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A United Right Alliance ? January 16, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Crazed nonsense..., Irish Politics.
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So Shane Ross has declared that he will run as an Independent in Dublin South. Which throws a cat amongst the pigeons there electorally, but possibly more importantly he’s got off the fence.

In the past year we’ve seen these constant calls to arms for a new party, a new PDs to emerge. A vehicle for McDowell, Pat Cox and Declan Ganley et al to come riding in to our rescue.
All of them must have thought of running ‘for the good of the country‘ , which ‘needs a radical shake up‘ but were waiting for the right vehicle to come along.
So maybe Ross getting off the fence provides the opportunity for like minded Independents to form a United Right Alliance?

You sign a pledge on certain policies.
-Scrap The Croke Park Agreement
-Reduction of Public Sector numbers and pay.
-Reduction of Social Welfare.
and so on…. and you’re in.

Its not a party but what would become a technical group in The Dail. Maybe The National Forum (National Alliance?) could provide the impetus?

(Incidentally Paul Sommerville in Dublin South East and David McWilliams in Dun Laoghaire are also rumoured to be standing as Independents. Even Eddie Hobbs is being mentioned )

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1. Worldbystorm - January 16, 2011

Not great for E Ryan if it comes to pass. Ross would eat into a fair bit of his vote. I’m interested in what people think of his chances.

Re McWilliams he doesn’t seem to me to be as economically as far right as Ross.

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sonofstan - January 16, 2011

Very crowded field already in DL even before McW joins in

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CL - January 16, 2011

“Generally, McWilliams is an admirer of the free-market ideas of monetarist school economist Milton Friedman, as “very much the kernel of most mainstream economic thinking these days”, even if Friedman was “not always spot-on”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_McWilliams#cite_note-FRIEDMAN-11

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2. Bartley - January 16, 2011

Hmmm, I would have thought the key point about Ross is not so much right versus left, more probity versus corruption.

He\’s been a consistent critic of cronyism, everywhere from the building industry & banks to the highly questionable procurement practices in CIE.

So I\’d kinda suspect that enthusiastic welfare-slashing would be less his bag than heavy application of sunlight-based disinfectant on the workings of our many overlapping inner circles.

Could be wrong though.

Anyhoo, I think the good burghers of Dublin South have had their fill of celebrity candidates and will be wary of being twice bitten on that score.

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Worldbystorm - January 16, 2011

That’s true to a degree though his Seanad contributions are economicallly very right wing.

Re the traction of celebrity independents I think you’re absolutely correct. Some may do okay but most will fail.

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EWI - January 16, 2011

Hmmm, I would have thought the key point about Ross is not so much right versus left, more probity versus corruption.

You mean Tony O’Reilly’s business editor in his flagship publication?

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3. Tomboktu - January 16, 2011

So Shane Ross has declared that he will run as an Independent in Dublin South.

Why is he doing that? He already has free parking in the city centre for life.

Is it that he expects his platform to be abolished in a referendum?

Is he looking position himself so he can do a Gregory-type Deal for Dublin South? (Or Maybe journalists, or maybe stockbrokers?)

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Mark P - January 16, 2011

One could argue that every programme for government is a Gregory Deal for Dublin South.

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smiffy - January 16, 2011

Brilliant.

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Niall - January 16, 2011

Kudos!

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4. Captain Rock - January 16, 2011

Ross is a Tory, with wide-ranging business interests in hedge funds and the like. A personal friend of Seanie Fitz, who he describes as a fantastic businessman, Ross will glory in attacking ‘waste’ as long as it’s in the public sector. He is contemptuous of the labour movement and the working class more generally.
Btw- anyone remember that visit to a premises in Mountjoy Square in the late 80s?

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5. alastair - January 16, 2011

Exactly what evidence is there for the supposed ‘contempt’ that Ross holds for the working class? I’ve heard lots of criticism levied against Ross, lots that rings true, but this sounds like pure bollocks. As does his ‘friendship’ with Sean Fitzpatrick. Have you read Ross on Seanie at all?

And I’d hold my contempt for those who would sink as low as dragging up a possible, unproven, hooker visit from 20 years ago – seems like it’s none of my business, nor yours tbh.

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6. Captain Rock - January 16, 2011

Thanks for confirming that my distant recollection was correct. Given that’s he wrote a book on ‘wasters’ I hope it wasn’t his (public service) lecturers salary he spent on that visit. As for Seanie, he described him as such on radio- Ross said he admired the business acumen of Fitzpatrick. Ok, Seanie now has made mistakes and Ross is on hand to make a few quid writing about them. As for the working class, he sneers at any expression of either ‘old-fashioned’ trade unionism, or what he might think was working class culture.
I believe the good senator advises people on how to use the Cayman Islands etc to hide their dosh.
All in all a top chap.

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7. alastair - January 16, 2011

Any actual evidence of this sneering at working class culture or friendship with Seanie?

I’m guessing not.

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CMK - January 16, 2011

Well he routinely refers to David Begg and Jack O’Connor as ‘The Beards’. He seems to think this is witty but it’s juvenile and evidence of a degree of contempt for the trade union leadership, at the very least and, arguably, by extension contempt for trade union members.

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alastair - January 16, 2011

Pretty weak thesis imo – maybe he just doesn’t like the leadership of the trade unions – why pretend there’s more to it than that? When did Jack and David become a proxy for an entire class?

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CMK - January 16, 2011

Yeah, it’s weak, admittedly. But I think if the left were to refer to him as ‘Baldy’ or ‘Seanie’s mate’ it would be interpreted as juvenile. And the conclusion would be pretty quickly reached that because the Left used juvenile terms when referring to Ross, the Left is, consequently, juvenile. Strangely, the opposite conclusion never seems to apply. By the way, Sarah Carey is another offender: using ‘The Beards’ to described trade unionists.

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alastair - January 16, 2011

Personally I don’t like Ross – he strikes me as a blowhard and an attention junkie. He’s clearly no friend of socialism, and what he does advocate is unashamedly market-driven. For all that, and while it may be juvenile to label a particular class of union leadership as ‘beards’ (although smoke and fire come to mind)- it’s more than a ways short of ‘sneering at the working class’ – whatever way you spin it. And the notion that Ross is any friend of Seanie is quickly and easily debunked by what Ross has actually written about the man. With friends like that…

If I didn’t know better, I’d have said that the CofI, west brit, old school tie, public sector waste highlighting, free-market advocating, baldy, populist noisemaker was being set up for a bit of unfounded demonisation, rather than engage with the merits of his arguments. The bald truth (see what I did there) is that he was right in relation to the culpability of the, eh, ‘beards’ in relation to FAS etc, and if the same criticism had been coming from a left source, I doubt anyone would be drumming up ancient unsubstantiated gossip about who might have been spending some of their salary in a knocking shop over 20 years ago.

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WorldbyStorm - January 16, 2011

I’d completely agree with you alastair re the allegation from the 1980s.

I’d broadly agree with the rest too come to think of it, though on a functional level his column’s continual attacks on say quangos which he sees as incorporating the community sector ones in a very undifferentiated fashion is far from great.

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CMK - January 16, 2011

Look alastair there’s a lot to what you say there. But thinking about it again, I think there actually is a good body of evidence that Ross is fundamentally anti-working class, it’s just that that evidence might not be easily identifiable. Like all media savvy Right wingers, he’s clever and ensures that his true views are implicit in his arguments than explicitly stated.

OK, ‘The Beards’ slagging is not going to pass muster. But there is something else that springs to mind which might.

Ross was interviewed before Christmas on Mary Wilson’s ‘Drivetime’ about fraud and financial offences within the CIE group of companies, specifically Irish Rail. It was clear to me that Ross’ central thesis was that a substantial number of CIE workers were on the take and that huge sums were being mislaid. The CIE spokesperson laid out the organisation’s disciplinary figures and only an tiny, tiny number of employees had ever been found to be on the take. But Ross was having none of it. It was clear from the tenor of his contribution that it was an obvious fact, to him, that workers in a heavily unionised semi-state had, just had, to be on the take, it’s in their nature. Try as the presenter or the CIE spokesperson might, he just would not budge from that implicit position.

I think with a bit of digging we’d soon come to a position where it’s 50/50 on whether Ross is anti-working class or not.

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Alastair - January 17, 2011

The tiny number of CIE employees found to be on the take (3) accounted for 650 grand of the 2.6 million known to be a minimum that was misappropriated from CIE – which doesn’t really tally with the CIE line that there’s no further staff culpable. CIE’s reluctance to bring charges against anyone doesn’t help their case either. A neutral reading of the situation would lend more credibility to Ross’s position than CIE’s tbh.

