Labour tops Irish Times poll with 32%…

There is already a raging debate over at over the latest Irish Times IPSOS/MRBI Poll:

…if there were a general election tomorrow, the adjusted figures for party support, compared with the previous Irish Times poll on January 20th last were: Fianna Fáil, 17 per cent (down five points); Fine Gael, 28 per cent (down four points); Labour, 32 per cent (up eight points); Sinn Féin, 9 per cent (up one point); Green Party, 3 per cent (no change); and Independents/ Others, 11 per cent (no change).

The Irish Times notes that “most of the research was conducted before the reports of the two banking inquiries [which fingered the Taoiseach as the prime architect of the country’s weakness going into the downturn] were made public but after the controversy about the expenses claimed by Fianna Fáil Senator Ivor Callely.”

Just 12 per cent of voters are satisfied with the way the Government is doing its job (down seven points) while 83 per cent are dissatisfied (up seven points).

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  • Henry94

    A poll with serious implications. Gilmore’s strategy of committing himself to nothing is paying off in a big way. Enda Kenny is toast. The left (Labour/Sinn Fein/Greens/Indos) are within touching distance of a majority on these figures.

  • Mack

    May not translate into seats, but, double decapitation time in the south???

  • Mick Fealty

    Indeed Mack. Labour has serious structural weaknesses which could see them stack up votes in places where it won’t get them seats. FG will likely do better than predicted for the opposite reason. The depth of the fall for FF is pretty serious.

    There was a false alarm on Indymedia about Lenihan’s supposed demise on Tuesday night (apparently he was with the Taoiseach that evening)… But Lenihan is the only keeping him from the door…

  • Labour tops the poll! Yeah!!!

    But its unlikely to translate into seats. I suspect FF supporters will slink in under cover of anonymous voting. It shouldnt be allowed!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Gilmore is an excellent operator and Kenny is a very poor one and it a little suprising that the parties haven’t swapped places earlier – not just because of the leadership issue but because most people realise that if FG had been in power instead of FF the horrendous financial mess would be much the same.

    Having said all that these figures still takes some getting used to.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Gilmore’s strategy of committing himself to nothing is paying off in a big way’

    That’s ok pre election . But if he has’nt got a practical and credible strategy for exiting the economic crisis the voters won’t trust him . The word ‘socialism ‘ won’t work by itself .I can’t see any FG led by Enda Kenny making any breakthrough. What’s needed is a radical alternative to FF and there is’nt any not from within current FG ranks anyway .
    Nonetheless I can’t see a Labour/SF/Green/Ind Socialist ‘rainbow ‘ coalition combining to defeat FF and FG . -But they could give the Irish political and economic establishment a scare .

    Not that they don’t deserve one -the incompetent feckers:(

  • Greenflag

    ‘Glmore is an excellent operator ‘

    He’s a party politician like the rest of them but as bereft of practical economic policies that would address the major issues in the Republic as is SF or FG or FF 🙁

    Ireland needs a political leader with brains and some balls still attached under the codpiece .

    You’ll look in vain for one with those requirements in Leinster House 🙁

  • Mick Fealty

    Maybe. The real problem facing FG and Labour is how they maintain coherence. But where these figures anything like replicated in the result of an actual election, I can’t see Labour going for it, for the same reasons the Lib Dems stuck to the Tories: resilience and stability.

    Besides, 3% for the Greens could be status quo or meltdown. And 9% would be a relief to Martin Ferris and Aonghus O’Snodaigh, but after last time, I’d be wary of predicting them to bring a lot to the party.

    It will likely make FF that much more keen to dig in for the full term. A lot can happen in the meantime. A new entrant even.

  • Pippakin

    You read differently from most contributions.

    You should seriously investigate socilaist history/theory.

    There’s an awful lot of lazy talk about socialism.

    We are objectively living through a definite period in the history of human civlization.

    The dying years of one economic system; the potential for the beginning of true human history.

    Slugger’s site is unusual in that it’s civil, and serious; but it’s also determined to be parochial – too many so-called ‘insights’, scoops, analysis etc of the local drama. No interest of the big picture, of history, of internationalism.

    We all know of that comment about living in the north – we don’t get out more! Leave the place and shells fall from our eyes like Tobias.

    Pippakin, please read Please read Trotsky. And have the good sense to realise not everyone who claims to be a socialist is actually one!


  • joeCanuck

    C’mon folks. Polls, especially one poll, should be taken with a pinch of salt. You should all know that.

  • Joe Canuck

    Of course you have a point.

    But context is crucial here.

    FF are in a credibility nosedive. The so-called small man’s party are stripped bare as the gofers for the rich. populist liars, con-men, Events have left them eposed, naked.
    The poll figures show a concrete shift to Labour – there’s no arguing with the change.

    However, can Labour live up to expectations?
    Are Labour socilaist?

    What do you think?


  • Munsterview

    I have been saying it for some time now; Gilmore is playing a blinder ! Neither should Labor be underrated by looking at seats in terms of their present spread. Fianna Failure will indeed hang on by their finger nails, their toe nails or any other appendage that can get a grip but they just keep slipping.

    The greens have slid under the radar : I do not think they are cut off from reality, they have simply accepted the inevitable and are now content to get as much as possible of their agenda implemented irrespective of the cost to the ‘Collation’ If they are going they may as well go with brownie points

    I listened to Brian Lenihan this morning and he was brass necking it as usual. Cowen is a Lawyer, he is supposed to be cool under fire : rubbish; he like any other lawyer can present the best possible case for a dodgy client, in this instance himself. No takers for the FF lines this time round that it was the International situation ‘whot done it’ !

    The Sunday papers will zero on the fact that this was homegrown bad banking in the main and the ballon would have burst sooner or later anyway irrespective of the International financial situation. As a banking Historian said in a radio interview yesterday, our crisis is not born of 21 cent. derivatives, it is plain 19cent. bad bank risk taking.( He did not add ‘ to the point of stupidity’, he did not need to state the obvious !)

