Labour surge takes them ahead of Fianna Fail…

Bertie’s quip that he was really socialist may have sounded like pistol whipping a Labour party that was struggling in the opinion polls to get out of a core support measure of between 12 and 14%. But it was also his peculiar talent to hoover up a large chunk of the urban working class vote and keep Labour firmly rammed back in the poor place. Tonight, the O’Conaill Street blog reports the rather shocking finding that Labour is now polling ahead of Fianna Fail:

The adjusted figures for party support, compared with the last Irish Times poll in November are: Fianna Fáil, 22 per cent (down 5 points); Fine Gael, 32 per cent (down 2 points); Labour, 24 per cent (up 10 point); Sinn Féin, 8 per cent (up 1 point); Green Party, 4 per cent (no change); and Independents/others, 9 per cent (down 4 points).

That’s a drop of some twenty points since last June. Notionally at least, Labour seem to be being bolstered from all round them: 5% from Fianna Fail, with some pulled in from Fine Gael, who drop 2 points from their poll surge in November, and some from independents. Sinn Fein, who might have expected to prosper from the economic downturn remain becalmed on 8%; suggesting that they simply do not figure in the calculations of potential swing voters.

It’s still three years to go before Bertie’s Fianna Fail alliance is tested at the real polls. You get the feeling that the teachers on the government benches will be fingering those lucrative agreements to return to work when the nation turns against them. But some of the lawyers amongst them may face stiff questions about their capacity to take and read a brief before returning to the bar…

Eamon Gilmore has finally done what his talented predecessor signally failed to do for the duration of the boom and get his party back into the kind of winning territory the party last saw under Dick Spring.

Fine Gael have more or less maintained their position after a surge in the same poll in November. It remains to be seen whether Gilmore can do the same. As Fianna Fail continue to drift the Greens will continue to be heavily targeted by both the main Opposition parties as what they clearly believe to be the government’s weakest link.

See also Cedar Lounge and at the Irish Eagle, John hints why this government may be permanently f*&$ed

, , ,

  • Mick, you might be interested in this from Cedar Lounge Revolution.

  • Bollocks. I hate trying to hyperlink. There is a post over there anyway on this poll by World By Storm.

  • Cahal

    Wow….Irish voters switch allegiance from one center right party to another. That’ll really shake things up.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    Great news! I hope Labour hold their lead and enter the next government in a strong position! Fianna Fail have been an absolute disaster.

  • Mick Fealty

    Got it Gari! Links at the bottom.

  • Oops. Sorry about that Mick. Doubting your omniscience. I shoulda oughta known better.

  • There are some suggestions that the earlier raise in FG support came from ABC1 and that in this poll the FF movement to Labour is from C2DE and also some public sector workers from FG to Labour.

    I do wonder if some grandee from Labour or FG approached the Greens offering to go softly, softly on their existing seats if they might be tempted to pull the rug in the national interest.

  • foreign correspondent

    ´´Wow….Irish voters switch allegiance from one center right party to another. That’ll really shake things up.´´

    Would you consider Labour centre-right? Fine Gael yes, but I dunno about Labour.

  • Mick Fealty

    No, no Hat tip to you!!

    Public sector squeeze works for me Dan…

  • veritas
  • LURIG

    Previously you would have dismissed polls like this because the Southern electorate always resorted to type and gave Fianna Fail the benefit of the doubt. The thing is most of them were still in employment then and there was no banking crisis. It’s very different now as it’s starting to really hurt ordinary people and impinge on their daily lives and quality of life. While most people in the South, including my own relatives, were prepared to make sacrifices for the economy they see Fianna Fail as STILL protecting those who caused this crisis; the banks, big business and property speculators. The middle and lower earners have been hit while these greedy bastards are allowed to pay themselves big bonuses as Fianna Fail gives them more tax breaks and bail outs. Sinn Fein must be sitting with a big grin; they have always been accused of having NO financial policies, nous or plan for the people in every election. They can surely turn around to the same critics, especially Fianna Fail and say “Well our financial policies might have been limited BUT at least they didn’t FU*K up the country like yours” AND the Shinners would have every right.

  • Sammy Morse

    I do wonder if some grandee from Labour or FG approached the Greens offering to go softly, softly on their existing seats

    The longer the Greens stay in government without pulling the plug the less chance there is of the electorate going softly softly on their seats whatever Gilmore or Kenny says. All the Greens have done since the election is repeat all Dick Spring’s post-1992 mistakes, except less effectively.

    I know the electorate usually turn back to Fianna Fáil in large numbers as election day – still a veeeeeery long way away – looms, but this time feels different. FF have acted as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the bankers, property developers, Rachmanite landlords and speculators who created the bubble and bust. Of course, that’s because they are a wholly owned subsidiary of them.

    Of course FF won’t be at 22% come 2012, but it might still be a realigning election. And if Labour can’t make a breakthrough in current circumstances, when can they?

  • LURIG

    It would be easy to turn around to the Southern electorate and say ” Well what the fu*k did you expect from the crooks you have continually voted into power?”. It’s not as simple as that as many were afraid to go against the status quo and thought the good times were here forever. Well we see where it’s got them. If the South doesn’t banish Fianna Fail to the wilderness for a generation like Britain did to the Tories they WILL deserve all they get.

  • An fhirinne gharbh

    Interesting (and reassuring) that the increase in the Green share of the vote from the last Red C poll turns out to have been a blip. I hope they meet the same fate as the PDs – shower of treacherous middle-class me-feiners that they are. John Gormless even seemed to be enjoying some of the austerity measures – a chance to prove that the Greens weren’t flaky after all. And so we had Eamon Ryan pontificating about a small pay rise for ESB workers which was nothing more than their legal entitlement.

  • Sammy, I agree that it is less and less likely that the Green will leave government but this is really their last chance to do so.

    And while I don’t doubt that FF will be up from that figure of 22% come a general election, it does make the immediacy of the local and Europeans all that more trying for them as they canvass. I’ve had multiple leaflets in the door from FF candidates, not one has knocked.

    I mentioned it before but if FF lose even more cllrs then where will the prospective TDs come from? It’s the opposite of the Lib-Dems attempted decapitation strategy if FF lose the lower rungs of the ladder then no one can step up and once those at the top drop off due to retirements etc. where will the party be?

  • Mick Fealty

    The opposition have been chipping at the Greens from the start of play after the last election. There is a long way to go (if the Greens wish it), before the next election.

    This was/is their big opportunity to prove Greens in governmnet can deliver some tangible environmental benefits. And one they must now understand that’s not likely to come again for a while.

    They should perhaps stick to pushing their own work rather than taking up the slack of defending the government. A slack left by some senior Fianna Failers who are rather visibly keeping their heads down at the DFA; the Department for Transport; and the Department of Justice.

    They need to dig a big trench between them and their senior partners. And concentrate on getting something for their electorate. Either that, or jump now and kill the one government beast that has fed them.

    But there is another problem not covered in these figures. How does an evenly divided opposition sound credible on an exit strategy from the current and sounding like they could live together in the same government???

  • JD

    The interests of the support base of Fianna Fail is now diametrically opposed to that of Fianna Fail’s backers. This has never before happened to Fianna Fail in any of their previous bad patches.

    Given that Fianna Fail draws heavily from the section of the electorate that would support or Social Democratic or Labour Party in other countries, it is not surprising that their dissolutioned core would turn to the Labour Party rather than Fine Gael.

    To be fair the Fine Gael and Sinn Fein changes are within the margin of error so I interpret their support as remaining the same and strong. Fianna Fail’s absolute core voters can only turn to the Labour Party. The “Bertie the Socialist” image tapped into Fianna Fail’s image of the party of the ordinary worker – this now clashes directly with the protection of developers that should be bankrupt and the incompetant Financial Elite that protects them.

    Fianna Fail’s 40 year relationship with the building industry has culminated in their destruction of an export driven economy for a property bubble and in turn the inevitable (as it has not happened yet) destruction of the power of the construction lobby as their bubble economy implodes.

    Speaking of Social Democratic & Labour Parties – how do the Stoopies feel about this?

  • Limerick Laz

    Mick,

    A small correction:
    Sinn Féin, 9 per cent (up 1 point).

    Bye Bye FF, don’t call us, we’ll call you.

  • This is pretty worrying for Sinn Féin. It’s not just that they “might have expected to prosper from the economic downturn”. With devolution in place, and with peace, if they want to make further progress SF must be seen to have some credibility or they should just accept permanent minority protest-party status. The traditional reasons to support them are ebbing away and they have no alternative in place.

    It would be very easy for SF to gain credibility now by talking about policies inspired by Keynes. Such policies would come straight from standard economics textbooks and would be a simple way to get popular(populist?) support. “Borrow money to fund direct state employment”. (I’m not implying there’s an easy solution, far from it. But I don’t get a sense that SF have the right priorities today.)

    For example, SF should have been calling for just the sort of school building programme that the Government have just announced. Instead, SF wasted our time again with talk of nationalizing telecoms – even if you support this it shouldn’t be a priority of this time. Their website is more worried about water charges than about the possibility of over 10% unemployment (I don’t think we can rule out 15% or 20%).

    SF needs some serious economic expertise. This may seem like a statement of the obvious, but as we head into a serious recession, it seems SF are permanently stuck in a rut and will never be able to attract such expertise. The sort of passion and vision and single mindedness that was needed during the peace process is now manifesting itself as an ideological, simplistic and blinkered approach to economics.

    I support SF, but foresee problems if they ever actually get within a whisker of government. They’d have to call an Extraordinary Ard Fheis to retract a load of policies and become compatible with the negotiated programme for government. Many of the membership would, understandably, be concerned that party policy had just been set by leadership meetings behind closed doors. No other party would risk entering negotiations only to see them torn apart by SF members.

    The responsibility is with the membership of SF to get to grips with this. They must accept that many of their official policies, set by Ard Fheis, will have to be retracted; and they they shouldn’t micromanage economic policy via full Ard Fheis votes. Accept that the finer points of party policy involving economics will have to be delegated to some sort of committee. Such a committee could be elected by the membership. This committee needs to form links with universities and other economic think tanks and be prepared to change its mind about these complex issues. As such, it probably shouldn’t be simply packed with politicians. Getting to grips with the constantly changing economic reality is not easy and will involve constant dialogue between the committee, the wider membership and the outside world. And that doesn’t just mean talking to small business owners; they, frankly, know as little about economics as, well, the average banker in London or New York 🙂

  • Mick Fealty

    Aaron,

    Good post. Although I think it’s more likely that some sort of neo Keysian project will emerge from Labour, your point about party reform is well made.

    Other than that, I think their problem is that they have simply lost peoples’ attention.

  • JD

    I think the problem is that a robust Social Democratic economic policy (as opposed to a limp New Labour one) does not distinguish SF from Labour in the South.

    What makes Sinn Fein distinct from Labour is their nationalism and to be honest that would not be the most pressing issue to much of the Southern electorate at present.

    Sinn Fein is trying to flesh out a serious economic position, but that won’t necessarily make them distinctive. The big danger for SF in the south over the next few years is if there is any fragmentation from the main two parties. An anti-immigrant spin off party made up of a few FF&FG;reps might well put Sinn Fein under pressure in neighbourhoods where their vote may be more nationalist than leftist.

    It is a difficult one and a problem that confronts much of the centre left in these difficult times

  • Mack

    Aaron

    It would be very easy for SF to gain credibility now by talking about policies inspired by Keynes. Such policies would come straight from standard economics textbooks and would be a simple way to get popular(populist?) support. “Borrow money to fund direct state employment”. (I’m not implying there’s an easy solution, far from it. But I don’t get a sense that SF have the right priorities today.)

    The problem with such ideas in the Irish context is we already have to borrow a lot just to meet existing spending – and a huge chunk of it goes on exorbitantly high wages for the high earners in the public sector. Without serious cut backs first, I can’t see the markets entertaining the notion of lending Ireland additional large amounts of money at this stage – we already have the second highest spreads on government debt in the Eurozone & we’ll be downgraded by the rating agencies within weeks if not days.

    Which is a pity, because now would be the time to invest in productive assets & infrastructure to offset the effects of the emergent depression.

    But there is also something to the argument that our problem was excessive debt – we have the highest debt per capita of any developed nation save Monaco – and borrowing more is not neccessarily the most prudent thing to do. Without control of the money supply, we can’t inflate away our debts (which in itself isn’t a bad thing, just look at Zimbabwe).

  • CS parnell

    What makes Sinn Fein distinct from Labour is their nationalism and to be honest that would not be the most pressing issue to much of the Southern electorate at present.

    Or ever again.

    One doesn’t have to take Henry McDonald’s hardline position to recognise that nobody in the South is any longer fooled by the idea that poverty or poor transport or bad housing is down to “imperialism”.

  • Mack,
    I agree entirely. I’ve struggled with this issue too. Hence my proviso that there’s no easy solution. Perhaps the only easy option for Ireland is get the EU to agree to an urgent devaluation of the euro. But the Germans would likely be against us. Hence we have to wait for the ECB. Ireland should be pressing publicly for a proper EU wide plan. And this is one example of something SF could be talking about.

    But the issue is that lack of relevance of SF and their inability to identify these issues and talk in a way that is both popular and is credible.

  • J O’Donovan

    As the former OIRA leader awaits Club Gitmo, his former stalwarts get ready to really destroy the Irish Free State. Not saying they were ever in OIRA, just as Gerry was never in PIRA.

  • Is it really that surprising that labour jumped 10%? All week on news 6.01, after Cowan or Lenihan made a statement, almost invariably the next man shown to get up was Gilmore!!
    Now if you had just landed in Ireland and you had no knowledge of irish political figures, you would automatically assume that Gilmore was the leader of the opposition!!
    Why is the mainstream media pushing Gilmore so aggressively to the detriment of enda Kenny???
    Also, is it just me or has some decision been made behind closed doors, especially post lisbon treaty, to totally ignore sinn fein? Is this the common stategy? Hence, bar about 10 seconds, sinn fein have been denied any air-time whatsoever on the main news coverage!!
    Maybe it is an attempt to portray the party as irrelevant. Sounds familiar!!

  • Dr Kildare

    …we have the highest debt per capita of any developed nation save Monaco…

    I think this includes IFSC liabilities – not the same thing as household or Government borrowing. Government debt is low by international standards. Household debt maybe high but not that high by UK/American standards. Things are bad but not that bad.

  • Dave

    It’s external debt that Mack is referring to, not national or household debt specifically. As the government has a policy (not yet declared) of making the taxpayer fully liable for the debts of the private businesses who are responsible for the bulk of the external debt, the bulk of that external debt will then become the national debt. They are not going to tell you that is their policy. Instead, they are going to lead you there by incremental steps. That external debt, as Mack points out, is the highest in the world, per capita, (11 times higher per capita that the US for instance) and the 6th highest external debt in the world.

    In regard to the household debt, the CSO’s Statistical Yearbook of Ireland 2008 states that Irish households borrowed €148bn in 2007, up from €134bn in 2006. That equates to about €120,000 per household. The UK, by comparison, has average household debt of £9550.

    So, as Irish households bogged down with debt levels that are among the highest in the world (thanks to the monetary policy of the ECB which was to make credit cheap and plentiful), they cannot afford to have their government add private sector debt to public sector debt as it then becomes de facto if not de jure ‘household’ debt which they must also repay.

    This is why the government will quickly bankrupt the country by proceeding with its step-by-step policy of nationalising private debt. Being Euro-federalists who do not believe that individual states are entitled to a national interest, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised if they wish to advance their quisling agenda by alternate means of bankrupting independent countries.

  • sonofstan

    [i]Also, is it just me or has some decision been made behind closed doors, especially post lisbon treaty, to totally ignore sinn fein? [/i]

    I don’t think so…. obviously, there’s no real love for SF in any of the main Dublin media, but SF kneecap themselves repeatedly by having no identifiable leadership in this polity and by being useless in the Dail. They need to accept the reality of partition and have a separate, identifiable leader in the Republic, who is a TD, and is capable of performing at above the level of the average FF backbencher – unlike Morgan, Ferris or Ó Snodaigh.

  • Harsh buit fair sonofstan.

    Paul,

    The reality is that Labour has what, about three times as many TDs, and so is likely to get more coverage. Decommissioning was milked for all the publicity it was worth, but now it’s normal politics.

  • CS Parnell

    Garibaldy is right. The says when the IRA fan club could expect to be rewarded for doing what the vast majority of the Irish people wanted them to do for over 30 years are long.

    Normal politics applies. And SF don’t do normal.

    So come on, SF apologists, explain how the South’s economy going down the plug hole is the fault of the Brits or of partition?

    I won’t be holding my breath.

  • Dave

    sonofstan, the Shinners are about as useful to the Irish electorate as a treadmill is to a paraplegic. The best thing they could do is close their party in the Republic and let their TDs and councillors go back to their former jobs – if they ever had any.

  • I had hoped that Dave’s figures were too high, but this is really scary. Straight from the CSO, southern Ireland’s external debt is 1.67 trillion. I knew Ireland was in really really bad shape, but this seems to be really really really really bad. It’s jumped by 800bn (bigger than the US’s current stimulus plan) just in the last five years.

    Irish households now owe 200,000 euros more than they did 5 years ago. And it’s owed, not to other Irish people via soon-to-be-nationalized banks, but to the outside world. Can anyone break down that figure for us? Is 1.67 trillion to be found on the liabilities of our banks? For example, I can only find 250bn on AIB’s books and 85bn with Anglo.

    Where is the rest of the trillion? What is the 590bn of ‘Other Sectors’ that owe money, according to the CSO? Is this Irish businesses that somehow owe billions to foreign banks? I suppose this is a good sign; we can let them all go bankrupt without worrying about bad impressions.

    With a GDP of a puny 161bn, that means a debt-to-gdp ratio of 10. Which, taking the rule of thumb of a 15-to-20 price earnings ratio, means that more than half of Ireland is effectively owned by external entities.

    Is the government gambling that the EU would sooner induce hyperinflation, wiping out our debts, rather than let us default?

  • dunreavynomore

    paul kielty

    a major problem for the shinners is that when they lost a seat in the last dail elections they lost automatic speaking rights in the dail and therefore their profile plummeted. plus, as others have pointed out, they have no joined up economic policies which was made very clear in the last dail elections. this lack of economic understanding has been a long term problem for s.f. and their various efforts to deal with it came to nothing.

  • Dr Kildare

    …It’s external debt that Mack is referring to, not national or household debt specifically. As the government has a policy (not yet declared) of making the taxpayer fully liable for the debts of the private businesses who are responsible for the bulk of the external debt, the bulk of that external debt will then become the national debt. They are not going to tell you that is their policy…

    You make this sound a certainty! The bank guarantee covers the main Irish banks (and even certain liabilities of these banks are excluded as well) and ISFC companies not at all. Many exchange traded funds typically UCITS e.g. certain ETF Securities and iShares (owned by Barclays but managed by BOI) are domiciled and managed in the IFSC and these account for billions upon billions. As far as I know these are in no way covered by the guarantee.

  • Yip you guys are totally right! I have to hold my hands up, Sinn Fein have indeed a serious lack of economic understanding. If only those silly republicans could emulate the economic understanding of FF and of FG(“you couldn’t put a cigarette paper between our economic polices”. Pre 2007 election!!), and then also to FG’s propective government partners in Labour. Sure them boys could show you how to run an economy, especially over the last few years!!
    Grow up!!

  • Dr Kildare,
    That makes more sense, and hence I’m relieved. But 1.67 trillion euros is not a small sum.

    For example, out of the 591bn of ‘Other sectors’, 320bn is described as ‘Long term’ ‘bonds and notes’. Could it be that some of that is owed by large Irish companies, such as large names in retail for example? If they went bankrupt the taxpayer may not have to bail out the owners, but it would still be amazing if large, well known, Irish companies are given to foreign owners through bankruptcy.

    Hopefully, it is, as you say, just debt owed by obscure financial entities that nobody in Ireland directly cares about.

  • Paul Kielty says “Grow up”. People in glass houses…

    I never said anything about copying FF and FG policies. There are other parties in the world other than FF, FG and SF. If you were ‘grown up’ you would see this.

    Seriously Paul, a generic whinge about a dastardly FF+FG conspiracy is not a substitute for competent economic ideas.

  • BillyO@hotmail.com

    Mick

    I think your point about Sinn Fein having lost people’s attention is spot on.

