Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

The final tally, and Results Dublin Bay South By-Election, July 9 2021 – Easy Win for Ivana Bacik (Labour Party)

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Tallies showed Ivana Bacik (Labour Party) was very likely to win the Dublin Bay South By-Election.

Updates here :

https://www.rte.ie/news/regional/2021/0709/1234013-Dubliner-bay-south-by-election-live-updates/ Ongoing coverage continues.

A first count came in confirming predictions that Bacik would win the by-election.

Here is a brilliantly presented table of all the data :

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YiEnNrYEFWirEiW7mmgxxnpM-MVxGrxqfkIjPx71I_Y/htmlview?pru=AAABeq5c0Lo*b9QSwf-x3ITRC9LswcJRDw

The counts came in :

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/elections/dublin-bay-south-byelection

Initial comments :

1. The Irish Times opinion poll was largely accurate.

2. This is a big defeat for Fine Gael.

3. Bacik is likely to keep the seat in a General Election, removing Green Party leader and government minister Éamon Ryan from the Dáil.

I think all activists should carefully look at the content of Ivana Bacik’s campaign, which was very successful.
Attacking party policies is fine – attacking an individual should not be a left-wing calling card – especially in the case of somebody like Ivana Bacik.
Here is an assessment – written by an anarchist! – after the May 2018 Abortion Landslide Referendum Victory :
“An amazing victory, nobody had predicted such a massive vote for YES.  I was afraid my phone had been hacked when I got a leak of the Irish Times exit poll just before it went live.  And yesterday I felt like I was living in a new country when the box my ballot was in showed a magnificent 88.8% for YES.
The analysis can wait for a few days – as can planning to push on to end church control of our schools and hospitals – right now we all deserve to carry on celebrating.  
Just one interim throught – mainstream politicians like Varadkar and Harris did not deliver this, they only came on board when they saw which way the wind was blowing.  There are a few honourable exceptions like Ivana Bacik and Claire Daly, but they were very few back in day.
Credit must go to those who kept the issue alive and fought the battle of ideas over the last three decades, those who defied the pre-1992 ban on abortion information, the organisers of the x-case demonstration, the students who SPUC tried to jail in late 1980s, the Women’s Information Network, and all the nameless ‘ordinary people’ who refused to give up even in the very worst of times.  
Today let’s remember the women and men of the Dublin and Cork Abortion Information Campaigns, the Women’s Right to Choose Group, the Dublin Abortion Rights Group, Women on Waves Ireland, and all those others who stuck their necks out when it was far from popular (or safe) to do so.”

Ivana Bacik on the campaign trail

The blunt truth is that Bacik is not left-wing enough, according to my standards, the standards of the fighting-left. We may not like these facts, but we should not try to wish them away.
What do we mean here? Paul Murphy TD stressed during the February 2020 Irish General Election campaign

PBP repeatedly placed demands on SF to rule out coalition with FF and FG. SF did not do so. That helped to establish a reason for people to vote for the socialist left – we were the only ones who would definitely not put FF or FG back into power. https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/02/27/to-all-of-them-we-say-rule-out-coalition-with-fianna-fail-and-fine-gael-sinn-fein-should-seek-to-lead-an-alternative-minority-government-interview-with-paul-mu/

This is still a red-line issue.

Ivana Bacik does not reject coalition with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – a disastrous policy she shares with Sinn Féin. But her victory should give hope to the fighting-left. The voters of Dublin Bay South have warned ⚠️ : The sitting government minister in the constituency, the Green Party leader Éamon Ryan, is likely to lose his seat at the next General Election.
Fine Gael is resuming its historic role in government coalitions : the party is a political vampire 🧛‍♂️ which drains life blood 🩸 from its victims – its government partners. In this by-election the Green and Fianna Fáil parties lost, respectively, 14.4 and 9.2 per cent of the first preference vote, compared with the 2020 General Election. Varadkar’s Fine Gael vote share only dropped marginally by 1.5 per cent. A miserable fate awaits any party, positioned on the left, which enters government with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael.
Ructions may be on the horizon – Irish Examiner journalists report :

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar have denied the leadership of their respective parties is in question following Ivana Bacik’s stunning win in the Dublin Bay South by-election.

In what was seen as a decisive swing against the government, all three coalition party candidates performed worse than had been expected.

Fianna Fáil suffered its worst-ever by-election result, with its candidate Deirdre Conroy winning just 4.6% of the first preference vote.

The Fine Gael candidate James Geoghegan failed to top the poll as expected and was never in a position to catch Ms Bacik, while the Green Party candidate, Claire Byrne, won just 8% of the first preference vote. https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/politics/arid-40333763.html

There is plenty of evidence on Ivana Bacik’s Twitter link, and on her facebook page, that she ran a strong by-election campaign, stressing the housing issue.  She seems to have won very well because she promoted an anti-government policy. She is more popular than her party.

People Before Profit candidate Brigid Purcell ran a brave campaign in a difficult constituency. She secured 2.8 per cent of the first preference vote, a slight increase compared with the February 2020 General Election. https://irishelectionliterature.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/brigidpurcelldbsleaflet.pdf
The road ahead for the fighting-left includes the achievement of united action with forces to our right on concrete issues such as the housing crisis and combating racism.

John Meehan March 9 2021

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