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Another political question …

This time, I have a question for people who follow Irish politics more closely than I do. Why is Sinn Fein doing so well?

Following Brexit, Ireland could find itself facing some economic ‘issues’ that might prove quite serious. Is a rabidly anti-British political party more or less likely to be able to deal with such emerging problems?

What is really behind this purported surge by Sinn Fein?

75 comments to Another political question …

  • Allan Deosil

    Politically active Irish fellah here.

    It’s NOT about them being “rabidly anti-British”. In a way, they’re not:

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/05/21/14/28F0428A00000578-3091030-image-m-102_1432214804239.jpg

    https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/05/23/19/28DCB37200000578-0-image-a-1_1432406809006.jpg

    https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/1024/media/images/61197000/jpg/_61197402_queen.jpg

    We have two major parties – Fianna Fáil & Fine Gael – who have led every single government in the history of the state.

    People are sick of them because they look like this – https://i.ytimg.com/vi/5AOC8Mw0Vyo/maxresdefault.jpg – and they’ve each lost trust.

    FF crashed the economy in 2008, sold off our assets to vulture funds, implemented austerity, and dealt with the Great Recession in the worst possible way.

    FG then took power and build the most expensive hospital in the history of hospitals that will still be substandard and leave our country’s children with inadequate care for 100 years. They did this in spite of everyone telling them at every step of the planning process that it was wrong. Rent and homelessness skyrocketed under the current FG government. (Housing was probably the single most talked-about issue of the election campaign.) FG’s government was a classic case of the economy doing great (for which they undeniably deserve credit), while ordinary folk get left behind.

    FF and FG are so similar they are often referred to as FFG (which is telling in itself). So people wanted an alternative. There are many parties around – Labour, Greens, etc. – but they are seen as side-dishes, not main courses. Sinn Féin is the most credible alternative political force.

    That is the big picture. There are other factors, too; for one, Sinn Féin’s leader has played a near-perfect game.

    Second, Sinn Féin have an impressive political machine. It is genuinely grassroots, with unpaid enthusiasts climbing lampposts to put up posters, knocking on doors in every constituency, etc.

    Third, Sinn Féin are true to the Gaelic revolutionary ideals that founded the Republic, whereas FFG are seen as willing to betray it in service of the economy and being another good, obedient neoliberal Western state. The most spectacular example was FG’s recent ridiculous attempt to commemorate the Black&Tans, the British oppressors who murdered, tortured and raped our grandparents’ generation. FG saw it as burying the hatchet; the general public saw it as Jews would see a commemoration of Nazi soldiers. FFG let a foreign military fly through our airport at Shannon to bomb Iraq, violating our neutrality to appease the world order; Sinn Féin would not do something like that.

    Lots more to say about this. Happy to answer questions

  • Fergus Fungus

    FF crashed the economy in 2008, sold off our assets to vulture funds, implemented austerity, and dealt with the Great Recession in the worst possible way.

    The world economy tanked in 2008. And by austerity, you mean splashed about a wee bit less of other people’s taxes? 😛

  • Allan Deosil

    @Fergus Fungus , no, the opposite: austerity involved about a €12 billion increase in tax hikes – https://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/what-has-ireland-learned-from-austerity

  • austerity involved about a €12 billion increase in tax hikes

    Now THAT actually is something likely to lead to ‘austerity’ 😆

    What they should have done is tax less.

  • jmc

    Your first comment is obviously from a Shinner. An apologist for the IRA party that murdered thousands and tortured hundreds of people. Mostly RC by the way. Some of us remember all the way back to the 1960’s and just how many atrocities have been committed by SF/IRA over the decades. Those tortured to death by SF/IRA, several dozen, will never be forgotten by those of us who were around at the time.

    The simple answer for the rise of SF in the South over the last decade is a whole new generation of voters who have been fed a very sanitized version of history. SF polls well in the South among those too young to remember the Troubles. It polls very badly among those who remember exactly what unspeakable atrocities were committed by the IRA. Which is SF.

    The party has also very deliberately cultivated a bunch of very media friendly frontmen that it uses to project a new cozy image while the old IRA hands, the Hard Men, still rule the controlling party committees with an iron hand. The new party leader is a failed Fianna Fail politician from Dublin, who was considered a bit of a joke when she was in FF, but its the Nordies, Adams people, who still call the shots.

    As for the economy, there is no economy to speak of apart from the Multi National Tax Evasion Sector. Looks at the net GNI numbers to get a feel for how big it is. 50% of GDP. There is also the Regulatory Avoidance Sector in the IFSC. Several *trillion* dollars a year in capitol flows. With no meaningful regulatory oversight. All the big US and European banks are there. A great place for money laundering.

    Other than that the country is still bankrupt, still has a 1980’s debt to national income ratio, and has one of the most generous welfare systems in the EU. You have to make over 35K /p.a before its even worth thinking of getting off welfare. Also has a very low adult labour participation rate. Which is why it has imported all the Eastern Europeans to do most unskilled / semi skilled jobs despite an effective unemployment rate of 10%.

    One other fun fact about SF. Back in the 1970’s you could walk around the working class areas of Dublin and not see a single junkie. Ten years later they were everywhere. And who established the hard drug trade in Dublin back then? The very same Provos I see now lionized as the grand old men of the Party at the Sinn Fein annual conference.

    Criminal scum.

  • Allan Deosil

    It polls very badly among those who remember

    This claim is false, so readers know. Sinn Féin polls higher than all other parties in EVERY age group up to 65: https://twitter.com/harrymcgee/status/1226274635408445441

  • jmc

    > It polls very badly among those who remember

    > This claim is false, so readers know. Sinn Féin polls higher than all other parties in EVERY age group up to 65:

    Wrong. Read the actual numbers. The votes. After they all have been counted. In two days time.

    Been consistent over the last decade or so. Disproportionately young people. Older people vote pretty much the same way they have for decades. When they were younger. The only change in the over 40’s voting patterns over the last decade is the move for ex FF voters to vote independent. The only older people who vote SF are the ex-FF Neil Blaney Republican nutcases and the Lab equivalent.

    Add to that SF is transfer toxic. Anyone But FF has been replaced by Anyone But SF.

    Plus I dont consider the Irish Times as a good source of political analysis. Basically as bien pensant clueless as the Guardian and with even less intellectual depth. Have n’t read an inciteful political story in the IT since the 1997 election.

    I noticed that you did not challenge anything else I wrote. Which confirms you’re a Shinner shill. Because you know not only is it all true but there is a lot more where that came from. Some of us know exactly how politics at the highest level has worked in Ireland since the late 1960’s. Some of us know where all the bodies are buried. For FF/FG and Lab metaphorically. For SF actual real dead bodies.

    For those outsiders unfamiliar with the twists and turns of domestic Irish politics and Sinn Fein in particular over the last 50 years all you need to know about the party is that it was led for several decades by a terrorist thug who was directly involved in the murder of over a hundred people while leader of the IRA in Belfast, including Jean McConville (look it up). This person, Gerry Adams, covered up for many years that his brother was abusing and raping his children which is why it looks like he was blackmailed into being an informant. The tout at the top was either Gerry Adam or Martin McGuinness. I had the very dubious pleasure of seeing McGuinness up very close and personal in the early 1980’s so my guess is the tout was Adams.

    So the simple answer to who votes SF is, the Clueless, the Stupid and those with a massive National Inferiority Complex. Which is all Irish Republicanism is.

