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Why can't Labour top 10%?


McDave

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Joined
Jul 10, 2008
Messages
13,555
Labour seem to be permanently stuck at 10.X% in general elections. Why can't they make the breakthrough towards the 20% that might give them some real meaning?

I have some trivial but plausible theories of my own. You can always rely on a Labour spokesperson or NGO fellow-traveller to:

- Defend stuff like the traveller "race" issue;
- Play the solidarity card for elements in our communities who won't pull their weight;
- Pitch in for messers like the Rastas family (remember the "human rights crisis" at the M1 roundabout?).

These are issues many in middle Ireland have some kind of sympathy for in a Panglossian best-of-all-possible-worlds scenario. But faced with:

- so many minor vested interests who are not prepared to take much responsibilities for their lives; and
- the slightly ugly everyday manifestations of slackers and gougers on the street/bus,

middle Ireland is basically not prepared buy in to the ideological world brotherhood viewpoint the comrades so piously espouse (Hell, we won't even take this stuff from bishops!).

How can Labour realistically attract the sympathetic middle ground that's out there for them?
 


Catalpa

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Joined
Jun 10, 2004
Messages
10,301
Because the people who lead and have led the Labour Party don't believe in what they are saying.

They think that this that and the other is all bloody wonderful - for other people to experience - not themselves or their neighbourhoods and certainly not where the children go to school.

They are a smug middle class party who lack serious street cred and that's why they always fall short.
 

SPN

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Joined
Feb 2, 2004
Messages
16,891
Have you read through Labour Party Policies?

Have you listened to any senior Labour heads speechifying?

Have you read any of their (copious) Press Releases?

They are (come across as) a bunch of opportunist wannabees with no underlying differentiating philosophy - or at least none that is relevant in the 21st Century.

Labour "care" about poor people! :shock:

Sinn Fein care about poor people. The Greens care about poor people. Fianna Fail care about poor people.

Sinn Fein have the "left wing rhetoric" end of the market sown up - whatever you think of SF, you will surely admit that they are true to that cause, whereas Labour only offer lip service when push comes to shove. (Lisbon anyone?)

The Greens have the "pragmatic plan for the future" end of the market sown up - Labour give great lip service to a range of "green" issues, but when asked to show some leadership they squirm, waffle, and name call.

Fianna Fail are the ultimate chameleon - they are all things to all people. They piggy-backed on the Thatcherites when being a Thatcherite was all the rage, and they are piggy-backing on the Greens at the moment because they know what is coming down the line on Climate Change.

Labour also know what is coming down the line on Climate Change - and they have admitted that publicly. But they are on record as preferring to oppose any practical measures (because they are "the opposition") instead of showing political leadership.


I look forward to the day that Labour poll at 5%. Once that happens, the grown ups can start dealing with the real issues without worrying about the populist drivel that the Labour Party might throw at them.
 

McDave

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Jul 10, 2008
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13,555
Sorry to come back on my own thread so quickly, but I've just realised that as of now on P.ie's Political Parties list, Labour is last in terms of Posts, and almost last in terms of Topics. The answer to my own thread in market forces?
 

FutureTaoiseach

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Mar 20, 2005
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Website
greatdearleader.blogspot.com
I think the failure to sever their umbilical cord with the unions is the problem. There is some irritation with the benchmarking atm with the unions and a party bankrolled by the unions is not seen as likely to end it.
 

just_society

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Apr 24, 2007
Messages
31
Lack of a consistent ideology I reckon.

A so-called Labour party proposing an 18% tax rate? Daft. FG made a far better attempt at selling quality of life than Labour did in the last GE.
 

The Collective Farm

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Aug 1, 2008
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FutureTaoiseach said:
I think the failure to sever their umbilical cord with the unions is the problem. There is some irritation with the benchmarking atm with the unions and a party bankrolled by the unions is not seen as likely to end it.
You think wrong, your type try to blame the unions for everything. It's only the unions that prevent the total exploitation of workers in this country.

