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The deal is done: What next for the political parties in the run-in to the election?


Sync

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So the deal has been done and public, media and local and international political reaction has by and large been good. It's Feb 2013 and an election is coming up in 2015/2016. What should the parties do in order to maximise their position? What coalition can be put together to remove FG/Lab? What do FG/Lab have to do to stay in power?

My own 2 cents:

1. FG. I can't see a way where FG don't lead the next government. They've been solidly in the low 30%s since they got into power, despite tough budgets, despite a comical Health minister and despite Enda pretty much putting people into a coma when he speaks in the Dail. But now they have the deal. I'd expect a bump to 35% in the next poll with FF/SF suffering but then a more realistic 33% target for the GE.

To get there what do they need to do? 2 stable budgets, no tax hikes, giving a little bit back would go down a treat. If they want to be nakedly political they could just cancel the water charges.

But really one of FG's priorities would seem to be making sure Labour can get enough seats to be a comfortable junior partner (While of course not doing well enough to be an equal partner). Whatever goes back in the budgets, some of it needs to be for a Labour market, and needs to be seen as Labour's victory.

A rejig in Health is clearly needed. Kenny owes Reilly for his impressive work ensuring Enda stayed as leader prior to the 2011 election. He was a good man on the life raft. But there comes a point when you're off the life raft, on a nice yacht and need to kill and eat your former saviour. That time's come. Take a breath, take a month, move him on.


2. Labour: Irrevocably linked to FG. Any bolloxology from them that they'd entertain a more left leaning government should be treated with the derision it deserves. But they can comfortably come in 27-30 seats if they be seen to be positively influencing the govt come budget time.

They need something Labourish in the budgets to appeal to their base, they need gay marriage/abortion to get sorted out to an acceptable level to their base and some cheap wins for the Foreign Affairs dept. Gilmore (If he's to lead them into the next election) needs to be seen to have achieved something.

Oh and find something for Shorthall to do. That'll help your base as well, it's hard for a cold viewer not to totally understand why she walked from her dept.


3. FF: The toughest one to pick really. Barring a significant degradation, they just can't attack FG on the economy. They can't attack them for getting a bad improvement on a deal they themselves set up. I can't see how they get into power. I don't get the feeling Martin can see how they get into power.

So you do what the Tories did when they were under Howard and Smith: You rebuild your base. And your base is anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion and that's got to be a central plank of your campaigning. Also, it's 2016 and that's a big date in the calandar and you certainly don't want SF eating up all the nationalist votes. Time to start talking tough about a United Ireland.

Billy Kelleher needs to up his game. There's an incredibly weak MOH right now, everyone seems to be gaining points off him except Kelleher. He needs to be on the radio after every single Health fiasco talking about what he'd do if he were in power. And if he can't do that then move him on.

Oh and continue to tear strips off the govt everytime they make a cut you'd have made as well. Form must be kept up.

That works for the existing base. But FF are still an old party, despite Martin's protestations to the contrary, I still see Willie O'Dea, Smith and a bloody Cowen on your front bench. You can't break from the past with these people. Martin needs to do an Ed Milliband and tear down the legacy himself. Go after Ahern, go after Cowen, point out the mistakes of the past, mistakes that you believe FG are repeating, but that you will endeavour to never allow occur again.

Except Martin can't do that. Because he was in power all those years and a senior member, not like Ed. So the question is if Martin's the man for the next election. A younger voice, not tied to the past seems to be needed (See below)


4. SF: The deal's done. Accept it now and move on. There's no way SF are going to win much arguing that the current govt didn't get a reasonable improvement on a bad deal signed up to by the previous govt.

Go after what you're good at. Demand capital injections to help unemployment, every time Europe does something not in our favour be there pointing out how you're against it and how you'd have stopped it, talk up increases in welfare. 2016 is coming up, and the mooted border poll is a good idea (although with risks) to keep a united Ireland in people's minds. FF are going to gain seats in this election. You need to try as much as possible to make sure those are Labour seats and not SF's.

Gerry Adams is going to be 66 years old if the election takes place in 2016. There's still a (shrinking) section of the voters who won't vote SF because of who he is. There's still a section who won't vote SF because they know no other party will go in with them. It's time for him to step back. If he wants to run again (and be 71 when his term ends?) then fine, but, similar to FF, a younger voice, not tied with the past offers the potential of an SF/FF potential alternative govt, if not this term then in 2020 if they cosy up to Labour.

Assuming Labour don't take leave of their senses, the only alternative govt would seem to be SF/FF/Inds. Both parties need to realise that and take appropriate action.
 

southwestkerry

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SF/FF/Ind !
FF/Lab maybe or FG/FF
FF and SF... together?
Not ever likely to my mind.
 

Seanie Lemass

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Long way to go yet Sync!

It potentially provides them with breathing space and less pressure on them to cut more, and perhaps even scope to push out capital programmes for job creation like NewEra.

If, however, by December they are making excuses for another Budget such as the last and unemployment is as bad or worse than now, then this window of opportunity will be closed.
 

Casablanca

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As of today, I think this is a reasonable summary of the situation. Of course "events" can de-rail political thinking so easily and 2016 is a long way away.

I feel the government will plough on, trying to make slow gradual improvements and, come election time, point to saving the country from a worse fate economically and try to suggest the lack of an alternative. If so, I suspect they'll get another term.
 

