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A left voting pact of sorts… October 27, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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…according to the Irish Times

Sinn Féin is to enter into a vote transfer arrangement with parties and Independents who have signed up to a left-wing platform, although some will not return the favour by asking their voters to transfer to Gerry Adams’s party.

Sinn Féin will announce this week that it has signed up to a number of broad policy principles drafted by those behind the anti-water charges movement and ask its supporters to transfer to others who support the initiative.

And:

Party sources say supporters will be asked to continue their preferences for other parties and Independents who have signed up to the Right2Change policy principles. One source also said Sinn Féin signing up to this approach will create a “new dynamic” for the election.

The party believes those who sign up to the Right2Change approach will offer the electorate a left-wing proposition not available from any other parties or alliances.

Though:

However, Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy has said he will not ask supporters to transfer to Sinn Féin.

And:

While Sinn Féin is expected to ask its voters to transfer to others in the Right2Change movement others signing up to the principles are divided on whether they will reciprocate Sinn Féin’s transfer offer.

“It’s up to the People Before Profit and AAA,” said a Sinn Féin source.

To be honest such a voting pact, however unwieldy open and partial, is probably as good as it gets (Sinn Féin is quoted as saying that R2C’s goals are ‘aims rather than definitive commitments’. Still, this does place SF as explicitly seeking left votes and I wonder what implications that might have electorally.

Comments»

1. ShinnerBot - October 27, 2015

Like any broad-based party, Sinn Féin has a left bloc and a right bloc and Paul Murphy’s comments just add sucker to the right bloc in the party. Cheers Lads.

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Jolly Red Giant - October 27, 2015

And the SF leadership is willing to join with FF/FG/LP in coalition.

If the ‘left bloc’ in SF want to move the party to the left then they should challenge the leadership, oppose coalition with the right and call for a boycott of water charges.

SF have relentlessly attacked the AAA for the past two years and now the ‘left bloc’ blame Paul Murphy for adding ‘sucker’ – jeezzz

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Ed - October 27, 2015

‘aims rather than definite commitments’ – so not worth the paper they’re written on when it comes to the crunch. And Adams says SF will go into government with any party (his words, not mine).

I’ve read Paul Murphy’s comments on the whole question of SF, left alliances, coalition with FF/FG/Labour etc; not just here, over the past few months; and I think he’s done a very good job of keeping the focus on the key issue: do we rule out forming a government with right-wing, pro-Troika parties or not? If that makes anyone in SF uncomfortable, left bloc or right bloc or upside-down bloc, that’s not PM’s fault.

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CL - October 27, 2015

The neoliberalism embedded in the Lisbon Treaty, the Growth and Stability Pact, and the Fiscal Compact, needs to be rejected and opposed and not made palatable as the right2change economic doc tries to do.

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2. CL - October 27, 2015

I see where Stephen Collins in the I.T is saying that Paul Murphy is opposed to the transfer pact because he wants transfers from F.G. and Labour voters.

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Jolly Red Giant - October 27, 2015

yada yada

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3. dublinstreams - October 27, 2015

SF’s statement http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/36979 R2C is sufficiently vague

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dublinstreams - October 27, 2015

which is linking to an earlier version of the right2water proposals rather then the right2change ones, no mention of the breathlysing politicains in the later version http://www.right2water.ie/sites/default/files/media/Right2Change%20Policies.pdf

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CL - October 27, 2015

‘We support these policies’-McDonald. What policies?

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dublinstreams - October 27, 2015
CL - October 27, 2015

Having rightly debunked the nebulous notion of a ‘structural deficit’, the ‘right2change’ document then continues to give this regressive concept of orthodox economics way too much influence as a criterion of fiscal policy aims. Neoclassical economics should not form the basis of any progressive agenda,-regardless of how much its proponents are hankering after ‘responsibility’ and ‘respectability’.

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Jolly Red Giant - October 27, 2015

Actually as WbS has pointed out –

“One Sinn Féin source suggested the goals were aims, rather than definitive commitments.”

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dublinstreams - October 27, 2015

yes I linked to the economic doc and and the policy doc, just so CL could no longer pretend not to know they exist.

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CL - October 27, 2015

ds,-Thanks for that; see above comment.

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4. irishelectionliterature - October 27, 2015

I think although it’s vague, it’s a sign that the mass of recent media focus on SF has meant that they are less likely to attract voters from the centre. It was similar when the WP were making progress and all of a sudden you’d have articles and programmes on the existence of The Official IRA.
They are looking leftwards as that currently is the only area where they feel that there is growth. There is no possibility of FF , Labour or FG going into Government with them. So to present themselves as an alternative Government they have to have some form of potential coalition partners hence using the Right2Change banner.

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Jolly Red Giant - October 27, 2015

I would have to disagree that there is no prospect of FF/FG/LP going into coalition with SF – if it is necessary to get power that right will have no problem pulling the trigger (no pun intended – not)

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NerissaDantone - October 27, 2015

How long has the record been broken, Haugh?

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WorldbyStorm - October 27, 2015

Does it really seem likely that a party which has Maria Cahill as its Seanad candidate could seriously go into power with SF? Doesn’t that seem just a fraction improbable JRG. I do have to wonder whether there’s any appreciation on parts of the left of just how hated SF is amongst FGers and LPers, and FFers are none too fond either. This both political and more than or less than political. It’s about self perception as parties of order, or peace, a (genuine even if sometimes overdone) sense of anger and horror at aspects of the conflict, an identification with the Gardai and in a lower key way with the idea if not necessarily the reality of law and order in the North, etc, etc. Add in the fear amongst some of them that SF is eating into their vote and the idea they’ll do deals any time soon is for the birds. More importantly they don’t have to, even after an election they can go minority govt etc.

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Jolly Red Giant - October 27, 2015

Paddy has outlined how FG had no problem going into government with former IRA men in the past.

As for Maria Cahill – she will be out of the picture by the time the election comes about. The LP pulled a stunt (which Cahill should not have agreed to – it undermines her motives) and even if she wins the LP only have 50 councillors for the next senate elections and a posse of defeated TDs looking for refuge.

When it comes to power, hatred is a dispensable luxury – the practicalities of power come into play. The biggest issue for a coalition within SF will probably come from within SF which does have people who would regard such a coalition (either with FF or FG) as a bridge too far. But the SF leadership have already shown they could marshal their members to accept the DUP and Tory austerity I am sure they could create a siege mentality to get it accepted without too much of a schism.

It’s not a forgone conclusion – there is political ambition and long term interests in the mix – but there is nothing in history that would prohibit it.

There is another issue – any government containing SF would have (unrealistic) expectations that the government couldn’t deliver – the government would be unstable, would be unlikely to have a chuckle brothers, and would lurch from crisis to crisis with the likelihood that SF would walk at some point.

A minority government would be a non-runner from the perspective of the establishment – they need some element of stability for their ‘recovery’ and a minority government wouldn’t cut it.

