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Ireland and the far-right… December 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Interesting point in a column last month by Diarmaid Ferriter in the IT on leadership in Irish politics. I don’t actually agree with his main thesis about leadership, or rather I think that some policy, indeed ideology, might be no harm and might be even more important than leadership. Still what of this?

It is worth remembering the observations of the late journalist Mary Holland who, writing in 2002, expressed satisfaction that despite the lack of scope for initiative during the formative decades of this State, there was little appetite for far-right politics:
“I’ve written plenty of columns complaining about the lack of any real left-right divide in Irish politics and the consequent deadening effect of virtual consensus on most social and economic issues. But, at this period of transition, it is perhaps time to acknowledge that civil war politics served this State well. The fact that the political debate was rooted in whose grandfather shot who in the early years of the last century was a major factor in enabling us to escape the worst extremes of some of our most sophisticated neighbours.”

I wonder is that true. It certainly seems to have a degree of truth in it. And other factors, a small polity and population didn’t save other states from fascism. But is it enough to provide an explanation for what happened, and as importantly, what did not happen.
Just on his other point, I can’t help but feel the following scans oddly.

Given the scary developments internationally and the many domestic challenges, leadership is now essential in Irish politics, but the signs that the challenges can be met are not good. After 41 years in Dáil Éireann, Enda Kenny is obviously a ruthless survivor, and he may well be witty and humane, but there is no sense that he has a political vision to match the extent of current political tests. It is hard to see substance behind the soundbites spun by his advisers about the quest to be the “best little country”. What is required now is also what was required during the Lemass era: someone with a clear sense of direction, not beholden to advisers or spin and not clinging to power for the sake of it.

Doesn’t that sound, no doubt unconsciously, remarkably like some of the complaints of those who plumped for Trump earlier this month?


1. botheredbarney - December 29, 2016

There is class stratification in Irish society. There are those with property and there are the propertyless. A farmer with thirty or less acres is a peasant proprietor, possibly higher on the social scale in rural parts than a shop assistant – although a female shop assistant often prefers to ‘catch’ a skilled labourer rather than a small farmer. The well to do middle professional and business classes have lived well while ‘others’ have struggled, often in vain; nevertheless the comfortable citizens have voted predominantly FF-FG because these parties have promoted policies on education, health and housing that benefit their social interests and give lower income people a slight leg-up without overtaxing the well-to-do. Most voters think centrist where economic policy is concerned. State planning and participation in the economy is accepted pragmatically because of the historical success of the semi-state enterprises. Most people believe in a regulated market rather than the ‘hidden hand of the market’. Attitudes to poverty are sentimental, not ideological. ‘Charity’ is widely seen as a way to help the poor – not much interest being shown in structural causes of poverty.

Folk religion, colonial history, middle class involvement in 1916-1921, the bonding role of the GAA, the FF and FG civil war divide, the ready availability of the emigrant boat, and the non-intellectual attitude to problems – all these contribute to Irish popular detachment from far right and far left political tendencies.

What is the Irish Dream? What changes in Irish culture are being nudged, below radar, by the New Irish from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe? Would the ending of the multi-seat constituency system accelerate the radicalisation of Irish politics?


2. sonofstan - December 29, 2016

The long review of David Beggs’ book that Tomboktu posted in the other thread makes the interesting point that Beggs’ chosen comparator states to Ireland- Netherlands, Denmark and Finland – all have resurgent far right movements alongside the kind of old school socal democracy he advocates for us, and the absence of which he blames for our recent woes.


3. dublinstreams - December 29, 2016

civil war politics served this State well? um yeah but there had to be a civil war first to have civil politics


4. roddy - December 29, 2016

Most 30 acre farmers up here would be married to women in shop assistant and similar employment.”Strong farmers”. tend to marry middle class professionals.


5. ivorthorne - December 29, 2016

I think that on the whole the fact that we had a great satan (England) and a pretty uniform population meant that the internal tensions that facism thrives on were absent.


Starkadder - December 29, 2016

Possibly- but don’t doubt that the seeds for an Irish far-right were always there. A read of “A challenge to democracy : militant Catholicism in modern Ireland” by Maurice Curtis or
“Architects of the Resurrection” by R. M. Douglas will disabuse you of any complacency in that area.

Nor should we ignore the admiring letters about Trump and Farage that turn up in Irish newspapers regularly, or the far-right Irish website discussed here a few weeks ago.


6. roddy - December 29, 2016

The far right governed unchallenged up here for 50 years.Look up the utterances of orange politicians like Brookeborough eg “personally I would’nt have one about my place”!


7. dublinstreams - January 7, 2017

Identity Ireland’s entry in the Register of Political parties Register of Political Parties, Houses of the Oireachtas

authorised officers are
Peter O’Loughlin
Gary Allen ?
Alan Tighe formerly ‘Irish Patriot Movement’ (formerly the ‘Irish National Group’).
Ted Neville formerly Immigration Control Platform


WorldbyStorm - January 7, 2017

Lovely bunch


8. babeuf - January 8, 2017

Apparently they now have 700 members.


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