The political ramifications of repeal: some initial thoughts

statsman

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This OP isn’t about the rights and wrongs of the referendum, it’s about what the impact of the landslide Yes vote on the Irish political landscape is likely to be. Not he impact of abortion as such, but the social change the result signifies. I want to look at some winners, some losers, and the wider topic of how political change is best managed.

The Winners

The government, obviously, but specifically Leo Varadkar, who looks more and more like a young leader who’s here for the long road and who can deliver radical change quietly. The other boog government winner is Simon Harris, who needed something positive given all the scandals that were threatening to overwhelm him in Health. This result, and the work he put in to getting it, will buy him some time.

Micheál Martin: Martin went against the grain of his party and showed that his political instincts were right. His position as leader is now not in doubt for the foreseeable (i.e. until after the next GE).

Women and young voters. This was a victory for both the women who campaigned, who told their stories, who moved the needle, and who the electorate decided to trust. It was also a win for the young voters who turned out in numbers to make it happen. The question is, will they remain politically engaged? Time will tell.

Politicians. We also decided to trust them.

[Addition] SF: The new leadership stamped its authority on the party in this campaign in a much more open, non-bullying manner than we've come to expect, by winning the argument. The way is no open for MLMcD to negotiate a socially progressive coalition government with FG post the next GE. The common ground between the two parties that began with Brexit is now much more wide-ranging.

[Further addition 1] The men who voted yes. We're not all bad.

The losers

Fianna Fail: they are out of touch, their core vote is greyer than grey and the cohort between 50 and 65 are much more liberal than their elders. It’s reinvent or die time, and with a leader who is both secure and a reminder of the past, reinvention isn’t going to be easy. The party support element of the exit poll is very bad news for them. One thing seems clear, there won’t be much appetite for a GE this year.

The RCC: abortion was the last battle in the war to separate Catholic morality and the framing of law. The Church can now settle into what its proper role should be, a private matter of personal belief, but its role in framing social policy is over.

The Iona Institute. Please RTE, stop giving these unrepresentative throwbacks so much airtime.

The Trump-loving, liberal-hating, Irexiting loons. They tried to fight a culture war and got hammered. The fact is that Ireland is a liberal, European modern democracy and likes it. You lost; get over it.

Donegal: enough said.

Managing change

For any change to be successful, two basic things are required: a clear vision of what the outcome will be and the desire to make it happen. In both the SSM and Repeal referendums, the government laid out a very clear picture of what would follow, so that people knew what they were voting for, and the results meant that there could be no doubt that the people wanted the change to happen. This was in contrast with the Seanad referendum, where there was no outlining of alternative checks and balances on the Dail.

[Further addition 2] It is important to call out the roles of the Citizens' Assembly and the Oireachtas Committee who turned out to be much more representative than anyone thought they were.

A more interesting comparison might be with Brexit, where people voted on an undefined ‘leave the EU’ question. Nobody ever asked what being outside the EU would look like: Finland? Switzerland? Botswana? The campaigns also ignored the GFA/Border question and the reality that many Scots voted against independence because they wanted to stay inside the EU. The result was a narrow, fractured vote in favour, with no clear desire by large parts of the electorate and Parliament to actually implement the change. This, more than anything else, explains why there is still no clear vision or plan for what Brexit might end up looking like, if it happens at all. It turns out that we do referendums better than our nearest neighbours do.
 
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mr. jings

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I think democracy is a big winner here too, giving us the chance to wipe a slate clean of a toxic hangover from another time.
 

Analyzer

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The losers

Well, that would be the people who will never see the light of day.
Who will never breathe the free air.
Who will never be held.
Who will never have happiness, disappointment, challenges, amusement, frustration, and all the other experiences of life.


But....the Irish media are content with themselves. They are giving themselves a self congratulatory slap on the back. The Irish media are chuffed.
 

statsman

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I think democracy is a big winner here too, giving us the chance to wipe a slate clean of a toxic hangover from another time.
Yes, I think that lies behind everything in the OP, but I probably should have called it out explicitly.
 

Sync

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Did the church really lose though? I mean this represents a further erosion on their influence in the country, but they seemed to have accepted this a long time ago.

There was no instruction from the church (as an entity) on how to vote. They didn’t go on the debates, they made their position clear, but never tried to force it in people.

