Current Affairs Politics

The ASF Vote In The European And Local Elections 2019

Since it has become a sort of confessional political tradition for An Sionnach Fionn, here is how I voted in today’s European Parliament and local government elections.

European Parliament elections 2019:

1) Sinn Féin

2) Independents for Change

3) Social Democrats

4) Solidarity-People Before Profit

5) Green Party

I didn’t vote for the “second” Solidarity-People Before Profit candidate since she is representing the Socialist Party – the Solidarity moniker notwithstanding – and my aversion to the party of the “Confederation of the British Isles” is well known. One might as well support the Irexit Freedom Party as support the SP since they are flip sides of the same anti-EU, pro-UK coin. My vote for the Green Party was with a heavy heart as it has yet to express any great contrition for its time in coalition government with Fianna Fáil from 2007-11. I remain suspicious of the naked ambition of some figures in the leadership of the Greens but by instinct I’m something of an eco-republican – in the tradition of Patrick Pearse – so I held my nose and gave them my fifth vote.

I had indicated in a previous post or comment that I was inclined to give Mark Durkan, the former leader of the SDLP, a nod on the ballot paper out of solidarity with the northern nationalist community and to send a message to the Brexiteers in Britain and the DUP in the north. However on the day I couldn’t bring myself to put a number anywhere near that Fine Gael logo despite lingering in the booth for two or three minutes as I debated what to do. To be perfectly honest with you it actually made my stomach sick at the thought of voting for FG, which surprised even me. So I contented myself with the above selections.

Local government elections 2019:

1) Sinn Féin

2) Sinn Féin

3) Independents 4 Change

4) Social Democrats

5) Green Party

I declined to vote for the sole Solidarity-People Before Profit candidate in my local government constituency because he is another Socialist Party entryist and by inclination I quite like living in the independent nation-state of Ireland, and the European Union as a whole, rather than in some slightly red Trot version of the British Empire. (Okay, an exaggeration but y’know what I mean.)

On the referendum question – remember that? – I voted an easy “Yes” to liberalising the laws covering the separation period before a person can apply for divorce and recognising divorces granted outside the State through the Thirty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2016. So there you go, another set of elections (and a plebiscite) and another set of votes recorded for posterity. Let me know how you get on today or any observations you might have from the polling stations. But above all, exercise your right and get out and vote!


41 comments on “The ASF Vote In The European And Local Elections 2019

  1. Greeting from Midlands North West. I opted for Ming and all other independents (except Massah Casey) and bunged PBP in as my Number Two. Locally? Aontu, at least they never sold out by signing a policing agreement. If SF want a vote let them ask plod, or the Geisha Sayonara/Free State Police – oh my second local vote went tribal.

  2. About to vote and v.. similar to your own, I’d weighed up Durkan too. But I don’t know. Voting FG would go against all my instincts. Think I’d have the GP higher than you ASF but wouldn’t go with the SDs. Swings and roundabouts though. Can’t help but feel the referendum vote is the most consequential vote of the day in a way.

    • My SD vote is partly based on knowing some of those involved and liking where they want to go with the party. Also… Well, ironically enough, a lack of choice despite that humongous ballot paper for the EuroParl. All those candidates and the majority are pretty unattractive for anyone on the Left.

      Yeah, I have that feeling too on the referendum. Though it will be good to see where FG, FF, SF and Lab stand viz the electorate. Even in the abnormal EuroParl, #LE19 circumstances.

      • Ah yeah, I know a few people in the SDs who I think are sound and if they were standing in the constituency they’d get my vote. I wonder where they’re going overall though as a party. SF round here lost one Cllr who retired which is a pity, came from a solid community background. But they’re standing three which seems optimistic -w with only one incumbent, though they got three last time.Anyhow, they figured v high in my local mix 😉

  3. What exactly are the social conventions in Ireland with regards to when people can reveal how they voted? When I’ve been in Ireland the unwritten rules on when to talk politics were never 100% clear to me.

    By “local govt” did you mean county govt or something else?

    As for those “Lists” do you get a name or just pick the party? If the latter how do you know who they are going to put in that seat?

    Is 5 the maximum number of votes? How does picking the same party twice work? Could you just write on party 5 times? Or only fill in the first 1-2? Would any of those choices forfeit your vote?