Seanie Lemass

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Next opinion poll - as in Red C or MRBI - will be interesting. Govt parties sure to get a bounce. I think SF might hold up, however, as there is a sizeable constituency which is opposed to the whole notion of the bailout on any terms and they have that ground to themselves now.

Although FF are attempting to look statemanlike by supporting the Government, it actually highlights their own incompetence if the deal is genuine, as they initiated the mess and said it could not be undone! They might not reap any poll dividend.
 

Hewson

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It doesn't say much for Labour's prospects if you think that gay marriage and abortion are all they need to get a lift.

Most people have somewhat more pressing issues to contend with.
 

Rocky

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Definitely a long way to go.

Great deal yesterday and that should give the government a much needed lift and boost. Much more to do though. As far as I can see the next big hurdle is Croke Park 2 and if they can get a good and just deal, their flying. That is going to be very hard though and Labour will have to play a big role in that, as the Unions don't exactly love Fine Gael and to be fair we don't love them either.

More work to be done on the rest of the Bank Debt, although that will be a lot more about building alliances with the bigger Southern States, a lot more work to be done on bringing down the deficit and than all the smaller, but still very important stuff in Justice, health and so on.

Since day 1, I've thought that if there are real signs of recovery by the next election, the government will be re-elected and I still believe that.
 

Astral Peaks

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Assuming Labour don't take leave of their senses, the only alternative govt would seem to be SF/FF/Inds. Both parties need to realise that and take appropriate action.
Not sure that we can make that assumption though...

There is quite a rump forming, what Keavney's next move is will be interesting...
 

Franzoni

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Anglo/IBRC goodwill isn't going to last......the next few adjustments will put the government back in the muck unless people see REAL job creation and no more major levys or stealth taxes....

2014 when the property tax plus water charges come in for the full whack will pull the rug from under their feet IMO unless the domestic economy is in a serious turnaround

The majority of people that tend to vote are the people who the government are currently cruicifying especially in the the urban areas like Dublin...and the implication in the OP that Fine Gael will help Labour out to maintain power is probably too little,too late for a lot of Dublin based Labour TD's
 

mido

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is not who wins the German election in 2013 more important? as regards the analysis on the regional vote here, events and how quickly cash goes back into peolples pockets will determine. FF/FG looks likely given 1916 and need to end old enemities and look to bright future and all that jazz
 

Sync

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Next opinion poll - as in Red C or MRBI - will be interesting. Govt parties sure to get a bounce. I think SF might hold up, however, as there is a sizeable constituency which is opposed to the whole notion of the bailout on any terms and they have that ground to themselves now.
I'd view the next poll as a spike most likely. If SF/FF/Inds are down significantly it wouldn't overly worry me, the Govt can expect a big bump, particularly if a poll takes place next week. Of course it gets really interesting if they don't get a bump.

It doesn't say much for Labour's prospects if you think that gay marriage and abortion are all they need to get a lift.

Most people have somewhat more pressing issues to contend with.
It was addressing their base. If you look at the polls, it's Labour voters who are heavily in favour of these items, and if you can make the base happy on some of the social elements then they may be forgiving of other areas where they feel let down.

There is quite a rump forming, what Keavney's next move is will be interesting...
I can certainly see a heave against the leadership, I just can't see them breaking away from FG. Because the second you say you're willing to go without FG you're saying you're willing to go with FF as senior partner and I don't think that dog will hunt.
 

Franzoni

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It doesn't say much for Labour's prospects if you think that gay marriage and abortion are all they need to get a lift.

Most people have somewhat more pressing issues to contend with.
Agree

Totally out of touch with how a lot of people think or care.....
 

mido

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Not sure that we can make that assumption though...

There is quite a rump forming, what Keavney's next move is will be interesting...
Keavney can move a mountain and he still will not hold his seat in the new Galway east so his next move is irrelevant and his apparent mentor, JB, is not the answer to any possible labour recovery
 

Seanie Lemass

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I think you are accurate in your summation of Labour's core Sync. They have lost vast bulk of working class support they picked up in 2011. They are a liberal professional middle class party represnetative of possibly the social strata least impacted by the economic crisis! They therefore need to deliver on that constituency's wish list of gay marriage/abortion/secularising education/slagging the Poop and such like :)
 

White Horse

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Perhaps Labour should be given the health portfolio to help improve their popularity?

Only joking, of course ;)

[good analysis in the OP, by the way]
 

Hewson

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If FF are to have any hope of doing well in the next GE they need to ditch Martin. He's a weak performer, doesn't speak with conviction, has no charisma and most of all is a familiar face from the Cowen junta - the worst government in the state's history.

You look at Martin and you see Harney, Smith, Cowen and the rest of the sorry bunch of losers who had to have an Exocet missile fired in their butts to get their fingers off the levers of power.

The only FF spokesman who performs well is McGrath. In time he'll be leadership material, assuming he grows fangs to replace the baby teeth. He's almost too polite.
 

ruserious

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FG/FF government next time out. ''Putting aside differences for the country'' mantra.

What differences....??


Will force a left right divide. Labour lead the opposition, just.

Two elections time ~2021 Labour will look to lead next government with either SF or FF.
 

topcat4

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Sync your analysis on FG is 100%. but I think Labour are in a lot more trouble than you outlined in the OP.

The age profile in Labour is also a big issue, their front bench are hanging on for their pensions. They have lost TD's and councillors, this deal will please the grass-roots of FG but it is difficult to know how ordinary members of the Labour party will take it.

FG will no doubt be the largest party after the next GE, however they may need a new dance partner.

Good OP by the way.
 
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