced with an election continue to feel grateful. In fact, as evidenced by the election polling prior to the contest the Liberals and the Conservatives were running neck and neck. Some gratitude. Granted that pulled back and the Liberals moved ahead, but winning 3 extra seats and seeing the Conservatives return with the same number as they went out with, hardly constitutes a resounding victory.

And here? Well there’s an oddity in this state in the sense that it is Fine Gael which has reaped the benefit from the pandemic, with their polling rising sharply after a disastrous election – and propelling them to 30% or so of polling ever since. Strangely Fianna Fáil’s stewardship of the state (with FG and the GP) has not seen them reap any dividend from a frankly impressive performance with respect to the vaccine programme. It seems that Varadkar being on the spot when the pandemic broke out has solidified that FG vote at the expense of FF. That said Sinn Féin also saw a significant rise over the past year and a half too so that they are neck and neck with FG.

Now what of Britain? Well, the wheels haven’t come off the Tory wagon as of yet, but the pandemic didn’t necessarily solidify them. It’s useful to see who after an initial burst of support the graph has seen them decline, then gather speed again as the vaccine roll-out started, only to stall again as that became rather less robust than the rhetoric had suggested (as well as other issues, not least their handling of the ‘reopening’). And so Labour has, intriguingly seen something of a significant uptick in the past month or two. Keeping in mind that this is Starmer’s Labour which so far has been a disappointment to all and sundry, that’s still interesting.

So the point remains, and Prone makes it, that ‘no electorate is ever grateful and appreciative’ or not as a whole. Not in Canada, not in the UK and not in the Republic. There has to be more. Prone also makes the sensible point that:

Constantly turning the spotlight on Sinn Féin runs counter to every principle of good communication, but those who do it can’t break the habit because of the instant gratification, followed by the virile headlines. They miss the damn-all-results part.

And this last weekend has shown an interesting dynamic in relation to attitudes to the North that I find it difficult to believe isn’t in part shaped by the prominence of Sinn Féin (as well as Brexit) in terms of the ‘controversy’ over the President, but more pertinently the response on the part of the public which has been overwhelmingly in favour of his decision. 

The problem for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is that to some extent the cupboard is bare in terms of shaping alternative messages that don’t depend upon knocking Sinn Féin. It’s a truism to say that they’ve been around too long, that they’re too familiar, but it is accurate. What is the path out of that conundrum? 


1. irishelectionliterature - September 23, 2021

The vaccination programme has been a massive undertaking and also a massive success. In a way it has shown everyone what The State is capable of when everyone is pushing in the one direction. The power of the State when it’s needed.
I know it’s more complex but it has in a way led to some thinking as to why The State isn’t putting a similar National effort into solving the Housing Crisis or indeed other issues.
The longer the Housing Crisis goes on , the more people it will impact, the “but Sinn Féin… ” is already stale. I reckon Sinn Féin are heading for 40% of the vote at the next election… partly the hope of change but also partly they couldn’t do any worse….

Liked by 1 person

sonofstan - September 23, 2021

“I reckon Sinn Féin are heading for 40% of the vote at the next election”

I’d be surprised – I don’t think 40% is possible for anyone anymore. And 40% of the seats is maybe even less likely – 70 seats? Whereas FG could probably translate 35%+ of the vote into a seat bonus.
But who knows?


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