    In truth, they have reached a point where they need some new thinking and to consider where they are going. They need to get some younger, educated people coming through – who will have the added benefit of not having any “baggage” from previous activities.

    While there are some clever people in Sinn Fein, I think Conor Murphy has made a decent job of the RD brief likewise Michelle Gildernew at Agriculture, some of their “leadership” aren’t up to the job. Adams performance at the last RoI election was a joke.

    There have been a couple of excellent articles recently (one by Chris Donnelly here and the other by Chris Gaskin on Balrog) about steps they believe Sinn Fein need to take to modernise the party and make themselves relevant again.

    Although, I’m not a Sinn Fein supporter myself, I found both articles interesting reading and containing many good ideas.

    Whether or not, the Sinn Fein “leadership” is prepared to re-evaluate their existing structures and stop rehashing tired arguments that are out-dated is debatable – based on past eveidence I would say not.

    If they fail to do so, I think they will simply become less and less relevant and continue to lose people’s attention at an increasing rate.

  • dublinsfsupporter

    Sorry but people seem to be forgetting that Sinn Féin have increased their share of vote in each like for like election on both sides of the border for 20 years. It is not a failure. Sinn Féin is now set to grow in the 26 counties as people are excited by the party given its role as the only all Ireland party. In the wake of the 2005 IRA statement, and the party’s role in the peace process, Sinn Féin is on the cusp of a major breakthrough in the 26 counties that will place them in the role of kingmaker as required for parties to form government. And Sinn Féin will seek speaking and voting rights in the Dail for six county elected representatives which, once secured, will mean that Sinn Féin will be at the core of power in Ireland going forward, pressing a dynamic of change.

  • Is that a post from before the last general election in the south, reheated? Because exactly the same rhetoric was there, and without a great deal of result.

  • dublinsfsupporter

    Garibaldy-no my comments are still relevant and in the most recent general election in the 26 counties remember that SF’s share of vote increased and the situation is now such that several more TDs look likely next time.

  • dublinsfsupporter,
    I wish that were true. But it’s not. Arthur Griffith’s SF was initially in favour of the continued place of a monarch in the constitutional arrangements. But that obviously changed over time as the party grew. A century later, the need to update economic ideas is more pressing than ever.

    Change, fundamental policy and ideology change, not merely rearranging the chairs internally, is needed to grow the party. Maintaining a rump of support can be easy, but becoming a genuinely credible and relevant party is not easy.

  • Comrade Stalin

    While there are some clever people in Sinn Fein, I think Conor Murphy has made a decent job of the RD brief

    Conor Murphy’s job could have been done by a piece of paper with the word “Yes” written on it. What has he contributed to his department other than rubber-stamping decisions/proposals by his civil servants ?

  • Dub,

    Where do you think the new seats are liable to come from? Given the low base that the party was starting from, standing in more seats is responsible for the share of the vote increasing I’d have thought. If I were you, I’d be very worried about the failure to capitalise on the current crisis. The Gregory seat seems almost certainly to go to Labour after this poll.

  • The Irish Economy blog mentions that Labour are planning a State of the Nation conference.

    I don’t know much more than that, but that they have a “former senior economist at the US Fed” and a “former Danish prime minister” (see here). This seems like just the sort of thing that a serious opposition party, left or right, should organizing in these times.

    A comment at that Irish Election piece complained it would be “unworkable socialist drivel”. Such an accusation is hardly going to stick to Labour. I can’t imagine Sinn Féin being able to get such speakers, so it’s moot asking whether their conference would be “unworkable socialist drivel”.

  • Billy

    Comrade Stalin

    “What has he contributed to his department other than rubber-stamping decisions/proposals by his civil servants?”

    You could apply that criticism equally to any of the DUP “ministers” that you seem to think are so wonderful.

    The only “ministers” who stand out badly (quite an achievement)to me are Ruane and Wilson because they are both incompetent and a total waste of space. The only one worth anything is Margaret Ritchie who, while I don’t like the SDLP, at least has the guts to make real decisions.

    If you’re going to criticise Murphy for “rubber stamping” civil service desisions – fair enough. Just don’t let your DUP worshipping blind you to the fact that you could substitute any “minister’s” name for Murphy apart from those I mentioned.

  • Comrade Stalin

    You could apply that criticism equally to any of the DUP “ministers” that you seem to think are so wonderful.

    I note your complete failure to justify your earlier comment about Conor Murphy, and your attempt to cover up the fact that you know nothing about his record in government by changing the subject to the matter of my opinion of DUP ministers.

    My opinion – not that it matters to you since you’d rather make it up – is that the executive is pretty much entirely useless except for Margaret Ritchie, and that this is borne out by the boring and pedestrian Programme for Government.

    If you’re going to criticise Murphy for “rubber stamping” civil service desisions – fair enough. Just don’t let your DUP worshipping blind you to the fact that you could substitute any “minister’s” name for Murphy apart from those I mentioned.

    Well, I would have, but I preferred not to engage in whataboutery. I don’t think Ruane and Wilson are in the same class. Ruane has no mind and no ideas about how to implement her blind ideology. Sammy Wilson on the other hand saved public money by not running an advertisement promoting a fraudulent notion of how energy conservation could be accomplished.

  • Hiberno-Scot

    “people seem to be forgetting that Sinn Féin have increased their share of vote in each like for like election on both sides of the border for 20 years.”
    This is a good point, but it remains to be seen how things pan out at the next general election in the south. Short of a “left alliance” such as happened in Spain, we cannot assume that SF are actually going anywhere anymore.
    “Sinn Féin is now set to grow in the 26 counties as people are excited by the party”
    It’s true that SF did excite people, particularly young people, several years ago, and there was good reason for that. However it’s a moot point as to whether they still do in the south, and they don’t seem to have lived up to their promise in the 6 counties. It’s my opinion that they are living in the past to some extent. I understand their desire to make sure that the RUC is permanently castrated, and I even understand their wish for vengeance against their enemies in what the English now recognise as a war. However, we need to move on. Economic policies suited to the present are now needed. For instance, when one local representative (a very small businessman) was asked about taxation, he put himself in the same league as the multinationals, rather than taking the oportunity to distance himself from them and saying that they could pay a bit more for using the southern state as a taxhaven…
    Moreover, in the 6 counties, they could push Gaelscolaíocht harder, and show a greater determination in pushing forward an Irish language agenda. Not doing this will cost them votes in the medium term, and give SDLP a chance to move into the space they are leaving empty.

    “former senior economist at the US Fed” and a “former Danish prime minister”

  • dublinsfsupporter, or factual from p.ie who I suspect it is, the point of this thread is the poll is reflect of the parties responses to the state of the economy and not to rehash the rationalisation that has you convinced that SF are on a constant upward trajectory.

    This is a good poll for Labour no mistake, it is a disastrous one for FF especially heading into an Ard Fheis. I would expect that FF supporters up and down the country who are meeting in advance of that gathering must be seriously considering a massive overhaul or bloodletting of the FF national executive.

  • Hiberno-Scot

    I see that this quote got lost there earlier.
    The US economy is in a really bad way, and a lot of the blame is put at the Fed’s door, so just how likely is it that a “former senior economist at the US Fed” is going to be of much use in solving our problem’s / or is he going to tell us how badly the Fed messed up, and as a result, not to have anything to do with the policies coming out of it?

    The Labour party is also going to have a “former Danish prime minister”. Well, there’s nothing wrong with has-beens. After all, the Irish Times has Garret banging on every week, frequently if not always blowing his own trumpet, but I don’t know who actuually pays any attention to him. I assume he is there so his followers will pay for their daily copy, but the idea of using has-beens as an attraction to new voters is hardly much use – unless it-s just to prove that the Labour Party is “committed to Europe”.

  • Hiberno-Scot,
    Greenspan made a few big mistakes, but others in the Fed were against him on these. When you cut through the political fog of argument about the economy, you can see that central bankers are typically more open minded and less arrogant than you think (except perhaps for Greenspan, but even he was trying to warn us about the housing bubble).

    The responsbility for regulation lies with the politicians for example. Bush and Obama are to blame for the unsustainable bubble, the harm caused and the unwillingness to correct the system. The financial and regulatory infrastructure is established and run the legislation and government. The role of central banks is different, so you can’t really blame them.