Posted by: Mick Fealty | August 2, 2016

Why Fianna Fáil aren’t just waiting for their poll numbers to improve..

Smart comment from World By Storm drawing on analysis in the latest edition of the Phoenix…

Personally, I think it all has less to do with hard numbers and more to do with what fits the narrative. Micheal Martin’s been careful to draw a line between his party’s boomtime past and a more recent crafting of what looks, smells and often tastes like a centre left agenda.

Numbers matter, of course. But how any one mid sized party leads in a fragmented Parliament is a bigger poser, particularly now Sinn Fein has replaced Labour as the largest potential partner against FG (although I disagree with the Phoenix’s conclusion in this regard: it’s a genuine non starter under either Martin or Adams). 

But the current set up allows them to continue to squeeze the independent vote (now most of them are inside a tent of some description, be it government, party or quasi party).
It also allows them to continue to squeeze SF, whose poll ratings are more in line with the last low end gain line election result than they were beforehand. Whether that’s just a return to reality or a cooling off, Fianna Fáil, with its continued pretension to representing the broad middle ground of Irish politics again, must fight a broad (and exacting) battle to make the modest shifts needed to regain pole position again.

There’s another reason FF won’t go to the county on poll numbers alone. It would re-embedding the old Haughey era impression of ‘party before country’. Whereas, I get the distinct impression Mr Martin has more of a conciliatory Jack Lynch profile in mind. It remains to be seen whether that includes ambitions for Northern Ireland. Some form of obliquity in that regard might help. 

Because the truth is that the offering you make to the public actually does matter a great deal more than we have, in our own cynical, post modern way come to think. And Fianna Fáil’s is as yet far from complete. 


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