If every union member voted labour they would have alot more voters than they do now.
 

blinding

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Jul 1, 2008
Messages
17,633
The Collective Farm said:
FutureTaoiseach said:
I think the failure to sever their umbilical cord with the unions is the problem. There is some irritation with the benchmarking atm with the unions and a party bankrolled by the unions is not seen as likely to end it.
You think wrong, your type try to blame the unions for everything. It's only the unions that prevent the total exploitation of workers in this country.

If every union member voted labour they would have alot more voters than they do now.
How trade union members allow their contributions go to that shower of sellouts in the labour party astounds me.What has the labour party achieved for working people in this country.They do nothing for working people,they do not speak for working people,they do not empathise with working people.In my lifetime they have been one of the most right wing labour parties in this great wide world.Working people in ireland would be better of if this socalled labour party did not exist and in general the irish people know it
 

stewiegriffin

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Feb 20, 2007
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842
A failure to connect with their 'true' constituents , ie working class areas in towns and cities where SF and apathy have them trumped . They compromise themselves too heavily in order to court the potential coalition partner of the day imo.
 

geraghd

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Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
474
There will be lots of arguments about policy, ideology etc. But really its down to organisation. They have a poor organisation and are facing tough times with very few up and coming personalities to take the seat of ageing TDs who mainly have the seat on personal credentials rather than party.
 

The Collective Farm

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Aug 1, 2008
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blinding said:
The Collective Farm said:
FutureTaoiseach said:
I think the failure to sever their umbilical cord with the unions is the problem. There is some irritation with the benchmarking atm with the unions and a party bankrolled by the unions is not seen as likely to end it.
You think wrong, your type try to blame the unions for everything. It's only the unions that prevent the total exploitation of workers in this country.

If every union member voted labour they would have alot more voters than they do now.
How trade union members allow their contributions go to that shower of sellouts in the labour party astounds me.What has the labour party achieved for working people in this country.They do nothing for working people,they do not speak for working people,they do not empathise with working people.In my lifetime they have been one of the most right wing labour parties in this great wide world.Working people in ireland would be better of if this socalled labour party did not exist and in general the irish people know it
The old labour party still exist in Ireland, they are now called the socialist party though.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2008
Messages
28
Twitter
@MichaelPolSci
Labour cannot break ten per cent because only ten percent of the population are unionised public sector workers. Also, the only party that can guarantee not to prop up Fianna Fail is Fine Gael (If kicking FF out is your bag). Opposition voters put FG 1 and Labour 2 when Labour needed more 1s to make any gains.

Rabbitte was hoping the coalition would win last year but was almost certain that Tanaiste in an FF-led government would be second prize as FF were looking at big losses that only Labour could fill. That didn't go according to plan.
 

baldur0300

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Oct 17, 2005
Messages
761
geraghd said:
There will be lots of arguments about policy, ideology etc. But really its down to organisation. They have a poor organisation and are facing tough times with very few up and coming personalities to take the seat of ageing TDs who mainly have the seat on personal credentials rather than party.
I think that's the reason. They have a very week national organisation and often struggle to keep seats where they have retiring TDs. It's only going to get worse for them unless they solve their organisational issues. Many of their TDs are getting quite old and SF will be eying up their seats over the next while
 
Joined
May 28, 2007
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baldur0300 said:
geraghd said:
There will be lots of arguments about policy, ideology etc. But really its down to organisation. They have a poor organisation and are facing tough times with very few up and coming personalities to take the seat of ageing TDs who mainly have the seat on personal credentials rather than party.
They have a very weak national organisation and often struggle to keep seats where they have retiring TDs. It's only going to get worse for them unless they solve their organisational issues. Many of their TDs are getting quite old.
This is the problem, it is a party of disconnected seats, very little based on ideology, if they party put aside policy documentsfor 5 or 10 years and built / rebuild local organisations first on gaining seats on local authorities and then when the get some level of critical mass go for expanding their Dail repesentation.

