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[Not quite] Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Election Week February 27, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week, Uncategorized.

This weekend Garibaldy is unavoidably detained, though I’m hoping he can contribute a comment or two later in the day. Therefore rather than replicate his approach I’ll just start the ball rolling with a quote that jumped straight out at me from today’s Sunday Independent and open the field to others to add others…

In what can be properly described as a defining moment in the history of the nation, Fianna Fail has suffered its worst ever defeat in a General Election, the outcome of which has, in an almost apocalyptic fashion, swept away 90 years of civil war politics in Ireland.

‘Swept away 90 years of civil war politics in Ireland’… er… a bit early to be making that statement, no?

Actually, I’ll add another from Eoghan Harris

Kenny must now prepare for a Kulturkampf with RTE, that useful German word which covers any ideological struggle short of shooting. The biggest kulturkampf fought on this island was the battle for minds and hearts during the 30-year armed struggle of the Provo IRA. The most important weapon in this war was Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act. This prevented the Provos from using RTE to make the propaganda at which they proved so polished once Section 31 was lifted.

Let’s put aside the usual public sector bashing stuff that has become his stock in trade. Reading about the Kulturkampf I wonder does he realise what a curious notion that is to introduce in a democracy, and, more important from a purely utilitarian position, does he know how effective it actually was.

From wiki:

Bismarck realized his Kulturkampf was a failure when secular and socialist elements use the opportunity to attack all religion. In the long run, the most significant result was the mobilization of the Catholic voters, and their insistence on protecting their church. In the elections of 1874, the Center party doubled its popular vote, and became the second-largest party in the national parliament– and remained a powerful force for the next 60 years, so that after Bismarck it became difficult to form a government without their support. [20][21].

Let’s contemplate the utility of the anti-PS language used to date. Fianna Fáil broken, Labour getting its best ever result. The further left on line to get their best ever result. Sinn Féin [and here we see the effectiveness of anti-Republican rhetoric as well] on line to get some 10 per cent or so of seats in the Dáil.

Yes. That’s worked.

Loathsome stuff either way.

But for solipsism… well, check this out…

The battles about Section 31 left behind a legacy of prejudice against me and my politics which persist to this day. Although I was active in the peace process (supplying soundbites to David Trimble like “Northern Ireland was a cold house for Catholics”), I have rarely been seen or heard on RTE News and Current Affairs programmes since 1990 — a situation which does not apply to the Programmes Division of television.

If I am not banned, then the News Division hasn’t a clue how to balance a programme. For example, for nearly four years now I have been the chief spokesperson in the Seanad calling for public sector reform. But I was never asked to contribute to programmes such as The Week in Politics, which discussed public sector reform in that period.

Likewise, I was not asked to evaluate the recent leaders’ debates. Yet few have as much expertise in this field. Over the years I have worked either as a media adviser or as a speechwriter for politicians as diverse as Proinsias De Rossa, Mary Robinson, John Bruton and David Trimble. Could it be that my expertise itself is a problem? Is it intellectual insecurity? Or the likelihood that I would contradict the reflex RTE consensus that long dismissed Enda Kenny as a lightweight?



1. Doloras LaPicho - February 27, 2011

My favourite is John Drennan’s article saying that for SF, “there was little justification for excessive celebrations… When the FF house is tumbling down, SF would have wanted to achieve, at a minimum, a reprise of the sort of seat figures that followed the immaculate conception of the PDs in 1987.”

Seeing that the PDs got 14 seats in 1987, and SF are one off that at the moment with at least two candidates still in the running… not quite as hilarious as his expose of “Adams set to miss out in Louth”, but still.


WorldbyStorm - February 27, 2011

That’s a great quote. And it really points up how insulated and insular the discussion on SF has been in parts of the media. Like them or loathe them, and I tend critically towards the former, there’s been so much rhetoric and so little analysis of how and more importantly where they were doing well. All those projections about certain counties, the obvious one, and nothing at all about how they were beginning to pick up support in Offaly, or in… well insert the names as applicable.

There’s more. Fair dues to the PDs (in electoral terms I mean) in 1987, but a tripling of a party number is quite something in this polity. I don’t believe it’s ever happened before.


CL - February 27, 2011

As a Fine Gael-led govt. continues the failed Thatcherite policies of F.F. the crisis will intensify because one cannot serve the interests of the ‘international markets’ and the interests of the Irish people.
From Cork to Donegal, from Kerry to Dublin, the support for S.F is widespread throughout the state, and the ULA has scored a significant success.
So a beginning has been made in creating a real opposition to regressive policies based on neoliberal ideology.
The incorrigible solipsism of Harris continues to amuse but he’s of little political relevance anymore.