    Then there are the voters that are just plain malevolently evil. Those so consumed by anger and hatred that they need a political party that has no compulsion about using violence to hurt its perceived enemies and get its way. Which is about 3% to 5% of the electorate in all countries.

    It Ireland that political party is Sinn Fein. Every other political party is Me Fein. The politics of personal selfishness and I’m All Right Jack.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “This claim is false, so readers know.”

    They’re clearly top in those up to 35 (i.e. those who would have been under 15 at the time of the Good Friday agreement). They’re level-pegging in those up to 65, with their lead being in the statistical noise (like 22% versus 21.8% and 21.1% for the 35-49 group). They’re very unpopular with those over 65.

    From the point of view of reliably winning an election with a working majority, 22% versus 21.8% arguably counts as “badly”. And the worst years were probably the 1970s (72-76 in particular) and you would have to be over 65 to remember those. So I’d not say it was “false”, so much as “depends on how you look at it”. Just so readers know.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/exit-poll-by-numbers-who-voted-what-way-and-where-1.4166978

    It’s interesting, and educational, (and very depressing,) to see that the “blood feud” mentality is still alive and well in Ireland. There was some discussion here a while back as to whether putting a customs border down the middle of Ireland really would result in a revival of the Troubles. One might have thought 20 years of the benefits of peace would mean the new generation of the younger Irish would grow up without the old hatreds of the blood feud being constantly reinforced, and seeing all the benefits of peace, and they would gradually take over from the older generation. It didn’t occur to me (although it should have) that the younger Irish would choose to remember and preserve the old hatreds, while forgetting the hard lessons of fighting a war you cannot win. That suggests that as the older generation disappear, the younger generation are just going to start it all up again. That doesn’t bode well for Ireland’s future.

    And can you imagine what they’ll think if north of the border the economy takes off with free trade and everyone gets more prosperous, and south of the border they’re still stuck in the EU?

  • Mr Ed

    Has Greta complained to Sinn Fein about ‘bog jobs‘ and the possible enhanced methane emissions arising from the IRA killing and disposing of people in a virtually untraceable way? As the political wing of the Provisional IRA (one of many Marxist offshoots of the ‘Official IRA’) it is the heir to all that they have done, and it entitled to that as their legacy and their burden.

    Does SF deal with the issue of global warming in its manifesto, and has it suggested a way to offset any enhanced methane emissions caused by bog jobs? Perhaps a ‘methane’ tax on its own voters? It’s coming up to a century since the Free State was founded, it really is time to move on. It is also time for the UK and the Republic to stop pretending that what is now the Republic is not some breakaway province the citizens of which are entitled to the right of free movement and voting in the UK and the Republic respectively, the UK should treat Irish citizens like any other EU citizens, to do otherwise is frankly patronising to them.

    One good thing about Irish independence (apart from it would have been unjust for Ireland to have remained in the UK – NB It all left, and the next day Northern Ireland rejoined the UK), is that now, it seems that next to no one seriously thinks that the break-up of the UK back in the 1920s is in any way a matter of regret, no one is signing a book of condolences for the situation (unlike de Valera) so we may look forward to Scotland leaving the UK (should it vote to do so) and in the years that come, we might wonder why some were ever bothered about it.

  • APL

    Mr Ed; “so we may look forward to Scotland leaving the UK […] and in the years that come, we might wonder why some were ever bothered about it.”

    Considering the disposition of the EU to meddle in ( destabilise ) other countries affairs, viz Ukraine. And the original reason for the British Union, we know why we should be ‘bothered’ about Scottish separatism. A disaffected Socialist failed Scottish state with a land border with England is very much something England need be ‘bothered’ about.

  • APL

    PDH: “What they should have done is tax less.”

    Yet a country that sees its primary source of revenue, Financial Services, evaporating and turning into a stinking maw of debt is hardly in a position to cut taxes. So it did what every country in the same situation did, borrowed ( and taxed more ). In this case funnily enough from British tax payers. Who, faced with their own financial disaster ( Fred Goodwin & RBS et al ) were being prepared for a good sheering, which we all duly got.

    And nobody in the Financial sector, went to prison.

    Good work if you can get it.

  • Mr Ed

    A disaffected Socialist failed Scottish state with a land border with England is very much something England need be ‘bothered’ about.

    “(Re-)build the (somewhere between Antonine and Hadrian’s) Wall!” 🙂

    But seriously, an independent Scotland should have no more connection with the remainder of the UK than Haiti has with the Dominican Republic (AFAIK there is none). There should be no common citizenship, no common travel/residence/voting/trading rights, and a clean break. Anything else isn’t independence, and if Scotland wants to join the EU, may it be allowed to do so, but it would need to form a Schengen Area external border between Berwick and Carlisle, and we wouldn’t want to put anything in the way of that. It was odd that in 2014, I could find no one mentioning citizenship at all, not a word from either side about the ramifications of independence for citizenship, not even from pro-Union fearmongers.

  • APL

    Mr Ed: ” an independent Scotland should have no more connection with the remainder of the UK than Haiti has with the Dominican Republic ”

    Interesting. And, perhaps an appropriate comparison. Given that Haiti is a ‘shithole’ and DR is a tolerable place to live, but also the ethnic cleansing that was conducted during the partition of the Island. I’d rather not go there on the mainland UK, if you don’t mind. But if Nicola Sturgeon insists ….. Maybe we won’t have a choice.

    Mr Ed: “not a word from either side”

    Lots of issues weren’t discussed fully. But, we’re supposed to be discussing Ireland and it’s National Socialist parties. 🙂

  • Allan Deosil

    > It polls very badly among those who remember…. Read the actual numbers. The votes. After they all have been counted. In two days time.

    The votes, they all have been counted, will not tell you how they polled among different age groups. This is because of the fact that we don’t write our age on the ballot paper.

    It’s interesting, and educational, (and very depressing,) to see that the “blood feud” mentality is still alive and well in Ireland

    What brought you to that conclusion? As I said at the top, the Sinn Féin vote is definitely NOT an anti-British thing. Here’s what was important to people – https://i.imgur.com/ho8U6yd.jpg – Brexit mattered to 1% of voters

  • Penseivat

    Why is Sinn Fein doing so well?
    A cross on a bit of paper or lose your kneecaps.
    A no brainer really.

  • Thinking about similarities with other countries, I wonder:

    – How does socialism now being praised by the young, clueless and propagandised compare with the SF/IRA now being (apparently) praised by some young and clueless in Eire?

    – How does the rise in populism and nationalism (the actual rise, not the hated caricature spoken of by EUrophiles and US ‘liberals’) in other countries compare with the rise of the SF/IRA in Eire?

    – How does western voter disdain for the establishment, noticeable in both the Trump phenomenon and the Brexit battle, compare with the disdain for the FF and FG that sees SF picking up votes?

    – Does the mercifully-temporary Corbyn blip in the 2017 election have anything to tell us about Eire today? And is there a Boris or a Donald waiting e.g. to take over FG and dismiss SF in the next election?

    I don’t consider the Irish Times as a good source of political analysis. Basically as bien pensant clueless as the Guardian and with even less intellectual depth. (jmc, February 9, 2020 at 11:02 am)

    My limited experience of it and its journalists, mostly on Brexit-related issues in the last year, suggests the same. Rational discussion of how our Brexitting confronted Eire with decisions it might understandably rather not have to make, and so affects its politics, would be interesting; instead, it offered wild confabulation about the who and why of Brexit.

  • Nullius in Verba

    What brought you to that conclusion?

    That was the impression I got from:

    Third, Sinn Féin are true to the Gaelic revolutionary ideals that founded the Republic, whereas FFG are seen as willing to betray it in service of the economy and being another good, obedient neoliberal Western state. The most spectacular example was FG’s recent ridiculous attempt to commemorate the Black&Tans, the British oppressors who murdered, tortured and raped our grandparents’ generation. FG saw it as burying the hatchet; the general public saw it as Jews would see a commemoration of Nazi soldiers. FFG let a foreign military fly through our airport at Shannon to bomb Iraq, violating our neutrality to appease the world order; Sinn Féin would not do something like that.

    As I said at the top, the Sinn Féin vote is definitely NOT an anti-British thing.

    The whole purpose of the IRA (and its political front) was as “an anti-British thing”, as much as it was an anti-Protestant thing. And without going into the history, I wouldn’t want to say that in the beginning it wasn’t justified. But those events are long past, and the people who did it long dead, and everything since has been the endless cycle of a blood feud.

    You don’t want to “bury the hatchet”. You want to stay “true to the Gaelic revolutionary ideals” against “the British oppressors who murdered, tortured and raped our grandparents’ generation”. That sounds quite “anti-British” to the British.

    Let it go.

  • Allan Deosil

    The whole purpose of the IRA (and its political front) was as “an anti-British thing”, as much as it was an anti-Protestant thing.

    The IRA was never an anti-Protestant thing. That’s a common misundertanding among foreigners. There were plenty of Protestant Provos like Billy Smith, David Russell, Rex Thompson and John Graham.

  • bobby b

    Niall Kilmartin
    February 9, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    “How does socialism now being praised by the young, clueless and propagandised compare with the SF/IRA now being (apparently) praised by some young and clueless in Eire?”

    As in the USA, look to who populates the teaching ranks. We’ve let the socialists take over this very important role in the USA. Who handles the task in Ireland?

  • Allan Deosil

    A more general observation on this thread: a lot of people here seem to be Brits asking themselves, “When the Irish voter went to the polls, what message were they trying to express about us, the English?” and that simply was not an issue on anyone’s mind.

    Guatemalans don’t vote a certain way to ‘stick it to the Hondurans’, do they? They have their own lives and their own concerns.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “The IRA was never an anti-Protestant thing. That’s a common misundertanding among foreigners.”

    Apologies for my terminological inexactitude – I was just using the conventional labels for the two sides.

    Obviously, terrorism, murder, and torture are not orthodox doctrine in either the Protestant or Catholic versions of Christianity, at least not nowadays, and certainly a long way from the teachings of Christ. It’s an insult to Christianity to describe the violent nationalists on either side as any sort of Christian.

    It’s hard not to slip into the habit of using conventional labels – but having argued against doing exactly this sort of thing in the past, I ought to know better. Thanks for point it out to me.

  • JohnK

    I would imagine that many Irish voters see FG and FF as two cheeks of the same arse. Two inbred, corrupt, middle of the road parties totally in hock to the EU for everything of any importance.

    Therefore, given the many problems the Irish Republic faces these days, it follows that many people have voted as a protest for SF. To do this, they have to ignore the fact that SF is inbred, corrupt and hard left. Or they might find that a feature, who knows? But since SF is also pro EU, it doesn’t really matter. Ireland will continue to be a good province of the EU, and do whatever Brussels tells it to do.

    This may not be the outcome that de Valera and Collins had in mind a hundred years ago, but that’s their problem.

  • bobby b

    Even though the conflict wasn’t the result of religious doctrinal differences, wasn’t it true that it was nearly all Catholics on one side, and nearly all Protestants on the other? We in the USA call our civil war “the war between the North and the South”, even though the conflict wasn’t triggered by differences in distance from the equator.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “a lot of people here seem to be Brits asking themselves, “When the Irish voter went to the polls, what message were they trying to express about us, the English?” and that simply was not an issue on anyone’s mind.”

    We would like to think so. But the possible resumption of the Troubles was certainly raised during the Brexit debate, and used by Varadkar to block a lot of options for the deal. And then there’s this. It is a question worth asking, certainly.

    That it’s mainly a question of economics and government incompetence, and news that this is primarily an anti-FF/FG vote more than a pro-FS one, is re-assuring. But I’m sure you can understand why we would consider continued talk of “Gaelic revolutionary ideals” and a resurgence in public support for the IRA’s political front to be concerning.

    We thought that sort of thing had mostly died away, after the peace.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Even though the conflict wasn’t the result of religious doctrinal differences, wasn’t it true that it was nearly all Catholics on one side, and nearly all Protestants on the other?”

    Yes. Our Irish friends can no doubt give a more detailed history, but as I understand it there was some point in the past when the British tried to solve the problems being continually posed by the mainly Catholic Irish by shipping a load of mainly Protestant Scots across as a colonials, to try to dilute the intransigence. It failed. But then this left two groups of people, both of them considering themselves Irish, who hated one another, and were constantly fighting. The British went in again to try to keep them separate, to stop both sides from massacring the other. And the IRA were really fighting for a united Ireland, without this British enclave on their sovereign territory, while the Northern Irish were fighting to retain British protection, and then British nationality. (Another analogy perhaps would be with the Palestinians and Israelis. That was the British interfering, too.)

    The Good Friday agreement allowed *both* sides to claim victory, by declaring Ireland to be entirely under Irish sovereignty, but where a subset of Irish voluntarily chose to follow British rules as if they had British sovereignty. It’s like a virtual machine, where you run a program on a Windows computer that simulates a computer running Linux.

    And that’s why Brexit was such a challenge. If you put the border down the Irish sea, you are telling the Northern Irish they actually lost the war. If you put is down the middle of Ireland, you are telling the southern Irish they actually lost the war. I think a lot of British assumed that by now they would have gotten over the past and wouldn’t care. I personally had my doubts – I used to know some Irish people about 40 years ago, and they still bore a burning grudge against the British over battles that took place over 400 years ago. But even I wasn’t expecting support for Sinn Féin to be growing among the young.

    That’s my understanding speaking from outside Ireland. The Irish no doubt have a different viewpoint on it.

  • Well-expressed, Nullius (February 9, 2020 at 6:27 pm).

    As regards

    “It’s hard not to slip into the habit of using conventional labels”

    you already know that plenty in the IRA and their sympathisers did not get that memo – also of course among their opponents.

    I make a glancing joke reference to Irish revolutionary terminological inexactitude here.

    No joke the 70s murder of Jean McConville (jmc mentioned it above) just for being a protestant living in an active IRA area and so not trusted to observe omerta if police ever came round that block of flats asking routine background questions. The IRA forgot where they had buried her body and so when her corpse was finally found by accident she was exempt from the immunity granted to the killings of those they admitted to and located as part of the stand-down – though, IIRC, no changes have yet been brought.

    Obviously, there is a sense, as you well indicate, in which one could write ‘catholic’ and ‘protestant’ in quotation marks above – or use strictly political or ethnic terms. However the historical reality is that for well over a century, explicit public denial of certain specifically-catholic beliefs was the way an Irishman demonstrated allegiance to what was called ‘The Protestant Ascendancy’, so there is another sense in which it’s understandable these words are still used for these divisions.

    So, to sum up, I think Allan is demonstrating what jmc (February 9, 2020 at 12:04 am) meant by

    a whole new generation of voters who have been fed a very sanitized version of history.

    Allan’s remark can be defended – but only in the way you rather expressively did.

  • bobby b

    So the three parties seem to have split evenly – 22%, 22%, 22% (in exit polling.)

    http://catallaxyfiles.com/2020/02/09/three-way-tie-in-eire-sees-sinn-fein-surge-into-the-mainstream/

  • Nico

    I’ve long thought the IRA wasn’t anti-Protestant/pro-Catholic so much as Marxist-clothed-in-Irish-Catholic-Nationalism.

  • Nico (February 9, 2020 at 9:13 pm), that describes the ‘official’ IRA of the post-WWII, pre-Troubles quiet (relatively) time, but as soon as the troubles started, the provisional IRA pushed the out-of-touch doctrinaire marxists out.

  • Allan Deosil

    So the three parties seem to have split evenly – 22%, 22%, 22% (in exit polling.)

    Most of the votes are counted now: SF: 24.11%, FF: 22.08%, FG: 20.67%

  • a different james

    Of the reasons not covered:

    Housing.

    In particular a huge shortage, with resultant high prices and rents

    FF bankrupted the country and screwed the economy and no houses were built for nearly a decade. The under 40s are paying ruinous levels of rent and cannot afford to buy.

    The economy has recovered and construction is at full capacity- even if Govt wanted to fund a massive public housing programme it would probably result in 10-20% annual construction inflation. (In Celtic Tiger period, I think it reached 15%)

    Regulation, including energy efficiency regs, have pushed up house prices so that builders cannot construct houses at prices affordable to those on even well above average incomes.

    If you cannot ensure that young people can aspire to the bedrock of the middle class life- owning their own house- then you will create a cohort to whom socialism looks attractive. (And in the south, those are the policies on which SF canvasses)

  • bobby b

    “Most of the votes are counted now: SF: 24.11%, FF: 22.08%, FG: 20.67%”

    SF gets the Trump Effect?

    (People unwilling to admit to a pollster that they voted for Trump or SF, so exit polls queered.)

  • One of the solutions to the housing crisis would be to move government jobs out of Dublin and into the rural parts of the country that are getting depopulated, but the youths would be having screaming fits if you tried that. They want their own Free Shit.

  • Marius

    Looks like SF came first on votes, but will come 3rd on seats. Be interesting to see whether anyone will cooperate with them in order to form a government.

    Prior to the election, the leader of FF had said his party would not co-operate with SF because it is still controlled by the IRA council (ie a paramilitary terrorist gangster organisation).

    Still, from a British point of view, we might have an easy Irish border solution. If SF is in power, the border can be hard as you like and f— the Good Friday Agreement.

  • a differeny james

    SF gets the Trump Effect?

    More an Irish version of the Millennial love for Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn

  • Allan Deosil

    Still, from a British point of view, we might have an easy Irish border solution. If SF is in power, the border can be hard as you like and f— the Good Friday Agreement.

    Sinn Féin signed the Good Friday Agreement. That’s largely the point of the Good Friday Agreement.

  • Maybe creeping libertarianism? The Sinn Fein platform has tax and fee cuts front and center.

  • Trofim

    All I know about the state of the Irish mind at the moment, is this: We had our road in Worcester re-tarmacked (officially) a couple of months ago. One of the gang came to my house to ask if they could have some water. Turned out he was from Dublin. While we were chatting, as he ran the water from my tap, he told me how angry he was that he couldn’t afford to live in his own home city and also told me that over a hundred languages are now spoken in the city. I drew my own conclusions.

  • BlokeInBrum

    Two things about Sinn Fein not really touched upon yet, they have a really strong ground game politically. It is a proper grassroots organisation and all of them demonstrate the highest levels of integrity, ie. they mostly only draw on a salary equal to the average industrial wage.
    https://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/16460
    They are also Nationalists strongly advocating improving the welfare of ordinary Irish citizens. Quite a few people have been waking up to the reality that the Irish may become a minority in their own country in short order if they’re not careful, and have recognized that FF & FG are too busy selling their birthright to the globalists.
    As has been touched upon before, housing costs in Dublin especially are astronomical. People with assets before the housing boom made out like gangsters. It’s only now, as their kids and grandkids end up living in Australia or Canada etc. that the chickens are coming home to roost.
    I read their manifesto last night and it makes for entertaining reading, lots of clear cut spending promises, but little detail about how it intends to fund it outside the usual ‘soak the rich’ rhetoric.

  • Paul Marks

    Perry.

    The political culture in the Republic of Ireland is dominated by the left – even more than it is in Britain.

    The South of Ireland was once a Conservative place, at least socially, but that was long ago.

    For example, immigration can still (just about) be discussed in British politics – but if you express opposition to mass immigration in the Republic of Ireland you are likely to get into very serious trouble.

    Any problem, any problem at all, in housing, healthcare, anything, can only be because the government is not spending enough money.

    As for the free market – the people of the Republic are taught that the “genocide” of the Irish people in the 1840s was caused by the evil “Laissez faire” policy of the British.

    I interpret the historical works of Northern Ireland Professor Peter Gray up in Belfast (Queens) as showing that there was massive government intervention to change society in Ireland in this period – but I doubt he interprets his own works that way (most likely he thinks there should have been even more tax-and-spend). And certainly the idea that there might have been too much (not too little) government in Ireland in the past (or the present) would not occur to most people in the South.

    Given all the above Perry – the wonder is not that so many people vote for Sinn Fein (and the other far left parties – for there are many), the wonder is that most people do not vote for them.

    Remember Fine Fail and Fine Gael (both described as “conservative” by the ignorant) are actually left wing parties – both to the left of the leader of British Liberal Democrats. Certainly I was kicked out by the British Conservative Party – but remember I lasted about 40 years. Someone with my opinions would not last five minutes in Fine Fail or Fine Gael. “You are AGAINST Social Justice? OUT you go!”

    There are a few conservatives in the South – but not very many. And if one follows the “logic” of the left why stop at Fine Fail and Fine Gael – why not go all the way to Sinn Fein?

    Fine Fail and Fine Gael both condemn Sinn Fein – but the logic of their own position leads to Sinn Fein.

    The past matters Perry – if the free market was actually what killed so many Irish people in the past, and was for the benefit of “British Capitalist Imperialists” then “Social Justice” really would be the correct way to go.

    Mayor Curley of Boston held this opinion even before the First World War (government must spend endless amounts of money to show how “compassionate” it was – and so Mayor Curley and his associates had a bigger pie of government spending to STEAL from) – and the Kennedy Administration was pushing “Food Stamps” (as if they were unaware of the “Bread and Games” that destroyed the Roman Republic) and endless more regulations (both FDA regulations making the the development of medicines very expensive, and FCC regulations – giving a monopoly of television entertainment to a small group of leftists) from 1961 onwards. And the Kennedy Administration had no problem at all with using the IRS (the tax inspectors) and so on, against political opponents – the Chicago Machine of Mayor Daley would nod in agreement with all these policies. And where do people think that political “machine” politics came from? Including “vote early and vote often”.

    As for “Social Justice” and “Social Reform”.

    “Social Teaching” from 1891 onwards – but it became much more radical from the 1960s onwards.

    Such things as Personal (Individual) Responsibility are seen as “Protestant” and “British” (as absurd as that may be to those who know the Protestant churches and Britain as it is now) and those are not popular things in the Republic of Ireland.

    Catholic Social Teaching also contains much that it good (very good) – but the good parts of it have been rejected in the Republic of Ireland. And the leader of the Fine Gael (once the most Catholic of parties) has been in the vanguard of pushing abortion, the destruction of the traditional family, the denouncing of traditional morality, and all the rest of it.

