Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Labour Party’ Category

Mr Gilmore’s Labour Party To Lose 27 of its 37 Seats?

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This analysis fits in very comfortably with the assessment published on this blog last Saturday February 9 following the publication of an Irish Times Opinion Poll.

A different related question which deserves attention is what to do about the construction of an anti-capitalist/anti-coalition akternative, both inside and outside the Dail.

The Cedar Lounge Revolution

I know we’re probably a few years away from an election but ….. with Labour now sliding in the polls , Paddy Healy made an interesting Comment on the recent Sunday Business Post Red C poll stating

When the Labour party vote declined to 10.4% in the 1997 GE following the Spring/Bruton/De Rossa government , it retained 17 of 33 seats. I believe that if Labour polled 11% in a general election to-day that it would retain far less seats. Traditionally, many Labour candidates were elected on transfers from independents and minor parties (in addition to benefitting from the surplus of coalition partner Fine Gael). The current poll indicates that Sinn Fein will be above the Labour Party on first counts in a large number of constituencies. Sinn Fein transfers will be unavailable in far more constituencies than was the case in the 2011 General Election. The decline in the…

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Written by tomasoflatharta

Feb 13, 2013 at 9:40 am

Ireland’s Banking Fiasco, Midnight Parliamentary Madness, A Government in Free Fall…..and Mass Media Self-Delusion

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Many media commentators predicted a popularity boost for a struggling Government because of extraordinary events this week.

They seem to be singing from this Labour Party Leadership Circular to its councillors :

“Farewell to Anglo!
Last night’s legislation brings an end to Anglo Irish Bank and the Irish Nationwide Building Society. These two institutions, names that will live on in ignominy, are forever associated with the recklessness and greed of a tiny clique that brought this country to the edge of financial ruin. These banks, the people who ran them and the golden circle around them were at the very roots of the crisis that has caused so much distress to the Irish people.

In liquidating this institution, we are doing what should have been done on the night of the blanket bank guarantee.

This is another step forward towards the day when we can finally face forward as a people, when the past can finally recede into the distance and when Ireland and the Irish people can see the future that they truly deserve”

This text was apparently put into the public domain by Labour Party Fingal Councillor Cian Ó Ceallacháin, who dissents from the austerity dogma promoted by his party leadership.

Opinion Polls in the last few months have been grim reading for the parties leading the current coalition government, Fine Gael and Labour.

Labour Pains in 2013 Opinion Polls

There is one fundamental reason for the fall in Fine Gael and Labour Party ratings : Mssrs Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore are continuing to carry out the policies of the previous Fianna Fáil / Green Party Coalition.

The scale of the FF/GP fall between the General Elections of 2007 and 2011 was spectacular :  the two parties won 84 seats in 2007 but collapsed to 20 in 2011 – a staggering loss of 64 TD’s, reducing the Green Party Dáil delegation from Six to Nil.

Opinion Polls began to register this electoral earthquake after a 2008 all-night Dáil session which gave birth to the Brian Lenihan inspired “bail-out”, shoring up the Bust Anglo-Irish Bank and ushering in a programme of austerity, cuts to public services, privatisation, and tax increases.

Fine Gael and Labour this week staged a re-run of Brian Lenihan’s all-night Leinster House Show, once again rushing through a complex piece of financial legislation connected with the financial crisis.

Will these parties follow the electoral example of Fianna Fáil and the Green Party?

Since the Savita Halappanavar Scandal, the opinion poll ratings of the government parties have gone into free fall.

An opinion poll published in today’s Irish Times confirms the trend,with major losses predicted for Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

Adrian Kavanagh has done his usual excellent number-crunching giving this predicted result if a General Election was held tomorrow :

STATE  FG 42  FF 51  LP 15 SF 26 Others 24

Compare this with the 2011 result

STATE  FG 76
 FF 20
 LP 37
SF 14
Others 19

In other words, Fine Gael and Labour will lose a staggering 56 seats if these numbers are right.

In fact losses for the Labour Party will very probably exceed the catastrophic defeat predicted above :

Adrian Kavanagh says that “actual Labour seat numbers could well be lower than the numbers predicted here” :

Labour’s declining support levels (down eight percentage points on the party’s support levels in the 2011 election) translate in a further significant drop in the seat estimates allocated to the party in these latest poll analyses. The party’s support levels are now on a par with the levels earned by the party in the 2002 and 2007 general elections though its seat estimates here are lower than the seats won by that party in those contests due to (i) the increase competition levels offer by Sinn Fein and other left-of-centre political groupings and (ii) the impact of the boundary changes associated with the 2012 Constituency Commission report which are seen to more adversely effect Labour than another of the other parties or political groupings. It is interesting to note also that, with the exception of Galway East, most of the rebel Labour TDs would appear to be based in constituencies that this analysis suggests the party would hold seats in at an election based on national figures akin to these poll support levels. If these deputies were to remain outside the party fold to the point of running as independents the actual Labour seat numbers could well be lower than the numbers predicted here.

