In most normal Western-style democracies men and women associated with environmental movements tend to be on the broad Left or Centre-Left of politics. Unfortunately Ireland is not a normal Western-style democracy. Which means that on our post-colonial basket case of an island nation quite a few folk one would normally class as liberals have in fact very conservative views on certain political and economic matters. In some cases this is combined with a hefty authoritarian streak and almost fetishlike regard for the institutional supremacy of the “state”. Take this mendaciously inaccurate spin on current events from Victoria White, eco-activist, author and wife of Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, writing in the Irish Examiner:
“THE water charges unveiled yesterday will do nothing to conserve water or reflect ability to pay and may not work to fix our creaking system. The plan was hatched by a Government which is, as the Right to Water Campaign said this week, “on the run”.
But hold your fire until the next Election. We have worked too hard to create this democratic republic for it to be thrown away to a bunch of fascists.”
Who are these supposed “fascists” that White has identified? Surely not the hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens who have peacefully demonstrated against the imposition of water taxes by a deeply unpopular centre-right coalition government? Or does she mean the elected members of the main opposition parties, groupings which the polls now say represent some 60% of the electorate? A most peculiar definition of “fascism”…
“We must not let mob rule take over. We can’t assume we have some sort of genetic resistance to it in this country. We’re made of the molecules and atoms as the thugs who infiltrated the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917 — the Revolution which was hailed by the Socialist Party’s Ruth Coppinger as “a beacon” in a recent Newstalk interview.
In A People’s Tragedy historian Orlando Figes writes of the regional methods of torture refined and enjoyed by Lenin’s police, the Cheka: some burned their victims’ hands in boiling water until the skin could be peeled off, leaving the torturer with a nifty “human glove”; some crushed their victims’ skulls by tightening a leather strap with an iron bolt; some rolled their naked victims in nail-studded barrels; some attached a cage of rats to the victims’ torso and heated it so the rats ate through it to escape; in winter some poured water on their victims and left them to become ice statues.”
So the archipelago of parties on the Left and Centre-Left of Irish politics is populated with would-be-dictators and torturers intent on establishing a police-state? Rarely in the history of Irish journalism has hyperbolic stupidity been taken to such heights. But wait, there is more.
“It was clear from the footage of some of the water charge protests this week that Government politicians had become dehumanised in the eyes of some protesters. The person who hit Joan Burton with a water bomb in Tallaght could not have seen her as a human being and that’s the first step towards an atrocity.”
A water “bomb”? It was a water-filled balloon. Perhaps we should regard Victoria White’s piece as a crude example of “dehumanising” tens of thousands of protesters and delegitimizing their cause?
“As a society we have rejected violence since the time of the first Dáil.”
Except of course for the bloody counter-revolutionary civil war of 1922-23 waged by the Free State wing of the Second Dáil against the Republican wing of the Second Dáil.
“I was never prouder of our people than at the time of the last General Election. For the first time since I got the vote I gave no high preference to either of the two parties who formed the Coalition because I thought they were lying through their teeth as to what they could deliver in Government. But I hailed the Irish people in the conduct of that Election. There was absolutely no violence.”
What? You mean like pretty much every single general election held in Ireland since the 1950s?
“My father was one of RTÉ’s founder journalists…”
No surprises there then.
“All of us will be better served by a democratic future than a fascist one.”
Like, duh, you don’t say? What a disappointment that must be to the serried ranks taking part in the torch-lit parades up O’Connell Strasse. No more weekly book-burnings? Honestly, what fantasy Fourth Reich version of Ireland is White living in?
“I am angry too. Very angry that the Coalition brought in the fourth regressive Budget in a row. Very angry that they have focussed their Budget largesse on the so-called “Squeezed Middle” which needs it less than any other group in society but votes for them.
Very angry that they would single out the self-employed for higher income tax than the employed in the same tax bracket, as if to save their own skin and that of the senior public servants who vote for them.”
I’m angry too reading the self-entitled whining of a mewling member of the moneyed classes whose peers have held power on this island nation since the 1920s. Just listen to the familiar drum-beat of the conservative intelligentsia: squeezed middle, self-employed, public servants, blah, blah, blah.
By the by, what socio-economic grouping do most journos in Ireland belong to? Oh yes, the self-employed middle-classes.
“They’re not planning to scrap the next General Election. The place for our anger is on our ballot papers.”
And in newspaper columns too, apparently.
Meanwhile elsewhere amongst the increasingly nervous establishment we have this warning from an elected politician whose party actually does have an honest-to-goodness fascist past. From the Irish Times the words of Fine Gael TD Noel Coonan:
“The Government backbencher was speaking in the Dáil during the two-day debate on water charges.
Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy has been criticised for his role in a protest at the weekend in which Tánaiste Joan Burton was trapped in her car in Jobstown in Dublin for more than two hours.
Protesters have criticised gardaí for taking a heavy handed approach to policing the protests.
Mr Coonan said: “The people of Ireland have now seen what they are facing particularly with the socialist-led protests that were there.
The disgraceful scenes that went on. What they did to people in power. What they did to our Garda Síochána and that turned the tide for people.
I think that it has been an awakening call for them because they are now concerned about elements of socialists, the so called wealthy Socialist Party led by the Murph (Paul Murphy) and company and aided and abetted by extremists within our colleagues here from Sinn Féin,” he said.
“The people have given that signal now to us ‘nip that in the bud’, if not we are facing what is potentially an Isis situation in the Middle East if those people are allowed get on to do what they’re doing. God help this country and people realise that.”
From fascism to Islamic militancy, this is how the self-pitying defenders of the Neo-Ascendancy debate politics in Ireland. And we seriously wonder why we have suffered ninety years of a dysfunctional state?
This is exactly how Nazi Germany started!