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WorldbyStorm - October 27, 2015

Yeah, in a situation where there were protagonists in both FG and FF who had been involved in the hard end of the WOI and Civil War and who would have known those in FF and later CnaP (it’s not like anyone in FG or FF identifies or finds any common cause with Adams and Co.) and for the latter during periods of much much lower levels of IRA activity of a sort not comparable with the conflict of the post 1969 period. Murder is indeed murder but the nature of the conflict was more focussed albeit over a longer time period, leaned more on certain forms of asymmetric warfare, etc, etc. The comparison doesn’t hold up.

And the point isn’t whether Cahill is in or out of the Seanad, but that this gives an insight into a strand, a very very strong strand in the LP. It doesn’t matter if it is a stunt or not, there are those in the LP who see this as representative of their party. You may think them wrong but that’s their thinking. Perhaps with two TDs they’ll hold their noses, but I’m dubious.

You talk about hatred but you aren’t even considering relatively recent political history. You and I are of an age so you have to recall that iIn 1994 FG resiled at the idea of any lash-up with the then recently formed DL The numbers weren’t quite right, but the idea was mooted and rapidly shot down by Bruton et al. It took a few years out of power and working with them in the Dáil in opposition, a process I saw first hand, for them to come around to this. And that wasn’t with the WP but with a new formation, and that wasn’t with SF and thirty years of conflict but a successor party to a group that had ceasefired two decades before.

Now we’re not talking OIRA here, a body that had in the early 1990s been out of the picture to all intents and purposes politically and lacked a broader influence and was in fact a proximate cause for the foundation of DL as a ‘cleaner’ party but PIRA with an Army Council that as recently as this last week is said to still be extant and ‘overseeing’ the SF project. That’s no surprise to you or me or anyone with their eyes open, and arguably a lot less sinister than it could be, but to some this is terrible. I think they’ve naive or obtuse or opportunist to hold that view but it doesn’t matter what I think or you, it is a perception.

And again, finally, on current polling it’s just not going to happen. There’s no need for it. There are easier – better – alternatives for both FG and FF. I love it that you say a minority government is a non-runner for reasons of stability and yet a government with SF as a component somehow you clearly imply is! That makes no sense at all and again flies in the face of actual Irish political history where in the 87 to 89 period Alan Dukes and FG played to the hilt the idea they were doing the right and decent thing in providing… why yes, precisely the stability you speak of. Moreover it’s more sensible because they can then run to the country after a couple of years and some small growth and hope that SF have been pushed back in their box along with Ind and Others.

It’s utter cobblers JRG and I’m amazed you don’t see it. Or perhaps you do and it’s handy to put the idea abroad as a handy stick to beat SF with. After all, you yourself say (whether you believe it or not, and probably you do) that they’ll do anything.

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CL - October 27, 2015

So if neither FG nor FF nor Lab will go into coalition with Sinn Fein, what does Sinn Fein hope to gain by expressing a willingness to go into coalition with these ‘Troika parties’?

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WorldbyStorm - October 28, 2015

Well at a minimum in saying that it positions itself for second third and fourth preferences from FF in particular, not many but every one counts, and it lays the ground for a time further down the line when a newer leadership arrives and a still chastened FF might be desperate to do a deal. I’m not saying the LP or FF would never do a deal ever, five ten years from now the situation might be different, though maybe not. FG I’d put good money on it being decades if ever before they did. I think it’s very unwise to take party statements at face value, everyone has an angle.

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CL - October 28, 2015

Yes, that’s plausible. S.F wants to be transfer friendly. But by its willingness to coalesce with the neoliberal parties it distances itself from the left.

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Dr.Nightdub - October 28, 2015

While SF being in coalition with the DUP is, on the surface, one of the most unnatural coalitions you could imagine, it’s hardly a matter of choice – it’s an inevitable consequence of the structures set up under the GFA. I’m not saying both sides haven’t held their noses and got on with the practicalities of it, but I think it’s fair to say neither lot rushed approached it with any sense of “this is what we really want.”

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Dr.Nightdub - October 28, 2015

“rushed approached it” = pretty much how I edited that post

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WorldbyStorm - October 28, 2015

That’s it exactly Dr. Again people aren’t comparing like and like. None of which can or should give SF a blank cheque btw. But context isn’t unimportant.

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Ed - October 28, 2015

WBS, it may well be that FF/FF/Labour won’t need to do a deal with SF, that they have other options which are safer from their point of view. I’d bet on that outcome myself. But it’s not a healthy state of affairs if we’re relying on the conservative parties to maintain principles by default. I think it’s fairly clear now, after all the aggressively vague Facebook posts from people like Brendan Ogle over the past year, that the trade union officials behind Right 2 Change are pushing heavily for a government to be formed with SF, left-independents, the Social Democrats, and FF and/or Labour to make up the numbers; that’s what they mean when they talk about a ‘progressive government’ and rail against people on the socialist left for not lining up behind their project. If a government like that was actually formed, it would end in a demoralizing failure and set back prospects for the Irish left over the long run (as pointed out above, we already have a SF ‘source’ saying that the Right 2 Change policies are ‘aims, not commitments’). We need to talk about that in its own right, instead of just depending on the Troika parties to stop SF from ditching their current programme to get into office in spite of themselves.

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WorldbyStorm - October 28, 2015

But it’s all academic Ed, isn’t it? FF would split over a deal with SF and the left- does anyone seriously think John McGuinness or Dara Calleary (ex Chambers Iteland) or Michael McHrath (chartered accountant) or whoever are going to go in- they’re just a step shy of being PDs, indeed if one looks at the difficulties some people on the left have working with SF that too seems to be very unlikely.The poll numbers don’t come right either, there won’t be enough FF and SF TDs elected even with Ind/Others (55 SF/FF needing 24 ind others to just get to 79). Moreover what is in this for the left or FF? For the latter it would be giving SF credibility when it needs for its own sake to do the opposite, for the left it would be propping up the party that is in large part responsible for the crisis. Never say never but I’m surprised that there’s serious talk of left govt with or without FF and FG.

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Ed - October 28, 2015

I really think you’re being obtuse here: all this breathless talk from certain quarters about a ‘progressive government’ being within our grasp is implicitly based on the idea that FF would go into government as a junior partner with SF and others; SF’s position is explicitly based on that idea, they’ve discussed it openly. So why can’t we discuss that on its own merits, rather than just saying ‘it’s all academic anyway, why bother even talking about it?’ You might be surprised that there’s serious talk of this, but there’s talk of it all the same, from people in fairly influential positions. That makes it serious.

After all the shifts at the ballot box since 2007, we should be very slow to dismiss anything as ‘academic’, anyway. The idea of FF being overtaken by Labour would have definitely seemed academic after the 2007 election; the idea of Labour being overtaken by SF would have seemed academic after 2011. A lot of surprising things have happened, and will no doubt continue to happen.

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WorldbyStorm - October 28, 2015

But it still remains academic Ed. SF are attempting to maximise their vote to left and right, no wonder they talk of a progressive government with FF (there may be a contradiction in terms there but it allows for preferences left and right) but if I take that talk with a pinch of salt because FF participation is a) vanishingly unlikely for all the reasons already outlined , b) not exactly reassuring in relation to a real progressive govt, albeit any such govt that might be formed might be a but less worse than say FG et al and c) implausible to impossible on polling numbers and has for years then I don’t think I’m being obtuse in dismissing it as a topic.of discussion beyond saying its very very unlikely to happen and no one involved from any quarter is entirely serious about it. It’s just not serious politics, it’s electoralism on everyone’s part much as Aaa-PBP is too. I don’t really feel that there’s much useful to be said other than that this is what parties do and I don’t feel massively critical of it either.