Web Link :

actual Labour seat numbers could well be lower than the numbers predicted here

Going into the detail, the following words jump out at readers interested in boosting the electoral fortunes of an anti-capitalist / anti-coalition alternative :

Boost for small parties

However, the appeal of other small parties and Independents has grown considerably since the last Irish Times poll, with a fifth of all voters now supporting this category.

The level of support for this group is particularly pronounced in Dublin, where 32 per cent of voters say they would support this category.

This is a far higher level of support than any of the political parties managed to attract and indicates that there could be many more Independents and representatives of small parties in the Dáil after the next election.

Web Link :

Support for Others at 32 Per Cent in Dublin

The others group is a mix of left and right, but in Dublin it is primarily an anti-coalition left vote.  When that vote came together in 2009, Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party won one of the three Dublin Euro-Parliament Seats.

The trials and tribulations of the faltering United Left Alliance project are being exhaustively discussed on this blog and other places.

The events of this week, and the electoral and opinion poll data above, show very decisively that, the anti-coalition anti-capitalist left must get its act together – or – in Bernadette McAliskey’s recent words at the 2013 Bloody Sunday Commemoration in Derry – “we are in for one hell of a hiding”.

“The Promissory Note Deal – A Three Card Trick” OR “another step forward towards the day when we can finally face forward as a people”

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A friend of this blog has unearthed a gem from the Irish Labour Party Presently participating in a coalition government with Fine Gael, under the leadership of Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore :

This is what the Labour Party are sending to their councillors today. I’d like to say its delusional but they are not that this stupid, although they obviously think some of their elected officials are. Fair play to Cian O’Ceallachain for publishing this stuff, going against the grain is never easy no matter how stupid it is…

“Farewell to Anglo!
Last night’s legislation brings an end to Anglo Irish Bank and the Irish Nationwide Building Society. These two institutions, names that will live on in ignominy, are forever associated with the recklessness and greed of a tiny clique that brought this country to the edge of financial ruin. These banks, the people who ran them and the golden circle around them were at the very roots of the crisis that has caused so much distress to the Irish people.

In liquidating this institution, we are doing what should have been done on the night of the blanket bank guarantee.

This is another step forward towards the day when we can finally face forward as a people, when the past can finally recede into the distance and when Ireland and the Irish people can see the future that they truly deserve”

Commenting on this one writer suggested

Whoever wrote that is wasted in the Labour Party. Should be out there writing sci-fi

Our Literary Prize Panel agreed unanimously.

Words may fail you, so we present an alternative view from the blog of United Left Alliance TD Joan Collins :

Now you see it, now you don’t. Nobody should be fooled by the government spin on the deal negotiated with the ECB on the debts run up by Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide. Not a cent of the almost €35 billion poured into these two insolvent banks has been written down. This deal seals the fact that these debts have been fully socialised, that is transferred as a burden onto the Irish people.

Web Link :

Promissory Note Deal Is A Three Card Trick

The Irish government fast-tracked a new law through the Dáil, perhaps scared of a legal case taken by David Hall :

Once upon a time a failed private bank, under criminal investigation, got an IOU/promissory note from the State to pay off its bondholders. In 2011, we voted in a government that promised to tackle this blatant injustice. Last week they defended a legal challenge against the promissory notes. Then, hours before the Supreme Court could hear the appeal, in the dead of night, they rammed emergency legislation through the Dail that transfers those debts from the IBRC/Anglo (an institution we own, and with whom we could have negotiated a write-down or even a write-off of the debt) to the European Central Bank (which is legally prohibited from writing down, or writing off any of this debt – even if they wanted to. Which they don’t.)

So the ‘soft’, legally-suspect, promissory note debts, were turned into legally-sound, ‘hard’, non-negotiable, sovereign debt – without a single cent of it being written off.

In other words, the people paid to represent us have shafted us, and our children and grandchildren. But they still call it a ‘deal’ – kind of like an upgrade, to sit closer to the captain on a Slave Ship. Section 17 of the legislation now gives the Minister for Finance unprecedented powers to restructure these promissory notes with the Central Bank – without oversight and without a vote in the Dail. The terms of this ‘deal’ are being discussed now at: http://www.thejournal.ie/promissory-notes-michael-noonan-786949-Feb2013/

From this we will learn about ‘savings’ on the interest we’ll pay on this illegitimate debt, and how much icing sugar they intend to sprinkle over the shit sandwich they’ll be force-feeding us over the next few decades.

A delusional Jellyfish Spineless Labour Party has confused surrender and victory.

Gilmore’s outfit is going down in the opinion polls :

Labour Pains in 2013 Opinion Polls

Labour’s Way is now the Gormley-Green Way –

https://tomasoflatharta.com/2011/03/10/the-february-25-general-election-changed-something-in-ireland/

Any bets on how low the Labour Party and Fine Gael will dip in the next opinion polls and real elections?

