Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

An Explanation of The Labour Party Leadership’s “Delusional Strategy”

with one comment

This week leading Labour Party politicians – notably the Dublin Deputies Joan Burton and Róisín Shortall set the general election airwaves alight with scorching attacks on left-wing rivals, at the same time facilitating the parliamentary passage of a reactionary Finance Bill through a dying Dáil. Why?

This prompted me to “wonder if Labour headquarters “focus groups” have picked up deep unease among Labour supporters about the right-wing policies of Fine Gael, and the shoddy manoeuvres designed to help the Budget Finance Bill through a dying Dáil?  Did some dark princes from the Gilmore kitchen cabinet tell Shortall and Burton to be offensive towards left-wing rivals?”

source :

Conor McCabe has published a fascinating insight on the Cedar Lounge thread, and it deserves a lot of prominence
source :

“According to a labour strategist (this was passed on to me tonight) the Labour Party leadership sees itself as competing with Fine Gael for votes. The attacks on Sinn Fein are to show how tough Labour is on Sinn Fein, to appease the middle class floating voter. The attacks on ULA and Joe Higgins – the ‘loony left’ – ditto.

I was quite taken back when I heard this, but they actually believe that Ireland has a huge middle class with a rump working class who live on the estates, to which Sinn Fein and the ULA are welcome.

when asked about the disaffected fianna fail public sector worker, there was no interest at all expressed by the strategist in picking up this vote. Those voters were dismissed as mainly over-50s and irrelevant to the election.

The Labour Party leadership is obsessed with capturing the middle class vote, and sees Fine Gael as its main opposition.

I mean, this is just delusional – they really think they are fighting the 2007 election all over again – but, delusional, strategy, and the Irish Labour Party …

At the same time, while that party strategist believes (along with the leadership) that Fine Gael is the real competition and the middle class the real prize, every labour party voter I’ve talked to has been quite stunned by the attacks on the ULA.

There are still three more weeks to go. Three more weeks of chasing a non-existent majority middle class, and excluding traditional labour voters in the process?

This is going to be a very f**king interesting election.”


More on this here :

I agree with you WBS “Here’s a small tale..”. I think a new electoral factor is at work – in the past Labour Leaders could afford to talk left before a General Election, and act right afterwards, because they did not face serious competition on their left flank.

The 2009 Local and European Results – notably, Joe Higgins becoming a member of the European Parliament, winning a 12.2% share of first preference votes – began to change that picture.

In this situation a repeat of the 1992 Labour “Spring Tide” can not be achieved so easily. In Dublin at least, we may see a drift away from Labour, to both its left and right.

In this context, here is some useful material for a comparative study of how things have evolved in Portugal :

“Somehow, we filled a space that did not exist, a political space that had not yet been recognized”


Written by tomasoflatharta

Jan 29, 2011 at 7:59 am

Posted in Ireland

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Alison O’Toole’s article “Left betrayed by Labour leadership” – a report of a February 5 Gresham Hotel meeting attended by all shades of the left – is very good :


    Feb 9, 2011 at 10:15 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: