“…a real feeling the Taoiseach should come out and talk to Joan. It is starting to look embarrassing…”

Whilst we are on the subject of election date (Taoiseach seems to be setting everything up for a cut and run to the polls after a big slurge at the budget), this protest from Labour Party leader Joan Burton is worth noting:

Sources this morning said Ms Burton had reacted badly to reports of a November election and remains strongly opposed to an election before Christmas.

A meeting of the parliamentary Labour party last night heard a “unanimous” preference from TDs and Senators for an election next spring.

At the meeting, Ms Burton repeated her position that the election should be held next year. TDs and Senators told the meeting it was imperative the banking inquiry complete its work and the legislation to give effect to public sector pay rises agreement was passed.

“There was a real sense of frustration that there is a feeding frenzy around November,” said one TD.

“It is starting to undermine the image of a unified and coherent Government. There is a real feeling the Taoiseach should come out and talk to Joan. It is starting to look embarrassing to us at this stage.”

Yep. A run to the polls makes sense for Fine Gael, but for Labour (with the left grinding their carving knives), perhaps not so much.

  • Gingray

    Hmm I’m still not convinced by November – Fine Gael want to be in power and for that they need labour on side. Add in the banking enquiry that would be shelved, it will be used to attack them.

  • gendjinn

    “Fine Gael want to be in power and for that they need labour on side.”

    No they don’t, nor would Labour be sufficient. It’s an FG/FF/??? lash up and FG are looking forward to doing to FF what they’ve just done to Labour. Probably have to be back to back elections to get it done, but get it done they will.

  • Gingray

    gendjinn

    Perhaps, I don’t buy it tho, Fianna Fáil members are incredibly strongly against this and they would be the minor party. The lesser coalition partner in Germany and UK got wiped out, Labour won’t be far off.

    But they will in all likelihood be the 4th largest party. In addition they have a voting pact.

    Why piss off your coalition partners? Is the budget boost going to be that much better now than in February?

  • gendjinn

    4th? Maybe, maybe not AAA-PBP & The Ross Alliance may relegate Labour to 5th or even 6th on a bad day.

    Do you remember the 1980/81 elections? The call of the ministerial Merc soon trumps all other considerations. Oh the figleaf of a hung Dáil and back-to-back elections might be required but rest assured something would be cobbled together “for the good of the country/putting country before party”.

  • Gingray

    gendjinn

    You could well be right – perhaps Fianna Fáil will ignore the lesson and go in as the minor party, but it would be short term gain for more long term pain.

    And you are right , on a bad day labour could come that low. Which is why surely their coalition partner and voting pact alliance would be best served strong.

    John McGuinness was asked about coalition parties on Wednesday and remained adamant that leadership didn’t want find Gael or sinn fein, he would favour alliance with the later.

    I’d buy you a pint if it’s a grand coalition between the big 2, leaving Gerry as leader of opposition, but reckon fine Gael, labour and the rossies will have just about enough

  • gendjinn

    Gingray,

    Couple of short points to throw into the mix in no particular order:
    1. On a good day FG are losing 20 seats.
    2. Labour are anyone’s coalition partner.
    3. FG has zero loyalty, sympathy for Labour.
    4. I’ve seen all sorts of pre-election coalition promises made and broken over the last 35 years, I know they are worthless.

    Now the polls have improved somewhat and if the trend continues on the back of a giveaway budget FG/Lab/Ross/IND could cobble together a very small majority. Unlikely but not impossible. Let’s see how things go in the next month.

    My hypothesis about FF is that they’d be going in with the plan to cut & run over principle (faux or real) or scandal (Banking/NAMA inquiries) in 2 to 3 years. “We tried to work with them fekkers for the good of country but sure what can you do, it’s FG, the bastids.” or some concoction like that.

  • Gingray

    gendjinn
    I do take your points but surely Fine Gael prefer an alliance with the always reliable Labour.
    And doing what they can to strengthen their ally, not just via the voting pact, but delay the election too.
    In regards seats, the overall number is dropping which will help the coalition a little too.

  • gendjinn

    Gingray,

    agreed.

    FG will do what’s best for them, if that helps Labour fine. But I don’t think they will risk fewer seats for FG in exchange for a better Labour outcome.

    The interesting little dance this week over the date of the election is showing some disharmony in the coalition ranks. Certain influential FG TDs see the numbers improve in their constituencies to the point where they themselves will be re-elected so they are now lobbying Kenny hard to go now while they will survive. Kenny may well prefer spring ’16 but he may not be able to withstand internal party pressure to go in Nov.

    We’ll know in a couple of weeks for sure.

  • Gingray

    Defo!
    Sure when Ireland win the world cup, might give labour enough of a boost to want to go early.
    Am I right in thinking it can be as short as 3 weeks for an election?

  • gendjinn

    I admire your optimism…. that anything can give Labour a boost.

    Article 16 2° A general election for members of Dáil Éireann shall take place not later than thirty days after a dissolution of Dáil Éireann.

    So technically it could be “Election tomorrow feckers!” but usually 3 to 4 weeks after dissolution.

  • Gingray

    Cheers!!

    I’ve a feeling that labour will poll in the 7-9% bracket, closer to the higher end the longer time goes on.

    Given that they won 20 seats in 2002 and 2007 with 10% of the vote (but a lot of transfers) I would expect 10-12 TDs returned.

    Could well be wrong tho!

  • gendjinn

    7-9% first preference votes seems likely given the current polling but they are going to see a dramatic collapse in their transfers compared to the 2011 GE. This puts them in real danger of elimination before FG transfers can elect them. It’s real knife edge territory for LAB and they could go as low as 5-6 TDs on 7%, 10-12 on 9% and 20 on 13%