Current Affairs Economics Politics

Sinn Féin And The Labour Party, Head-To-Head

The Cedar Lounge Revolution carries news on a Sunday Times poll that places Sinn Féin a percentage point ahead of the Labour Party (though, it should be said, still within the statistical margin of error):

‘What an interesting poll the Sunday Times brought us this weekend. A poll which decisively points to Fine Gael dominance, potentially for quite some time to come. Isn’t it a sign of how things have changed that polls now come but rarely and that in some respects we have much less sense of the temperature of the polity than even six months ago. And that too is – perhaps a sign of FG dominance.

Most intriguing aspects? A Labour Party which has crashed not just below Fianna Fáil but also Sinn Féin.

I should stop right here and say this is but a single poll and it doesn’t appear to have a continuity with previous ones taken earlier in the Summer, but we can only work with what we get.

So granted this could be a rogue, and yet there are reasons that any consideration of the political environment as it now is suggests for a weakening of Labour Party support.

Think about the most high-profile issues other than the relationship with the IMF/EU, the subsidiary ones. JLCs, welfare cuts and so on. Hardly the stuff of dreams for a Labour Party which even still must look to its left flanks in order to shore up its support.

This site has argued long and hard that there’s a terrible misconception at the heart of much of political activity in this state, a misconception willfully or otherwise generated in part by the media. It’s the idea that if ‘hard’ decisions taken, a shaken but eventually grateful electorate will ‘reward’ those taking them.

There’s not much to support this viewpoint. Quite the opposite in fact. One can critique the Rainbow Coalition of the mid-1990s for many things, not least its less than full-blooded enthusiasm for the peace process [and strange how antique that term suddenly sounds] but in matters economic it was, compared and contrasted with its successor both moderately progressive and fiscally cautious. Yet for all that stability it takes but a second to remember the ‘It’s payback time…’ headlines in the Independent. No great reward there. No great reward for Fianna Fáil or the Green Party following their implementation of the ‘hard’ decisions, even if some of that lack of reward was due to the sense that there was no end to the ‘hard’ decisions. Two political formations that had solid histories in this state both in the contemporary period and longer, much longer in the case of FF, broken and broken badly by impact with the electorate. So where is this chimerical reward?’

The full article is well worth reading for the type of refreshingly honest views on Ireland’s political and socio-economic woes, and the farcical solutions offered, that rarely make it into the pages of the establishment press. Which of course raises the question, what is Ireland’s news media for if they have simply abdicated all responsibility both for contributing to the dire straits we are in or giving any real critique of the continued use of the same failed voodoo economics that got us here in the first place? If Ireland’s journalists and media folk are not part of the solution then surely they are just another part of the problem? Unfortunately we can’t vote in editors (or proprietors) as we can politicians but we can vote with our euros and simply stop supplying these economic terrorists with the oxygen of publicity.


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