The trouble with ‘foolish consistency’…

Nice Emerson quote from Brian Feeney, who reckons, not unreasonably, that Pat Rabbitte’s over zealous consistency was his political undoing…Feeney reckons that Mullingar was Rabbitte’s undoing:

The origins of his failure lie in his incomprehensible decision to push the ill-fated Mullingar Accord through his party in 2004 tying Labour to the right-wing Fine Gael.

To the consternation of many Labour TDs Rabbitte then supported Fine Gael spokespersons making a series of announcements on policy documents in the year before the general election.

His insistence on remaining joined at the hip to Enda Kenny left the pair looking like Tweedledee and Tweedledum as they toured the country. It doomed Labour because a vote for Labour meant a vote for Enda Kenny as taoiseach, yet it was evident that the majority of voters preferred Bertie Ahern.

Simon over at Irishelection.com thinks the problem is more fundamental than that.

Their really was not much Pat could have done to save Labour. One of Tony Blair’s masterstrokes was call them New Labour the re-branding made people think again about the party. Re-assest them. No policy change can really do it is down purely to cosmetics.

And he reckons Irish Labour should learn lessons of Blair:

One of Tony Blair’s masterstrokes was call them New Labour the re-branding made people think again about the party. Re-assest them. No policy change can really do it is down purely to cosmetics.

Something Rabbitte himself conceded last month.

But as Ivan Yates pointed on the day of the resignation, Labour’s failing organisational health and rising average age may also be something the new leader will have to tackle with some gusto,

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty