GE16 - FF are finished and political upheaval in rural Irela

Down the country in one of the most conservative constituencies in the country at the moment and very interesting observation on my way into mass yesterday evening. FF had a church gate collection, in previous years these are advertised in advance with posters, nothing happening. None of the prominent FF stalwarts of the past decades were standing around the biscuit tin, just an old woman and two young teens and most importantly there was NOTHING in the biscuit tin, I mean NOTHING, not even a 20 cent coin.

So I spoke to quite a few people about their voting intentions in recent days and bottom line they do not know who to vote for any more. For the first time people who normally vote Fine Gael (core voter profile: big farmers, established business types) and Fianna Fail (core voter profile: employment mostly based around semi state/council, small farmers and self employed tradesmen) for the last few decades are asking the question are Sinn Fein a suitable alternative? They are not convinced by Sinn Fein, but they are a generation that feels compelled to vote, the idea of spoiling their vote is being mooted. So I put forward the suggestion about “none of the above”, I got a few chuckles out of it and the attitude was yes, f%ck the lot of them. Also these are people who read the Irish Independent readers that are openly commenting that it has gone downhill “there’s no news in it anymore”, the Indo is alienating its established readership.

So bottom line rural Ireland is looking for alternatives and not finding many options.

Rural Ireland has resumed the long death that was temporarily suspended by building activity where there were no effectual demand.

Farming is increasingly industrial and those living alongside it are the last of that rural society that was once the majority in Ireland.

It would seem to me from conversations with people from traditionally FF families that SF is now the accessible urban alternative to the increasingly out of touch rural FF. In the past FF didn’t need to sell policy when voter loyalty was seen to be rewarded on a local level and SF don’t need policy if they’re perceived as been the new pliable conduit to pamper the populous at their own expense.

Best story I heard form the last election was a rural voter being canvassed by a few FF dinosaurs. He said “I’m not happy with Fianna Fail right now”, they replied “either are we but can we have your no.1”!

Their poll numbers are steady though. 19% of Irish people still have the memory of a goldfish.

Well, Roscommon found Ming!
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there are far more “independent” TD’s in the next Dáil, I was a little surprised that there weren’t more last time around.

I imagine it’s more a case of 19% who would never vote FG or Labour, don’t see SF as an alternative, and haven’t yet found an acceptable independant. What an indictment of our politics that with probably an even greater number of voters ready to flee the traditional big parties next time round, they’ve found feck all to replace them!

Why do I sense that they won’t vote FF, but will vote for an individual, who unfortunately happens to be FF.
It explains how FF retained 20 seats in 2011.

Surely “Not FF” should be the grounding principle for anyone with an ounce of sense though? What you’ve described sounds to me like a severe case of electoral Stockholm Syndrome.

Interesting. Sounds like we’re due for a Clann na Talmhan revival…

I still expect that FF (and FF gene pool) might be the largest party in the next Dail. With better seat / transfer management FF would have got 30/35 plus seats last time around based on historical patterns. What happened to FF last time was pretty much what happened to FG in 2002. The number of seats for FG (31) was far less than expected from total vote. Should have been mid 40’s.

Next time out FF should be in the mid 40’s with current polls and might get into the 50’s with last seat pickups/ bonus seats. SF being so transfer toxic should help with last seat pick ups.

The old FF coalition is dead. The urban working class is lost for the next few cycles. Almost all the changes in party voting intentions in the polls since the last election seems to be traditional FF urban working class / lower middle class voters who voted mostly for Lab last time around gravitating to SF. The ebb and flow of the other party numbers seem fairly consistent with past patterns. The FG protest vote ebbing away, etc.

What makes the current polls such a bad indicator of the final seat tally is that I expect the majority of seats to be decided by transfers. Much more so than past elections. So not only will almost every constituency have a last seat fight, but quite a few will have a second and even third last seat fight. What favours last seat pickups by SF (most of their seats) is their exceptional organization and discipline. But if the historical “anyone but FF” transfer pattern becomes the “anyone but SF” then I expect SF to lose quite a few last seat battles.

I know for the first time in more than 30 years I’ll be giving a transfer to the least worst FF candidates. SF certainly have broken the political mold. There really is someone worse than FF…

listening to radio today it appears that FF are in a bit of a quandary; throw out old candidates with male genitalia and scrape around for candidates without male genitalia or get penalised. Gender quotas are stupid but every cloud has a silver lining.

In other news FG were on the church gates in Offaly collecting this week.

The only alternative I did get asked about was what did I reckon Lucinda Creightons chances are? (slim and none IMHO). This is an area where the last major change was the PDs displacing FG for one election cycle before reverting to form. If she were to get behind a candidate in the constituency then there is a chance to pick up a seat. I think the damage to the FF party grassroots organisation may have been done during the boom, certainly going by the stories of biscuit tin Berties visits to the constituency, the party loyalists were sidelined and drifted away. FF/FG are not totally dead since life in rural Ireland does require interaction with the political system to get various subsidies and handouts allocated, plus the politicians and prospectors do show up at their core voters funerals to maintain the family relationship. So next time people may decide “better the devil you know than the one you don’t want” and vote accordingly based on the incentives on offer.

Works out well for Micheal. I’ve always figured he had the same genitalia as manikin, & the way he dealt, with Hanafin confirmed it !

:open_mouth: The eunuch party? Well, I suppose it’s one bit of the political spectrum that hasn’t been approached yet.

I can all ready see the party slogan.


“You’ll never elect another prick”? :smiley:

This one could have legs… :laughing:

(if maybe not much between them) :-GC

I saw one of those small posters that are placed on eircom communications boxes yesterday.
You usually ignore them as they say stuff like the “Dail the not the Oireachtas” etc.
This one had a couple of paragraphs that said something like Hanafin is really dangerous and FF have no seats in Dublin, let’s keep it that way!

The FF talking heads “debate” on Saturday’s Claire Byrne radio show is worth listening. If only to hear their delusions of relevance.

In advance of the election Could we please put together a list of FF lies with citations. The late Brian Lenihan Junior was great at lying.

Seamus Brennan is dead a while. Can’t we start publicising that little rodent’s life now?

“We won’t balls it up!”

These mooted gender quotas are they in law or what? I’m out of touch on this one. … rliaments/

also Michael Martin was almost being taunted by the interviewer on RTE1 about his inability to suppress dissent in FF and compared him unfavourably to Bertie, Reynolds and , Haughey

This is just nonsense.

Read Adrian Kavanagh’s analysis of current polls. He actually know’s what he’s talking about and he puts them on 33 seats.

The only outcome possible in the next election is a FG/FF coalition.