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From the Guardian… November 30, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
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an anonymous piece from an internet forum moderator on what they’re really thinking. Much of it isn’t applicable to the CLR, we’re a bit more calm. But I laughed at this, not because it’s absolutely wrong, or right, but just because given interactions on some sites, and again not really the CLR at all, one could get that impression:

There are topics some people seem unable to discuss without losing their minds. Politics, obviously. Being a single parent really gets people quacking. Benefits, too. I wonder why people feel the need to vent such strong opinions. If the country were run on the internet, it would be civil war, permanently.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to…..Power of Dreams November 30, 2013

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
15 comments

A band I was very fond of when they were around in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Saw them a number of times live back then. They had a number of albums and EP’s most of which I have on vinyl. Their first album ‘Immigrants, Emigrants and me’ remains a favourite. They were slightly popular back then and were tipped for great things. They were very popular in Japan and there were all sorts of fancy looking Japanese Import Power of Dreams CDs in some of the better record shops.

They reformed in 2009. There’s a fairly good 2009 interview from Craig Walker of the band here .
The second video below was filmed in London. Same studio as nothing compares 2u apparently.

Easy to guess who I’ll be mostly listening to in two weeks time .

This Sunday in Sean O’Casey Community Centre, East Wall… November 29, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
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EAST WALL CHRISTMAS FAIR

Social mobility redux… November 29, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, The Left.
12 comments

Just a quick one, I’ve referenced a piece in Prospect some while back in relation to the broader issue of social mobility which has now achieved a certain prominence in contemporary socio-political debates. But there’s another piece in the most recent edition which I think takes a significantly muddled approach to the topic, arguing for example a piece by lecturer Jill Boucher.

I do, however, pay attention to, and get irritated by, much of the discussion of social mobility. This is something I do know a bit about from my own research into neurodevelopmental disorders, learning abilities and disabilities; and which I have reasons to feel strongly about from my experience of adopting two children.

And:

In the case of the nature versus nurture debate relating to social mobility, I find it hard to understand why a substantial group of people, including many influential educationalists and sociologists, fail to accept the overwhelming evidence that genes contribute to academic achievement and thereby social mobility.

And leads to the fair enough question ‘Still on the subject of language: why is it that “social mobility” is almost invariably assumed to refer to upward mobility? Is downward mobility so undesirable, even shameful, as to be unmentionable?’. That’s fair enough, but note where she herself positions herself.

…is life really so dreadful in the middle echelons that we want to escape it? Personally, I don’t want to be a tycoon, over-paid celebrity or member of the landed gentry. And suppose that Tim-nice-but-dim, having benefitted from the small classes and intensive coaching provided by a modest independent school, nevertheless drops down the social scale in comparison with his parents; but works hard, pays his taxes, and is a model husband and father. Is this so deplorable?

But that’s not quite the point. And consider too the following:

Certainly we need wealth creators, potential Nobel Prize winners, and probably very many more computer whizz kids than our education system is producing at present. But we also need good lorry drivers (my older son is one), chefs (my younger son is one), care workers, cleaners, gardeners, bricklayers. And would we not all want our adult children first and foremost to be happy, well-liked and respected, people to be proud of, whether they clean windows for a living or work as a surgeon or barrister?

Boucher isn’t unthinking, and despite some once-modish, but now anything but, tilts at ‘political correctness’ she raises some fair points. But the problem with that is the set of assumptions that underly it, not so much the concept of downward mobility, which is in fact actually quite sensible but the unspoken idea that class structures rests upon genetic inheritance, as distinct from much more proximate and contingent causes.

The first comment under it by Marc Latham is the one which most neatly engages with the argument…

I think it’s okay to think that genes affect intelligence, just not to suppose that those genes always belong to certain people: such as the higher classes with regard to class.
Lower class parents might possess great ‘academic’ genes, which have never had the opportunity.
The duty of schools is to provide an environment for genes to find their potential, and shine in their specialties.

And that’s it.

No one is arguing that there are no genetic factors, though environmental factors appear to be more important. But what is deeply and profoundly in question is the idea that somehow these are intrinsic to classes – that for example implicitly the current class structure is as it is due to genetic factors, that as a group the working class is working class due to some genetic aspects, the middle classes likewise and so on. I’ve already mentioned that Ireland as a whole proves how difficult it is to sustain that thesis given the massive churn in the society and class structure across the last two hundred years. In passing it’s probably worth noting that she places more faith in IQ tests than I would.

Again the set of assumptions is worth parsing. Precisely how does a genetic aptitude for lorry driving (given the example that Boucher gives) manifest itself as distinct from – say – middle management, social worker, business start-up or academia – and while in fairness while she’s not unwilling to consider which is socially most valuable how can these as such be indicative of some greater genetic attributes? Moreover, if one’s parents are same what then of offspring? It’s far from a myth that company development where families are involved tend to operate with those who create the company offering the greatest inspiration, the next generation consolidating and the next again failing – that failure is caused by many factors, but how does that fit into any schema of genetic influence?

Or is it the banal truth that genetic differentiation across classes is not an issue and that it really only operates on the level of the individual – and even then from what some quoted in the above pieces argue on a marginal level.

Which, ironically, though predictably leaves us in exactly the same place as we have always been, needing to foster both collective and individual talent. Or to put it another way, there are no short cuts for the right (or anyone) to some point where a social class – as a whole – can be treated as if they should not all equally have the same opportunities as any other, even if individual outcomes will, obviously be different. And what holds for a social class holds for individuals too.

Interview with Liadh Ní Riada… November 29, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, The Left.
31 comments

…in the Mail conducted by Jason O’Toole. It’s a very interesting piece, well worth a read. Ní Riada is Sinn Féin’s candidate for the European elections next year in the new Europe South constituency.

She had a remarkable, and it would appear challenging, life, her father – Seán Ó Riada, perhaps as the article suggests ‘Ireland’s greatest ever composer and the man who was the single most influential figure behind the revial of Irish traditional music in the sixties’ – died when she was four at the age of 40 and her mother when she was ten. She was brought up by her siblings.

The interview notes that:

Ó Riada’s formation of the groundbreaking Ceoltóirí Chualainn and his score for the movie Mise Éire were the sparks that once again lit a fire under a part of our heritage that was all but dying out. Today, however, Liadh Ní Riada insists that being the daughter of a national treasure has never been a burden. ‘Some people would say: “Is it a burden to be living under the shadow of your father?” ‘I would be of the view that I’m living in his light as opposed to living in his shadow,’ Liadh says. ‘It’s fantastically positive. I’m very proud of being my father’s daughter.’

In relation to her own life and career:

At age 15, Liadh moved to Limerick to live with her aunt and study music there as part of her Leaving Certificate. After school, she worked in a variety of jobs before relocating to Dublin in her early 20s to work in television.

And

Since then, Liadh has worked in RTÉ and run her own successful company, Red Shoe Productions. But she’s most proud of the fact that she was put on the board to start up TG4 by the then-minister for arts Michael D. Higgins after the two became acquainted when she made a documentary about him and the Earth Summit in Brazil.

She’s highly critical of RTÉ

As an independent producer, Liadh says she’s less than impressed with the quality of homegrown shows on RTÉ. ‘A lot of the time I think they are inclined to copy a model that’s been done on the BBC. ‘As a station I think it leaves a lot to be desired. It’s missing originality and creativity.’ And she describes it as ‘outrageous’ and ‘obscene’ that taxpayers are funding the high wages of RTÉ stars when the government is imposing austerity on the rest of the nation. ‘You have the likes of Marian Finucane who gets over €400,000 a year for doing a few hours of radio work. She has a team of researchers. And then she goes on about the poor people of Ireland: “How can they afford to live?” And I find that quite obscene.’

And:

Liadh was inspired to move into politics by her first husband Fiachra Ó hAodha. ‘He had a strong social conscience and a sense of injustice. He always stood up for the underdog and this would have influenced me in many ways.’ Liadh was 27 and at a wedding back home in Cúil Aodha when she first met 22-year-old Fiachra. The couple married two years later. Tragically, Fiachra was suffering from skin cancer and passed away just ten moths after the wedding. ‘He died suddenly two months before our first wedding anniversary from a brain haemorrhage as a result of malignant melanoma. That was much more traumatic than the death of my parents really.

She married again and now has three children. In relation to the political aspect of her life:

She has been chosen as Sinn Féin’s candidate for the new Europe South constituency which is expected to include most of Munster and part of south Leinster. Currently Sinn Féin’s Irish language development officer, Liadh says that she fully supports party leader Gerry Adams. As well as stating that she believes Adams’ declaration that he was not in the IRA — which most people find incredulous — Liadh also says that she believes the Sinn Féin leader had nothing to do with the brutal murder of Jean McConville, despite the fact he has been accused of ordering her death by former IRA members Bernard Hughes and Dolours Price.

She argues:

‘It’s very easy to throw accusations and I don’t see any grounding or any basis for that and obviously I support Gerry 100 per cent. ‘It’s terribly unfair that they focus on these things with no basis and yet they don’t focus on all the good work he’s done for the Good Friday peace process. ‘It’s a terribly unbalanced, prejudiced view, which I think is completely without basis.’ She also doesn’t buy into the view that Adams has been damaged by the revelations about how he didn’t report his brother Liam to the police for sexually abusing his daughter Áine for some years after he first became aware of it. Liadh says that nobody ‘in their right mind would be supportive of any abuse or cover up’. She adds: ‘As far as I know, he was acting on his niece’s best interests. ‘It’s a family private matter and again putting it out in the public like that I think it’s again distracting from some of the good works that Gerry does. ‘He consistently tops the polls. He has 100 per cent support from the party. So it’s a no-brainer in that sense for me.’

And she continues:

… that she isn’t trying to get elected as an MEP to jump on the gravy train in Europe — pointing out that if elected she will only take the average industrial wage, with the rest of her salary going back to fund the party’s machine. ‘I’m not sure how much of a difference I can make in Europe but I’ll give it a damn good shot.’

The CLR Political Quiz ……….. Number 58 November 29, 2013

Posted by irishelectionliterature in CLR Political Quiz.
7 comments

1. What year was Young Fine Gael founded?
2. The SEA stood in a number of Northen Irish Elections what did SEA stand for?
3. What South Dublin County Council Park is named after a former TD?
4. Who was the lowest polling Independent candidate in the 2009 Local Elections (County or City Councils) ?
5. Did any of these Parties ever field candidates in Local, European or General Elections The Independent Socialist Party, Priorities Party or Amhran Nua ?
6. What Ministerial office have Nora Owen , Padraig Flynn and Charles Haughey all held?
7. What former Taoiseachs wife was on the same Fine Gael Ticket as Michael McDowell in the 1979 Local Elections?
8. In the 2009 Local Elections what candidate had the slogan “Out, Proud and Independent” ?
9. Was there a Democratic Left ‘Youth wing’ ?
10. Who is this?
clr58a

Answers to The CLR Political Quiz ……….. Number 57
1. Presidential and referendums
2. 30% have to be female for public funding to be fully maintained
3. Kevin Fennelly
4. Dublin West in 1996 won by Brian Lenihan jnr
5. By a euro
6. 1990 (after the Robinson presidential election victory)
7. Foreign Affairs
8. Sean Walsh
9. Eoin O’Coiglig
10. Willie Penrose

This Week At Irish Election Literature November 29, 2013

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Election Literature Blog.
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From the 2003 Assembly Elections from the Northern Ireland Womens Coalition a Mini Manifesto , candidate profiles and also their policy document on reproductive rights

From 2005 a leaflet from The Socialist Party concerning the exploitation of GAMA workers.

Then from The 1933 General Election “Fianna Fail Was Right All The Time”

and finally a “Press The Alarm For Elderly Losing Phone Allowance” Postcard From Sinn Fein

Eamon Gilmore and Sinn Féin… November 28, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
20 comments

…It struck me the other day on foot of our discussions on the nature of Sinn Féin and the deeply problematic manner which the Government parties have in their dealings with them in the Dáil chamber where the issue of the murder of Jean McConville by the IRA is used as a sort of diversionary tractic, that there’s one genuine oddity in all this. Well, there’s actually many. As we know, the interactions between those involved in the chamber are fairly complex. So it’s not every time that Gerry Adams or whoever stands to speak that such comments are made. Quite the opposite. But only in certain contexts where the Government is feeling the heat.