They will only survive long term if the help young blood achive office at local level who in turn will further develop the Party. So firstly, where they have Dail repesentation they should be focusing on building up their representation in all wards on the Local Authority.

Policy documents are a waste of time as far as building and sustaining a local party is concerned (ask FF). If they need a policy all they should do is copy and paste ones from FF, FG or the liquidator for the PDs might be selling off their policy documents, now there a thought!

Michael Moloney MCC (Indep) Laois cc
 

Paul.M

Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2007
Messages
12
I feel that the name “Labour Party” is there so as not to let people know that they would be voting for a group of left wing stickies. Unfortunately for “Labour” the normal citizens of the State can see past this disguise thus leaving the Party depending on the votes of militant lefties, traveler’s rights groups, and those without the brainpower to remember back to 1996 when a Labour Party TD would not hear a word said against the sale of Irish Steel in Cork to save 200 jobs (now look at the result of that type of thinking)
All the above groups = 5%, people still being fooled by Lab. = 5%
And for those of you out there that support Labour; 5 + 5 = 10 (the Labour Party percentage)

Wake up people, let's get them back where they belong, 5%
 

TradCat

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Joined
Jun 5, 2005
Messages
1,992
TCF

The old labour party still exist in Ireland, they are now called the socialist party though.
Their support is probably a better indicator of the popular appetite for Socialism. Almost zero.
 

Shepherd

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
76
The Collective Farm said:
FutureTaoiseach said:
I think the failure to sever their umbilical cord with the unions is the problem. There is some irritation with the benchmarking atm with the unions and a party bankrolled by the unions is not seen as likely to end it.
You think wrong, your type try to blame the unions for everything. It's only the unions that prevent the total exploitation of workers in this country.

If every union member voted labour they would have alot more voters than they do now.
That's a more accurate assessment, I suspect. Having said that, it does make the fatal error people on the left always make in assuming that working class people (Who actually work) don't have effective middle class aspirations. Why do you think that most working class people vote FF? I remember arguing this point with Ruth Coppinger of the Socialist Party on Newstalk. She would not accept that any working class people had ever supported Margaret Thatcher, which is, of course, complete nonsense. Thatcher, Reagan, Charlie Haughey, all people with an agenda that hurt the very poor, and yet got votes from them.
 

Godot

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
20
Website
www.anarkismo.net
There is a core Labour vote of 10% no matter what electoral strategy or dodgy posititons the party takes. Its policies have veered to the right in the belief that moving to the centre will gain them more votes, a move that clearly has not, and will not work. Take the last general election for example when they promised income tax cuts. If people want tax cuts they're going to vote for one of FF/FG/PDs. Labour will never win the battle for the centreground.

It has also been used to prop up Fine Gael whenever the party has been on its knees while its electoral stategy has prioritised being power over implementing left wing polices (which should be the role of a labour party whether you agree with left wing policies or not). The purpose of a left-wing party should be to stay on the left and convince people of its poilicies rather than moving to the right to get elected. Labour have always lost seats in the election after it has been in coalition. It should refuse to go into coalition as a junior party with either FF or FG forcing the breaking of the biggest taboo in Irish politics - an FF-FG coalition. The only difference between two is personality rather than policy based. Labour should then look to lead an alternative coalition of themselves, the Greens, Sinn Fein and left-wing independents. This would be a long-term approach involving a self imposed period in oppostion but if the party ever wants to go significantly above 10% and then on to lead a government it has to break the mould of Irish politics. The policy of opportunistically siding with FF or FG( depending on circumstances) since the formation of the Labour party, has left them were they are now. As for the unions holding labour back, while the union bureaucracy may favour the Labour Party - the majority of union members vote for FF or FG anyway.

The only alternative is to offer an alternative.
 

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