    And the Church itself has been massively infiltrated – especially since the 1960s. Sadly the out going Prime Minister of the Republic would have many Progressive “friends” in the Church now – including in the Vatican itself. The language that sincere Catholics use to denounce so many Bishops and Cardinals (and higher than the Cardinals) now, is very harsh indeed.

    So both individual responsibility and voluntary association (the family and so on) is rejected – this leaves one thing and one thing only…..

    THE STATE.

    Will it change? Will Ireland be saved? Will the rest of the West be saved?

    Well, if the supernatural actually exists, if God and the Holy Spirit are real things – then it is possible.

    But without Divine Intervention it is hard to see what can be done.

    For all the horrors that are happening in the Republic of Ireland are happening in the rest of the West to – and are as common among “Post Protestant” societies as they are among “Post Catholic” ones.

    Ask the leaders of the rump Protestant churches what they think of “Social Justice” and “Social Reform” and you will get much the same answer as you would get from Pope Francis (or his Marxist atheist best friend).

    Still “Never Give Up! Never Surrender!” – in case anyone is offended I am quoting “Galaxy Quest” – the words “Never Surrender” have a certain providence in Irish history, and I have no wish to offend.

    Or as a hard drinking Welsh poet put it “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light”.

    Just keep on fighting till you can not fight any more (because you are dead) – perhaps, somehow, human reason will win out against the tide of evil (in the education system and essentially everything else) engulfing the West – without any Divine Intervention.

    As the Scholastics used to say (and they were right) – natural law is the law of God, but if God did not exist natural law (right and wrong) would be EXACTLY THE SAME.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way – in Irish law there was no obligation (none) to bail out the Credit Bubble banks.

    The government of the Republic (Fine Fail at the time) “choose” to bail out the Credit Bubble banks – because the European Union (essentially the government of Germany) told them to do so.

    There is a certain mad “logic” to the complaint of the left – if the rich (indeed mostly NOT Irish rich – for the depositors were mostly not Irish) can be given welfare, why not the poor?

    With the government bailouts of the rich “capitalism” lost what moral legitimacy it had left.

    Just as “laissez faire” became associated with such things as the Poor Law Act of 1838 and the Poor Law Act of 1847 (although both these Acts meant much higher taxes and much more social control) and even the “roads to nowhere” government “Public Works”.

    If “the free market” really meant Sir Charles Trevelyan and co (as the Irish are taught that it does) then I would be AGAINST the “free market” as well.

  • Allan Deosil

    I was shocked that the British Tory party got 13,966,451 votes in the general election in spite of their known links to paramilitary death squads in Northern Ireland.

    I hope those are just naive people who are too young to remember. Or are Britons actually voting to signal their support of the Bloody Sunday massacre, the Shankill butchers, Maggie Thatcher, and Billy Wright? It was mostly an anti-Irish vote, right?

  • I came across Fintan O’Toole’s absurd book ‘Heroic Failure, The Politics of Pain’ while visiting friends over Christmas. It contributed to the disdain for Irish Times journalists I mentioned above. However I missed unherd’s prescient review of it (mentioned here, h/t Guido):

    In UnHerd last December I reviewed Fintan O’Toole’s book Heroic Failure, The Politics of Pain, in which he argued, among other things, that Brexit was a uniquely English act of self-harm partly inspired by a misplaced nostalgia for Empire. I disagreed, because I thought that many of the destabilising factors that led to the ‘Leave’ vote in the UK – a housing crisis, income inequality, precarious employment among the ‘working poor’ and a widespread unease about the meaning or dividends of national identity – were held in common with Ireland, and could well erupt there in a different form.

    While the UK “somnambulist state” had long ignored voters’ fundamental concerns, I wrote, Ireland would be foolish to do the same,”and to believe that just because Ireland isn’t England, the painful fall-out from such a question is inevitably very far away”.

    This expresses much better what I was getting at in my comments above. That a country claiming anger over a distant past should indulge itself over its own ugly recent past is sad – but I agree with unherd that it’s a lot less surprising than it doubtless was to Fintan O’Toole.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Or are Britons actually voting to signal their support of the Bloody Sunday massacre, the Shankill butchers, Maggie Thatcher, and Billy Wright? It was mostly an anti-Irish vote, right?”

    I know what you mean, but actually in a way our history with the Irish was a much more prominent issue in this election than usual. One of the major points against Corbyn raised during the election was his past support for Hamas, the IRA, and similar parties, as compared to the Tories. The DUP votes played a major role in shoring up the Tories in the recent Parliamentary mess. The Irish backstop was of course the major sticking point that jammed up the entire negotiation. And concern over maintaining the peace in Ireland was and still is one of our top priorities in British politics.

    Bacause we haven’t forgotten what the IRA tried to do to our Maggie, and all too many other people, and we haven’t forgiven it, either. There are plenty of people who still think the IRA should have been put in prison, not government. However, we’d much rather have peace, and if that’s the price required, then we’re very much willing to let the past go to end the war, and keep it ended.

    Given our shared history, and given the current sensitivities and impact on the negotiation, in which the Irish made it very clear that the security of the Good Friday agreement was very much on their minds, and given all the dark hints and warnings that have been thrown into the discussion about the possibility of a resumption, (including by the IRA smuggling actual bombs into Britain), it seems reasonable in this context to want to know what a sudden surge in support for the IRA/Sinn Féin actually means. We’re quite happy for you to tell us it’s about economics and the mismanagement by the other two parties, and the young Irish voters are blissfully unaware of the history, and nobody is talking about staying true to “Gaelic revolutionary ideals” any more. That’s a huge relief. Because we don’t want to have to come back and do Bloody Sunday all over again.

  • Allan Deosil

    Don’t talk like you’re the victims of history. We didn’t kill millions of your people.

  • Trofim

    Nullus, Paul Marks, Deosil:
    While you people who seem very au fait with contemporary Ireland are here, can I pick your brains?
    I’m curious to know what the official line in the Irish school system is, with regard to Ireland’s behaviour in WW2, De Valera’s condolences and the de facto persecution of those Irishmen who joined the British Army to fight the Nazis.

  • Allan Deosil

    That definitely wasn’t on the school syllabus when I went thru, but that’s getting on 30 years ago. They teach that Ireland was neutral but Allied-sympathetic, and that Hitler had a plan that he never executed called Operation Green to invade Ireland (as a base to attack GB), and that a state of emergency was declared because of the effects of the war on Ireland and its supply lines. If you talk about “the Emergency” in the context of Irish history, that means the effects of WWII on us. Sure I’m not sure there was a drop of tae to be had anywhere at all at all.

    De Valera wrote a formal letter of condolence on the death of Hitler. I haven’t studied this area, but it seems to me the expected procedure of a neutral head of state.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Don’t talk like you’re the victims of history.”

    Nobody here is a ‘victim of history’. They’re a victim of the unwillingness of people *in the present* to let that history go. They’re the victims of people who see nothing illogical in taking revenge on one person because of the sins of a completely different person – sometimes even centuries after that other person is dead! – because that person happen to share some random characteristic – nationality or religion or whatever idiot tribal line you want to draw – that they use to mentally divide “us” from “them”.

