Current Affairs Politics

The Labour Party, Not Waving But Drowning

Éamon Gilmore - Nothing in my hand, nothing up my sleeve. So trust me, I'm a politician!
Éamon Gilmore – Nothing in my hand, nothing up my sleeve. So trust me, I’m a politician!

There may well be something anomalous about the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll but even with that caveat in place the results are quite extraordinary with Sinn Féin pushing Fianna Fáil into third place and Labour recording their lowest survey rating in 25 years.

Fine Gael, 26% (+2)

Sinn Féin, 23% (+2)

Fianna Fáil, 22% (-4)

Independents/Others, 21% (+3)

Labour Party, 6% (-3)

Green Party, 2% (+/-0) 

Compare these figures with the earlier Sunday Independent/Millward Brown poll and the averaged-out “banding” of voter preferences becomes obvious: FG and FF on plus 20%, SF on minus 20%, the Independents on minus 20%, Labour on minus 10% (not to mention that big band of undecideds)

As always I ask the question: why is the Green Party, a political organisation without a single Teachta Dála or any national presence worth talking about, separated out from the category of Independents/Others when parties with elected members sitting in An Dáil are hidden away under a single meaningless description? Why are the polling companies maintaining the presence of the Greens in the public eye in contradiction of their actual democratic representation?

 

8 comments on “The Labour Party, Not Waving But Drowning

  1. an lorcánach

    hopefully after a 2-0 defeat on friday, the squirrels dancin’ on éamondo’s forehead will doubtless dye themselves a more reddened hue @-}– … too little, too late! @

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  2. The Green Party is broken out by pollsters because anything labeled “green” is good and the people need to be shown what is good, even if they’re too stupid to recognize it for themselves. It’s not important that they don’t have a national presence as long as recognizing the Greens makes some people (mostly pollsters, journalists, etc.) feel good.

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    • Some truth in that. I’m broadly “Green Left” myself, and did vote Irish Green Party in times past under our PR system, but at the moment it is a phantom party. Zero national representation, a handful of local town councillors, dwindling membership and largely despised by environmentally-minded individuals or groups because of its centre-right culpability in the sell-out to the EU bureaucrats. There are several other parties, far larger and with many more elected members, who are hidden under the “Others” label. However most are Far Left. That I think is a more important factor. I might not be a fan of old school socialism but we live in a democracy not a play-thing for journalistic elites who decide what is and is not politically acceptable.

      I suppose in the US the equivalent would be the manner in which the two party system dominates and third parties rarely receive a media airing and therefore have no hope of gaining traction. Hence I suppose why individuals in the “Tea Party” movement occupied the right wing of the Republican Party rather than forming a party of their own. And we can see the effects of that today.

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      • A very accurate assessment of the US system. You will almost never win any higher office running as anything besides a Republican or a Democrat. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is perhaps the only notable exception in recent memory.

        And yes, when the system isn’t set up for third parties to be taken seriously, they have to coalesce inside one of the two existing parties, which is why the Republicans now have to grapple with the Tea Party loons.

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        • I think most people here believed that the electoral rebuke of the Republican Party by the great middle swathe of American public opinion through the defeat of Mitt Romney and the public humiliation of several ultra-conservative leaders would lead to the waning of Tea Party influence (who can forget Karl Rove’s meltdown on Fox News?). However it seems that the freshman Congressmen of Tea Party origin are as ideologically committed as ever. Their present strategy reminds me of that old Vietnam War era tactic: burning the village to save the village.

          And we all remember how well that worked out.

          Of course with the likes of the rather odious Koch brothers holding the purse strings of the Republican Party it is difficult to see how old school centrists will regain control. Gone are the cordial days of Tip O’Neill and Ronald Regan making gentlemanly deals over games of golf.

          It’s come to something when one can look back at Regan and see him as a “moderate” 😉

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          • If nothing else, Reagan understood how to pick his battles, as did O’Neill. Today, every issue is seen an ideological Armageddon.

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            • Very true. It’s the absolutist stance that is eroding political discourse in the US. If nothing else politics is about compromise. Give an’ take. But then I suppose if you view politics as simply a socio-cultural war by other means compromise is tantamount to surrender. And evangelicalism leaves little wriggle room. I don’t suppose many on the Christian Right appreciate the subtleties of the axiom: “please God, make me good, but not just yet” 😉

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  3. an lorcánach

    media in the state will print /broadcast what they like in their own interest – obviously greens are not naturally on the right but a spoon fed public that’s unaligned politically are patsy’s for election engineering – a dramatic increase of independent t.d.s next year (hopefully) would be less preferable than a newly elected green t.d. hoovering up anti -government votes – nothing changes! @

    http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2013/oct/03/irish-independent-ireland

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