So Pat Rabbitee is gone and so shall start the banding about about how his pact with FG was the reason that Labour failed to make any gains. But it was not. The reason that Labour failed to make gains is that no one really cared for their policies or more accurately their perceived policies.
The voters knew that FG and Labour were a single entity why would they vote FG when they prefered Labour. They knew a vote for was good one as a vote for another so why would they not pick their preferred shade? So why would they favour an FG TD over Labour TD it makes no real sense. Neither was it a lack of Labour articulating it’s own policies. The Greens, Sinn Fein, Socailists all lost with people on rejecting their left wing policies why would the Labour party think they could articulate these positions and fair any better?
That fact is that the positions of the left were not an issue for the electorate. Neither were the issues of the right. It was management that was the issue of the day not policy. People didn’t want radical policy change they want more of the same with more Richard Branson and less David Brent.
People don’t read manifestos Labour is a party of the left and raises taxes the PD’s a party of the right cut spending. Whether or not these parties articulate these positions it does not matter. The perception of the parties is what really matters. Do people know the Greens policy of road tolling or just like the green ethical right-on aura they excused.
Their really was not much Pat could have done to save Labour. One of Tony Blair’s masterstrokes was call them New Labour the re-branding made people think again about the party. Re-assest them. No policy change can really do it is down purely to cosmetics.
Look at David Cameron in the UK spending some much time re-branding the party with the whole eco line. He rode high in the polls for ages without any policy announcements just photo ops and branding. Pat didn’t do this. he didn’t re-brand Labour he just announced policies on tax cuts. But the blame for the result will be said to be the Mulligar accord for a long time to come. Far easier to blame a single policy and an outside force then realize the flaw is yourself.