    This is how blood feuds work. Some guy from tribe A hurts a guy from tribe B, so a another guy from tribe B hurts a different guy from tribe A (who had done nothing wrong) in revenge, so his friends in tribe A get their own back, so tribe B escalates, so tribe A escalates too, and so on. One act of hurt turns into four centuries of atrocity and counter-atrocity with thousands getting hurt – not ‘because of history’, but because of every individual at every single instant of that history deciding to continue the cycle. They didn’t die because of evil in the distant past, they died because of the evil that exists right now, in the heart of every person who pursues ancient grudges at third hand “because of history”.

    I’m not claiming to be a bigger “victim of history” than you. I’m pointing out the implication that the vengeful are always too blind or stupid to see – that it’s a cycle. Some Irishman blew up Maggie – so we want revenge! But if we take revenge, then you’ll want revenge. And then we’ll avenge that. Anything you can do, we can do better. We can have a whole month of Bloody Sundays! And round and round it goes because we’re all too stupid to see that what goes around comes around, and that everything we do to the other tribe will in turn be done to us. We’re ultimately inflicting all of this pain and suffering on ourselves. And seen as such, we’d have to be mad or moronic to do so. Which is why, like I said, we British would much rather give it a miss this time around! Please!

    The Irish over-65s clearly learnt that hard lesson too, and not even bad government is going to make them forget that. But have they taught it to their children? Has the next generation already forgotten? We’ll see.

  • Trofim (February 11, 2020 at 7:41 pm), I would be interested too. An appalling history of it by Robert Fisk (he from whom the verb ‘to fisk’ comes, because all his writings so need that treatment) tries to minimise these issues and I feel sadly sure that he has his Irish afficionados.

    1) Churchill’s take was given in his victory broadcast of May 13th 1945. He recalled the dark days when the approaches between Ulster and Scotland were the only ones wholly un-interdictable by the Germans after they held the continent from France to Norway.

    “Owing to the action of the Dublin government, so much at variance with the temper and instinct of thousands of Southern Irishmen who hastened to the battle-front to prove their ancient valour, the approaches which the southern Irish ports and airfields could so easily have guarded were closed by the hostile aircraft and U-boats. This was indeed a deadly moment in our life, and if it had not been for the loyalty and friendship of Northern Ireland we should have been forced to come to close quarters or perish forever from the earth. However, with a restraint and poise to which, I say, History will find few parallels, His Majesty’s Government never laid a violent hand upon them, though at times it would have been quite easy and quite natural, and we left the Dublin government to frolic with the German and later with the Japanese representatives to their hearts’ content.”

    In short, the UK would have taken the legal position that Ireland’s behaviour was a violation of the post-WWI treaty establishing Eire, and ended its existence. (Compare, for example, the destruction of the French fleet on July 3rd 1940 after the fleet-related deal that released France from her no-separate-peace obligations was seen as violated.) This means that Northern Ireland’s being part of the UK and part of the good fight against the Nazis incidentally saved Eire – from Hitler of course, had the war gone badly, but also from us. Eire owes its continued existence to the North.

    Churchill’s speeches are well known, but I wonder if that text is known in Eire?

    2) Though Churchill does not mention it, the issue returned in 1942, when the battle of the Atlantic entered its grimmest phase. Eire was again lucky when longer-range planes and other factors turned the battle before the necessity of using southern bases to close the ‘air gap’ became overwhelming (and the idea that the US being in the war would persuade de Valera was abandoned). Nevertheless, many died through the war lasting longer than it needed to because allied operations in 1942 and early 1943 were hamstrung by shortage of ships. (This shortage also contributed to the high death toll of the Bengal famine, both directly and through ship administration imposed because of the 1942 shortages hampering redeployment of ships bringing relief.)

    Though Churchill said that the battle of the Atlantic was the only one that really alarmed him, this aspect of it was never (AFAIK) the subject of any similar Irish-related speech, so, while historians of WWII know, it would be no great surprise if it were little known in Eire.

    3) Some two weeks before Churchill spoke, De Valera called on the German Ambassador in an official visit of sympathy that his head-of-state, Adolf Hitler, had died. Two weeks earlier, De Valera did not call on the US Ambassador to express any official or private regret that his head of state, Franklin Roosevelt, had died.

    At the time he made the call, details of the concentration camps were well known, so de Valera knew what he was regretting the end of. I wonder if that ever gets mentioned in typical Eire schools?

    4) When de Valera treated catholic Poland being beaten up by a powerful and immensely cruel neighbour as no concern of Eire, he could hardly have done more to undermine modern ‘exploitation’ of Ireland’s historical sufferings than if he had put every such claim on a bonfire and danced round it naked. Not even Cromwell killed millions (Allan Deosil, February 11, 2020 at 7:20 pm) and Cromwell was a regicide rebel against both his king and then his parliament, whose death was cheered on both sides of the Irish sea. Hitler did, of very cruel intent, kill millions, so that de Valera’s studied indifference makes a mockery of treating ineptitude and indifference to a natural famine as if it were an act of genocide.

    I would not be surprised to learn that this point is so very very obvious that it is very widely ignored in Eire.

    5) I have read (and been revolted by) Irish defenders of de Valera’s petty persecution of those Irishmen who did volunteer to fight Hitler. I would expect this to be more known in Eire and would hope that Irish people in general have respect for them.

    —-

    P.S. Obviously, the “restraint and poise to which, I say, History will find few parallels” was aided in 1940 by concern at what the effect on US public opinion would have been. President Roosevelt was pleased when Churchill sank the French fleet – he saw it as evidence of determination – but would have found Eire a tougher political pill to swallow. However if the northern coast had been under de Valera’s control, it would have happened.

  • Allan Deosil

    Nullius threatened “to come back and do Bloody Sunday all over again” and then spent a long few paragraphs on his moral high horse about “blood feuds”. See above.

  • Trofim

    The Irish soldiers who fought in the British Army in WW2 were pardoned only in 2013. De Valera put them on a blacklist. They were refused employment and military pensions.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16287211

    https://journals.openedition.org/etudesirlandaises/4451?lang=en

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/10041215/Ireland-pardons-Second-World-War-soldiers-who-left-to-fight-Nazis.html

  • a different james

    The Irish soldiers who fought in the British Army in WW2 were pardoned only in 2013. De Valera put them on a blacklist. They were refused employment and military pensions

    They were Irish soldiers who deserted from the Irish Army and joined the British army.

    They were refused Government jobs on their return. They were not court-martialled for desertion.

    There was no refusal of Govt jobs or any official response against Irishmen who went to England or the North and joined the British army from there, as many did.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Nullius threatened “to come back and do Bloody Sunday all over again””

    🙄 No I didn’t. I was explaining why that sort of resentful stuck-fifty-years-in-the-past thinking was evil and stupid, by rhetorically illustrating the sort of consequences that would be likely to arise for you *if* we thought like the IRA and their supporters do. We won’t and we don’t. But we don’t because we choose not to, not because we can’t.

    People stuck in a blood feud are only capable of planning one move into the future. They never think about the dire consequences for themselves that their actions could provoke, and even when such consequences happen, they can’t make the mental connection between what they did and what happened to them as a result. If the IRA can break the rules and use terror, so can we. But a one-move thinker cannot see that they are the same thing.

    Sometimes it helps someone to see the error in their own thinking if you reflect it back at them, so they can see themselves from the outside, as others see them. Obviously it isn’t working here. But I guess that’s no surprise. The inability to understand that principle is how Ireland and Britain got into this situation.

    I wish you and your countrymen well, but as a result of this conversation I fear Ireland is still a long way from escaping that darkness; much further than I had expected.

