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Those LP councillors who’ve just jumped ship: “Undemocratic centralisation” – what could they be getting at? June 21, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.

Those two Labour Cllr’s who resigned today in Wicklow…

“In our view there seems to be an unacceptable centralisation operating within the party that is antidemocratic in its nature.”

There’s a term, it’s on the tip of my tongue… nah, it’s gone…

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1. Paddy Healy - June 21, 2013

This follows a spate of resignations of Labour councillors in South Tipperary where uniquely Labour is the minority party of the left due to the presence of WUA. WUA elected the second mayor of Clonmel in a row last week.
The Clonmel Nationalist sets out the position.
The Labour Party in South Tipperary is in crisis after the resignation last week of a fourth councillor from the party in less than 18 months

Clonmel Nationalist, Published on 20/03/2013 09:16
Aileen Hahesy
The Labour Party in South Tipperary is in crisis after the resignation last week of a fourth councillor from the party in less than 18 months.
The resignation of Carrick-on-Suir Cllr Bobby Fitzgerald last Thursday is another major blow to the party in South Tipperary and follows the resignations of Clonmel Borough councillors Darren Ryan and Gabrielle Egan and Tipperary Town councillor Billy Bourke.
Cllr Bobby Fitzgerald has cited his disenchantment with the Labour Party’s performance in government, lack of support from a local Labour party public representative and a campaign of malicious texts and hate mail in recent months as his reasons for leaving the party and politics.
While Cllrs Ryan, Egan and Bourke have opted to continue as independent public representatives, Cllr Fitzgerald has decided to also resign his seat on South Tipperary Co. Council.
In his resignation statement issued to The Nationalist last Thursday morning, Cllr Fitzgerald said it was regrettable that he had taken this course of action but he felt “the policy and agenda pursued by the Labour Party at national level was leading to untold hardship and misery to ordinary families and people, who the Labour Party should represent”.
“The Labour Party has lost its core values, needs real leadership and, is part of a government supporting a rigged
economy that benefits a few at the expense of most,” he said.
His statement also stated that he was “extremely disappointed by the support I have received at local level from the party’s public representative.”
Mr Fitzgerald doesn’t name the public representative in question in his statement and was unavailable for further comment or elaboration as he is on holidays abroad until next Monday and has left his phone in Ireland.
More sinisterly, Mr Fitzgerald also outlines in the statement that over the last few months he was the “victim of sustained and vindictive text messages, hate mail, verbal abuse and been spat upon”.
“While I accept these small minded individuals are by far in the minority, my family will always come first before politics and public service,” he states.
Again, he was unavailable to comment further on this and who was behind the malicious messages.
Mr Fitzgerald, who runs an accountancy business in Carrick-on-Suir, said he plans to spend more time with his family and concentrate on his business interests
“I will continue to be a vibrant and an active member of the community of Carrick-on-Suir and work at all times to ensure that the town will be a better place to live for its entire people irrespective of their political persuasion,” he concludes.
Bobby Fitzgerald was co-opted onto South Tipperary Co. Council in June 2011 to fill the council seat vacated by Denis Landy from Carrick-on-Suir following his election to Seanad Eireann. He was an outspoken councillor, who was not shy of criticising his own party and its policies if he disagreed with them.
Last year he along with Cllr Darren Ryan publicly clashed with the Labour Party leadership over its decision to pull out of celebrations organised by the local party organisation to mark the centenary of the foundation of Labour in Clonmel.
Both councillors later boycotted an alternative centenary celebration organised by Labour at national level in Clonmel last November.
Just before the event in the Hotel Minella, Cllr Ryan resigned from the party citing his disillusionment with the party’s performance in government along with the party’s handling of the centenary celebrations.
Cllr Billy Bourke from Tipperary resigned from Labour last October also citing his disillusionment with the party, particularly the lack of opposition from its higher ranks to the abolition of town councils.
And Cllr Gabrielle Egan from Clonmel resigned from the party in November 2011 in protest at the Government’s decision to close Kickham Barracks.

