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Michael McDowell and the current dispensation. For him, what’s not to like? Apparently quite a lot! February 28, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.

Michael McDowell is at it yet again. Mutterings about a new party that would in some way occupy the space the PDs did in their day.
And what’s most notable are his thoughts that:

…he claimed the current Coalition would not survive into a second term and predicted a new party would soon emerge to fill the political vacuum.

His prognostications go like this:

He said it was “improbable” the present political alignment would survive the next election. “Fine Gael and Labour will not have the appetite for another five years of working together. They’ll have sustained a hell of a lot of damage, especially Labour. Anyone who thinks we’re in default mode and things will just rumble on is getting it seriously wrong. There will be something new, something very different.”

What vacuum would that be then? Presumably one on the right. And yet we have a government that is privatising €3bn of state assets. One that is using noticeably strident rhetoric against those on welfare despite levels of unemployment of 14 per cent. One that is slashing public expenditure by billions in successive budgets.

Programmes that the PDs, even in their wildest days, never dared to put before the Irish people.

But logically if FG/LP are implementing these policies then what will remain to be done at the end of the five year period to fill the ‘vacuum’? And logically too given that he points to the LP being more damaged, that would presumably be because of a perception it had shifted rightwards. Why does he think that former LP voters would go right rather than left, and why does he think that already right of centre voters voting FG would go to a new party rather than sticking with what may by then be arguably the most efficient implementer of right of centre policies in the history of the state?

All very odd really.

And perhaps it is this that accounts for the rather insipid criticisms he does air.

Mr McDowell, who returned to the Law Library after losing his seat in 2007, launched a scathing attack on interest groups who “beat their own drums from public funds” and also criticised the Government’s plans to regulate the legal profession.

My God! Regulation of solicitors and funding for the INOU and the NWC. Those are the real problems in this society, aren’t they?


1. Dr. X - February 28, 2012


2. Mark P - February 28, 2012

I think that you are being too dismissive of the various rumblings about a new right wing party.

The issue isn’t so much that a new party would behave vastly differently from Fianna Fail, the Greens, Labour or Fine Gael in office (or any differently to SF in office in the North). It’s about providing new, allegedly unsullied, faces for neoliberalism. A reserve squad in case the current first team start to slide down the league.

Sinn Fein, despite their best efforts in the North, are still just that bit piquant for the bland palates of the Southern ruling class. Fianna Fail might still be too sullied by the events of the recent past come the next election. Labour are almost certain to be in the dog house with most people who voted for them last time out. Fine Gael might be able to hold their vote together on a “tough men, tough decisions” right wing basis, but then again they might not and it would only take one or two issues to go badly wrong for presiding over years of unpopular decisions to go wrong for them.

Such circumstances may not arise, but there is at the very least a reasonable chance that all of the existing parties will be unpalatable or unreliable from the point of view of our elite in, say, three or four years time. So a “clean hands” party of the right, whether openly Thatcherite or “technocratic”, might find themselves getting an almighty push from the media and our elite in general.

Now, as against that, there are a number of different possible competitors for such a franchise, with different, not necessarily compatible management teams and different, not necessarily compatible business plans. Would such a new party maintain the traditional EU cargo cult, or would it have to take up a populist europhobia? Blood and gore rhetorical Thatcherism or neoliberalism garbed as technocracy? Which of the various swollen egos would be calling the shots? By any standards, a lot is less than clear.


Blather - February 29, 2012

Yup, I think you’re right. A dash of Euro-scepticism would be enough to set them apart and they would have the likes of Ross, Ganley, Donnelly and a few others on board. It’s a sad fact but economic crisis has always tended to boost the right rather than the left in Europe. By contrast, the years when socialist parties took off pre-WW1 were also boom years for European capitalism. Same thing happened post-WWII up til the late 1970s. The prospects for socialism always look best whilst capitalism is thriving. There’s an irony of history for you!


3. Clive Sullish - February 28, 2012

With regard to the probable social base for a McDowellite party, today’s Indep has some interesting revelations:
“Better off people ‘more likely to lie and cheat’ study finds”

“… Overall the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that those from richer or powerful backgrounds appeared greedier, more likely to lie in negotiation and more likely to cheat.”
And they have no manners either
“… Those deemed to be better off appeared more likely to cut up other drivers and less likely to stop for pedestrians.”


bjg - February 29, 2012

Well I never.

Could that explain this? http://wp.me/Ppxzo-1OS



4. Mark P - February 28, 2012

On another note, the INOU and NWC whining isn’t particularly surprising. It reflects one of the relatively few important differences between liberal neo-liberals and conservative neo-liberals.

The former prefer to neuter dissent through turning potential oppositional movements into state-dependent quangos, paid by the state to lobby the state. While the latter think that this is a waste of time. In a time of crisis, even the tame quangocracy can be seen as off message with their plaintive whining for slower, fairer, cuts and so can attract the ire of conservatives.


5. Carigeen - February 28, 2012

There is a lovely story going around the immigrant community about the first day McDowell returned to work in the Four Courts.

Judges and barristers with appropriate ID enter from the market side, lesser mortals such as witnesses, defendants and journalists are directed to the front.

Mr. McDowell did not have an ID card on that first day and so was politely but firmly sent to the public entrance.

Someone asked the Nigerian security guard if he knew who that was. The reply was “Oh yes I did, indeed I did!”.


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