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So how did the ULA do?

category national | elections / politics | opinion/analysis author Monday February 28, 2011 15:17author by Swing O'Meter Report this post to the editors

While the United Left Alliance got five TDs elected, its percentage vote has actually fallen since the disastrous 2007 election.

PERCENTAGES
ULA candidates standing in the 2011 election received the following percentages of first preference votes:
Carlow-Kilkenny 1.5%
Cork N Central 9.2%
Cork NW 3.4%
Dublin Mid-W 7.3% (two candidates: 5.8% + 1.5%)
Dublin N 15.2%
Dublin N Central 3.7%
Dublin NE 2.1%
Dublin s 1.8%
Dublin S Central 12.9%
Dublin SE 1.8%
Dublin SW 5.2%
Dublin W 19.0%
Dun Laoghaire 10.9%
Laois-Offaly 0.8%
Limerick City 1.7%
Sligo-N Leitrim 5.1%
Tipperary S 21.3%
Wexford 1.0%

TDs ELECTED
ULA candidates were elected in:
Dublin N
Dublin S Central
Dublin W
Dun Laoghaire
Tipperary S

AVERAGES
The average percentage for ULA candidates was 6.63%.
The average percentage for the constituent groups of the ULA was:
Workers and Unemployed Action Group 21.3%
Socialist Party 6.24%
Independent (Declan Bree) 5.1%
People Before Profit Alliance 4.82%

COMPARISON WITH 2007
For comparison, we can look at the percentages received in the 2007 election by the groups and candidates who stood for the ULA this time (SP + PBPA + WUAG + Joan Collins, then independent):
Combined average 6.94%
WUAG 14.7%
SP average 7.91%
PBPA average 3.69%
Combined average of PBPA + Collins (who stood for the PBPA this time) 4.61%
Declan Bree did not stand in 2007

OVERALL
So the percentage vote of the groups and candidates in the ULA has fallen by 0.3% between 2007 and now. The WUAG has increased its percentage by a half. The SP percentage has fallen significantly. The PBPA percentage has increased slightly. While the ULA has gone from no TDs to 5, the level of popular support for its political standpoint has stayed the same – in fact, dipped a little.

Related Link: http://www.unitedleftalliance.org
author by Marxist Waldo - Socialist Party (personal capacity)publication date Mon Feb 28, 2011 15:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The reason why the average vote for ULA candidates dropped is that the main constituent groups (SP & PBP) stood much more widely, rather than just a couple of their strongesy candidates. For example, the Socialist Party stood in 5 new constituencies to widen our base.

author by Swing O'Meterpublication date Mon Feb 28, 2011 16:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Obviously, if you just single out the constituencies with the highest votes, the average will be higher, but that misses the point. The ULA chose to stand in 19 constituencies, campaigned in 19 constituencies, canvassed 19 constituencies - so its overall performance needs to be judged on that basis. Its overall percentage is lower now than its overall percentage was at the last election. That doesn't take away from the achievement of getting five TDs elected, it just highlights another aspect of the result.

Interestingly, talking of "strongest candidates", the vote for Joe Higgins in Dublin W is lower now (19%) than it was in 2002 in the middle of the Celtic Tiger (21.5%). Any explanations?

author by Scruitineerpublication date Mon Feb 28, 2011 17:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

RBB beat Abortion Rights activist Ivana Bacik. Interestingly the PBPA has previously stated that they didn't have a position on Abortion. RBB got 52 transfers from the Christian Solidarity Party candidate. The "lifers" ran a campaign against Ivana Bacik. They left RBB alone.

author by Frank - Socialist Partypublication date Mon Feb 28, 2011 18:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Swing O'Meter, you're trying to present and twist these figures as some sort of negative when it's nothing of the sort. Why?

"Interestingly, talking of "strongest candidates", the vote for Joe Higgins in Dublin W is lower now (19%) than it was in 2002 in the middle of the Celtic Tiger (21.5%). Any explanations?"

