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That Patricia McKenna Hot Press interview… May 6, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Media and Journalism.
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Okay, thanks to the person who communicated some of the P. McKenna Hot Press interview to the CLR. It’s an interesting piece, heavy on the past, frustratingly short on who exactly will be supporting her Independent bid (perhaps deliberately so on her part). But some interesting facts which some of us may have forgotten, for example, that she won a very respectable proportion of the membership vote against John Gormley for leadership of the Green Party as recently as 2007. In the New Model Green Party that may as well be distant history – or so she would suggest. And more dispassionate observers may wonder how she can possibly leverage that sort of support into anything close to a successful bid for the European Elections.

First up why is she running as an Independent…

JASON O’TOOLE: Why are you leaving the Greens and running as an independent candidate?
PATRICIA MCKENNA: I was deluding myself, thinking that things are going to change within the Greens. I feel embarrassed about being a member of the Green Party because of what we said in the past and the promises we made, which we failed to deliver on. My relationship with the Green Party is over now – that’s it. It’s a part of my life that is gone – finished – and I have to look at where to go from here. I have over 10 years experience working as an MEP and would like to offer that to the electorate and to work on their behalf again.

There’s the issue of her support in the party…

Paul Gogarty recently said that you didn’t have a strong voice in the party.
I totally disagree. You must remember that I polled nearly 36% of members’ votes when I contested the leadership contest.

A certain ire directed at the party…

You really believe the Greens have sold out?
I do. There’s a huge number of issues that we campaigned on and were meant to have prioritised that have been pushed to one side. It’s the betrayal of the electorate that is difficult for me.

More ire…

I don’t want to put words into your mouth, but you are effectively saying that the Greens in the Dail are nothing but hypocrites?
Definitely. They are political opportunists. It’s political opportunism where you jump on the bandwagon of a campaign and support it and you promise the people that you are going to pursue their issue. And then as soon as you get into power, you say, ‘Please go away! We can’t do anything for you’…Look at public transport, which was always top of the Green agenda. If someone had told me a few years ago that the Green Party would be in Government and that Dublin Bus would be protesting outside our offices because of cuts to their service I would have said, ‘Yeah, dream on, not a chance’.

The issue of entering government…

That meeting in the Mansion House was described by one member as being akin to a convention of the Moonies!
First of all, we didn’t see the Programme for Government until we got into the Mansion House. We weren’t allowed to take the Programme for Government out with us. We had a massive document to try and read in a very, very short space of time – and then vote on. It was all very strange. We were told they got four Ministers – I’ve never seen the fourth one.

And the future…

Will the Greens be able to last the full term in government?
I have a feeling John Gormley is particular is worried that if the Government falls he may not get his seat back in Dublin South-East. So for him it’s better to go the full term. Eamon Ryan on the other hand is more than likely to survive and I think that he has been waiting his time to take over as leader…

Now that, to me speaks of a serious misreading of the situation. There can’t be many who think Eamon Ryan, or indeed any of the GP TDs in Dublin city, other perhaps than Paul Gogarty, are anywhere near ‘likely to survive’ at least as matters stand at the moment. And that being the case the idea that Ryan will be leader seems most unusual.

Again, there are more questions left unanswered than addressed, and one wonders if this is simply a spoiler campaign directed against the Green Party, also worth considering that on the further left we already have Joe Higgins in situ as a candidate.

Anyhow, there’s more. But it’s worth buying alone for the photograph of McKenna and an unfeasibly youthful John Gormley (and is that Petra Kelly?) from some time in the past…

Comments»

1. Stephen - May 6, 2009

Her interview sums up why I won’t vote Green or even transfer green. Best of luck to her in Dublin!

