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The ‘new politics’… September 23, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Courtesy of Stephen Collins in the Irish Times based on this piece of his on Fianna Fáil from last Saturday. In it he frets about whether FF is ‘returning to their old ways’ having seemed to join the ‘new politics’ by supporting the FG led coalition. The cause of this is the FF promise to abolish water charges – a promise that during the week was retracted (or as IEL noted wasn’t really a change of position at all by FF).

This is terrible he feels, this promise (of sorts), and is that old FF there poking through the ‘new politics’ flesh. Hmmm… odd imagery that.

But how many key words and phrases can he get into one article? You may be surprised!

Starting with: “Has the old Fianna Fáil come back to haunt the country once more?”


The party’s pledge to abolish water charges certainly looks like a return to the carefree, populist policies of old.

On to…

It does not sit easily with the party’s commitment to the “new politics” which has facilitated the Fine Gael-led minority Government

Here’s a good one. Perhaps two or three:

The party’s abandonment of a rational and sustainable approach to the supply of water is a worrying development as it indicates that it has not, after all, really learned any lessons from the cavalier policies that led the country to the brink of economic ruin twice over the past 40 years.

Too many to mention here:

Only time will tell whether inside the party of “new politics” the old-style Haughey-era Fianna Fáil is simply waiting to burst out, when the opportunity arises. The signal given by the decision on water is ominous. The aggressive element in Fianna Fáil has been encouraged by the surge in support for the party in the opinion polls since the general election but that could be a serious misreading of the public mood.


It is arguable that Fianna Fáil has regained public confidence by the manner in which it has built on its election comeback by adopting a mature approach to the formation of government.

And more…

It could very easily squander that new-found respectability by lining itself up with Sinn Féin and the array of hard-left Independents who have campaigned against the water charges.

And how about some class disdain?

The move may well help the party wrest a seat or two from the left in working-class constituencies but it could lose many more in middle Ireland. More than half of all households paid at least some of their water bills and another chunk of the population who live in rural Ireland pay for water already. Who will represent them?

There’s more. So much more. And throughout what is clears an absolute certainty that the orthodoxy, at any given time, is utterly deserving of adherence and that any deviation from that is a disaster. That view from “middle” Ireland can be very constraining, and no mistake.

Though perhaps special mention for this last paragraph – a triumph of hope over experience some might think.

Coveney and Bruton have demonstrated that the Government can do positive things if the will is there, regardless of its minority status. If Fine Gael can come up with initiatives in other vital areas of public concern, it might even rebuild some of the credibility it lost through a disastrous election campaign last February and differentiate itself from Fianna Fáil in the process.


1. soubresauts - September 24, 2016

You could start a new fad, the Catechism of Political Cliche, in the Myles na Gopaleen style. And you needn’t go beyond Stephen Collins.

Apart from Kerrigan and O’Toole, are there any political columnists worth reading?


ejh - September 25, 2016

Colette Browne?


2. sonofstan - September 24, 2016

‘In what state of post-prandial discomfort are the public service Invariably to be found?’



3. Gewerkschaftler - September 24, 2016

Oh this could be fun in a perverse sort of way.

“Which economically reductive and one-sided term should always be used to describe people, service-users or citizens.”

‘Tax payers’

Liked by 1 person

4. Gewerkschaftler - September 24, 2016

What are families always regardless of their circumstances or predilictions?


Liked by 1 person

5. Gewerkschaftler - September 24, 2016

What term should always be used form employers, profit-takers and beneficiaries of public subsidies and services?


Liked by 1 person

6. Gewerkschaftler - September 24, 2016

Which spatial concept is always squeezed?

‘The middle’

Liked by 1 person

7. Gewerkschaftler - September 24, 2016

What is every bank and any other financial institution, regardless of size, when they are in need of another bail-out at public cost?

‘Systemically relevant’

Liked by 1 person

8. Gewerkschaftler - September 24, 2016

I could go on, but honestly I don’t read enough of the source material…

Over to you…


sonofstan - September 24, 2016

In which sphere of facticity are the left definitively non-resident?

The real world


Gewerkschaftler - September 24, 2016

OK – just one more:

What political category, first proposed by a Spenglerian German economist in 1938, is a null signifier invented by the non-real-worldy left?



RosencrantzisDead - September 25, 2016

My misgivings about the the term ‘neo-liberalism’ (and its nebulous definition) aside, it occurs to me that tax havens also cannot exist in Dan O’Brien’s universe because no state describes itself as a ‘tax haven’.


CL - September 25, 2016

Whatever about the definition here are the results;

“To promote and protect the business side of medicine, to attract investors eager for profits, you must ensure the public service isn’t given the tools to do the job. You do this because you believe in the efficacy of the free market. You know, because it is part of the right-wing catechism, that a state system of healthcare would be chaotic….

Even now, with one national emergency piling on another, the right’s religious creed insists there must be a market-based solution to every crisis. So, the State spends millions subsidising the private rental market, and more millions providing families with inadequate shelter in cramped hotel rooms.”


RosencrantzisDead - September 25, 2016

An article that manages to explain a phenomenon without recourse to that bullshit term.


9. Jemmyhope - September 24, 2016

What kind of approach to an issue is adopted by a party when it aligns with Mr Collins ideology?