Jolly Red Giant - June 21, 2013

Jaysus Paddy – just post a link so we don’t have to wade all the way through it to see what others have to say.

2. doctorfive - June 21, 2013

Are either on soon to be abolished town councils?

3. Ciaran - June 21, 2013

I think ‘pragmatic mature social democracy’ is the term you’re looking for!

4. Gearóid - June 21, 2013

Also, Tuam-based County Councillor Shaun Cunniffe is threatening to resign from Labour over the X-Case legislation.

WorldbyStorm - June 21, 2013

It’s got to be said, this isn’t a catastrophe for the LP, but it is problematic.

5. Tomboktu - June 21, 2013

There’s a term, it’s on the tip of my tongue… nah, it’s gone…

I’m telling you, ‘Gilmoreism’ would never have entered the lexicon.

6. RosencrantzisDead - June 21, 2013

But I thought Labour was supposed to be democratic in a way the SP, SWP, and Sinn Fein cpuld not possibly match! A certain poster on here was adamant.

There must be some mistake! Surely, this cannot be true.

7. richotto - June 22, 2013

If RiD’s point is directed at me I’d be happy to respond. Its not a question of discontent with official positions existing within parties. Its how it is handled and what place it has in the internal affairs of the party. I would hold that the treatment of dissidents from official positions is of a far higher standard in Labour than in SP, SWP and SF. Consider the forbearence for example in how Partrick Nulty was allowed do his worst against the agreed party positions within only a couple of weeks of having been selected as a candidate and then elected a TD under the official Labour platform.
The contrast with the other parties could hardly be greater in my opinion. SP and SWP and WP follow Leninist principles of democratic centralism in which it is NOT ALLOWED to publicly disagree with the official positions of the party. Moreover the history of these parties is littered with individual junior and senior members expelled or forced to leave with lots of bad blood and verbal abuse. The party model of a Leninist party is that it is better to have a small number of the kind of people the leadership would approve of than a mainstream kind of party in which anyone pretty much would be welcome to join and pay a modest subscription. SF is very similar to the DUP in brooking no public dissent and purging those who are disruptive to the leadership. Can anyone name one dissident who is allowed to express an opinion in SF? At least the DUP can cliam that its values are fairly consistent and members knew the kind of party they were joining. SF on the other hand has transformed itself from the republican position they espoused 20 years ago.

JF - June 22, 2013

“democratic centralism?”

I attended a campaign for labour policies meeting last year where there was an interesting rant that went

“Gilmore was a stalinist in the 70s and he’s still a stalinist now
He spent a large part of his career trying to destroy the labour party from the outside and now he’s destroying it from the inside”

WorldbyStorm - June 22, 2013

No time to address richotto’s point but will do later.

JF, interesting observation.
I don’t really think Gilmore’s brand of leadership is any more authoritarian than that of Spring. And I doubt he cares to destroy the LP. But it doesn’t feel very leftwing, and that’s an not insignficant part of the problem. The irony of course is that as someone noted elsewhere, the arrival of DL in the LP didn’t shift it leftwards but rightwards.

richotto - June 22, 2013

A party leader wanting to have things his own way is hardly big news. The question is the mechanism for controlling a minority who disagree with the official line of the day and by this criteria Labour are far more democratic than their opponents on the left. What sanctions for example were used against Colm Keaveney and Roisin Shortall to be publically disagreeing with policies? Contrast the respectful treatment and even tributes given to Roisin Shortall when she resigned the party whip with the abuse heaped on Clare Daly who had given the SP 25 years of great service. And how long would a republican version of campaign for Labour policies be allowed to continue in SF?

Jolly Red Giant - June 22, 2013

richotto – you are talking utter claptrap – The Socialist Party and every member of it acknowledged the role played by Clare Daly as a member of the party for 25 years. To suggest otherwise is utter rubbish. The Socialist Party was obliged to respond to statements made by Clare Daly to the media about her resignation from the Socialist Party. It outlined clearly what had happened and why it had happened. There was no abuse – nothing but a sober assessment of a very unfortunate development.

The Socialist Party consistently outlined that Clare Daly’s continued political support for Mick Wallace would undermine any attempts to build an inclusive United Left approach to the work in the Dail. This has been amply demonstrated by the breakdown of the relationship between Clare Daly and Joan Collins and Dermot Connolly over recent weeks. Clare Daly – for all her tremendous work over the past 25 years and for all her efforts in the Dail to present a socialist alternative – continues to undermine the Left by her continued political association with Wallace (and now Ming Flanagan).

richotto - June 22, 2013

.”The Socialist Party was obliged to respond to statements made by Clare Daly to the media about her resignation from the Socialist Party.”

The main SP statement was not a response to any statements made by Clare Daly but a pre-emptive strike on the day that it became public around 3rd Sept 2012 I think. There was no explanation from Clare Daly about her reasons for resigning at the time just an acknowledgement of the fact that it happened. It was several weeks later when the public heard about her version.

RosencrantzisDead - June 23, 2013

At this stage, richotto, all we have is your word against a number of former members who cite undemocratic centralisation as a reason why they left Labour.

It is quite obvious that you are attempting to dress up a bug as a feature when you cite people like Nulty, Keaveney or Shorthall as examples of Labour’s ‘democracy’ in action. Very, very poor.

ejh - June 22, 2013

At least the DUP can cliam that its values are fairly consistent and members knew the kind of party they were joining.

In what sense is that not true of the other parties you mention?

8. richotto - June 22, 2013

I think everyone knows the version put out by SP on the reasons for Clare Daly resigning. The party did a very effective job in the media in portraying it as all about Mick Wallace. The Independent Group in particular were more than happy to run with this version as it co-incided quite nicely with their agenda. Clare Daly said this was nonsense on Vincent Browne, that she would not resign over such a trivial issue and gave a general statement about the direction the party was taking on the ULA as one of her reasons but thats a matter for her to go into detail if she chooses to. I remember looking for any hint of gratitude for her distinguished 25 year contribution to the party in SP statements and it was striking that there was none there. Quite the opposite.

Jolly Red Giant - June 22, 2013

1. The Socialist Party statement was issued after the Socialist Party was contacted by journalists asking for a statement on Clare Daly’s resignation. This statement was published on 1st Sept. 2012.
2. Contrary to your claim that it was several weeks before Clare Daly commented on her resignation – Clare Daly issued a statement on the same day 1st September 2012 about her resignation from the Socialist Party.
3. Despite Clare Daly’s claims – not once did Clare Daly raise what she perceived as a lack of priority in building the ULA as an issue within the Socialist Party. Indeed it was an utter surprise to members of the Socialist Party because Clare Daly had repeatedly dissed the ULA within the Socialist Party and argued for a wider alliance within the Dail including Wallace and Flanagan (and others) – and this is the course that she has ultimately pursued over the past 10 months.
4. The issue of her political support for Wallace came to a head when she declared that Wallace was ‘fit for office’ after the scandal of his tax affairs became public knowledge. Clare Daly was a member of the Socialist Party National Committee at the time and the issue of Wallace was discussed at four seperate NC meetings between June and August. The NC arranged nine seperate meetings between officers of the NC and Clare Daly in order to try and find a solution that both sides could accept. At no time during any of these meetings did Clare Daly once raise the issue of the ‘priority’ of the ULA – and she didn’t because it was never a priority for her.
5. In a press conference on 2nd September 2012 attended by journalists from every major news outlet Joe Higgins made the following statement at the very beginning of the press conference “The Socialist Party wants to place on record our recognition of the role of Clare Daly TD as a fighter and champion of workers rights while a member of the Party for 25 years. In that work as a public representative in Dublin North, as a shop steward in Dublin Airport she played an extremely important role as a workers representative and in many campaigns. It is for that reason that the Socialist Party expresses its profound disappointment at the recent turn of events and the important role and work that Clare did in collaboration with other members of the Party and as a member of the Party makes it all the more regretable from our point of view that she took a decision to resign from the Socialist Party”.
6. Recent events have shown that the ULA was never a real priority for Clare Daly. She repeatedly went against ULA Steering Committee decisions on the conducting of Dail business and repeatedly went outside the ULA to deal with Wallace and Flanagan on political initiatives in the Dail. Within a very short period of time of the establishment of the United Left with Joan Collins and her supporters – the United Left has now fallen asunder because of the fact that Clare Daly continues to offer political support for Mick Wallace and continues to engage in political activities with Mick Wallace. Chances are that both herslf and Joan Collins will stand as ‘United Left’ candidates in the next election – they really have no other option – but the UL as a poltical group is now a dead duck..
7. I knew Clare Daly for all of the 25 years that she was a member of initially the Militant and then the Socialist Party. I regarded her as a friend. I have the utmost respect for her as an activist and a socialist. However, Clare Daly has undermined her standing as a socialist and an activist by her continued political association with Mick Wallace and (and Ming Flanagan). It is a deep regret that she has chosen to take this political route and it is with deep regret that I have lost a friend as a result.