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Worldbystorm - January 17, 2011

I think that rather proves CMKs point about Ross. He is eluding two figures one, CIE fraud that took place at a single site, North Wall, and related to unauthorised sale of sleepers costing 600k and secondly procurement issues relating to EU aid on the Rosslare and Westport lines worth 1.8 million. It’s clear from the reports that the numbers of employees involved would be low due to the nature of the
activities so it’s difficult to know how the term substantial entered the debate. Ross seems to have strongly exaggerated this at the least. And oddly his enthusiasm for privatisation of CIE which along with FAS and the HSE he terms a quango seems a bit at odds with the even more lamentable track record of the private sector on issues of fraud and White collar crime.

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Worldbystorm - January 17, 2011

Eliding, not eluding! :)

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8. Captain Rock - January 16, 2011

Sorry Alastair I don’t have the last decade’s back issues of the SINDO to hand, and I’m afraid I didn’t tape all the interviews/panel discussions/talking head appearances of the good Senator on RTE/Today FM/Newstalk etc over the years. Now jog on.

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alastair - January 16, 2011

I’ll take that as a no then. It kind of takes the wind out of your straw man – however entertaining you might have found it at the time.

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9. Budapestkick - January 16, 2011

Ross is far from the worse of the right-wing commentators. He even had that rarest of things for the Sindo, a quite good article on Seán Quinn a few months back that I personally thought was the best article on the whole debacle to emerge from the kept press. Regardless, it would be naive to think that his contempt for the ‘beards’ is limited to the current union leadership. His contempt for the public sector and fundamentally thatcherite ideas are still broadly in line with the rest of the Sindo cranks.

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10. Captain Rock - January 16, 2011

Plenty of wind in my ‘straw man’ Alasdair, as will be clear when/if Ross gets elected. Which I would welcome, so people can see the reality behind the ‘fearless’ campaigner for the public’s interests.
And don’t be so defensive, unless your a personal friend of his.

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alastair - January 16, 2011

Neither know or like the man. I just don’t like bullshit demonisation. Even the half-baked variety you’ve served up.

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Budapestkick - January 16, 2011

This is getting overly personal. I’d advise both of you to agree to disagree before this thread descends into a slagging match.

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WorldbyStorm - January 16, 2011

Well, that’s a fair point too. Everyone has made their point and short of complete agreement as you say best to agree to disagree.

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11. alastair - January 16, 2011

I’m with Michael D on the depressing failure of so many to avoid mud-slinging. You don’t have to like Shane Ross’s ideology to dislike fabricated claims against the man.

“Assertion and counter-assertion doesn’t constitute a rich political engagement. The fact of the matter is we’ve paid a very heavy price for anti-intellectualism in Irish political discourse generally . . . If politics is to mean anything it should be an engagement about ideas.”

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12. Niall - January 16, 2011

I would welcome the replacement of the current crop of right-wing capitalists with the likes of Ross and McWilliams. I may not agree with them, but they actually seem to have an ideology as oppossed to the current lot who spout whatever line is likely to contribute to re-election, media praise and corporate approval.

Mind you, I was similarly optimistic when McDowell entered the Dail. I had imagined he might be an honourable opponent.

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WorldbyStorm - January 16, 2011

It’s funny you should say that, when I hear about the abolition of the Seanad I like many quote the same figures as reasons, in terms of personalities, away from other structural reasons why it should remain. Ross, Norris, Mullen, etc. I’m no fan of Ross either – though I have warmed a lot to McWilliams – but in some respects he’s good to have in the Seanad as representative of a certain strand in the society.

If we can back away from this perhaps to the broader issue, is this a sign that he thinks abolition is a serious possibility? What do you think?

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Tim Johnston - January 18, 2011

“I would welcome the replacement of the current crop of right-wing capitalists with the likes of Ross and McWilliams.”

That’s a fair statement. McWilliams has been playing the populist tune louder and louder since the bailouts began. I think he has been quite clever about it.

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WorldbyStorm - January 18, 2011

Entirely agree Tim.

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Dr. X - January 18, 2011

McWilliams is a shit. I formed this opinion after reading an Indo column of his (written back in Celtic Tiger days) where he attacked the new immigrant entrepreneurs who were setting up shop in inner-city Dublin.

This apparently was going to lead to ‘white flight’. Never mind that that is a phrase from the United States, where the evolution of urban environments follows a very different trajectory from that we see in the case of Dublin: the Americans had ‘white flight’ so we had to have ‘white flight’ too.

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Tim Johnston - January 18, 2011

Here it is:

http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2006/03/26/a-glimpse-of-irelands-future

I think the context – it’s a book review – colours the meaning of his words.

From a Left point of view, he is still a Capitalist and his own personal interests open to question, but there is no doubt that he is part of that subset of the liberal Right that finds itself curiously allied with left-wing parties’ ideas on the bank bailouts.

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Dr. X - January 18, 2011

Book review it may be, but I read it as a nasty, mischevious attempt to smear Ireland’s immigrant communities as an ‘enemy within’.

So, fuck David McWilliams. He’s a good example of the costs of Sean Fitzpatrick’s dictum that you shouldn’t hire those who are too intelligent. Take this line, for example:

In contrast, if the experience in Britain and France is replicated here, Africans and Muslims could struggle economically.

In what possible universe is it likely that the British and French experiences will be repeated here? The Irish situation is hardly the same, is it? As for Africans and Muslims struggling economically, well is that a likely outcome for the Sudanese doctors in Castlebar, for example.

Other communities are at risk of marginalisation – look at Lentin and Moreno’s report on the Somali community here (should be online, try googling it). But I’m not going to defer to a bumptious, arrogant twat like McWilliams on this or any issue.

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13. Niall - January 16, 2011

I think that if the Seanad exists in three years time, it will be a very different creature, and the likes of Ross, Norris and Mullen cannot be sure of a place in it.

Life as a celebrity independent TD wouldn’t be a whole lot different to life as a senator, so he has nothing to lose. If he’s elected, it won’t be because people expect him to fix potholes or help with emergency passports.

While I admit that a benefit of the Seanad is that it offers representation to certain strands of society who don’t have a strong voice in the Dail, this seems to have been an accident of history rather than the results of its design. Personally, I’d like to see the Seanad reformed so that the representation of these strands (and others) is guaranteed.

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WorldbyStorm - January 16, 2011

Interesting. Wonder how that could be guaranteed.

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EWI - January 16, 2011

While I admit that a benefit of the Seanad is that it offers representation to certain strands of society who don’t have a strong voice in the Dail, this seems to have been an accident of history rather than the results of its design.

In it’s original (Free State) incarnation, the Senate actually *was* by design representative of all strands of society.

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14. Niall - January 17, 2011

Thank God for Dev!

I’m not sure if it can be guaranteed, but one way might be by keeping but reforming the panel system. Specific panels might need different requirements.

Once the nominating bodies put an individual on the ballot paper for a particular panel, the public vote for someone for each of the areas. Organisations wishing to join the list of bodies allowed to nominate individuals for election to a panel should have to meet a strict set of criteria which help to demonstrate that they are genuinely active in a particular area and that they have a relevant interest. I would like to see many more charities and NGOs involved, but they’d have to produce details of their funding to make sure that, say, Microsoft weren’t promising funding to the Irish Wheelchair Association in exchange for the IWA nominating Sinead O’Connor to the Industry Panel.

I’d like to see the transfer of the power to appoint senators transferred to the President. Senate and Presidential elections should occur at the same time and presidential candidates should have to say who they plan to appoint to the Seanad. Each of the presidential appointments should have a specific role, e.g. Michael D.’s senate nominee with responsibility for protecting the interests of religious minorities would be Eoghan Harris.

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Tomboktu - January 17, 2011
15. steve white - January 18, 2011

ross, sommerville, matthews isn’t that what the seanad is for

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16. John O'Neill - January 18, 2011

Who cares about the Seanad? I never had a vote to elect anyone to it so good riddance. Unless changes are made that open it up I couldn’t give a s*it.

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17. Terry McDemott - January 18, 2011

I actually like some of what McWilliam’s says and he has tried to tack left (unlike many others of his ilk) during this crisis. But he is an opportunist and if anti-immmigration policies were a runner, he’d jump that way. I think he likes the aroma of power.

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