Labour can kill off Coke and Pepsi politics



cyberianpan

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His central thesis - which he delivers in a very circumlocutious fashion is that Labour should refuse to go into coalition with either FF or FG after the next election.

Methinks this is not one the swing voters will like ... and it sounds like a rather grand 5 year plan.

cYp
 

DS-09

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Labour, the diet coke of Irish politics :rolleyes:
 

Bobert

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It's not who Labour will go into government with, it's who'll go into Government with Labour.
 

goosebump

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Bloody hell, not this old chestnut again?

I like FOT, but what really pisses me off about him and every other bleeding heart liberal is that they truly believe that Irish voters really want pinko-Government but just keep voting FF/FG because their mammys and daddys did.

This is a conservative, right-wing, quasi-theocracy with a liberal fringe.

That's why we have FF and FG, not because voters are thick and can't figure out which parties they should be voting for.
 

John_C

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The reason we have coke and pepsi is because enough people like coke and pepsi to maintain a few different flavours of the same drink. There's Dr. Pepper, Irn Bru and a whole host of other drinks on the shelf as well. There's no lack of choice, just a lot of people having the same favourite.
 

Colada

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Bloody hell, not this old chestnut again?

I like FOT, but what really pisses me off about him and every other bleeding heart liberal is that they truly believe that Irish voters really want pinko-Government but just keep voting FF/FG because their mammys and daddys did.

This is a conservative, right-wing, quasi-theocracy with a liberal fringe.

That's why we have FF and FG, not because voters are thick and can't figure out which parties they should be voting for.
Quite right.
Hence we're doomed to repeating the same mistakes.
 

Horace Horse

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The country needs to move beyond civil war politics.
That's a ludicrous cliche. The civil war has not been an issue in Irish politics for at least a generation, probably more.

Look at your election leaflets. How many candidates talk about Free Staters, Irregulars, Oath of Allegience, Document Number Two etc?

Don't talk nonsense.
 

myk

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The country needs to move beyond civil war politics.

It has long ago. Or do you believe that the US hasn't moved beyond their civil war politics because the Republicans and the Democrats are the two dominant parties there?

Incidently, aside from the Greens, FG are the only party in Dail Eireann that was founded after the civil war.
 

adamirer

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Bloody hell, not this old chestnut again?

I like FOT, but what really pisses me off about him and every other bleeding heart liberal is that they truly believe that Irish voters really want pinko-Government but just keep voting FF/FG because their mammys and daddys did.

This is a conservative, right-wing, quasi-theocracy with a liberal fringe.

That's why we have FF and FG, not because voters are thick and can't figure out which parties they should be voting for.
I almost agree but think we are more central. I dont think FF or FG are right wing, sure, they have conservative and right wing elements, but when i think right/left wing politics, I think of parties considerably out from the centre, which none of the three main parties are.

The numbers who vote FG coz its 'tradition' is small, the numbers who vote FF coz its 'tradition' is larger, but neither group have led governments solely because of it. If Labour reject government and leave the nation with repeated elections as a single party gov cannot be formed, they will never be forgiven.

The voters trusted them in 92, and people like my Dad have never forgiven them for putting FF back in.
 

myk

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Incidently, I think the key issue is not whether we move beyond Civil War politics, it is whether we can move beyond Fianna Fail politics.

The political history of the state since FF first sat in government is that it has been permanently the largest party in the Dail. It has been in government a large majority of the time, and it has never been out of office for more than 5 years consecutively.

The history of Irish politics since the civil war hasn't necessarily been FF vs FG, but it has been FF vs anything else possible. This is evidenced by the national coaltions in the 1950s which took in a range of parties in order to have an alternative to a FF Taoiseach (and remember in the first one of these the Taoiseach was not FG's first choice of Taoiseach) and more recently the Rainbow coalition (where half the cabinent was non-FG). Now this view has been broken down recently by FF's willingness to go into coalition, first with the PDs (very recent offshoots of FF), then with Labour (for two years only) and now with the Greens (and it has been less than two years). But these coalition arrangements have strengthened rather than weakened FF's grip on power.

But I think it is fair to say that the defining feature of Irish politics since independence has not been a FF vs FG turnover, it is the absolute dominance of FF. The party has been in power for so many years, and even out of office it has never been more than 3 years from government (either looking forward or looking back).
 

TradCat

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He is not wrong on the history but if Labour announce before the election that they won't go into coalition then they would be declaring their own irrelevance.

And if they do it after the election they would be seen as irresponsible.

You must also remember that for politicians to say no to office is almost impossible. If Labour forced FF and FG together they would be saying no to office for at least ten years. That's simply not going to happen. What Labour should do is rule out the Fianna Fail option and go in with FG for two terms if they can. That would push Fianna Fail to the margins for a generation. Without power and patronage they would have nothing to offer anybody.

Anybody who claims to want change in Irish society must participate in the political destruction of Fianna Fail. That's the measure of their seriousness.
 

shutuplaura

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Anyone who thinks the civil war is an irrelevance in modern Irish politics is nuts. That is to say it still defines how many people vote. Over on the thread about the statue of Dev on O'Connell St people with an FG avatar were bigging up Collins and the sole peopson with a FF avatar was calling Collins a traitor and bigging up Dev.

So I'd say yeah its a factor. The article was certainly thoguht provoking. FG has had somethign of an identity crisis since the 1980's and Garretts tenure when he tried to foist a liberal agenda ontyo a traditionally conservative party. Another core part of FG's support is people who vote FG to get out Ff (like myself). Establishing Labout as a credible alternative in its own right can only be to their advantage. I doubt that it would eradicate FG, only make it the junior partner in a coilition.

