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A new left media outlet? And a ‘national movement’? January 13, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Over Christmas the SBP suggested that ‘Trade unionist Brenda Ogle is planning to launch a left-wing news website as part of a series of media initiatives in the new year’.

This is part of a broader effort, according to Ogle, ‘to launch a national movement in 2017 that would seek to influence political debate in Ireland’. This would see ‘a daily online outlet with 30-40 articles per week’ something along the lines of ‘Broadsheet and the Journal’. And not only but also, there’d be a print version available monthly or quarterly.

How would all this work? Would it work? And this ‘national movement’. Is that a party by another name? Will that include TDs etc? Any further news on this? Any thoughts?


1. murf - January 13, 2017

The Phoenix has raised the question of Ogle & UNITE launching a party around the Right2Water group, which would exclude AAA & PBP and would try to locate itself “between SF and the Social Democrats” (wherever that is). But the story they tell now is that none of the leftie TDs approached have committed, only one (Joan Collins) has seemed enthusiastic at any stage, and that the UNITE membership in NI are, well, skeptical.

From what I hear of Mr Ogle, he may not be one to draw people around him.

Liked by 1 person

dublinstreams - January 13, 2017

Ogle seems to be capable of getting traction on some things ie his involvement in right2change, Homesweethome. Is the article in the new An Phoblacht about an Ogle party? it has an article titled do we need a new Left Party?


2. Gerryboy - January 13, 2017

Left wing unity – it seems as continuous as Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece, or the repetitive efforts of Sisyphus to roll a stone to the top of the hill.


Aonrud ⚘ - January 14, 2017

Well if you would just be willing to accept that my policy to roll the stone around the hill is a far more achievable goal, instead of pushing your far-left, unrealistic, top-of-the-hill ideology, maybe we wouldn’t have such a fractured Left, Gerryboy 🙂

Liked by 1 person

Gerryboy - January 14, 2017

emoticon + 1


3. Pasionario - January 13, 2017

The best model for radical online journalism is Mediapart in France.

It’s subscription only (11 euros a month), carries no advertising and blends investigative reporting with left-wing editorials. The scoops are crucial because they’ve given the site a big profile and draw in readers who might not agree with its politics.


They have over 100,000 subscribers and are profitable. I think something like that could work in Ireland, but you’d need some serious initial investment and a team of real journalists behind it. Frankly, I don’t know where you’d find either these days.

Sticking a few dozen pieces written by Ogle et al on the web each week isn’t going to cut it.

Liked by 1 person

oliverbohs - January 13, 2017

Would like to think those with suitable ability are out there, but are there the numbers? Appeal to the diaspora?
An Irish equivalent of the Guardian’s Comment is Free section and not much else would suck.
Hope I can come across as sincere when I say that at least the below-the-line comments here are worth reading, unlike more or less all the usual MSM suspects. Small is beautiful sometimes


CMK - January 14, 2017

Jack O’Connor has said in the past that he wants SIPTU’s ‘Liberty’ to become a national Left wing paper……..


WorldbyStorm - January 14, 2017

That’ll be the day.


4. An Sionnach Fionn - January 13, 2017

The need for a professional left-wing voice in the Irish media is obvious but another An Phoblacht or Look Left is not gonna do it. What is required is a news, current affairs and general interest site. In other words, a Guardian- or Salon-style webzine. A mix of politics and culture, news and tech, showbiz and gossip, with an editorial position encompassing the broad left. If its all politics or too obviously a party-front no one but party activists is going to visit it. Or trust it.

I know from my own experiences with ASF, most new readers visit for the sci-fi and history. Getting them to stay for the politics is a plus.

Liked by 1 person

Gerryboy - January 14, 2017

“A mix of politics and culture, news and tech, showbiz and gossip,” – and not forgetting popular sport. Joyless left journalists seem to despise ‘wasting’ space on sports coverage.


An Sionnach Fionn - January 14, 2017

Yep, agree with that. Anything too narrow will struggle to find an audience and loathe though politicos are to admit it, politics is very much a minority interest. I’m sure CLR gets some interesting stats when music, movie, tech, history or sci-fi posts go up.

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - January 14, 2017

It’s interesting you should say that, I think you’re spot on there. New readers do come in from those fields. Whether they stay, now that’s a different matter.


