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Fantasy politics… July 10, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

There’s a profile of Catherine Murphy in the latest Phoenix. It details both her recent prominence in relation to Denis O’Brien, outlines her career and possible recent developments in regard to a parliamentary group/party comprising Róisin Shortall, Katherine Zappone and what the Phoenix describes as the ‘ideologically baffling’ Stephen Donnelly. It makes what I’d think is a sensible point that the ‘news’ of this putative formation was perhaps leaked in order that others might ‘share the political sunlight that has beamed down on Catherine in recent weeks’ (by the by, is it me or is there a somewhat belittling tone in relation to some of the descriptions such as Murphy’s supposed ‘mammy-like image’, etc, etc which is – frankly quite at odds with the reality of someone who is a long standing and very shrewd politician).

Anyhow. The piece runs through the fact there may be now two competing blocs of independents – the very very very loose Ross alliance and the potentially more coherent albeit still only leftish new formation. It seems to imply that others might join Murphy – and mentions Thomas Pringle and Maureen O’Sullivan. It also mentions Clare Daly but what of Joan Collins?

To be honest this all seems highly unlikely to me. Maureen O’Sullivan is a political sole trader, as was Tony Gregory. Thomas Pringle is probably more focused on the constituency he runs in, likewise with Collins and I’d hazard the new formation might be insufficiently left wing for him and her and Daly, Wallace and a.n.others – who also probably believe it too late in the day for anything new. Moreover all the above were elected as independents – particularly with polls showing continuing strong support for that particular category. Why change now?

Still, it goes on to suggest that the ‘rogue elephant in the room is of course SF and the trade-union backed left-alliance or Right2water campaign’. Really? That seems a questionable proposition. While in no way wishing to do down the efforts of those attempting to breathe life into that project it all seems somewhat unformed given how close we are to an election. Moreover SF can happily go its own way given the weight of support it has already constructed in the last decade or so.

But here we see a leap. Quite a leap too.

A left alliance that combined all the left TDs in the next Dáil would see a formidable block of, say, 30 SF TDs, six or so Trotskyists and perhaps ten clearly left-of-centre TDs; it might even involved a chastened and shrivelled Labour group of TDs that returns to a left wing stance. Such a block of 50 to 60 TDs could dominate any coalition alternative to a Fine Gael-led government.

Really? By my count 30 plus 6 is 36 plus 10 is 46 plus – say, being generous 10 Labour TDs (which is madly generous if we are to believe Adrian Kavanagh’s latest projections) is 56. Okay, 50 to 60 I guess. But… wait. How on earth is it seriously proposed that all those forces would work together? And where would additional TDs come from to make up the 20 to 30 necessary to cobble together a coalition in order to reach the 80 odd needed just to reach a majority. RENUA? Other Independents? Fianna Fáil? But that doesn’t make sense because most projection suggest FF will have more seats than SF, and in any case the idea of further left TDs entering a government with FF is absurd.

Is there another route? I’d love to hear it. But all this rhetoric makes it difficult not to feel that the ground is being prepared to put forward other options.

Eoin O’Broin writes in the SBP:

The reformist left, led by Labour and Siptu, have always set their sights too low. Overwhelmed by their lack of political strength, they were never able to raise their horizons beyond mitigating the worst effects of centre-right governments led by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
The revolutionary left, led by an alphabet soup of Leninist grouplets, has never been able to lift itself out of the comfort zone of pure opposition and slogan-based politics. Despite the important role these groups have played in many grassroots campaigns, their impossibilism has led to self-marginalisation.
The result has been a left that has never been able to make the transition from a temporary repository of public anger to an electoral force strong enough to lead a government.
For many of us, the Hobson’s choice of shouting from the side-lines or acting as the mudguard for the centre right has never been enough.
Those of us who are serious about building a better Ireland have long argued for the building of a radical and credible left that combines the best of the reformist and revolutionary traditions in order to seriously contend for power.

And obviously this means that his line is for SF plus a.n.others to be that serious radical credible left. I wouldn’t dismiss the argument out of hand in terms of how it may have some traction with the electorate. But even he appears to implicitly concede this would be more a case of positioning for the next election again. And that’s fair enough too. But… he knows, we know, that it is overwhelmingly more likely to be an SF plus a limited number of assorted others than anything much broader, and so indeed does the Phoenix. Doesn’t it?

Of course it does.

One other thing. I think it almost impossible for SF to be in government until the election after this next one. And no doubt there’s an element of positioning to claim the mantle of opposition both in advance of and after this next election. Everyone is going to be doing it, that’s the way of things. It’s not optimal in regard to any aspect of the left, though, is it? Not in power any time soon, either collectively or an element therein. Not in power perhaps until five or six years down the line. Perhaps not in power then either.


1. dublinstreams - July 10, 2015

https://who.is/whois/socialdemocrats.ie registered by somebody who lives in Greystones


2. ibis - July 10, 2015

The failure of the left to make serious political inroads despite the crisis is a testament to something, although I’m never sure exactly what. A failure to think beyond the “mitigation of centre-right policies”, perhaps?

Liked by 1 person

3. Starkadder - July 10, 2015

Good God, what an appalling publication “The Phoenix” is. Not
only do they have a sycophantic attitude to Gerry Adams, but
they’ve been publishing the EXACT SAME JOKES (the one
about the Irish Times letter pages) for the last three months.


4. gendjinn - July 10, 2015

Still see FG/FF govt after the GE. With FF collapsing it when the inquiry reports back at the end of 2016. I reckon they’ll be gambling on reversing position with FG and then taking the lead in an FF/SF govt. I doubt SF would go for that but that would leave FF going back into coalition this time as an FF/FG govt. Kicking any chance of SF led govt down to 2021 during which time SF may hit problems, run out of momentum and/or been bought out by the establishment forces.

Remember the Blake’s 7 episode where the president was killed when he lost a vote? Perhaps turning our govt system into a bloodsport is the only chance we will ever have of getting satisfaction from the feckers?


dublinstreams - July 11, 2015

FF+FG in gov and SF as the main opposition? :/ nightmare


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