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Signs of Hope – A continuing series June 13, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Gewerkschaftler suggested this recently:

I suggest this blog should have a regular (weekly) slot where people can post happenings at the personal or political level that gives them hope that we’re perhaps not going to hell in a handbasket as quickly as we thought. Or as the phlegmatic Germans put it “hope dies last”.

Any contributions this week?

Tory Leadership Election Fever! June 13, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Christ, this is horrible on so many different levels. Well, okay, not John Crace’s piece which had some killer lines in it – not least:

It used to be said that all political careers end in failure. But in the Conservative leadership contest everyone appears to be cutting to the chase by ensuring they start that way as well.

But what he describes and the accompanying video of the launches. I’m always wary of misplaced nostalgia for the past simply because it was the past – and I would never underestimate the class enemy aspect of Tories in the 1980s. But they were, for worse, always for worse, substantial enough figures. Whereas this shower are… risible. Not entirely so, for one amongst them will be the next Tory leader and Prime Minister of the UK, and that’s no joke

Election Fever! June 13, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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There were rumours, so I’m told, around Leinster House of Varadkar making a statement on Tuesday that he would be dissolving the Dáil. I’ve no idea what the foundation of the rumours was, but statement there was not and government reps soon skewered the idea. And why wouldn’t they? At this point FG is on the back foot with regard to Fianna Fáil and must hope that polls change somewhat before even beginning to think about risking a vote.

Someone whose views I take very seriously in this regard told me during the week that they thought FF minority government was the likely outcome at the moment and that this was a testament to Fine Gael, albeit not in a good way, that they in the midst of a genuine economic boom are unable to make political hay of it. But then perhaps it is that after the crisis – and given the lingering impacts of that crisis, the mood is not one of gratitude amongst citizens but more ‘just get on with it’.

And to add to the mix, talking to someone else with a good read on these matters in the media their view was that an early Autumn election was a non-starter but the by-elections are the biggest problem. Late Autumn, so? Could be.

Exhibition in Newbridge until Saturday June 12, 2019

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.

Great fun today putting this up. Exhibition in Newbridge until Saturday open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 12pm until 4pm .

Too great a challenge? June 12, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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One can only sympathise with the person at the heart of this story here…

The government official in charge of delivering “frictionless” Brexit border arrangements, including emergency plans for Dover and Ireland in the event of no deal, has quit just two years into her job.
Karen Wheeler, director general of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs Brexit border delivery group, was the lead official coordinating a cross-Whitehall response involving police, ports, customs and freight interests.
Her departure is being seen as a blow to the government and increasing the risk that the UK will not be as prepared for a possible no deal on 31 October.

But this is truly amazing:

“Nothing is happening in Whitehall now. Lots of people have been stood down on Brexit no-deal preparations and there is a general risk that people are just going to see this hiatus as an opportunity to clear off and go into the private sector,” said a source who knows Wheeler.

And here’s a thought:

Joe Owen, the Institute for Government’s Brexit programme director, … noted.
“There is likely to be even more churn in the levels below, even if it’s not as visible externally,” he said. “By October, with the Brexit deadline rapidly approaching, the officials in some of the key no-deal jobs could have been in post for little more than a few months.”

Hey, what could wrong there?

The Greens and a General Election June 12, 2019

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.

One of the success stories from the Local and European Elections was the Green Party, Two European Seats, 48 seats in The Local Elections and an elected presence in many areas that they never had before. Whilst the initial framing of the Green Wave was from the Exit Poll which saw Saoirse McHugh in with a shout of a seat, it diminished a little, I still think it was a massive success for them and something that can be built on.
Of the 48 Councillors elected, 20 were elected on the first count. Looking at the figures they may have left up to ten seats behind by not having running mates. Given that they stood candidates in less than half of the Countries Local Electoral Areas, I think that had they run in more areas they would have further boosted their seat numbers. So although 48 seats is an incredible amount for them, had they seen the Green Wave coming (which they hadn’t at all) they would be on sixty plus seats.
So what could this success mean for a General Election?

