Wednesday 29 March 2017

New Labour leader needs to adapt what party sells

Alan Kelly may be an unpalatable choice to many, but his ambition could be what's needed, writes Eoin O'Malley

FAREWELL: Joan Burton announcing her resignation. Photo: Steve Humphreys
FAREWELL: Joan Burton announcing her resignation. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Eoin O'Malley

The final act of Election 2016 might have been the resignation of Joan Burton as Labour leader last Tuesday. It is fitting because her elevation to the party's leadership was probably one of the first moves in what became the 2016 election.

Labour's disastrous results in the 2014 local and Euro elections crystallised the threat to labour TDs' seats. This led to mutterings about Eamon Gilmore's leadership, and he jumped before the inevitable shove came. Joan Burton was thought to represent a more traditional Labour voice. She would be a voice against the consensus. Her's was a voice that voters would listen to.

That she failed to arrest Labour's decline might indicate that she was the wrong choice. Or maybe it shows that leaders don't matter as much as we think they do.

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