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Thread: How did FF dominate Irish politics despite losing the Civil War?

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    Politics.ie Member IrishWelshCelt's Avatar
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    Default How did FF dominate Irish politics despite losing the Civil War?

    As the above line says why did FF dominate Irish politics for so long? I know a large part has to do with the catch all nature of FF and organisation on the ground but how did they get into that position of power?

    The pro treaty side that eventually formed Cumann na nGaedheal which later became Fine Gael won both the Dáil vote and later the Civil War so why did so many jump ship?

    Did people lose faith in Fine Gael due to its economic policies as opposed to Dev's protectionism? Where most people sold by the republican line that FF spouted?
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    Politics.ie Royalty toxic avenger's Avatar
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    Because they lost the civil war.. They got to enjoy the fruits of the partitionist state while portraying themselves as being free of complicity in its creation.

    Get others to do the dirty work and take the blame, then settle in comfortably in the state that the others established and helped survive.

    The perfect set-up for them.

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    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IrishWelshCelt View Post
    As the above line says why did FF dominate Irish politics for so long? I know a large part has to do with the catch all nature of FF and organisation on the ground but how did they get into that position of power?

    The pro treaty side that eventually formed Cumann na nGaedheal which later became Fine Gael won both the Dáil vote and later the Civil War so why did so many jump ship?

    Did people lose faith in Fine Gael due to its economic policies as opposed to Dev's protectionism? Where most people sold by the republican line that FF spouted?

    De Valera. Political giant.

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    Politics.ie Member controller's Avatar
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    By bribing people with their own money??????
    Dear Lord Baby Jesus, I want to thank you for Pink Floyd

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    Fianna Fail were a professional political party, much more so than CnaG/FG ever were. FG only started to consistently organise properly under FitzGerald in the late 1970s, they were basically semi-amateur until then.
    "So how are things at the Campaign for the Freedom of Information, by the way?" "Sorry, I can't talk about that"

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    Quote Originally Posted by IrishWelshCelt View Post
    As the above line says why did FF dominate Irish politics for so long? I know a large part has to do with the catch all nature of FF and organisation on the ground but how did they get into that position of power
    The pro treaty side that eventually formed Cumann na nGaedheal which later became Fine Gael won both the Dáil vote and later the Civil War so why did so many jump ship?

    Did people lose faith in Fine Gael due to its economic policies as opposed to Dev's protectionism? Where most people sold by the republican line that FF spouted?
    That question requires a better answer than the post I am about to make.

    However regardless here goes,

    I want to focus on one slightly contradictory point , relative to your postulations, which is that while fianna fail in the 30's were a populist party and as such could be seen as a catch all I would argue that in many respects they wre aided and abetted by the mixed bag that faced them on the fine Gael / C na G benches.

    Remember that aside from the framed photos of Collins and the real veterans of the "national struggle" like mulcahy fine Gael contained a lot of non combatant "soft" sinn feiners who likely stayed out of the Irish party in part due to greater opprtunity for influence in the nascent blooming per treaty sinn fein, they also contained the remnants of said irish party, the rump of the unionist political movement in the south as well as various factional interests associated with farming etc.
    And in considering the above remember its not just a question of the politician themselves but also the factional interest they are perceived to represent

    Add in that much of e above not quite salt of the earth pedigree , rightly or wrongly, was perceived to have been evident in the CnaGvgovernments social and budgetary policies ( shilling off the pension, subsidising private houses building for the middle classes ahead of local authority housing etc) then you can see how they would fail to build a real grassroots support base outside of those tied to their aforementioned constituent strands.

    Fianna fail filled the vacumn vacated by not alone the lack of development of a left wing movement outside of small areas after the early twenties but also that created by the fact that fine Gael was, and kind of still is ( if you forgive the out of date stereotype groupings) trying to be the party of pretty ordinary folk in the far wet and south west who went pro treaty in the civil war or has a almost as long stahding familial loyalty (e.g your traditional wwest cork, kerry or galway fg er) big farmers in the golden vale and Leinster , the monied castle catholics /merchants of cork &dublin AND the remnants/descendants of the unionist population in the south.....a massively disparate collection of marginal, in numbers at least, groupings....and each of those is always likely to be off putting to some of the others so therefore making a soft support base.

