Rabitte to resign Labour leadership?

From the Irish Times breaking news report Adds press conference at 3.30pm And you can ignore the question mark.. Adds Politics.ie claims the scoop and has the time-stamp to prove it.

The Labour Party press office has announced that party leader Mr Pat Rabbitte is to make a major announcement at a press conference this afternoon. It has been speculated that the party leader may resign his leadership.

Update Senior Labour Party sources have confirmed to ireland.com that party leader Mr Pat Rabbitte is to resign as party leader this afternoon.

More Pat Rabitte’s resignation statement here and some political reaction here. Further political reaction here

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  • bootman

    Politics.ie had it first.

  • Pete Baker

    Well, good for them..

  • We did indeed, I think the mainstream media got it from Pie’s twitter alert.

  • Garibaldy

    I hope that betraying his principles and breaking the only effective socialist force in Irish history was worth his pathetic 15 minutes in the sun.

  • The Dubliner

    I think the failure of the Labour party to increase its share of the vote in the last election is more to do with falling demand for the product rather than a problem with marketing that can be resolved by rebranding at leadership level. Admittedly, Rabbitte’s permanent air of smugness was a turn-off to voters and he failed to argue the semi-socialist case with either conviction or passion, and his Oliver Hardy alliance with Fine Gael’s Enda Kenny’s Stan Laurel didn’t help either. The problem is that it is getting harder to tell people how bad things are with the economy when things are astonishingly good; and how oppressed they are by the ruthless capitalist class when those ruthless capitalists are offering well-paid jobs, private health care, and tonnes of other benefits. Basically, socialism is a hard sell to the rich. All they can do is hang in there and pray for economic ruin to befall the nation – as they currently have no hope of being elected to positions where their policies bring about that ruin (as they surely did in their coalition with Fine Gael in 1982-1987 when unemployment hit 19%, interest rates skyrocketed, and the national debt more than doubled).

  • Henry94

    I bet he’s been offered a better job.

  • Where’s the love Pete?

  • Pounder

    I bet he’s been offered a better job.

    Posted by Henry94 on Aug 23, 2007 @ 02:51 PM

    Yeah Street Sweeper.

  • Henry94

    Politics.ie had it first.

    They had the scoop on Eoughan Harris going to SE too. They must have good sources on all sides.

  • Pete Baker

    For future reference, I’m not that interested in who gets a scoop.. I’m more interested in teasing out any subsequent details.

    Normally I’ll just point to where I’ve spotted a story and add links to anywhere with more details.

    But I’ve added the link to politics.ie this time.

  • Henry94

    It’s always interesting when the new media scoops the old. But no shame in not knowing in fairness.

  • interested

    Fair play to him for taking the rap after the poor election result. Its what leaders should do.

    Now, where’s that resignation from the leader of another party which didn’t quite meet (its own) expectations at the last Irish election…..

  • Cormac

    Any bets/guesses on who’ll take the LP leadership?

  • Juan Kerr

    Sure what’s the point, we might as well abandon the whole charade of a political system in this country and abolish all opposition parties. Let’s just go for all-out dictatorship, it’s already a glorified one party state anyway.

    Is there any chance of us ever having a govt without FF in it again?

    It seems not from where I’m standing. Anyway as I’ve said recently, people in the Republic would now rather watch their elderly relatives die rotting in their own faeces on dirty hospital trollies and pretend to be sad/angry about it than elect a govt who might actually do something about our appalling health service. Because that would cost the taxpayer money that they’d rather spend investing in property speculation, home improvement, tacky weddings and fancy holidays, all in the name of trying to keep up with/outdo the Joneses

  • mick hall

    dubliner

    I feel you read the situation wrong in your post, people are increasingly becoming uneasy at the growing gap between economically rich and poor and have slowly come to understand that elements of social democracy are essential if Ireland is to become a civilized society. What they will not support is people who argue for equality etc whilst advocating and entering into partnerships with parties whose policies produce the opposite.

    Ireland is crying out for an electoral Left united front not more of the opportunist coalitions which the left enter as an after thought when the numbers do not add up.

