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The Greens and a General Election June 12, 2019

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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One of the success stories from the Local and European Elections was the Green Party, Two European Seats, 48 seats in The Local Elections and an elected presence in many areas that they never had before. Whilst the initial framing of the Green Wave was from the Exit Poll which saw Saoirse McHugh in with a shout of a seat, it diminished a little, I still think it was a massive success for them and something that can be built on.
Of the 48 Councillors elected, 20 were elected on the first count. Looking at the figures they may have left up to ten seats behind by not having running mates. Given that they stood candidates in less than half of the Countries Local Electoral Areas, I think that had they run in more areas they would have further boosted their seat numbers. So although 48 seats is an incredible amount for them, had they seen the Green Wave coming (which they hadn’t at all) they would be on sixty plus seats.
So what could this success mean for a General Election?

In 2007 they won six seats and would have also targeted seats in Galway West , Cork South Central , Louth and Wicklow. Outside of that there weren’t any obvious targets.
In 2002 They won six and would have also targeted seats in Carlow Kilkenny and that was really that.

What is interesting from the Local Election results and their results in the European Elections is that they could conceivably be in the running in over twenty seats. That is of course if the Green Wave continues. Unless the current Government does something drastic then I do think Climate Change will be a big issue (especially for younger voters who I gather of the 18-21 year olds , over 40% of them voted for The Greens).

Dublin Rathdown, Dublin Bay South, Cork South Central, Dun Laoghaire,Dublin Fingal, Dublin West, Dublin Mid West, Dublin South West, Dublin South Central,
Dublin Central , Dublin Bay North, Wicklow, Kildare North, Galway West , Limerick City , Clare, Cork East, Louth, Longford Westmeath ,Mayo , Carlow Kilkenny, Waterford

Some of the above are possibly out of reach but as Climate Change becomes more and more of an issue (for my own Children it’s the biggest issue) anything is possible.
They have to come up with a credible plan, one outside of recyclable coffee cups, banning single use plastic and so on. It has to be something that tackles emissions and has an impact on Climate Change. A plan that says give us enough seats to have a real voice in Government and shaping Ireland’s future.
A Minister for Climate Action, a Department of Climate Action, getting the State to lead by example. Rather than insulation grants, a State body that insulates housing and buildings. A Proper Transport system that gets commuters out of their cars….. They should now have the resources and International Green contacts to come up with a plan or indeed A European Green plan. ….
Oh and keep Eamon Ryan away from the Cameras

Comments»

1. tafkaGW - June 12, 2019

A Minister for Climate Action, a Department of Climate Action, getting the State to lead by example. Rather than insulation grants, a State body that insulates housing and buildings. A Proper Transport system that gets commuters out of their cars…..

Yes indeed. Along with transitioning energy production to 100% renewables in short order and moving agriculture away from growing meat.

Do I expect the coalition partners that imposed austerity on us to save the golden circle some money to insist on this as a price of coalition? Nah, not really. Not at all actually. But I’d be happy to be surprised.

It would mean exorcising the by now deeply instinctive grasping at ‘market mechanisms’ to achieve anything.

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WorldbyStorm - June 12, 2019

Excellent suggestions. As you say tafkaGW, not necessarily what we’re going to see…

All that said some turnaround isn’t it, the GP in line for doubling, tripling, possibly more their seats.

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2. roddy - June 12, 2019

As someone who is not up to speed on some issues,can someone tell me what is wrong with “growing meat”.I have seen disapproval of beef production on here before and am genuinely curious about this.

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tafkaGW - June 13, 2019

Animal protein production (especially beef, lamb and pork) creates a lot of CO2 and methane, Roddy, and thus is incompatible with a stable climate.

Vat-grown meat substitutes may be part of the answer but otherwise we’ll have to get our protein from vegetable sources.

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3. Joe - June 13, 2019

“transitioning energy production to 100% renewables in short order”

“Animal protein production (especially beef, lamb and pork) creates a lot of CO2 and methane, Roddy, and thus is incompatible with a stable climate.”

On the first point, as far as I know that’s not a practical suggestion. Or maybe it is, if you include nuclear as a renewable?

On the second one, “and thus is incompatible with a stable climate” is a bit of a stretch to put it mildly. There’s loads of other things we can do to reduce emissions. And what’s “a stable climate” anyway?

I’m not a climate change denier (honestly, I’m not) but some of this broad brush ‘green’ stuff drives me to want to say away and shite.

