Enda caught in the middle between Eamon and Brian…

Despite the poor showing in the polls, Fianna Fail have one secret, get-out-of-jail-free card they can play against both Labour (soaring ahead at 33% in the latest Ipso-MRBI poll) and Fine Gael (now level pegging at 24% with Fianna Fail). They’ve been in government for so long, they have acquired the knack of being plausible. Very much an underestimated quality in Irish politics.

A normally talented performer in Dail, even Joan Burton was tempted to jump the shark with her ‘steeped in infamy’/Pearl Harbour line on the bank guarantee deal. The crisis in the Irish banking system goes back a long way beyond 28th September 2008, but it is one of Labour’s golden differentiators with both FF and FG.

But too much reliance of hyperbole, can take its toll as voters concentrate on the main issues facing the country as the polls get closer. They will need a credible counter to the “but we’re doing the right thing” mantra from every FF spokesman repeated ad nauseum for the last 18 months. There is a certain credibility tax in not approaching the issue directly and relying on the natural anger with the government parties.

As for the poll itself, this suggest’s the Red C poll rather than the Landsdowne/TV3 poll was the outlier. No one inside FF is taking the threat from Labour lightly, and Enda doesn’t seem to know how to.

From Fianna Fail expect an out and out attack on Gilmore’s (who at 49% outstripes the other leaders by more than double the approval ratings of Enda Kenny) Democratic Left background, and serious man playing onslaught as we get closer to the election. From Fine Gael, expect more confusion as to where the primary enemy is.

Fianna Fail will be be pleased at least that after Cowen’s ‘tired and emotional’ spake to the nation, they are on a 3% move upwards. There is no significant change for the Greens or Sinn Fein.

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  • slug

    “The rescue costs for this one bank represent a staggering 21 per cent of Irish GDP, more than the entire bill for sorting the Japanese banking crisis of 1997 and almost twice the cost of the Finnish crisis in the early 1990s.”

    This is from FT.com. The Japanese were in recession right through the 1990s and have barely recovered. It was the world’s 2nd biggest economy. Puts things in perspective for the people of the South.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I dont trust opinion polls.
    But the fact is that a nervy population wont trust red clawed conservatives like FG or chancers like FF to have too much power.
    Ten years of cuts only have credibility “we are all in this together” for the masses if Labour are to a very large extent involved in making the cuts at least “seem” more just.
    FF isnt facing total melt down…..as it was 12 months ago.
    But the three vacancies in An Dáil have contributed and FFs relunctance to hold these elections until some time after 31st March is a disgrace….manipulation but legal.
    However FGs high moral ground is compromised by the fact that one of these vacancies was caused by the immature hissy fit of one of its own members (George Lee).

    The percentages shown in the poll (which I dont trust) suggests there MIGHT be a Labour taoiseach leading a minority government but it will be difficult for Labour to spread its vote.
    Worst case scenario for the Irish working class is a FF-FG Coalition of the Right.
    So it would be nice to see the options for coalition spelt out clearly BEFORE polling day rather than a deal afterwards (Cameron Clegg)

  • White Horse

    “There is no significant change for the Greens or Sinn Fein.”

    Sinn Fein are down two per cent. The public continues to see no relevance for them at a time when Labour are topping the polls and may even contribute a Taioseach by all accounts.

  • Mick Fealty

    margin of error is plus or minus three per cent…

  • pippakin

    Labour are doing well and continuing to increase their lead. Gilmour is playing a blinder. It’s more than likely that a few points/votes will drop off as some voters find it impossible to change the habit of a lifetime but even so Labour are really beginning to look like a serious choice for the next government.

  • DC

    More austerity and cuts being imposed unfairly onto the Irish people.

    Flipped over by the banks.

    I was watching a clip on BBC and a Dubliner said they should be arrested and lose their houses. He’s right. Absolutely right. Bankers, politicians – houses taken clean off them to set an example.

    But I do reckon there is something in the Dubliner’s comment – seize at least their properties, all their properties. The law is after all in your own hands at the end of the day, time to think creatively and within the law. Time to dish out a bit quid-pro-quo using whatever legal means possible.

    Economics is at the root of all capital, political, cultural etc. I mean if anti-terrorist laws can deprive criminals of property and assets etc I see no reason why politicians of the Irish state and bankers ought not to suffer similarly. Belt tightening all round then – enforced belt tightening on the bankers and politicians as well if needs be.

    Fianna Epic Fail and its government and its criminal negligence.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The fact that Feckless Fail got us into this mess (whilst Feckess Gael cheered them on from the sidelines) does not mean that the former are not currnelty the best option – horrible a thought as it may be. The potential problem for Labour who may ‘deserve’ a crack for being the least guilty of the 3 largest parties is that they may not have the balls/stomach to administer the unpalatable medicine to the Plain People of Ireland.

    Lenihan is also an excellent performer and appears so far to be managing the crisis well and until he gets tripped up by deteriorating market conditions or some dirt linking the government to the shenanigans in Anglo he will probably see FF rise more in the polls – helped of course by both the conservatism of the Plain People of Ireland and the fact that FG made a pig’s Mickey of getting rid of the hapless Enda.

  • DC

    Well Labour could administer the bad medicine if concurrently the party laid down legislation – retrospective it may even have to be – that permits the state to take property off those deemed in charge and culpable – the establishment.

    Because properties will be lost when certain other – innocent- people lose their jobs as a result of austerity measures so properties belonging to the Fianna Fail establishment must go – hand-in-hand. Belt tightening all round.

