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UK GE as seen from the ROI May 12, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, Irish Politics.
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Good piece by Pat Leahy in the Business Post on the British General Election. He marks out three areas which are of interest, and importance in some respects, to this state. First up the danger of Brexit. He notes that there is broad consensus that that would ‘have calamitous consequences for Ireland. At the very least, it would complicate hugely relations with Northern Ireland – given that the border would become an EU frontier’.
Truth, I suspect, is that would perhaps be less of a problem given that Ireland and Britain are islands. The border would indeed become an EU frontier, but… some form of local dispensation would probably operate with a somewhat stronger regime in place at entry ports in this state. We already operate opt-outs from Schengen. It’s not difficult to see those being boosted in some form or fashion to keep everything sweet on the island.

But it’s not just the border. Leahy makes a very very persuasive point that…

In pursuit of the objective to avoid a Brexit, Ireland will likely become Britain’s strongest ally in negotiations to secure new terms for British membership. The Irish government will want to help the British get a deal that Cameron can endorse as a better deal for Britain, and so campaign for staying in.

You bet. Dublin will see it as explicitly in its interest that London remains inside the fold. And even if that falters, well, it will stick close to London one way or another. The economics of the situation will determine that.

Of course it’s not sensible to forget that inside the UK there are enormously powerful interests who will argue vehemently for a retention of the status quo. For all the vainglorious sub-ourselves alone stuff coming from UKIP and parts of the Tories, the city of London is all too well aware how – rather like this state – there is a benefit from being on the edge of the EU, but in. Always in.

So there’s no certainty that a referendum will be lost, one way or another. At least not yet.

Leahy also notes that the result in Scotland has to increase the chances of independence or some much greater degree of autonomy. Very possibly, albeit that is further down the line. That said he also points to the fact that in Northern Ireland unionism had a pretty good election. Republican and nationalist increases stymied. Alliance seen off. The UUP back in the game (no small thing that). It’s all very 1990s, isn’t it? Actually it is, rather like the continuing hold FF has on a body of the Irish electorate, a testament to how change can even after massive events come slower than might be expected, how it can even appear to be reversed.

Leahy then goes on to examine the more – shall we say – local implications, how the dynamics apparent in the UK might be reflected in terms of the Coalition here.

The fact is that a government that shredded many areas of public spending, that demobbed half a million public sector workers, that cut taxes for the wealthy and cut welfare benefits for millions of people on the margins has been resoundingly re-elected in a country not all that dissimilar to ours.
What does this mean for Irish politics?

Well let’s start by noting Irish politics is radically different to UK politics. First past the post, no massive structural change in party support consequent on the crisis, the sheer fact the UK is a composite state, a Tory party which sits outside European Christian Democracy unlike, for the most part, Fine Gael, all these feed into massively different dynamics. So when Leahy points to the above one has to be very very careful in defining hard and fast potential outcomes.

He writes;

It’s possible to encapsulate three reasons why Cameron won: leadership, economic competence and the huge risk aversion of voters.

At least two of these three factors could apply to the next Fine Gael campaign. Enda Kenny – though having done the job of Taoiseach, he has neutralised many previous doubts about him – won’t win the election on his own. But he won’t lose it either. The two big coalition advantages are the economic record and the voters’ risk aversion. These are big things, and it is the big things that matter most. In short, the British election reinforces the centrality of economics in politics.

Yes. But. There’s a difference there too. Cameron didn’t face a running battle over a key element of economic policy − that being water charges. Nor at any point did he or Osborne have to rework their approach in a policy area like that due to popular protest. So while it is indeed the economy, it’s perhaps more than that.

I’d even wonder if it would be possible for Fine Gael to ‘demob’ public sector workers. Politically it would seem unlikely. Again, this is a different state, different dynamics.

Where it does seem possible to draw more direct comparisons, Leahy does so explicitly, is the comparison between the Liberal Democrats and Labour in this state. He’s not optimistic.

Perhaps the best model to follow is one of the few successful post-coalition small party campaigns in modern times – the Progressive Democrats in 2002. While the Fianna Fáil-PD government was running very much for re-election as a government, Michael McDowell unleashed a barrage of attacks on Fianna Fáil during the campaign, culminating in his famous “Single Party Government – No Thanks” posters. Whether Bertie Ahern would win a majority became the defining question of the last week, and the PDs doubled their seats.
Unless Labour can similarly elbow its way into the defining question of the final days, the fate of the Liberal Democrats surely beckons.

That’s a tough one to try to emulate. Not sure how it could be done. And we don’t need to look to the UK to see how this is likely to pan out – at best with a very few TDs returned. The experience of the Green Party, and the PDs just before them, tells us much we need to know about how ‘mudguard’ parties function in elections.

Not and well are two words that come to mind.

Still, for all that Leahy points to the significance of the election in the UK to this state, and perhaps how marginal this state is in regard to what happens afterwards in relation to decisions the UK takes.

Comments»

1. Gewerkschaftler - May 12, 2015

My guess is that the City of London & IFSC political proxies (i.e UK & ROI governments) will work with Schäuble and the CDU/CSU to strengthen the advantages to capital of the EU, while making all EU citizen benefits such as:

* freedom of movement

* human rights legislation

* legislation to limit ecological damage or

* control of (foreign) blanket surveillance

optional for member nations.

That sort of package would be sold as a victory the English and Welsh electorate and, they hope, secure them the referendum.

Job done – forward to the glorious customs union of authoritarian capitalist states!

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WorldbyStorm - May 12, 2015

So much for ‘social’ Europe so. Weren’t the SD left unbelievably naive

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Charlie - May 12, 2015

Proxies since yesterday? Were Nu Labour proxies just as yon Tories were before and after them. Controlling Labour so it acts as a party of the middle class demands is going to be the story of the next leader. A new proxy.

This being the case then the suggestion that controlling free movement will be an option is a surprise.

Free movement of labour was championed by the very same persons who cannot be distinguished from the proxies.

There was not a point in the recent past where the obvious proxies displaced from the EU and its govts those who were not proxies so free movement is very much their policy, just as now there is no factor which should make us believe there will occur some conversion making them opponents of free movement.

The other points are unfortunately all too likely to be correct.

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2. Gewerkschaftler - May 12, 2015

At the same time the EU is being used (again led by the Brits) as the originator of further military action on Libyan territory, in the proposal to ‘take out’ the boats of suspected people smugglers in Libyan waters.

It’s fully predictable how this will work out, if it is agreed:

In Iraq you gave evidence to the ‘coalition of the willing’ that your enemy was working for the bad guys, and they carted him off to Guantanamo via Poland.

Now you let the EU spies know that the guy who competes for your fishing ground is a people smuggler. Boom.

Or some (experimental) algorithm run of surveillance data fingers some poor sod as a people smuggler. Boom.

It really beggars belief that they think the effects of war throughout an entire region (much of it caused by NATO members), can be ameliorated by more violence.

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Gewerkschaftler - May 12, 2015

of->on

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gendjinn - May 12, 2015

Everything being done by the US & Europe is about containing the environmental collapse and ensuing human catastrophe that is coming. You can see how all of North Africa is on fire or heading that way. Africans are going to be driven north and the Med is going to be the battleground. The kabuki security theatre at the airports, the creeping militarization of the police and surveillance states are all in preparation for the collapses heading our way. Google “bug out farms” – New Zealand is popular and the Bushes just bought in one in Paraguay.

Children of Men how are you?

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3. gendjinn - May 12, 2015

Let’s hope our idiots misread the reasons for the Tory victory and call an early election. Already hearing rumblings about an early budget and election in early September – have to be sure all those left voting youngsters are out of the country.

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