I have no sympathy for the Irish Labour.
Nominally a sister Party of the SDLP, it has been remarkably unsupportive of SDLP down the years. I recall a walkout at a 1970s SDLP Conference whenConor Cruise O’Brien …a truly awful man got up to speak.
Of course the 21st century Irish Labour Party has even worse people leading it…ex-Workers Party yahoos like Eamonn Gilmore and the obnoxious Pat Rabbitte.
You couldnt like them if you reared them.
What exactly is the point of the Irish Labour Party?
Always…2011 is an exception…the third Party in Irish Politics….it should be representing the working class against centre-right Fianna Fail and Right wing Fine Gael, the traditional big beasts in Irish Politics.
Labour actually protects the working class by being in Opposition. Less well in Government. Over the past thirty years it has been almost impossible for Fianna Fail and totally impossible for Fine Gael to form a Government without help fro smaller parties. Although FF did form a short lived coalition with Labour in 1992, FF has alwys preferred to rely on much smaller parties.
Fine Gael relies on Labour to form a Government. And vice versa.
The post-election horse trading is now a feature of Irish politics, with the inevitable Labour Party Special Delegate Conference to decide on whether to join a coalition with FineGael. It is also traditional for Labour to agonise before “reluctantly” entering coalition. Of course the truth is that Labour careerists would sell their granny for a ministerial limousine.
Thus the never ending debate. We live in times of austerity. Does Labour in coalition Government mitigate the worst excesses of red clawed right wing Fine Gael…or does it collaborate?
Inevitably since entering into coalition with FG in 2011, the Labour Party has had to make toughdecisions. The natural inclination of FG is to cut taxes and cut services. The natural inclination of Labour is to increase taxes and increase services.
With 19.5% of the votes in 2011, Labour is now showing at 11% in opinion polls. And will be destroyed at the next Election and will lose half its seats. Panic is setting in. Decent Labour people have lost the party whip and today the Labour Party lost a backbencher…only elected in a bye-election eighteen months ago. They are in meltdown and deservedly so.
Because it was inevitable.
It is self evident that the junior partner in any coalition gets the blame for everything and the credit for nothing.
And Labours traditional supporters …as has been the norm for thirty yearswill be unforgiving.
Collaboration trumps Mitigation every time.
Thats the pattern …a chastened Labour Party will lick its wounds for a decade …and do it all again, getting in to bed with FF or FG in ten years.
but surely a lesson for Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems in Britain.
What will they do in 2015?
After five years of mitigating and collaborating with Camerons Tories, will they try and save themselves by detaching themselves fom the Conservatives or even enter a pact with Cameron?
And what about the Alliance Party? The SDLP and UUP seem semi-detached from DUP and Sinn Fein…effectively an Opposition within the five-party Government. But Alliance are the prop that keeps DUP and SF in charge.
All of their members seem happy with that….after agonising of course. but they too would sell their granny…just like Irish Labour Party and Britains Lib Dems. Will the Alliance voters turn on them?
There are alterntives to Alliance. SDLP has at least stopped the rot. Even the SDLPs most severe critics on Slugger O’Toole can no longer deny it (but they do). And there are Greens and even Tories and now NI21 on the flank once occupied by UUP.
Is that why Alliance have sent out its attack dogs and even its poodles.
Alliance can prepare for a mitigation-collaboration debate with its own voters.
It could be suggested that the political schizophrenia observable in the Labour Party over the last several decades is traceable back to its Dublin roots, especially during the War of Independence. At that time the party was split between the radical, left-leaning Republican Labour wing (which allied itself in Dublin and elsewhere with Sinn Féin) and the conservative, right-leaning Dalyite wing (which frequently found itself currying favour from the affluent remnants of the Irish Parliamentary Party and various Unionist groupings).
That left-right division remains a constant factor in Labour. At the moment the conservative wing under former WP “radicals” is in the ascendency with an arrogant disregard for ordinary voters that has not been seen since the heyday of the PDs. Gilmore and his cronies make no bones about believing in their superior and natural RIGHT to rule, to be where they are, and act accordingly.
No wonder voters are so appalled by this Nouveau Ascendency.
It is a disgrace.
The sense of entitlement is sickening.
Roisin Shortall for example has been treated very badly and the entryism of the Workers Party is complete.
Joan Burton and Ruairi Quinn have the decency to look embarrassed.
I have a lot of respect for Joan Burton.
My respect for her gets lower by the day.
Am I right in saying she is in same constituency as Nulty and Joe Higgins?
Something has to give there.
She really needs to put up or shut up.
She could actually restore some credibility to Labour if she was to stand as Leader.
There is a lesson in this for SF don’t go into coalition as a junior partner. The fate of the PD’s and the Greens show what happens when the small fry try to play with the big boys. The big boys always walk away laughing. How FF is still in existance never mind back in the game will baffle future Irish Historians for generations.
Fianna Fail reminds me of the Canadian Conservative Party of twenty years ago.
They collapsed but rose.
Arguably that night in 1997 when senior Tory after senior Tory went down to defeat was a turning point for the Tories althoughthey had to suffer Howard, Hague and Duncan Smith.
Labour in the RepublIc have 37 seats. They will lose half of them.
A lot of big names will go down…and stay down.
They are acting like people who know it.
hobo the snag is that its hard not to go in to coalition as a junior partner, especially if the concept of FF v FG continues to be a theme of election campaigns, meaning that come election time people vote mainly for which of FF or FG they regard as the lesser evil, to keep the other out. That then squeezes the smaller parties votes. This is what happened in the last two elections.
I think some people like voting for the nasty party better the devil you know. That is only human nature. They may be crooks but they’re our crooks. Of course most people in the South are unaware of the backgrounds of those Stickies who have taken over the Labour Party. Mainly of course thanks to their friends and comrades in the Irish Media.
Ned Stapleton has a lot to answer for.
The snag is that at election time it becomes an FF v FG choice and people – incl those who would support SF or Labour end up choosing the lesser of the two evils.