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This started out as a simple report on an opinion poll which expanded to explain the difficulty of forecasting seat outcomes from headline % vote share data.  I then began speculating on the likely outcome of such a shift in voting patterns but surprised even myself by my conclusion - that the result was likely to be a tectonic shift in Irish attitudes to the EU  - despite the fact that Fine Gael and Labour are traditionally very Europhile.

Sinn Fein are staring to give a concrete political expression to the xenophobic, Nationalist, and atavistic vote that appeared in a more inchoate form in the NO votes on EU referenda.  I can't see their rise not effecting how even a Fine Gael Labour government would act.  Gerry Adams would be Leader of the Opposition on the basis of these figures after all...

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 05:19:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sinn Fein try quite hard to avoid xenophobia, of a sort. They're pretty internationalist in an old fashioned way. Doesn't mean some of their support isn't of that type, but the party seem to be surprisingly ok on that front. In theory at least.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 08:00:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Adams/McGuinness are very able people and seem to have a long term vision of Sinn Fein as an all-Ireland, nationalist but progressive political force.  I do not underestimate their achievement in weaning Sinn Fein away from the hard men of the physical force tradition and negotiating successfully with hardline Loyalists who basically don't want to talk to them anyway.

Most southern politicians can only dream at an achievement like that and are political spoilt children who have inherited their positions of power by comparison. However SF will also seek to hoover up votes wherever they can and my sense is that virtually all of the 30%+ hard no vote in the EU referenda is up for grabs as all the other parties are v. pro-EU.

So SF will at least have to pander to the hard-line Nationalist, xenophobic, and atavistic vote even if they end up implementing more traditional left wing policies.  They will, of course, not oppose the EU per se - just our current neo-lib model of it - so I do not necessarily have a problem with that.

However I see a more tough minded and less fawning approach to the EU in the future - and great difficulty in passing another EU related referendum unless it is clearly in our national interest.  The major change will be that Sinn Fein - if they lead the opposition - will almost have the power of veto on any new such Treaty, and Merkel will find that Adams is a much tougher negotiator than she has ever had to deal with in the past.  Think of it as requiring Merkel to negotiate with Die Linke Partei in Germany to form a Government...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 08:39:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
However I see a more tough minded and less fawning approach to the EU in the future

You say that like it's a bad thing.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 09:17:49 AM EST
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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 09:29:43 AM EST
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An informative back and forth from two Irish. Thanks to both.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Dec 4th, 2010 at 12:55:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However I see a more tough minded and less fawning approach to the EU in the future

By "the EU" do you mean the NCE consensus within the EU or the EU as a whole?


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 01:06:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Effectively the neo-con consensus although it may be difficult to distinguish the two.  Obviously a key to successful negotiation is to identify potential allies as well as adversaries, but who (within the EU establishment) has come out in support of enforcing haircuts on Irish bank bondholders or ECB loans at sustainable interest rates or quantitative easing on a realistic scale to provide greater liquidity...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 01:27:12 PM EST
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