Reality check for FF

The Irish Examiner’s Noel Whelan looks again at Fianna Fail’s strategy with the added knowledge of the presentation by Trinity politics professor Michael Marsh to the Political Studies Association of Ireland in Limerick last weekend, blogged previously, and argues, in effect, that, with Dermot Ahern’s comments at Stormont, they have seriously overplayed their hand.

Particular paragraphs to note are –

“Although in certain seats that limited switch to Sinn F

  • George

    Most pertinent sentence in Whelan’s article: “there

  • James

    We’ve hooked you on Coke, we’ve made you refrigerate your beer, your cities are strewn with Big Mac wrappers and the absorption is now nearly complete. The two conservative parties in the republic are becoming, like our Republicans and Democrats, as one.

    Ever wondered why our presidential elections are approaching the odds of a coin toss? Soon you too will be able to flip a coin to vote. At least the other side of the Euro changes once in a while.

    Welcome to the Borg Collective.

  • Mick Fealty

    The mention of FG simply retaking lost ground is interesting. As is the overestimation of the leftist character of Sinn Fein potential future actions government.

  • Keith M

    George, there’s so many flaw in your post it’s hard to know where to start (and let me once again remind you that I haven’t voted for FG for almost 20 years).

    So here goes ; “Look what happened to them under the biggest anti-Shinner of them all John Bruton.” Under John Bruton they had their only (if brief) period in govenmost in the past 17 years and actually saw their vote share go up in both the general, local and european elections.

    “The Irish electorate see FF as the only party with the credentials for dealing with the Northern Ireland issue.” I don’t believe the Irish electorate are so forgetful that they have forgotten either Sunningdale or the Ango-Irish Agreement.

    “If the Irish electorate want to keep SF out of government, which the overwhelming majority do, they’ll vote in the PDs not FG.” You might be surprised to learn that most people for FOR a government rather than trying to keep a paramilitary lunatic fringe out of office. There will be two possible governments offered to the electorate in the next election and that will help FG.

    “If anything the rise of SF will squeeze FG even more…”. Are you serious? Ask yourself who are SF taking votes from? The answer is that some are coming from FF and some from the more nationalistic and leftie elements of Labour. This means that FG are the only one of the big three parties that remain relativly untouched by any growth for SF. If you need any confirmation just cast your mind back to June.

    “Even if they doubled their vote in the next general election (compared to 2002), they’d still not make it into power.” Simply nonsense. If Fine Gael doubled their vote they would get 45% of the vote and close on 50% of the seats (possibly even >50% based on previous performances). In that situation there is not way that FG would not be in government, unless you consider a FF/Labour/PD/Green/SF coalition likely, in which case I think you should be buying an umbella to project yourself from the downpouring pigshit.

    Mick “The mention of FG simply retaking lost ground is interesting.” Interesting but obviously wrong. FG achieved their best EVER results in June, even ahead of what was achieved under Fitzgerald.

  • George

    Keithm,
    “I don’t believe the Irish electorate are so forgetful that they have forgotten either Sunningdale or the Ango-Irish Agreement.”

    We’re obviously from a different generation. Most of the Irish electorate were still in school or nappies or not born for Sunningdale and the only thing anybody I know remembers about the Anglo-Irish Agreement is OUT, OUT, OUT. Wasn’t the AI Agreement Garrett’s great plan to stop the rise of SF?

    They lost both elections under John Bruton. They only got into power because Labour walked out on FF. Bruton didn’t even get the number of seats in 1997 that Dukes did and he is as equally responsible as Noonan for the disastrous 2002 result.

    “Ask yourself who are SF taking votes from?”
    Most of SF’s votes are coming from people who had either given up voting or have never voted before. FG are being squeezed because their voters are going to the PDs.

    Local elections are not general elections. When conservative people who might vote FG look to which government they want in, FG-Labour-Green or FF-PD, it will be the latter. Maybe not with the older generation but with the rest absolutely. That’s why FG are virtually non existent in Dublin.

