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“They just have to go into government… “ April 9, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Speaking of cognitive dissonance, it’s highly entertaining to hear from various quarters the line that the SDs, or GP or on occasion the LP, ‘have to go into a government’ with FF and FG given those two larger parties have been adamant in ruling SF out as a partner for government. Somehow the ‘national interest’ functions in only one way, that is with regard to the smaller parties, and not in relation to forging an agreement with SF and a.n.others.

There’s also some curious analyses, for example, take this from Pat Leahy at the weekend where he argued:

I can’t quite decide whether the Green Party’s reluctance to enter government stems from political opportunism or just a lack of courage. Whichever it is, the party is turning its back on an opportunity to bring about a step change in climate policy and wield unprecedented power at the centre of government across a range of policy areas. Given that the recent election demonstrated pretty unequivocally that Irish voters don’t give much of a hoot about climate change, I wonder when the Greens think they’ll get a chance like this again.

Well perhaps (some, perhaps many of) the GP think that this isn’t much of an opportunity at all given their last experience of government with FF and suspect that a government with FF/FG might actually be substantively worse for them. After all, they wound up with no TDs at all after that experience. It then took them two elections and almost a decade to rebuild and exceed their original position. Why do precisely the same again and to what end?

Furthermore they might consider that the likelihood of progressive outcomes on the environment will be much more difficult to achieve in the context of what promises to be a very very difficult economic period once the crisis subsides.

Which is ironic because in almost the same breath Leahy pivots to making much the same argument, but this time in relation to SF!

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are edging towards a deal that will become real in a few weeks if the pandemic does not turn into an Italian-style disaster and destroy the current government and any chance of a similar successor. If the worst happens, as noted hereabouts before, our politics will change rapidly and radically. For one thing, the exclusion of Sinn Féin is unlikely to be sustainable in that scenario. I wonder if the party views this prospect with much enthusiasm.

Isn’t that a massive contradiction. On the one hand tempt in the GP and whoever to an FF/FG coalition because of the unparalleled opportunities to effect change. On the other rain on SF’s parade in relation to participation because of the difficult times ahead. One or other of those argument may well be wrong but functionally for the parties being seen as making up numbers they cannot be in such stark contradiction to one another as regards outcomes.

Leahy suggests that the arithmetic for government is such that either we have FF/FG and a.n.others, or we have FF or FG and SF and a.n.others and therefore while ‘ This puts the small parties in a potentially pivotal position; it confers great power on them right now. They seem to be intent on fleeing from it.’

But of course they do. Because those are two very different forms of coalition, even if many of us on the left would shy away from recommending SF and others engage with either FF or FG. In one the smaller parties and SF would have much greater weight, albeit insufficient for many of us. In the other the smaller parties would be overwhelmed by FF/FG. Small wonder the former parties are saying no thanks to participation with FF/FG. And it is this that points up why is last paragraph is so wide of the mark.

Of course no party that is thinking of the next election should go into government right now. The prospects for such an administration are beyond daunting. Only those that actually want to play a part in rebuilding the country, in making it a better place, in bettering the lives of its citizens, in sacrificing their political fortunes for the public good, should apply for this one. The queue is not exactly a long one. Sometimes, you’d wonder what the election was about after all.

But if that is true, then why aren’t FF or FG attempting to carve out a deal with SF and others?


1. EWI - April 9, 2020

The Greens would be steamrollered in a coalition with FF/FG. I’d give it a month of cabinet meetings where every motion is automatically voted down – no matter what noises any program for government states – before they stop even referring to their goals.


2. 6to5against - April 9, 2020

The logic seems to be that small parties have no stomach for the difficult times that lie ahead. But is that really the case?
We’re in the middle of an enormous recession. There’s no doubt about that, nor of the fact that creates real problems for people that will linger after this passes.

But it will pass. Maybe over a few months or maybe over a year, but it will clearly pass: in the end either a large majority have had the virus, or there will be a vaccine. And then what, politically? Surely from a FFFG perspective, its easier to be optimistic than pessimistic. I’ve learned from my Piketty that the best way of ensuring high economic growth is to have a period of zero or negative growth. And if the gov’t avoids blame for the arrival of the virus – and they surely will – they will then be in charge for a sudden, optimistic economic surge. Which they will no doubt proclaim as being the ‘change’ every body wanted. Even if we only end up back where we were last year.

From the evidence of this years election, that wont (I hope) convince a majority, but it gives FFFG a path through the next few years that may keep their own voters happy enough.

But I can see why smaller parties want no part of it.

Liked by 1 person

3. Dermot M O Connor - April 9, 2020

The Virus is doing more to advance green policies than could be achieved by 160 Green TDs. Cars off the road, pollution falling, planes grounded, carbon emissions down, etc., so why do the Greens need to get in with FFG? To get a few more bicycle lanes in D4? Pfft.

The existential urgency of climate change is in the short term being tackled by a microscopic goblin, doing more than 50+ years of environmental activism, so that gets Eamonn off the hook for now.

All hail the glob!

If you’re a Green TD, there is no urgent need to do anything. Let FFG take the economic heat of the virus, then fight the subsequent GE (which will make 2020 look like nothing, and probably be sooner rather than later), hell it’s a no-brainer. If the Greens get lured into that cold embrace then more fool them.


6to5, you might be right, re Piketty, though the zillion dollar question is whether any kind of recovery will be possible that’s worth anything to a voter anytime soon, or soon enough for the next Irish GE….

An FFG coalition with indos might last the 5 (Bertie managed an impressive feat with one of his narrow minorities IIRC), but these are much harder circumstances. Say it’s just FF/FG/IND, they might have a maj. of 4 or 5, but I could see that whittled very quickly in the storm. They’d be looking at a GE in 2022 or 23, with the feces still hitting the windshield…. and no guarantee that the virus would be in the can by then. What a freakin nightmare!

Liked by 1 person

EWI - April 9, 2020

Unfortunately, we know from the previous collapse of capitalism (just a decade ago) that the subsequent spiking the drinks in order to get the party started again will more than reverse any temporary emissions gains.

Liked by 1 person

Dermot M O Connor - April 9, 2020

Indeed – long term it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better (i.e., before it collapses, taking who knows how many of us with it). Still, there’s a limit as to how much longer they can keep this global iteration of capitalism going.

Regarding short term benefits though for Ireland and carbon taxes, weren’t there going to be carbon penalties (the stuff the greens were on about during the election campaign?) I imagine that short term stuff will be much reduced this year at least.

Will be very interesting also to see the extent to which nature recovers (again, before it gets whacked during the ‘recovery’). In the US alone something like 1 million animals die on the roads every day.

Anyway, as to the next few months / year and a bit: I really hope some of the speculative tech / rentier scumbags, especially the airBNB superhosts get utterly slaughtered. It would be interesting to see the extent to which airBNB is responsible for the housing crisis. First signs point to: a lot.

As may be clear from my other posts, I have a very dim view of people. When this is over, there’ll be very little time lost before a scramble to get back to “the good old days”. A tiny % will internalise and integrate the lessons, but the vast majority will quickly forget. Within a year or three it’ll be as if it never happened. The photos of foxes at the merchant’s arch will be pretty posters, and little else. The newly learned ability to work from home will erode, and they’ll be back in their gas-guzzling air-poisoning animal-killing cars as usual…….

I don’t think that people have realised that the world that’s needed in order to prevent material / ecological disaster, to even begin to approach what is needed, is the one we’re living in now – preferably with a lot less people in it. A good start, would be my description. A real distinction between wants and needs, and where the resources should go (mostly to working people as it turns out).

But we have decades now of people knowing what’s needed and saying “Fuck it, I want lots of stuff”. People won’t / can’t choose to do the right thing, so reality will choose it for them. Cvid is a dry run, and this time reality has been relatively benign. The next crisis won’t be so kind. All those fires haven’t gone away.

Watched a great YT lecture on the bronze age collapse – basically everything that could have gone wrong did. That’s probably what it’ll take for the worst case scenario this century, as bad as CV is it’s not going to be enough – but the way other things are stacking up (resource depletion, climate/fires, etc), i wouldn’t want to give good odds on the year 2050 being a pleasuredome.

I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

Here’s the bronze age lecture, well worth a watch.


WorldbyStorm - April 10, 2020

I don’t think a politics which has a dim view of people is a left politics. I don’t think one has to have illusions as to their ability to radicalise, but I do think one has to have a generosity towards them. People are all we have. That’s the start and the end of politics. That’s where the arguments will be made and the victories achieve.d Again what’s the point otherwise. It just dribbles off into a sort of elitism.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - April 10, 2020

BTW I don’t want that to read as overly harsh or judgemental. We all get frustrated with others. And they with us. But I worry that politics that doesn’t have a broader view of people in all their flawed make up is headed for a cul-de-sac.

And I think for example the current situation with people going to holiday homes during the pandemic is useful. It’s not that people are stupid. They know on some level that this is risky behaviour. But part of it is incomprehension at the way the world has turned upside down, part of it is due to an unthinking privilege – ‘this is the way it has been therefore this is the way it is and will continue to be’, part of it due to never being asked much of or being insulated from negative consequences, their privilege is learned (and completely unearned) behaviour. There’s no easy answer to changing that mentality (not even Garda roadblocks). But I do think it can slowly be changed.


4. An Sionnach Fionn - April 9, 2020

I’ve seen some well-known journos posting stuff on Twitter condemning SF for running way from the opportunity to be in coalition government with “Fianna Gael”, for secretly pursuing a policy of staying out of coalition, for wrecking talks to be in coalition, and I ask myself, what fecking planet are these guys on? Like these claims are Fox News levels of untrue. Yet sections of the press are pushing these spins as non-partisan analysis. Yet at the same time they praise Varadkar and Martin for refusing to be in a coalition administration with SF. Cognitive dissonance taken to the nth degree.

Liked by 3 people

5. Alastair McKinstry - April 10, 2020

> The Greens would be steamrollered in a coalition with FF/FG. I’d > give it a month of cabinet meetings where every motion is automatically voted down – no matter what noises any program for government states – before they stop even referring to their goals.

This is why the Greens have been insisting on working through a programme for government, with each of the motions agreed in advance, including timetables, etc. And why FF/FG have been refusing to do so.

Liked by 1 person

6. affordable electrician orlando - April 15, 2020

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“They just have to go into government… “ | The Cedar Lounge Revolution


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