May Day DCTU march April 16, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
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More Left Unity Transfers…. From People Before Profit April 15, 2014Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.
Earlier today we had a post on how The Workers Party are asking for a Number Two vote for People Before Profit Candidates in Clondalkin and Lucan
Turns out PBP Councillor Gino Kenny is asking for a No 2 vote for Lorraine Hennessey of The Workers Party and I’m told Ruth Nolan of PBP is asking for a No 2 for Micheal Finnegan of the WP.
Nice to see.
Anything else along similar lines out there?
More Left Unity Transfers from The Workers’ Party April 15, 2014Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.
Previously we had a post that the The Workers’ Party were backing Paul Murphy
Here are leaflets from Mick Finnegan in Lucan and Lorraine Hennessy in Clondalkin asking for a No. 2 votes for People Before Profit candidates.
Are there any other examples of left candidates calling for specific transfers to other left candidates of a different party/grouping?
Thinking about the Just Society… April 14, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
… Fine Gael’s 1960s document, which I have had reason to do in recent weeks and which you’ll find in the Left Archive here, here’s a piece from crooked timber from 2006. What I find fascinating about it is the optimism it seems to express as regards a social democratic wing of Fine Gael (and that the Just Society somehow was the foundational text of such a wing), and perhaps due to the lack of manifestation of same in any functional sense (it surely is reaching when someone in comments – in fairness not the author – regards Richard Bruton as belonging to it – I’d have put him as being anything but a social democrat) a hope that the Labour party would keep FG honest on economic issues.
And yet, you know, if one looks at FG and the LP as being in some respects not quite two distinct parties but one – I’m not sure how I’d characterise it, ‘tendency’ perhaps, with a relatively broad (in Irish terms) political spread across two parties doesn’t that tend to make sense? After all, time and again in governing terms they’ve only been able to operate in tandem (bar that brief two or so year period when the LP went into government with FF). Of course that’s a simplification, the cultures of the two parties are quite different as are their respective bases, but it’s not entirely without some descriptive power as regards the dynamics in play.
By the way, on a tangent, Paddy Matthews, and I’m presuming this is the same PM not unknown here, makes a very interesting point in the following as regards student politics and indeed our multi-seat constituencies:
One of the advantages of Ireland’s often-maligned electoral system is that it requires candidates to put themselves up in competition before the ordinary voter, not only with rival parties but with rival candidates within their own party. It’s not possible to worm yourself into an invulnerable position on a party list, or to persuade a cabal of old codgers on a party committee to give you a safe seat for life. Politicians have to work to appeal to the non-aligned electorate, and for better or worse, that puts ideologues at a disadvantage.
Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I think the set of skills required for the intrigue and back-stabbing of student and youth-wing politics don’t translate well into the set of skills required to appeal to the non-aligned public. I can think of one individual in a neighbouring county to my own who is a big fish in Young Fine Gael (and was at least peripherally associated with the Freedom Institute) and who seems to have big ambitions in national politics. He certainly manages to insert himself into enough photographs in the local weekly paper and to get them to publish his profound press statements on the issues of the day.
I think he’s right about the skill sets applicable in student and national politics. But like him I’m now convinced that mult-seat PRSTV is a pretty good way to organise matters political and for much the same reasons. My suspicion of list systems has diminished not at all in the last few decades.
Alive again… April 13, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
These from a recent edition of that illustrious journal manage to combine and perhaps confuse a range of issues (thanks to the person who sent on the paper copy). Check it out.
To be honest I think any serious appraisal of the Labour legislative programme would be more likely to come to the conclusion that if only they spent more time on social issues it would prevent them pushing through retrograde economic legislation it would actually be better from the perspective of workers. And I find it hard to believe that somehow one comment and a very small amount of social legislation somehow provides much of a diversion from their alignment with the orthodoxy.
As to the rest of the left, where has Kenny et al been? The concentration in campaigns etc has been overwhelmingly on economic matters – and broadly speaking correctly so. Sure, there’s been a number of times when the issue of abortion and marriage equality have come to the fore – and again entirely correctly so – but they’re not the primary focus of left activity.
Indeed all this is actually testament to how obsessed Kenny et al are on these topics. Now it would be one thing if they actually agreed with left economic programmes, but as we know bar a number of honourable exceptions that’s not actually the case at all, and social conservatives tend to economic conservatism in the main.
By the by, given the support of the Tories in Britain for marriage equality – at least at formal and functional level, how does that align with Kenny’s thesis? Have they lost their raison d’etre?
The Australian Constitutional Crisis, 1975 April 12, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Australian Politics, The Left.
In comments under this entertaining and informative This Weekend I’ll Mostly be Listening to from Alan/IEL, Ciaran mentions the Australian Constitutional Crisis of 1972. It really was something else, where the Governor-General dismissed an elected Labor Party government (a reforming one too, though not so great on East Timor IIRC). You’ll find details here and it’s well worth reading if only to show the perilous line minority governments (particularly of the left) have to walk. But the waters appear to have been extremely murky around these events.
In his survey of the events of the crisis, November 1975, Kelly places blame on Fraser [leader of the Oppposition] for initiating the crisis and on Whitlam [Labor leader] for using the crisis to try to break Fraser and the Senate. However, he places the most blame on Kerr[Governor-General], for failing to be candid with Whitlam. According to Kelly,
[Kerr] should have unflinchingly and courageously met his responsibility to the Crown and to the Constitution. He should have spoken frankly with his Prime Minister from the start. He should have warned wherever and whenever appropriate. He should have realised that, whatever his fears, there was no justification for any other behaviour.
And for those who missed last nights NPM talk… April 11, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
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… this from Circa Magazine from quite some while back covers some of the ground…
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These again featured in last nights presentation at the NPM, imagery from the 1989 General Election for De Rossa and the WP. The photos were taken on Sandymount Strand by fashion photographer Mike Bunn. The landscape version (of which unfortunately there’s no copy still existing, though if any one has one please forward to CLR or Left Archive, it’d be much appreciated) had the towers of the Pigeon House in the background.
And scroll to the end to a link to Mary FitzPatrick’s website.
Coalitions… April 10, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
Some thoughts of Vincent Brown’s in the Irish Times are useful in regard to underlying dynamics in Irish politics. Not sure I’d agree with all of them, but worth thinking about nonetheless.
He argues that if SF was given the chance to go in with FF (or FG) it would jump at the prospect and in doing so would compromise on pretty much everything.
This may well be correct, but it does depend upon others being willing to work with them in government. He argues that:
As for Fianna Fáil refusing to coalesce with Sinn Féin – solemn promises will be made to that effect by both Fianna Fáil and, incidentally, by Fine Gael, ahead of the next election and they will have the same relevance and effect as other election promises.
Fianna Fáil? Surely, but Fine Gael? I’m not so certain. I suspect that antipathy and hostility to SF is close enough to a core value and the idea of the two parties working together in government is far-fetched. That may not be the situation for ever, but at the moment and for the next half decade or further I think it will be. Talk to almost anyone in FG – and sometimes it seems that that exercise isn’t actually undertaken, and its fundamental, it almost transcends politics.
And let’s not ignore another aspect of this. Although FF and FG are remarkably similar on many political axis, that hasn’t allowed them to ever work in coalition together. Not once since the establishment of the former party in the 1920s, not in more recent supposedly post-ideological decades, not when the crucial cleavage over the North diminished considerably. The closest they came to an arrangement was during the Tallaght Strategy period between 1987 and 1989 and that was very much a one way dynamic from FG (who for all the praise that is heaped upon them were in part making a virtue of necessity by not bringing the government down and precipitating yet another election).
In other words these things, these distinctions, can have a political power that is greater than might be expected when looking in from outside.
It’s not incorrect to argue that both FF and FG are neo-liberal, but that’s not the only aspect of their identity, and in some contexts not even the most important one.
The two parties offer two routes to political power, two apparatuses, two somewhat different world views and two cultures. There are even some aspects of class in relation to both (though given FF’s ineptitude in maintaining its working class base during the crisis that may have changed)
There’s one other thought that strikes me. While SF no doubt would dearly love to be in government in both parts of the island in 1916 the prospects for that look dim, at least on current projections. And the experience of other parties, Labour most obviously but also the Green Party and Progressive Democrats, may weigh on their minds too. Their Dáil cohort is reasonably youthful (as these things go). It’s more than possible they may think it sensible to sit this one out and go for it in 2019/2020. Or sooner. For the most likely prospect short of an FG/FF coalition is an FG led minority government, a recipe for instability.
All that said I’m not going to underestimate the appetite in SF, or any political party, for a taste of state political power. And the waiting game takes its toll. Anyone with any acquaintance with the Green party parliamentary crew will know that by 2006 they were getting very tired indeed of perpetual opposition. That’s a factor as well.