also posted on the CLR
Twenty plus years ago I sat in my local a pub discussing the State of the Nation with some of the Bars resident Fianna Failers. Their Haughey keyrings held in the same devotion as their miraculous medals. At the time, with my shiny new degree, I was going door to door asking people if they wanted their grass cut and working part time in a garage for a living.
“What about Unemployment?” I asked?
“Sure aren’t they crying out for Priests and Nuns” to great amusement was the reply.
“Fianna Fail are after fucking up the country” I said
“Sure How could Fianna Fail be fucking up the Country? Fianna Fail are the Country!” came the reply….
I thought of that exchange as I saw Fianna Fails 13% poll rating…
The country Fucked and Fianna Fail Fucked too….
Gents like the above were widespread, devout, confident in the party, harking back to genuine social achievements like free education, free travel and so on. These gents are few and far between now.
and might I recommend Johnny Fallons Latest post on Fianna Fail in the face of oblivion
You’ve been huddled up in the bunker in Mount Street preparing for the next General Election for the past few years. The polls had you dropping, the results in the European and Local Elections were poor but sure that’s what you get for taking “The Hard Decisions”. The public trust Lenny and sure wasn’t Cowen great giving that talk to the chamber of commerce. Sure we might even be “turning he corner”.
So you sit down and start planning for the Next Election, even though you know that this Government will last its course until 2012.
Sure you can still take credit for the great things done during the Celtic Tiger. An end to Emmigration, full employment, wasn’t everyone doing very well.
You plan for 35% …. things get worse, You plan for 30% ….worse again, you plan for 25% which has to be rockbottom …. but it gets even worse again, you plan for 20% which really has to be rockbottom…. but its even worse again, how do you plan for 15% or even worse again 13%?
The best is to try to stand as few candidates as possible. There are 43 constituencies of which you hold more than two seats in 29 of them. After retirements its likely that around 60 Fianna Fail TDs will be contesting the next election (that’s before the Two Sligo lads and Mattie McGrath get added in). Some constituencies such as Louth, Dublin North East and Dublin South are unlikely to have a FF TD contesting (although the chances of Mary Hanafin moving to Dublin South must be increasing by the minute).
To optimize seats Fianna Fail should be really be standing around 50 candidates (the number Labour stood in 2007) but they can’t. In all likelyhood they will stand around 75, which will more than likely increase seat losses. (Think of the impact on the FF psyche by fielding less than the number of candidates needed for an overall majority).
The Donegal South West by-Election and to a lesser degree the Local and European Elections before them showed that Fianna Fail were becoming totally Transfer Toxic.
There is an added problem with internal transfers….
It will be almost impossible to implement vote management schemes as they are used for winning a second or indeed a third seat rather than two existing TDs fighting it out for a possible single seat.
Also at FFs current level of popularity candidates votes will be as much personal as party. So not alone will they be getting few transfers from elsewhere, they’ll have a poor internal transfer rate too.
Its going to be a bloodbath for Fianna Fail, vast swathes of the country will have no Fianna Fail TDs. In places where the party have quotas they wont win seats because they’ll have too many candidates. In places where candidates get a decent vote they’ll be overtaken because of lack of Transfers…..
…and then there’s the Budget to come!