john - June 22, 2013

i can understand the sp taking a position on no political association with mick wallace over tax issues~but what do the sp have against luke ming flanagan?

Paddy Healy - June 23, 2013

“Clare Daly was a member of the Socialist Party National Committee at the time and the issue of Wallace was discussed at four seperate NC meetings between June and August. The NC arranged nine seperate meetings between officers of the NC and Clare Daly in order to try and find a solution that both sides could accept.”
Earlier,SP had refused to concur with the WUA proposal that ULA call on Mick Wallace to resign from the Dail. This was a disastrous decision which led to the break-up of ULA.
This statement by JRG lends support to my view that the SP refusal was due to attempts to keep Clare Daly within the fold in order to maintain its dominance over the SWP

Jolly Red Giant - June 23, 2013

That is bullsh*t Paddy –
1. The WUAG was jumping on the media bandwagon in demanding Wallace’s resignation. The Socialist Party has always held the view that the voters should determine who represented them – not the establishment or the media. Any left group who adopts a position of demanding the resignation of a public representative is playing with fire – because it facilitates potential right-wing attacks on left-wing representatives who consciously ‘break the law’ to defend the interests of the wrorking class..
2. The Socialist Party demanded that Wallace repay every penny he owed – that all his ‘assets’ should be utilised to pay the debt – that the law should be changed to prevent the rich from hiding behind company law to avoid paying their debts – and that the constitution should be changed to insert the right of constituents to recall their public representatives and remove them if they deem it fit. This is a far more principled position than that of just demanding Wallace’s resignation.
3. The discussions held with Clare Daly were to ensure that she as a political representative of the Socialist Party abided by the rules and political positions of the Socialist Party. The Socialist Party was attempting to limit the damage to the Socialist Party, to Clare Daly and to the wider Left by Clare Daly’s political association and support for Mick Wallace. Attempts were made to discuss with Clare Daly what measures would need to be introduced to ensure that there was a clear and defined line between her personal friendship with Wallace and her political actions and activities. Clare Daly wouldn’t agree – the Socialist Party wanted to continue discussions – she chose to resign. Later Clare Daly actually agreed within the ULA to a number of the measures the Socialist Party wanted her to adopt previously – and she actually implemented them (for a couple of weeks). So it is utter nonsense to suggest that the Socialist Party was ‘soft’ on Wallace to try and keep her onboard – if that was the case then Socialist Party would not have gone through the entire process of intensive discussions.
4. The WUAG has not been immune to such developments itself. While Clare Daly’s political actions had more to do with bolstering Mick Wallace (and potentially damaging herself politically) Phil Prendergast abandoned the WUAG in a naked political power-grab after many years of work within the WUAG. Furthermore when Prendergast resigned from the WUAG and joined the LP – Seamus Healy didn’t pull any punches in criticising Prendergast’s position. Indeed in his statement he used his political association with Joe Higgins to defend one of the criticisms Prendergast had made about Seamus and the WUAG to the media.
5. It is rubbish to suggest that the Socialist Party wanted to keep Clare Daly in the Socialist Party in order to maintain their ‘dominance’ over the SWP. The Socialist Party had exactly the same number of seats on the ULA Steering Committee as the PBPA and the WUAG.The Socialist Party went out of its way to be as inclusive as possible to all elements within the ULA.
6. Last point – it is utter rubbish to claim that the Socialist Party’s refusal to concur with the WUAG’s proposal to demand Wallace’s resignation led to the break-up of the ULA. It was a political excuse because the WUAG had already decided to leave and were attempting to sully the name of the Socialist Party in order to claim the high-moral ground on the issue. There have been many issues of disagreement within the ULA since it was formed. In my opinion one of the most important ones was the fact that the WUAG refused to back a proposal to demand an increase in the Corporation Tax rate. In fact the WUAG insisted that it not be included in the ULA manifesto. Did this cause a split in the ULA – no – why – because the Socialist Party and others recognised that it was an alliance and that compromise was necessary to facilitate different groups coming together. That effort at working together was not reciprocated by the WUAG within the ULA. How the indivdiual tax affairs of a particular TD who was not a member of the ULA is more important than a principled position on a progressive tax system is a mystery to me. This is not to say that measures were not necessary to ensure that t was clear publicly that there was not association between Wallace and the ULA and that Clare Daly’s political support wallace should stop – but the WUAG engaged in a political manoeuvre to facilitate their leaving of the ULA.

Paddy – repeatedly over the past few months you have insisted in ranting against the Socialist Party (in particular) blaming it for all and sundry faults with the left in Ireland. Your attacks are nothing more than a series of polticially sectarian attacks that are not based on fact and are designed to do nothing more than cause political damage to the Socialist Party. I wonder whether all of these public statements by you are sanctioned by the WUAG or are they simply a manifestation of your own political attitude to others on the left. I suggest that it would be far more appropriate for you to target your anger and frustration at the real enemy.

WorldbyStorm - June 23, 2013

Re resignation, we’ve been over this before, but it was very noticeable that the SP when there was a motion of censure in the Dáil over Michael Lowry which explicitly called on him to resign made no effort to defend him from that call. It was an all-party agreed motion too. JH called on Liam Lawlor to resign too according to an SP member on this thread.


Jolly Red Giant - June 23, 2013

The Socialist Party didn’t ‘defend’ Wallace or Lowry or Lawlor or anyone else. The Socialist Party explicitly criticised and condemned the antics of all of them.

Yes Joe Higgins called for the resignation of Liam Lawlor AFTER Lawlor spent months of stifling every effort to get to the truth of his corruption – after Lawlor had been in jail three seprate times – and, most importantly, had given the two fingers, repeatedly, to the people of Dublin West.

The situation is similar with Lowry who has spent years doing everything in his power to undermine the work of the tribunals and avoid providing them with information – and note that Lowry has repeatedly been re-elected by the people in North Tipp.

There is an argument that Wallace behaved in a similar fashion (although not on the same scale as Lawlor or Lowry) by refusing to cooperate with the Dail Committee hearings and his failure to outline his tax dealings to the people of Wexford. I suggested before that the Socialist Party could have reconsidered its previous position in relation to Wallace’s resignation. However, the end result of the barrage of demands on Wallace to resign has facilitated his efforts to portray himself as a ‘victim’ rather than the chancer that he is. And he has been facilitated in this by the media who see his value to be used as a vehicle to attack the left (particularly with the ongoing and continued political association between Wallace and Clare Daly).

Paddy Healy - June 23, 2013

Clearly the SP had a different attitude to the call for Michael Lowry’s resignation. Could it be that SP, like its councillor Frank Gallagher, has a particular attitude to people from Tipperary?

niallconlon - June 23, 2013

Deja vu.

Jolly Red Giant - June 23, 2013

I see you’re talking bullsh*t again Paddy. You really should pause before you type. Its messing trying to wade through the soft brown smelly stuff.