    It’s so unfair really. The government enacts a bailout on behalf of the people – the populace lose their jobs and houses – while the establishment keeps their own and draws a salary/pension down for doing so as part of “democratic representation”. Fuck that.

    Based on the figures coming through – nationhood destroying figures – just how can that be right?

    Impoverish the bastards in the establishment that brought it about – hand-in-hand with the populace. The establishment ought to suck it up and suck it in as well seeing as they love their people ‘their kind’, their kind they represented in the Dail – or actually hopelessly failed to represent.

    Cue Vincent

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Throwing the establishment in jail or shooting them which I would personally favour aint going to get us out of the current mess and we can ill afford the Labour party riding into office on a wave of popular support and playing to the gallery – ideally there should be a government of National unity comprising the 3 largest parties to eliminate party politiking.

    But of course pain must be shared and but retribution must wait but be none the less severe because of that.

  • DC

    As if Sammy.

    The Irish government aren’t going to write out to each member personally in Ireland – those in gainful employment.

    They will cut the funds off and raise taxes – people will lose their jobs and homes while those *responsible* for this action keep theirs.

    How can that be right?

    The Irish government’s authority is shot. It’s game over.

  • That’s Gilmore without the u and with an e Mick… As for the rest of it, the attack on him and his party is coming from Fine Gael for the past week and then there was the pairing fiasco, which seems months ago after Black Thursday. Apathy and emigration and an opposition that is led by Enda Kenny are FF’s kindest saviours, for now. Brian Lenihan is now damaged goods after two years of sainthood though – will be interesting to see how that plays.

    I’m off to bed to ponder my last few months of assured employment.

  • Mick Fealty

    Arrggghhhh… different Gilmore, different story… Ta Suz!

  • Matt The Rasher

    “Gilmour is playing a blinder”

    Yeah he is of course. If you could spell his name I might take you a bit more seriously.

  • aquifer

    A party of redistribution has a problem when the country is in debt. The party of national revolution has ended up expropriating not the foreign english ascendency but the local population. The conservative party of local capital and incremental change faces massive external challenges.

    If Labour can imagine itself running a factory for exports, and marginalise the sillier class warriors who have not noticed that the working class are in china, they might get in. But who to work with then?

    They could fairly demand a government of national unity or another election to smash the civil war divide for good.

  • pippakin

    mattt theee rascher

    Did I make a teensy leetle speeling mishtake??? AW Shcusks!

    But I have been right about Labour since their climb began and, guess what, I’m right again.

  • “…Fianna Fail have one secret, get-out-of-jail-free card…”

    If we could get them into jail, that would at least be a start.

    The problem with mid term polls is that the electoral mind narrows considerably once a date has been set for an election (and, despite the odd document being brought forward, both FG and Labour have been fairly light on policy, or promoting it coherently). Labour’s problem is that, despite support in the polls, their organisation is uneven and they may have to work hard to convert some of that support into both votes and seats. The nature of unwieldy 3,4 and 5 seater constituencies means that, if both FG and FF hold around the mid-20s (which will have an uneven geographic spread as well), they won’t take as a big an electoral hit as you think. It is also possible that even more independents will get in on local issues if there is some doubt over the shape of a government (i.e. someone to trade off their vote to whoever does win for some parish pump deal). There are already threads along those lines on discussions fora like boards.ie.

    All this looks academic, for the moment, though. Chances are that the government is going to run full term – the end of pairing agreements had been intended as a device to help force the by-elections (and try and precipitate the collapse of the government). Labour outflanked FG on that as cross party support within the opposition benches was needed to make it work. So either Labour see an election (or the reins of government) as a double-edged sword, or, they are more concerned with slapping down FG first (or, it they wanted to throw a bone to FF). Having gone through the pretence of a final costing for Anglo, FF will now negotiate their way around the budget (and live register figures are dropping), I could still see them squeezing back to 30% next year, slightly ahead of Labour and FG, with a disaster of an election to follow.

  • Mick Fealty

    My fault I fear… I do know how to spell his name (when I concentrate really hard), but got confused with another spelling from a name in another story. My bad.

  • pippakin

    No I have no excuse. I have supported Labour for several years and admire Mr Gilmore’s performance during the recession.

    I am wondering if it’s my age and memories of Ian Gilmour a tory mp from my youth.It is said that as we age the memory moves back ward and plays tricks on us…

  • pippakin

    Is this a good time to mention preview, please!!!!

  • Greenflag

    Gilmore in Irish is Giolla Mor (Big Servant ) . I think we can take it that Mr Gilmore will live up to his name and remain the brown nosed servant of RTE and the public sector unions . The opposition choice for the Republic is to vote for the teacher or the commissar.

    ‘who have not noticed that the working class are in china, ‘

    So that’s where they went ? Either there or the buggers are playing couch potato when any election hoves in sight / But a good point – Mr Ed Milliband and Mr Clegg have spoken up in defence of the ‘middle class’ following the Obama example . Sign of the times eh ? Could be an omen for the future . When the middle classes (especially the lower middle classes get Bolshie -revolutions no longer get talked about -they happen or so one reads from the historical examples . But the revolution may veer to the extreme right or extreme left and the choice may come down in the fianl analysis to the ‘personality’ of the leader .

  • DC

    the choice may come down in the fianl analysis to the ‘personality’ of the leader

    I’m sure Gerry Adams will fancy his chances then.

  • Greenflag

    Actually SF should do slightly better than last time given the economic crisis . But the problem for them is that probably 85% of the population will not consider their ‘answer’ to the economic crisis assuming they have one to be ‘credible ‘. Waving the UI flag will not garner any extra votes next time out . That canard is a busted flush at least for the next election .