In 2007 they won six seats and would have also targeted seats in Galway West , Cork South Central , Louth and Wicklow. Outside of that there weren’t any obvious targets.
In 2002 They won six and would have also targeted seats in Carlow Kilkenny and that was really that.

What is interesting from the Local Election results and their results in the European Elections is that they could conceivably be in the running in over twenty seats. That is of course if the Green Wave continues. Unless the current Government does something drastic then I do think Climate Change will be a big issue (especially for younger voters who I gather of the 18-21 year olds , over 40% of them voted for The Greens).

Dublin Rathdown, Dublin Bay South, Cork South Central, Dun Laoghaire,Dublin Fingal, Dublin West, Dublin Mid West, Dublin South West, Dublin South Central,
Dublin Central , Dublin Bay North, Wicklow, Kildare North, Galway West , Limerick City , Clare, Cork East, Louth, Longford Westmeath ,Mayo , Carlow Kilkenny, Waterford

Some of the above are possibly out of reach but as Climate Change becomes more and more of an issue (for my own Children it’s the biggest issue) anything is possible.
They have to come up with a credible plan, one outside of recyclable coffee cups, banning single use plastic and so on. It has to be something that tackles emissions and has an impact on Climate Change. A plan that says give us enough seats to have a real voice in Government and shaping Ireland’s future.
A Minister for Climate Action, a Department of Climate Action, getting the State to lead by example. Rather than insulation grants, a State body that insulates housing and buildings. A Proper Transport system that gets commuters out of their cars….. They should now have the resources and International Green contacts to come up with a plan or indeed A European Green plan. ….
Oh and keep Eamon Ryan away from the Cameras

What you want to say – 12th June 2019 June 12, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

Winners and Losers at the elections… 2 June 11, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Fiach Kelly on the IT podcast this last week on the elections made an interesting observation. Talking about the SF loss of local election seats he suggested that talking to rival parties there was a sense that SF had become de-energised in the past couple of years. And he argued that there was a sense of SF ‘withering’ somewhat. Those losses are considerable, no question about it, though SF will still have widespread representation (and I’m always aware of the implications for Seanad seats in these matters given the input of councillors – SF is likely to lose a seat or so there).

We know there were very high-profile issues over councillors in the past. My read is that many people came into SF in the past decade who were unprepared for the discipline of party politics or the sheer grind of local politics. Small wonder a tranche were unable to keep going, and I’d actually have some time for their complaints. We live in a very different world to even two decades ago.

According to RTÉ’s post-elections analysis SF in Leinster House were ‘in shock’ and various high-profile members were recorded saying ‘they didn’t see it coming’. And yet, polling for the party has been static for a long period, the Presidential Election alone should have been a significant alarm.

Was I surprised they faced such a reverse, falling to 80 plus councillors and being effectively wiped out in some of the strongholds they picked up in 2015? Yes, definitely. I wasn’t one who was sceptical of SF’s poll rating over the past few years – I’d never had the sense that they had at local level particularly caught fire. Nor was I terribly impressed by the new leadership which seemed competent but hardly inspiring. Indeed I’d wonder if the change was too late, and in a way too emphatic, shifting from an Adams era to one where he had all but vanished.

Indeed SF perhaps grew too quickly in the past decade and was itself unprepared for the structural stresses this would incur. Moreover the culture of the party, for want of a better word, would inevitably change too, moving from a tighter bound organisation to a looser one.

Fascinating to see how something quite similar occurred within the WP in the 1980s, albeit the dynamics there were also impacted by broader events. But Kelly made an excellent point that whatever about the allegations of bullying the response of SF was itself problematic – perhaps because that shift in culture is difficult (actually just thinking of the WP experience in a way one could argue that in part the split was a function of people moving from rigid control systems en masse – there was a lot more than that, but… it might well have been a part even if submerged by partly ideological considerations. Certainly that rigid party structure was a factor in the establishment of DL and the fact a large majority of the WP walked away from it). And so in Tipperary, Cork and even parts of Dublin things went south.