But it wasn’t always so in relation to some in Labour and Sinn Féin. No, not at all. For in 2002 when a younger, perhaps wiser, E. Gilmore was contesting the Labour leadership he took a vastly more emollient line in relation to Sinn Féin. Now, sometimes this was implicit, as in this piece here (behind the IT paywall but worth a look if you can access it) where on foot of the 2002 General Election where SF was returned in some numbers along with the GP and a number of left Independents, he wrote:

This general election re-elected the government and changed the opposition. But there still is an opposition! Whether the next government is FF/PD or FF/Independents, there will be almost 80 TDs on the opposition benches.
For the first time, however, there is no single party which can claim to be the national opposition, or even to be the majority part of it. The opposition benches in the 29th Dáil will be occupied by two medium-sized parties, three small parties and 13 Independents.

And he continued:

At first glance, the fracturing of the opposition may appear to prolong Fianna Fáil’s grip on power. But the new opposition also has the potential to be reconstructed and to provide a political alternative to Fianna Fáil.
The political complexion of the new opposition is predominantly left of centre, including the Labour Party, others on the left and social democrats in Fine Gael. Most of the new independents have been elected on public service issues such as health, arguing for policies very similar to those of the Labour Party.

It is simply untenable that he wasn’t speaking of SF as comprising a part of that ‘opposition’.

And indeed he clearly was, for he had previously in his leadership bid, which failed, although not quite as ignominiously as some have painted it subsequently where he received almost 20% of the vote, state a preference for left cooperation including SF. An Phoblacht noted this when he became leader and turned his back on such matters.

Eamon Gilmore has succeeded Pat Rabbitte as the leader of the Labour Party without a contest and without immediate debate on the future of the party. It remains to be seen if any such debate will ensue or if Gilmore will focus solely on reorganisation after the failure of his predecessor’s strategy based on the Mullingar Accord with Fine Gael.
Prior to his unsuccessful 2002 bid for the leadership Gilmore raised the prospect of co-operation on the left, including Sinn Féin. This time he ruled out such political co-operation, apparently fearful that it might be used against him by rival candidates. He need not have worried as no-one in the Labour Parliamentary Party rose to the leadership challenge.

As did Éoin O’Murchú at the same time:

When Eamon Gilmore stood for the leadership of the Labour party in 2002, against Pat Rabbitte and Brendan Howlin, he offered a very different prospectus from the one he has advanced this time.
In 2002 he argued Labour should seek to construct a united Left, which Labour as the strongest element, would lead, harnessing the combined energies of Labour, Sinn Féin and the Greens to present a challenge to both the leading capitalist blocs – Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. His focus then was on a left agenda, on substantive equality and justice.
But now that is all abandoned. He has made it clear there will be no alliance of the left, no cooperation with Sinn Fein and left-wing Independents. Labour is not to change, it is to be available yet again for government with one or other of the ‘capitalist’ parties.

The obvious problem here is that one G. Adams was, as he still is, leader of SF and if there is a problem now with Adams et al, then the same problem existed then. Indeed one could argue that it was more pointed given that the political dispensation in the North remained less stable, more fractious and issues like decommissioning were…

It is this that makes the use of the murder of McConville so self-serving on the part of some. What deep held principle is it drawn from? I wouldn’t advocate it, but had FG and the LP argued for a position of refusing to acknowledge SF, a sort of living Section 31, that at least would be more consistent (indeed thinking of same I’m reminded of Eoghan Harris’s not dissimilar injunctions against SF, while I remember very well quite positive comments he made about SF’s Seanad presence when he first arrived there on foot of the nomination by Bertie Ahern). But that the thing. There is no consistency, there appear to be variable principles at work. Distaste alone, even loathing, when it is applied so patchily isn’t enough. It’s worse than nothing.

A question on Irish Trade Unions and internationalism November 28, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left, Unions.
3 comments

Here’s an email asking some useful questions which people may have answers to.

I’m currently writing a paper on Irish trade unions and the role of internationalism within the movement. As far as I can see, the first organisation that ICTU joined was the ETUC. However, I’m having difficulty finding information on other unions. I’m particulary interested in SIPTU (ITGWU & FWUI), the ATGWU (Unite) and the TEEU.

Do you know of any publications that might deal with such themes?

I appreciate any help whatsoever.

