Wednesday 22 November 2017

Labour pains mustn't stop it pushing back populism that threatens disaster

The party has to seize the opening created by the clear and present danger of a Sinn Fein/Fianna Fail government, writes Ed Brophy

Former leader of the Labour Party Joan Burton. Photo: Tom Burke
Former leader of the Labour Party Joan Burton. Photo: Tom Burke

Ed Brophy

we thought it couldn't get any worse. Last February, the bloodied survivors of Labour's electoral annihilation emerged blinking from the darkness of defeat to a political world turned upside down. A year later, the aftermath of the party's participation in the last government is a nightmare from which it has yet to awaken. Whether it can remains an open question. The wounds run deep.

Last week brought further bad news with the Ipsos/MRBI poll showing support down to 4pc. Of greater concern is the fact that the support that remains is skewed towards older voters; the young, traditionally Labour's mainstay, appear to be abandoning the party.

Of course, polls like this are notoriously unreliable for the smaller party that Labour is right now. On a good day, with strong vote management and good transfer patterns, this level of support could still deliver a few seats scattered around the country. But you wouldn't want to bet on it.

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