    Fianna fail dominated in part because there was no opposition. I abhor the "what if collins lived stuff" but maybe if , in the aftermath of the civil war CnaG had been willing to go without the support of some of the major vested sectional interests they might have had a chance but a party who overtly we're/are the party of "them",those who own and run things , should not really be getting elected too much in a democracy of in any way sentient & relatively poor people living in an unequal unfiar society........andso it proved......,as opposed to fianna fails gradually increasing but ever present and , come the sixties, very real and unfortunate covert , titanium strong links to such vested interests...but what people don't know doesn't change their vote ( even if it does end up hurting them !)

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    Politics.ie Member cb1979's Avatar
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    I think by 1932 Cumann na nGaedhael had alienated a large section of the voting public and many of them would never forgive the party for the schilling off the old age pension amongst other things. By the 1932 election Fianna Fáil had stolen Labour's clothes on a whole range of social and economic policies and after ten years of C na nG the people were ready for a change.
    They held onto power by a series of popular and successful policies combined with C na nG / Fine Gael's ineptitude in opposition. The election of O'Duffy and the Blueshirt debacle frightened a lot of the traditional law and order supporters of Fine Gael. Their opposition to Fianna Fáil's dismantling of the Treaty contradicted Collins' claim that the Treaty would be used as stepping stone to the Republic as it looked to the electorate as if Fine Gael regarded the Treaty as sacrosanct and an end in itself.
    Fine Gael as a political party was remarkably amateurish in a lot of ways and party leaders in the 30s and 40s found it very difficult to get front bench spokesmen to take their positions seriously, especially if they had outside careers such as the law or business. Even senior politicians in Fine Gael didn't seem to believe that they could win elections so it would be hard for them to convince the electorate that they could win if they didn't believe it themselves.

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    Politics.ie Member General Urko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by controller View Post
    By bribing people with their own money??????
    Slight correction, by bribing people with their grandchildrens' money!

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    Politics.ie Member General Urko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cb1979 View Post
    I think by 1932 Cumann na nGaedhael had alienated a large section of the voting public and many of them would never forgive the party for the schilling off the old age pension amongst other things. By the 1932 election Fianna Fáil had stolen Labour's clothes on a whole range of social and economic policies and after ten years of C na nG the people were ready for a change.
    They held onto power by a series of popular and successful policies combined with C na nG / Fine Gael's ineptitude in opposition. The election of O'Duffy and the Blueshirt debacle frightened a lot of the traditional law and order supporters of Fine Gael. Their opposition to Fianna Fáil's dismantling of the Treaty contradicted Collins' claim that the Treaty would be used as stepping stone to the Republic as it looked to the electorate as if Fine Gael regarded the Treaty as sacrosanct and an end in itself.

    Fine Gael as a political party was remarkably amateurish in a lot of ways and party leaders in the 30s and 40s found it very difficult to get front bench spokesmen to take their positions seriously, especially if they had outside careers such as the law or business. Even senior politicians in Fine Gael didn't seem to believe that they could win elections so it would be hard for them to convince the electorate that they could win if they didn't believe it themselves.
    The Irish electorate might not have forgiven/forgotten that schilling off the Old Age Pension, but they seem to (as was always predictable and from the recent opinion polls) forgiving the sh1ts that destroyed the country (ably assisted by the greeners) and cut the blind persons' pension and reduced the minimum wages (and lied on the last one, saying the Troika were calling for it)! They also lied through their holes about the Troika being in town to take over in the first place!

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    Politics.ie Member General Urko's Avatar
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    Ultimately FF is a redneck sleemheen party well suited to a rednecked sleemheen people!

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