That Sunday Independent poll tells us what, exactly? Here’s a few thoughts:
1. Fianna Fail topping the poll is not a huge deal, but will do great things internally for party morale. The actual number of 25% is respectable rather than earth shattering. But it certainly does indicate that the party’s toxicity is wearing off. Will the next election be the first where no party does not have some level of transfer repellence? FF with the IMF, FG with the pro-life issue, Labour with, well, being Labour, and Sinn Fein with blowing up people (probably the last election this will apply)?
2. Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, two moderate minimum-change conservative parties hold 52% of the vote between them, confirming that most Irish people are not unhappy with the political system they have. This is a conservative petit-bougeois country.
3. Labour could, ironically, find themselves in the most powerful position after the election, despite losing the most seats. FF and FG do not want to share power for tribal knuckle-dragging reasons (which will be dressed up in a pathethic attempt to hide with makey-up ideological differences. “We believe the Earth rotates. They believe the Earth revolves!”) nor does either really want to be the first to bring Sinn Fein in. Secondly, there is no guarantee that SF (particularly their southern members) want to be in power as second banana to either. Labour going willingly into opposition will either force an FF/FG coalition, finally uniting the right, or get Sinn Fein off the opposition benches clearing them for a left recovery. Either way, Labour’s long term interest is to remain in opposition. Unless of course, Labour’s senior people had the audacity to put cabinet ambition ahead of the long term interest of the party. Cough.
4. The high Independent vote has the potential to be a very bad thing for the country, because, and this is my humble opinion, it is not a vote for National Independents (Ross, Donnelly, Boyd Barrett) but a return to the “Get what you can for the parish from that crowd in Dublin and F**k everybody else!” and we haven’t got the money for that nonsense anymore.
5. Where the f**k is the Irish Left? The ULA on 1%? Seriously? Worst crisis in Irish capitalism since the 1913 lockout and this crowd are busy fighting each other? Where is the young charismatic leader of the left who sounds serious about winning power and doesn’t sound like she’s escaped from a 1970s timepod?