As to the shifts yes if there was a united ‘leftish’ bloc inc SF etc then some progress might be made but there’s not and not going to be for obvious structural and ideological reasons – and for all the shifts there’s one point that is crucial to keep in mind: in 2007 FF/FG/LP got c78% in 2011they got c72%. That last after a massive economic crisis etc. But the outcomes you point to re FF and the LPs fate weren’t academic if one looked at polling across the preceding year or two. They weren’t in other words entirely unpredictable.

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WorldbyStorm - October 28, 2015

I’ve been thinking a bit more about this Ed over lunch and by the by it seems to me that in this engagement we actually are discussing this! Anyhow I’ve already explained why I think that given what we know about the environment, the context etc there are too many links in the chain to take us to an SF led, FF participating government.

But it strikes me that different points on the left have, to be frank, different principles. For SF government with FF isn’t it would appear a deal-breaker, at least not majority SF government. To many of us that would raise serious questions. To many others of us that would be entirely out of bounds.

But my sense is the best approach is to ignore all that and just maximise the left vote broad and all. That’s just my opinion but I do think the more left voices in the Dáil the better, and I mean all points on the left (bar the LP!).

Just on your substantive point, I wonder where is the left government talk coming from? SF primarily, R2W after that and a smattering of Inds. PBP and AAA kind of danced around it with the former more positive.

I heard Paul Murphy say that they might consider an SF government that said it would jettison austerity (no doubt we’ll have revolutionaryprogramme on amongst others saying that that isn’t a left position per se and it isn’t), but I think it vanishingly unlikely that the SP would support an SF led government in any circumstances. I think PBP might at a push.

I think SF would love, as any party would, to be the primary element of a coalition with some like minded left inds. But that’s not going to happen. The fall back is FF in government with them since FF is the only formation likely to go there – at least in theory.

But… and this is where alarm bells go off in my mind, there’s no evidence FF would go into power with SF, there’s no appetite or enthusiasm at all. Now I know that, and I know you know that, so clearly SF knows that too. Which makes all this seem like shadow boxing to me.

Maybe SF are trying to soften up the political terrain, but… 16 per cent in the polls doesn’t give them much to work on (albeit it is a creditable performance to put it mildly – though still less than the LP last time out).

My takeaway from this is that SF’s view is different to much of the further left in that it would countenance leading an administration supported by FF. Well good luck with that, but there’s not a lot I can do to change their mind there – and in fairness they’ve never afaik made the issue a full point of principle – and it’s so unlikely that I’m not sure I’d even bother.

Of course you’re right, they might wind up due to some catastrophe between now and Feb/March 2016 in just that position. But that’s a further link added to the chain. And if they are they still won’t be listening to us. That raises a point, what can anyone do about this? What is your recommendation?

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Ed - October 28, 2015

After all, it’s not as if the Provos have ever quietly assured their own supporters that they’ll never do something, it’s all a tactical ploy to strengthen their position, and in any case the other side will never agree to it so it’ll never arise—only to turn around and do that very thing. The history of the peace process doesn’t give us any examples of that happening at all …

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WorldbyStorm - October 28, 2015

I’ve absolutely not ruled that out Ed anywhere above, if anything I’ve stressed the electoralist aspects but there is if we like ‘flexibility’ in SF’s position since its not a core principle as such. But it still takes two to tango.

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5. Pasionario - October 28, 2015

One of the more admirable aspects of the SP is their long-term, principled attitude towards SF/PIRA as well as sectarianism and terrorism in general. No other group on the left has been so consistent. And they are right to emphasize SF’s opportunism.

But I wonder whether they are missing a trick here. If SF is calling for a left transfer pact, then why not say: Okay, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt but if they then go and do a deal with FF, then their true motives will have been proven. In that event, the SP and others could argue convincingly that SF had acted in bad faith, and then exploit the resulting gap on the left. Conversely, if SF follow through on their leftish commitments, then that would be welcome too.

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WorldbyStorm - October 28, 2015

That would be close to my feeling – though Id like a read on how transfers might help or hinder others and myself before committing if I was inclined to join such a pact. But I do think this is a real opportunity to put it up to SF as to where they are and where they stand. And it puts it up to everyone else too.

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dublinstreams - October 30, 2015

wbs would you go round encouraging people to transfer to SF, (I wouldn’t)

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WorldbyStorm - October 30, 2015

I wouldn’t necessarily focus it down like that. Some people on the left will vote SF, others won’t. I’d certainly want to look at the individual candidate before making a personal decision. Some I like a lot because of their work etc, others not so keen. But as I think I was saying to Ed my goal would be as large a left of centre cohort as is possible – we’ll know by their actions where people are subsequently. And to be honest I think that is potentially win win for the left though short of a left government the situation for the working class isn’t likely to see any improvement across the next five years.

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dublinstreams - October 30, 2015

SP can’t just say its a personal decision, what would that point of that be? you want SP to join national SF transfer pact but you wouldn’t encourage anyone to transfer to SF yourself.

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WorldbyStorm - October 30, 2015

Actually I’m not sure I’ve expressed anything on here to suggest anyone should join any pact at all. I’m not against such a pact, not sure how it works in practice, think I noted on another thread that the Pringle case shows the structural problems of same, but I’m not particularly exercised by it either way. I’m not really in the business of arguing that people should do anything bar vote left. How they define left is up to them.

All the above developed out of a comment JRG made where he suggested that FF and FG and SF could easily participate together in a coalition. I’m entirely sceptical as regards that proposition.

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dublinstreams - October 30, 2015

wbs you agreed with Pasionario

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Pasionario - October 31, 2015

I don’t like SF at all. Frankly, I don’t particularly like the SP either (though I’ve always voted for them given the chance). Both parties have a lot of undesirable baggage (SF’s is obviously much heavier). But if there’s going to be any kind of serious left-wing movement in Ireland, then SF will be at the heart of it. You’ve got to work with the political conditions as you find them. On that basis, a transfer pact is the absolute minimum that is required.

And yes, SF could just as easily jump into coalition with FF, but a transfer pact based on an explicit commitment to left-wing policies is the best way of forestalling that.

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WorldbyStorm - October 31, 2015

I hope there’s no contradiction there dublinstreams. I pointed out that I’d be very careful to enter any pact, but that this could be an opportunity to put it up to SF in relation to where they stand. Again, I’m not that exercised one way or another. I don’t mean that in a faux-casual, I’ve seen it all before way. I genuinely think there’s SFA chance of SF in government this time around. Perhaps that is colouring my view too much, and if they are in a position to go in I apologise in advance. But as it stands this seems like worrying about issues that aren’t that great because they’re so hypothetical rather than just getting as many left TDs from whatever quarter elected. Others as is clear on here will differ and that’s perfectly grand.

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dublinstreams - October 31, 2015

wbs I don’t think they’d get the numbers this time either so why should SP tell people to transfer to them,(which I think its a big deal) if its not even close? You still seem to be suggesting that SP do something you wouldn’t.

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WorldbyStorm - October 31, 2015

I still can’t see where I’m demanding anything of anyone. I’ve said that I’d be cautious about pacts. I’ve suggested it may have some value as Pasionario suggests to see the colour of SF’s money. To state that latter is not to demand that the SP sign up. I’ve not stated at any point the SP should do anything if they don’t want to. Nor, as far as I can see, have I uttered a word of criticism about anyone who doesn’t want to enter any such pact. To say it may be useful isn’t to say that it is useful for everyone or that there aren’t factors that would keep some people from joining any such pact. After all both the SP and Social Democrats have both declined the offer – they can’t be forced to sign up.

I would still like to see as many candidates as possible elected on all sides of the left. But to be honest that means some fancy footwork on the part of voters in various points as to how best to maximise numbers. I don’t think demanding people do x or y or z is a good idea. Perfectly okay if some parties sign up for a vote transfer pact, that is grand. Fine if others don’t. No doubt in various different contexts both approaches will work for the various parties and formations involved.

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dublinstreams - October 31, 2015

wbs. I didn’t say you were demanding i said you were suggesting, which you were.

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WorldbyStorm - October 31, 2015

My bad re demanding, but I wasn’t suggesting without the following caveat ‘ though Id like a read on how transfers might help or hinder others and myself before committing if I was inclined to join such a pact.’

That’s a fairly substantial one, I’d have thought. It’s certainly not – rush in without thinking it through. This could be an opportunity, but it would require very careful consideration.

Clearly it’s all moot since they decided not to.

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Phil F - October 29, 2015

Everything about SF is bad faith these days, but your praise of the SP is misplaced. These rats scabbed on the 1981 hunger strikes and their co-thinkers in Britain did everything possible to obstruct people in the labour movement there trying to build support for the five demands.

Today they have in their ranks prison officers, including one of the key leaders of that union in the six counties – these are the people currently brutalising republican prisoners in Maghaberry:
https://theirishrevolution.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/the-socialist-party-and-the-screws/

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Jolly Red Giant - October 29, 2015

More bullshit – the only union in the North to support the five demands was NIPSA and guess who proposed the motion in support of the five demands – yes indeed – members of the SP.

And of course republicans never miss an opportunity to swing a bat at the SP – no matter how far off base they are.

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WorldbyStorm - October 29, 2015

Well in fairness it’s not quite the picture of unalloyed virtue you present JRG. For all the horror expressed at SF musing about leading a govt with FF as a minor partner for some the history of a group within a minor component participating time and again in coalition with a larger right of centre party will come to mind. A group that had to be expelled before it saw the light.

You see how easy all this is and how pointless.

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Dave Tracey - October 29, 2015

the SP also forced the expulsion of members of the Communist Party from NIPSA. Utterly disgraceful acts of leftist sectarianism but par for the course for this shower.

People and communities are copping on to them though. The voting pact with PBP is a result of the dead-end they found themselves in with AAA because, apparently, ordinary people do not take kindly to being told what to think from Kevin McLoughlin.

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6. Saorlaith - October 28, 2015

Sad at reading this thread-instead of uniting around the common ground we all share and attempting to maximise the potential to advance all progressive forces on this island as a catalyst to bring about meaningful change, it seems that many would rather prefer to adopt an elitist and sectional position and in doing so help perpetuate the political status quo.

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Ed - October 28, 2015

Yes, it definitely is sad that SF won’t maximise the potential for progressive forces to unite by ruling out forming a coalition with right-wing, pro-Troika parties. There’s a great opportunity to break the conservative mould of Irish politics over the next few years, but unfortunately it does seem as if SF would prefer to adopt an elitist and sectional position towards others on the left that helps perpetuate the status quo. Very true what you say,

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Liberius - October 28, 2015

You’re assuming that SF are something other than a continuation of the (economic) status quo, something that many socialists would reject as being an absurdity. Their glorious leader Gerry Adams himself said that they were a ‘very pro-business’ party; who are we to contradict the great man!

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7. Saorlaith - October 28, 2015

There’s always a dilemma in trying to effect progressive change-do we stick to our purist ideological positions, come what may, and by doing so ensure we will never be in a position to have the political power to effect meaningful change to the lives of ordinary people or do we seek to co-operate with those who share most of the common aims and objectives?

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Ed - October 28, 2015

Yes, there is a dilemma, and you need to address your questions to the SF leadership: are they going to stick to their purist ideological position of not ruling out forming a coalition with right-wing parties, which will ensure they are never in a position to have the power to effect meaningful change, or do they co-operate with those who share most of SF’s (declared) aims and objectives?

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Saorlaith - October 28, 2015

I think the SF position as adopted at Ard Fheis 2015 is to rule out entering coalition with FG/FF as a minority partner-but whole thrust of discussion at Ard Fheis was about building left alternative against austerity and I don’t know of any SFers who are not seeking this outcome. So SF’s preferred option for government in promoting idea of this pact is obvious. What I do find it hard to stomach is the hypocrisy of some of those who are now balking at the idea such of a voting pact-who were heralding, as a monumental game-changer for socialism in Europe, Syrisa’s election win in January of this year even though it came to power by entering into coalition government with the right wing Independence Party e.g.

IRISH TIMES WED 28 JAN 2015 Quote:

Speaking from Athens, the Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy described the result as “a huge victory for Syriza” and a “decisive rejection by the Greek people of savage austerity and a campaign of fear run by the Greek and EU establishment”.

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Ed - October 29, 2015

As it turned out, the coalition with ANEL didn’t seem to make much difference to the outcome in Greece, for better or worse; I don’t think things would have been very different if they had got a few more seats and an overall majority, that wasn’t what led to their defeat in July. The pro-Troika elements, at home and abroad, were actually very unhappy about Syriza forming a government with ANEL; they wanted them to be dependent on votes from To Potami or Pasok, who would be taking orders directly from Merkel and co and would sabotage any attempt to resist Troika diktats. Probably the capitulation in July would have come sooner if they had gone down that road. SF and others forming a coalition with support from FF would be roughly similar to Syriza forming a coalition with support from Pasok (the two parties have a fair bit in common); the only analogy for the coalition with ANEL would have been if some of the greener elements in FF had broken away in protest at the deal with the Troika and formed their own, neo-Dev, type of party to oppose it, with some mad Catholic reactionary stuff in the mix. It’s not ‘hypocrisy’ on PM’s part, because you’re not comparing like with like (also, he would have been sounding a few cautious or critical notes about Syriza right from the start, whether or not the Irish Times chose to quote him on that).

Anyway, there are a few things to be learnt from the Greek experience. In Greece, there was a party from a radical-left tradition just a few seats short of a majority in parliament, with support from a right-populist party that had all kinds of dodgy positions but was quite hostile to the Troika; they ended up buckling under the pressure all the same. What are the chances of a better outcome in Ireland if we have a (hypothetical) government led by SF, whose leftist credentials are open to question, with support from left-independents of one kind or another (many of them not very radical at all), the Social Democrats (ditto), and then FF and/or Labour, both of which have cheerfully and enthusiastically done the Troika’s bidding without a word of complaint? That’s what people are expecting the radical left to sign up to, and accusing them of nasty sectarian leanings when they raise any questions.