To lose I think you have to play the game, they didn’t really play the game.
 

artfoley56

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Donegal: enough said.
.
I think youre being massively unfair here; Donegal has been neglected and is an emigration and unemployment blackspot leading to an older electorate and the spread of younger Donegal voters who have transferred their votes to other counties.
 

statsman

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I think youre being massively unfair here; Donegal has been neglected and is an emigration and unemployment blackspot leading to an older electorate and the spread of younger Donegal voters who have transferred their votes to other counties.
I agree. That's why I have them down as losers, the have lost out on much of the positive change that has happened in Ireland in recent decades, and, I fear, will continue to lose out until and unless there's a UI, in which case the growth of Derry, and as North Donegal as a properly integrated hinterland of that city, should see positive socio-economic growth in the county.
 

statsman

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Did the church really lose though? I mean this represents a further erosion on their influence in the country, but they seemed to have accepted this a long time ago.

There was no instruction from the church (as an entity) on how to vote. They didn’t go on the debates, they made their position clear, but never tried to force it in people.

To lose I think you have to play the game, they didn’t really play the game.
They didn't play the game because they knew they couldn't win; that's a real sea change. Being beaten is one thing, knowing you're finally, irrevocably beaten another thing again.
 

Disillusioned democrat

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This OP isn’t about the rights and wrongs of the referendum, it’s about what the impact of the landslide Yes vote on the Irish political landscape is likely to be. Not he impact of abortion as such, but the social change the result signifies. I want to look at some winners, some losers, and the wider topic of how political change is best managed.

The Winners

The government, obviously, but specifically Leo Varadkar, who looks more and more like a young leader who’s here for the long road and who can deliver radical change quietly. The other boog government winner is Simon Harris, who needed something positive given all the scandals that were threatening to overwhelm him in Health. This result, and the work he put in to getting it, will buy him some time.

Micheál Martin: Martin went against the grain of his party and showed that his political instincts were right. His position as leader is now not in doubt for the foreseeable (i.e. until after the next GE).

Women and young voters. This was a victory for both the women who campaigned, who told their stories, who moved the needle, and who the electorate decided to trust. It was also a win for the young voters who turned out in numbers to make it happen. The question is, will they remain politically engaged? Time will tell.

Politicians. We also decided to trust them.

The losers

Fianna Fail: they are out of touch, their core vote is greyer than grey and the cohort between 50 and 65 are much more liberal than their elders. It’s reinvent or die time, and with a leader who is both secure and a reminder of the past, reinvention isn’t going to be easy. The party support element of the exit poll is very bad news for them. One thing seems clear, there won’t be much appetite for a GE this year.

The RCC: abortion was the last battle in the war to separate Catholic morality and the framing of law. The Church can now settle into what its proper role should be, a private matter of personal belief, but its role in framing social policy is over.

The Iona Institute. Please RTE, stop giving these unrepresentative throwbacks so much airtime.

The Trump-loving, liberal-hating, Irexiting loons. They tried to fight a culture war and got hammered. The fact is that Ireland is a liberal, European modern democracy and likes it. You lost; get over it.

Donegal: enough said.

Managing change

For any change to be successful, two basic things are required: a clear vision of what the outcome will be and the desire to make it happen. In both the SSM and Repeal referendums, the government laid out a very clear picture of what would follow, so that people knew what they were voting for, and the results meant that there could be no doubt that the people wanted the change to happen. This was in contrast with the Seanad referendum, where there was no outlining of alternative checks and balances on the Dail.

A more interesting comparison might be with Brexit, where people voted on an undefined ‘leave the EU’ question. Nobody ever asked what being outside the EU would look like: Finland? Switzerland? Botswana? The campaigns also ignored the GFA/Border question and the reality that many Scots voted against independence because they wanted to stay inside the EU. The result was a narrow, fractured vote in favour, with no clear desire by large parts of the electorate and Parliament to actually implement the change. This, more than anything else, explains why there is still no clear vision or plan for what Brexit might end up looking like, if it happens at all. It turns out that we do referendums better than our nearest neighbours do.
I'd imagine that was all part of the plan, to be honest - along with RTE's and the IT's obsession with Ronan Mullen, the putting the extreme views of the Iona Institute on the play loop probably drove many "Don't Knows" over the Yes line during the last few weeks.
 

GDPR

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The most significant losers are the indigenous people of this State who now are all set to be a minority in their homeland within the next twenty years.

Both Sinn Fein and Fine Gael could also seriously lose out because of this to the National Party if the latter can get it's act together which remains to seen.

The DUP and Ulster Nationalism have been greatly strengthened by this.
 

mr. jings

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Did the church really lose though? I mean this represents a further erosion on their influence in the country, but they seemed to have accepted this a long time ago.

There was no instruction from the church (as an entity) on how to vote. They didn’t go on the debates, they made their position clear, but never tried to force it in people.