2. ejh - February 27, 2011

Has he been arrested?


Ramzi Nohra i - February 28, 2011

I was hoping this was a reference to Harris, but I presume you meant the big G?


3. Ramzi Nohra - February 27, 2011

Harris is a wonder to behold

He was “active in the peace process” ? He was active AGAINST the peace process, being extremely critical of the Hume- Adams talks which actually lead to the 94 ceasefire etc

I also love the way he is trumpeting the virtues of censorship in one paragraph while complaining of being a victim of it another paragraph

By the way World, great election coverage recently. I haven’t commented for a while but i have been reading.


WorldbyStorm - February 27, 2011

Ta. I was worried it was getting a bit poll centred, but I have to thank AK of Irish Election Literature Blog for a huge contribution, and Tomboktu as well. Their input was central in helping get often undealt with aspects of the Election.

Re the central point, I completely missed that in my rage about the rest of it.

He bloody well was active against it, you’re spot on.


4. JP - February 27, 2011

The ego is breathtaking – using your column in one of the biggest selling Sunday papers to complain that you don’t get on the telly enough, ergo the government should take time out from an unprecedented crisis to pick a fight with a broadcaster? Breathtaking.


5. yourcousin - February 27, 2011

Harris is an inspiration to all writers out there. I used to think that just like at work if you’re going to do something you need to do it right. But Harris shows that you don’t need talent, taste, or even a proper use of the language to become a nationally syndicated columnist in a major paper. But his misuse of the German language is extraordinarily annoying.


6. NollaigO - February 27, 2011

The ego is breathtaking.

I’m sure there’s a stronger word for it.
The word is on the tip of my tongue..
I’m sure it’s of Greek origin…


7. irishelectionliterature - February 27, 2011

Must say I thought the headline in the Indo and Aengus Fannings article (editorial) begging for FG to go it alone with Independents was astonishing.
It was totally at odds with what FG and Labour people were saying as I hit my pillow around 3am.

I must confess if I were Enda and I really believed in my 5 point plan…. I’d ask FF in for a chat.
The lack of cash FF had was very noticeable during the campaign…. Few if any National Newspaper Ads. Little variety in Posters and the posters themselves were not the best quality. Individual TDs may have pushed the boat out a bit with personal posters leaflets etc but nothing on the scale of FG.
Down to 20 or so TDs party funding from the public purse will be down, they’ll lose Seanad seats also.
There’s also little or no reason for any business to donate given that they probably won’t be in power for an age.
For all Michael Martins talk of renewal, going into government with FG may well be their best bet. All in the National interest of course.

That said Labour seem to be chomping at the bit and probably wont put up too much of a fight over policy and cabinet seats.
Any chance though that going into coalition could be rejected by the party membership?


8. Anamcara - February 28, 2011

In the early 90’s Noam Chomsky predicted that “the internet would become the first truly democratizing instrument.” I think that prediction is bearing out.The MSM is increasingly desperate and out of touch, exposing the hysterical raving Harris as merely a figure of ridicule. These are incredible times. And what about M.Martin’s idea (threat?!?!) that FF would organize in NI? Words escape me. Quarantine is the only place for the FF model/weapon of economic mass destruction.


shane - February 28, 2011

I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s only a matter of time before the Irish Independent and the Irish Times go the way of the Irish Press. And the sooner the better.


9. EM - February 28, 2011

Havent read the Sunday Independent for five years. Self respecting trade unionists dont. It’s a shite rag is how I usually describe it. This extract from yesterday’s edition proves that.


10. Jock McPeake - February 28, 2011

Harris has been an egomaniac for a long time. However he looks as if he has gone off his head now. Is he trying to get Fine Gael to employ him? Didn’t he do enough damage at RTE? The shameful thing about it is that we should have seen the signs 40 years ago. How did we tolerate this lunatic?


11. EM - February 28, 2011

Loving what Ive just discovered. Seems the new taoiseach will be elected on Ash Wednesday and the guys/gals behind him will have black crosses on their foreheads. Maybe the Cabinet might dress up in sackcloth and ashes to herald in the new Inda Era.

P.S. Given Inda’s love of Springsteen/Pete Seeger, as per today’s Irish Mail, maybe he’ll send a copy of the ”Nebraska’ CD to every home to honour and herald the new era of austerity? Could Inda have meant Bob Seger?


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