WorldbyStorm - June 23, 2013

JRG, I didn’t mean ‘defend’ Wallace or Lowry from the accusations levelled against them, but in the sense of defending them in light of the principle of not calling for the resignation of politicians ie saying a censure motion calling for resignation was out of order and it should be up to their electorate to make the deicsion. After all, if the principle is that one doesn’t call for the resignation of politicians for fear that tactic could be used against the left surely it holds even in the instance of right wing politicians and particularly if there’s an issue of criminal cases because it is possible that left wing politicians, or indeed any politicians could be stitched up by the state or whoever.

And even if Lawlor or anyone else who I won’t name due to the danger of legal action was indeed guilty surely that too is irrelevant if the principle is one of not calling for the resignation of anyone for precisely the same reason, because guilt or innocence isn’t the issue, but the nature of the process by which elected representatives might be pressurised out of office.

richotto - June 23, 2013

This whole business of SP being so defensive and trying to damage Clare Dalys reputation is only harming the SP and no one else. Why? Firstly it appears to lack respect and common decency which Clare Daly herself understands by biting her lip and not engaging in a slanging match (she is able to hurl accusations with the best of them). Labour Party leadership also understands the principle of wanting to appear decent and respectful to those members who felt they had to part ways. I’m sure they would have had plenty of negative things they might have said about Roisin Shortall if they wanted to appear superior and indulge themselves. Nobody wants to see political fishwives getting down into the gutter. Clare Daly has to be seen by a neutral observer as the ultimate authority on why she resigned. She has stated that she would not throw away 25 years of SP committment
over such a trivial issue. Nobody can definitively contradict that without calling her a liar and SP repeatedly has sought to do that in their statements.
This reminds me of a story of the actor Michael Caine who was a left winger before fighting in the Korean War and drifted to the right afterwards. When he saw how the Chinese communists could’nt care less about their soldiers getting slaughtered he said something like “if this is how they treat their own people how could I expect to be treated if they had the power”. Its the same principle not only with Clare Daly but with other prominent members of SP who were purged and subsequnetly abused in a manner reminiset of the Stalin era.

richotto - June 23, 2013

I had to post the above comment before stating my second reason why SP attempts to assert their explanation on Clare Dalys resignation are only counterproductive.
The second reason is that SP have not only forced their greatest asset to leave but by insisting on injecting maximum bitterness and rancour instead of being thankful that Clare Daly was prepared to bite her lip on her reasons they have made it impossible for her to return which would be clearly in their interests. She has been considered a star performer and sure footed among a group which have been dissappointing to say the least. Joe Higgins at 64 if he is not approaching the end of his career has to be seen as losing effectiveness in the public mind in which for better or worse expects politicions to retire at the standard retirement age. I happened to mention his name to an apolitical friend this week and the response was “is he still alive?”. A bit unfair maybe but if Clare Daly was still there the prospects of SP becoming more than just a sect grandly calling itself The Socialist Party would have been serious.

PaddyM - June 23, 2013

Labour Party leadership also understands the principle of wanting to appear decent and respectful to those members who felt they had to part ways. I’m sure they would have had plenty of negative things they might have said about Roisin Shortall if they wanted to appear superior and indulge themselves. Nobody wants to see political fishwives getting down into the gutter.

Or even pirouetting on the Dáil plinth.

I suspect that the powers-that-be in Labour have enough wit to know that their siding with Reilly’s apparent stroke politics on the location of health centres over their own minister’s insistence on following clear criteria is damaging enough without making it worse by throwing abuse at Shortall.

I’m not sure that the same reticence applies to the likes of Colm Keaveney or Patrick Nulty.

Jolly Red Giant - June 24, 2013

So Clare Daly was telling the truth and the Socialist Party was telling lies! – got it. Don’t let the facts get in the way of believing a few porkies. Clare Daly did throw away 25 years of committment in the Socialist Party and clearly she felt that her desire to maintain political support for Wallace was much more important than her 25 years committment to working within the Socialist Party.

