Sunday, June 22, 2008

FF steady in new poll

In a surprising development, Fianna Fáil support has remained unchanged in today's Red C poll in the Sunday Business Post. The poll also finds that 90% of no voters claim to have understand the issues at stake in the Lisbon Treaty referendum, calling into question attempts by the Irish and Euro elites to blame lack of knowledge for the treaty for its defeat. As far as the party support-figures go, they are as follows: FF 40% (NC), FG 25% (-3), Labour 10% (NC), SF 10% (+1), Greens 7% (+2), PDs 2% (NC) Others 6%. On the Lisbon Treaty, 55% agreed that Lisbon threatened neutrality, 57% that tax on businesses would be changed, with 56% believing that Ireland would lose influence within the EU. The only chinks of light for the Yes side came with 52% believing Lisbon would not threaten jobs, but the 2 sides were tied on 43% on the question of whether worker's rights would be affected negatively. And while 61 per cent believed that it would simplify EU decisionmaking, 80% believed we would lose our Commissioner (correctly) were Lisbon ratified.

The poll also differs from others on the question of whether immigration was a factor in the "No" vote. For my own part I have heard it brought up constantly as a factor". While some of Lisbon's defenders would charge that the issue was unrelated to the referendum, anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise. FG TD's Lucinda Creighton and Leo Varadkar have admitted it came up on the canvass. The former claims that half the questions at one public meeting concerned immigration, while Varadkar claimed it came up in the context of terminology like the "race to the bottom" i.e. using cheap labour to drive down labour standards. According to the poll, 65% of no voters want stricter immigration controls compared to 52% of yes voters. This belief is strongest among working-class voters and those who voted for Sinn Féin in the last general election - 78 per cent of whom share this view, compared with 60 per cent of Fine Gael voters, 60 per cent of Labour voters and 57 per cent of Fianna Fáil voters.

The poll confirms my aforementioned belief that supporting Fianna Fáil over issues like Lisbon could only hurt Fine Gael. It is the official Opposition, and in that context is expected to oppose the Government. Instead it rolled over and wasted several hundred thousand euro on supporting a treaty that takes away Ireland's commissioner, halves our vote on the Council of Ministers, signs us up to a mutual-defence pact, signs away most of our remaining national vetoes, and ends our automatic right to EU referenda via the self-amending provisions of Article 48 and the 'simplified ratification procedure'. The party needs to make itself relevant to voters as a credible alternative government. Supporting the government on issues like Lisbon and immigration can only reinforce the image in the minds of the electorate of FG as "FF-Lite", and in that context undermine the case for a change of government. While I did not vote for FG in any General Election, I don't believe this reality to require a degree in rocket-science to arrive at. With Labour now level with SF in today's poll and with 65% of the former's supporters voting no to Lisbon in today's poll, Eamon Gilmore will have a lot to reflect on in the run-up to the inevitable and undemocratic Lisbon II referendum next year. To my mind, he has emerged thus far with more credit than the other leaders of the pro-Lisbon parties, because of his stated opposition to an identical referendum on Lisbon and his casting doubt on whether Labour would support a "yes" campaign on such a proposition. He now needs to build on this by moving the overall thrust of his party's outlook on European matters. Ruairi Quinn has disappointed me by the way in which - only 10 days after we said "no" - in how he has flip-flopped from recognition that European integration was going too far too fast for the Irish people after the no vote - to his reversion to cheerleader for Lisbon in recent debates on the Treaty on the radio in the last few days. Gilmore has an opportunity to win newfound respect and support from the eurocritical majority of the Irish electorate if he - unlike Quinn - stands his ground on the second referendum. I for one find the idea of a second referendum on an identical proposition an attack on democracy, and will require major root and branch renegotiation if I am to be persuaded to support a Lisbon II plebiscite. We must keep our voting weight, our automatic right to EU referenda, our Commissioner, the independence of our courts from Europe, and control of our tax-rates. Otherwise it's another big, fat NO from me and I believe from the Irish people too.


Anonymous said...

future taoiseach my arse

FG don't have to be knee jerk opposition on everything. at the end of the day there has to be some cooperation in running a country

also, Lisbon is hardly a FF strategy, now is it?

hell of a PM you'll make


All this nonsense about how "european elites" will run the country.

what about the Irish rising to the top in Europe and "punching above their weight"? our favourite phrase?

I bet anything the revolutionaries who fought and died in centuries past would probably be delighted to have a macroeconomic structure like the EU taking the load of small government.

past revolutionaries did what they did not have the country run by local politicians, they did it because they were sick of their culture being opppressed. Perhaps the Germans should be fearful of the Irish overruning their country. Nah, their pet hate is probably the turks and the French.

frankly, if a united states of europe means there is more competition for politicians jobs, then I'm all for it.

hey, then you be can future taoiseach of Europe! assuming you';re up for the challenge.

Or are you only sure of the dimensions of your current small pond and maybe you wouldn't eb so special then

FutureTaoiseach said...

For the past 13 yrs the EU Court of Auditors has refused to sign-off on the Brussels accounts and could only trace 35% of the money. Martha Andreassen was sacked when we blew the whistle on what was going on. When you hand power to unelected, unaccountable bureaucracy in Brussels that has no electorate to hold it to account you end up with a level of sleaze that makes our Tribunals look tame in comparison.