Yes, because of the boundary changes it's a largely a different constituency (on a similar point, Clare Daly lost a large section of her support base Rivervalley etc due to boundary changes - taking that into account she almost tripled her vote). Not to mention that Joe was not a sitting TD in the area for the last 4 years and competing with very high profile candidates.

"Obviously, if you just single out the constituencies with the highest votes, the average will be higher, but that misses the point."

No it doesn't. If we had just stood our 7 strongest candidates our average would have been much higher. If you're going to try to compare theses results with the 2007 results then you should exclude all the candidates who didn't stand in 2007. On that basis you would actually be proving something.

"The ULA chose to stand in 19 constituencies, campaigned in 19 constituencies, canvassed 19 constituencies - so its overall performance needs to be judged on that basis. Its overall percentage is lower now than its overall percentage was at the last election"

Unfortunately we have limited resources in many ways and therefore have to prioritise certain campaigns. The result is that limited campaigns were waged in most areas - some were not even canvassed. I don't know what your agenda is but your stats don't actually back up your arguments.

author by state the obviouspublication date Mon Feb 28, 2011 19:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

erm, 5 seats in the daíl...........
This non story is pedantic nit picking.

Gilmore only party political leader not to get a running mate elected- they are very bruised and sore about that. They'll probably blame ULA when they should blame FG and their own style of attacking first the left of labour and when that backfired attacking FG. Next they'll be fighting their own shadow...........

The real story that will unfold is how the political landscape will be redrawn. Labour running into the arms of FG will strengthen the left and will undermine Labour. Left Labour know that the labour party will pay for continuing FF Green cuts electorally.

5 seats not bad, not a bad start at all. Interesting times ahead as the cuts will deepen under the FG /Lab coalition. It's doubtful FG will gather the Independents to gether as they are too demanding and hi-maintenance anyway it's always useful to have a minor whipping boy around to hang the blame on.

author by Swing O'Meterpublication date Tue Mar 01, 2011 09:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's a bit narrow to judge things solely by the number of seats. Obviously, one purpose of contesting an election is to get your point of view represented in the Dail. From that standpoint, the ULA have gone from no TDs to 5 TDs. That much is "stating the obvious".

But there are other purposes - particularly if your point of view is a radical oppositional point of view. One purpose would be to use the campaign to present that point of view to a large number of people. The ULA decided to present it to people in 19 constituencies. It's a little worrying to hear that, by the sound of it, they didn't bother canvassing large areas of those constituencies.

Another purpose is to gauge the level of popular support for that point of view. And here, the final count of TDs elected doesn't give you the full picture. You need to look at the total number of people who were offered an opportunity of officially registering their support for what you have to say, and ask what proportion of them did so.

To compare like with like, you place that percentage alongside the percentage of those who had an opportunity to do so last time. If you contest an election on a wider basis, you have to be judged on that wider basis. To say we should disregard the lower results and only take the higher ones is like saying a quiz contestant should only be marked on the questions they got right.

Yes, it's true there were boundary changes which reduced the total number of votes cast for Joe Higgins. But that doesn't explain why his _percentage_ vote is down from 2002. If his overall support in Dublin W was the same now as it was then, he would have a lower number of votes cast, but the same percentage. I don't know why his precentage has fallen, I'm just asking.

Overall, there is a confusion here between the ULA's representation in the Dail and the representation of its point of view in the hearts and minds of the Irish people. They're not the same thing.

author by Cagppublication date Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Overall, there is a confusion here between the ULA's representation in the Dail and the representation of its point of view in the hearts and minds of the Irish people. They're not the same thing."

No, they aren't- but both have increased since the 2007 election. All the SP and ULA candidates who stood in the last election have increased their votes and their percentage votes this time out. They've also run a whole number of other candidates whose votes have been mostly pretty good.

To sum up: all the component parts of the ULA have all increased their votes and percentages votes nationally. Every single individual ULA candidate who stood in the last election has increased their own vote and percentage vote.

Obviously, this represents an increase in support. There's very little chance that you're too stupid to get this so I imagine you're shit stirring
(pretty successfully in fairness).

author by Swing O'Meterpublication date Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I can assure you I'm not attempting to do anything with faecal matter, least of all stir it. I may well be stupid, in some people's opinion. But what I'm getting at is a fairly basic concept, and I find it difficult to escape the conclusion that some people just do not want to grasp it. Let's take an analogy.

Imagine a couple who had one child 4 years ago. Now, they have two children and their standard of living is around the same, just slightly lower. But they claim to have achieved a massive improvement. "Never mind the overall level," they say. "Our eldest child is better fed than he was 4 years ago. The other one isn't fed as well, but he's surviving."

What would we think of such a couple?

author by Counterpunch Harry Brownepublication date Tue Mar 01, 2011 13:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Same Old, Same Old at the Top, But ...
Irish Election Makes Room for the Left

By HARRY BROWNE

Dublin.

Something changed in Ireland last Friday, when we cast our votes in parliamentary elections to replace the government that has overseen the utter collapse of the house of cards that was the state’s economy, and ratified our country’s debt enslavement to fund criminally bankrupt banks and their bondholders.

The traditional centre-right ruling party, Fianna Fáil lost nearly three-quarters of its seats, and will be replaced as the main party of the next government by Fine Gael, the centre-right party that is accustomed to spending most of its time in opposition. This has its own drama, to be sure, albeit rather predictable in outcome.. But in opening up a new space for the Left, putting Gerry Adams in the Dáil, along with community activists like Joan Collins and Seamus Healy, and old Trots like Joe Higgins, Richard Boyd Barrett and Clare Daly, this election has provided a new platform for a resistance movement that could extend far beyond the polite precincts of parliament.

http://www.counterpunch.org/browne02282011.html

Related Link: http://www.counterpunch.org
author by pbp supporterpublication date Tue Mar 01, 2011 13:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For 'scrutineer' and their ridiculous comment:

People Before Profit Demands Legislation On Abortion
In a statement today the People Before Profit Alliance said that today’s decision by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of ABC v Ireland is a significant victory for Irish women.
The court ruled that Ireland’s refusal to provide abortion services for a woman whose life was at risk after she unintentionally became pregnant was a breach of her human rights. The court was also critical of the Irish government for its failure to legislate for abortion under the “existing constitution right”. The 1992 ruling by the Supreme court or the X case allows for abortion where there is a real or substantial risk to the life of a pregnant woman.

Councillor Joan Collins said "The experiences of these three Irish women reveal something of the daily reality faced by thousands of women who are forced to travel abroad for abortions. Since 1980 at least 140,000 women have been forced to travel to the UK and beyond to access safe abortion services.

Abortion is a reality for Irish women; Ireland’s abortion rate is comparable to other European countries where abortion is illegal. Yet its illegal nature in Ireland forces women to hide out of fear, shame or criminal prosecution.

Opinion polls show that the majority of Irish people are in favour of more open abortion laws.
Today’s judgment is a small step forward for Irish women, but it is only the beginning. The government must introduce immediate legislation to comply with the courts ruling."

Councillor Richard Boyd Barrett said "We need to begin the fight today for immediate legislation. We must also recognise that many women who have abotions do not do so for medical reasons. Their reasons are different, complicated and unique. In the upcoming election, political parties like the Labour Party, who claim to support legislative change on abortion, must clearly state that abortion legislation will be a core demand of their programme for government.

Contact Eddie Conlon 087 6775468 Richard Boyd Barrett 086 7814520

author by Scruitineerpublication date Tue Mar 01, 2011 14:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That was the first time the PBPA took a position, they could hardly avoid doing so. During the Miss D Case the PBPA did not take a position in defence of abortion rights for women. The SWP can also be dodgy depending on who they are trailing after.

