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Fearing 1921 April 15, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

What a strangely revealing article by Eoghan Harris this weekend in the SI. He writes about the current travails in relation to government formation – in passing lauding his own excellent predictive powers, as he sees it, in ruling out a grand coalition and then neatly pivoting to the question as to why there should be no such entity. Some of us will wonder at the following:

there are three reasons why Micheal Martin is correct in saying that a full partnership is not in the national interest.

First, it would ruin the stable structure of Irish politics – the firm foundation provided by alternating Fianna Fail and Fine Gael governments, with Labour switching between.
Second, a grand coalition would be a domineering dinosaur that would be hard to dislodge and would petrify Irish politics for a whole generation.

Though this is hardly any less curious:

Finally, and most fundamentally, a grand coalition would ensure the rapid expansion of Sinn Fein in Opposition.

Uh-huh. But what is the problem? Well…

“all responsible parties should be worried by the rise of a cult party like Sinn Fein”.
Certainly the public is worried. The General Election results showed that a substantial majority deeply distrust Sinn Fein.

And why is this distrust – if correct – justified?

As I keep pointing out, apart from the economy, the national question is the only game in town.
Sinn Fein is the tribal incarnation of the national question with its cancerous obsession with the North and the fourth green field.
The national question goes dormant during good years. But a recession sees it ready to rise again, red in tooth and claw.
Fast forward five years to the 1921 centenary commemorations of ambush and atrocity, and find a grand coalition fighting a general election while coping with an economic crisis.
How would that grand coalition handle Sinn Fein giving us Bloody Sunday every bloody Sunday?

Now think about what he is saying here. It is a line that CCOB and others put forth time and again, that the people in this state (and on this island) who mostly could be described as mildly nationalist are gullible consumers of any message at all who will be swayed by atavistic impulses beyond their control to… well what? What does he think is a likely outcome?

A restart of the conflict? He surely can’t believe that. Okay, less absurd, but still pretty absurd, a toppling of the GFA/BA? That would be near enough impossible (though in fairness the Tories may well precipitate a weakening of it should a Brexit come to pass). What so? Can anyone think of anything that SF in (or out of but the largest opposition party) government could do to materially alter the situation on this island in the faux apocalyptic but tellingly vague way he puts it?


1. EWI - April 15, 2016

A restart of the conflict? He surely can’t believe that.

It doesn’t matter whether he believes it or not, his animating impulse in life still appears to be a now-obscure political split from forty-five years ago. So hatred of Provisional Sinn Féin will cause him to continue to say anything, it appears (including riding that British black propaganda narrative from a hundred years ago, like his comrades in the revisionist ranks). And the mad Cruiser said similar things, when he was still above ground.

And I’m wondering just how the Irish people are simultaneously deeply suspicious of PSF and about to fall under their sway. Do we have a new theory of Schrodinger’s Electorate?

Liked by 1 person

EWI - April 15, 2016

I am happy, by the way, to see very steep discounts being applied to RDE’s latest work. It appears that deceptively-respectful dust covers can’t disguise word of mouth about the contents. Quelle horreur!


Michael Carley - April 15, 2016

The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am pleased.
In vast quantities it has been remaindered
Like a van-load of counterfeit that has been seized
And sits in piles in a police warehouse,
My enemy’s much-prized effort sits in piles
In the kind of bookshop where remaindering occurs.
Great, square stacks of rejected books and, between them, aisles
One passes down reflecting on life’s vanities,
Pausing to remember all those thoughtful reviews
Lavished to no avail upon one’s enemy’s book —
For behold, here is that book
Among these ranks and banks of duds,
These ponderous and seeminly irreducible cairns
Of complete stiffs.



Joe - April 15, 2016

:). Great stuff.


2. FergusD - April 15, 2016

Harris writes “The General Election results showed that a substantial majority deeply distrust Sinn Fein.”

Err, but didn’t a majority of the public show that they distrust FG and also a majority show that they distrust FF? Isn’t that the problem?

Why isn’t alternating FF and FG givernments NOT sclerotic? Given that they are ideologically as good as identical. No logic to those arguments.


3. benmadigan - April 15, 2016

Did “alternating Fianna Fail and Fine Gael governments, with Labour switching between” really provide the best possible governance for the past 100 odd years?


Michael Carley - April 15, 2016

It did, if what you’re concerned with is `stability’.

Liked by 1 person

benmadigan - April 15, 2016

what of the downsides? in so many sectors? Don’t they count for anything?


Michael Carley - April 15, 2016

Horrible though they may be, put yourself in Harris’s shoes: a stable narrow consensus which keeps things as they have always been has no downsides.

Liked by 1 person

Paddy Healy - April 15, 2016

Exactly right Michael


WorldbyStorm - April 15, 2016

He knows his class base, that’s for sure.


4. Paddy Healy - April 15, 2016

Michael Carley is right. In the piece at the link below I have also said that a grand coalition of FF and FG ,while enforcing the policy of the rich in the short term would be a deadly danger to free state stability AT THIS STAGE. From the other side of the political divide, ultra-free stateism, which he now occupies Harris is right about this. It is also true that in every crisis in Ireland the national question raises its head because it has not been solved and its solution remains a key part of socialist change in Ireland. Indeed the sovereignty of the Irish people is now negligible.
The welfare cuts in the north will take place after the assembly elections
The nightmare of the real movers and shakers of the free state, which Harris shares, is the Irish masses uniting on a 32-county basis against capitalism and lack of national sovereignty.
The real movers and shakers have no confidence that Sinn Féin could confine the masses united on a north-south basis in struggle to constitutional paths.
Capitalism will only use the grand coalition as a last resort to save the state if and when it begins to fall apart. We have not reached that point yet.

The doc below is on my blog piece entitled
“For a 32-county Campaign against Austerity”-scroll down
We should make Harris’ nightmare come true!!!!


5. Phil - April 15, 2016

“with Labour switching between” – say what now? Is he actually saying that the LP’s ability to play both sides of the divide, and its willingness to play junior partner to either of them, and the almost-Italian* stasis that’s guaranteed as a result… is a sign of healthy politics? Is there anything the guy wouldn’t endorse as long as it screwed Sinn Fein? First the British Empire, now this…

*If the Christian Democrats had had the forethought to split in two and alternate in government, propped up by Craxi’s Socialists, they might still be there today.


6. Joe - April 15, 2016

Whatever about fearing 1921, I’m scared shitless of 1922/1923. If I get into the Civil War anything like I got into 1916 there’ll be hell to pay.


7. Paddy Healy - April 15, 2016

I don’t know what you mean Joe
But the centenary of the First All-Ireland Dail is due in a couple of years. The existence of two seperate jurisdictions and the orientation of all the main parties on the island is a denial or a resiling from that high point in our history. The establishments might be more reluctant to celebrate that than they were to celebrate 1916!


8. shea - April 15, 2016

they have been worried in anticipation about the 2016 for 40 years now. need something else to be worried about. To justify the notion that 66 started the troubles not the conditions of the north.

Agree with him it has the possibility to start again at some future point but not because irish people are stupid and easily brought to anger and an unjustifiable war like state because of pageantry. principle of consent test could be passed, british state says no. 5 years 50 years 100 years at this point only plausible senario i could see at this point for it kicking off again, nothing got to do with magic historical alignment dates.


EWI - April 16, 2016

If one is relying on a claim that commemorations sparked the troubles (and not NI’s actual reality), then you’d be expected to behave in a non-inflammatory fashion on anniversaries. Sadly, however:



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