Michael Carley - January 15, 2017

Take a look at the back pages of the Morning Star.


Pasionario - January 15, 2017

Proper sports coverage is very expensive to do well. You need dozens of reporters attending matches around the country (and in the UK). The Irish Times pull most of their match reports from the wires.

You’re better off focusing on one or two things and carving out a niche. That’s what makes Mediapart successful. Private Eye also springs to mind.


CL - January 15, 2017

Good to see some darts coverage in the I.T, but i think its copied from the Guardian.


5. roddy - January 14, 2017

Try to connect with a broad spectrum – a motoring column for the lads and housekeeping tips for the weemin !


Gerryboy - January 14, 2017

or housekeeping tips for the men and their teenage sons!


GW - January 15, 2017

Cooking tips for teens in general would be good!


Gerryboy - January 15, 2017

I agree. I wish my late mammy had shown me how to cook. In my 30s (so late) I attended an evening beginners cookery class in my area. I learned what terms like ‘basting’ ‘simmering’ ‘sauteing’ and ‘lentils’ meant – never been hungry since.


Liberius - January 15, 2017

This would be one for those with school-age adolescents, but is cookery still kettled into ‘home economics’? Surely it’s more important than that.

One thing I think though is that modern cookery programmes on television are excessively complicated in terms of recipe and techniques, I suspect that adds to a feeling in some that cooking is complicated when it isn’t really. Your dinner doesn’t have to be michelin starred.

Liked by 1 person

6. GW - January 15, 2017

It’s good that people are thinking along these lines. And yes – it needs to be more than narrowly political if people are going to read it every day or week.

And real investigative journalism that presents checked facts as well as opinions is an important part of the mix – the Mediapart model is interesting.

It should represent a broad spectrum of left news and opinion rather than being particularly party political.

I subscribe cash money for intelligent left journalism in Germany but I don’t know where I’d go in Ireland for such a thing.

My ideal would be a federation of online sources of left journalism throughout the world that has a ‘local’ section and then shared content from throughout the world. At the moment we cobble online sources together ourselves without much thought for how they are paid for.


7. Gerryboy - January 15, 2017

@Liberious You rightly criticise television cookery programmes. They are edited; some precooking has been done before the cameras roll; and the time element of many dishes is misrepresented by film editing.

‘Home Economics’ as a school subject has been somewhat de-feminised in recent decades in an effort to attract teenage boys. The subject now covers, in addition to cooking, modules on waste recycling, effective home insulation, textiles and electricity and physics. I don’t know what male takeup these curriculum developments have resulted in. But Irish mammies who fail to encourage their sons to learn the basics of cooking are doing social damage.


Liberius - January 15, 2017

Thanks for that Gerryboy.


8. roddy - January 15, 2017

My secondary school was an all boys comprehehensive (ie all ability)Posted up on a noticeboard were exam timetables for O and A level GCE .These timetables included subjects that our school did,nt do and one of these was “home economics”.I can say in all honesty that for all my school years I thought this was the study of the economy of these islands!


9. Alibaba - January 17, 2017

The essence of what’s happening with regard to recent Hands Off The Homeless developments can be summed up in one word: hypocrisy.

Why didn’t Brendan Ogle and Unite get it or prepare for it in advance? They should have done so. Well, the media has. It is milking it bigtime. Headlines were hitting us all day yesterday.

What’s going on here? Stupidity or some protestors being “mischievous”? I don’t think so. Let me share with you some quotes from Brendan’s latest book: ‘From Bended Knee to a New Replubic’, subtitled ‘How the Fight for Water is Changing Ireland’.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that it was on the back of a horse, one Saturday afternoon in May 2014 [in Cuba], while wearing a panama hat and smoking a cigar that had just been made in front of our eyes, that my involvement in what would become Right2Water was born.”

Really? Brendan says a meeting was convened in Dail Eireann in June 2014 to discuss water charges with him, Jimmy Kelly, RBB, Coppinger, Healy, Halligan, Pringle, Collins, Cllr Doolan and Cllr Young. “Unfortunately this meeting was a disaster”.

Plus—flourish of trumpets—”Over the next three months, in the background, the strategy and branding for what would become Ireland’s biggest single issue campaign ever, and that would ultimately morph into a social movement, was put together.”