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tafkaGW - June 14, 2019

All good questions Joe.

Transition to renewables by 2030 is possible, especially in an renewable-energy and relatively sparsely populated country like country. The question of storage would need to be addressed and it’s possible we would need to take rest days where possible when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

The major problem is that it won’t happen just by encouraging Mr. Market to intervene. That’s too slow, too unpredictable and Mr. Market will just as happily be accumulating profit by destroying a relatively stable climate.

A massive state-directed infrastructure programme on a quasi-war footing is needed. It’s green energy through ‘market signals’ without democratic public ownership that I find implausible.

‘stable climate’ was written in haste. I meant ‘natural climate change without forcing (of runaway change) from human-originated green house gas emissions’.

Presumably you’re (still) susceptible to ‘broad-brush’ class politics, Joe?. Why not with climate breakdown prevention and mitigation?

What it will take is a number of 5-year plans…:-)

Seriously, one of the most serious arguments for socialism is that ‘the market’ and its tame politicians have done less than nothing to protect climate and people.

Apart from that, I believe a mass of wage-and-benefits-dependent people are yearning for a global collective project directed towards the common good. That’s one reason why the Koch Bros spent of 1$Billion in spreading denialism.

Go along to a Parents For Future demo / meeting and catch the vibe.

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4. roddy - June 13, 2019

For a site that aims to represent the interests of working people,I await the response of citizens from Ballymun or Ballymurphy when they are told to “get their protein from vegetable sources”.That would be a great vote winner especially among those who earn a crust by hard physical labour.Whilst only engaging in moderate physical labour,I find a meat diet essential to keep me going.

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Liberius - June 13, 2019

The Danny Healy-Rae argument?

He said: “Them fellas who are talking about eating meat have never worked hard because if you’re a hard worker and do a hard days work, there’s nothing to bring you back like a piece of good meat, whether it is bacon and cabbage or whether it is beef or mutton stew.”

At this point someone shouted from behind: “Bitta steak every now and then Danny”.

Like we said – bizarre.

He finished this rant by saying: “If you don’t have that you won’t rise out the following day”.

Deficiencies in iron and vitamin B12 notwithstanding there isn’t a shortage of energy (ask athletes why they eat so much pasta) or protein in a meat-free dinner.

https://www.joe.ie/politics/danny-healy-rae-vegan-655003

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5. roddy - June 13, 2019

You eat whatever you want but don’t force me or others to give up what the vast majority of working class people eat

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Liberius - June 13, 2019

I had a chicken and ham pie today, I’m not telling anyone what to eat, merely correcting your rubbish understanding of nutrition; also given that meat was an irregular and expensive luxury for working class people well into the 20th century I think it might be a bit unwise to lean too heavily on that.

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WorldbyStorm - June 13, 2019

I’m not a vegetarian either, though I now avoid red meat (my father died of colon cancer, so did his brother, and others of his siblings developed but survived it – red meat is a real problem for that). But I wouldn’t diss vegetarians at all and I like a lot of vegetarian cooking, and as Liberius says, let’s not overstate the idea of red meat as a staple of the working class over the years. In any event if it’s a steak or the planet, and it may not be quite yet, but might in the future, I know what the choice is.

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tafkaGW - June 14, 2019

Indeed and the inclusion of large amounts of meat by middle class Chinese and Japanese in their diets has contributed to significantly to their increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

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6. roddy - June 13, 2019

Its the same as trying to stop working class people burning coal.

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WorldbyStorm - June 13, 2019

But that’s to suggest that being working class isn’t just about class relations but is about things – but does that hold up? You’d hardly complain that working class people should be prevented from using those new fangled phone things or televisions, would you? Though at one point that wasn’t part of the working class experience at all in regard to either. In our house we never burned coal a day in our lives, it was turf or peat briquettes (my gran would have been different coming from Birmingham – there it was coal but I figure that’s an English thing and not her fault 😉 ). In working class homes across the island did that make working class people more or less working class or could it be it doesn’t matter a damn.

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Liberius - June 13, 2019

I’m probably going to regret this, but the 2016 census results for the ROI say that out of 1,697,665 households only 86,611(5.1%) use coal, not quite sure it’s the issue you think it is.

https://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Statire/SelectVarVal/Define.asp?maintable=E1052&PLanguage=0

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WorldbyStorm - June 13, 2019

Excellent stat.