To lose I think you have to play the game, they didn’t really play the game.
Fair point, but I think their deafening silence on an issue they feel so strongly about, in a debate they would have dominated a couple of decades ago, can be fairly chalked up as a loss. Any contradictory democratic groundswell can only be a bitter pill for a bunch of proud autocrats to swallow. All the more so when it rejects their fundamental and fervent assertions about women and reproduction.
 

statsman

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Another point of interest is that I think the Repeal campaign brings an FG/SF coalition government even closer; I'm adding a bit to the OP on SF.
 

GDPR

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I'd imagine that was all part of the plan, to be honest - along with RTE's and the IT's obsession with Ronan Mullen, the putting the extreme views of the Iona Institute on the play loop probably drove many "Don't Knows" over the Yes line during the last few weeks.
The whole obsession with Ronan Mullen is strange isn't it?

Not to insult the man but I find him to be terribly boring.
 

GDPR

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I'd imagine that was all part of the plan, to be honest - along with RTE's and the IT's obsession with Ronan Mullen, the putting the extreme views of the Iona Institute on the play loop probably drove many "Don't Knows" over the Yes line during the last few weeks.
The whole obsession with Ronan Mullen is strange isn't it?

Not to insult the man but I find him to be terribly boring.
 

artfoley56

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given the result, does it not give the govt a mandate to vigorously pursue the outstanding monies due and owing from the abuses. or, in the alternative, given that no significant payment has been paid, revisit Michael Woods ridiculous settlement.
 

statsman

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I'd imagine that was all part of the plan, to be honest - along with RTE's and the IT's obsession with Ronan Mullen, the putting the extreme views of the Iona Institute on the play loop probably drove many "Don't Knows" over the Yes line during the last few weeks.
If so, then it was a small price to pay.
 

statsman

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given the result, does it not give the govt a mandate to vigorously pursue the outstanding monies due and owing from the abuses. or, in the alternative, given that no significant payment has been paid, revisit Michael Woods ridiculous settlement.
Probably, but I think it might be better not to give the church the oxygen of publicity.
 

Analyzer

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I suspect that one unseen winner in all of this will be the Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland, who will look south and realise that the concept of society in the Republic is dead, and that they now have to save themselves or else disappear into a quagmire of moral medicrity, and statism.

The fact that the Provisional Cult are in favour of murder, will merely accentuate the sense that they have got to fix themselves as a community.

Statistman is anticipating a United Ireland.

I am wondering if this will descend into a bitter neverending war of resistance in which Northern nationalists will eventually drift away from the Provisional cult, and the costs will be carried by people in the Eastern region of the country.

Northern Presbyterianism will suddenly regroup, get real, and think seriously about it's future. It will not be kind to the statism that is prevalent in the South. It could just about agree to disagree with Catholicism. It could tolerate Anglicanism because it had to, for political reasons. Now it will realise that it has to fight for it's survival.

I don't expect it to peacefully acquiesce to the 32 county statist socialist republican hellhole project.
 

Spanner Island

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The most significant losers are the indigenous people of this State who now are all set to be a minority in their homeland within the next twenty years.

Both Sinn Fein and Fine Gael could also seriously lose out because of this to the National Party if the latter can get it's act together which remains to seen.

The DUP and Ulster Nationalism have been greatly strengthened by this.
I think you're dead wrong about that tbh...

The looper DUPers are becoming increasingly irrelevant in the overall scheme of things... and most of that is due to their own actions, arrogance and stupidity...

The result on Saturday just shines more light across the UK and beyond on how dysfunctional NI remains and only adds to the discomfort many in the UK feel about a government beholden to a bunch of looper DUPers who behave exactly as the RCC has behaved in the past in terms of it being their way or the highway and how the no abortion absolutists behaved over decades which helped deliver the result on Saturday etc...

They are their own worst enemies... the absolutists... and thankfully they seem incapable of realising it...

It's likely the days of the looper DUPers being relevant to anyone are numbered...
 

GDPR

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I suspect that one unseen winner in all of this will be the Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland, who will look south and realise that the concept of society in the Republic is dead, and that they now have to save themselves or else disappear into a quagmire of moral medicrity, and statism.

The fact that the Provisional Cult are in favour of murder, will merely accentuate the sense that they have got to fix themselves as a community.

Statistman is anticipating a United Ireland.

I am wondering it this will descend into a bitter neverending war of resistance in which Northern nationalists will eventually drift away from the Provisional cult, and the costs will be carried by people in the Eastern region of the country.

Northern Presbyterianism will suddenly regroup, get real, and think seriously about it's future. It will not be kind to the statism that is prevalent in the South. It could just about tolerate Catholicism.

I don't expect it to peacefully acquiesce to the 32 county statist socialist republican hellhole project.
This so much. I will wish that I could give it a second "like".
 


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