  • Nico

    @NK: Thanks for that history lesson! I knew a bit of it, but now I know much more.

  • Allan Deosil

    You’re the one who keeps talking about The Troubles and Bloody Sunday and that auld shire. You’ve spilt maybe 1000 words on how we need to pay no attention to it. Anyone reading this can scroll up and see how the English commenters went on and on about that shire, and the Irish talked about housing, SF’s ground game, etc.

    Sinn Féin voters on Sunday voted because of housing and health, primarily. https://i.imgur.com/ho8U6yd.jpg

    We can get a glimpse into their motivation by looking at their transfers. Most of their votes had other left parties #2. Solidarity-People-Before-Profit in particular did amazing off of SF transfers.

    People feel left behind by the rising tide of neoliberal capitalism (https://i.redd.it/l90krzq086g41.png) and voted for parties with economic alternatives.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Anyone reading this can scroll up and see how the English commenters went on and on about that shire, and the Irish talked about housing, SF’s ground game, etc.”

    Which ones are Irish, then? I assumed that was you and jmc, but your first comment, the first in the thread, had an entire paragraph on “the British oppressors who murdered, tortured and raped our grandparents’ generation”, and jmc talked in response about the Troubles, Jean McConville, the drugs trade, and so on. He was one of those old enough to remember.

    It was your paragraph about how “Sinn Féin are true to the Gaelic revolutionary ideals that founded the Republic” being seen as a good, positive point in their political favour rather than a reason to reject and shun them that started that side of the conversation off. And “being another good, obedient neoliberal Western state” was classed as bad. Was that written by an Englishman?

    Granted, it was at the bottom of your list, and I accept that. But it’s still there.

    I’m not criticising you for saying it. We asked what the issues were behind the rise of SF popularity, and you told us. Your feelings are what they are. I just thought it was interesting and educational (and depressing) to see that they’re still there.

  • Allan Deosil

    We get it, you’re triggered by the idea of Ireland free and Gaelic. I don’t care and Sinn Féin voters didn’t care on Saturday. Yes, it is “seen as a good, positive point in their political favour rather than a reason to reject and shun them”.

    We have the right to defend against power-grabs from Brussels, Rome, London, or Wall St, whether or not that hurts your feelings.

    Slugger O’Toole gave a pretty good answer to the original question, if we can return the focus to that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWWsbskMJAw

    Fianna Fáil lost faith when they gave up our financial sovereignty to the troika sold off massive amounts of property and assets to foreign companies, and when they gave up our military independence by allowing American warplanes. They did this with the support of Fine Gael at every step. Fine Gael more so than Fianna Fáil are blamed for the neoliberalisation/marketisation of housing, which has led to real problems in many people’s daily lives: rent is too high, they can’t afford to buy, they live with Mammy at age 32.

  • Quentin

    I wonder if it’s much to do with why Brexit happened and Trump got elected: the elites lost touch with the plebs. So the plebs react in the only way they can – short of revolution – by voting for someone or something else.

  • Allan Deosil

    I wonder if it’s much to do with why Brexit happened and Trump got elected: the elites lost touch with the plebs

    (Do people actually see Donald J. Trump as a pleb or something other than an “elite”? That’s mad.)

    Anyway, Leo Varadkar was certainly seen as out of touch, as a person. Independents and Sinn Féin have a good grassroots support, and support within unions. But analogies to Trump’s election in 2016 or Brexit are more misleading than illuminating.

  • Do people actually see Donald J. Trump as a pleb or something other than an “elite”? That’s mad. (Allan Deosil, February 12, 2020 at 12:48 pm)

    A revealing remark, Alan: elites (obviously) see Donald Trump as a threat, while ‘plebs’ in the US see him as a politician who keeps the deal he offers them in a way elite-praised politicians do not. Engage the real argument, not the less-than-straw-man idea that a pleb-voted-for born billionaire is himself a pleb.

    It is clear the writer of this sees Varadkar’s party, or at least coterie, not just his person, as out-of-touch. That writer confesses he did not foresee this result in December – I linked above to the unherd article which notes that it was foreseen precisely by someone who very much got the analogy with Trump and Brexit.

  • Allan Deosil

    John McGuirk calling anyone “out of touch” is the pot calling the kettle black. He is a Catholic conservative who opposes abortion (along with 33.6% of Ireland), opposes the EU (along with 12% of Ireland), and the paper you linked to is a known foreign influence operation with the same registered address as English right-wing and racist groups: https://medium.com/@irexitparody/british-far-right-extremism-manipulating-ireland-1e863cea0267

    Having said that, sure, FG in general are a party of doctors and landlords, with poor working class support. However, even Fianna Fáil lost big on Saturday.

  • Anyone reading this can scroll up and see how the English commenters went on and on about that shire, and the Irish talked about housing, SF’s ground game, etc. (Allan Deosil, February 11, 2020 at 11:58 pm)

    I guess that lets me off then. 🙂

    I’m reminded of when an Irish leader went to London to negotiate independence a century ago. Eamon de Valera had always imagined confronting an English PM with his demands, but after he read out the Gaelic and then English versions to Lloyd George, the latter remarked, “I did not hear the word ‘republic’ in your Gaelic version.” After amusing himself for a while listening to de Valera’s flounderings, Lloyd George had a long talk in Welsh with his secretary, and then remarked that there was no word for republic in any Gaelic language because “we Celts have never had such a thing”. (Thus was a governor-general rammed down de Valera’s reluctant throat.)

    So, technically, SF (or anyone) would have a hard time being true to “Gaelic revolutionary ideals that founded the Republic“.

    Seriously, I have to echo Nullius on this. It is unreasonable to talk about SF being “true to the Gaelic revolutionary ideals … the British oppressors who murdered, tortured and raped our grandparents’ generation” in the first comment in the thread, and then accuse of being triggered those commenters – not all of them English as strictly defined 🙂 – who comment on that part of your comment.

    (BTW I advise you never to read “Beyond the Black Stump” by Nevil Shute. It contains an Irishman, for whom an easter-rising weapon is a valued possession, who ends the book being OK with his daughter’s marrying an Englishman who had served in the Black & Tans – Irishman, Englishman and daughter all being seen as worthy human beings. Maybe not a plot you’d enjoy?)

  • Allan Deosil

    It is true that the timing of the RIC commemoration scandal just before the election worked against FG and for SF (see the Slugger O’Toole video I linked above), but it was hardly decisive; housing was a far bigger factor. Right-wing economics haven’t worked for the voter: homelessness is up, rents are up, hospital waiting lists are up.

    The Republic was founded for the people, not for vulture funds and big capitalists. Read the speeches or pamphlets of any of the founders. So there’s a felt connection between the left, pro-worker, pro-people revolution that we saw on Saturday and the emotional/historical/identity current.

    If you doubt that a first-preference vote for Sinn Féin was a vote for a more pro-people economics, just look at the second-preferences.

  • Allan Deosil

    First you guys spend 1000s of words flipping out, all triggered as all get out, because I say the revolutionaries had ideals.

    Then you say they didn’t have ideals, because the word “comhphobal” had not been coined in 1921 – an argument beneath rebutting.

    We are allowed vote for a party that we believe are true to the ideals of the revolution, a party that will build “Ireland as we of today would surely have her, not free only Gaelic as well”.

    We don’t need to apologise to you because you’re ignorant of the principles of the founders.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “housing was a far bigger factor. Right-wing economics haven’t worked for the voter”

    According to right-wing economics, the price of housing follows the law of supply and demand, a persistent rise in prices is almost always the result of an artificial restriction of supply, which is generally the result of planning laws and government-rationing of planning permission, which is usually a favoured policy of the left. (Simplifying greatly, the right are usually economically liberal and socially authoritarian, the left socially liberal and economically authoritarian. Free markets are right-wing.)

    Without planning laws, as would be the case under right-wing policies, as soon as house prices rise above the cost of building a house, there are massive profits to be made by building more houses and selling them. Under a right-wing free-market policy, it would be impossible for house prices to exceed two or three times the cost to build, because that would mean 100-200% profits for someone, and righties would leap on that in a second!

    However, you can’t just turn up, by some unprofitable farmland, and build some houses on it. You have to get planning permission. Hence the shortage of houses, hence the allocation of the scarce resource to those most profitable/productive activities that need it, hence high rents and house prices.

    Lefties always want to treat the symptoms, not the cause, and usually by coercive means. If landlords raise prices too high for poor people to afford, we’ll put a cap on rents! Easy! Except that there are still more people wanting to rent houses than there are houses to rent, you haven’t actually provided any more houses, so now you’ve either turned it into a lottery, a queue, or a black market. And you’ve reduced the motivation and means to increase the supply of rented accomodation by taking away the money of the people supplying it. Pay less, get less. The result is less housing, poorer housing, and cost-cutting corner-cutting on standards and safety and general maintenance, as the constrained and distorted market tries to balance against the conflicting pressures being put on it.

    Because the voters don’t understand economics, the result of this disaster is always more votes for lefty politicians who promise to apply the restrictions even harder. (And righty politicians who promise to apply lefty policies in order to get votes from ignorant voters.) Which makes the problem even worse. Such is the problem of the left.

  • Allan Deosil

    According to right-wing economics, the price of housing follows the law of supply and demand, a persistent rise in prices is almost always the result of an artificial restriction of supply, which is generally the result of planning laws and government-rationing of planning permission, which is usually a favoured policy of the left. (Simplifying greatly, the right are usually economically liberal and socially authoritarian, the left socially liberal and economically authoritarian. Free markets are right-wing.)

    Without planning laws, as would be the case under right-wing policies, as soon as house prices rise above the cost of building a house, there are massive profits to be made by building more houses and selling them. Under a right-wing free-market policy, it would be impossible for house prices to exceed two or three times the cost to build, because that would mean 100-200% profits for someone, and righties are all in favour of that!

    I totally agree with this excellent description of the right-wing ideology. The people of Ireland have seen from firsthand experience that it isn’t working in practice, which is why they voted it out on Saturday.

  • Allan Deosil

    there are still more people wanting to rent houses than there are houses to rent

    No there aren’t. There are 38,000 empty homes and 10,000 homeless people.

  • Allan Deosil

    I was wrong above: the 38,000 empty homes is the figure from Dublin only.

    In the country there are over 200,000 empty homes and 10,000 homeless people, so it’s obviously a market failure.

    I know some ideologues say markets can never fail, but come on. Voters’ problems are real, not based on an economic abstraction.

  • Nico

    NiV:

    According to right-wing economics, the price of housing follows the law of supply and demand, a persistent rise in prices is almost always the result of an artificial restriction of supply, which is generally the result of planning laws and government-rationing of planning permission, which is usually a favoured policy of the left. (Simplifying greatly, the right are usually economically liberal and socially authoritarian, the left socially liberal and economically authoritarian. Free markets are right-wing.)

    That’s hardly the only “right-wing economics” explanation for rising prices.

    If UBI was passed today, you can expect that landlords would charge more rent tomorrow for the simple reason that their tenants now have more disposable income.

    That’s what happened to the cost of tertiary education in the U.S.: Congress made small federally-guaranteed loans available three decades ago, then college prices went up by… that amount, then Congress increased the size of these loans because hey! college got more expensive — and so it went, and the total inflation for tertiary education was much higher than for markets where Congress did not step in.

    Note that supply of the good in question need not be limited artificially or naturally — it suffices that more money chase it or be made available to chase it.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “In the country there are over 200,000 empty homes and 10,000 homeless people, so it’s obviously a market failure.”

    It’s obviously not a *market* failure if people own empty houses they can’t/won’t sell or rent, they’re not using (holiday homes are in economic use, even when unoccupied, so don’t count), or are in the wrong places, have no infrastructure of roads and schools, are derelict, or are otherwise unviable, despite selling/renting being far more profitable than leaving it to rot. The first thing you need to do is find out *why* owners can’t/won’t let/sell houses.

    I’ve had a quick look, and I can see lots of people moaning about it, but I can’t see many attempts to answer that question. One survey did make an attempt, but after listing numbers for about a dozen categories, roughly 2/3rds are listed as “Other”. Which I guess means they don’t know.

    In passing, I saw the story here, which reports a case of someone who sold their house to the council, and is bemused to see that it’s still lying empty two years later. In the meantime, the former owner had been approached by 25 other people who were interested in buying it, and who could have moved in straight away – a clear example of how much more efficient the market would have been.

    Houses don’t have any of the properties of public goods that lead to market failures. There’s no market-based reason why such difficulties should arise. When you see people apparently turning down free money, something external has to be distorting the market. Markets run on greed! There has to be a non-market reason for it – regulation, perverse subsidies, inheritance taxes, or maybe they’re owned by councils run by people who are paid through taxes and therefore have no personal incentive to get properties in use and making money for their owners.

    “That’s what happened to the cost of tertiary education in the U.S.”

    So, why didn’t other people just open more colleges in competition with the existing ones, and bring prices back down?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Hm. Accreditation regulations, governmental standards (in some cases anyway), cost of plant and regulations for same, cost of labor including profs…. All the usual difficulaties in starting businesses, especially businesses that need to fill broad areas. Unlike, say, a business started by a single person who supplies the capital, the management, and the labor all by himself. For instance a baker, who starts out with the oven in his or her kitchen and flour and butter from the store. And who, with luck, has a spouse or parent or other person to help out with the chores of living.

    I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of this, but I’d bet that starting a college that will be taken seriously enough to attract students (and funding) is a lot more expensive in costs and time to get to turning enough of a profit to make it worthwhile than is starting a low-level bakery or lawn-mowing service.

    A single person can run a tutorial service, of course, and may after 20 years or so have developed both techniques of teaching and also a network of helpful contacts. But that’s not something you decide to do today and then tomorrow you run out and buy a dictionary and a bunch of lined pads of paper and pencils and set up shop on the patio.

    Just my thoughts, of course.

  • Nico

    @NiV: Two things happened. One is that the cultural preference for having tertiary education boomed, and so did the actual demand. Supply too increased, but growing supply faster than demand is difficult (you have to cultivate professors, administrators, reputation, build buildings, etc.). The net effect is that those federally-guaranteed loans combined with (probably quite related) cultural phenomena functioned to make the market “irrational”. This serves the Left’s aims just fine: when markets act irrationally they can claim that “markets have failed! (yet again!)” and then demand more intervention.

  • On this thread, we’ve debated analogies between the Irish election and Brexit, Trump et al. Another analogy that occurs is the 2015 Greek elections, when a further-left government gained power – and then got its EU orders and an EU ‘resident’ to ensure compliance. Above, Allan spoke of the SF/IRA willingness to defy the EU if their view of Eire’s interests so required. Syriza took the same line – until they caved.

    That does not of course guarantee that Eire will – or, of course, that it won’t.

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