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Supposedly centrism… August 21, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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A long-time friend of the CLR sent a link to this, a piece from prospective FG parliamentary candidate and human rights lawyer/campaign manager for Together for Yes, Deirdre Duffy. She writes in the context of the recent travels and travails of Young Fine Gael members to a conservative conference in the US. She argues that:

Some in the political extremes think Fine Gael has to be right-wing so they can be left-wing. Thankfully, politics in Ireland is more complex, nuanced and bipartisan than in many countries today. This is at the heart of the global leadership we have to offer in a time of conflict and mob politics.
…Irish politics has traditionally operated along the lines of tribes and prescriptive ideologies. But more recently, we have seen the beginnings of a new co-operation towards shared social objectives. In 2019, the new generations are leaving civil war politics behind us. We care about issues such as the climate emergency, housing, child poverty. We want effective government that protects and enables equal, enterprising and integrated communities. Shouting down other voices and claiming moral ownership around issues will alienate and divide. A progressive politics is not about beating the opposition, but one that focuses on building consensus to solve problems.

And:

So, I will call out what I see as a move to an extremist right-wing position by an influential younger leader. I would also call out the hard left because extremes divide and take our focus away from the issues that matter. We have seen the damage that can be done to representative democracy by those whose only way of winning is to drive the public away from debate, discussion and voting.

And:

If we are to overcome the challenges that matter, rather than political posturing and point-scoring, it has never been more important for us to stand up for progressive, democratic values. And the public should demand to find them at the centre of mainstream politics.

But this line suggests that there is a consensus on issues like climate change, housing and child poverty. The reality is of course anything but. There are left wing and right wing and indeed centrist approaches. It does politics a disservice to suggest that only some putative ‘centre’ politics is of any utility. Because the centre isn’t a fixed spot on a spectrum but shifts left and right depending upon broader political considerations. The ‘centre’ in pre-Thatcher Britain was very different to that found during her time as premier. And in arguing for a ‘centre’ she is implicitly closing down political options from beyond it, whether they are appropriate or not. I can’t think of any serious way housing can be addressed without massive state led investment and construction. That’s not going to come from the ‘centre’.

The point was made by the person who sent this that there’s a layer of people with liberalish views who seem to have floated across to FG during or after the referendum on the 8th when so much of the ‘hard groundwork was done mainly by those on the left (Labour, Sinn Fein, Soildarity, PBP, Greens, Soc Dems) and NGOs’ and in the teeth of fierce resistance from FG. And add to that the class aspect of those involved in FG as well as the curious fact, seemingly forgotten, that many now in positions of some prominence in that party were not that long ago considered near enough Neo-Thatcherite (even by themselves). Strange.

Comments»

1. EWI - August 21, 2019

I would also call out the hard left because extremes divide

Yes, because only ‘third-way’ (i.e. classical liberals) are free of all that ideology business, of course.

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Aonrud ⚘ - August 21, 2019

I think both sides are as bad as each other. I don’t really identify as left or right, those are outdated ideas. I believe in following the evidence, all of which just happens to coincide with the prevailing ideology of the small part of human culture and short window of history in which I’ve accidentally found myself and myopically cling to. What happy coincidence the centrist is born into!

Liked by 1 person

2. CL - August 21, 2019

“Noam Chomsky:
Republican Party is the most dangerous organisation in human history
‘Has there ever been an organisation in human history that is dedicated, with such commitment, to the destruction of organised human life on Earth?’ says distinguished academic
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/noam-chomsky-republican-party-most-dangerous-organisation-human-history-us-politics-mit-linguist-a7706026.html

“Jack Quinn was a Republican member of the US House of Representatives from 1993-2005. Ireland’s youngest ever Taoiseach was one of the students that worked with him as an intern back in 2000. Leo Varadkar worked in the congressman’s office in Washington DC while he was on an internship under the Washington Ireland Program.”
https://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0614/882370-leo-varadkar/

“Trumpism may have parallels in populist, nativist movements abroad, but it is also the culmination of a proud political party’s steady descent into a deeply destructive and dysfunctional state.
While that descent has been underway for a long time, it has accelerated its pace in recent years. We noted four years ago the dysfunction of the Republican Party, arguing that its obstructionism, anti-intellectualism, and attacks on American institutions were making responsible governance impossible. The rise of Trump completes the script, confirming our thesis in explicit fashion.”
https://www.vox.com/2016/7/18/12210500/diagnosed-dysfunction-republican-party

Liked by 1 person

3. oliverbohs - August 21, 2019

“Some in the political extremes think Fine Gael has to be right-wing so they can be left-wing”
Like, WTF does that even mean? Is Deirdre Duffy for real, or just a bot churning out random sentences from The Ladybird Book of Centrist Dad Sayings?
With these people, they want the right to be as narcissistic as they want to be, but keep those tax rates low, and make sure they know the best accountants

Liked by 1 person


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