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Does Irish politics have a "working-class party"?


FloatingVoterTralee

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Joined
May 8, 2009
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997
Fianna Fáil's support base was traditionally described as a group "that thought Labour, but voted FF", but with that demographic having fractured in multiple directions at the last election, can any one party claim to be the voice of lower-income voters? Numerically, the answer must be Fine Gael, but their ideological focus concerns a middle-class coalition of urban professionals, prosperous farmers and Ahern-era FF ABs that have elevated FG to largest-party status. Labour have long pursued the left/liberal section of that social class, and by concentrating on the public sector, the party has left a vacuum which Sinn Féin are eager to exploit. That party has based its growth strategy on targeting lower-income voters before widening its net, but even then, its percentage of that group has yet to rival that of the traditional parties, if poll figures of 15-20% are any testament, while the ULA remain a micro-alliance. Of course, it may very well be that the notion of a monolithic working-class bloc is entirely false, but even that allowed, who can best claim to represent the most vulnerable?
 

factual

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Feb 5, 2005
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8,761
Fianna Fáil's support base was traditionally described as a group "that thought Labour, but voted FF", but with that demographic having fractured in multiple directions at the last election, can any one party claim to be the voice of lower-income voters? Numerically, the answer must be Fine Gael, but their ideological focus concerns a middle-class coalition of urban professionals, prosperous farmers and Ahern-era FF ABs that have elevated FG to largest-party status. Labour have long pursued the left/liberal section of that social class, and by concentrating on the public sector, the party has left a vacuum which Sinn Féin are eager to exploit. That party has based its growth strategy on targeting lower-income voters before widening its net, but even then, its percentage of that group has yet to rival that of the traditional parties, if poll figures of 15-20% are any testament, while the ULA remain a micro-alliance. Of course, it may very well be that the notion of a monolithic working-class bloc is entirely false, but even that allowed, who can best claim to represent the most vulnerable?
SF promote the interest of working class people, across the island, whether in Donaghadee or Dalkey. SF is not a "working class" party - is it a party for all - but it is a party that looks out for those struggling to make ends meet.
 

Con Gallagher

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May 25, 2010
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2,413
SF promote the interest of working class people, across the island, whether in Donaghadee or Dalkey. SF is not a "working class" party - is it a party for all - but it is a party that looks out for those struggling to make ends meet.
See! Another catch all party.
 

cabledude

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Jan 23, 2011
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6,362
No.

FF - The bankers and developers party.
Labour - The public/civil servants party.
FG - The farmers party
SF - The 'all things to all men/women' but economically illiterate party.
Greens - Who?

Working middle classes. Na they don't have a party. Yet. But maybe soon?
 
S

simeongrimes

If you work in a low-paying private sector job you might as well not exist as far as parties are concerned. Lose your job and you become Sinn Fein's/ULA/WP target market. Move to the public sector and Labour will start to care about you. Get promoted enough and FG might take an interest.

Decide to pack it all in and borrow the money to build a shopping centre in The Burren, then Fianna Fail will have you in their tent.

Private sector workers are a class without a party and it is the biggest gap in the political system.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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Jan 17, 2011
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50,459
I am relatively well paid but have a lot of mortgage debt.

I work.

For the last couple of years I have struggled to exist.

What class does that make me?

Many people understand working class to mean people without jobs.
 

cabledude

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Jan 23, 2011
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6,362
I am relatively well paid but have a lot of mortgage debt.

I work.

For the last couple of years I have struggled to exist.

What class does that make me?

Many people understand working class to mean people without jobs.
The coping middle class.
 

Analyzer

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Joined
Feb 14, 2011
Messages
46,201
To answer the question, No.

But the media is very good at patronizing working people, at getting them to vote for parties that serve other vested interests.

Hence, they never vote effectively in their own interest.
 

Levellers

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Apr 30, 2011
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14,114
The problem with the OP is that many people who are working class have this notion they are middle class. So for practical reasons political parties have to have wide appeal.
 

Disillusioned democrat

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Joined
Mar 16, 2010
Messages
15,622
If you work in a low-paying private sector job you might as well not exist as far as parties are concerned. Lose your job and you become Sinn Fein's/ULA/WP target market. Move to the public sector and Labour will start to care about you. Get promoted enough and FG might take an interest.

Decide to pack it all in and borrow the money to build a shopping centre in The Burren, then Fianna Fail will have you in their tent.

Private sector workers are a class without a party and it is the biggest gap in the political system.
And yet this group pays the tax the government abuses to pretend to run the country...bizarre.
 
S

simeongrimes

Private sector workers have come to see their interests as being the same as their bosses. Low tax being the main one. They derive very little benefit from the tax they pay. They pay separately for roads, bin collection, security from crime. Free education is a joke as grinds are needed to make up for bad teachers. The one time they thought they were catching a break by buying property, it blew up in their faces.

By failing to represent workers properly the left-wing parties have left them as easy-pickings for the reactionary agenda of the Sunday Independent and others. They worry that an increase in Corporation Tax might cost them thei job. They are afraid for the future of their children even as they vote for FG who will make sure there is no future here.

They feel like fools for working for the bank but they are too brainwashed to fight back. They would vote for Dave McWilliams if they could but don't see any alternatives on the opposition benches. They feel more foolish than angry. Still, the Heineken Cup is back so it's not all bad.
 

cathalbrugha

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Joined
Jun 29, 2011
Messages
9,215
Fianna Fáil's support base was traditionally described as a group "that thought Labour, but voted FF", but with that demographic having fractured in multiple directions at the last election, can any one party claim to be the voice of lower-income voters? Numerically, the answer must be Fine Gael, but their ideological focus concerns a middle-class coalition of urban professionals, prosperous farmers and Ahern-era FF ABs that have elevated FG to largest-party status. Labour have long pursued the left/liberal section of that social class, and by concentrating on the public sector, the party has left a vacuum which Sinn Féin are eager to exploit. That party has based its growth strategy on targeting lower-income voters before widening its net, but even then, its percentage of that group has yet to rival that of the traditional parties, if poll figures of 15-20% are any testament, while the ULA remain a micro-alliance. Of course, it may very well be that the notion of a monolithic working-class bloc is entirely false, but even that allowed, who can best claim to represent the most vulnerable?
If you take Dublin as an example I don't think Fine Gael come anywhere near to being a 'working class' party. Fianna Fáils Dublin vote collapsed there and it won't be coming back any time soon. Labour? Aren't all politics local? Labour opted for a media savvy populist clap trap election campaign and have no real roots.

Locally, it would seem, at first glance that Labour are an up and coming party..

Councillor Gerry Ashe, South East Inner City, Councillor Paddy Bourke, Artane/Whitehall, Councillor Aine Clancy, Cabra / Glasnevin, Councillor Mary Freehill, Pembroke/Rathmines, Councillor Jane Horgan-Jones Clontarf, Councillor Sheila Howes Ballyfermot/Drimnagh, Councillor Dermot Lacey Pembroke/Rathmines, Councillor Brian McDowell Donaghmede, Councillor Padraig McLoughlin, North Inner City, Councillor Andrew Montague, Artane/Whitehall, Councillor Rebecca Moynihan South West Inner City, Councillor Michael O'Sullivan Crumlin/Kimmage, Councillor Maria Parodi South East Inner City, Councillor Oisin Quinn, Pembroke/Rathmines, Councillor Steve Wrenn Ballymun/Finglas, Councillor Henry Upton Crumlin/Kimmage,

But I'd hate to be canvassing on behalf of any of those candidates at the next elections. Apart from Freehill and Lacey, most of the the rest of them have to knock on doors outside of leafy suburbia.. If the recent responce to Gilmores visit to Ballyfermot is anything to go by, I would, as I've said, hate to be in their shoes.. "Hi-I've just slashed x,y and z any chance of a vote?" - Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael don't have that worry in Dublin, Labour do, and worry they should.. Be Afraid-Be Very Afraid..
 

Northsideman

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Joined
Mar 7, 2010
Messages
9,475
In Ireland most working class folk don't want their children to be working class, they want more for them, hence they are not socialist in mind. They are very much social democratic but not hard line socialist.

If by a working class party you mean another hard left party with yet another strand of socialism you're on a not very successful field.
 

dizillusioned

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Joined
Jan 19, 2011
Messages
14,869
I am relatively well paid but have a lot of mortgage debt.

I work.

For the last couple of years I have struggled to exist.

What class does that make me?

Many people understand working class to mean people without jobs.
SIL, you are the "Shussshhh" class, the one no one wants to listen to, who pays all the bills but gets nothing in return. You should just be quiet, don't rock the boat, pay your taxes and keep the political and governing classes happy... You will never be a strong voice in ireland.
 

statsman

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Joined
Feb 25, 2011
Messages
56,230
Fianna Fáil's support base was traditionally described as a group "that thought Labour, but voted FF", but with that demographic having fractured in multiple directions at the last election, can any one party claim to be the voice of lower-income voters? Numerically, the answer must be Fine Gael, but their ideological focus concerns a middle-class coalition of urban professionals, prosperous farmers and Ahern-era FF ABs that have elevated FG to largest-party status. Labour have long pursued the left/liberal section of that social class, and by concentrating on the public sector, the party has left a vacuum which Sinn Féin are eager to exploit. That party has based its growth strategy on targeting lower-income voters before widening its net, but even then, its percentage of that group has yet to rival that of the traditional parties, if poll figures of 15-20% are any testament, while the ULA remain a micro-alliance. Of course, it may very well be that the notion of a monolithic working-class bloc is entirely false, but even that allowed, who can best claim to represent the most vulnerable?
I wrote an OP dealing with this is a historical perspective a while ago.

http://www.politics.ie/forum/elections/198520-election-results-left-ireland.html

The answer is that the Left has a kind of glass ceiling of about 14% of the electorate as core vote. I doubt it will ever get much higher than the 30% last year, if you count Labour as Left. If you refuse to count them, then the max may well be 14% with the core being about 10%.
 

stopdoingstuff

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Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
22,897
Every party starts out as someone's party- the people, the workers, whatever- but then it gradually become swallowed up by the culture of power. Political centres operate on their own rules and sooner or later those rules and assumptions get internalized by most of those who work there. Thus we hear terms like "serious" or "realistic" parties, by which we mean parties who confine their thinking to the very narrow strip of acceptable thought that is defined by the major interest groups and policed by the media.
There are plenty of examples of this kind of ideological acclimitisation- Harney the free marketer going on the create monstrous bureaucracy of the HSE, Labour the lefties introducing the 12.5% corporate tax rate, any time FF/FG pretended to be agaisnt something in opposition and never quite got around to reversing it when they were in government.
So no, there are very few working class parties. Maybe the Socialist Party, SF or the ULA might be to some extent, but very few can stay the course. Power centres operate to their own ends- it is the classic agency problem, and the same is true for most power centres. If you want to get along, you have to go along, and if you don't get along, you are assumed to be incompetent, dangerous, or ridiculous.
 

Mr. Bumble

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Sep 7, 2010
Messages
18,254
I find it strange that Labour is considered to be the Public Service party yet 52% are disillusioned with them. If Labour are doing so much to protect PS workers it seems bizarre that their supporters would be unhappy.
 
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