All their yesterdays…

So  – who’s going to win? I don’t know.  I could say Fine Gael will do spectacularly well, Labour will do well, Fianna Fáil will do disastrously but better than Sinn Féin, yet Sinn Féin will still do well.  But if I did I’d be basing my prediction on the polls and the polls, as you know, can get it horribly wrong.
The truth is, no one knows what the voters’ verdict will be. That doesn’t stop the pundits pretending. Yesterday on RTÉ  Stephen Collins predicted that Sinn Féin this time out would get ten seats. That’s Stephen Collins of the late unlamented Sunday Tribune, which has been to Sinn Féin what global warming has been to polar bears. The fact is, predictions are shaped by your political perspective. If you want Sinn Féin or any other party to do badly in an election, when you scan the entrails prior to an election, your eye will be drawn to or even construct signs of cock-up. And the other way round – if you hope a party will do well, you run the risk of over-estimating their chances.  So before you swallow a journo’s prediction, have a think about the journo in question’s past and present political loyalties.  I’m not suggesting you shoot the messenger  – however tempting that may be – but a quick check of their credentials could show their prediction in a new light.
In fact, regardless of elections, it would be useful if the background of journalists was made explicit. We ask it from other people, so why not from journalists? There are, of course, journalists who have come into existence through a kind of virgin birth and have remain unsullied throughout their lives. People like Liam Clarke, Henry McDonald, Ed Moloney,  and Charlie Bird have always been meticulously neutral in all they’ve said and done. Other journalists, a quick look back shows they had links with Republican Clubs and/or Official Sinn Féin and/or the Workers’ Party, so of course their writings reflect that bias; but Liam, Henry, Ed and Charlie have always floated like recording angels above such things…No, no, I haven’t checked their records.  What would be the point? If they had been involved with Republican Clubs, Official Sinn Féin or the Workers’ Party, I’m sure they would have told us. Wouldn’t they?

14 Responses to All their yesterdays…

  1. Dragnet February 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Oh, Jude. If it weren't for your own political position, which you wear like a flaming heart on your sleeve! Let he without sin cast the first stone, etc, etc, etc…

  2. Jude Collins February 25, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    Ha hahaaaa, Dragnet! I knew SOMEONE would come up with that one. (i) I ain't a journalist, despite the name my No 2 son has given my site; (ii) I'm totally happy to acknowledge that I am a nationalist/republican and that I am – I hope – totally lacking in impartiality. Never have pretended to be anything else. I'm talking about the well-paid hacks who PRETEND to be objective. And don't tell me they ain't out there…

  3. Anonymous February 25, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    Jude, it might also be helpful if we knew the background that led you to become the republican that you assert you are.What was the Damascus moment that led you to become a cheer leader for Sinn Fein?

  4. Anonymous February 26, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    RTE Irish election exit poll: Fine Gael 36.1%, Labour 20.5%, Fianna Fail 15.1%, Sinn Fein 10.1%, Greens 2.7%, others 15.5%

  5. Jude Collins February 26, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Anon – I'm touched by your interest in my intellectual history. Maybe read my chapter in the collection of essays in Danny Morrison's book about the Hunger Strike – that might meet your needs. But cheer-leader? Mmmm – don't think I have the legs for it.

  6. Jude Collins February 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    PS Anon – I think if you check you'll find I describe myself as a 'nationalist/republican'. That's because I'm not sure what the word 'republican' means. Are you?

  7. Kevin February 26, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    At the risk of spoiling your conspiracy theory, Stephen Collins has been a political correspondent for the Irish Times and not the Tribune for the last six years. He did previously work for the Tribune and the Irish Press, so a little research goes a long way.

  8. Jude Collins February 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    I stand corrected, Kevin. It's just that he used to irritate me on a weekly basis in the Sunday Tribune (RIP). That said, I don't think I mentioned conspiracy and I don't think the source of the commentary is all that important. Pretty well every media source south of the border is anti-republican.

  9. Anonymous February 26, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    Jude,in your response to Kevin you assert that most of the southern media is anti- republican.Previously you had stated that you were not sure what republican meant.You seem to be sure now!

  10. Jude Collins February 26, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    Ha hahaaa , Anon – by God you're the sharp one. I was going to say 'anti-Sinn Féin' but then in a moment of weakness decided to use the word 'republican'. I hereby withdraw that misnomer and replace it with 'anti-SF'. It's a delight to be read by such sharp eyes and minds…

  11. Anonymous February 27, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    Continuity sticks who went into the media rather than currency / drink trade. Whose guns are always trained on the old enemy, suuurllly mush be shome mistake. Is it not if you want to get ahead in journalism in N I the best bet is to give the man what he wants. There lies the path to economic success and position. The amount of times I've seen the 'Adams denies membership' story written by one of those self denial ex sticks gives me a chuckle. It's enough to make u give up eating tripe.

  12. Anonymous February 27, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    The late unlamented Daily Ireland seems to fit much better.

  13. Anonymous February 27, 2011 at 9:24 am #


    did Eoghan Harris pay up on the bet?

  14. Jude Collins February 27, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Anon – re bet – watch this space…