It’s usually not stated explicitly: people like Brendan Ogle (who has been the most vocal in pushing this stuff) say ‘will you agree to form a progressive government after the next election?’, then repeatedly and aggressively refuse to answer the question ‘what if SF, PBPA, AAA and left-independents don’t have a majority between them; what then?’; they just accuse people of being defeatist or sectarian or whatever else. They’ve been so persistent in their refusal to answer that question that I can only assume the answer is, they are open to the idea of bringing FF and/or Labour into the picture. I would much rather they came out openly and said so; the assumption presumably is that FF are so keen to get back into government that they’ll sign up to the Right 2 Change programme if that’s what it takes. I think that would be a huge mistake; I think having FF and/or Labour in any ‘progressive’ government would be a certain guarantee of failure, built in right from the start; they would be ready to sabotage the whole project as soon as it got into the first serious confrontation with conservative forces. But I’d like to see that question and others debated openly.

A large part of my tetchiness on this comes from the fact that people don’t seem to be willing to have that kind of open discussion; they’re aggressively vague about what they’re actually calling for and come out with strident appeals for ‘unity’ while using the most divisive language to describe people who raise any questions. If you look at the Facebook pages for Joe Higgins or Paul Murphy from the last couple of days, you’ll find an avalanche of comments along those lines (accusing them of being cynical, power-hungry, not really caring about working-class people, etc), and they’re just following the lead of prominent people behind the Right 2 Change initiative who should really know better. I’ve never been slow to criticize the SP when I think they’re in the wrong, but I think they deserve better than this crap.

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sonofstan - October 29, 2015

‘Aggressively vague’ is spot on.

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WorldbyStorm - October 29, 2015

Ed I’ve got to ask again, what is your recommendation in all this?i may be doing you a disservice but reading between the lines it is difficult to believe you see any progressive potential in SF. Indeed you all but say they are doomed to fail given there’s only one somewhat unlikely but not entirely unfeasible way forward to a leftish govt even as SF frames it. That’s fair enough – there’s more than a few on the Irish left who feel that way, but then what do you think stood be done?

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Ed - October 30, 2015

I would have thought it was fairly obvious, but the concrete recommendation here is that SF rule out going into coalition with any of the Troika parties, and if that means staying on the opposition benches this time around, so be it; there simply isn’t much chance of a ‘progressive government’ being formed this time around, even in a very generous sense of the term.

What I think about their progressive potential isn’t the most important thing here: the fact is that a lot of people do see them as having progressive potential and are looking to them for a lead. I don’t think it’s especially useful or effective to get into one of those ‘SF aren’t a left party/SF are a pro-capitalist party’ lines of argument, it just ends up like a panto with ‘oh yes they are/oh no they’re not’; I think it’s better to take their current programme and rhetoric at face value and say ‘ok, if that’s what you want to achieve, why are you willing to go down a road that’s bound to end in failure and defeat?’

If you haven’t done so already, I’d suggest immersing yourself for an hour or so in one of these Facebook threads that I’ve been talking about, because that’s where this debate is happening at the moment. And it’s all being framed by certain people in exactly the way I describe, relentless pressure to sign up to something, relentless attacks on anyone who asks any questions.

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CMK - October 30, 2015

And bans, Ed, for some who ask too many questions. One particular ‘Vote Left’ page is blocking anyone who questions that page’s belief that FF could be a part of a ‘Left’ government.

This ‘Left government now!’ gang, who are coalescing around R2C, are cartoonishly sectarian in their intolerance of any kind of substantive debate, questioning or discussion.

Mr. Ogle for instance has been rude and utterly dismissive of well crafted arguments that poke holes in his approach.

Many of them are adopting a tone and approach that wouldn’t be acceptable here, I think.

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WorldbyStorm - October 30, 2015

Sorry, I don’t mean it in that sense Ed, I should have been clearer. Obviously that’s what you (and many on the left) want, that SF rule it out entirely whether with say FF as minor party but given that they’re probably not going to do that I suspect what then? Does one argue against voting for SF candidates ie what concrete actions in the absence of this do you think ard appropriate?

It’s also fair to say I think that there are attacks from all quarters on all sides of this equation, I’ve certainly seen them too and in a way that’s fair enough the views are held on all sides entirely sincerely – some seeing some progress as feasible in an SF govt with FF in a supportying role others feeling equally sincerely that that progress can’t work.

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revolutionaryprogramme - October 30, 2015

“I don’t think it’s especially useful or effective to get into one of those ‘SF aren’t a left party/SF are a pro-capitalist party’ lines of argument,”

I guess that depends how important the class line and working class political independence is considered to be – not very by many of the posters on here it would seem.

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CL - October 30, 2015

Vote Sinn Fein,-return Fianna Fail to power!

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Ed - October 30, 2015

No RP, it depends on whether you want to win the argument and win more people over, or content yourself with more boiler-plate assertions and jargon that means very little to people outside a small circle of the converted. Saying ‘SF are a pro-capitalist party’ doesn’t have much resonance; they can brush that kind of rhetoric aside very easily and present their left critics as die-hard sectarians. Keeping the focus on why they won’t rule out coalition with FF has a lot more resonance and leads to broader questions about the character of SF. But I suppose I should really be condemning Right 2 Change because their statement of principles says nothing about a workers’ militia or forming soviets …

WBS, I wouldn’t tell people they should vote for SF, but I don’t think it’ll make a huge difference what people on the radical left say about them, most people have probably made up their minds whether or not to vote for them. I think they’ll get a good vote this time, a lot bigger than AAA-PBPA. I think the best thing the radical left can do is to preserve its own independence, run as many strong candidates as it can, maximise its own vote, keep a space open to the left of SF. Above all they should be positive as much as possible, run their own campaigns, put their own ideas across, try to win as much support for that as they can. SF will go their own way; criticise them as much as necessary but don’t turn it into the main focus.

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WorldbyStorm - October 30, 2015

Don’t think I’d disagree with any of that Ed. The best left showing possible is to me key. The more numbers the more chance of future progress.

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Liberius - October 30, 2015

One particular ‘Vote Left’ page is blocking anyone who questions that page’s belief that FF could be a part of a ‘Left’ government.

Had a look at that ‘Vote Left’ page today, amusingly they’re supporting DDI on the basis that they’ve signed themselves up to R2C. Lunacy.

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revolutionaryprogramme - October 31, 2015

Ed, At various times what “finds resonance” can be quite right-wing. Does that mean what we argue for should change just to get “resonance”?

I don’t agree. I tell the truth, as I see it, If that means I am in a minority then so be it. It is still the truth.

I am not sure exactly what argument you are trying to win by refusing to tell the truth about Sinn Fein’s capitalist programme. It certainly has nothing to do with trying to win the argument that there is a class line that should not be crossed. I can only presume that this is not important to you.

I am sure you have your own “red lines” which you would not argue to get resonance – our difference is over what exactly those “red line” issues are.