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2. Stephen Spillane - McKenna explains why I wont Vote Green - May 6, 2009

[…] Cedar Lounge Revolution have the Hot Press interview with Patricia McKenna, and it makes really interesting reading. A few of her answers sum up why I won’t vote Green ever again. I don’t want to put words into your mouth, but you are effectively saying that the Greens in the Dail are nothing but hypocrites? Definitely. They are political opportunists. It’s political opportunism where you jump on the bandwagon of a campaign and support it and you promise the people that you are going to pursue their issue. And then as soon as you get into power, you say, ‘Please go away! We can’t do anything for you’…Look at public transport, which was always top of the Green agenda. If someone had told me a few years ago that the Green Party would be in Government and that Dublin Bus would be protesting outside our offices because of cuts to their service I would have said, ‘Yeah, dream on, not a chance’. […]

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3. Mark P - May 6, 2009

I think that a run as an independent is a bit… quixotic. However, everything she said about the Greens is entirely true.

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4. WorldbyStorm - May 6, 2009

Be that as it may, I’m still mighty intrigued by who will support her/canvass for her, etc. What do you think of the rumours some while ago that there might be a PB4P lash-up?

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5. barratree - May 6, 2009

The idea that she has strong support within the party isn’t particularly accurate I think. I found people voted for her for leader as some kind of “don’t get too carried away with yerselves” rather then for “Patricia” as leader. Not support as such. The Greens hold some regard for preventing complete centralisation of power.

Thats even more emphasised when you remember that she lost the nomination to run for the locals against Gary Fitzgerald for Cabra-Glasnevin ward (http://www.garyfitzgerald.com) who used to work for her in the parliament. She lost bad as well as far as I remember. She’s done absolutely nothing since the general election (understandable in a large part due to family circumstances) but I really don’t see her having any support unless the SWPers/PBP decide the anoint her. No mass walk out from greens methinks.

The general attitude I’ve come across in the Greens is that people are glad she’s gone because of her constant bad mouthing of the party to the media without (a) doing any work and (b) using any internal lines of communication to vent any frustration. And the way she left typifies that: an interview with Hotpress without (to me knowledge) anything internal first.

On a purely elections point of view, the hotpress interview was a shockingly poor way to announce her candidacy. Late in the campaign with no press conference surrounded with “Independent” posters. Doesn’t bode well for any serious challenge.

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leftiewoman - May 6, 2009

she may not have strong support now but she did a few years back and for a long time, having been their first MEP for ten years. the party has changed in the meantime not her, which isn’t her fault. you can only do so much when everyone around you is selling out en masse and she did try by staying in the party since 2007. i don’t think she’s the type who always thinks tactically, so that probably explains the lack of strategy and in a political world of ireland where so few have any principles and all they worry about is keeping the seat and shaffting their colleagues, that’s kind of refreshing.

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6. EWI - May 6, 2009

A tough lady, no matter how disappointing she has been in recent years in her stances (and I was a hardcore McKenna fan for many years).

She’s right on the bait-and-switch pulled on their electorate by the remaining Greens; but what to do about it? Though WbS is right in mentioning that PB4P may welcome her with open arms…

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7. Colm B - May 7, 2009

I respect Patricia McKenna for the stance she’s taken. It is a difficult thing to abandon an organisastion that you have given so much time and energy to but it is a key test of any radical: whether to be loyal to an organisation, come what may, or to remain loyal to the ideas and principles that you believe in. In my view the Green Party has changed in a manner similar to the British Labour Party (and wow how quickly it happened): it is a party of neo-liberalism, albeit with an environmental tinge. While one could argue that (I personally don’t), at least in certain conditions, radical leftists could work within social democratic/reformist parties, there is really no sensible argument for working within a neo-liberal party. So good for her!

However, I can’t for the life of me see the sense in her running in the Euro’s and I would doubt very much if PBP/SWP would support her (if they do it would be the height of sectarianism). I say this because Joe Higgins is an established well-recognised name with a unrivaled track record of standing up for the underdog. Any leftie worth their salt can see that Joe’s election or even a strong first round vote for him is the best way of expressing a desire for a real break with capitalism rather than the usual ‘vote for change’ rubbish.

