Thursday, 11 December 2014
SINEAD O'CONNOR JOINS THE PROVOS
Politricks Ireland witnessed singer Sinead O'Connor joining Provisional Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Provisional IRA. She says she wants its leaders to step aside immediately. She announced her membership of the Provos on Facebook yesterday where, O'Connor told her fans: 'There'd be a zillion percent increase in membership of Sinn Fein, if the leadership were handed over to those born from 1983-1985.'The Provos are currently in power with representatives of the Orange Order in British Occupied Ireland, and are about to take power in the south of Ireland. They have always been associated with the Provisional IRA. There is considerbale speculation, that they are the new face of Blueshirt Ireland currently being ruled by 'Ein Enda.'
One way or another ignoring these issues isn’t an option… December 10, 2014
Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
Whatever happens today in terms of the protest in Dublin it’s fair to say that the broad issue of water charges and an antagonism to austerity has been making its mark on Irish politics in the recent past. It’s often difficult to tell what impact a poll has, but to judge from the most recent one in the IT combined with the previous RedC/SBP one there’s no end of concern in certain quarters. Pat Leahy wrote in the SBP at the weekend that…
It is beyond question that something significant has changed in the public mood about politics in the last 12 months.
Around the Leinster House environs, many government politicians are awaiting this Wednesday’s anti-water charges demonstration with escalating levels of trepidation. Thursday’s Irish Times opinion poll confirmed the trends evident in other polls recently – support for the government parties continues to slide to historically low levels, with the chief beneficiaries being Sinn Féin and the independents.
There’s perhaps a slight jab at whoever wrote BackRoom recently and talked about ‘trendy’ polls… and rightly so, as it happens.
Recent polls have had the sort of effect they always do: denial, fear and then resignation on one side, triumphalism and half-disbelief on the other. But people who pay smart attention can see that the trends are well-established at this stage. There was even some quiet satisfaction in Labour last week that Fine Gael was now getting a taste of the medicine that Labour has been gagging on since the beginning of this year.
The change in the public mood has been clearly gathering momentum for some time. But there is little evidence of a coherent response from Enda Kenny and Joan Burton’s administration to this political sea-change. It is not at all clear that they even understand it.
He argues that:
The strategy of keeping their heads down and (as Winston Churchill used to say) “keep buggering on”, in the expectation that economic recovery will eventually lead to a political recovery, is clearly no longer sufficient. That is not to say it is fundamentally incorrect, only that it is no longer sufficient in itself to address a public mood which has turned very angry, very quickly.
I think it was never a tenable strategy. There was too much anger already, that it became more focused is a different matter, and too much of a sense that the government parties had – whatever one P.Rabbitte might argue to the contrary – promised too much ahead of being elected and promptly turned around and offered business as usual, indeed business pretty much what FF had already been set upon (albeit as the figures demonstrate in a somewhat less tax progressive way than their predecessors). That was the problem that FG and the LP never came to grips with or sought to resolve.
Anyhow, Leahy argues that:
I think that unless this approach changes – unless “keep buggering on” is augmented by a new engagement with the public that goes beyond simply “look at all the jobs” – there is little hope of a recovery in the government’s fortunes. And then we are in for some very uncertain political times ahead, up to and including an inconclusive general election.
It is sometimes said that parties are elected to government when they are full of ideas, and when those ideas run out, they are ejected from office. Right now, that seems to be the direction in which we are heading.
Leahy points to two developments:
The government’s unpopularity has been mirrored by the rise of the independents and of Sinn Féin. Of these twin trends, it seems to me that the rise of Sinn Féin (though ostensibly numerically inferior) is by far the more important.
And this is what he has to say about that:
Sinn Féin has a worked-out programme and a coherent set of policies for government, developed over a period of time. It will surely face some questioning as to the economic sustainability of its tax-and-spend plans over the coming year. But it stands on a conventional left-wing ticket, promising a heavily redistributionist programme, supported by a strong political and electoral organisation.
The independents, by contrast, contain the most left-wing and the most right-wing politicians in Ireland. Some of them appear to think this does not matter. It’s true that it doesn’t matter when you are in opposition. But if you have aspirations to take part in government, and so live in the real world that governments must perforce inhabit, it matters more than anything else.
And when it comes to the formation of a government, there is zero chance of all, or even most, of the independents agreeing on anything that could possibly stick. There is every chance that there will be two or more groups formed. As ever, the question when it comes to government formation is not who can shout the loudest, but who can deliver a workable agreement. And most of the independents we see now, as currently organised, will not be very good at that.
I think that’s a fair enough analysis. The only non-government, non-FF, force of any specific weight is SF. Even on the best possible day it is impossible to countenance the combined forces of the further left getting together anywhere near 20 seats, and 10 might be an enormous stretch. That’s a great achievement in itself but it has to be placed in context. If the ‘social democrat’ Independents combined they’d have closer to that number even as matters stand today. Ross’s Alliance of all the talents similarly would have those numbers.
Perhaps even more.
And I think Leahy is right too in the following:
Because the election will be, for most voters, about choosing a government. It always is.
One aspect of this that is important to highlight is the wish for stability on the part of the electorate. That’s often understated but it explains a lot about the dynamic of politics both here and elsewhere and across the last century too, the sense that citizens will shift in radical directions only very rarely and almost invariably within certain constraints. I also think that Leahy is correct in that they seek clear programmes – even, or particularly, programmes that link into their expectations. That this leads to more rather than less conservative approaches is self-evident, but it appears to me to be a functional aspect of contemporary political activity.
That suggests that the solution would be, on some level, for much of the electorate, perhaps the majority, a change of power…
That will begin to become evident in the pre-campaign, which will get underway early next year. And one of the expressions of that will be in the constant questioning of parties and party leaders about their coalition intentions.
And Leahy neatly points up the contradictions here, for everyone:
Last Monday on Morning Ireland, Michйal Martin answered some of these questions by ruling out both Sinn Fйin and Fine Gael as potential coalition partners. All one can say is that he must have high hopes for the Labour Party, or else supreme confidence in his own ability to do a deal and make it stick with about 50 independents.
It was not the only quixotic interview given by a party leader last week. On RTE’s This Week last Sunday, Gerry Adams was unable to answer a couple of straightforward questions about his party’s economic policies. The Sinn Fein leader was completely at sea. If the Taoiseach had performed similarly, there would be another outbreak of the Endawobbles in his party.
Of course Irish politics isn’t Presidential in quite the way that the latter might be assumed to work in other polities, but that said there is a focus on party leaders. If that’s accurate then more work to be done.
And he notes:
These two interviews were a signpost to the next 12 months in one important respect which can afford some crumbs of comfort to the coalition this week: there will be more scrutiny of the opposition, their personalities and their policies. That won’t save the coalition on its own by any means, but it will level the playing field somewhat. Assuming, that is, the coalition turns up for the game.
That’s a good point too. The coalition has been missing in action this last fortnight, either avoiding questions or where visible seeking diversion in one area or another. Perhaps that was inevitable, that it cannot engage with the problems that face it because they go to the core of their approach, but if so it would indicate that they may be ultimately irresolvable.
And another thought, whether the protests continue to have an immediate impact it’s strongly arguable that they have already inflicted grievous damage on this government. Consider, as was noted in comments, how the supposed prize this government almost expected to fall into their grasp, that being a relatively easily acquired second term is now forgotten…