If you have any suggestions please use comments below or email them at irishinternationalism@gmail.com

A ‘new’ party… or parties? November 28, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
3 comments

Pat Leahy has some interesting thoughts in the SBP at the weekend on the idea of a new political party. That said they do run into some constraints which limit the analysis. One thing which is welcome and this is true of the Backroom column as well, is that there’s a degree of scepticism about the ‘campaign to run a new party by the Sunday Independent’ and the ‘charismatic baton of Michael McDowell’. All this is grist to the SI’s mill, placing itself at a position it likes to think it occupies, that of – as Leahy notes, ‘significant player in Irish politics’. Whether that position is deserved is something that requires greater consideration some time, frankly I suspect it’s entirely overblown. And I also think, and it’s been said in the comments on this site previously, that all this is good for the SI, one way or another, for it shifts units of the newspaper.

But all that aside. One thing that the Sunday Independent and other commentators appear to have forgotten is that the last time that individual ran a political party things went, well… not so well. It is quite bizarre really, and perhaps along with the curious reification of Lucinda Creighton suggests that the materials for any such party are much less sturdy than might be thought.

Leahy notes that the latest salvo in the campaign was the poll in the Sunday Independent from the week before last (and followed up this week by yet more on the topic – it does fill pages, after all) which ‘demonstrated a great public appetite for a new party (46 per cent), a political alternative to an unpopular government and an opposition perceived as either not yet trustable or forgiven (Fianna Fail) or entirely unsuitable to be trusted with government for a variety of reasons (Sinn Fein).’

None of those are insignificant issues, but… they remain problematic. There seems to be a belief that the platonic form of the Irish political system must be one the one that far too many observers grew up under, with two large center/right parties and a smaller leftish party. But that hasn’t been the case since the late 1970s or very early 1980s, a quarter of a century or more now. And yet, time after time, in piece after piece this seems to be the implicit message, that if only we could get back to then all would be… better.

As Leahy notes:

It’s a refrain which has become familiar from forums well beyond the Sunday Indo in recent months. The foundation stone for the new party is the perceived widespread dissatisfaction with the existing party choices on offer to the electorate.

And he points to the manner in which SBP/Red C polls:

…apply a likely voter ”filter” – ie, an attempt to separate those respondents who will vote from those who express preferences and opinions but are unlikely to actually go to the polls on Election Day. It’s an obvious, but crucial, distinction but one which is ignored by many.
So while the polls with no likely voter filter usually put the undecideds at over 30 per cent, the Red C polls tend to put the number at about 20 per cent of those who are likely to vote. That’s a large number certainly, but as Richard Colwell of Red C points out, not much larger than you would expect at this mid-point in the electoral cycle.

That’s an useful point in itself. But let’s add another thought to it. There also appears to be a belief abroad that somehow the current situation is serving a large group of the electorate poorly and that the position that is most underserved is that on the right. I think though McDowell’s and Creighton’s latest comments which have, unusually, started to send signals to the ‘working class’ suggest that that is a mistake. For the opening would appear to actually be on the centre left, those voters who are unpersuaded by the temptations of Sinn Féin, but have no truck with either the Labour Party (having been burned by said party) or the further left. Now I wouldn’t overstate this. I suspect we’re talking about sufficient numbers to support five or seven TDs, and in a way the nascent formation around Nulty/Broughan/Pringle/Halligan and Murphy (and their joint Budget submission) is the closest that we come to such a grouping. But their problem is that they’re Independents. Which leads to a further thought. It is entirely possible that many in the electorate are entirely happy with the prospect of Independents coming to the fore. Where many of us may see chaos and heterogeneity in the Technical Group and beyond some may see that as acceptable, even laudable, given the failures of FF/FG and the LP. And, of course, there are parties within the Independent/Others category.

The latest news this morning that some flesh may put upon those bones of the social democratic left is interesting, but the key lines to me are as follows:

The TD said an announcement could come shortly after Christmas, with the possibility of a large meeting in January. “There is no question, it is going to happen.”

While:

Catherine Murphy said the discussions did not yet “constitute a serious proposal, but that’s not to say a serious proposal might not emerge”.

Add in all the ‘mights’ and ‘discussions’ and ‘potential’ and while it is entirely plausible and quite possible something might emerge in a formalised manner it is clear it won’t be a political party as such, at least not this side of an election. Indeed, for all the hoopla the story itself notes this when quoting the unnamed TD quoted directly above:

One TD said there had been preliminary discussions about running “left-wing and community candidates” under the banner of a loose grouping or brand such as “Independent Vision”.

So on balance this is all a bit of a media construct, yes, there are movements, perhaps dynamics, that push towards some sort of working together and consolidation of forces (as with the Budget submission) but it’s far from a party and no inevitability that it will take the shape the media is putting upon it. doctorfive cogently asked whether the Reform Alliance had pushed the social democratic left TDs to this. No is the answer, but it’s whetted the appetite of the media to ask more pointed questions of that cohort of TDs and Councillors and probably won’t hurt in the ultimate development of matters.

So Leahy’s words on this ring true:

In other words, the contention that there is a heaving mass of votes craving an alternative political choice which they are currently denied but would jump at if it was offered, rests, I think, on shaky enough foundations. It is certainly true that this appetite is there; I just wouldn’t overstate its extent. Irish political brands are remarkably durable.
But the most remarkable thing about the momentum for a new party – if that is what it is – is that nobody seems to care what it might actually stand for. This is not because its expected leaders – McDowell himself, Lucinda Creighton, Billy Timmons, Denis Naughten – don’t have strong, identifiable political positions (the opposite is obviously the case), but because they don’t want to scare off anyone who might be interested in joining them.
So McDowell’s call-to-arms article in the Sunday Indo last weekend was headlined by the remarkable assertion that it didn’t matter whether the new party was right-wing or left-wing or centrist.

Still, Leahy takes a, perhaps, predictable approach in the following:

Irish politics is moving to a position where fiscal circumstances will be such that governments and parties will be forced to make choices about the basic distributional questions of politics: the size of the state, the level of taxation acceptable and the level and universality of the services the state provides.

I think that that’s getting the dynamic almost entirely wrong. That’s what has happened, that is precisely why there is fatigue with austerity. That is why, to a greater or lesser extent all the three formerly largest parties are struggling (though, and this is crucial, Fine Gael – supposedly open to some challenge from the right – least of all).

In any event the troika and after have, largely, pushed those issues to the sidelines, in a political sense, in that the three largest parties (albeit with caveats from FF) acquiesce to their demands.

That too is what makes the concentration on the right of FG so curious. For any party that establishes itself on that terrain is effectively only going to ask for greater measures of those politics, not lesser (and consider the plight of Shane Ross at the moment who has taken a markedly populist turn despite also being, on paper at least, ideologically close to such an approach, perhaps precisely due to the contradictions implicit in such positioning when there is a broad, although inchoate, antagonism to ‘austerity’). Small wonder Creighton and McDowell are talking of the ‘working class’. They’ve got to get votes from somewhere and yet FG’s vote is – to judge from the polls – so far of the ‘traditional’ parties the one to remain most coherent. And if – as isn’t entirely unreasonable, the FF vote that has decamped in the past five years from that party is a leftish inclined one then said new party of C and McD must try to pull votes from… well… where?

And the logic of that is recognised by Leahy, for he correctly notes that:

Oddly, they are the sort of things that we all thought Michael McDowell had strong views about. I understand McDowell’s reluctance to be pigeonholed as right-wing, which is used as a term of abuse rather than a political description in Ireland. But I don’t understand how he would end up in the same party as men and women of the left like Catherine Murphy and Roisin Shortall and Finian McGrath.

Some of us might consider this new found broadness of vision, this pluralism, to be deeply deeply cynical.

And he concludes:

The debates of the future will be more recognisably conventional – tax cuts or public spending, investment by the state or more money in your pocket. If these sound terribly simple, it’s because, at heart, they are.
If I am right about that, there seems little room for another catch-all party reluctant to take strong positions. I have a feeling that McDowell might be more comfortable with this, actually.
Otherwise, there will be a suspicion a new party would simply be a device to ensure that one of the major centre right parties would not have to share power with Labour or any other left wing party.

Or perhaps, as Backroom notes, and more on this soon, it is due to an even more fundamental issue, a means of ensuring that the hated Shinners aren’t in or close to government any time soon.

And as the noises around the social democratic left TDs indicates, any potential ‘new’ right party will find no end of rivals in the field already and well capable of pulling votes from it. What next? What next indeed…

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