Im saying this as a libertarian socialist and a member of the ISN (in Caledonian exile!) who definitely does not agree with the internal organisation or precise Trotskyist ideology of the SP. For me it’s simple: voting for Joe is the best way to the advertise the desire of large numbers of people for a radical transformation of society. That transformation will not be achieved via a European election but a good result for JH flags up an increasing popular demand for such a transformation and therefore would have a positive effect in convincing more people that such an alternative is possible. As a bonus, in the event of Joe being elected he would undoubtedly use the, very limited, opportunity to defend the interests of working people as he did so effectively in the Dail.

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8. CMK - May 7, 2009

I’m sure this was a difficult decision for Patricia McKenna to make, given the years she’s put in. But it was the right one, in my opinion. I left the Greens several years ago, having worked hard at constituency level, but having never really felt that I ‘fitted in’. There’s a certain class profile to the Greens that generates some perspectives that would infuriate anyone with a broadly ‘working class’ background.

It’s remarkable the transformation in the Greens since 2004-ish. And while Patricia deserves a bit of criticism for some of her ‘antics’, which would irritate anyone, she’s far less deserving than some current Green personalities. For instance, a certain female euro election candidate who – a mere eight years ago – was making all sorts of radical noises re: G8, WTO etc, etc, and who, around that time, was a trenchant opponent of the Nice Treaties I & II. But who seems, in the meantime, to have mellowed at an astonishing speed. It’s one thing regarding a middle aged mainstream politician who used to be a radical in the 60’s or 70’s as a hypocrite. People change over the course of decades etc. But to regard politicians who just a few short years ago were pretty much solidly to the left (often far left) on a range of issues, but who now have explicitly or implicitly repudiated ALL of their former policies and stances, as hypocrites is not unfair or unjustified. That the same group of politicians is seemingly happy to add their signatures to a concerted attack on lower and middle income workers is even more justification to regard them as hypocrites. When the current crop of Greens are felled at the next election they’ll find it difficult trying to cut it as men or women of the left (where I believe many of their political instincts and emotions still lie, once they come of their power induced fugue state). Patricia’s exit may be a signal that the end is nearing for the Greens, given that her election in 1994 was a huge boost for them that, I would argue, propelled them on to more gains in 1997 & 2002.

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9. Damian - May 7, 2009

@leftiewoman

“She may not have strong support now but she did a few years back and for a long time, having been their first MEP for ten years. the party has changed in the meantime not her”

Actually, she was one of our two first MEPs, along with Nuala Ahern. Nuala has contributed to the party greatly since her Leinster constituency lost a seat and she decided not to run again in 2004. She is currently the party’s deputy campaign coordinator, overseeing the European campaigns. She was also the first to voice a less strident position towards the European project, endorsing a Yes vote in the second Nice campaign, but that’s for another day…

The point is, yes – the party has changed. It has moved with the times, which is what I’d like politicians to do.

I don’t particularly warm to politicians that are locked into a knee-jerk, reactionary, against-everything mindset for the duration of their political career. But each to their own.

If Patricia wants to run a campaign based on recycled, tired and insincere Labour Party rhetoric on sell outs and u-turns, let her at it.

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10. CMK - May 7, 2009

Damian – you’re dodging the broader issue here. The Greens took stances on a range of issues in the years prior to their entering government (Shell-to-Sea, EU constitution & treaties, Tara etc). And they haven’t acted on these issues since getting into government. In fact, they’ve repudiate them.

In 2002, five years before the formation of the current coalition, they were actively campaigning against Nice II. It’s one thing to move with the times, but to move that fast! To go from outright rejection of EU treaties to trenchant support of them in just five years – what happened during those years? Of course, they Greens aren’t moving with the times at all, they’re just determined to get and stay in power. Fair enough, that’s what politicians are supposed to aim at. But the Greens are insulting people’s intelligence by claiming that they’re in government to make any kind of progressive political contribution.

The logic of their position has been undermined by their performance in government. They’re in ‘power’ but they have nothing to boast about – they have achieved no noticably green transformations. Recycling facilities are still the same as they were in 2007 and will probably be the same in 2012; the people of Dublin South East can look forward to a huge kick-ass incinerator being approved under the tenure of a ‘Green’ minister the people of Duleek, ditto; a party which demanded a Europe wide vote on the EU constitution in 2004 won’t tolerate this suggestion for Lisbon etc, etc., And that’s without considering their participation in attacks on workers and public services. The Greens may be moving with the times, and that may be admirable in itself for some people, but they achieved nothing thus far and will likely achieve nothing between now and 2012.

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11. smiffy - May 7, 2009

(a) The Greens didn’t support the Lisbon Treaty (although, of course, a majority of them did on an individual basis).

(b) The idea that because a party opposed one particular Treaty it is forever committed to opposing all future Treaties is a bit nuts.

The issue about their lack of concrete achievement in government is a fair one, though.

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12. Mark P - May 7, 2009

It would of course be the height of petty sectarianism for the SWP/PBPA to support McKenna against Joe Higgins, but given their record on that score I wouldn’t completely rule it out. McKenna is in any case a good bit closer to the radicalish leftish non-socialist non-class politics image they are currently trying to project.

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13. Damian - May 7, 2009

@CMK I’m dodging nothing. And, unless you decide to reapply for membership, I would appeal to you to desist from claiming to know what are the core issues of the Green Party, or what we stand for.

Apologies if this sounds a little like ‘Elementary Politics, Lesson 1′ (and for the length of this post) but every political party takes stances, forms policies and writes manifestos and contests elections. Then, those with the right numbers to form a government get into negotiations, divvy up ministerial portfolios and write a work programme. Unless the parties are identical, this will involve compromise. The programme for government will usually include both parties’ essential policy points but, inevitably, it won’t include those policies that are too controversial for the other coalition partners to accept, and which the respective parties believe they can live without.

The alternative to this is to remain in opposition – out of choice or not – and maintain policy purity and the moral high ground. This also means accepting that little or none of your agenda will be implemented over the next term of up to five years.

Around the table in Green HQ at the end of the long days that occurred during the negotiations for government, I heard frank and honest discussions from the Green parliamentary party about what they felt they could and couldn’t live with. The critical point that was made again and again around the table was that our policies could not wait for another five years until FG was prepared to do a deal with SF, or for the cards to fall differently. The party would be untainted, granted, but its policies unimplemented would be useful to nobody. And in the context of the climate crisis and the widely predicted timescales for action (http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Nl1/Newsroom/DG_064854), that wasn’t something they were willing to risk.

Unlike any other political party, the Green Party put the outcome of the programme for government negotiations to a vote of its members. 86% of the 510 members present in the Mansion House on 13 June 2007 endorsed the programme – and with it, the compromises that were made on the M3, on full gay marriage, on Corrib, on Shannon, and on many other issues which are of absolutely primary concern to a section of green supporters (presumably not totalling more than 14% of our membership in 2007.)
But back to the specific points raised.

“Of course, they Greens aren’t moving with the times at all, they’re just determined to get and stay in power. Fair enough, that’s what politicians are supposed to aim at. But the Greens are insulting people’s intelligence by claiming that they’re in government to make any kind of progressive political contribution. The logic of their position has been undermined by their performance in government. They’re in ‘power’ but they have nothing to boast about – they have achieved no noticeably green transformations.”
On the contrary:

* Recycling facilities: In December 07 John Gormley allocated an extra €6m to help offset the costs of running bring banks and other community recycling facilities; in April 08 new regulations were brought in to tighten controls on the export of waste for recycling and recovery; in September 08 free battery recycling commenced; in December 08 €24m of funding was allocated to 47 local authority waste recycling projects.