The only other claim she has made is that she wanted to prioritise the building of the ULA – despite the fact that it only ever became an issue the day she resigned from the Socialist Party and her committment to building the ULA last all of about two weeks. There was no abuse from the Socialist Party – there was a clear and sober assessment of developments. The Socialist Party had a responsibility to outline what had happened to its supporters. It should also be noted that not one single member of the Socialist Party resigned in support of Clare Daly – that is because the members of the Socialist Party were only too well aware of what was happening and what her motivations were. Clare Daly didn’t ‘bite her lip’ – she simply didn’t have a leg to stand on and she knew it. Furthermore Clare Daly had the audacity to demand that the Socialist Party hand over €41,000 per year to her in Dail expenses.

Clare Daly would be welcomed back with open arms into the Socialist Party if she was willing to countenance the cutting of all political ties with Wallace. That is a fact – there would have been no objections and no resentment. The Socialist Party realises that she is a very capable political activist who, unfortunately is damaging her own reputation and the reputation of the wider left, every time she assists Wallace in his ‘rehabilitation’.

I would object to your suggestion that she is a ‘star performer’ – while Joe Higgins is ‘losing his effectiveness’ – TV can be very deceiving and public perceptions (of some people) are the same. Over the past 2 years Joe Higgins has played an outstanding role in building the CAHWT and in assisting workers in fighting austerity. But Joe Higgins is not the only one. Every member of the Socialist Party has put in an enormous amount of energy and work in campaigning against austerity in recent times – and they will continue to do so. Clare Daly was no more and no less important than any other member of the Socialist Party during this period up to the time of her resignation. Since then Clare Daly has done relatively little to campaign against austerity. The CAHWT in Swords – which was directly under her control – is one of the weakest in Dublin. No public representative is capable of working in any kind of concrete and consistent way without the assistance of an organised structure of some sort. Clare Daly is and will increasingly find this to be the case.

Jolly Red Giant - June 24, 2013

Incidentally – the only public ‘appearance’ by Clare Daly on a national basis over the past month that I am aware of was her attendance at the Shannonwatch vigil a couple of weeks ago. Guess who also attended the event – Mick Wallace.

richotto - June 24, 2013

Despite that her profile is still higher. She was recently interviewed on the penalty points issue and made a worthwhile contribution in the last week on the Michelle Obama visit. I hav’nt heard a thing about Joe Higgins lately. I take your point though that theres a lot of activist type work which dos’nt make the media. Wallace is elected and doing the Shannon thing is just part of his job. The negative points about him were made long ago for people to make up their minds. But its allowed to become an obsession among some on the left out of all proportion to other issues. Now apparently Ming Flanagan is also to be regarded as beyond the pale because hes a friend of Wallace.

Jolly Red Giant - June 24, 2013

You are missing the point – Socialist Party representatives use their elected positions to raise the consciousness of working class people, raise issues directly related to the interests of working class people and outline a socialist alternative to the policies of the right. When was the last time that Clare Daly used the word ‘socialism’? – can you point me to a single reference to socialism on Clare Daly’s website? Indeed if you look at her website you not know that she spent 25 years as a member of the Socialist Party.

Clare Daly is a very articulate speaker – no one is denying that – however, I would argue that a lot of her public commentary these days could be regarded as style over substance – soundbite over concrete analysis – and does not play any real productive role in raising working class consciousness. I actually found it quite ironic that in the Dail recently when Clare Daly was having a go at the government over attacks on workers rights she was sitting right beside Mick Wallace, who took pension money from workers stuck it in his own pocket. And you know that the governemnt deputies pointed it out.

Now – and this is important – Mick Wallace and Ming Flanagan are not socialists – they are liberal populists. Many months ago Clare Daly agreed that all Dail motions by ULA deputies would go to the Dail signed only by ULA deputies. a couple of days later Clare Daly organised a press conference and submitted a motion on the X-case with Wallace. Over the past 12 months she has repeatedly engaged in this type of action. She brought both Wallace and Flanagan on board for the penalty points issue and both of them undermined the potential of the topic by having the own ‘issues’ with penalty points. This will continue to happen. When the time comes I have no doubt that renewed ‘controversy’ will emerge in relation to Wallace (in fact I am pretty sure about it). Don’t for one moment think that Clare Daly’s political association with Wallace is no longer an issue.