    • You can pretty much tell whoever you want as soon as you have done it, if you want to. Most don’t, some do.

      The press don’t, obviously, but as for ASF I think it’s important to let people know where I’m coming from in terms of my politics.

      Local government is county councils, etc.

      You get a ballot paper with the name and picture of the candidate, their profession, address and party affiliation.

      You vote by order of your personal preference, as many or as few candidates as you want, starting with your first (you write a 1 in the box beside that candidate’s name) and on to your second, third, etc.

      You can go all the way through the ballot paper, giving a preference to each candidate, or just pick the ones you want only. And ignore the rest.

      Because of the risk of transfers in preferential voting I only vote the candidates I want. Just in case a throwaway preference gets someone I largely dislike across the line and elected.

      By tradition most voters keep numbering their preferences on the ballot until there is no blank boxes.

      The Dublin constituency had a dozen plus candidates. I only voted my top ones and didn’t bother with the rest. For the reasons above.

      • Very interesting. What you say suggests one claim I heard, “There is no need to make strategic choices in AV, RCV, The Ware Method, or Hare-Clark Method.” seems to be a myth?

        The ballots I have used tended to either involve a punch card ballot with a push pin, and a laminated book and grid superimposed over the punch card. Or else something where you use these specialized marker to put a line that you use to complete and arrow pointing at the choice you want.

        I have participated in some workshops where they were advocating various systems of voting similar to yours. Some of these had ballots much as you described. Other made a set-up much like I described out of some office supplies and/or kids’ toys. In either case they often use photos, but typically you are voting for your favorite cast member on Sesame Street or Pokemon or “Little Rascal” or movie, or pizza toppings or favorite fruit or whatever. As it’s just a sort of demonstration.

        I always presumed the photos on these demonstrations were just a sort of a joke to make it fun-not something actually done anywhere. OF course, states in the US have a right to adopt voting methods as you describe for both state, local and federal offices-even President. To require them all to do so, is what would require a Constitutional Amendment-which is a notoriously hard thing to do.🚧

        • Trusty pencil and paper ballot. On a slight tangent… Scientific American in the current edition had a piece on how electronic voting is wide open to hacks and manipulation. And where it is used but validated by individual people’s Digital IDs that raises issues as regards privacy and mass surveillance.

          • You know the type of ballot I used during my first few elections 5 or 6 elections (I always vote in off midterms and even “odd-year” elections when they happen.), was largely blamed for the Election 2000 irregularities in Florida.


            After that they were largely replaced by things that used pencils, pens, and markers used to connect parts of an arrow, fill in circles or whatever.

            Now there’s a trend in America where a lot of people are trying to push not only for electronic voting but also “all mail-in voting” as well. Having lived Oregon I’m not a fan of “all-mail-in” at all.

            I know a lot of people who really, really want not just universal mail-in because they see it as “the hottest new thing” but even some people who want to push for “Internet Voting”. One woman I know petulantly says she refuses to vote until she can do so by Internet-and she didn’t vote for Hilary in 2016 for this reason, despite living in Michigan. There are a lot of people who if something is deemed “convenient” or “save money” it become the final word.

            Of course, with Mail-in I’ve doubts about whether even the best measures taken by the Postal-Service can equal that of County Elections Dept, and in some states with all-mail-in postal services have been semi-privatized. (Mail service privatization is a disturbing trend in itself.)

            And there may be even more disturbing issues with people voting at home.


            • Completely agree with you about questions over privatisation of mail and indeed with all-mail-in. I saw photos of the Florida 2000 ballot. That was amazing.

  4. Did not vote as did many others I know. Brexit is a gift to republicans who want irish unity. Besides the shinners opposed the EU not that long ago.

  5. Would a “Socialist Confederation of Britain and Ireland” include abolishing the Monarchy?

    Also looking at their stuff it’s not 100% clear if they want a full state planned economy or simply a mixed one.

    • The SP favours a (con)federation of socialist republics in the “British Isles”, as hard left as you can go. No monarchs and questionable democracy. I’m not a fan!

      • So they want the UK that was created in 1801 to become a “Union of (Soviet style) Socialist Republics”? Is that what I’m getting?

