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A former minister complains ‘I cannot recall when a political party has attracted the same criticism as Labour’ April 7, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Short memory so for Pat Rabbitte, for he writes:

I cannot recall any period when a political party attracted anything like the same unremitting, relentless criticism in the media for its entire five years in government.

Now granted. Five years, perhaps not. But in the year or two in advance of the last election – the then FF/GP coalition saw both constituent elements lambasted. I spoke to an FF member, a long time one, in 2010 or so who expressed utter bafflement at the hostility he and his peers received on the doorstep and in the street. I knew GP members afraid to mention their affiliation publicly. And LP members were not behind the door in venting their ire to them. And Pat Rabbitte may recall his own words with a hapless Pat Carey on live television. Labour post-2011 got it in the neck, but the venomousness was distinctly different.

Moreover it didn’t end in 2011 for FF (whatever about the GP who by fading from sight lived to fight another day). It was both FG and the LP who at every opportunity, when they weren’t berating SF, continued to remind the electorate about the misdeeds of FF.

But for Rabbitte it is as if that never happened. No indeed.

In developing this uniform attritional narrative the media was reflecing a prolonged negative campaign originated by SF, the Trotskyite [sic] left and a few party exiles who could not take the heat in the kitchen. The focus was on the LP and only to a much lesser extent the government.

But this is to gift those parties and groups immense power and to reduce to nothing the agency of the LP, for the LP was the one in government. And this makes his complaints seem hollow.

The government could have taken the SF advice, which was to default. Would default have been an ‘easier’ way for the most vulnerable in our society. For the Trotskyite left the water issue was a godsend as they targeted their venom on Labour and preached permanent revolution.

But again, why didn’t the LP pull back from implementing those policies? Why did it stand over water charges?

He has to eventually acknowledge that ‘Labour had itself to blame insomuch as some of the hyperbole engaged in before the election of 2011 was unwise…’

But he cannot apparently come to terms with the reality of what Labour acquiescing, all too willingly by the way, to the government programme did to it, or meant.

And his conclusion points up this perfectly.

As austerity becomes no longer central to Irish politics, the difference between protest politics and sensible mainstream social democratic politics will become more apparent.

Problem was that this supposed ‘sensible mainstream social democratic politics’ seemed to be no different in practice across those five years than ‘right of centre conservative’ politics.

Comments»

1. Jonah - April 7, 2016

“I cannot recall any period when a political party attracted anything like the same unremitting, relentless criticism in the media for its entire five years in government.”

Aside from WBS’ points, with which I completely agree, I think part of the reason for this is the different experience of media coverage Labour would generally have.

To paraphrase Mr Rabbitte, I cannot recall any period when a political party attracted anything like the same, unremitting, relentless support in the media for its entire five years in government.

When you’re used to the media being your 16th man on the pitch, it must hurt when they turn on you.

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WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2016

Brilliant reversal of his line by you and completely true. They got a remarkably easy time of it from large parts of the media

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PaddyM - April 7, 2016

While just over a third of journalists (37.4 per cent) claim to have no political preferences, the next largest group (34.6 per cent) is closest to the Labour Party. Just
under three per cent were close to the Progressive Democrats and a similar percentage were close to Sinn Féin. Surprisingly. Green Party supporters at 6.5 per cent outnumber supporters of Fianna Fáil whose supporters number just over five per cent of daily news joumalists. Just over ten per cent of journalists are close to the Fine Gael party.

http://eprints.maynoothuniversity.ie/1210/1/MCIJS2004Vol.2.pdf

The data is from 1997 but I doubt if things have changed much. Insofar as most journalists consider themselves left-of-centre, it’s the social issues/secularism model of leftism rather than anything economic, and that fits just fine with the current incarnations of Labour and the Greens, or even the Varadkar/Murphy wing of FG.

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Jonah - April 7, 2016

It would be fascinating to see that research carried out again.

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WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2016

Would tend to agree entirely re your analysis vis secularism/social issues PaddyM.

Though it would certainly be good to see an update.

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2. Jonah - April 7, 2016

“To paraphrase Mr Rabbitte, I cannot recall any period when a political party attracted anything like the same, unremitting, relentless support in the media for its entire five years in government.”

Gah…meant opposition!

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