When the journalists and editors of a right-wing media cartel start campaigning for the creation of a political party to reflect their “values” one should take note. Even more so when it is done under the guise of “reformist” rhetoric designed to cover a far more sinister, socially Darwinist agenda. From the Irish Independent newspaper:
“If there is one lesson to be learnt from the Sunday Independent series of Millward Brown polls, it is that City Hall is in trouble.
By City Hall (Tammany Hall might be more appropriate), we mean that special clique of politicians, social partners, mandarins and business insider classes who have parcelled the State up between themselves since independence.”
That the media themselves are an integral part of that “insider” class and have been since the days when they were the cheerleaders for the worst excesses of the counter-revolutionary Free State regime is of course carefully omitted.
“…all eyes increasingly turn to the political potential of the Reform Alliance (RA). Such interest may, however, pose as many difficulties as opportunities.
A party of genuine Reform which is not informed by the views of the left is not worth the penny candle for it will merely be a social club for Liter PD manque and dispossessed FG types. Similarly, those of the left who go it alone or as a loosely aligned group run the risk of becoming little more than a Liter version of the old Democratic Left.
One of the features of all Great Disruptions, be it the American Depression or the Weimar Republic, is that new forms of politics emerge as a response to the failure of old ways.
When it comes, though, to the desire of voters for reform, the RA is unique in that, given all the blood spilt by those ministerial resignations, could anyone deny that a party led by Lucinda Creighton and Roisin Shortall would be for honest dealing and real reform.”
The references to Germany’s politically and economically chaotic Weimar Republic have become a running theme in Irish newspapers over the last three or four years and often reflect a certain distaste amongst the nation’s media elites for democratic politics in general. The rejection of the philosophical Right or Left by many journalists in Ireland and the claim to cleave to a hybrid middle that is bound to neither ironically (or perhaps significantly) reflects the very ideological forces that came to rotten fruition in Germany during the late 1920s and ‘30s.
Meanwhile the would-be champion of the New Right, former Fine Gael deputy Lucinda Creighton (she of the “pure” blood, as Kevin Myers might put it), must surely by now have witnessed her ears bursting into flame so frequent is her name-dropping in the newspapers of the Indo stable. Again from the Daily Lucinda Independent:
“ORDINARY working and middle-class people are feeling they have been abandoned by the political establishment, Rebel Alliance TD Lucinda Creighton told the Sunday Independent.
The former European affairs minister noted that in particular, significant elements of Fine Gael’s core vote were feeling abandoned by what she described as “a disturbing trend where politics appears to be distancing itself from the lives and needs of middle Ireland”.
In the wake of a further raft of taxes and charges, she warned that the coping classes were “finding it impossible” to get by.
“What I hear from everywhere is that the coping classes are now being squeezed beyond sustainability.
“I don’t believe the Government is deliberately leaving people behind but it does appear the concerns of middle Ireland are being forgotten,” she said.
“Increasingly middle-class and working people who are not wealthy, who live prudent lives, who might once have aspired to own shares, the sort of citizens who want to pay for their own health insurance, are finding it impossible to cope,” she added.
The Reform Alliance TD also warned: “Where politics fails in its responsibility to ensure we have a society which respects those who work hard, a vacuum emerges and extremism rises. This is already evident in polls across Europe where extremes of the left and the right, one as frightening as the other, are rising.”
Leaving aside the bizarre claim that the “not wealthy” in Ireland aspired to own shares and pay for their own health care (a reflection of Creighton’s own pampered reality and of those around her) the appeal to rally a supposed societal “middle” against the perceived wayward forces of the vox populi reflect something far more dangerous than it allegedly defends against.
There is something rotten in the state of Ireland.
That’s so true re the bizarreness of the claim re shares etc, and a reflection of social/economic conditions within which such statements can be made.
Yes, it was revealing of a “class view” that amounted to stereotype. If she had talked about the difficulties for the average citizen of sustaining private pensions via their employer or health insurance via company schemes it would have at least been familiar to many of us. Those of us still in employment.
The fact that amongst the political classes such things are simply “taken care of” without the need for much thought or concern shows how out of touch some TDs really are. It is a variation of the old “How much is a litre of milk?” question 😉
What particularly worries me is this whipping up of concerns about supposed extremism on the Right or Left and an appeal to the amorphous middle (by which is meant a well to the right middle). It is nonsense. But it is the type of nonsense that permeates the “anti-politics” of the Far Right in Europe. We are neither Right nor Left, capitalist or socialist. We are of both “camps”. Now that really is an ideology out of the Weimar Republic.
It also fits in with the Irish media obsession about the failure of our democratic system. However the failure in their view seems not to be with its lack of accountability or top-heavy nature but that it is too democratic. So we hear the calls for electoral reform, suggestions of a first-past-the-post or lists’ system, the appointment of unelected “business people” to the government cabinet, the curtailing of referenda, etc.