        Do want not just a low-to-no exemption state planned economy? To not just abolish The Monarchy but replace Parliament with a Politburo?

        • well they’d argue that given they’re Trotskyists they would avoid the Soviet errors, but given the actual structures seem to be largely identical Leninist ones with very centralised political control – democratic centralism and so on presumably all the way up to a Poliburo I am dubious that in practice it could or would. I’d not be a fan either. The Leninist model was broken long long ago.

          • I’m in the camp that both pure Capitalism and pure Socialism can never work out long term in a real society. Temporary State planned economies with a high opt-out level may work out for societies that have nothing. India soon after independence was one success story. The Reconstruction South of the US could have been another if it had not been destroyed by “Rebs” gone to Klan.

            I’ve heard a case saying that Communism and Colonialism are actually very similar. That what most hands on Colonial Rulers and Communist systems actually *do* is remarkably similar even if their rationales are very different. And having studied a lot of Russian history along with the language, I have to say this thinking rings true to me.

            • I’m not quite whatever works but I agree, ‘purist’ regimes are not the way forward. The collateral human damage is too great.

  6. gendjinn

    Some exit polling is showing a collapse in FG’s Dublin vote – Children’s Hospital, Broadband Plan & Bailey’s personal injury claim cited as the main reasons.

    Apparently FG voters have headed over to Greens, I wonder if these are the same cohort that left FF for FG after the last financial collapse? When the Greens disappoint them in govt will they then switch to FF and complete the circle of life?

    • I think that’s about the size of it. 7 or so per cent who float one way or another. The GP will probably hold on to a couple of per cent, that being the way of things, over their original 2/3 per cent. But the rest will be chasing after the next new thing or back to their traditional pastures. Though, one thing that strikes me is how FF/FG can’t seal the deal with the electorate. Still much less enthusiasm for them than ten years ago. Which is a good thing!

      • gendjinn

        Trying to figure out the SF vote collapse – could it really be down to changing their position on being a minority coalition partner?

        • I think the death in Derry played into it, guilt by republican associations, but that is only one of several factors. Hope to write down a few thoughts when all the results in tomorrow.

          • Yes, very much agree ASF.

            • gendjinn

              Interesting, somewhat surprised to hear the Lyra McKee murder had such a far reaching impact on SF’s voter base in the south. The problem with living at a remove, you miss the scents in the air that give you insights into the electorate, a sense of the mood that journalism rarely captures except in retrospect.

              The usual suspects will be unbearable, gloating over SF’s setback.

          • Perhaps the shinners as well PBP etc underestimated the frustration from within working class communities? Perhaps they’ve misread that not all folk are racist right wingers if they oppose the EU? Judging by the turnout in the north there will be some deep evaluation to be discussed. P.s pushing abortion upon conservative Ireland would surely have impacted too. Perhaps not the ‘pushing’ but the dismissing of genuine concerns from folk is arrogant.

            • The Irexit Party scored a handful of votes as did other anti-EU or hard-right candidates. So where was that frustration in working-class communities?

              • One possibility is that Irexit and similar might not be be how frustration in working-class communities actually manifests itself.

                The thing is that “frustration in working class communities” is everybody’s favorite Rorshach-people can use that label to make anything they want and it’s exact opposite to be all about “working class alienation”. Proving the thesis is something very different.

              • +1 Grace and ASF. I love the way the working class communities are dragged into discussions and then rapidly pushed away out of sight (though in fairness to Wolfe Tone I don’t think that’s what they’re doing).

                But everyone talks about the working class but when it comes to the crunch what do they do to engage with it. It is always the subject of change and problems, never given any agency of its own except in walk on parts. It’s used as legitimation for everyone, but never actually engaged with on its own terms (and that’s a criticism I and a fair few others on the left would have of both the right and the left). I live in a working class community, I have a kid in the local national school, all their friends are from that community and so on. I’ve been active in this community myself canvassing and working on various issues and with various groups since the late 1990s. For once I’d love people to let the community speak for itself and believe it – but no, the idea is that it’s a sullen heap unable to articulate its own values or its own choices, and therefore dependent upon indirect communication through votes (except when it doesn’t vote for those who people say it wants to in which case it is then said to have been unable for one reason or another to do so). My experience is that if the community I live in has a problem, as I’ve seen it have problems about road works, or drug dealing or whatever that community comes out and says its piece. It’s not shy, it’s not inarticulate, it doesn’t operate by the equivalent of smoke signals or semaphore or a teenage sulk. And if it is frustrated likewise.