Liked by 1 person

10. ivorthorne - September 24, 2016

When the human based in Ireland is facing north, which texture only exists to the west of his or her body?


Liked by 1 person

11. sonofstan - September 25, 2016

What should politicians not play when the national interest is at stake?



12. Ed - September 25, 2016

What is the greatest of all luxuries?


Liked by 1 person

13. fergal - September 25, 2016

What is the name of all politics that cannot be found in a ff/fg/lab/gp manifesto?
When choices are to be made, there substance shall always be.;
Antonym of fantasy, always preceded by the definite article and followed by the third person singular
A fruit when properly examined will be rotten to the core

Liked by 1 person

RosencrantzisDead - September 25, 2016

What word is used to describe a policy or issue that the vast majority of the population support but is opposed by a small cadre of insiders and conservatives?



sonofstan - September 25, 2016

And what term describes decisions made to support such policies?


RosencrantzisDead - September 25, 2016

What is the worst disaster that could ever strike against the Irish people?

The ATMs not working.

What could cause the the ATMs of a nation to stop working?


What does a a government do when it rejects populism and makes ‘hard choices’?

It shows leadership.

What term is used to describe an electorate which does not re-elect a party that shows leadership?



14. WorldbyStorm - September 25, 2016

This is going to make reading Collins in future a lot easier! Or a lot less necessary.


fergal - September 25, 2016

Spot on ,World- if you took out all the words above Collins couldn’t be read at all!

Liked by 1 person

Tomboktu - September 25, 2016

Somebody (here) could write an op-ed piece on the data above. (Don’t know that the Times would publish it.)


15. Gewerkschaftler - September 26, 2016

It would be nice to have the time to research the latest computational linguistics and produce a robot that could write the Sage’s pieces for him.

I’m sure it’s doable, given their predictability.

We could sell the resultant code to the IT and he could get a job with the interests he so assiduously promotes. Win-win.


ivorthorne - September 26, 2016

Actually, I think it should be possible to use some existing programmes like the random PoMo article generator and just replace its text bank.


Gewerkschaftler - September 26, 2016
Aonrud ⚘ - September 26, 2016

From a crude and cursory effort, this almost resembles something coherent:

The chances of an election at any moment

TDs and Senators recoiled from a politically dangerous bout of blood-letting with no obvious reason Ross could not continue to serve as a positive development. Instead of abolishing the USC. Fine Gael rightly believe that Kenny did not turn up to the difficulties faced by those who have done by ramming legislation through the ‘new politics’ flesh. Members’ Bills, has been accepted by the crash, and she gave them both considerable credit for eventually finding a compromise solution impossible after a second election a month ago.

The prevailing view in the Taoiseach’s office for a variety of reasons, including bad political leadership, but the recovery was brought about by courageous political decision-making, first by the British people than the passage of legislation. For the moment, most of his own parliamentary party. Irish media while his counterparts here who managed to save this country we have particular difficulties. Labour’s choice of joining a formal coalition or precipitating another general election.

The extra money for health and another €40 million for the summer recess this week, said populism is essentially illiberal because it is 30 seats short of a century ago with an open mind. Members’ Bill giving the Dáil for the electorate absorbed. EU members is that it could lose an important contributory factor in ending Shatter’s ministerial career. Fine Gael side, there is nothing in between.” Using polls and focus groups, two American political scientists, Hibbing and Theiss-Morse, found 25-40 per cent and local councillors 10 per cent. Fianna Fáil-Green Party government and the election campaign.

Kenny’s political skills, Fine Gael has signalled a willingness to ensure the country does not want, and there are grounds for cautious optimism. Harp Society to remember the police casualties of the election.

That’s without any proper syntax parsing – thus the tendency for sentences to change direction. Might work better with some more source material, but there’s only so long can reasonably be spent cutting and pasting Stephen Collins articles 😉

Edit: I’ve highlighted the good bits…


Gewerkschaftler - September 27, 2016

Good try – it seems to be channeling a bit of D. Rump stream of conciousness as well.


Aonrud ⚘ - September 27, 2016

It’s a simple approach, but it depends on word chains so needs a large sample text to produce enough variation. If a pair of words only appear once, it has no alternatives so it ends up lifting large sentence fragments from the samples.

Amused myself for a while, anyway! It’d be interesting to look at proper syntax parsing libraries, but I think that’ll require a better reason than SC 😉


sonofstan - September 27, 2016

30 seats short of a century ago is nearly poetry..

Liked by 1 person

Gewerkschaftler - September 27, 2016

I know damn-all about Natural Language Generation and computational linguistics in general, except that it’s made some significant strides in the last couple of decades.

Here’s some downloadable libraries / frameworks..


Gewerkschaftler - September 27, 2016

Understand your lack of motivation – the source material is not exactly fascinating.


ivorthorne - September 27, 2016



Aonrud ⚘ - September 27, 2016

GW – I know next to nothing myself, but the very basic markov chain approach above seems to be, appropriately enough, a common spambot tool. It’s not really NLG, I suppose.

I was going to try Natural Language Toolkit, which does some proper syntax analysis on samples, but they’ve dropped the text generator from that, and I was out of my depth already…


16. ar scáth a chéile - September 26, 2016

Am coming late this puck-around but here goes:

Q: Under the malign influence of which historical figure are those seeking the basic protections formerly known as social democracy said to be ?
A: Leon Trotsky


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