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 Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake?

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PostSubject: Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake?   Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake? EmptyFri Feb 27, 2009 1:16 pm

It kicks off this evening. Dire results in today's Indo poll to contend with.

When the Irish Times poll came out two weeks ago, the Taoiseach responded with a rousing presentation in Mullingar and told journalists that he's not engaged in a poplularity contest.

What can he say to the party faithful? What should he say tomorrow night?

Will any MNers be there?
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PostSubject: Re: Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake?   Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake? EmptyFri Feb 27, 2009 1:30 pm

I think there can be a tendency to overplay the situation Fianna Fáil are in. Naturally they are getting the blame for much of the disaster we currently find ourselves and they will take an absolute bashing at the Local and European Elections.

But.... will this transfer into a total breakdown of the party? Unlikely. Clearly Fianna Fáil have seen their support diminish over the past number of years and that is down to a huge range of issues such as the development of new parties, the breakdown of traditional rivalries and so on. Owing to their mishandling of the economy one would expect that at the next General Election, whenever that might be, they will also get a significant bashing.

However, the fact remains that Fianna Fáil are by far the most organised and dynamic party in Ireland in terms of their party structure and their ability to fundraise. People often get caught up in the Galway Tent stuff which although interesting kind of deflects the huge fundraising that Fianna Fáil manage every year on a local basis - far more than any other party in the State.

There is a national dissatisfaction with the Government at the moment and rightly so. It is unlikely that they will be in power after the next election but while a national dissatisfaction we must all remember that 90 per cent of politics is local. Provided Fianna Fáil continue to engage in their local constituencies all around the country, which they will, I would not bet against their recovery and ongoing survival. It is so easy for people theorising about Government to slip into a bourgeois attitude about overarching principles and policies, ignoring the local issues on which most of the electorate continue to vote.

Are Fianna Fáil in a sticky mess? Sure. Will they get an absolute hammering in the upcoming elections? Absolutely. Are they a spent force? Not a chance, they are the architypal pragmatists and will just reinvent again, that is the story of Irish history.


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Anyway... to the Ard Fheis... won't be watching it myself, too much sport on this weekend to be bothered with politics. What will he say? Probably the same rabble rousing nonsense he always does. Shouting about patriotism, economic survival and all that stuff which gets a round of applause but certainly won't outline any policy. If you're really lucky he may even invoke the spirit of bygone leaders.
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PostSubject: Re: Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake?   Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake? EmptyFri Feb 27, 2009 2:22 pm

Fine Gael will never be a serious rival to Fianna Fail. They depend on a shared social base. Fine Gael governments are seen as temporary/interregnum periods. The numbers of medium and big farmers are declining.

Kenny is patently reluctant to lead - did not want a General Election and now suggesting "Behind closed doors" negotiations on a revised budget.

It would take a seismic and material shift in the interests of the different social classes in Ireland to shake Fianna Fail. At this stage, that can't be ruled out.

The wherewithal simply isn't there to please the full range of Fianna Fail supporters. The question is, where will the fault line open up? So far, Cowen has tied himself firmly to the owners of wealth.
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PostSubject: Re: Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake?   Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake? EmptyFri Feb 27, 2009 2:29 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Fine Gael will never be a serious rival to Fianna Fail. They depend on a shared social base. Fine Gael governments are seen as temporary/interregnum periods. The numbers of medium and big farmers are declining.

Kenny is patently reluctant to lead - did not want a General Election and now suggesting "Behind closed doors" negotiations on a revised budget.

It would take a seismic and material shift in the interests of the different social classes in Ireland to shake Fianna Fail. At this stage, that can't be ruled out.

The wherewithal simply isn't there to please the full range of Fianna Fail supporters. The question is, where will the fault line open up? So far, Cowen has tied himself firmly to the owners of wealth.