* Incineration: for the record we can thank 1996’s rainbow coalition and their Waste Management Act for allowing incineration in Ireland in the first place. We also owe a debit of gratitude in particular to the Labour members of Dublin City council that voted in 1998 for a new waste management plan, which included an incinerator. Learning nothing from this experience, in June 2008 Proinsias was at the Labour doublespeak again. He – and with him all of the FF and FG MEPs –voted to defeat an amendment tabled by the Greens on EU waste framework legislation to reject the reclassification of incineration as ‘energy recovery’ in order to promote its use. Only Kathy Sinnott supported the Greens stance. Mary Lou was, as usual, absent. (http://greens-efa-service.org/votetracker/en/environment-and-public-health/discouraging-waste-incineration.html#content)

So what have the Greens in Ireland done on incineration? John Gormley on taking office began a review of waste management policy in line with commitments he negotiated into the programme for government ensure a shift away from incineration. That review is due to conclude this year.

In advance of its conclusion he has started a strategic environmental assessment on options including a policy to restrict local authorities from directing waste to incinerators or landfill, where that waste could be recycled or pre-treated. He is also examining whether Ireland can place specific caps on the amount of waste that can be incinerated and is due, in the near future, to bring proposals to Government on the implementation of a new waste levy scheme, aiming to underpin efforts at recycling and reduction.

Finally, he has advised all local authorities involved in waste infrastructure development that it would be prudent from them to take these developments into account in relation to any projects they are planning.

So has he managed in two years to undo a generation of national and local government decisions that promote incineration, while avoiding subjecting the state to huge legal bills from Indaver and their ilk? No, not yet. But he’s making a damned good stab at it.

* Europe wide vote on the EU constitution: we still favour this. On Lisbon and other issues. But, you know, we control 13% of a cabinet table that controls two percent of the European Council’s votes (so effectively the greens have 0.3% of power on these matters). Have we got our way? No. But I’m sure John Gormley and Eamon Ryan can sleep at night even with this shame.

“…participation in attacks on workers and public services.” Grow up, or provide specifics. We’ve done no such thing.

“The Greens may be moving with the times […] but they achieved nothing thus far.”

And @smiffy, “The issue about their lack of concrete achievement in government is a fair one, though.”

I don’t think that generalisation is at all fair. You may not agree that they’re important achievements, but they’re concrete and they mean a lot to green party members – and to the organisations and businesses that are benefiting (and able to create more jobs, etc). http://www.greenparty.ie/en/government/achievements_in_government/policies_in_action

One that isn’t on that list yet is the recent programme (http://www.sei.ie/Grants/Home_Energy_Saving_Scheme/) for improving the energy efficiency of people’s homes, which is worth €100m in 2009, will create 4,000 jobs and will very likely be oversubscribed.

Back in 2007, after tense negotiations on the programme for government we got €20m per year for this. We’ve effectively over-delivered on this policy by a factor of 500%.

Unlike Patricia’s monotonous and inaccurate claims, a large majority of Green members are fully behind what the Greens are achieving in Government. And our membership is growing – despite the high profiles exits of McKenna, Maher and O’Leary.

This site contains excellent debate and well framed arguments on almost all other issues. I wish people would frame the debate about the greens a bit more fairly – and not just through their own prisms of disillusionment and disaffection.

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14. WorldbyStorm - May 7, 2009

IIRC Democratic Left had a conference mandating entry to government did they not? I’d left by that stage.

BTW, Damian, if you want to re-edit that I’ll happily post it up as a post… although no doubt it will generate some robust responses.

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15. Mark P - May 7, 2009

For those deluded enough to think that the Green Party are in any meaningful sense left wing, Damian’s sickening drivel above should provide you with some food for thought.

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16. WorldbyStorm - May 7, 2009

And voila 😉

In fairness to Damian he is willing to come out and argue/defend his position. To be honest some of the contentious issues on this don’t strike me as necessarily leftwing at all but more lifestyle. I mean is incineration a left/right issue in any meaningful sense? I note the Scottish Socialist Party is moving towards a much more euro-engaged position while still critical. Climate change has aspects of class politics within it, but is it primarily an issue of class (bar broader issues of industrial nations as against the rest…)…

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17. WorldbyStorm - May 7, 2009

…and holding that thought, seeing as you consider even McKenna to be far from ‘meaningfully’ left wing, albeit she is regarded as the conscience of at least one segment of the GP, wouldn’t it be more accurate to argue that they, like many aspects of the left don’t fall into your particular definition of ‘left’. Which, I hasten to add, is entirely fair enough, but does perhaps limit the utility of the term.