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7. Logan - June 13, 2019

tafkaGW said:
“Animal protein production (especially beef, lamb and pork) creates a lot of CO2 and methane…”

It does produce a lot of methane (although that is mostly broken down within ten years), however the amount of CO2 produced in cattle production can very hugely depending on how the cattle are fed, where the get their water, etc.

Most Irish beef cattle are are mainly grass fed, with the grain they consume mainly being locally produced grain. This is a very different proposition than, say, cattle on a feed-lot in Kansas being fed a diet mainly derived from Brazilian-grown soy.

For instance which is worse,in terms of CO2: somebody in Dublin eating a beefburger produced from a heifer raised in Ashbourne and slaughterd in the nearby Kepak plant, or eating a veggie burger made from corn and soybeans grown in the USA?

Also, not all vegetables are innocent, about a quarter of the methane produced in the world by agriculture is produced by rice growing….

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tafkaGW - June 14, 2019

Around my way when I lived in rural Ireland, cattle were kept in slatted sheds for much of their lives, pigs penned in in appalling circumstances and fed on imported soy, bits of fish and imported grain.

The grass was regularly spread with mineral fertilizers, almost certainly imported (as well as pig-slurry).

On grassland – if we are to do anything to turn the climate catastrophy around we need to plant as much diverse forest as possible. This is incompatible with fields devoted to low-density protein production by cattle or sheep destroying highland ecosystems that could be used as carbon sinks.

I could go on, and this is largely anecdotal.

Agriculture is the biggest CO2 emitter in (Ro) Ireland by a long way (33%). In 2017 agricultural output of CO2 was growing.

https://www.epa.ie/climate/communicatingclimatescience/whatisclimatechange/whatareirelandsgreenhousegasemissionslike/

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Logan - June 14, 2019

Well just because a cow is in a slatted shed for the winter (or “kept in slatted sheds for much of their lives” as you rather dramatically put it), doesn’t mean they aren’t being grass-fed, as I would imagine that silage makes up the majority of their feed during the winter so they are still mainly “grass-fed. Of course the fertiliser issue makes cattle rearing a huge carbon emitter, but that’s not always necessary for meat producing either.

The main point I was making was that there is so much mitigation possible in the climate effects of animal rearing, that the frequent refrain in much popular culture these days that suggestions that we will all have to go nearly vegetarian to combat climate change is actually somewhat strange, and presumably more a reflection of the cultural effect of the popularity of vegetarianism than anything else.

For instance, compare how the ESB, and Bord Na Mona on one hand, have responded (or been pushed to respond) to the climate challenge in the last two decades compared to the Dept of Agriculture on the other hand.

This will tell you all you need to know about what the real establishment (the business class/upper civil servant/media elite) really thinks is relevant to counter climate change, and having the country go vegetarian doesnt seem to be on the agenda at all there…

I am not saying that the establishment is necessarily right in their analysis of course.

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8. Logan - June 13, 2019

Anyway all these debates that end up with south Dublin liberal types lecturing the poor and/or culchies on “how you will have to get used to eating less meat” is a somewhat absurd side-show – the national beef herd has been growing fairly rapidly over the last few years, but this is almost entirely due to the increase in beef and dairy exports. This is partly caused by strong encouragement at Department of Agriculture level. Whatever increase is occurring on methane and carbon dioxide emissions from on the national herd is mainly due to this, rather than changes in the meat consumption amongst Irish people (whether working class or not).

It is faintly amusing observing Leo Varadkar giving an interview where he spouts guff about how he is “trying to eat less meat for his health as well as the environment” and thus wowing the south Dublin “I’m kinda worries about the environment, but kinda worries about my income tax rates as well” types, all while his own Department of Agriculture is pushing pushing intensification of meat production as part of HIS government’s policy.

It is perhaps an indication of how few in the current media class have much of a connection to agriculture that such contradictions and picked up on more. For instance, why on Earth did the journalist interviewing him on that then not straight away follow up asking him to explain contradiction between his views and government policy?

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tafkaGW - June 14, 2019

That old canard – it’s only the middle class who (should) care about capitalogenic global warming.

The working class everywhere (and most specifically the poorest in the world) are those who will bear the brunt of suffering caused by CGW. The rich and upper middle class will buy their way out the suffering under capitalism.

Preventing climate and eco-system catastrophe is in the material interests of the working class.

And the materialist left needs to be honest about the sweeping material changes to our lives and economy defending working class interests in this area implies.

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WorldbyStorm - June 14, 2019

Just to add to your point tafkaGW the capitalist class or some are already seeing opportunity in crisis and seeking to clear the decks politically and economically precisely because long term they can reshape societies and persist even in the face of global collapse.