    Brian Cowen cannot duck this one, he is in the spotlight, he was the bag man during all those ‘light touch’ years, he has been a big disappointment to the Parliamentary Party as well as to the faithful and the public.

    Brian’s days are already numbered; all that is keeping him there is that replacing him now would probably bring down the whole show. However once he becomes a bigger liability by staying rather than going then he is gone. That Event Horizon may be there in the coming weeks with the next Red C poll providing the last straw.

    While Lenihan did not give Cowen any ringing endorsements this morning, neither did Bruton give Kenny any this evening. Sinn Fein still cannot get pissed in the brewery and have little time left to seriously impact with the public in a way that connects big time.

    Meanwhile it is all going Gilmore’s way, if he looks a winner he will get the prize bums for the extra seats he needs. Getting them elected will be the easy part!

  • Munsterview’s analysis is local. Seemingly useful; but actaually it gets everyone nowhere.

  • Munsterview


    well past close down time but whatever.

    Yes agreed; just generalities and color, nothing else much as things are still far too many variables in the mix.

    I have a close relative working in part-time community health care. She and some others are looking after an elderly man in his own home. Their hours have been cut, their pay have been cut, the allowances for that man’s personal effects have been cut.

    Three of this man’s carers recently clubbed together for this man’s birthday to buy him slippers, towels etc from their own personal monies. They do not figure in Red C polls, they do figure in community esteem and the local community are angry as hell about the way this man’s carers are treated, this man himself and thousands of more like him.

    Yes main players are important but again to quote Tipp O’Neill, all politics are local.

    Staunch FF supporters are having issue taken with them at card games and GAA matches. This is a big taboo breached. This is the kind of thing that do not usually make the Sunday Papers but it sure as hell will register at the polling booths. These results can only be guessed at before election and quantified with certainty afterwards.

    My personal guess is that in the rural heartlands of Munster the sympathetic FF vote is gone, that the supporters vote is nearly gone and that it will be little more than hard core party members, their families and their extended families come election time!

  • Cormac Mac Art

    The real problem for FG and Labour may not be winning the election, it will be running the country if they do.

  • Neville Bagnall

    Well, it looks like the RedC “anomoly” is now the new reality.

    Of course, translating this level of support into seats will be harder, but not as hard as it was for the LibDems – god bless pr-stv.

    To quote the West Wing, Labour has the Big Mo, and momentum can bring ground troops and candidates. If the leadership can convince rural voters that Labour isn’t poisonous, and the election campaign is even half effective, odd things could happen.

    There is a lot of commentary about Labour getting a bump without doing anything, but I wonder. Is it possible that it’s a case of hatching eggs?

    Labour argued in 2008 against a blank check bank guarantee, and it now turns out it might have been better if it hadn’t included subordinated debt.

    It argued against tax breaks and loopholes for years and it now turns out they were the petrol on the fire of bad regulation.

    It argued that nationalisation was a better and cheaper solution than NAMA. And in March Joan Burton was able to say:
    “Having taken the scenic route, we will now be left with the worst of both worlds – a nationalised banking sector alongside the risky NAMA bailout. Not only was the scenic route the longest route, wasting 18 valuable months, it was also the most costly.”

    It argued that the public sector cuts were the wrong approach – that the government needed to negotiate with the public sector unions. And belatedly, that’s what the Government did.

    Keeping stum now, on a deal that divides a core element of the party support base, is nothing if not intelligent. Gilmore doesn’t need to lead on this. He lead when he called for negotiations. Let the union leadership lead on the results of a process he was excluded from.
    Speaking of which, one of the first things Eamon Gilmore did as Leader was to attack the Unions for being too cosy with the Government. He has form on being able to speak truth to the Unions.

    Also just because he and the rest of the front bench haven’t been answering some of the questions certain elements keep raising, doesn’t mean they’ve been twiddling their thumbs.

    Maybe, just maybe, voters are considering more that the last soundbite.

    Of course, it helps when you are competing against the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of Irish politics. An incompetent Government and an opposition party that spends as much time fighting with itself and its former leaders as it does with the Government.

    While Fergus O’Dowd and Leo Varadkar occupy the same benches, FG will have problems, whoever leads the party.

    So yes the Labour support is soft, and won’t completely translate into seats; but the tectonic plates of Irish politics are moving, and nobody can be certain what the landscape will look like afterwards.

  • Whatever about Labour’s structural weaknesses, once people are voting for you at anything over about 15% state wide you start winning all the seats you deserve and more – don’t forget Labour’s previous gerat performance in 1992 when they won seats in places like Clare, Laois-Offaly and Sligo-Leitrim, all places where the pundits said pre-election that Labour could never win there.

  • Mick Fealty

    Of course Joe. The last but one Red C poll appears to have been a statistical outlier. But the event of last week in the Seanad would go a long way to explain this extraordinary blip.

    Labour has never topped a poll of any kind in the state, ever. Besides even this blip sort of fits with the long term trends. Labour is an extraordinary place compared to almost every year since Slugger began. And it has done it by fits and starts, rather than by smooth transition.

    The politics of the plausible appears to be working.

  • Framer

    Basically it is the flightpath of the east coast liberals who wander from party to party be it PDs, Greens, Labour and even social nationalists, who determine the election outcome in terms of government partner.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The horrible reality of the situation is, that perhaps the best party to have in power is the party with the least to lose and that happens to be FF and although I would insticntively like to see them dragged from Leinster House and paraded through the streets and receive the same treatment as meted out to the the insurgents in 1916 firstly by the Plain People of Dublin and then by the British in Dublin castle.