    As for doubling vote, I should have written doubling seats. Sorry for the confusion. Even if they double their number of seats they still won’t get into power. Are you telling me FG will double their seats? Give me a break. Their goose is cooked.
    Ahern will win a third term. 50 euros to a charity of your choice if Kenny is the next Taoiseach.

  • Ciarán Irvine

    FG achieved their best EVER results in June, even ahead of what was achieved under Fitzgerald.

    Mr Mills, I must strenuously object to you consistently being wrong about everything….

    1981 D

  • Keith M

    Ciaran, the “result” of an election is the people that are elected. Vote share is simply a means to that end. In 2004 FG overtook FF as the biggest Irish party in the European Parliament and came within a whisker of overtaking FF in local authority seats. This is a better RESULT than any election you quote. I won’t hold my breath for an apology.

  • Keith M

    Oh dear George, you obviously haven’t heard of the phrase “when you’re in a hole stop digging”

    “Most of the Irish electorate were still in school or nappies or not born for Sunningdale”. The average age of member of the Irish electortate is 40-42 (I believe the average age of those that vote is slighty highger). Now either there was a huge unreported incontinence problem in Ireland in the 1980’s or you are talking rot and it goes on…..

    “anybody I know remembers about the Anglo-Irish Agreement is OUT, OUT, OUT”. Obviously you hang out with cretins. “Out Out Out” was the unsurprising response of Thatcher to the ridiculous proposals of a pan nationalist forum (the “brainchild” of John Hume) which marked a low in Ango-Irish elations. The AIA came later and marked the first time the UK and Irish governments agreed on the future of N.I.

    “They lost both elections under John Bruton. They only got into power because Labour walked out on FF.” First FG have lost EVERY election since 1987. Labour had no mandate to go in government with FF and were just as entitled to go into government with FG.

    “FG are being squeezed because their voters are going to the PDs.” Have you actually seen the results of the June elections?

    “That’s why FG are virtually non existent in Dublin.” I can now answer the question I posed above. You obviously haven’t seen the June results. The FG candidate topped the poll in the Dublin constituency and was elected on the first count!. If you combine the results of the 4 Dublin local authorities, you will find FG gained 27 seats, only two behind FF and twice as many as SF who if you were to read some reports here, you’d believe were cleaning up in Dublin. FG invisible??????

    There are however a few things with which I do agree; “When conservative people who might vote FG look to which government they want in, FG-Labour-Green or FF-PD, it will be the latter.” and “..the Irish electorate want to keep SF out of government, which the overwhelming majority do”, will get no dispute from me.

    In the spirit of peacemaking I too will offer

  • ulsterman

    The best policy for FF would be to ban SF and arrest and shoot their leaders. They are murdering filth.

    God Save The Queen.

  • George

    Keithm,
    Gay Mitchell’s vote in the European election was a personal vote and is not a guarantee of the same in a general election for FG.
    I might also remind you that FG’s local election vote in 2004 actually dropped on 1999 but why compare like elections when you can pick and choose to suit your own arguements.

    FG have three Dail seats out of 48 in Dublin. That’s the position they are in. As you say it’s the number of people that are elected that counts not vote share. Are you trying to tell me that from this position they will become the city’s largest party in the next Dail elections (a la Mitchell)?

    If they get a 500% increase in Dublin seats they’ll still not be in power. Where are FG going to win 17 extra seats in Dublin Keithm? Where are they going to win 40+ seats nationwide?

    “The average age of member of the Irish electortate is 40-42”

    Sunningdale was in 1973, which is 31 years ago. Taking 18 as school leaving age, that means most people aged 49 or less were in school, nappies or not born for Sunningdale.
    That to me is most Irish people (3/4 of the population in 2002 according to the CSO who do the counting) and most of these people don’t see FG as a viable option.

    SF to pass out Labour. That’s an honourable peacemaking gesture but I think you should be safe with that one. Labour will do ok I think.