  • The positioning will start soon for the new leader. Brendan Howlin will undoubtedly be in the race as will Eamon Gilmore. If he chooses to stand Howlin could expect strong support from the grass roots. Gilmore might suffer from his Democratic Left ancestry which he shares with Pat Rabbitte. Should Howlin decide not to run, the word on O’Conall Street is look out for the left bank of the Liffey TD, Joan Burton. Her rise has been steady and her apprentiship hard but it may well be the Labour Party turns to a proven fighter with a head for policy and an eye for the future.

  • The Dubliner

    “What they will not support is people who argue for equality etc whilst advocating and entering into partnerships with parties whose policies produce the opposite.” – mick hall

    I’m not sure about the validity of that assumption, since Labour have consistently entered coalition governments with parties who don’t share their ‘redistribution of wealth’ agenda without experiencing an electoral backlash from their traditional supporters – who tend to take a pragmatic view that it is better to have some input into government policy than none at all. Despite being Ireland’s longest-established political party, Labour only managed to secure around 10% of the national vote in the 2007 elections. Left wing parties don’t prosper in Ireland. And that really has nothing to do with the false claim that people ‘vote as their grandfather’s voted’ (no-one does this in my opinion) and that, ergo, debate about classical political philosophies have passed us by that would allow Labour to claim the left space on a left/right divide and some other party to claim the right space. It’s to do with the Irish seeing no reason at all that a political party cannot be both left and right, i.e. can do its upmost to assist both its wealth creators and those who are struggling to provide for their own basic needs. The problem with those who advocate a left agenda is that they only know how wealth should be distributed but they have no understanding whatsoever of how that wealth is to be created. And unless you look after your ‘right’ voters, you won’t have any money to care for your ‘left’ voters. That is why we can have a government that will give taxes breaks to its wealthy and also increase the pension for its poor by 50% over this next term. And remember, Mick, that bad government inflicts awful misery upon its people. If you want to understand how that works in practice, go look at what Labour did in coalition with Fine Gael in their term of government from 1982 to 1987 when they tried to spend money they didn’t have, ending up doubling the national debt, sending interest rates out of control, pushing employment to 19% (and it would have been much higher if emigration didn’t force citizens to abandon their own country), etc – they wrecked the country to such a degree that a Program for National Recovery had to be devised to hold off national bankruptcy. You will never get a left party forming a government on its own in Ireland. I may be wrong about that but I certainly hope that I’m not.

  • I rather suspect that his coalition partner will also go the same way.

    I can’t see EK staying on that long

  • CTN

    Good news probably for SF if it’s true especially for Sean Crowe- now they just need to recalibrate Stadler McGuinness and Waldorf Adams…

  • Malcolm X

    Garibaldy you can’t be serious that Pat Rabitte leaving has broken the only effective socialist force in Irish History? Sure we all know that they are never were effective or socialist. Hopefully thats the end of the Labou party, oh that right that has already happened!!

  • mick hall

    Dubliner

    I feel you make some fair points about wealth creation, but I see no reason why a progressive social democracy could not bring in policies that would enhance wealth creation, increase social spending and infrastructure. I also do not believe tax cuts are the only way to attract business. It seems to me that most political parties given power tend to concentrate on one or the other, hence the problems and set backs that then arise.

  • JD

    “It seems not from where I’m standing. Anyway as I’ve said recently, people in the Republic would now rather watch their elderly relatives die rotting in their own faeces on dirty hospital trollies and pretend to be sad/angry about it than elect a govt who might actually do something about our appalling health service. Because that would cost the taxpayer money that they’d rather spend investing in property speculation, home improvement, tacky weddings and fancy holidays, all in the name of trying to keep up with/outdo the Joneses “

    That’s very true. It is very hard to sell social democracy to that section of the proletariat. Fianna Fail discovered “New Labour” 70 years before Blair did and now the era of the old/left divide passed by there’s no need for a junior “New Labour” Party in the Republic when FF fits the bill.

    That’s not to say Labour is finished but it may well revert to being a party of 12-15 seats. The problem for any new leader (Gilmore, Burton etc..) is that Rabbitte is a hard act to follow (like him or loathe him) and they’ll be viewed as another one term stop gap.

    Things will get worse before they get better for Labour. FG has the money, finance and organisation. Unfortunately for them Kenny unlike Rabbitte believes he did a great job as do their grassroots.

    Expect stasis with the old two and a half party system reconsolidating with FF in the driving seat

  • sammaguire

    The usual anti FF crap. Of course the health service isn’t A1 but I certainly wouldn’t have much confidence in Labour or FG to improve it. The Smoked Salmon Socialist/Big Farmer alliance doubled the national debt between 1982 and 1987 leaving the economy in tatters. I was one of the tens of thousands that had to emigrate.
    Proinnsias de Rossa gave a paltry 1.80 increase to the OAPs in 1995. When FF give a proper increase to the most vulnerable in society of course they’re not being left wing, they’re just buying votes. Heard it all before.
    My father is 80. He knew about real poverty. Left school at 12;had to emigrate. Poverty nowadays involves kids with no credit for their mobile rather than empty stomachs. And then I hear of people that can’t afford their VHI premiums.. about the price of a pint a week…would love to hear them whinging in the 20s or 30s…or better still from 1982 to 1987.

  • No Comment

    He was the journalists’ politician

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    It was best for the Labour Party that he resigned. He was way too middle class and conservative which is why the Labour vote has dropped in the traditional working class areas. Kinda a bit smug too. No doubt he alienated those on the lower end of the social spectrum. Not one of Labour’s better leaders!

  • Garibaldy

    Malcom,

    I wasn’t referring to the Labour Party. I was referring to The WP of the 1970s and especially the 1980s which Rabitte and his cohorts left in pursuit of ministerial power. Guess he’ll never be tanaiste now.

  • Wayne Carr

    “The usual anti FF crap. Of course the health service isn’t A1 but I certainly wouldn’t have much confidence in Labour or FG to improve it. The Smoked Salmon Socialist/Big Farmer alliance doubled the national debt between 1982 and 1987 leaving the economy in tatters. I was one of the tens of thousands that had to emigrate.
    Proinnsias de Rossa gave a paltry 1.80 increase to the OAPs in 1995. When FF give a proper increase to the most vulnerable in society of course they’re not being left wing, they’re just buying votes. Heard it all before”.

    My father is 80. He knew about real poverty. Left school at 12;had to emigrate. Poverty nowadays involves kids with no credit for their mobile rather than empty stomachs. And then I hear of people that can’t afford their VHI premiums.. about the price of a pint a week…would love to hear them whinging in the 20s or 30s…or better still from 1982 to 1987″.

    What a load of bollocks.

    This is the same tired old nonsense we hear from PRO-FFers every time their party ships some criticism, that things were worse off under the last alternative coalition. It seems to work on the Irish Public, maybe because FF have the nation’s media on a tight leash and because of the country’s recent economic record.

    But the fact remains that FF have been in power for about 65-70 of the 85 years that this country has been in existence. So if you want to start bleating on about ‘the bad old days’ when you and your family hadn’t enough to eat and no shoes to go to school in etc. like that old Monty Python sketch, don’t come off with the old ‘it’s the other crowd’s fault’ routine.

    The reason this country’s economy was in the shithouse for the first 50-60 years of independence had nothing to do with the minority parties. It was because of the old civil war attitudes where first some bloke who’d lain in a ditch shooting at the free staters was given a cabinet portfolio – not because he had any expertise in that area, but because he was ‘one of the lads’. And then when he retired, his son(s)/daughter(s) took the seat because they were ‘from good shtock’, a ‘chip off the old block. We had people running government depts and responsible for managing the economy who clearly knew f*ck-all about what they were supposed to be doing. That’s why your antecedents experienced what you consider ‘real’ poverty and why you had to emigrate. FYI, the 80’s was far from being the only decade in which young Irish men had to emigrate in order to find work.

    It makes absolutely no sense to go blaming the opposition for the mess this country’s economy was in up until the late 90’s. De Rossa wasn’t able to give the same kind of increases in 1995 that finance minsters can today because a) we simply didn’t have enough money to be as generopus back then and b)the increases would not have been sanctioned by the department of Finance. And don’t forget the civil service is completely FF-dominated as well and has been pretty much since the foundation of the state.

  • mick hall

    Wayne
    On reading your post, it struck me what similarity there is between the Turkish state and the RoI. it is a fact that in both Ireland and Turkey those whose families fought the war of independence have claimed ownership of the State.

  • Wayne Carr

    Well I don’t know a lot about Turkish history but I studied Irish history and have a degree in it. I’m not an anti-FF person, I have family members in FF but I am terribly disappointed with the attitudes of Irish people 85 years after independence.

    All this ‘confidence’ and ‘sophistication’ we’re supposed to have garnered since the Celtic Tiger era…what bullshit. At the first sign of a slight shift in the economic horizon we dive back under the covers, stick with what we know. It’s pathetic.

    We’ve become a narrow-minded, conservative, cowardly race of people who have had it too soft for too long.

    I have become so sick of people who exaggerate the levels of poverty we experienced during our nascent period from the 20’s to the 70’s-80’s and beyond. As if our poverty was so much worse than anywhere else. The self-pity of it all, the sheer self absorption….it’s pathetic. Especially when we brought it on ourselves. And all the fools who slavishly go out at every single election and vote FF like mindless, brainless sheep and then deny that they’re carrying on the civil war political tug-of-war (and of course, they’re right in a way because it was won a long time ago, hands down by FF)…the whole lot of it is an absolute joke.

    The party who ran our economy into the ground for 75 years, wants to blame everyone else, and then claim everlasting credit for a few years of recent good fortune? And the people of this country fall for it every single time, hook line and sinker.

    And you know what? he people that are cursing and blinding and frothing at the mouth at the moment over the Shannon thing, you think they’ll change their vote next time out? I doubt it. I seriously doubt it. Becasue they are too WEAK. Too pathetic to stand on their own feet and think for themselves for a change. To take a risk, a chance. No, they’ll go out and vote the same way they always have, just like their parents and grandparents before them.

    As Garth said in Wayne’s World: “WE FEAR CHANGE”.

  • sammaguire

    “And all the fools who slavishly go out at every single election and vote FF like mindless, brainless sheep”

    It’s called democracy Wayne. Personally I would have preferred a FF/Labour coalition. Rabbitte’s made the traditional Labour error of making FF out to be the bogeyman.

  • sammaguire

    “To take a risk, a chance. No, they’ll go out and vote the same way they always have, just like their parents and grandparents before them.”

    Like Oisin Quinn and his 300 million euro father Lochlainn and Blackrock College educated Uncle Ruairi. FF Ministers/TDs tend to come from less priviledged backgrounds for some reason.

  • Wayne Carr

    I know it’s democracy, and I’m not advocating any other system. But we are not doing ourselves any favours in this country by re-electing the same party into government time after time after time. It is not good for democracy, and it’s not good for the country. How can you keep government or for that matter opposition representative motivated to deliver good performances when the outcome of every election is so utterly predictable as to be effectively pre-determined?

    As for the notion, as many commentators have suggested, that irish voters did seriously think about a change in the last election but baulked in the last few days because they felt they had gained too much economically under the FF/PD govt and didn’t want to risk losing it, well when exactly is the best time to take a risk? When times are good and most of the country has enjoyed a rich period of financial success, or at a time when the economy is nosediving? If you own your own company and you decide to try and expand your operations, do you do it when your company is going well, or should you wait until you hit a sales slump or some kind of rocky patch?

    People in Ireland constantly bemoan the state of the opposition, saying they don’t provide a credible alternative to a FF-led government. But it’s a chcken and egg argument. Why would anybody with even the slightest trace of ambition considering a caree in politics join a party that they know, given the voting patterns of the Irish public, has almost no chance of getting into power? How can they possibly attract any talent?