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revolutionaryprogramme - October 31, 2015

And a few points on Ed’s “humorous” comment:

“But I suppose I should really be condemning Right 2 Change because their statement of principles says nothing about a workers’ militia or forming soviets …”

There actually is a degree of truth in this. I would not “condemn” Right2Water for the content of their policy document but I would be critical of it as it presents the fantasy that fundamental social change in the interests of the majority is possible by reform within the existing structures of bourgeois rule.

The reality is that the idea of the the kind of fundamental social change which the R2C policy document is appealing to cannot be achieved through the existing structures of bourgeois rule. That kind of fundamental social change will require the working class to build its own organisations separate from, and in opposition to, those of the existing structures of bourgeois rule. We should of course use the existing structures as much as possible but not at the expense of buying into the lies of bourgeois “common sense” about the legal and parliamentary limits on how social change can come about.

The capitalist class cares NOTHING for working people and as an international class they are up to their armpits in blood as they will do anything to defend their rule and the wealth it brings them.

So yes I do believe that at some stage it will require organisations like workers’ militias and soviets (though the exact forms may be different from the historical examples) if that fundamental social change is to be achieved.

That doesn’t mean screaming for workers’ militia and soviets at every opportunity – but it does mean trying to encourage working class self-organisation wherever and whenever I can.

For instance in the anti-water charges movement it means, as I have done with some small degree of success in my own local community in Cobh, encouraging democratically organised community-based organisations to build for non-payment and physical disruption of meter installations.

This is something that Right2Water never did. I believe that was the result of the influence of Sinn Fein, aided and abetted by the trade union bureaucrats in R2W, wanting to keep the anti-water charges movement within the confines of bourgeois respectability and legality. This same influence is now finding its expression in Right2Change which wants to funnel the militancy of the anti-water charges movement into the safety valve of the parliamentary shell game behind the “progressive” capitalists of Sinn Fein.

The movement coming out of the anti-water charges campaign is faced with a choice of which strategic road to take. Militant class struggle and working class self-organisation or a focus on parliamentary reform and trust in the “progressive” capitalists of Sinn Fein.

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8. roddy - October 28, 2015

Adams uses the pro business line when harried by hostile journalists that SF would chase business out of Ireland and cause even more unemployment.Even the sticks took the line of supporting “inward investment”.Can anyone on here name me one example where Adams or SF supported “business” in an industrial dispute.

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Liberius - October 28, 2015

He said Sinn Féin has no intention of supporting increases in corporation tax and said Enda Kenny would do well to read Sinn Féin policies before misrepresenting them.

Gerry Adams said:

“Mr Kenny has clearly never read Sinn Féin’s position on corporation tax. We are very clear on this issue.

“Sinn Féin has no intention of supporting increases to the corporation tax levels in this state.

Quite friendly that given that it’s an obscenely low 12.5%. Out of curiosity Roddy what is SF party policy on Norwegian Air operating international routes out of Ireland (Ireland is essentially the airline equivalent of a delinquent registry) so they can dodge Norway’s labour laws?

http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/19550

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richotto - October 31, 2015

What is the PBP policy on Corporation Tax? I read a leaflet recently in which in their list of demands were that business are required to pay the 12.5% rate and no less. Is that all SWP look for nowadays from Corporate taxation?

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WorldbyStorm - October 31, 2015

If you look at their website this from this month:

http://www.peoplebeforeprofit.ie/2015/08/jobs-crisis/

(4) Increase corporation tax to 15% and ensure effective rate is 12.5%. The 12.5% corporation tax rate is the sacred cow of the Irish political establishment. They will impose brutal cuts on the incomes and services of the poor, the disabled and the vulnerable but never contemplate asking profitable corporations to make an extra contribution to the state in a time of unprecedented economic emergency. The policy of refusing to slightly increase taxes on profitable companies, while ordinary people are being driven into poverty is an obscenity. People Before Profit proposes (1) establishing a minimum effective corporation tax rate of 12.5% to raise €4 billion and (2) increasing the nominal corporation tax rate to 15% to raise €2 billion

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richotto - October 31, 2015

Ok, thanks for the link WBS. The point stands however; the SWP is advocating Corporate Tax rate lower than the policy most pro-business conservative parties in Europe let alone the “sellout” centre left parties. Surely the Corporate Tax poilcy goes to the heart of the left policy offering. But it does not seem to strike anyone on the left as particularly objectionable that Corporate tax haven rates stay under SWP proposals?

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WorldbyStorm - October 31, 2015

In fairness to the SWP/PBP actual imposition of the effective corporation tax rate would be an huge improvement.

I take your point, but in a sense the only person on this thread who has a leg to stand on is revolutionary programme who argues that it’s all compromises with capitalism.

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richotto - October 31, 2015

As far as having a leg to stand on, the person making the point is not relevant. Its the point itself that is either valid or not. You don’t need to be anti-capitalist to look for the Corporate sector to pay its fair share of taxes. As mentioned most Conservative parties in Europe would be well to the left of the Irish SWP on Corporate taxation. Does the Irish left buy into some kind of Irish exceptionalism here? Ireland is one of the leading economic rogue states in forcing much larger countries to lower their Corporate tax rates and take part in a race to the bottom. Have we no consideration for the effect of our low Corporate Tax rates not just on ourselves but much more significantly among other countries workers in the massive amounts of revenue lost because of the Irish tax haven? This behaviour is now being defended by of all parties the SWP!

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WorldbyStorm - October 31, 2015

But by your logic PBP is to the left of FG FF and the LP, no?

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richotto - October 31, 2015

Thats true but the difference is so slight between SWP and the establishment parties on Corporate Taxation that its in the realm of tweedle dum tweedle dee politics. Also because of the left rhetoric of SWP there is even less integrity and more or the traditional Irish cute hoorism underneath. I was looking for the Socialist Party policy but couldn’t find it. I heard a couple of years ago it was 25% rate which would show integrity in my view. International tax justice campaigners have rightly accused us of being anti-social tax haven vandals undercutting and robbing citizens of other countries. This has bled through into mainstream debate internationally and is increasingly being reflected in news stories about tax. Its an opportunity for the left to assert a more responsible approach on Corporate Taxation in the world, expose our gombeen dishonesty and opportunism instead of trying like SWP and other left to pull on the green jersey along with Inda.

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Jolly Red Giant - October 28, 2015

I will give you one example of SF provoking a strike and doing their damnedest to break the strike –

Classroom assistants in the North in 2007

As for representing the interests of big business – Adams gave a ‘breakfast briefing’ to the Dublin Chamber of Commerce last month and stated the following (without a hostile journalist in sight) “We are actually battling with the British government to transfer various fiscal powers to the Assembly in the North including corporation tax. We are arguing that that should be harmonised across the island”

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9. roddy - October 28, 2015

Dunno.it was’nt mentioned at today’s army council meeting.But think up some other obscure issue that you know full well I would know nothing about.

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Jolly Red Giant - October 28, 2015

with a little bit of digging I am sure we can find more of SF putting the interests of big business first –

oh wait –

“PFI contracts highlights the opportunities for partnership with the private sector in the pursuit of good value for money and the effective use of resources to meet the needs of schools.”

