jump to navigation

Trouble at the Green Party October 24, 2020

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
trackback

As noted in comments today intially by CL, the Examiner had a report on members of the GP resigning

Green Party representatives and party officers are considering their position amid a slew of member resignations over the Mother and Baby Homes legislation. The controversial legislation passed in the Dáil on Thursday night would see the database of the mothers and children in the homes sent to Tusla. Under a 2004 act, survivors’ advocates say the remaining archives and survivor testimony will be sealed for 30 years.

And:

One senior party source said that elected representatives as well as party officers are considering their positions.”The party has lost a number of members already, but this is the worst it’s ever been — and I’ve said that a lot this year.


Seems there’s more.

The chairs of the youth and LGBTQ wings of the Green Party have both resigned. A statement issued jointly by Tara Gilsenan and Tiernan Mason says that they feel they have been “overlooked, left out, ignored. bullied and harassed by members and elected representatives of the party”.

And it looks like the Mother and Baby Homes legislation is just one of many straws…

“We have fought against the party voting for evictions during a pandemic, against sealing the Mother and Baby Home documents, against rushing a lacklustre Climate bill through and against voting against our own policies in general. “We have not been successful. We have been overlooked, left out, ignored. bullied and harassed by members and elected representatives of the party.”

Add all that to the musings of at least one elected local representative as to a possible move to the SDs in recent weeks… that’s interesting in itself suggesting that for some there might be an immediate alternative home on the political spectrum – though RISE too is another possible port of call.

Comments»

1. sonofstan - October 24, 2020

They seem to get completely dazzled by the headlights when they get into government don’t they? Imposter syndrome on a collective scale.

Liked by 1 person

roddy - October 24, 2020

They have a couple of MLAs up here ,elected for the 2 most affluent constituencies in the North.They are in opposition (due to being a micro party) and have the brass neck to pose on occasion as being on the “left”.If in power they would be exactly the same as their southern wing as their voter base is overwhelmingly middle class and priviliged.

Like

Aonrud ⚘ - October 25, 2020

I think the lash-up to back Claire Hanna and not run in South Belfast burned some of those who imagined they were in a party of the Left at the time.

Like

pettyburgess - October 24, 2020

It’s not imposter syndrome when you actually are incompetent.

To understand the behaviour of the Green Party you absolutely have to take into account that their TDs and top backroom staff are for the most part deeply stupid people. It’s one of the things that distinguishes them from the other liberal parties. Labour politicians are total cynics, SocDem politicians are incredibly self-regarding. Green politicians are witless. It’s a crude generalisation but it’s a helpful rule of thumb.

I think part of it is that election as a Green rarely has anything to do with candidates themselves. They don’t have to impress anybody or out manoeuvre anybody. They get picked up and plonked in office when environmentalism gets a little bit of electoral wind behind it.

Then they get into government and get clowned on by their coalition partners, who can barely believe their luck at their gormless willingness to take the rap for unpopular decisions, and by department bosses who find them suitably malleable.

If you pretended to steal Ryan or O’Gorman’s nose, they’d be in a panic trying to get it back from you for the rest of the day. Their other TDs are little better. Take Neasa Hourigan as an example. Not a malicious person. She’s already permanently ended her chances of advancement within the party. She prepared the ground to Shortall them and save her own electoral skin. She has nothing whatsoever to gain by voting for unpopular things. Yet there she is voting the party line on things that will follow her around when she tries to reinvent herself. You could spend a lifetime trying to work out what strategic considerations are in play there, but the actual explanation is that she’s thick.

Like

Colm B - October 24, 2020

I think the social base of the Greens plays a role here – almost exclusively “middle class” – small business, professionals, white collar employees etc. Their ideology is vague liberal-leftism with a heavy dose of naivete – its NGOland meets politics. The centre-right parties just run rings around them in gov.
I think this a good thing – it will lead to their electoral annihilation and will destroy the perception that they are in any way radical. Hopefully it will also show that environmental politics cannot be divorced from the struggle for social transformation.

Liked by 2 people

pettyburgess - October 24, 2020

Yes their social base is significant in this, but that social base overlaps with that of the other small liberal parties. And neither Labour nor the SocDems, reprehensible though both are, share the same kind of remarkable stupidity among their top brass.

If the Greens represent the radical naivite of the not very bright NGOist true believer, the SocDems reflect the radical egotism of the kind of charity manager for whom the whole organisation and its projects are a monument to their own heroic goodness. And Labour reflects the radical cynicism of the completely ground down NGO bureaucrat.

Like

Alibaba - October 25, 2020

I do not concur with character attacks on politicians in the Labour party, the Social Democrats and the Greens as ‘cynics’, ‘self-regarding’ and ‘witless’ respectively. To call Neasa Hourigan ‘thick’ is wounding, a tad condescending and basically unwarranted.

Those committed to supporting the investor-profit system while minimising its worst effects will be found to make reprehensible decisions time and again, especially the least experienced of them. It’s an ideological determining factor. Suggestions that the substantive issue with the Greens is the ‘remarkable stupidity of their top brass’ is simply wide of the mark.

The politicians mentioned champion many things—including many liberal political demands—we share with them from a more leftist bent and we would seek to engage with them about that. It is to the credit of some Green representatives that they are considering their positions now.

Liked by 3 people

alanmyler - October 25, 2020

I think PettyBurgess playing the man/woman rather than the ball is best ignored. It seems to be somewhat formulaic. Is PB in the SP / CWI RISE, I forget? Whichever, it seems like he/she has done their homework on how the previous CWI-ish commentators on CLR dismiss their opponents. So full marks for consistency. I’d suggest that whoever next gets the gig to engage with us “irrelevant middled aged men” here might be a bit more open to winning hearts and minds through generosity of spirit.

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - October 25, 2020

I’ve never a problem outlining the faults of the Irish middle class, and the historic role they’ve played in obstructing any movement forward except on very limited terms of their own, but I do think that personification of traits is problematic because it blinds us to the ideological problems intrinsic to ‘centre’ ‘liberal’ parties. Simply put there’s no compass, however tenuous, to keep them on some sort of path. There are right wing ‘liberals’ in them and by contrast I know many GP people who on any rational basis would be in say the BLP or some larger centre left/left of centre formation in another polity and some would be in more left wing outfits again but here due to the vagaries of the political structure wind up in the GP.

Add in the class background of many and the lack of a developed left within the GP as a bloc, in fact something of an aversion to same, and it’s a recipe for confusion and chaos and a lack of deftness in dealing with even quite obvious resolvable problems, as in this instance.

re middle age, true AM, the sad truth is that we all get there, if we’re lucky. It’s amazing how short the distance between 25 and 40 and how short the distance between 40 and 55.

Liked by 2 people

alanmyler - October 25, 2020

Wbs I don’t view middle age as something to be regretted or even apologized for. I mean, what’s the alternative, other than going down in a blaze of glory in one’s relative youth. I recall you commenting about the Dublin band Berlin’s song “Over 21” many years ago about the arrogance of youth or something to that effect, and spot on. Now having said that I’m off to bring the dog for a walk now as my back has been giving me gip the past few weeks! The body ages less week than the mind I think. Or so it seems to me.

Like

WorldbyStorm - October 25, 2020

Ah yeah, I know Alan, me neither. Isn’t it true every stage of life throws up challenges and requires people have a degree of solidarity with those in those cohorts. And every stage of life offers opportunities in a range of areas.

I’m leery of an excessive focus on youth in any context, political, social, cultural, which is in any case fleeting. I remember in 1993 sitting in a GAA club at a table quiz in Maynooth and seeing a bunch of early twenties at an adjacent table and feeling old… I was all of 28 myself. Now with the creature just about in their very very early teens what am I meant to feel? 🙂

Like

alanmyler - October 25, 2020

I don’t think you’re supposed to feel anything, except privileged or joyous or whatever else just to be able to experience it. That and knackered most of the time.

Liked by 1 person

CL - October 25, 2020

““Youth is the most precious thing in life; it is too bad it has to be wasted on young folks.”-GBS.

Liked by 2 people

pettyburgess - October 25, 2020

Alan, do you suggest I adopt the approaches to political opponents long favoured by the Workers Party?

Alibaba, the central problem with the liberal parties is, I agree, the structural role that such parties play. However the three little liberal parties are not quite identical. They have their own niches, cultures, characteristic approaches. The Greens TDs are consistently markedly less competent, less strategic, more naive than their formally very similar counterparts.

The Labour parliamentary party contains some of the most dreadful cynics in the country, but they are simply not hapless naifs of the sort the Greens regularly send to the Dail. When they do something that would appall any even slightly decent person, for instance when they voted to impoverish single mothers, they do so as part of a clear eyed political strategy. They do not customarily allow their coalition partners or department heads to walk all over them. I don’t want to overstate their Machiavellian genius, but they have a baseline competence. It may all be a game to them, but they understand how that game works.

The same can be said of the SocDems. They’ve had less opportunity to be made fools of, but I think we have enough knowledge of the Shortalls, Murphys or Gannons of this world to assess them as reasonably shrewd operators in their own ways. When they go into government, they will no doubt perform the same basic role as Labour and the Greens before them, but they are unlikely to just be outmanoeuvred at every turn in the process. They aren’t going to come back from every cabinet meeting proudly brandishing the handful of magic beans they’ve exchanged their political future for.

Shortall provides a good illustration of the difference between a Lab/SD TD and a Green one. Is Hourigan a nicer person than Shortall? Almost certainly. More idealistic? Absolutely yes. But would Shortall ever have been stupid enough to hang around voting for evil, vicious, outrageously unpopular things when her political future required a clean break and a display of an unsullied righteousness? Not for one moment of her life. That’s what’s so remarkable about Hourigan casting votes for horrible things. In her position you don’t have to be radical or brave to buck the whip on things like the mother and baby homes, you just have to have a fully functional brain and some rudimentary political instincts. If someone who has just voted among other things to seal those records and against extending an eviction ban past Christmas despite having absolutely no reason to do so finds that assessment “wounding”, well I have a very tiny violin in my possession for just such occasions.

I’ve been talking here about the differences between the TDs and top backroom staff of these parties. The rank and file present a somewhat different picture. Lots of idealistic but politically inexperienced people join the Greens for straightforward environmental reasons. Those people are very much worth engaging with. By contrast it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine an idealistic young person joining the Irish Labour Party.

Like

WorldbyStorm - October 25, 2020

That’s a cheap shot re the WP PB – or rather a cheap shot at Alan who as you know did you infer any such thing. There’s no point in offering not half bad and often good analysis of some of this stuff and then – as well you know over the years of commenting on this site under a different username – just getting gratuitous digs in for the sake of it. There’s a reason site doesn’t indulge in facebook/twitter approaches – because it just gets peoples backs up unnecessarily.

Like

Alibaba - October 25, 2020

There may be a slight gnashing of teeth here now and again. I’m not immune myself, though on most occasions I think about it and don’t say it. But I do welcome it when it generates exchanges of thought about commentary I won’t let go unchallenged, as happened here. However, once I read disdainful sneers or digs from whoever I am thinking: you’ve lost the argument full stop.

I find myself in agreement with some of the observations PB makes. That said, I don’t think it’s the key issue and going for character assassinations of politicians doesn’t cut it with me. Nor does making amends for the well-meaning motivations of some of them. For instance, you ask: ‘Is Hourigan a nicer person than Shortall?’ and reply ‘Almost certainly’. 

Politicians should not primarily be judged by their own personal merit and even their purported policy beliefs, but on what contributes to holding them accountable and the context in which they exist. Understanding that is crucial to the Left taking them to task and to building the Left by detaching those members who can be persuaded that there is a better way to battle with the reality of what the right-wing is doing.

Liked by 1 person

sonofstan - October 25, 2020

“but I think we have enough knowledge of the[…] Gannons of this world to assess them as reasonably shrewd operators”
Really?
I met Gannon and Hourigan one after the other once,when they were both councillors, with regard to a small funding bid and I know which one struck me as the more capable politician.

Like

2. Tomboktu - October 24, 2020

I thought Roderic O’Gorman sounded very subdued and chastened on Morning Ireland yesterday.

https://www.rte.ie/radio1/morning-ireland/programmes/2020/1023/1173421-morning-ireland-friday-23-october-2020/?clipid=103518375#103518375

When O’Gorman issued his first press statement was appointed to the cabinet, Fergus FInlay used his column to warn O’Gorman that he appeared to be out of his depth and of the need to avoid being controlled by his officials.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/arid-40014785.html

I think the cruelty of the new Act to seal the records has sunk home, though it may be the criticism of his peer group in law schools in universities. I hope it marks a moment of change for him and his party.

Liked by 1 person

Paul Culloty - October 24, 2020

Granted, clicktivism generally achieves little in practice, but the petition is rapidly steaming towards 75,000 signatures, so the issue has genuinely struck a chord:

https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/repeal-the-seal-open-the-archive?bucket=&source=twitter-share-button&utm_campaign=&utm_medium=myuplift&utm_source=twitter&share=205be681-8049-40ca-9339-979e8119c5e1

Liked by 2 people

3. tafkaGW - October 24, 2020

Proper order too. They should be ashamed. Hope this leads to the collapse of this govmint lash-up.

Like

4. CL - October 24, 2020

Like

5. CL - October 24, 2020

Like

6. CL - October 24, 2020

‘ We need a criminal investigation. We need the burial sites opened up. We need to know what happened to the children’ – Deidre Wadding, video above.’

” While serving as Minister for Education,Michael Woods signed a controversial agreement with 18 Irish religious orders involved in child sex-abuse scandals which limited their compensation liability to the victims of abuse to only €128 million. This compensation scheme was projected to eventually cost the Irish government €1.35 billion. The agreement was signed just before the 2002 general election, and consequently was not laid before the cabinet for its approval.
It then remained unpublished for several months.This has been confirmed by Michael McDowell recently in the media.
In 2003, after brokering the deal, Woods claimed his strong Catholic faith made him the most suitable person to negotiate the deal.[4]
Interestingly , the Mother and baby home Act came in 1 year later in 2004.” – Padraic O Sullivan, comment, Journal.ie
https://www.thejournal.ie/young-greens-queer-greens-chairs-resign-green-party-5243932-Oct2020/

Like

7. NFB - October 24, 2020

It’s hard to understand O’Gorman’s pitiful performance as a Minister on this issue. He’s totally at sea. And all for an issue where it seems a very selective reading of the legislation is at the heart of the matter, that the government decided to bulldoze ahead with despite plenty of warning they were jumping the gun.

The Greens were always going to lose out in government. All and sundry predicated that when they voted. The only surprise is how quickly its happening. Here’s hoping these rumours turn into resignations, and become a flood.

Liked by 1 person

8. NFB - October 24, 2020

Interesting point in that article actually, that O’Gorman has been largely on his own, bar a few Green TD’s and Cllrs speaking up for him, and Lisa Chambers of all people. Nothing from Martin, Varadker, Ryan, most Green TD’s. With friends like these…

Liked by 1 person

9. CL - October 24, 2020

“If it wasn’t that his bicycle was stolen every Monday he would be sure to be more than halfway now.”

“Halfway to where?”

“Halfway to being a bicycle himself,” said the sergeant.”
(Flann O’Brien, ‘The Third Policeman’)

Now its cyclists being mudguards.

Like

10. Tomboktu - October 24, 2020

And switching from the Green Party to the legislation and the debate on it, this evening we have Dr Maeve O’Rourke, Director of the Human Rights Law Clinic and NUI Galway, taking to twitter to respond to the use of parliamentary privilege to say that the work against the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation Bill is a “dishonest campaign of misinformation”, is “wilfully misleading”, and “deliberately caused upset”.

The first pair of tweets are below, but I urge you to click through and read the full thread.

Liked by 1 person

gypsybhoy69 - October 26, 2020

Senator Barry Ward, another barrister in the Oireachtas, they do excel themselves. I’ve said this before but mostly not out loud, barristers truly the most stupid intelligent people in the world.

Like

WorldbyStorm - October 26, 2020

You got to wonder, where do they come from? The Irish middle class mostly I guess is the answer.

Like

11. CL - October 24, 2020

-Repeal the seal to allow Adoptees and Survivors to Open the Archive.-

“For the first time the Irish people can see for themselves the callousness with which the Irish State has treated Women and Children & survivors who came through Mother and Baby Homes, Baby Homes, industrial schools who are denied access to their own testimony, files and records – this needs to stop.”

More than 100,000 people have now signed the petition.
https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/repeal-the-seal-open-the-archive

Liked by 1 person

CL - October 25, 2020

“A representative organisation led by survivors of mother and baby homes must be established “urgently” because for “too long” they had been ignored, an online event for survivors heard on Saturday….
Catherine Coffey-O’Brien, who fled Bessborough mother and baby home in Cork in 1989, seven months pregnant, said survivors’ consent was taken from them when they were in institutions, and was being taken again.
“We have only one motive – to own our own history….We need to be listened to. We need to be consulted, mindfully and respectfully throughout this whole stage…We don’t want the narrative taken from us.”

Breeda Murphy, spokeswoman for the Tuam Mother and Baby Home Alliance, said she thought the legislation was seen by Government as an opportunity for “to silence the discourse.
“One of the most distressing parts of this is that the Government and the power brokers have such resources behind them. They have a wealth of money. They can buy in all the experts and survivors are pitted against an absolute machinery that’s unyielding.
“But something changed the other day and I think it’s people power and I think I really it is the most amazing moment when practically everyone in Dáil Éireann, apart from those who hold power, spoke for the mothers and babies.”…

Eunan Duffy, who was born in the Marianvale mother and baby home in Newry, Co Down, said unless all processes were “victim/survivor-led, framed and centred we have nothing”.

The passage of the bill was “an absolute disgrace” he said adding: “The Republic of Ireland has form on this and it’s never been held to account. When it comes to victims and survivors we are bottom of the food chain, right at the bottom of the ladder.

“This is not done and dusted. I believe there is going to severe and robust legal challenge to everything that’s been voted on.”-Kitty Holland

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/organisation-led-by-survivors-of-mother-and-baby-homes-needed-urgently-1.4390678

Like

CL - October 26, 2020

-President Michael D Higgins last night signed the controversial Mother and Baby Homes Bill which will seal records for 30 years.
More than 150,000 people had signed a petition to lift the seal on archives testimony from survivors of mother and baby homes as of 10.45pm Sunday.-
https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40070684.html

“it was another victory for the mindset that relies on redacted files and closed doors. The culture of secrecy, or more accurately, the culture that abhors accountability, won….
A bad deal for anyone who believes transparency is a force for good for individuals or societies….
The Minister for Children Roderick O’Gorman….played his expected part in sustaining the we-know-best culture that routinely dismisses valid, pressing questions.
That culture will inevitably be active when the necessary inquiry, or inquiries, into how we coped with C19 begin their work…
the system will be found culpable, not the individuals who run it. The very same findings can be anticipated when the role of nursing homes is reviewed.”
https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/ourview/arid-40070621.html

Liked by 1 person

CL - October 26, 2020

“The President’s decision to sign this legislation leaves it open to any citizen to challenge the provisions of the Bill in the future.’
https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2020/1025/1173900-mother-and-baby-bill/

Liked by 1 person

sonofstan - October 27, 2020

Unnecessary shoehorn of school league tables into that Examiner article.

Liked by 2 people

crocodileshoes - October 27, 2020

Agreed, SofS. The school league tables issue is simply a case of reducing very complex data to one page of a newspaper, to sell papers and promote a consumerist model of education. I have some sympathy for Roderick O’Gorman, though, whom I know to be a good man and idealistic politician. He’s also a law lecturer and I can see and hear that he’s aware he’s defending the barely defensible – as lawyers often have to do.

Like

12. Gearóid Clár - October 27, 2020

A resignation from the Green Party:

“Cork City councillor Lorna Bogue has announced her resignation from the Green Party.

In a statement issued to The Echo this morning outlining her reasons, Ms Bogue who has previously highlighted concerns about the party, indicated that the party’s handling of the controversial Mother and Baby Homes Bill was the final straw for her.”

https://www.echolive.ie/corknews/Exclusive-Little-confidence-in-cabinet-members-Cork-councillor-resigns-from-Green-Party–d2646a0a-3fc8-4d44-8529-f0e449695c1e-ds

Liked by 1 person

NFB - October 27, 2020

Let that be the opening of the floodgates.

Like

WorldbyStorm - October 27, 2020

Interesting. Wonder if it will go further afield.

Like

Joe - October 27, 2020

Great pic of a Lorna Bogue badge just gone up on the FB page of Irish Political Ephemera, whoever they are. No words just Cllr Bogue’s sort of stylized silhouette. And behind her a big hammer and sickle. From around the time of the general election.
From all of which I take it that Cllr Bogue was not your average Green.

Like

WorldbyStorm - October 27, 2020

This one! Did Alan/IEL post it up? It’s a good one.

Like

Joe - October 27, 2020

I thought Alan is Irish Political Ephemera. I get mixed up.

Liked by 1 person

irishelectionliterature - October 28, 2020

I am both Joe.
It’s a great badge!
Son has heard that there’s more Councillor resignations coming next week. Have already resigned but aren’t announcing until next week.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - October 28, 2020

A rolling departure!

Liked by 1 person

Colm B - October 27, 2020

If there was a united radical left party it would be a magnet for genuine people who leave the Greens. Instead they will fade into inactivity or drift into the SDs or Labour. NOT GOOD, as a certain head of state might tweet.

Liked by 1 person

Alibaba - October 27, 2020

+1

Liked by 1 person

13. WorldbyStorm - October 28, 2020

Good interview with Lorna Bogue on RTÉ this morning.

Like

14. rockroots - October 29, 2020

Just to go against the grain, I think it could be very helpful to have an explicitly radical/ecologist party established out of this. There’s a large and inevitably growing cohort of young voters for whom the environment is going to remain THE priority. As long as the centrist GP is the only show in town they’re going to draw in those voters, regardless of how much attention the parties of the traditional left and right give to the issue. A radical alternative within that niche could be a vital component of any future leftist government. I know it’s been attempted before, but the current publicity might be the opportunity to make it mainstream.

Like

NFB - October 29, 2020

Isn’t that what the “Just Transition Greens” are trying to do? Still basically part of the Green Party of course, but maybe not for much longer.

Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: