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A curious analysis of the ILP’s situation September 18, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Those who are interested in the course of the Labour Party in this state might find this an unusual overview of the travails of that formation. From Pat Leahy in the Irish Times at the weekend it offers a bleak view of matters – but some genuine oddities too. In respect of the first few of us here I think would disagree. Whether Howlin or Kelly the situation for that party doesn’t seem likely to improve. Leahy argues Kelly ‘gets noticed’ whereas Howling is ‘calm, measured, experienced’. Problem is these qualities aren’t really virtues for either man at this point in time. That experience was gained where again, and notice is all very well but without purpose…

So Leahy argues that there’s two option for the LP to return to a position of ‘power and influence’. One is to focus on the ‘ground game’, knocking on doors, ‘hammering on local issues’…

The goal is to try to win back a few of the lost seats in places like Dublin Bay North (Aodhán O Ríordáin), Dublin Bay South (Kevin Humphreys) and Louth (Ged Nash). A handful of other places are also possibilities : the Kildares, Dublin Central, Dublin South Central, maybe. And there’s always one or two surprises.
The “ground game” is everything here – Leinster House is completely secondary to the local stage. Ask them about Labour’s lack of penetration in national debate and they’ll eventually say so what? This may be unimaginative, but it is ruthlessly pragmatic.

People talk about FF, but truth is the GP was much better at this than might have been expected – perhaps even better than FF was in the same period, gaining seats after a total wipeout. Then again the GP has a curious ability to gain transfers from near enough everywhere, bad in bad times, no harm at all in better times for them. I may well be wrong but I tend to the view that much of what has kept FF afloat has been the simple momentum of being a large party with an large organisation, but the polls are curious, they seem to suggest that isn’t quite enough if there’s no spark there. This, to me, as an old materialist, is deeply problematic, but there we have it. Or perhaps a more banal reason for FF’s woes is that FG is proving to be, at least in the immediate, a bit better at playing politics in an FF like way than FF is now it is in reduced circumstances.

Mind you, got to say, I think Leahy is hugely optimistic in regard to the potential wins above. That’d be quite a day for Dublin Bay North, Dublin Bay South, Louth, Kildare(s), Dublin Central and Dublin South Central. Those would seem to be surprises in and of themselves. Any more… well, I just can’t see it. Oddly though Leahy sort of doubles down…

Still, even the hardiest of optimists in Labour admit that the summit of their realistic ambitions is to return after the next election with 10 or 12 seats. And many others, including a succession of privately gloomy former grandees, reckon they’ll be doing well to maintain their current strength of seven seats. “Staying alive is the priority,” one tells me.

My sense is that the latter view is held by almost all in the LP, a more typical view is that four or five would be a good days work. 12 is just completely unrealistic. Or so it would seem.

Anyhow Leahy continues:

The second scenario is one which several Labour people tell me is their preference, but which absolutely nobody is doing anything about because it’s much more difficult.
It is to seek to rebuild the party as a broad left alliance – including the Social Democrats, in alliance with the Greens and certainly including as many of the left-wing Independents as can be persuaded to come on board. The natural home for TDs like Tommy Broughan, Catherine Connolly, Katherine Zappone, Seamus Healy, Thomas Pringle and others is in a broad left-wing Labour Party, or left alliance, call it what you want.

I find this bizarre. Pringle? Healy? I just can’t see it. And them working with Zappone after her term in government?

He says:

Of course, it would be difficult, maybe impossible in some cases, to persuade people to come on board. There would be constituency complications, to put it mildly. There are technicolour personal antipathies, to say the least of it. Relations between Róisín Shortall and her former colleagues are not warm.
But the business of politics is cutting deals to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. The prize is a centre-left alliance of sufficient size and clout to muscle its way into government after the next election.

This assumes these folk mostly see themselves as being centre-left. And that their goal is government? I’ve heard precious little talk of people seeking to emulate the Independent Alliance in a left-wing form. Not least because many are entirely antagonistic to coalition with right wing parties on principle.

Indeed what can one make of the following:

Some left-wing TDs and parties may be more interested in protecting their own constituency fiefdoms, or in maintaining the purity of permanent opposition. But that is unlikely to be an alluring prospect for the growing progressive middle whose votes are up for grabs. Most voters want their politicians to do, not just to talk. So: does Labour want to lead this or not?

I cannot believe all but a handful of those mentioned above would look to the LP to ‘lead’ them. Just this isn’t realistic. And for so many reasons. Leahy continues that the LP could ‘anchor’ the broader left. Anything but. I suspect a more likely approach would be others combining in a semi-alliance like mode and the LP trying to enter that group. Perhaps. Who knows? The reality of their situation does not quite appear to have hit them.

Anyhow, all this strikes me as a genuinely useful insight into a very particular view of political activity in Ireland where government is all. And a further thought, the comments BTL take Leahy to task for not once mentioning Sinn Féin. Fair point.

A different face of FG, for some… September 18, 2018

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Interesting how rapidly FG has reverted back to type this last few days in the wake of the eviction of housing protestors from the property in the North inner city. I wonder does this come as something of a shock to some of their new found supporters who have – to date, perhaps only seen the rather more congenial ‘liberal’ iteration of the party? Perhaps not. But perhaps.

Certainly the rhetoric from Charlie Flanagan does not inspire confidence – talk about banning photographs of Gardaí, well how could that go wrong? And, albeit only slightly, amusingly, it appears it might be unconstitutional. As well as utterly impractical. What would be covered by such a ban? Croke Park at an All-Ireland Final, gigs, a Papal Mass (!). Or just the messy ones where people get a chance to the state sausage being made, so to speak. The ICCL rightly…

It pointed to guidelines, based on ECHR case law, on freedom of assembly from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which say “photographing or video recording of the policing operation by participants and other third parties should not be prevented”.

Still…

Senior gardaí have told Dublin City Councillors that they are prohibited from commenting on the policing of an eviction of a property in Dublin last week because there is an investigation under way.

Fact checking ….. September 17, 2018

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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Was amused to see a Waterford Whispers article being fact checked on Facebook this evening…….. The automation in Fact Checkers mustn’t get satire
whispersFC

Man overboard… September 17, 2018

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Artist Kevin Sharkey has withdrawn from the presidential election, calling the process of trying to secure support from four county councils a “circus” and a “farce”.Mr Sharkey said the process was so flawed you might as well “rip up the Constitution” and that it was leading to a very narrow field of candidates including three wealthy businessmen and a Senator.

Though presumably having a ‘platform’ that includes the following isn’t even slightly (or actually very) unconstitutional?

Mr Sharkey’s platform included bringing back the death penalty for attacks against elderly people in their homes.

And there’s nothing farcical about suggestions included in the following:

He also criticised how motorways have cut off small rural towns and suggested opening Famine villages to draw tourists. All villages should have a girl with red hair playing a harp in the corner, someone cooking cabbage or someone burying someone outside like they used to do in the old days, he said. “This is a gold nugget that we are sitting on.”

Given the so-far lack of support for others in the race from councils how long until we hear of others withdrawing?

And so we have an SF candidate for the Presidency September 17, 2018

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And a poll too at the weekend which suggested that the incumbent has a very large support base in the electorate with close on 70% of voters in his camp. This, granted, was just before the announcement of Liadh Ní Riada, but given the level of support for a placeholder was 7% that shouldn’t cause too much concern to President Higgins yet. And of course SF doesn’t expect to win, this is a flag flying exercise.

But what of the others who might hope to.

Gallagher 16%
SF Candidate 7%
Duffy 6%
Freeman 3%
Casey 1%

That recognition of Gallagher is interesting, still low though. The others perhaps might wonder whether they should fold up their tents and steal away in the dawn, no?

It’s difficult to know how this will go. I’m surprised in a way at how many have thrown their hats in the ring. And yet, why wouldn’t they? Is it me or is there something essentially unserious about all this? It’s not that the position is unimportant – but all this has the feel of a contest that has low stakes. It won’t – I’d think – materially impact on the broader political context, or would a shock upset, say a win by Gallagher, do so?