We need an anti-coalition and anti-capitalist left which has the backbone for a fight, a physical feature absent from the jellyfish Labour Party.

Greek Lessons For the Irish Far-Left – Maybe the current government is wobbling again?

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Plenty of interesting ideas here for fighting left – the current Kenny-Gilmore Government might not be as stable as it appears, despite its bloated parliamentary majority.

NAMA Wine Lake

Apparently, former Taoiseach Brian Cowen was none too happy with the two nude paintings of his corpulent frame hung by a “guerilla artist” in the National Gallery in 2009.  Our nakedness can be a great leveler, and how quickly the veneer of unchallengeable respectability fades away when an image is planted of you naked sitting on a toilet gripping loo-roll.

We are presently seeing a slow striptease by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan of the impenetrable and seemingly interminable promissory note negotiations. We still don’t know who is negotiating on behalf of Ireland, though apparently it’s employees of the Department of Finance, the Central Bank and the NTMA.

But the shield of “technical and complicated reengineering” of the debts shouldered by us all in respect of the promissory notes given to three institutions, including Anglo, is slowly being lowered as we get a sinking feeling that negotiations, that have been…

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Dolours Price buried in Belfast – “A Liberator But She Never Managed To Liberate Herself” The Irish Times – Tue, Jan 29, 2013

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Dolours Price – “a liberator but she never managed to liberate herself”

Eamonn McCann’s tribute sums up this moving newspaper report – despite having major political differences, Eamonn McCann and Dolours Price remained close friends for forty years.

Bernadette McAliskey was applauded when she told shivering mourners:

“We cannot keep pretending that 40 years of cruel war, of loss, of sacrifice, of prison, of inhumanity, has not affected each and every one of us in heart and soul and spirit.

“We cannot keep pretending that the war did not hurt. It broke our hearts and it broke our bodies, it changed our perspectives and it makes every day hard.”

Carrie Twomey wrote this account of the wake and funeral for Dolours Price

Carrie Twomey : “Rest in Peace”

Clare Daly TD questioned Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore on the imprisonment without trial of Martin Corey and Marian Price in the Dáil recently.

Video Link Here :

Clare Daly TD Questions Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore about Internment Without Trial of Martin Cory and Marian Price

Daly points out that Martin Corey has spent almost 3 years in jail without being shown any evidence justifying his incarceration – Gilmore hides behind the fact that the case is subject to an appeal in the Belfast Supreme Court next February. Read the rest of this entry »

Labour MEP Nessa Childers Calls for a General Election

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Childers call for a general election should be endorsed by all left TD’s opposed on principle to coalition with the right.

The Cedar Lounge Revolution

LP MEP Nessa Childers tweeted last night in relation to the latest news that the ECB is ruling out this particular ploy by the Irish government. Hmmm… not looking good for the ambitions of the latter in relation to these matters.

Very depressing news re ECB. The people need to be consulted about the future at this point. That means a general election.

That’s a very good point about democratic legitimation.

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Killer Rabbit or Pat Rabbitte? – Preference?

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A Web Link to Monty Python’s Rabbit Assassin :

Killer Rabbit

And now for something ostensibly harmless, but in fact deadly :

Web Link :

Pat Rabbitte

[he] opened up on Keaveney with a high-octane attack on the TD last Friday morning, describing his defection as “self-indulgence”.
“Any single member of the Labour parliamentary party could have gone pirouetting on the plinth, parading their struggle with their conscience saying: ‘Watch me as I agonise about this decision’,” Rabbitte said.
He lambasted Keaveney as “courting the media to save his own political neck”.

Deputy Keaveney’s Reply :

Rabbitte Played Man, Not Ball

Appearing on The Late Late Show, Mr Keaveney — who is still chairman of the Labour party despite his expulsion from the parliamentary ranks after voting against the Social Welfare Amendment Bill — said: “There has been a lot of reckless commentary from senior figures in the Labour party in the last 10 days.

“Pat was playing the man and not the ball. It was a fine performance from Pat Rabbitte but at the end of the day it was an attempt to deflect from the fact that we had made a volte face.”

 

Labour Senator considering Social Welfare Bill – RTÉ News

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http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/1216/social-welfare-bill.html This is interesting; it is reported elsewhere in the mainline media that the Kenny-Gilmore government may struggle to win a budget majority in the Seanad, delaying implementation of the Noonan-Howlin austerity juggernaut by 90 days. Any thoughts?

Coalition to fix repossession loophole – The Irish Times – Wed, Dec 12, 2012

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http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/1212/breaking3.html Labour the Bankers’ Party – With Apologies to the late Sinn Fein the Workers Party – No apologies to Deputy Gilmore, LPBP Leader, ex SFWP member.

Written by tomasoflatharta

Dec 12, 2012 at 9:49 am

Baseline Benefits are under attack: ULA statement | United Left Alliance

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