RosencrantzisDead - June 24, 2013

richotto is trolling you and the rest of us, JRG.

His ‘argument’ is deliberately vague and he resorts to changing the subject when challenged. He claims Labour is more ‘democratic’ than other parties, but this particular definition of ‘democratic’ simply means that they are nice to those within the party who disagree with them (This last bit is also demonstrably false). He claims the SP and SWP are not ‘democratic’ but by this he means that they must adhere to a particular kind of deliberative democracy. The latter definition is never applied to Labour.

He also ignores the particular reality of Irish Labour which is a party that long has shed any ideological roots and has taken on the character of a cluster of independents more than a party at times. The only thing that differentiates them from Fianna Fail is a commitment to liberalism on social issues. Such a loose party can tolerate a greater diversity of views because it lacks an ideological centre (beyond a belief in power).

What richotto really means when he refers to ‘democratic’ is when a party permits a particular phenomenon called ‘concern trolling’. He wants the Left to adopt anti-public sector rhetoric and claims that attacking their working conditions will strengthen the Left. This is nonsense and will have the opposite effect. It is the logical equivalent of saying that if I lose an eye, everyone must lose an eye to preserve equality.

9. sonofstan - June 22, 2013

the United Left has now fallen asunder because of the fact that Clare Daly continues to offer political support for Mick Wallace and continues to engage in political activities with Mick Wallace. Chances are that both herslf and Joan Collins will stand as ‘United Left’ candidates in the next election – they really have no other option – but the UL as a poltical group is now a dead duck..

If this is true, it must be the shortest lived left grouping in Irish history – some achievement, given the field.

Ceannaire - June 22, 2013

Hmm…1913 Unfinished Business might be in contention too: I’ve heard they’re facing divisions and a split over their objectives. I’m not sure if anyone else can confirm…

shea - June 23, 2013

what are their objectives.

Ceannaire - June 23, 2013

According to its site, “1913 Unfinished Business wants to reinvigorate class politics using the centenary of the Dublin lock-out as an inspiration and focal point.”

10. Ciaran - June 24, 2013

“richotto is trolling you and the rest of us”


Thank you, RiD!

I was wondering why this thread ostensibly concerning legitimate questions raised in relation to the Labour Party leadership and ideology got railroaded into a discussion concerning disagreements among public representatives who have traditionally gained a fraction of Labour’s vote?

richotto - June 24, 2013

“He wants the Left to adopt anti-public sector rhetoric and claims that attacking their working conditions will strengthen the Left. This is nonsense and will have the opposite effect. It is the logical equivalent of saying that if I lose an eye, everyone must lose an eye to preserve equality.”

I’ve said what I’ve had to say on the topic and I think its all played out now but I will reply on the above swipe on so called anti-public sector rhetoric. I have been always careful to confine my comments only to those earning over 60k. I make no apology for saying that many in the public sector on high saleries got them by manopolistic price gouging just as ruthlessly as a capitalist would. Its at the expense of many poor taxpayers and I don’t see why unfair wage inequality unjustified in comparisson to their peers in countries better off than us shoud be espoused by socialists.

RosencrantzisDead - June 24, 2013

I would reply, richotto, but it would be off-topic and you have derailed the thread enough.

Also, the PS bit was cited as an example of your trolling and I have no interest in engaging you over it.

richotto - June 24, 2013

Thats fine RiD. There was no need to mention it in the first place.

11. richotto - June 24, 2013

Incidentally I’d be the first to complain about private sector manopolistic price gouging. The GP’s have been put under no pressure from anyone left or otherwise to align their prices with those in other advanced countries. Would this be off message as well for “true blue” socialists?

12. Jim Monaghan - June 24, 2013

richetto, the only force that can put pressure on GPs is the government of FG/Labour. I think there should be a maximum salary for anyone effectively employed by the State. GPs with medical card lists should be maxed at a 100k including their private patients.
All the far left can do is advocate things. Surely the “wonderful” Labour ministers can change things.But what we will get is nonsese like the stuff advocated that we should shop around for cheaper treatment as was suggested for drugs from pharmacists.

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