Abortion Rights in Britain and the SWP
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/86961

author by Swing O'Meterpublication date Tue Mar 01, 2011 14:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

(Sorry, I meant to address this point earlier.) The ULA didn't have a position on the issue of abortion and maintained that it was precluded from doing so, despite some ULA supporters calling for it to get off the fence and questioning its credibility if it didn't (see Related Link below).

But if we stick to the electoral data itself, there's no real evidence that the ULA's seat in Dun Laoghaire was won by "pro-life" transfers. They did get 52 transfers when the Christian Solidarity Party candidate was eliminated, but it wouldn't have made a material difference if they hadn't. Transfers, especially from small parties, have a habit of going all over the place. Even Ivana Bacik got 12 transfers from the CSP!

Related Link: http://tomasoflatharta.com/2011/01/11/2011-general-election-the-united-left-alliance-prepares/
author by Cagppublication date Tue Mar 01, 2011 15:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

OK, so let's say:

In the next election, Sinn Fein (only for example) see that things are looking very bad for them so they decide to only run candidates in their 15 strongest constituencies. In all of these constituencies their percentage vote decreases compared to the last election and their national percentage vote obviously decreases as well. However given that they haven't run in any of the areas where they have very little support, the average vote per constituency increases.

The logic of what you're saying is that this would represent an increase in support for Sinn Fein.

Of course you can see how what you're saying makes absolutely no sense, you're just pretending not to.

author by Swing O'Meterpublication date Tue Mar 01, 2011 16:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's doesn't help us understand anything if people start throwing around accusations of dishonesty. It must be strange to go around life with the impression that everyone really agrees with you but pretends not to for some sinister reason.

If a party decides to run in fewer constituencies and gets a higher average vote, then yes, it will have received a higher level of support from those it appealed to. It will have received a greater return on its campaigning. What's so controversial about judging a campaign from actual results? Elections don't give us any other data to go by. Speculating on levels of support for a party/alliance in a constituency it doesn't stand in can only be pure guesswork. If you make the assumption that support in a constituency where you don't stand is zero, then you come to some very peculiar conclusions. It would mean, e.g., that the increase in the ULA vote in Tipperary S would be dwarfed by the 0.8% it got in Laois-Offaly - an incalculable infinitely exponential increase!

author by Scruitineerpublication date Tue Mar 01, 2011 18:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You prove my point. The ULA, in particular the SWP component would not take a position on abortion. The SP have taken a pro choice position in election literature.

RBB got more than 4 times as many transfers from the SWP as IB did. Whhen another lifer, Boyhan, was eliminated RBB got 200 votes from him. Enough to make a difference. Enough to make you wonder. Why didn't the Lifers campaign against RBB?

author by Scruitineerpublication date Tue Mar 01, 2011 18:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

RBB got more than 4 times as many transfers from the SWP as IB did

Should have read:

RBB got more than 4 times as many transfers from the CSP as IB did

author by scrutineer watcherpublication date Tue Mar 01, 2011 19:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Electoral politics throw up many bizarre permutations. This trolling thread of innuendos really is ridiculous.

Bottom line is the ULA was brought together last November. Differnet parties to the Alliance have worked out policies. the ULA has to officially meet and agree them. That's how organisations and people work together on a democratic basis. If you want the ULA to develop policies then get stuck in and help make it happen. Sitting at your computer taking swipes ain't productive nor constructive.

author by Mark P - Socialist Party (personal capacity)publication date Tue Mar 01, 2011 19:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There's something faintly comical about the desperate attempts to paint Richard Boyd Barrett as "soft" on the abortion issue. I have my disagreements with the SWP, but they have a clear pro-choice position. And Labour does not. It is very unlikely that Boyd Barrett received any noticeable number of transfers from anti-Bacik pro-lifers. If a few did transfer to him for that reason, then the pro-choice position has benefited from their stupidity.

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