“It is now clear that PFI does offer real potential for value for money solutions to the pressing capital investment needs of our schools generally. My Department will, over the coming months, be consulting with schools authorities and other interested bodies, on its plans for the extended future use of PFI in conjunction with conventional capital new starts”.

“My Department has proved that PPP is a viable method of procuring facilities for young people – just last month the last of four pathfinder projects opened its doors to pupils. My Department will continue to work with school authorities to ensure that the best use can be made of PPP in tackling the backlog in the schools estate. Building on last year’s PPP announcement, I have decided to include two PPP clusters in this year’s capital programme. This will be subject to a value for money deal being secured with the private sector.”

“This is a challenging but exciting project, which will for the first time bring together controlled and integrated school sectors working together within PPP to procure new facilities without in any way compromising the ethos or management of the individual schools and I would hope to pursue this approach further in the future.”

“These two clusters represent new approaches to using PPP and I believe that the Department and the school authorities should continue to explore the opportunities provided by PPP.”

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Liberius - October 28, 2015

It’s not that obscure Roddy as Norwegian Air are only after the same lax regulations that have benefited Ryanair in their never-ending attempts to drive downward the working conditions in the European airline sector, quite important really. The Danish trade unions recently told O’Leary to go fuck off with his lax Irish labour laws, so is SF committed to getting Ireland up to something resembling higher standards or not?

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Liberius - October 28, 2015

This incidentally was West Cork SF Councillor Paul Hayes’ enthusiastic take on Norwegian Air’s new route from Cork to Boston. Off piste, or just saying it like he and other SF members think in absence of a carefully constructed line from party HQ?

Local Sinn Féin councillor Paul Hayes added, “This announcement is a huge boost for the airport and the region in general. It will expose Cork to a whole new market on the eastern coast of the US and beyond.”

http://westcorktimes.com/home/archives/33184

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Liberius - October 28, 2015

And a tweet praising the new service by Norwegian Air by no less than the current SF lord mayor of Cork City Chris O’Leary.

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10. roddy - October 28, 2015

Ah that would be the classroom assistants strike that was settled after the intervention of SF’s Catriona Ruane to the satisfaction of Unison and the GMB. Legendary left winger Patricia McKeown described another union which tried to sabotage an agreement as “being in the grip of a tiny political faction”.That would be the tiny political faction that could not even elect a single councillor North of the border in it’s entire history.But I suppose Patricia is “a right winger ” in the fantasy world of the “federation of the British isles” adherents.

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Jolly Red Giant - October 28, 2015

Strike breaking at its best roddy – and in league with the right-wing union bureaucracy. You must be proud of yourself

I hear that the Shinners are still p*ssed that the classroom assistants likened Ruane to Thatcher.

Of course the fact that the Broad Left control the NIPSA Executive, that a member of the SP is president of the biggest trade union in the North, another member of the SP is campaigning to win the election for General Secretary next month and NIPSA is exposing the pro-austerity, pro-privatisation policies of SF in league with the DUP.

Tell me roddy – who are SF supporting in the NIPSA GS election – a socialist activist or a union bureaucrat that is backed by the right-wing media and the right-wing union establishment?

Oh yea – we know who!!!

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11. CL - October 28, 2015

“Structure Tone, one of the nation’s largest construction firms, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to corruption charges and agreed to forfeit $55 million for a scheme in which the company defrauded a roster of prominent financial institutions, law firms and ad agencies out of tens of millions of dollars”
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/01/nyregion/structure-tone-admits-to-stealing-tens-of-millions-from-clients.html?_r=0

A long-time supporter of Sinn Féin, the company donated $10,000 to the party’s US wing Friends of Sinn Féin in the year to October 2013, according to US federal returns.
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/us/construction-giant-found-guilty-of-fraud-to-pay-55m-1.1782145

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12. roddy - October 28, 2015

A political formation whose “glory days” are almost universally lauded on this site was funded for decades to the tune of hundreds of thousands by corrupt practices including massive tax evasion in the Belfast construction industry.So long did it operate,millions of pounds had to be involved.Compare that to 5000 pounds none of which would find its way to these shores,being used for publicity purposes abroad.

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13. roddy - October 28, 2015

So Patricia McKeown is a right winger ?Just shows what crowd of loopers the SP are!

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Jolly Red Giant - October 28, 2015

A right winger who expels socialist activists for supporting a strike – and clearly a friend of SF.

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14. WorldbyStorm - October 28, 2015

Isn’t this kind of unedifying this thread?

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Jolly Red Giant - October 29, 2015

The Shinners are p*ssed that the SP and the AAA won’t play ball.

The abuse all over the place has gone into overdrive.

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WorldbyStorm - October 29, 2015

And you’re no slouch in contributing to it. It would be very useful if people would step back a little and we see what happens.

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15. revolutionaryprogramme - October 29, 2015

My statement on this issue for anyone interested:

https://revolutionaryprogramme.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/no-electoral-support-to-pro-capitalist-sinn-fein/

The following section is perhaps of particular relevance to how this discussion thread has developed:

It is quite common in Ireland to describe Sinn Fein as part of the “left”. The truth is they are a pro-capitalist party projecting a fake caring face for purely electoral reasons.

Anyone doubting that Sinn Féin are a pro-capitalist party just has to read their pre-budget statement – http://www.sinnfein.ie/files/2015/Pre-Budget_October2015.pdf

Especially Part 3 “To pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation” which starts with a long section titled “Supporting and encouraging business”.

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16. doctorfive - October 29, 2015

As far as I can make out, there are probably more left-wing activists in Sinn Féin currently than have ever been in the other four big parties. When I say left-wing I mean people with something approaching a sophisticated analysis of the world and how it works. Not the sort say all the right things but fall in with rest bitching about workers on strike at the drop of a hat. I would wish these genuine people well as I don’t believe they are either the majority of the membership or the leadership or would have any more influence than the left wing of Labour have had in successive coalitions.

In a way, it was quite amusing to watch fearmongering about a shadowy cabal running things behind the scenes because we all know that those pulling the strings in Sinn Féin are well to the right of anything the Sunday Independent would decry as looney left. The ruling class in this country would take a secret provo over a open communist any day of the week.

Lots can and has been dressed up in Irish republicanism over the decades and Sinn Féin talk a good game. Fianna Fáil had all the lingo and even some inclination to act on it once upon a time too. There was a commitment to social programs in FF republicanism once but we know those days are gone and the question is to what depth that sentiment still exists in Sinn Féin and how much they will be prepared to fight for it. That might sound like an odd question given the party’s history. The sort of cunning that made the armed and propaganda campaigns of the past so successful hasn’t ebbed an inch inn how they apply it to constitutional means but their priorities are different others on the left and history including our own has plenty examples of how things work out.

This in fact is part of the big fear they generate. Sinn Féin is not rotting away like other political parties. They must have pretty unique institutional memory and certainly a motivation quite unlike other parties. There are a number of factors that enable Sinn Féin to weather the onslaught that frankly, would terminally damage the socialists as they currently stand. If they were to get a toehold in government and resources to go with it they will be very hard to get rid of and that scares the fuck out of a lot of people who have the run of the place.

Personally I think those fears are unfounded as SF are likely and probably aiming to slot into the current Irish order without disturbing the foundations too much. It takes absolutely no effort to envision Mary Lou McDonald prattling on about jobs and making excuses should they end up on the other side of Dáil Éireann any time soon.

People were still genuinely swearing a FG/FF coalition would never happen only two years ago. That sentiment has thawed considerably since but nevertheless they would prefer to avoid it if they can. FG/FF/Lab will play hard to get but Sinn Féin are at the table with the DUP and the DUP with them. Very different as the NI situation may be haven’t the right be winning for years precisely by offering ambitious people a chance to leave their dearest principles at the door on the way up. Sinn Féin know full well, as do the crowd down here that that was more difficult a journey than the quick wrestle southern politicians will have with their conscience before heading up to the park to form a government once they have numbers. We all remember Gilmore telling US embassy of the “necessary political posture” after the first Lisbon referendum.

On the other hand, if we consider the reason Sinn Féin get out of bed in the morning. What kind of of 26 counties do you think would be attractive to those in the six? Certainly not the current one to date if they are to convince a majority on either side of the border. The Tories are probably going to make life easier pushing people out the door but long term Sinn Féin essentially have engineer a rerun of the Gaelic revival with all modcons and perhaps Nordic economics. That’s not going to happen without a shake up and serious break with the political will down south that is if it was honest, completely opposed to the idea.

It won’t be this election but the past few years are going to have repercussions for Irish politics down the line. Whose side will Sinn Féin be on? Judging by experience and observation it will likely be their own.

As for the socialists. If we are to confine ourselves to the parliamentary calender, I think the TDs can count a number of successes. There should have been more but the wins were significant. It was a shaky start but throughout the five years each individual put in a good show for themselves. The SP held themselves well under serious pressure throughout the water protests. Clare Daly is probably one the most popular politicians in the country. A title she would hardly welcome but certainly earned.

Her efforts alone on either gardaí or abortion have shown that we can at least knock a few lumps from the master’s house with the master’s tools if we have the courage to swing them. There are good solid grounds to build on. In a away I hope all this competition from the soft-left over will encourage people to get their acts together a bit more. The right to change stuff be beneficial or destructive. The chances of it as a whole or constituent parts seeing a sniff of power next year are non-existent in my opinion so probably best trying not to fall out over it at this stage. R2C as a medium to long term project of education and organising would be a great idea. As a electoral vehicle [however loose with aims everyone will dump for their own motives]. Well forget about it to be honest.

For now I would be very wary of the media either trying to play anyone foolish enough to talk to them off each other or publicly cajole groups into a neat alliance focused on elections. Essentially something they can understand and work to destroy. The fact the Irish Times is leading the running in an editorial should be warning enough.

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WorldbyStorm - October 29, 2015

“In a away I hope all this competition from the soft-left over will encourage people to get their acts together a bit more. The right to change stuff be beneficial or destructive. The chances of it as a whole or constituent parts seeing a sniff of power next year are non-existent in my opinion so probably best trying not to fall out over it at this stage. R2C as a medium to long term project of education and organising would be a great idea. As a electoral vehicle [however loose with aims everyone will dump for their own motives]. Well forget about it to be honest.

For now I would be very wary of the media either trying to play anyone foolish enough to talk to them off each other or publicly cajole groups into a neat alliance focused on elections. Essentially something they can understand and work to destroy. The fact the Irish Times is leading the running in an editorial should be warning enough.”

Key analysis.

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17. revolutionaryprogramme - October 29, 2015

Just seen on Facebook a picture of a letter from the Social Democrats to R2C where they say that they support the principles but taken as a whole it amounts effectively to an election manifesto and as they are primarily interested in standing as an independent party in the elections with their own manifesto – so won’t be signing up.

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WorldbyStorm - October 29, 2015

Doesn’t surprise me. The fact they expressed an interest did though (ironic given the comments of some in their ranks in the past). I wonder what calculation they made.

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dublinstreams - October 29, 2015

Catherine Murphy attended meetings since before SocDems launched

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WorldbyStorm - October 29, 2015

I know, and was there at the most recent R2C meeting too IIRC.

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dublinstreams - October 29, 2015

Social Democrats Commend Right2Change Principles but Decline Participation http://us11.campaign-archive2.com/?u=98563bc2f53bc670a2442d07f&id=4a4d116ae8

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dublinstreams - October 30, 2015
18. dilettante - October 29, 2015

SP transfers tend to go to SF anyway (and vice-versa).
If the positioning of SP, SD and others help them pick up FG, FF and Labour transfers then… I suppose they have done their electoral calculations? And they figure that anti-SF vote might push them to a quota in a handful of constituencies? Might just cost them some other transfers though?

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19. dublinstreams - October 30, 2015

RTE: AAA rules out vote transfer pact with Sinn Féin bit.ly/1P1ORdh While the AAA generally agreed with the campaign’s policy principles they would not agree to forming a government with Sinn Féin, if the numbers allowed, Ms Coppinger said. She added that the anti-water charges movement had offered a real possibility of political change but the Right2Change campaign had become a “prop” for Sinn Féin.

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20. dublinstreams - October 31, 2015

Brendan Ogle Right2Change not (necessarily) a voting pact https://soundcloud.com/right2change-ireland/brendan-ogle-explains-right2change-on-newstalk

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Jolly Red Giant - October 31, 2015

Interesting that Ogle didn’t include the LP as part of the right-wing pro-austerity establishment.

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21. sonofstan - October 31, 2015

The problem with a ‘left’ voting pact is obvious; the prospective parties stand to lose more to each other than they do to gain overall. The only vote pacts that work are between parties that aren’t essentially competing for the same first prefs to begin with – and, traditionally, this has been the case with FG and LAB voters, at least outside a handful of liberal south side areas.

In addition to this, the reason for such pacts was a common and identifiable common enemy; both parties, and both sets of voters were antipathic to FF but, whereas FG had little chance of winning votes from the enemy, Lab could, and those votes could conceivably keep the lab candidate in the race long enough for the segment of the candidates votes that did transfer to FG to be effective. The pact worked because of the relatively stable frame within which is operated.

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WorldbyStorm - October 31, 2015

That’s very true, and none of the conditions you outline apply really.

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22. Liberius - October 31, 2015

Mr Ogle also indicated that he was a likely Independent candidate in the forthcoming general election.

When asked if he would run, Mr Ogle said: “It is clear that we need more Independent candidates in many constituencies.

“That will require more Independent candidates coming forward, who have never previously considered that that is something they might do.”

He identified his native Louth and Dublin West, where he lives, as constituencies in which he could run.

“I am giving consideration to requests I have received to be one of a number of people who will go forward as Independents-for-change candidates.

“If I believe there is a momentum for any of the communities where I think we have bases then I think it behoves myself and others to give that serious consideration.”

If he were to run in Dublin West against Ruth Coppinger I’d imagine our champions of ‘left unity’ will be falling over themselves to claim that Coppinger is the sectarian for not withdrawing in favour of the anointed one.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/people-before-profit-splits-with-anti-austerity-alliance-on-pact-1.2413042

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23. Malorie - March 18, 2016

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post used to be great. I do not recognise who you’re however
certainly you’re going to a famous blogger should you aren’t already.
Cheers!

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