What a pity that such conceit has overcome what had otherwise been a determined, sincere and gifted activist who so successfully married trade union involvement with popular campaigns.



CMK - January 17, 2017

Far be it for me to defend Mr. Ogle, but he is being targeted by an extremely disingenuous media campaign by journalists who have clearly been briefed by government spin doctors to attack HSH, UNITE and Ogle. The media are trying to manufacture ‘hypocrisy’ in this instance and by instigating this campaign they are revealing just how much in the pocket of the state they are. Apollo House was problematic on some levels but overall was a good initiative that clearly scared the s***e out of the establishment. The homelessness crisis cannot be solved on a fair an equitable basis without shafting a very sizeable protion of the grassroots of FG, FF and Labour in the auctioneering, legal, property developers etc who are making an absolute killing at the moment. Apollo House threw that into stark relief and the serve is being returned with the made up ‘story’ about UNITE’s old headquarters.

Unfortunately, for the establishment while we are in the depths of the biggest housing crisis in the state’s history there are still 35,000 mortgages completely underwater (2 years or more in arrears), that’s the guts of 100,000 people who the banks, the vulture funds and the courts are preparing to evict.

The water charges movements, opposition to the property tax etc could be easily enough stopped by the establishment who could just abolish the water tax or the property tax. They’d lose face but live to fight another day. The housing crisis is far, far more intractable and worsening by the month. I think the establishment know they are in deep trouble on this issue, hence the attacks on HSH and Ogle, and with Brexit and Trump their options are very narrow.


Alibaba - January 17, 2017

When Unite claims to have concerns about homelessness, links itself and Brendan Ogle’s leadership to a campaign, and yet are the owner of a building in Dublin city centre lying empty for three years—people take umbrage—and understandably so.

Yes, there is an ‘extremely disingenuous campaign’ by the media to attack them. That should go without saying. Yes, Apollo House was a NAMA property and Unite was technically correct in seeking an exemption for its own property as it transpires. But why did they make themselves such easy targets?

People aren’t fools and became annoyed at what they consider ‘hypocrisy’, especially as it came out belatedly and under protest pressure. Unite should have brought out this ‘story’ to activists first, the media thereafter and done so beforehand. It’s a misfortune that could have been so easily avoided. It’s not exactly rocket science.

This controversy isn’t faux. It’s very real in the public mind. I’d like to think that this is merely an exercise in poor judgment. But I suspect it’s more sinister than that. Things are being done “in the background” and those who seek to take issue with approaches or structures have been sidelined and put down without reasonable cause. That needs saying and correcting if we hope to build any new viable and worthy social movement.


CMK - January 17, 2017

Like loads of others I have huge problems with Ogle’s methodology and approach, which I don’t think provide any basis for sustainable political organisation and which, as you pointed out, don’t seem structured to account for the inevitable attacks from the establishment that come with any attempt to push back.

I fully agree that the attacks on anyone who questions his, and his group’s approach, are counter-productive and, as I said, not sustainable if we are to build a movement.

Going back to the initial post I don’t think a political grouping brought together by Ogle will last. It might keep going for a while but there are too many tensions immanent in his organising methodology for it to work longer term.

UNITE have put out a statement clarifying the situation with the Merrion Square property but, you’re right, this should have been made clear and public at the time Apollo House was occupied.


Liked by 1 person

dublinstreams - January 17, 2017

“What a pity that such conceit has overcome what had otherwise been a determined, sincere and gifted activist who so successfully married trade union involvement with popular campaigns.”

do tell us more.

The Hands off the Homeless group are assocaited with the guy they kicked out of the place https://www.facebook.com/groups/363103217379947/


Alibaba - January 17, 2017

I tend to take the view that whatever the intended effects of Brendan Ogle’s actions, the actual ones can be counter-productive sometimes in the way indicated by CMK. But I’m not forgetting the massive step forward that connecting trade unions with fighting campaigns he is responsible for too. I get the feeling that he is sincere and devoted to the many efforts involved. That’s my impressionistic view for you.

As for the Facebook comments, I’m sorry to say you’ve drawn a blank here because I know nothing about the issue in question.


10. Gerryboy - January 17, 2017

People try to become regarded as the vanguard of the masses, and other people try to brush aside people who seem to be the vanguard of the masses. I view such people skeptically.


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