One dynamic that he pointed to was the retirement of a layer of long time activists – due to age as distinct from disenchantment. That steadying factor atrophying must be a factor.

Pat Leahy suggested that the MLM plan to increase middle class support was now in ruins (where now the idea they’d go in as a minority party supporting FG/FF?). I’ve long wondered was there a clear plan there. But then it’s difficult, and I say this as someone who is sympathetic to SF, to quite determine what direction they as a party are going in – at least by their own lights. What do they see themselves as being? Supplanting FF and the LP? Being democratic socialist republicans occupying a space adjacent to social democracy? It’s a puzzle. And it’s a puzzle that needs teasing out because clearly whatever message they currently are putting out isn’t resonating as it should with their voters. According to Kelly turnout was about where it was five years ago but turnout in working class areas was low.

And Kelly had an excellent point that SF and other parties who suffered seemed unable to connect with working class voters who were their base given matters or sentiment had changed – that while there was anger we were not as we were five years ago. And they pointed to FF’s slow increase in votes both in working class areas in Dublin and parts of south Dublin (Charlie O’Connor is back, no less) and how they were ‘reestablishing’ themselves where they once were. And Kelly suggests that FF sees representing the ‘urban working class as part of their ID’. And they’re back on Dublin City Council as the largest group which feeds into the next election.

And SF? They must be in danger of losing seats and good people across a range of areas.

That’s that then ….. June 11, 2019

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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Offaly councillor Leahy steps down as leader and leaves Renua

No elected Reps left. The public funding gone by the next General Election… I wonder where the rump will end up ….

History repeating… June 11, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Odd to read this in the Guardian about ChangeUK which is now much reduced. For the new clean break in UK politics it reminds me very very strongly of the SDP. Granted not the initial SDP but rather the one that remained after most of that party coalesced with the Liberals.

Some of the reported disputes bordered on farce, such as the party almost missing a print deadline for its European election leaflets because one MP wanted a different photograph, and official social media feeds being stopped at the instructions of one member, and then tacitly resumed by another.
Meanwhile, sources amid those who quit argue that Soubry and Leslie – whose spouses are respectively treasurer and chief executive of the party – sought to run Change UK “like a Soviet state”.
Soubry says she will stay as leader until an autumn conference, and has ruled out any idea of joining up with the Lib Dems.

That rump SDP also refused to countenance working with or joining the Liberals – and even after the establishment of the Liberal Democrats plied its lonely furrow to irrelevance. But this, this is like the speeded up version, amazingly so. And yet, and yet, even though those who have left CUK have departed so far just for the Independent benches the trajectory of their direction of travel is self-evident. For a ‘centrist’ where else is there to go – there’s already a large centre right party in situ. Trying to reinvent the wheel is a pointless waste of time.

What additional extra does Soubry expect? What niche does she believe CUK can inhabit? I’m at a loss to see one unless she actually sees CUK as right of centre, marginally left of the Tories.

Oddly enough it takes Vince Cable to say it as it is…

First of all, they went too soon.” A second problem, recalls this veteran of the SDP’s founding in 1981, is “if you contrast the leadership today of Change UK with the SDP leadership 30 years ago, we’re talking different league altogether. [Roy] Jenkins, [David] Owen, all the rest of them. And also [the SDP] was incredibly well planned. I mean, they had planned it for two years, and it was done in association with David Steel. It was a really serious attempt to break the mould. This [Change UK] just sort of happened at a fairly low level.“They rushed into an election without realising that you need an infrastructure to fight an election, and then made elementary mistakes. I mean, it’s sad in a way, because I like the people. We agree with them on almost everything.” (Which is slightly odd, because a moment earlier he had diagnosed Change UK’s greatest problem as “the fact that they were trying to launch a new organisation which didn’t have any intellectual or political coherence at the heart of it”.)
But there was another mistake, says Cable. “I did urge that we work together, but they decided to compete. Anyway, they’ve had, I think, a chastening experience, and we’ll see what happens.”

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