Friday, February 27, 2009

Another Day, another poll

The latest opinion poll, published in the Irish Indo today, confirms the trends of the most recent Sunday Business Post and Irish Times polls. Collapse in FF, huge rise in Labour, FG holding their own.

Sinn Féin are also steady, but frankly I would prefer to describe it as becalmed. We should be at least in double figures at this time.

We aren't for two reasons and they feed into each other.

1. There is a very perception that we are economic illiterates.

We get this reputation from;

a) Some odd policies that as recently as 2003 said things like this "Private property has been and remains an instrument of oppression of people the world over". I mean WTF!! I don't remember joining some commie party :)

b) We didn't "respect" the consensus on the benefits of low tax that was a tautology for a decade until a few weeks ago. In true Irish herd mentality, social partnership take a bow, our ideas were therefore deviant, not worthy of respect and so demonised.

c) Our spokespersons, party members and supporters were sucked into the myth that we had crazy economic policies (which by the 2004 Euro elections we certainly didn't) and so underperformed or apologised for them.

d) Elements of the media who dislike us spotted it as our Achilles heel and so kept repeating it until it became "true".

2. We aren't considered a coalition partner. The focus is on Labour and FG, FG and Labour as the alternative government and they are so far ahead in the opinion polls that SF support is seen as irrelevant. This perception feeds back into the difficulty of making ourselves heard and at a time when our economic message is extremely valid yet we can't get a shout in.

There's 15 weeks to the Local and European Elections. I think its not improbable that FF will be wiped out in the Europeans, returning with only one seat. There is a very real challenge on our part to ensure that we don't also become a casualty of the electorate voting only on general election lines in the European and Local elections.

Over the next few weeks we will be launching some new economic policy positions that should both surprise some and irritate others. Good. That coupled with a focused ground campaign should get us back in the national conversation we need to be involved in.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tis Sunday...

Busy times. Just wrapped up with the Ard Fheis. Our IT lads set up a nifty site especially for the event. On Saturday afternoon I spoke on the economy.

It seems from the lack of any mention in the Sunday papers for my address that my Obama moment is still some way off.

During the weeks BBC Politics show was down and they spent a morning filming in Donaghmede. The line of questioning, not unreasonably, given our poll numbers was 'how come SF is irrelevant'.

At this point one behaves and goes out to bat for the team. The show was on at noon today and a repeat later.

Can't fault the editing.

Keeping with the 'look at me, look at me' theme, I had a trip report in the Irish Times travel section on Saturday. Part of it outlining my experience in a spa.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Incompetent or Indifferent?

UPDATE @ 16.31. I just recieved a call from Seamus Mulconry of Edelman (in his former life Director of Policy for the PDs). Seamus explained to me that the email which I recieved was mistakenly sent out by a staff member and was not intended to be disseminated until after the meeting.

So its seems it was more of incompetence than indifference which I suppose is better!

Still awful day for the workers.....

Right now the 1,200 workers of SR Technics are in a meeting with management to discuss the future of the plant.

However last night at 00.49 I received this email from SR Technics PR firm Edelman.

So I, and I presume all the other Councillors in Dublin, knew that the plant was going to close 9 hours before people who worked there knew. All in the name of PR.

What an astonishingly insensitive way to deal with your workforce.

SR Technics Management
P.O. Box
CH – 8058 Zurich Airport

Direct dial: +4...

February 12, 2009

SR Technics announces plans to close its Dublin operation and to enter into consultation process with trade unions

Dear Councillor,

I am writing to inform you of the difficult decision we have taken in relation to our operation at Dublin airport. Regrettably, we announced our intention today to close the facility and will now enter into consultation with the relevant trade unions.

The global economic crisis has had a profound impact on business and consumers around the world and across all sectors. The aviation industry has been severely affected. We are faced with falling consumer spend, rising costs and a trend towards consolidation amongst not only airlines but also the businesses that service them. As a result, reduced work volumes have dramatically increased pressure on independent MRO companies in particular.

The Dublin operation recently lost a number of key customers that were victims of this dramatic market downturn. In addition to this, Dublin has also lost major contracts from its primary base load customers.

The loss of major contracts from primary base load customers, the current business and economic forecasts as well as the high cost base of the Dublin operation means it will not be possible to fill the resulting capacity gaps with sustainable business in the medium-term.

The decision follows an exhaustive review and assessment of all lines of business across the entire SR Technics Group, including an evaluation of their financial, operational and strategic inputs. As a result of this review the Group intends to close its operations at Dublin airport which currently employs 1,135 people.

The intention to close the facility at Dublin Airport will have no impact on SR Technics’ other group wide operations, including its facility in Cork.

We will now enter into formal consultation with the trade unions in parallel with detailed discussions with the Irish aviation authorities, our customers, suppliers and other relevant parties.

I fully appreciate that this news will be unexpected and that you may have additional questions. Should you require any additional detail please call 087 25... and we would be happy to brief you further.

Yours sincerely

Bernd Kessler

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

There is something about this thread on that I find hilarious.

Its clear the idea is ridiculous and yet....there's something there.

Isn't there?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The dodgy gets dodgier

The stink of sheer dodginess that is the nationalisation of Anglo Irish just got a hell of a lot worse.

The Irish Examiner reports today that "members of the cabinet were asked whether they had loans from Anglo Irish Bank. Six ministers refused to answer".

Now if it turns out that any of the Cabinet had sizeable loans from Anglo Irish we can safely expect that the Local and European elections scheduled for June 5th will see the late arrival of a ballot for General Elections.

On other Irish Examiner news, I was quoted yesterday in it. This "Fianna Fail hacks" comment led NCA board member Eddie Hobbs to contact the paper irate that, he was being called a hack. Apparently that it was somebody from Sinn Féin upset him even more :)

Maybe he could spend his time reflecting on whether its appropriate taking professional fees from a statutory body is a board member of.