Paying the price for centuries of contempt March 27, 2015Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, European Politics, Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, Scottish Politics, The Left, Wales.
It’s not necessarily coming, as they say, from a place of love. More like a place of snark, but this is a great line from Simon Jenkins in the Guardian when discussing the shape of the next British Parliament.
British politics is paying the price for centuries of English contempt for the political aspirations of the Irish, Scots and Welsh.
Ain’t that the truth.
Throughout the 19th century Tory (and some Liberal) opposition to even moderate home rule for the “other British empire” ensured a more drastic separatism would eventually triumph.
Actually his line is intriguing because he argues that with SNP support a Labour government is more or less inevitable. Well, we’ll see.
He makes another point, one which given the way in which unionism looms large in the political consciousness is perhaps sometimes forgotten on this part of the island
The lesson of separatism across Europe is the same. For restless Ukrainians, Slovenians, Kosovans, Slovakians, Basques and Catalans, regional autonomy is not a passing fad, to be bought off with a few powers and subsidies. It is a visceral response to the arrogance of centralised power. It is the response that many Britons profess towards the overbearing power of Brussels; yet few in Westminster see themselves as the EU of Great Britain.
A Cedar Lounge Revolution Book Club? March 27, 2015Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
…Recently in comments – I think ivorthorne but I am open to correction – raised the idea that the CLR might have a book club (I have a feeling sonofstan proposed it years before too). I’m very interested in that and would like to know what others think and how it might work?
All advice and suggestions gratefully accepted.
Blaney 1973 Fanad and Kerrykeel March 27, 2015Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
Fascinating 1973 documentary on Neil T. Blaney and the politics of the time
This Week At Irish Election Literature March 27, 2015Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Election Literature Blog.
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First off a request I got in yesterday from a Student doing a thesis on Michael O’Riordan. Would anyone have any election material from Michael O’Riordan , especially his election campaigns of 1946, 1951, 1955 and 1961. Or indeed be able to point me in any direction where they or any other material from him might be found…… (I’ve already sent him the CLR Archive Link for O’Riordan)
From The April 1936 edition of “The Labour Monthly” (a magazine associated with The Communist Party of Great Britain) an article reflecting on the 20th Anniversary of the Easter Rising written by Pat Devine.
Progressive Film Club – A reminder about Saturday’s films March 26, 2015Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Progressive Film Club
Sat 28th March 2015
New Theatre, East Essex Street, Temple Bar
Programme starts: 3.00pm
A reminder about Saturday’s films:-
In August 1971 eleven unarmed civilians were murdered by British paratropers in Ballymurphy, Belfast. This film documents this tragic event, offering testimony from families and friends as well as commentary from witnesses and leading politicians, including Gerry Adams and George Galloway. There are similarities with the Bloody Sunday atrocity, which occurred only months after this one. ¦ Directed by Seán Murray. ¦ Running time: 38 minutes.
500 Miles to Babylon
Filmed by the independent film-maker David Martinez in 2003 during the early days of the US occupation of Iraq, this film portrays the hopes and fears of ordinary Iraqis as they are caught up in events over which they have little or no control. Shot on public transport and in the street, it is an antidote to the triumphalist accounts that we became used to hearing from the likes of CNN and Fox News. The quick descent into absolute chaos is well captured in this fly-on-the-wall film. : Directed by David Martinez : Runnning time: 70mins
As usual admission is free of charge.
Progressive Film Club
Phone: 087 6257521
The Full Moon March 26, 2015Posted by doctorfive in Irish Politics.
Deputy Joe Higgins: The former Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Pat Rabbitte, decided to come into the Dáil tonight, having alerted the media that he was going to make an important statement on Irish Water. In his long career we have seen him hawk himself around the political world from Official Sinn Féin to Sinn Féin The Workers’ Party to the Workers’ Party to New Agenda and to the Labour Party.
Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: And Democratic Left.
A Deputy: And Fine Gael.
Deputy Joe Higgins: Did I leave anyone out?
Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: God knows.
Deputy Joe Higgins: The Christian feast of Easter approaches. It is a movable feast set for the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. The Government’s deadline for householder registration with Irish Water is also a movable feast. It is much more movable than Easter, however, and last night, with some puffing of his chest, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government came into the Dáil Chamber and announced no less than the fifth registration deadline of 30 June. At first sight, it appears to have something to do more with the sun than the moon because the first deadline was around the autumnal equinox. It was then moved to around the winter solstice, but that deadline then disappeared like the weak rays of the winter sun at Newgrange and we moved in the direction of the spring equinox. Lo and behold, we now have a date somewhere beyond the summer solstice. Is there any logic to this? I have worked out that there is a law governing the movable feast that is Irish Water registration and it runs something like this. It is the first occasion on which the Minister with responsibility for Irish Water gets to speak after the latest registration figures showing stubborn resistance to registration by householders after tens of thousands of the same householders have poured onto the streets of Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland to demand the abolition of water charges. In passing, some might say that in the case of the Labour Party persisting with water charges, it might have something to do with the full moon, but being a scientific socialist, I will not really comment on that.
Marriage equality… March 26, 2015Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Irish Politics, Marriage equality.
Bruce Arnold is in dissenting mode again. Fresh from the spat over the Irish language wording of the referendum, he writes along much the same lines as his IT piece about how so much is about to change and be changed utterly. And so he writes, despite effective evidence to the opposite in relation to the many marriages where people choose not to have children or are unable to, that ‘The complementary ingredients of marriage that give it completeness and are vested in sexual partnership would become an optional rather than an essential feature of marriage’. I’ve noted the willingness of the anti-marriage equality side to throw so many in marriages today under the bus. Having been married myself for almost a decade before the creature appeared I find it equal parts entertaining and absurd that that was clearly not a marriage in the eyes of those making that case.
The apocalypse beckons by his reckoning in other areas:
Much of the existing law of marriage would have to be revised and re-enacted – and much of family case law abandoned – at considerable loss.
The law of judicial separation would also change in that the grounds of adultery would no longer be sustainable, as adultery can only take place between a man and a woman.
Then there’s this:
A big question mark also hangs over the future solemnisation of civil marriages in religious ceremonies. It is very doubtful if solemnisation of civil marriages in churches could continue under a same-sex marriage regime.
Same-sex marriage is being aggressively promoted by a small minority of people for their own ends, regardless of the effect on society as a whole. It is the duty of the government and the Oireachtas to promote the interests of society as a whole, even if that impacts on the wishes of a minority. It is not possible to grant the wishes of every citizen. Mature and responsible societies know this.
And so on. Away from his eschatological visions those of us inclined to the sense that all this is easily enough dealt with will draw our own conclusions.
But’s what this, a new front being opened, or at least extended, by the anti-marriage equality camp?
Education policy would have to be reformed and widely changed. Under the amendment the state would be authorised to engage in a programme of positive discrimination in schools and elsewhere in favour of same-sex marriage.
The state would inculcate acceptance of the new reality of gender-neutral marriage in children and young adults. I believe parents are as yet unaware of this intrusive reality facing all types of the newly framed family.
‘positive discrimination in favour of same-sex marriage’… ‘intrusive reality’… hmmm… how on earth does he come to that conclusion? But it doesn’t take any great insight to see how that line will be used, or how articles like his which reference it will become touchstones in future arguments.
Sinn Féin and government formation after the next election March 26, 2015Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
Pat Leahy writes at the weekend on foot of the recent Goldman Sachs report that fretted over the economic ‘recovery’ being jeopardised by the arrival of SF in power. And it’s particularly useful when contextualised with the poll today. He suggests that:
Sinn Féin cannot be in government unless either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael wills it.
I think it is inconceivable that either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael would join a Sinn Féin-led coalition as a minority partner after the next election.
Which leads the conclusion that the ‘ unless the current government is re-elected – unlikely at this point, but by no means impossible – the only available government will be a Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael coalition’.
I think he’s right. Perhaps some sort of coalition of all the talents can be assembled out of Fine Gael and RENUA and the Ross Brigade, and the Labour Party and… that’s a lot of ands in there isn’t it?
But real political activity, real governments, can’t depend upon such disparate and divergent groups, or not for long. Look at the 2007 FF led coalition of loads. It staggered and staggered again as the crisis came roaring towards it, ultimately falling asunder well before its allotted time.
Leahy, though, also points to a most interesting dynamic, one where…
The (mostly American) investors who freewheel through the Dublin stockbroking houses, the NTMA and the Department of Finance all ask about different aspects of the same thing: the rise of the left, the prospects for Sinn Féin forming a government, and what would such a government mean for their business and investments, current and future.
The concerns and curiosity of the international investors is increasingly mirrored domestically.
Many on the left will see this as a nonsense, but let’s not forget that in this wonderful world of markets perceptions are if not quite everything they are quite a lot. And not just perceptions. It is – of course – correct that revolution isn’t offered by such a government, or anything like it. But discomfort, mild or extreme, isn’t the same as annihilation and discomfort can be… well, unpleasant for those experiencing it.
The haves, and the want-to-haves, of Irish society are rapidly waking up to the possibility of the most left-wing government that Ireland has ever seen, committed to highly redistributionist economic policies. They are contemplating significant hikes in income tax for the better-off, as well as wealth taxes, capital taxes and so on.
They are realising this isn’t the Labour Party, rhetorically committed to more extensive redistribution of wealth, but mediated through a power base heavily representative of the professional classes whose romantic 1960s leftism has been mugged by the realities of life in Ireland since. This is something very different.
And remember, it doesn’t even have to be that left-wing to upset the cosy apple cart of Irish society, not when one considers how clearly the system has been gamed to the advantage of the orthodoxy and the ‘haves and the want to haves’ since its foundation. Throw in the fact that even mildly social democratic approaches of a type that would have appeared centrist not that long ago are now apparently out of the question in the view of the orthodoxy. So while SF et al offer nothing as such in the sense of a genuinely revolutionary transformation – though in fairness nor do they pretend they do, for some any change, any change at all, is anathema.
By the way, isn’t that a neat analysis of the LP and its base? Perhaps one might quibble with an emphasis here or there. But… not far from the truth.
But as Leahy also notes:
Barring a political earthquake, there is no chance of Sinn Féin leading a majority government after the next election.
The party is currently polling in the early 20s. Even if it attains this, or higher, in an election (and we know that SF has tended to underperform polls when it comes to the actual casting of the votes), the party will need left-wing independents and smaller parties to win somewhere in the region of 30 or 40 seats to have the necessary numbers to form a government.
The numbers just aren’t there. He is sceptical about the ability of the rest of the left to work with SF – that is the rest of the left that might be willing to. And as he notes FF and FG would resile at the idea of serving as junior partners with SF and why would they hand SF a life line if they are the larger party?
Lots of people want some sort of an alliance on the left. Others, for political reasons, like to be seen to call for it on a regular basis. But very few of the people who would actually make it happen think that it will. The reasons for this are several, but it seems fair to say that a government of the left is very unlikely to happen after the next election.
After the next election. Right. So, an FG/FF or FG minority government with FF supply and confidence. As Leahy says:
Goldman Sachs can rest easily for now. Phew!
As noted earlier today such an outcome would represent a fundamental rupture with the status quo ante.
And what’s that there on the opposition benches, why SF with 30 odd TDs… And just what is likely to be the outcome of the election after that?
Projections after the latest poll March 26, 2015Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
Impressive work from IEL getting those results of the IT poll so early – earlier than the IT website, for at 3am I went looking and they weren’t posted up on it. Anyhow, some poll that, indicating both FG and SF up, Ind/Others still with a huge bloc of support, the LP making utterly marginal gains and FF… well, that’s all analysis for another day.
Independents and Others 28% (down 4%), Fine Gael 24% (up 5%), Sinn Fein 24% (up 2%), Fianna Fail 17% (down 1%), Labour Party 7% (up 1%). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 28, Fine Gael 46, Sinn Fein 40, Labour Party 4, Independents and Others 40.
SF contesting for 40 seats? Ind/Others likewise. An LP that is hardly even a rump (fascinating how the strength of others renders even 7% for that party less useful, though presumably there’d be some transfers on election day that might buoy it up a little). And overall. SF and Ind/Others on 80 seats.
Of course that’s not going to be the election result, or probably anything like it. On a good day if SF and Ind/Others get 60 between them they’ll be doing remarkably well, but… how things have changed that FF and FG would hardly muster 75 seats between them. Is that the sound of leadership challengers massing? Might be for one. All that said the logic remains of FF and FG forging, presumably with the assistance of the Ross Brigade or RENUA (they like the name written in caps I’m told), an alliance to govern.
And that alone would represent a fundamental rupture with the previous settled dispensation in this state…
IPSOS MRBI Poll in The Irish Times March 26, 2015Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
Fine Gael 24% (+5)
Labour 7% (+1)
SF 24 (+2)
FF 17 (-4)
Ind 28 (-4)
Good news for Fine Gael ,Labour and Sinn Fein, desperate for Fianna Fail who are lower than their 2011 performance. No details of if Renua were polled yet .