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18. The Green Party, opposition and government… « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - May 7, 2009

[…] Irish Politics, The Left. trackback Guest post by Damian, for which many thanks, taken from this thread, that I think is useful in terms of describing a dynamic that will be very familiar indeed to those […]

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19. EWI - May 7, 2009

wouldn’t it be more accurate to argue that they, like many aspects of the left don’t fall into your particular definition of ‘left’. Which, I hasten to add, is entirely fair enough, but does perhaps limit the utility of the term.

Well, there’s left-wing, and there’s what I’ll describe as “working class politics”, and they’re not always the same thing in my opinion.

I don’t regard, however, the modern Greens as any further than left-of-centre, and with many who are eminently aware of opportunities to make some money out of even cul-de-sacs such as biofuels.

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20. Mark P - May 7, 2009

WbS:

Yes indeed, my definition (ie a definition which requires “left wing parties” to advocate and fight for left wing policies) doesn’t include very much of the current political spectrum. Acknowledging that the real left is small is a realistic approach, and better than trying to delude yourself into thinking that that various pro-establishment, pro-capitalist, pro-business as usual parties are in fact, in some secret coded magical way which has nothing to do with the way those parties actually operate, “left wing” because it makes us feel less peripheral or less lonely.

And, by the way, I’d have no problem in including McKenna as left wing, although she would be on the softer edge of the left.

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21. CMK - May 7, 2009

Damian – thanks for your thought provoking response and the politics lesson!

You asked me to grow up and provide specifics to back my charge that the Greens are participating in attacks on workers and public services.

Well, as a member of a party of government, I think the onus is on you to provide the evidence that they aren’t. If you can link to statements by the Greens (any TD or Senator) demanding that wages not be cut; that profitable firms not use the recession as an excuse to cut jobs, renegotiate terms and conditions and layoff workers; statements where the Greens uniequivocally reject the pay cut to public servants (aka the “pension levy”); cuts to welfare payments; where they reject plans to cut services etc, etc, I’ll gladly retract that statement.

It should be clear, even to Green party members, that all of the above are attacks on workers and public services. The Greens, through their cabinet representatives, have approved all of them. End of story.

I suspect the sarkiness in your post is a product of the realisation that the Greens are toast at the next general election – and it’s entirely their own doing.

To repeat, Damian the facts are that at the next election the Greens will be decimated – there have been posts here showing how many Greens came in on the last count (I think offhand it was four out of six in 2007). In all likelihood they won’t form part of the permutations for the next coalition. This is the only chance they’ll have as a party to implement even part of their programme. You pointed out to some achievements of John Gormley’s regarding incineration and re-cycling and they’re all fair enough points. But if the Greens are not in a position to state, unequivocally, that there won’t be an incinerator in Poolbeg, there won’t be one in Duleek, then what’s the point in being in government? The rationale for entering government was to implement policy; incineration is a pretty clear Green priority; yet, you can’t say definitively that there won’t be incinerators in the two locations mentioned above. This begs the question: why are the Greens then in government if they can’t drive a stake through the heart of incineration? Taking as a given the rejection of incineration as a sine qua non for Green party members?

.

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22. Leveller on the Liffey - May 7, 2009

Does Patricia really think she stands an earthly chance of taking a seat?

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23. WorldbyStorm - May 7, 2009

I’m presuming that the rationale is that she can take a portion of GP votes that might otherwise go to De Burca? Not that I’m convinced the latter is in the frame for a seat either…

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24. WorldbyStorm - May 7, 2009

Mark P, that’s cool. I misread your comments above about McKenna.

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25. Leveller on the Liffey - May 8, 2009

WBS: As a rationale for the huge effort and political and personal exposure demanded in an EU campaign, taking a portion of De Burca’s votes isn’t so much “Quixotic”, as one CLRer has described it, as bloody-minded. (Not that I’d be crying into my Dandelion & Burdock if De Burca did fall flat on her face.)

