Politics Message Boards…What’s The Point?

First of all let me emphasise that “Keeping An Eye On The Czar Of Russia” is not a “Politics Message Board”. This is a Blog, a Journal, the ramblings of one person…me. You may be reading this on 29th February 2016…or you might have stumbled across it on 18th June 2173 (or some stardate) as you trawl thru long forgotten iclouds as part of your dissertation for a history degree at Queens University, Belfast.

Sources are of course important. I doubt anyone in 2173 will consider that “Fitzjames Horse” is a useful good source for whats happening in the world, Ireland or Norn Iron in the early years of the 21st century…No doubt History professors in 2173 will be guiding students towards Huffington Post, Guido Fawkes, Politics.ie and Slugger O’Toole as being influential.

As the “Czar of Russia” reference implies I am highly skeptical of the Internet being a reliable guide to Politics. Indeed we often hear …especially in Norn Iron …that our politicians are out of touch with real people.

I do not know how many people are registered with Ireland’s premier message board “Politics.ie” but I am aware that nearly four hundred people contributed to its online poll “How Did You Vote in the General Election?”. No doubt this is a fraction of the number of registered users in the Republic of Ireland but presumably is fairly representative of the total.

But I notice that the votes of the Politics.ie readers are a bit different from actual figures.

I set out below the Politics.ie figures.

FG: 17% ..SF: 26% ..Lab 8% ..GP 8%…FF 3%.

and the Actual figures.

FG 25%…SF 14%…Lab 7%…GP 3%…FF24%.

From these figures, it seems that those who took part in the Politics.ie survey were unrepresentative of the Irish electorate. There is of course no way of knowing if it is representative of registered users on the site. But there is no reason to think that supporters of one party are more likely to express a preference online to this extraordinary extent.

Certainly it makes me think that it is at least representative of “discussion” on the site, relating to 26-county matters. I dont contribute regularly to Politics.ie and rarely if at all to 26-county threads.
The obvious question is just how useful this site can be to (say) students of Irish politics in (say) United States or Britain. A reasonable conclusion might be that Sinn Féin and Greens supporters are more likely to influence Politics.ie discussions than Fine Gael and
Fianna Fáil supporters. It can hardly be due to the cliché that FF supporters are old men in the west of Ireland.
Is there a group-think…the site effectively in the grip of dazzling metro-textuals, who are removed from REAL politics?
Is Internet Politics….FANTASY politics?

Is it different in the North of Ireland where Slugger O’Toole is the market leader? I cant see Mick Fealty allowing a thread which captures the voting intentions of Slugger readers. It would, I suspect damage rather than enhance Sluggers reputation and possibly show evidence to a group-think or even agenda.
Is there a group-think within Slugger which possibly is more supportive of Alliance and liberal unionism…LetsGetAlongerists….than DUP, SDLP or Sinn Féin? Do SF and Alliance supporters make up the bulk of the readership.
We will probably never know….but it is reasonable to think that the smart-alec mantra that politicians are out of touch with the electorate is a false premise.

Surely the Internet Message Boards are out of touch with the Electorate.

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18 Responses to Politics Message Boards…What’s The Point?

  1. It is the fate of political wonks to think that they know better than everyone else and to be continuously disappointed come election day. Myself included 😉 I thought FF would do well in the election but not as well as they have done. And I defo thought the Greens would never br back and the Lowry types would be out on their ear. That said, in the latter case I think we can say we know better than an electorate which keeps electing a scandalous disgrace. Like, seriously. The man has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

    • I can understand the Healy-Rae voters but I just cant understand how Lowry keeps getting elected. It is a total scandal.
      Platformfor Change was in some respects “Slugger O’Toole made Flesh”….on their website they had a survey on where their membership was based. Very few west of the Bann and I think there was one constituency where they did not have a single member….South Belfast dominated the local scene and I suspect that South Dublin dominates southern scene.
      My own “predictions” were pretty close but it was analysis and guesswork.
      I actually thought that FF would do better than I predicted/guessed but was too scared to commit myself beyond “35ish”.

  2. Political Tourist says:

    So would the SDLP be happy with events in the election across the border?

    • Sinn Féin Supporter in Tyrone says:

      I would think that the SDLP will not be at all happy with the continuing rise of SF – in and around a 40% increase in the vote share – and the virtual wipe-out of Labour.

      The SDLP will be wondering what lies in store for them in the upcoming election as Sinn Féin’s momentum continues.

    • I think its difficult. SDLP are blood brothers of Labour (fellow socialosts) and nationalists in north tend to prefer FF to FG.
      But it really boils down to personal relations. There is no point nationalists trusting ANY southern government and no point in unionists trusting ANY British government.
      They always let you down.

  3. Political Tourist says:

    I’d say the Provos have had a pretty good election.
    Certainly a long way from black Christmas cards with barbed wire on them.
    I frightened the life out of an old auntie with one of those cards.

  4. Sinn Féin Supporter in Tyrone says:

    I think SF will add four seats in the Assembly and not lose any.

    When I talk to friends they all say that it will be great to stop the DUP from holding the First Minister. SF is the only party that can do that.

  5. Political Tourist says:

    Funny what you remember.
    FJH predicted it wasn’t impossible that No would win the Scottish referendum, a Tory victory in the general election plus Britex.
    I keep thinking, for an accumulator, a Trump win in the US.
    Massive turn to the right me thinks.

    • But I think I said SF would get 24 seats and they only got 23.
      And I didnt have the confidence to go beyond 35ish for FF. I should have been bolder cos I felt it in my bones.

      • Sinn Féin Supporter in Tyrone says:

        The number of SF seats went up more than 60%. Matt Carthy (director of elections) deserves praise.

      • And of course it would have been much better if the Election had been 18 months ago or even six months ago.
        I note you dont single Gerry Adams out for praise. He was of course a liability.

      • Sinn Féin Supporter in Tyrone says:

        Gerry Adams deserves praise too.

        Martin McGuinness has said that Adams is the most important person in the peace process.

      • Do you have any opinions of your own?
        Or does being a member of Sinn Féin mean you are not allowed an opinion?

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