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The politics of 2018 from the ‘centre’ January 9, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Pat Leahy chose to use his last column of the year to cast an eye over developments of 2018. Leahy is no radical, indeed he used the piece to argue that there’s a consolidation on the centre-left/right. There’s something in that, but I’d argue that it is closer to right of centre than left. And that the centre is also on the right. Still, who could doubt that at the next election one could suggest any alphabetical combination of GP/FF/FG/SD/LP and so on and bar PBP/SOL and some of I4C (assuming that august body still exists) plus a few individual independents those aforementioned could reasonably comfortably coalesce in any arrangement one might imagine.

He noted that SF is signalling that it ‘wishes to join in’. Indeed, but that’s a bigger ask. Because FG and FF aren’t keen to dance that dance quite yet – and perhaps never if they can avoid it.

As he said:

Mary Lou McDonald made a tactical error in the presidential election, and a strategic one – I think – in assuming that Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil would do coalition business with her after the next election.

I have wondered how her leadership will go. Just stray thoughts at the moment. They’d be loath to change, and yet, a bad election on top of a bad Presidential. Well, we’ll see.

Who could disagree with the following either?

The vast majority of the political class believes in a large free market supporting public services and a welfare state on the – more or less – social democratic European model.

Those of us who want ever increasing social/community/cooperative and state ownership, even with aspects of a regulated market extant don’t get much of a look in there – do we, let alone those who want complete societal transformation (I’m with that too, but I’ll settle for actual movement in the former). Entertaining too that for Leahy ‘truly radical politics’ is symbolised by Corbyn’s Labour (and Trump’s Republicans) which would frankly on the Labour side still leave most of us here to its left. I’m tempted to say we must be really really radical. And again I think this points up the reality that his centre is a right of centre centre.

Leahy noted that the Independents are squeezed – though those in government are ‘comfortable’. You bet. Still, I’d expect to see half or less of (all of) them return. Interestingly he argues that the parties of the radical left have dug in and though there will be losses most ‘can look forward to the next election with some confidence’. I think that’s true too.

But he made a crucial point which was that:

They will continue to be a loud voice (literally and metaphorically) in Irish politics, but this year suggests they are not growing their base and broadening their appeal. Look at how the centre took over the political face of the Repeal movement.

That appropriation is one of the key aspects of this year. FG will move to block others by taking on aspects – often cosmetic and incomplete – of their approaches. Or they’ll use similar rhetoric.

Speaking of which, he noted Micheál Martin continues unchallenged in FF. But it’s a bit like May, at this moment better to keep him there than have the perils of being successor. Dust will have to clear to offer a sense of the future.

Anyhow, interesting as an overview from the new ‘centre’ of Irish politics.


1. EWI - January 9, 2019

The vast majority of the political class believes in a large free market supporting public services, and a welfare state on the – more or less – social democratic European model.

An extra comma in there and you have the neo-libs.


GW - January 9, 2019

Eh? What social democratic model? There’s nothing resembling the post-WWII social democracy, anywhere in Europe.


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