    In times of economic hardship/disaster it is also unfortunately true, that in general, a right wing party is probably a better bet than a left wing one, because the left wingers generally will not be keen to share the pain of cutbacks with the Plain People of the country whereas the right wing parties generally enjoy that kind of stuff. In this instance FF also know that will have to inflict some pain on the comfortably off and their own pals or they are in danger of the 1916 scenario above.

    The best option is some form on National government to deal with what clearly is a National emergency where politics becomes more a secondary consideration to getting elected.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    correction:last para

    The best option is some form on National government to deal with what clearly is a National emergency where politics and getting elected become more secondary considerations to running the country properly.

  • Mervyn Crawford

    You think if I list the reasons, attach the links, explain the differences between one constituency and another. give the grammar and punctuation a swift, professional shine I will make my comment/s more acceptable? I doubt that, some are journalists, some are politicians, their views are expressed accordingly, and thats fine. Im not.

    Im a Labour supporter, all I wanted to do was register my pleasure in a relatively humorous way, without leading anyone to think I thought the poll meant Labour would win a GE.

    i know about Trotsky, Lenin, Marx, Mao. Ive read about all of them, including Hitler and Stalin, thank you,

    I also know FF have a strong base, especially in rural areas and a lot, possibly most of that base is likely to vote for the devil they know. I hope the swing holds enough to increase Labours members, more than that, I will wait for the election to show.

    My writing style? I dont care anymore. I spent too many years writing to formula, these days I write as I feel., read it or not, but dont look for a change of ‘style’ from me anytime soon.

  • The importance about the shift to Labour is that it what it indicates. Labour themselves, like Sinn Fein, are of course not a radical party. They have shown time and again that they loyally support the system. They are enemies of those who vote for them.

    The poll indicates a shift to the left by the people. This is the point. In the absence of the rel alternative Labour pick up support; but it is by no means unqualified support.

    The collapse of FF shows this also. The lies of bourgeois politics now take on a great significance for working people because they understand there are profound troubles ahead.

    Getting caught of in the shifting intricacies of the players in the sham of bourgeois ‘democracy’ is simply following the lead of officilal opinion, which is designed to keep us focused on political circus.

    We need to debate the real issue – see things as they really are, that is historically; and move to act politically to bring this mortally dangerous system to an end. We need to think and act for the future.
    We are about to experience a social explosion, worldwide. That explosion has to take concious political form, and not be dissipated in blind anger.

    We cannot be parochial. Gilmore, Adams, etc have to be exposed for waht they are – charlatans.

  • I’ve had my latest post removed.

    Why was that?

  • Mervyn Crawford

    In some ways I suppose Gilmore is a charlatan. He is unlikely to be more ‘socialist’ than the country will support.

    I see where you are going with this, but FF have more chance of being reelected with an increased majority than hard core socialism has of succeeding in this country.

  • Mack

    The importance about the shift to Labour is that it what it indicates. Labour themselves, like Sinn Fein, are of course not a radical party. They have shown time and again that they loyally support the system. They are enemies of those who vote for them.

    Incredible disregard for the democratic process. Yes, they all really want you Mervyn!

  • Mick Fealty

    Not sure. When did you post it? I will ask around.

  • Nice, thanks to the Aldergrove news-stand, for a couple of days to have the Irish Times with the colour piccies rather than the monochrome version distributed in London. That telling photograph of Cowan and Lenihan (page 10 of yesterday’s print edition) came close to being worth the air-fare in itself.

    As another passing thought, even if Regling-Watson and Honohan do not do for the reputations of the FF leadership then and now, Mary Harney can be guaranteed to add fiddle accompaniment to Rome’s incineration. Just think: hospital system in melt-down (cancercare, foetal scans, record-keeping … and that’s only this week) so … let’s control sun-beds? Yeah, way to go!

    Nice, too, to see the eternal also-ran getting a nose ahead. One question that history threads might address is whether subsequent experience has justified Thomas Johnson’s and the Party’s principled stand in May 1921, that the Nation’s interest came before Labour’s. In that moment, the growing Labour vote (over a fifth in the local elections of 1920) was sold out to Sinn Féin, and subsequently subsumed into the “Republican” Party.

    Whatever the merits of the present poll — and I’d agree it is a meretricious little exercise of pseudo-psephology — it is another indicator that the duopoly we inherited from the Civil War is lost-and-gone forever. The battle is on for a more convincing centre-left posture in politics.

    FF’s soft-capitalist, business-smooching days are over. Honohan has nailed down the coffin lid on a low-down dishonest decade. If there is any future for that lot (@ 17%!), it involves a return to roots and origins.

    Labour (if not necessarily the present Labour Party and its leadership cadre) must be a substantial element in any realignment. There is a further tranche of disconnected voters to be retrieved from the flatlining Green movement: how long, o Lord, how long before the overdue bale-out from office?

    Apart from the 11% “independent”/”none of the above registered in this poll, there’s that 9% SF vote, homeless and inarticulate. Bring that home to something pragmatic, in the left-of-centre consensus, and we’re talking turkey. Only make sure the public faces of SF are left, deservedly, out in the cold.

    Elsewhere, FG had its moment, but the 10% fall in support, year on year, is damning criticism of Enda Kenny’s limp-wrist and cack-hand in grasping the opportunity.

    To be fair, there is significance in this poll, but only as another straw in the wind. We now know, at least as a racing certainty, that neither FF nor FG will dominate any future government in this decade. There is a vacancy for the next Taoiseach: it’s Gilmore’s for the taking.

  • FergusD

    Malcolm Redfellow:
    “The question that history threads might address is whether subsequent experience has justified Thomas Johnson’s and the Party’s principled stand in May 1921, that the Nation’s interest came before Labour’s. In that moment, the growing Labour vote (over a fifth in the local elections of 1920) was sold out to Sinn Féin, and subsequently subsumed into the “Republican” Party.”

    That was a BAD decision in my view. “The Nation’s interest” – who is to define that? In this case it was conservative nationalists. Why the hell should a “socialist” party defer to a conservative nationalist view of the “Nation’s interest”? It lead to the long term marginalisation of the Irish Labour Party.