That's a shrewd asessment of the situation - the divide if it happens will open up between the left and right of Fianna Fail as you suggest. But there is another danger there too: that FG and the right wing of FF will join forces - and any redundant PDs. That would make a formidable, extreme right wing bloc.
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PostSubject: Re: Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake?   Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake? EmptyFri Feb 27, 2009 2:31 pm

johnfás wrote:
... If you're really lucky he may even invoke the spirit of bygone leaders.
Did anyone notice the piece on the 9 O'Clock News last night where they were talking to some FF media type regarding the new website etc? In the office he was sitting there were portraits of all the pervious leaders of FF, culminating in El Berto Magnifico. The shot the cameraman selected of the talking head left El Berto munificnetly gazing down from the wall. I thought that FF need to fire that media man straight away, but am now wondering, do FF sense a 'Bring Back Bertie' seam in society they might consider mining?

Nah, they were just screwed by the cameraman's shot selection. Laughing

Those FFers can't do anything right anymore!
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PostSubject: Re: Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake?   Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake? EmptyFri Feb 27, 2009 2:31 pm

Aragon wrote:

That's a shrewd asessment of the situation - the divide if it happens will open up between the left and right of Fianna Fail as you suggest. But there is another danger there too: that FG and the right wing of FF will join forces - and any redundant PDs. That would make a formidable, extreme right wing bloc.

Not going to happen in my opinion. A split in Fianna Fáil will be an internal one which brings down the leader with a new leader reinstated. If there is one thing Fianna Fáilers are it is committed to the party. They are quite prepared to fight with each other but it is highly unlikely that a large body of the party would actually split. It is even less likely that they would join FG if they did. Fianna Fáil has only suffered one major split in its history - the creation of the PDs. It was significant but it didn't take as many members from FF as some might suggest.
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PostSubject: Re: Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake?   Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake? EmptyFri Feb 27, 2009 2:50 pm

johnfás wrote:
Aragon wrote:

That's a shrewd asessment of the situation - the divide if it happens will open up between the left and right of Fianna Fail as you suggest. But there is another danger there too: that FG and the right wing of FF will join forces - and any redundant PDs. That would make a formidable, extreme right wing bloc.

Not going to happen in my opinion. A split in Fianna Fáil will be an internal one which brings down the leader with a new leader reinstated. If there is one thing Fianna Fáilers are it is committed to the party. They are quite prepared to fight with each other but it is highly unlikely that a large body of the party would actually split. It is even less likely that they would join FG if they did. Fianna Fáil has only suffered one major split in its history - the creation of the PDs. It was significant but it didn't take as many members from FF as some might suggest.

That's a retrospective view that right up until now I think would have been true. But something very different has been happening over the last 15 years and the nature of the crisis we now face has compounded it. It puts all the old hostorical divisions and rivalries into a very different perspective. The creation of profit now trumps all that stuff - there are too many overly welathy people on both sides who are determined to maintain their advantage to allow consideration of who said what in 1922 or whenever to get in the way. FG and the PDs have always flirter with each other.

I don't think it's likely to happen tomorrow but is quite possible sometime over the next couple of years. The other reality, imo, is that a huge humber of stalwart FF voters are about to have it brought home to them that FF are a deceitful, corrupt and incompetent mess. The government won't be forgiven for job losses, pay cuts and other attacks on people who are not responsible for the situation. The demographics are also shifting. There are now very many younger voters who have no emotional connection with the tribalism of the FF, FG dichotomy. Bring in university education fees and all who advocate or support them will be throwing a huge percentage of those votes away. FF and FG together stand for all of the things which we know are responsible for this. When people start losing their seats in the local elections, there will be a major rethink among the party rank and file, at the very least.
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PostSubject: Re: Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake?   Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis - An Irish Wake? EmptyFri Feb 27, 2009 10:24 pm

Aragon wrote:
That's a retrospective view that right up until now I think would have been true. But something very different has been happening over the last 15 years and the nature of the crisis we now face has compounded it. It puts all the old hostorical divisions and rivalries into a very different perspective.
Possibly but when the country kept voting for FF even after the disastrous 9-month Haughey Government outlined in the book The Boss (the Government which had put FitzGerald's out over the tax on shoes, a measure which was one of many cuts necessary to shore up a pressured public purse which arose in the first place, I believe, because a FF Govt. in the seventies overspent) then they'll vote for anything. The electorate, as Mary Harney says, has a short memory.

I'd like to be able to write as eloquent a post as johnfás one first above but I can only say this in my own way: