Just had a message from a friend to say that yesterday was the day the Labour Party died. While Im not altogether sure about that ie they may or may not have died a long time ago, what appears to have taken place in Galway yesterday does pose the question of whether Ireland has descended into complete farce altogether? Or maybe its all some sort of strange dream?
It seems that the inheritors of the legacy of Larkin and Connolly locked themselves IN yesterday while police pepper sprayed young girls outside? Coming as it does almost 100 years following the Dublin strike and lockout surely the symbolism associated with such an event is too stark for even the most died in the wool Labour man or woman to ignore.
There is a malaise at the heart of western society and Ireland is no different. A so-called pragmatism, dictated from on high, and to which we are told there is no alternative, has replaced any semblance of lucidity in the interaction between citizen and the State Corporatocracy in which we all now live. Choices are said not to exist other than prior to elections, following which any promise made may be disregarded. Periodic elections themselves are deemed to be the only seal of approval required by the political class in advance of their implementing policy in accordance with their financial backers’ wishes - regardless of the mandate they may have received from the voters. Referenda may be rerun until the ‘correct’ decision is arrived at.
While some may declare it ever to have been thus, during different periods of history people dared to push back and dared to dream of alternatives beyond the status quo which dictated the terms of their (often miserable) existence. Any of the benefits that people in Europe enjoy over and above people in other parts of the globe are as a result of these struggles. However, at present, Ireland (and the rest of Europe) seems to be set on a course whereby an attempt will be made to realign society along the lines of developing world countries ie to row back on most (if not all) the advancements made by people in terms of living standards firstly (on some level this is inevitable and maybe even welcome in some instances - however not everybody seems to be subject to the same need for austerity) and more importantly in the relationship between citizen and state. The sense of common ownership of society which could be said to have existed in many European countries for at least a couple of generations seems to be evaporating. As in developing countries (and the USA), in future we can expect to see a greater degree of force being employed by the state in controlling the livestock.
The wider symbolism surrounding yesterday’s events whereby the self-declared representatives of labour (one half of a Government which is intent on elevating the interests of millionaire speculators and unnamed bondholders above those of its so-called citizenry) placed themselves in opposition to the very people they deign to represent should be lost on noone.
In Irish terms, Civil War politics in the form of FF/FG is dead or dying. The national question is irrelevant. Labour is a joke. The Church is dead. Whats left of the Ireland that the majority of people knew apart from sporting organisations ie the GAA, FAI and IRFU and work? Id say nothing - and with work not being an option for many now, that means very little indeed for a large swathe of the population.
From where springs the social fabric that is supposed to hold a society together? I dont see it. Consumer capitalist conditioning has seen to that.
A vaccuum seems to be developing and who or what will step into it is the real question.
The political class and mandarins in this country submitted to easy money from Brussels a long time ago, they now merely exist simply to rubber stamp decisions and laws made elsewhere at the behest of vested interest groups who lobby the UN, Washington and Brussels (Pat Cox & Charlie McCreevy successfully tapped this vein directly as did Kevin Cardiff) while lining their own pockets and keeping the masses from rebelling. Rather interesting that Enda Kennys authoritarianism is coming clearly to the fore since he took office and the government are trashing about trying to bailout the established mass media and control the internet to preserve their ability to dictate the narrative.
Maybe Thatcher did have it partly right we are looking to government for solutions when we should be looking to each other, but, there are so many people (including those who work for corporations) who draw their income from government welfare that they don’t see change as being in their interest.
You talk about the vacuum, well that was how a small group of communists came to power in Russia, the existing ruling class lost the will to power after the defeat to Germany in WW I. The National socialists gained power in much the same manner after the Germans had seen much of their wealth wiped out several times since the defeat in WW I. Nature abhors vacuums so somebody will occupy that space, many people look to Sinn Fein’s brand of national socialism as being the future, but that partys leadership is dominated by the same generation as the labour party, unless the young generation are willing to throw off the yolk of McGuiness and Adams they will not make much progress.
Maybe it’s time to launch the progressive democrats 2.0, but, since the previous crowd destroyed that brand so comprehensively then it won’t get anywhere. Maybe a new political party with a specific charter that it must disband when it’s objectives are met ??
larkin and connolly represented the working class, its been a very long time since the labour party gave a fuck about anyone not on the government payroll
so labour are doing a great job for the people who voted for them, but in the long term it can’t work, I think most of them know this, they just want to retire to their fat pensions before the pay cuts come
One interesting thing to come from the weekend was the kick in the balls by Phil Hogan by announcing this weekend that households will have to pay €300 for their own water meters. Nice. I bet Labour weren’t too happy to have to deal with that issue at the conference! I assume it was payback for poking FG about Lowry/O’Brien etc…, and it’ll be interesting to see how Labour get their revenge.
Of course, ultimately the only winners here are SF.
"You talk about the vacuum, well that was how a small group of communists came to power in Russia, the existing ruling class lost the will to power after the defeat to Germany in WW I. "
Is this accurate? I thought Kerensky’s regime’s problem was that after the Tsar had fallen, they DIDN’T admit defeat and they continued the war until their war effort collapsed and the Commies started seizing power…? It was the Commies, not the old regime , that signed the Brest-Litovsk treaty?
Labour are alive and well fighting 1980s battles against forces of conservatism - catholic church etc.
That will keep their party membership happy.
Next step will be to invent a few fights that no one really wants to have like gay marriage, adoption and fostering.
Gilmore’s ideological journey is dealt with quite softly by the media. I wonder does he have any good in him whatsoever? Is all just about keeping his client state well feathered while deconstructing perceived conservative infrastructure in state. What would make Gilmore happy ?
I see it less of a vacuum and more to do with lack of direction. I’m using a peak lifestyle theory as a baseline.
Specific to Ireland, the young aren’t as interested in political revolution. Revolution now is just a rearrangement of the deck chairs. Evolution is where political change is at. The problem with Irish national politics and the politics of a lot of western countries is that people are coming to realise that the nationstate can no longer guarantee the lifestyle that individuals have become accustomed to. The expansionism of the last half century had people conditioned to think that growth was natural and national governments were the channel through which the benefits of this growth were distributed to the individual shareholder, the voter.
Now the direction has changed, lifestyle has peaked and the housing based credit expansion got the last possible squeeze out of a growth model that’s already expired. As far as I can see all the parties have problems grappling with this change in direction, none can sell lifestyle preservation. They all talk of going forward to the past yet compared to much of the world the current lifestyle of places like Ireland is the very ideal. The main parties ideologies were luxuries to be indulged but never implemented while lifestyles improved in the growth model. Now, like brands as outdated as Sweet Afton, the political parties struggle to fit in with the reversal of growth.
I guess what I’m saying is that realism is the only practical ideology that’s progressive. I don’t see realism in any of the parties, they’re all holding out for a resumption of economic expansion.