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Waving not drowning… September 5, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Politics. It’s a funny old game, eh? For those of us who wondered why Stephen Donnelly joined the SDs now we can add to that the question as to why he left… His statement is a masterpiece in opacity as regards those ‘whys’. He mentions that whether the leadership was shared or vested in one person it would make no difference – and he also says no one sought it to be vested in one person. Why that is mentioned escapes me.

He always appeared to be an odd fit in the context of the SDs. It was unclear that he was sufficiently left wing, though intriguingly some of those around him were quite pro-LP back in the day (some might say that explains everything). Some mean-spirited folk have suggested that the party served its purpose across the last two years. But… but… But what future is there for him? He’s been returned to the Dáil but is he about to go somewhere else? There’s a certain ambiguity about his plans:

I remain just as committed to making as best a contribution as I can to my constituency and our country through politics, as a social democrat. To this end, I will now be consulting with my supporters in Wicklow and East Carlow on the best way forward..

Joining another party having been elected as a TD under the Independent banner and that of the SDs? Some would think that brave. And there’s the small issue that the election was hardly half a year ago.

One has to suspect that part of the thinking is that the SDs aren’t likely to enter government any time soon (and as noted by people on the CLR the Apple issue may weigh heavily upon his thinking, which would be telling). He might be right.

The response from the SDs is interesting too.

Since the Social Democrats were first founded, in July 2015, we have worked to build the party brick-by-brick. This is a long term project which requires dedication, hard work, long hours and a major commitment from all involved including our elected representatives. The levels of dedication required for such a major undertaking can be overwhelming for some.


And for the SDs? Well, one virtue of a ‘new’ party is that it can present itself without any of the messy history and complication of more long lived formations. But, when people resign from a party leadership, which is precisely what has happened here that virtue is immediately rendered null and void.

That said, the SDs retain some attractions. Both of the remaining TDs are generally well respected, hard workers, policy driven. Perhaps this will allow them to sharpen up their presentation – make them more clearly left of the LP. Mind you, they’ll need to put in place some representative structures. Time is moving on.

But has the moment for the SDs passed? If so part of that will be the delay in establishing them. But then again that’s just one model of party development. As we know it takes years for parties to put down roots, gain members, have representatives elected and so on. The media loves the alternative narrative of boom and bust. But there are no short cuts, as the PDs ultimately proved, to sustained work. And no guarantee it will pay off either.


1. Quota - September 7, 2016

What is the point of a party whose niche is “more left-wing than Labour or the Greens, but not as left-wing as SF or the AAA or the PBP or the I4C or the independent I4C, but not bigger than any of them”. It’s Ireland. That’s a small niche. As ever Left = individual expression, Right = teamwork to control government, proving that ideology is the opiate of the clever people.


WorldbyStorm - September 8, 2016

It’s part of a process of fragmentation on the centre left out of the political spectrum perhaps? Every niche is now represented, further left, socialists (small ‘s’), radical social democrats, milder social dems, etc….


2. sonofstan - September 8, 2016

Someone here has just used the expression ‘IKEA parties’ to describe entities springing up in Eastern Europe: ‘ you buy it to fill a gap, put it together yourself from a kit, looks great for while, then after 3 years it begins to sag in the middle and you throw it out’


Michael Carley - September 8, 2016

Whereas the turn-out for Corbyn demonstrates that he’s very good at assembly.


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