                Perhaps it is different in the UK. Perhaps an embedded class system etc has changed things there and people are beaten down. I don’t doubt that is true of many places on this planet. But having worked in working class communities since the early 1980s on this island there’s no way that’s the case here.

            • By the way I don’t want to claim the other extreme that it is the repository of wisdom of the ages. It makes mistakes does unwise things and so on.

              • One big issue is that “the working class” is that it typically involves at least a million people in a given country (potentially a lot more) who simply put don’t all think the same way- Trying to subject “what the working class thinks” to simplistic generalizations just doesn’t work.

                Other examples of populations that are used as a sort of way to “legitimize” ones own views in the US could include “The Black Community”, “Veterans”, “Small Business Owners” and more. I don’t know if these groups are otherwise “just pushed aside” necessarily (given the way legislation and programs are actually not usually that simple), but the fact is that they are far from homogeneous. Listening to a number of people on a local basis will only get you so far, all by itself.

                As for working class people being so “beaten down” that they couldn’t say much. There have been times in several countries histories where that was actually a medical rather than a social reality.

              • Very true re the working class not being a single entity with a single point of view – and there’s stratification within it too. In fairness in discussions like these I think it’s possible to use it as a short hand in certain respects. But as you say, that only takes one so far.

              • Yep. In America it goes way beyond stratification. It is notoriously difficult to untangle most measures of social class (especially among the white population) from regional and cultural differences. The South in particular has a lot more poverty, lower education levels and a very different economic history from the rest of the US. It also has notable cultural factors that can’t be blamed entirely on economics (or racism). In Alabama or Tennessee you can live a comfortable if unglamorous life at a wage that would have you struggling to survive in Seattle or Boston. Also the folks in Tennessee, Alabama, and rural Georgia might consider The Waffle House fancy and see themselves as “haves” rather than “have nots” if Wal-Mart is the most glamorous place they shop, while somebody living a fairly solid existence in Seattle or New York will be constantly confronted with things they can’t afford.

                Also people who move into The South tend to be “tech workers” and such, while people in other parts of The US with Southern roots from generations ago, are still grossly overrepresented in white , native born poverty even in the Midwest.

                Also people in the de-industrlalized Midwest are disproportionately from the familiies who were forced to stop speaking German in WWI.

                See how this creates problems in untangling “social class” from other variables?

        • Mary Lou not doing anything much when a lot is happening with Brexit and the DUP getting all the limelight, SF failed to deliver a radical response, to much of the same old same old. Time to shout “Border Poll” by 2022, the 100th Anniversary of the Brits leaving the 26th Counties. Time to decide either a United Ireland or continue with sometime never.

  7. Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has refused to rule a future coalition with either Fianna Fail or Fine Gael , so reports the media today, that is why I never vote Green, the voters forget they were with FF when they country was bankrupted .

    • Eamon Ryan is the original Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and in political terms I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. I suspect that some of his political leanings are not that far separated from those of his wife. And her politics are problematic at best.

      Ryan wants the Greens to replace Labour as the go-to coalition partner for FG and FF. Thankfully some in his party are not so sanguine with that strategy.

      • I was not aware of his wife’s views, thanks for the heads up. I think SF will need a new leader ASAP , Pearse Doherty ???? sound on economics and well grounded all rounder

        • gendjinn

          Trevor Sargent set the culture of the GP, which continues to this day. He alienated a lot of great people and ensured their Neoliberal tilt. Anyone who could survive in TS’s world is not anyone I would have any time for and would certainly never vote for.

          During his political career TS was well known around Balbriggan as [ASF Removed] in every regard.

    • Me too Paddy – if I still had a vote in Ireland.

      I’ll never forgive the Irish Greens for what they did. And it’s not like it’s a different generation. Same faces. Same banker’s bootlickers.

      • That Green vote could turn out to be a “safe” protest vote by former Labour and some FG voters, of the never-SF kind. We’ll have to wait for the final numbers.

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