I think Patricia has lost the plot.

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26. Damian - May 8, 2009

CMK, some good points that deserve a fuller answer. But in the meantime, “the facts are that at the next election the Greens will be decimated.”

That’s not a fact. It’s your opinion. And it doesn’t seem to be based on much.

Based on recent polling – which is far from conclusive, but does offer some insight into how people may indeed vote if there were a general election tomorrow – over two per cent more of the population support the Greens now than did so in 2007.

Nobody can predict with any sort of certainly how transfers will pan out until the day of the voting itself, so claims of looming decimation are, well, a bit baseless too.

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27. Wednesday - May 8, 2009

I’m presuming that the rationale is that she can take a portion of GP votes that might otherwise go to De Burca?

As well as a portion of the votes that might otherwise go to ML. Her motivations in this regard aren’t entirely political.

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28. WorldbyStorm - May 8, 2009

I think I see…

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29. joemomma - May 8, 2009

CMK: “the facts are that at the next election the Greens will be decimated”

A total loss of 0.6 seats? That would be disappointing, but I suppose I could live with it.

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30. cp mirda - May 8, 2009

so Patrica garnered 36% of the Green party electorate in ’07/hope is not gone away /there will be an ff(green sleeveen) and a Green mcKenna party-grand. she’s got my tick/she played a stormer while an mep for 10 years.There isint much integrity swaning about the gold clat streets of Brussels,but seeing that diminutive woman say it as itis,is refreshing/Lisbon is THEE most important political issue left/less at stake, caused the people of the north American continent to conduct an unfortunate continental war/Ms Mc calls that snake oil Finnigan’sWake X Ulysessis document right/
lets wake up & support the good woman.

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31. steve white - May 8, 2009

condescending damien ‘politics 101’

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32. CMK - May 8, 2009

@ smiffy, you wrote: (b) The idea that because a party opposed one particular Treaty it is forever committed to opposing all future Treaties is a bit nuts.

I broadly accept that point. But I don’t think it really stacks up when you consider European Treaties. Because, as you probably know, each EU treaty is largely a revision or mild amendment of previous treaties. OK, the Nice Treaty contained some pretty significant detail on the accession process for then aspiring members in Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, each EU treaty, from what I can see, is incremental in nature or, as I said above, revisionary.

If these points are accepted then it’s legitimate to question why, for instance, John Gormley voiciferously opposed Nice, seemed ready to oppose the EU constitution and then more or less supported the Lisbon Treaty – all in the space of six years. Given that Nice, the constitution and Lisbon all shared common elements. And it’s sophistry on the part of the Green Party to claim that the party didn’t take a position on the Lisbon Treaty, but individual members could campaign for or against.

The Greens were THE party of EU opposition for years in this country -it’s legitimate, again, to ask why they suddenly dropped their stance of opposition to EU treaties? Was it just a matter of marking out political space for the Greens at a time when the consensus was overwhelmingly pro-EU? Were the Greens since 1994 just cynically adopting an anti-EU treaty position to catch votes from that sector of the electorate hostile, for whatever reason, to EU integration. My question remains, and it hasn’t been addressed: is what happened between 2001/2 and 2007/8 to shift the Greens from an anti EU position to a neutral to pro position?

Their position on the EU has to be queried because they opposed Nice, the failure of which would have impacted on the lives of tens of millions of Eastern Europeans; yet they remained neutral on Lisbon, where far less profound issues were at stake. It can’t just be wished away with a perfunctory “times change, people change”.

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33. WorldbyStorm - May 8, 2009

In fairness I understand part of the GP reappraisal of the EU, and it’s not even outright support at Lisbon where party members could take individual positions (I can’t recall what the current situation is), was that it required supranational action of the sort one would find with the EU to tackle climate change.

That said I take your point about Nice which did impact on many many in the eastern parts of Europe.

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