But if this is a sideshow, of sorts, what does that tell us about this particular moment in the politics of this state?

What if: the 1995 divorce referendum had been lost? September 17, 2018

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Many thanks to PM for forwarding this leaflet from the WP (you’ll find many more WP leaflets and 1995 referendum leaflets here at IEL).

As PM notes:

The referendum was held on 24th November 1995. It was a close run affair and we won by less than 10,000 votes. It then took another six months of High Court and Supreme Court challenges before the result was finally declared official. It was the 17th June 1996 before the 15th Amendment to the constitution formally came into force.

But reading it the thought struck me. The result was knife-edge. What if it had been lost, how long would it have taken to return to the issue (which by the by isn’t entirely settled given the, to many of us, far too long period between apply for and receiving a divorce) and would the loss have impacted on further changes in regard to social legislation?

Left Archive: Gralton 10, Oct/Nov 1983 September 17, 2018

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To download the above please click on the following link. jl-gralton10go.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to Jim Lane who forwarded this to the Archive.

Concluding our run of Gralton‚’s (other than number number 6 which isn’t in the Archive and which we’d be very grateful for).

This has a photograph of Proinsias De Rossa on the cover and an interview with him inside. There’s a piece by Mike Milotte on the CPI during the war years. There’s also a history of communist organisations in Ireland.

There’s an overview of the Abortion Amendment Campaign and referendum. Also John Goodwillie looks at the issue of nuclear disarmament.

Sadly this would be the last edition of the publication, although it states in passing that some of the articles will be completed in the next issue.

As always a very well produced and readable publication.

Asteroid news! One side-effect of a no-deal Brexit… September 16, 2018

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Britain would not automatically get warnings from the EU Space Surveillance and Tracking programme about asteroids and other space debris plummeting towards Earth. However, the paper on satellites and space programmes says the UK would continue to receive equivalent warnings from the US.

The EUSST operation has a nice looking website here…

Perhaps comfortingly under news, it merely says ‘available soon’. Nah, that’s grand. As you were…

Barcelona – where would people recommend visiting off the tourist path… September 16, 2018

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Planning to visit Barcelona some time in the next half year or so. I was there a fair few times in the 2000s before the worst of the crowds and these crowds understandably irritate those who live in the city (and Air B’n’B has wrought its toxic magic too) – so, here’s a question, bar a wish to get to FNAC in the centre I’m perfectly happy to stay away from the usual tourist spots. Any recommendations for quieter places and sights and sites in or around the city that will be less unwelcome Barcelona residents?

Have to say it’s difficult to blame the residents there for hostility given the following:

For years, the mayor and her constituents have been desperate for a solution to what they see as an onslaught of visitors, many of whom have little regard for residents. To put it in perspective, 2016 brought 32 million visitors to Barcelona – a city with just 1.6 million permanent residents. 

Sunday and the Week’s Media and other Stupid Statements September 16, 2018

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No sympathy here from Stephen Collins for the supposed death of rural Ireland.

The refrain about rural neglect and deprivation has been given new impetus by the decision of An Post to close a relatively small number of rural post offices which no longer have enough customers to sustain them.

Is 15% of post offices, urban and rural a ‘relatively small number’ particularly given their geographic location, the fact that none will close in Dublin and the greatest number to close are in the west?

This weeks example of understatement from the Guardian on the latest paper from the UK government on a no-deal Brexit…

A sudden exit from the EU would mean that the mutual recognition of driving licences would automatically end, creating a headache for the 11,600 lorry drivers who cross the channel each day as well as car-driving tourists.

Just a headache?

This weeks award for first world problems goes to the following… the inventor of Soylent, a nutritional drink finding favour in Silicon Valley…

“I think it was a bit presumptuous for the architect to assume I wanted a kitchen with my apartment and make me pay for it. My home is a place of peace. I don’t want to live with red hot heating elements and razor sharp knives.”

Anything in today’s papers?

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