    Anyway, is there any such thing as the “national interest”? Is the interest of all classes in the nation the same? I think not.

  • Munsterview

    “…….. The lies of bourgeois politics now take on a great significance for working people because they understand there are profound troubles ahead…….. ” Mervyn

    It may be comforting to take down the book of ‘ Karl Marks on Capitalists Crisis’ and pick a suitable quote from page sixty four or whatever, but as Ireland has shown time and again from the Agrarian disputes in the last quarter of the nineteenth century to the ‘Seventies will be Socialist’ the Twenty-Six County State, or rather the Irish Working Class attitudes did not conform to International Working Class norms even if their conditions did.

    Communism in one form or another took root to a greater or lesser extent took in almost every country in the world in the Twentieth Century; in Ireland at any given time there was probably three times as many Special Branch watching the party than there were party members.

    I knew and liked Mick Riordan its long time kingpin and he once said to me that his statements got more attention numerically from priests than workers! Even the KGB finally gave up on Irish Communism coming in the front door in Ireland after half of a Century of waiting and had to infiltrate Sinn Fein to try to get it in by the back door in acceptable packaging.

    Why then do commentators on left politics insist in applying parallels from International Models that just do not apply here in reflected attitudes even if they apparently do in terms of structures and class alienation etc.

    Chairman Mo had a pity term for that; he referred to it as ‘Cutting The Feet to Fit The Shoes’

    Like the ‘Seventies will be Socialist’ phase there will be a plethora of bleeding feet from here until the next Poll in a two weeks time and after, giving plenty blood but little else!

    Card playing is one of the main social activities for middle age and over in Mid-Munster, depending on the venue and the pot, there can be anything from a few dozen to a few hundred taking part on a regular basis with people driving in to the venue from twenty miles or more in all directions.

    My sister is a regular at these events, one call to her the following morning will give me an informed take on public opinion from a twenty miles radius of countryside with a Rural / Urban, Retired / Worker, Farmer /Business man etc that a political commentator in a Fifty Floor Ivory tower in Dublin would give their right arm for. Another three or four such weekly calls to different regions and I have all the feedback I need for my own information.

    Nearest thing there is to Albert Reynolds ‘Dogs in the street view’ and the same Albert was well able to read the public mood, and act on it even when totally different to what the pundits were predicting.

    As far as the political landscape is concerned, the ground is in constant shift and there are few certainties, in fact the only quote that I can think of appropriate is W.B Y’s ” All is change utter change…. .” and as to ” What rough beast is slouching to Bethlehem to be born” is still anybody’s guess.

    This was my main point in my first reply : there are still far too many variables in the mix including the probable date of the next election and if the next budget will get through( tax on a pair of shoes brought down a FG government) etc to firm up anything at this stage with certainty other than to predict that FF are F’t.

    Power also brings perks and privileges, that lot are still shell shocked but the rank and file are stirring and the magnitude of their plight is beginning to register. They are not going to let their hand be removed from the cookie jar without a fight and a dity vicious one at that, they have far too much to loose!

    Anyone that think that they can stroll over the political corpse of Fianna Failure to the next election do not know the nature of the beast or Southern Politics. Remember Army Captain Fitzerald’s call to a demoralized Irish Rugby side…… ” Wheres your Fucking Pride” that rallied the troops.

    If a new credible leader quickly emerges and can give that rallying cry then the stupor and drift will be over with and to para phase Mark Twain the rumors of their deaths will have been found to have been greatly exaggerated !

  • the blow – in

    The views which Munsterview is picking up from card games in mid-Munster are also starting to rear their heads at similar gatherings in the North West. In this part of the world party politics is rarely discussed at ‘social’ events, and sure everyone knows whos Fianna Fail, Blaney, or Blueshirt anyway – but just like in the south, in recent times FFers have been getting it thick and fast at all sorts of occasions, and in the words of Christy Moore ‘ people who’d been loyal for years, all spoke of changing coats’

  • consul

    A permanent loss of wealth. A permanent drop in living standards. It doesn’t mean we’ll be anchored to the same level as Albania (no disrespect). We’ll be strapped for the next few years of course but we’ll recover. We’ll return to normality and we’ll do well again. Growth will return eventually and then at some stage jobs. What is meant by a permanent loss of wealth is not that we’ll remain below where we are now but that we’ll remain behind where we should be. However our fortunes pan out over the next 60 or 70 years, whether we’re doing good or not so good, every year, probably the equivalent of a billion euro of todays money will have to be set aside just to service the debt that the insiders ran up. That’s before we can think about running the country’s services, investing in infrastructure, financing key sectors of the economy and so on. Whatever we have it will always be a billion less than we should have. Maybe it’s even worse than that. Maybe it’s more than a billion. And the worse thing is there was no need for it. It didn’t have to be this way. Thanks a billion lads. A permanent drop in living standards. That’s a hell of a legacy isn’t it. And all achieved in a period of unprecedented opportunity.

    Last night’s poll was interesting in many ways. Clearly FF’s hold on the public sector has evaporated and it is gone to it’s natural home. They’re down to the hard core now, the aging rural vote. What is most clear that one conversation is over and a different discussion is in the offing. It illustrates that we have reached the end of an era. It’s a change that was in the post anyway, it’s a shame that it took what happened to accelerate it by a decade. Even as it was, until recently it seemed certain that one more Civil War government would be required and that the next election would be simply about dispatching the traitors. Then in the next cycle the debate could begin about which is the best way to organize the way we run our country. But it looks like we may not waste five years and this coming election could be the one on left vs right rather than left/right vs left/right. The succeeding generations coming through, having grown up in a very different world than the ones before us have a completely different mentality and vastly different expectations of life in our own land.

    Broaching the new conversation, although I am on the right and I would be apprehensive about a left-leaning government, I think a strong left is necessary for a healthy democracy. If you take a sliding scale of 0-100 with 0 being hard left, 100 being far right and 50 being dead centre, I would place myself in or around the 65-70 region. As someone in the centre-right, I welcome the debate with those on the left whole-heartedly. We’ve looked on as the ones who were born to rule did so as they saw fit. Every parliament floor should be a battle-ground of ideas, not personalities, should be where the best idea wins out not the only idea. There is to strong a tendency to close down debate, not to engage with opponents because of a lack of belief in one’s own position. Hopefully the new political environment that is emerging will one that gives rise to a new more confident type of politician who not only will refrain from blocking debate but will actually relish the opportunity of taking on their opponents across the floor.

    If the numbers from last nights poll harden into a pattern then it will mean that Lab/FG may not have to join forces to oust the other left/right coalition, FF. Hopefully it could yet be a choice between Labour and FG which would be a clearer choice. Certainly if the latter two consolidate around 30 or maybe a bit higher then sooner or later a legal challenge will inevitably arise around the bye-election situation and inexorable pressure will begin to mount on the government. As I say it’s a pity it’s taken the events that it has to expose FF for the sham that they are but if it proves to be the driving force to a more mature political environment then at least some good has come of it.

  • Munsterview

    News Flash

    Noel Flynn TD has publicly said in the last fifteen minutes that Fianna Fail leadership is an Issue. Noel is not a loud mouth or a man that would just go public for a few headlines.

    Noel is a business man of some substance, he has a life outside politics and a feed back through business contacts that gives him a good current feed back. Noel is not just talking for himself, this was calculated and coming from a consensus. How much remains to be seen.

    Is this the start of the Fianna Fail Fight back…….. it just could be and if so look out for fur and feathers flying as they say down here.

    This will not be prolonged; it will either be nipped in the bud of gain unstoppable traction within the next two weeks and what McMillian referred to as ‘Events, dear boy, events’ should be very interesting indeed.

    Remembering the Late John Healy when all had predicted Haughey’s demise, there will be a few unemployed grave dancers out there including a few from slugger!

    And no I am not pro Fianna Failure!

  • Alias

    Talk of new politics of left/right division is nonsense. The Irish state recently surrendered sovereignty over fiscal policy to the EU. As it has already surrendered sovereignty over its macroeconomic policy and its monetary policy to the EU, it now has no meaningful powers of economic sovereignty remaining. Ergo, it cannot control its economy according to any left or right political agenda.

    What is actually occuring is that the Irish are preparing themselves for their new reality as a non-sovereign region of the EU. They are promoting a party that practices a policy of subvention-seeking dependency rather than wealth creation. Wealth creation of course, being dependent on the promotion of economic policies that the state no longer has the sovereignty to promote.

  • consul

    Sure it won’t matter to you Dave, didn’t you vow to quit the rogue state for your beloved Israel after Lisbon. What’s the status on that at this stage me oul flower?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    The Labour party’s record on speaking out against the prevailing wisdom of the day i.e. that the good times were here to stay was not good and they now have the opportunity to spell out that the bad times are likely to stay unless some pretty horrendous and difficult decisions which will not be to the liking of the Plain People of Ireland are made. Gilmore is a very good party leader and hopefully he will use his talents for the benefit of the country rather than in simply trying to position party to be the political beneficiary of country’s misfortune.

  • Hmm: Flynn … nice try, but no cigar. Munsterview‘s punchline there resonates.

    The Flynn thesis (if that is what it appears) only works if one assumes that Cowan (@ 18%, down 8) explains FF (@ 17%, down 5).

    Another view, based on experience across the narrow water, is that the FF brand will not be decontaminated before the removal of the whole Bertie Ahern generation. That, too, seems to be where Honohan is dumping.

    Meanwhile, the Confidence vote next Tuesday, a non-consummation wished on us by Enda Kenny solus we hear, will presumably fail. All that will have been achieved is adding a small reinforcement to the government’s backbone. And Cowen entrenched just a bit deeper. Do we expect Cowen to go before a General Election? Surely, Deaglán de Bréadún is calling that one aright?

    Let’s be realistic: there are two elements here.

    First, the government will survive as long as the Greens and the other odds-and-sods lend tacit (or better) support. That’s the Belloc/Jim truism:

    When Nurse informed his Parents, they
    Were more Concerned than I can say: —
    His Mother, as She dried her eyes,
    Said, “Well it gives me no surprise,
    He would not do as he was told!”
    His Father, who was self-controlled,
    Bade all the children round attend
    To James’s miserable end,
    And always keep a-hold of Nurse
    For fear of finding something worse.

    Second, confidence in FF stems from and is dependent upon confidence in the economy, and how that impacts upon personal affluence. The question there is: can a turn-about, however ephemeral, be engineered before 2012? Ursine toilet habits may be a useful analogy.

  • Munsterview


    Good post and at last a sane reasonable voice from the right.

    Since I do not have to operate inside party strictures these days and looking at things objectively I would in general accept your right of center as a moderate voice and one that speaks for a significant sector of the Southern Populace.

    Yes, good times were had back there in the Celtic Tiger, there were occasions at social gatherings then when I was asked for my views on the same beastie…… for their comedy value only, so out of kilter were my predictions of bubbles and crashes etc. with the ‘ we will never see a poor day again’ mentality and mood of unrealistic optimism.

    At one of these gatherings I had just spoken to two young builders, they had been sacked because they refused to ‘gerry build’ on a private scheme. It was all one big party and like all good parties they were excesses, the ordinary folk knew that they indulged too, that they let standards and values go, so they were slow to throw the first stone.

    We may, per head of the population in the South, owned more Mercs and BMWs, than the Germans but as we have now found out it was the Germans in the main that still payed for them!

    It is now well past ‘ the morning after the night before’ : Fianna Failure are trotting out the same old mantra….. that was the and this is now…… the only differences is that instead of passively accepting the situation,( as usual) the public are retorting yes you Frs…… and you are responsible for it!

    The logic of the situation is inescapable : once the public are firmly blaming Fianna Failure then Fianna Failure themselves have to find someone to blame themselves and carry the sins of the party, so; bye, bye Brian! ( And here comes Micheal Martin ? )

    Thankfully too little and far, far, too late to placate the public mood. They are hopping mad and it is a case of ‘Vengeance be jazus, vengeance !’

    As to Consul, you will find that they are quite a few of us on the left, more of us than you think, that while we may be a few more percentage figures Left, of where you defined yourself, on the Right, who never the less would look to the centre rather than the far Left for consensus. We have as little time for those as you would for the Braying Blueshirts.

    Unfortunately the Country do not come first for our ruling elites, Fianna Failure as a party do, it has for most of it’s life and always will. Unless the party can have a leadership change without an election, which is problematic but not impossible; then this situation will just drag on.

    On the Fianna Failure side there are too many contenders from the Ministerial Clone factory and it seems too many that fancy themselves for the big post,( even if few else do ) like Dermot Ahern of justice to make the transition bloodless, so things will probably continue as they are until the next budget….. or the next election, if the public do not take to the streets and force the issue.

    Consuls views are a welcome contribution to this debate from that of the ‘ usual suspects’ ( and I include myself in this category ) and I look forward to real debate on Southern Political issues and the nature of Southern politics as well.

    One last thing; just watched and heard Gilmore on the news…… looked every bit the Statesman and Taoiseach in waiting. Damm but that man is good!

  • consul

    The numbers haven’t hardened yet, all we have is hopeful early signs. We might need another CW govt yet. Btw “Blueshirts” and all that lingo is with O’Leary. No one thinks like that anymore.

  • Munsterview

    Yes Gilmore is good! and, dare I say it, so was Dick Spring, which is when I began my support for Labour.

    Its early days and one cuckoo does not make a spring, but there is the hope after a long time in the wilderness, that Labour are moving forward.


    I agreed with much of your comment.

  • Munsterview

    Fianna Failure has always successfully amalgamated Parish Pump politics with A Nation Once Again. While not going quite as far a certain old style Nationalist politician in the North that regularly cried for Ireland on the platform and then dried his eyes on the hanging national flag, they had the act down pat.

    The parish pump is not working and there are far more pressing problems for Southern politics than concerns about National unity. On this the consensus is that the North have got more attention that it deserved and it is time that they got on with it!

    Ironically Fine Gael face the same problem as Fianna Fail, there has been a sea-change in Southern attitudes and political views in the last decade. Both parties must reinvent for the twenty-first century.

    They are like a Bachelor and Spinster in adjoining uneconomic farms. It may make sense to join the farms and make a life together but they have spend too much time bickering across the bound ditch to change their ways, so economic possibilities and real live just to continue to pass them by!

    Northern parties are not the only ones on this island to preserve the intregrity on an old quarrell long past it’s sell by date!

  • Munsterview

    Nomenclature may change but politics do not and there are still plenty takers for the ideology of ever more State repression as the answer to social problems, they have not gone away you know!

  • consul

    You guys will make a fine opposition in the long run. 😉

  • Free State Barsteward

    As pointed out by others, this is only one opinion poll, so I would not get carried away. I would also factor in that people may have been a little coy in saying they would vote FF, so they may not be in such bad position but I hope I am wrong in this.

    Looking at the parties, Gilmore is superb and does look like Taoiseach material but whether Labour maintain a 30%+ remains to be seen.

    FG have no hope as long the millstone around their neck,aka Enda Kenny, remains.

    As for FF, if they replace Cowen with Martin or anybody else, they are all stained by the last decade.

  • Munsterview

    Yep agreed !

    I am all in favor of allowing you guys to win the next election after our first two terms and our side going into opposition; I would not like to see us collectively turning into ‘brownites’ as across the water.

    I also think that a decade is just about right for you lot in opposition after the next election…… that should be enough to allow the bright fresh shining leader new right, Enda Kenny to mature into his position; Cameron, could have done with more time.

  • consul

    I think you should know that I am a floating voter and as such do not entertain a party allegiance of any kind. I consider this to be unpatriotic at best and downright treachorous at worst. I despise people who support political parties like football clubs. My attitude of towards every party is the same. It’s an employer/employee relationship and it works along the lines of do the job or piss off. My only allegiance is to the state, certainly not to any party.

  • Alias

    And you just lost sovereignty over fiscal policy under Lisbon – something that giddy europhiles where saying back then couldn’t happen. I’m still waiting for someone to explain what difference a government that is on the left or right of the political spectrum will make to the economy when that government now has no meaningful sovereignty over economic policy. You seen to think that wishful thinking on your part will transmutate into a form of vood that will lead to economic recovery. Sorry to rain on your parade but it won’t. The conditions that created the actual Celtic Tiger (1993 to 2000) cannot be replicated without the missing economic tools. Surrendering sovereignty over macroeconomic and monetary policy to the EU did more than cause Ireland’s external to explode from 11 billion punts in 1999 to 1.67 trillion euros a mere decade later, it caused the basis of the actual Celtic Tiger (exports) to collapse to less than half of what they were in real terms prior to the surrender. Unlike the old times, kid, there is no economic plan for recovery whatsover, because the government cannot formulate a plan that is dependent on policies over which they no longer have any sovereignty. You’re now locked into the EU as a non-sovereign region of it and any ‘recovery’ that happens here will happen as a result of policies that are devised for the French and Germany economies – but don’t pin your whimsical hopes on that since the macroeconomic and monetary policies that were devised for their economies are the same policies that have utterly destroyed your economy. But, hey, second time lucky with the voodoo economics and joyous wishes, eh?

  • RepublicanStones

    It seems the greater the possibility of a FG led govt, the less appetizing that seems to voters. It’s a bit of an indictment of Kenny’s leadership that FG haven’t really capitalized on the shit sandwhich FF buttered up for the country. Gilmore has seen an increase in polls more out of Kennyphobia as opposed to anything he has done.

  • The numbers haven’t hardened yet, all we have is hopeful early signs.

    It was ever thus.

    I keep coming back to my unoriginal thought: at some point the Great Irish Electorate wanted rid of this lot. I seriously doubt, individually or collectively, they will be persuaded otherwise.

    What is not clear, yet, is which abomination will next creep in.

    I would wish a left-centre, determinist, principled administration. We were born to be disappointed.

    The EU-thing (I recall, mentioned somewhere above) is so much twaddle. No national government (and that includes the Germans) wishes the European Bank greater controls. As long as national governments survive, so does the confederation of self-interests: a quick pre-electoral fix to keep the sheep in line (and those supra-national ratings agencies know which way the bread is buttered). As I said before: It was ever thus.

    [PS: last post had one of those smiley thingies. Don’t know how I did it. Sincere apologies: it was meant to be a closing bracket.]

  • consul

    You must have hit the semi colon before closing the bracket 😉 🙂

  • consul

    I voted no Pops. Twice so don’t blame me. At this stage of the game all I want from the government is disciplined spending. Cutting out the waste and and ensuring that cuts don’t hit areas of potential growth in the economy. A surgical knife not a cleaver, take away the fat without slicing into the muscle or hacking into the bone. A significant amount of strategic decision-making still lies here although I know you don’t want to hear that as it clashes with that borish rant of yours that you trot out with such barborious persistance. Jaysus Dave, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered that amount of thoughtless determination in one human being before. No more than meself, it’s not like you’re going to change anything. You’ve got to choices, sit round growing an ulcer about it like you’re doing, spewing tripe on the internet every 3 days or go see another show. Whichever suits ya the best.

  • consul

    Two choices meh

  • Alias

    Okay, you can call me pops but I’ll insist on a paternity test if you want to take this new relationship any further than the internet. There is nothing that Ireland can now do to determine its economic future. That is to be determined by those who now hold the economic sovereignty. All that the regional Irish government can now do is provide the central EU government with an efficient book-keeping service (and since the EU can’t even get its own books past its auditor, it needs it) while the EU determines economic policy in accordance with the needs of the French and German economies. The main role of the regional government is to act as a tax collector for the eurosystem banks whose dodgy loans have been contained within the state in order to prevent contagion to other regions of the EU. As regards an ulcer: not at all. As you know, I’m an Israeli citizen, so I have an exit route out of the EU any time I want it. It’s the folks who won’t be able to get out of this bankrupt region of the EU who will be getting the ulcers over the next decade. I’ll be sorry to leave a place I love but at least I did my bit to warn folks about the consequences of giving their sovereignty away. 😉

  • sammaguire

    1) FF Will do far better than 17% at next election but will still will do pretty sh*te by their standards. They are probably better off holding on to Cowen until after the election and then clean out most of the old guard.

    2) Kenny is a political lightweight and the voters know it. However to change their leader now would look bad. It’s a case of damned if you do damned if you don’t.

    3) Doing well but it’s essentially a protest vote. The state does not need a nice guy hurt nobody left wing approach during an economic crisis. Spring was the tail that wagged the dog in the 80s when FG/Labour doubled the national debt in 4 years. McSharry had to clean up after them. Labour doesn’t have the party structure in Connaught and Ulster to capitalise on the good opinion polls. Bringing in smoked salmon socialist types from Dublin 4 won’t work in places like Cavan or Leitrim. In short there’s a bigger chance of Wayne Rooney singing GSTQ tonight than Labour being the largest party in the next Dail! Wonder will they abandon the rotating Taoiseach concept if they are the largest party?

  • sammaguire

    3) above refers to Labour

  • Munsterview


    as to (1)

    If they can change leaders and avoid an election Cowen is gone. If this ‘in your face, you are to blame and no one else ‘ attitude to Fianna Failure persists they will have no choice but find a scapegoat within the party and two Independent reports have fingered him leaving the Emperor with no clothes, not even a fig leave to cover his political vitals!

    The second problem is Fianna Failure too have their Enda Kennys, such Justice Minister Dermot Ahern that fancy their leadership potential. FF needs a quick agreed leadership change for the good of the party; instead what they are likely to get is the public contest of a half dozen of so Ministerial political dwarfs who will do further damage to the party credibility in their tussles for leadership.

    It is no longer a question of should Cowen but how the hell can he be replaced and still keep the show on the road.

    As to (2)

    Kenny may be credited with rejuvenating the Fine Gael party : others would claim that the only way left for it was up having fallen well below its natural base line. Once back to ‘respectable’ percentage that was the Fine Gael aspect consolidated; they then got the middle class vote that turned Anti-Fianna Failure and that gave them poll buoyancy but when the chips were down what was the difference between say, the Richards…… Bruton and Roche ?

    Both are the same tired faces articulating the same tired faces in the same ‘political speak’ language designed to produce media sound bites and the product of spin and back-room folk to begin with anyway rather than an original thought of their own. Yes, Bruton could do better than Enda but then again so could Shatter or Ring of indeed most of his front bench and quite a few of his back benches.

    So why is this so obviously yesterdays man of Bertie Ahern vintage and failed politics still promoted by Fine Gael as Irelands future ?

    No need for head scratching as to why Fine Gale are tumbling in the polls; people want new politics and they are not going to get these from the man who has been longer in the Dail than some of the carpets and fittings that are now regarded as historic!

    I have spend a a third of lifetime picketing and opposing Michael Noonan. The Southern Irish public have recently seen a new side to Michael in relation to his wife’s tragic alsimers affliction and how he has led his family in coping with it.

    I think that if Michael got another crack at Government in Health we would see a humane service very quickly indeed, given his own sad path of appreciation of what the Health services are really like. He indeed has my personal sympathy for the journey he has had to make!

    As to (3)

    I was recently pulled here for using Blueshirt terminology, ‘Smoked Salmon Socialists’ stereotypes belong in the same category. The rural Ireland of Dick Springs era is not the current one.

    My Niece is a single parent with her own house, because of health problems she is required to be a full time carer to her four year old son. There are about twenty or more like her either in the village or in the surrounding town-lands, single mothers or unmarried parents.

    The surrounding villages can show the same young population mix , so can most of Munster. So can most of the West from Kerry to Donegall. I know the Mid Lands are likewise and I would be very surprised if the South East or the Border counties are little different.

    My niece is in her late twenties and until last year as the saying goes ‘ if she was hanged for for her politics she would have died innocent ‘ I now get regular calls from her regarding something she has read in the newspaper or heard in the media as to exactly what it means for her in terms of cut backs, she is on the phone to her friends and they in turn are on to the Local Fianna Failure TD.

    His wife has to take the brunt of it and she too is fired up about the cut backs, she too has an extended family and they too are suffering. In rural Ireland there are few Poor Fine Gael, they may be anti-Fianna Failure but they speak the same Fianna Failure speak about the need cutbacks.

    Pat Rabbit and Gilmore et al. speaking the language my niece and the other young family people like her want to hear. Her brother is working and trying to run a small farm, his wages have been cut and so have farming grants, he was a political but now I have to listen to political lectures from him as to how bad things are.

    Again dozens like him in every Village and Parish, they left second and third level on track for jobs, good wages and with a prospect of their own house in the near horizon. He like his friends had two or three international holidays a year. Unlike Dick Springs Era this young crowd know the Good Life, they had, they lived it, Fianna Failure wide boys robbed them of it and local conservative Fine Gael thought they should never have it to begin with, so who is left ?

    Gilmore and his advisers have the right strategy : all he has to do is look ready and good, why the hell should get mired in policy matters or try to win the next Election when the other two parties are loosing it daily in installments?

    Labour may not have infrastructure in all areas but they have a natural disgruntled young constituency out there that do not have to be convinced of their merits, they are the only voice speaking their language with credibility on a national scale. Sinn Fein so far is showing little sign, I am sad to say, of catching this particular bus!

    There is still a way to go (or is there )? before Election, ‘a week is a long time in politics’, ‘it will be a long,hot summer’ etc,etc, and there could be some surprised yet! However after the Election on present trends there could be more than a few of us Greyheads hugging each other and saying like Connolly did to Pearse at the GPO after the reading of the proclamation ” Thank God we lived to see this day!”

  • Republic of Connaught

    Labour are only leading because FF are despised and Enda Kenny is such a poor figure to lead FG that there are no alternatives to Labour. Why oh why is it taking FG so long to remove Enda? He’s a nice guy who the grannies probably like but he isn’t very bright and he can’t hide it with his ridiculous jokes.

    I simply cringe when I imagine Enda Kenny in the White House or 10 Downing Street as Irish Taoiseach. Brian Cowen might look ridiculous with his triple jowls but at least the guy isn’t overtly dim witted like poor Enda Kenny.

    Pat Rabbitte should have stayed Labour Leader and could have ascended to Taoiseach the way things have gone.

  • Munsterview

    That is what the FF and FG faithful would like to believe! Heck even a few political pundits would like to think so too.

    This time around however there are just too many variables in the mix…….. and far too many yet to come in to predict anything with certainty.

    I just gave the examples from my own extended family and my home village, aspects not factored in by the Ivory tower analyzers so far or at least none that I have seen. These factors are not unique to my region as I have written in a previous posting.

    There is a spread of single mothers and young unmarried parents who set up home some years back and had not experienced bad times or had been prepared for hardships. As they see it Fianna Fail failed them, Rural Fine Gael were bitching about their lifestyle even in the good times. That only leaves Labour and Sinn Fein.

    Labour are connecting, speaking their language and looking the part of Government Ministers in waiting. More, labor are articulating their anger with their attacks on Fianna Fail. They may even persuade their parents and senior family members to also protest vote.

    Sinn Fein, so far are not connecting with these groups and it pains me to say so. In fact unless Sinn Fein returns to street politics and to organizing demonstrations against what is coming down the line, I cannot see the party having a serious impact outside of it’s core vote. If it gives such leadership it could still connect with these young voting people and a far wider sector and make itself relevant.

    Add in the other young rural and small town socia / economic sector people who had jobs, cars, International Holidays and a prospect of a house. All is gone bar the car and if that is still on the road it is taking most of their available financial resources to run it.

    While the lifestyle was there, they in the main, voted Fianna Fail who constantly claimed credit for the boon, now they blame them for the loss of everything through top greed and stupidity and again Labor are speaking their language when they name and blame those responsible for the crash.

    I have concentrated on the rural / villages and small towns to read the omens as these are the very places that will make the difference come the next election. Labor do not have to win over these young people they are already theirs by default. FF can only offer more hardship and whatever Local Fine Gael stands for in these areas it is not standing with the poor or calling for more financial support for lifestyles they totally disagreed with even before the crash!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Munsterview’s analysis is local

    You obviously didn’t notice his spelling of “Labor”.

  • Munsterview

    “……..No need for head scratching as to why Fine Gale are tumbling in the polls; people want new politics and they are not going to get these from the man who has been longer in the Dail than some of the carpets and fittings that are now regarded as historic!……. ”

    Did words of mine send Enda out to die………. ?

    Interesting : will Fine Gael ditch Enda and go for youth, vigor and Bruton?

    Gilmore and Co. should be burning incense to whatever Gods they pray to that Richard Bruton will indeed be the one.

    What a boon for the left…… things just keep going our way !