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That ‘moderate left’? April 6, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Colin Murphy in the SBP makes an appeal to ‘the moderate left’, that would be ‘Labour, the SDs and the GP’ who ’together have 12 seats’ to find common cause.

And not just them.

There are at least six independents who are comfortably within the broad left. I4C have four TDs. The latter may appear an unlikely candidate for compromise, but Tommy Broughan was a long standing LP member, Mick Wallace was a successful businessman. They know about hard bargaining.

His conclusion:

That gives a left grouping 22 – almost half the FG strength, comparable to the relative strength of LP to FG in the last government.

His suggestion, that ‘causes close to those on the left will be neglected or will regress’ if they do not participate. And he points to Repeal the 8th, political reform, concessions to asylum seekers, assistance and support to Travellers and ‘tax cuts will get greater priority over services’.

He notes that:

The radical left today will not contemplate such path. But those between it and the centre should be talking. They talk a lot about the national interest: there’s little enough you can get done for the national interest from opposition.

Murphy is an interesting character in himself. Brother of an FG TD, he is a former assistant for one SD TD and in fairness has cleaved to a moderate yet solid left of centre line himself in the SBP. So it’s interesting that he raises this call. Hard to believe it will be answered, but perhaps it is Plan B, or C, for some.


1. Ivorthorne - April 6, 2016

Murphy’s argument is interesting as it is essentially the old Labour/Green Party/PDs line of “It’ll be worse without us”.

From a left perspective, this argument will be tested if FF/FG come to an arrangement (coalition or support from outside government). People say that the working class will be hammered. I don’t doubt it, but will it be any worse than under the previous supposedly left moderated coalition?

I suspect that it will not be in any significant way worse. If that is the case, two of the big criticisms of the left will have been demonstrated to be without foundation –

1. The argument that you need to be in government to have your policy implemented will have been undermined by the death of Irish Water.

2. The argument that left parties are obliged to enter coalition with right wing parties to soften the blow of their attacks on the vulnerable will also be undermined if the FG/FF arrangement turns out to be pretty similar to what went before when Labour were the coalition partner.

In the meantime, from opposition the left parties will grow and – depending on the circumstances under which the next election is called – potentially be in a position to form some sort of government.

If it turns out that a FF/FG coalition is even worse than the FG/LP of recent years I’ll be somewhat shocked, but at least then we’ll know that there has actually been some merit to the argument put forward by the Greens and Labour over the years.


Gewerkschaftler - April 6, 2016

That’s very well argued, Ivor.

I don’t buy a possible FF/FG/hangers-on coalition / arrangement as being “the most right wing government ever”. They will be an relatively unstable structure with half an eye on the last and the next election. It will, hopefully, damage the participants none the less.

The neoliberal / austerian hegemony is crumbling, IMO. Partly as a result of the ‘stubbornness’ ™ of the wider left and movements like the water campaign, and partly as a result of the ongoing crises of capitalism and its ‘executive committees’ in government.

But then perhaps I’m feeling unusually optimistic today🙂


CMK - April 6, 2016

FF are where they are now because they consciously adopted a centre Left approach during the election campaign. They piggy-packed on the water charges campaign, where all of the donkey work had been done by the Left and the unions, with their slogan to abolish Irish Water and the water tax. They also appealed to that section of the electorate disgusted at the Labour party’s implementation of austerity, but who are not (yet) prepared to vote for the socialist Left or SF. The FF slogan ‘An Ireland for All’ captures that well. The point is, if FF get into government either with FG or leading a minority government, and they just pick up where the coalition left off, in terms of continuing with a hard Right economic policy agenda, then they will be back to 20 seats in no time. Alas, for FF, the European fiscal rules constitute precisely that hard Right economic agenda and implementation of those rules will pose a huge challenge to any government.


2. Peter James - April 6, 2016

So he wants a Broad Left formation but it must be coalition friendly from the start. Thus he would keep the Radical Left out. Is he getting in his red-baiting in early?


3. 1798Mike - April 6, 2016

Wishful thinking from Colin Murphy. It might have been possible to envisage a new departure for Labour in a ‘moderate’ alliance if a different set of Labour TDs had survived. But most of the magnificent 7 are so tainted, through the implementation of right wing policies when in government, that their adherence to such an alliance would discredit it instantly. I would say Roisin Shortall will want to have nothing to do with Labour. Assuming we get a government, the SDs will want to launch their general election candidates into local politics so as to build their base
Eamon Ryan would consort with nearly anyone, if it offered advantage. But would consorting with Alan Kelly & Howlin offer any advantage?
MIck Wallace, Clare Daly, Joan Collins, it seems to me, view Labour, quite rightly, as irredeemably right wing and indistinguishable from Fianna-Gael.
I would like, though, to see a broader left (excluding Sinn Fein) rally around a reconsidered version of of the R2C principles.
I recently picked up the Communist Party’s ‘Democratic Programme for the 21st century’. I was quite impressed with it and I certainly believe that a broader left should take on the task of offering a new ‘Democratic Programme’ to the people. What better time than now as the commemoration band-wagon moves on into the 1916-1919 period! I also attended a recent public discussion hosted by Eilis Ryan of the Workers Party on the theme of a ‘secular republic’, which was also very interesting.
It convinced me more than ever that the left needs to offer such a ‘Democratic Programmme’ for a 21st century secular republic – an alternative vision which will appeal to the imagination of people.
Do I think it will happen? No I don’t. Old rivalries, personality problems, jockeying for an inch of advantage, security in holding onto narrow, pure ‘theological’ positions usually take precedence.


4. dublinstreams - April 6, 2016

well done him for recognising the existance of Independents 4 Change now could he tell his colleagues, who refuse to do so but http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/election-2016/id-rather-quit-than-back-fg-wallace-34544111.html “I would have to walk from politics before I would work with a neoliberal grouping.” He list those things that might be allowed to happen if they went into government but didn’t list all the things those in moderate left group would have to enforce.


5. paulculloty82 - April 6, 2016

On this theme, Burton wants to form a “progressive bloc” with the SDs and Greens – the latter two would surely consider such a description of Labour as an oxymoron:



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