All FoT is talking about Labout expoliting this fissure, nothing more, and quite sensible.
 

cyberianpan

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He is not wrong on the history but if Labour announce before the election that they won't go into coalition then they would be declaring their own irrelevance.

And if they do it after the election they would be seen as irresponsible.

You must also remember that for politicians to say no to office is almost impossible. If Labour forced FF and FG together they would be saying no to office for at least ten years. That's simply not going to happen. What Labour should do is rule out the Fianna Fail option and go in with FG for two terms if they can. That would push Fianna Fail to the margins for a generation. Without power and patronage they would have nothing to offer anybody.

Anybody who claims to want change in Irish society must participate in the political destruction of Fianna Fail. That's the measure of their seriousness.
Broadly agreed ... except ... from a tactical viewpoint: If Labour go into government with FG ... well that gives FF a few years to regroup, during which FF will be prominent as the opposition.

I can understand Fintan O'Toole's line of reasoning that it would suit Labour for FG & FF to coalesce - but that seems not to be a runner.

If we're going for grand plans, and another 5 year term in opposition for Labour: I think the best scenario for Labour would be:
FG: could they form government without Labour (or FF)?

That would mean that Labour would be jockeying for top dog with FF on the opposition benches ... and that could work out well for them.

cYp
 

Vincent Browne's tie

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This is such an idealogical stand point from O'Tooole, whilst I agree with much of what he says that is wrong with Irish Politics, his solution here ignores many points

Like how does he expect a party with such an old age profile, with many TDs close to retirement age to get 70+ candidates within the next 10 years to threaten a FF/FG single entity?

Would our new electoral system have a centrist party and a left wing party?

What about the greens and Sinn fein?

Does he not think that if FF and FG joined (which is completely unrealistic) that a bunch of them wouldn't run off an form another splinter party...
 
A

AMCW177

="myk"Incidently, I think the key issue is not whether we move beyond Civil War politics, it is whether we can move beyond Fianna Fail politics.
TradCat said:
What Labour should do is rule out the Fianna Fail option and go in with FG for two terms if they can. That would push Fianna Fail to the margins for a generation. Without power and patronage they would have nothing to offer anybody.
cyberianpan said:
I think the best scenario for Labour would be:
FG: could they form government without Labour (or FF)?

That would mean that Labour would be jockeying for top dog with FF on the opposition benches ... and that could work out well for them.
Great stuff lads, it's good to see that people here can get to the root of an issue beyond all the hollering and pie-in-the-sky stuff.

FF are a populist corporatist clientelist party. People support FF because FF is a guaranteed route to power and backscratching. If yer not in the loop, you don't get the sweeties. It's as simple as that. And without the power to dispense the goodies, there is no purpose for FF and no reason to vote for them.

FFs populist system is the main thing that has held the country back from developing normal politics. The only way to stop that is to keep them out for at least two terms. After 10 years out of power and maybe looking at another 5 years frozen out they probably will simply shut up shop. No point if you can't line your pockets, and who would vote for them if they can't deliver the goods?

If Fintan O'Toole wants to see classic left-right politics develop then he should vote FG, keep voting FG, put them in power by themselves for 10 years, and so destroy FF. THEN Irish politics can move on to something halfway sane.
 

Utopian Hermit Monk

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I think Fintan O'Toole describes Labour's dilemma very succinctly.
As things stand (and as they have stood since the foundation of the State), Labour has no chance of governing alone, or of leading a left-leaning coalition.

Bad as things may be - and they could hardly be worse right now - the Irish electorate displays no appetite for socialism, even of labour's salmon-pink variety.

So, they can either remain as a permanent minority opposition group, representing a combination of disenchanted working class voters and left wing liberals of the chattering classes, or they can play tag with, alternatively, Fianna Fail or Fine Gael.

In either case, Labour is perceived as essentially harmless, and certainly represents no threat whatsoever to the political status quo.

Barring a remarkable change of mindset among the electorate - unlikely, unless the economic crisis translates into a social/political crisis of unmanageable proportions - I see no way for Labour to resolve their dilemma. I think they are obliged to embrace it and settle for being occasional power-brokers within a political system that is profoundly resistant to radical change.
 

Stíofán

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I threw a comment on IT site. Might as well put same here:

I think if you look across Eurpope and even in the United States, there has been a shift towards moderate, centrist politics for some time. Ireland has that, albeit it came about it a different way than the other countries (our two main parties were never hotbeds of ideology in the first place).

There are real policy differences between FG and FF (e.g. healthcare, co-location policy at the last election). There is no ideological chasm, but they are not the Pepsi/Coke of Irish politics.

Even if one of them (FF/FG) did implode, how long do you think an LP government will take, 4 or 5 election cycles? Will the Labour Party last 25-30 years with its support base leaking to the Greens (middle class) and Sinn Féin (working class)?

The Labour Party pursued an independent stance in the run up to the 2002 election and that didn’t really work out, despite a collapse in the vote of one of the supposed “Pepsi/Coke” parties (FG) in their stronghold of Dublin. This view contends that the “independent stance” will be Labours saviour, but I think limiting coalition options, with the vain hope that one day “the good will win out” is a strategy that will make the Labour party more irrelevant, not less so.

Fintan O'Toole always reminds me of a line from Orwell's 'Road to Wigan Pier' Describing a gathering of leftists in London, "every person there, male and female, bore the worst stigmata of sniffish middle-class superiority. If a real working man, a miner dirty from the pit, for instance, had suddenly walked into their midst, they would have been embarrassed, angry and disgusted; some, I should think, would have fled holding their noses."

For good or ill, what Brian O'Nolan called "the plain people of Ireland" vote for FG and FF and while they may give 'a scratch', a majority of them see little to offer from an increasingly Dublin-centric and middle class Labour Party.
 


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