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WorldbyStorm - June 14, 2019

And another thought – I know a fair few working class activists and campaigners who are long time vegetarians and vegans – people who’ve been at the hard end of campaigns and so on. Nothing ‘south Dublin’ in that sense about them

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Logan - June 14, 2019

True enough I’m sure you’re correct in that vegetarian and veganism is strong in many working class activists, however what I was talking about was Leo Varadkar and how he signals to a constituency of people in the country , an upper middle-class one (not just confined to South Dublin of course) that likes to think that cares about the environment to put I doubt would be very willing to do much about it, if it came to restrictions on their activities or the tax they pay. The reality in this country, a place where Fianna Fail and Fine Gael together have a comfortable majority of the votes, it is the case that what Varadkar thinks is the appropriates response to it in his media appearances is more significant, unfortunately, than what those doughty working class activists do, or think.

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WorldbyStorm - June 14, 2019

Let’s put it this way, I agree with you re Varadkar completely – and that is a fair point re how he should be interrogated on the topic, my only thought is that vegetarianism is now much wider than the middle class.

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9. Logan - June 14, 2019

In response to tafkaGW’s comment that “The working class everywhere (and most specifically the poorest in the world) are those who will bear the brunt of suffering caused by CGW. The rich and upper middle class will buy their way out the suffering under capitalism.”

That is true but if you take the working class (just in this country), it’s also true that a fair bit of the brunt of the mitigation/taxation measures that might be proposed to deal with climate change will fall harder on them also. For instance a person in Dublin who is near a bus network will be a lot less affected by punitive petrol taxes than a factory worker living in Roscommon who works in Sligo. Also the middle classes will be able to bear (say) aeroplane travel taxes a lot more easily than the working class. For the middle class, and extra 20% tax on will be an annoyance but absorbable. They might even appreciate it in a “I feel less guilty about my weekend break in Marbella now because there is a carbon tax on the flight” sort of way. Whereas for a working-class family it may mean that they end up priced out of their summer week in Lanzarote, which they may resent.

And take out that resentment on politicians.

Remember that Macron insisted that any talk of cancelling his proposed petrol tax increase for last January was an outrageous idea in the face of climate change, until he faced the largest protests in Paris for 20 years, and climate change suddenly got dethroned from the top pf his list of priorities.

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EWI - June 15, 2019

Remember that Macron insisted that any talk of cancelling his proposed petrol tax increase for last January was an outrageous idea in the face of climate change, until he faced the largest protests in Paris for 20 years, and climate change suddenly got dethroned from the top pf his list of priorities.

You’re missing out the EV in the room here – the current transportation of choice for the younger middle class urban elites.

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Jim Monaghan - June 15, 2019

A bit of special pleading here “For instance a person in Dublin who is near a bus network will be a lot less affected by punitive petrol taxes than a factory worker living in Roscommon who works in Sligo.”. Surely this is offset by the much cheaper housing in Roscommon.

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yourcousin - June 15, 2019

Are the wages the same in Sligo and Dublin?

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Logan - June 15, 2019

That is true, bit that just means that it is already baked into the cost assumptions of the economics of their job, which probably doesnt pay as well as a Dublin job either. Their whole way of life (working in Roscommon and driving to Sligo) is predicated on the current price of petrol. If it is increased in price, how they make their living may no longer make economic sense. Obviously they might find a less paid job closer to Roscommon in such a scenario, but don’t expect him to be happy about it.

And in many such cases, increasing rural bus services (although it is a good thing in itself and will help a lot of people) wont be relevant to many because they work shift hours, or as builders tradesmen, or in a hospital, and they will still need to travel by car to work…

I have to say I think a much greater availability of cheap EV’s (electric vehicles) may be the only thing that works for that problem, but it still seems a long way off.

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10. Logan - June 15, 2019

I guess that was Macron’s problem – there is no sign at the moment that the the older, working class, rural, boggers in France will be able to afford an EV anytime soon, unless the state drops a huge money-bomb in subsidising it, and I dont think the “younger middle class urban elite” have any desire to pay for that.

What’s an ambitious centre-right politician to do?

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WorldbyStorm - June 15, 2019

The bottom line being that unless the structures to support people – rural transport, funding for energy saving houses, etc, is put in place and funded by the state the shift is going to leave people behind and that will as you say Logan build resentment. Genuine Red/Green politics is the only way forward.

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