Current Affairs Politics

The Irexit Freedom Party. Nigel Farage’s Brexit-Abetting Irish Fifth Column?

Yesterday saw the launch of the risible Irexit Freedom Party (IFP), a fringe political grouping opposed to Ireland’s decades-old membership of the European Union. The organisation sees itself very much in the mode of Britain’s hard-right United Kingdom Independence Party – indeed, its new leader, Hermann Kelly, once served as a parliamentary aide to the ex-UKIP MEP turned conspiracy theorist Nigel Farage – unveiling a platform designed to appeal to supposedly unrepresented or disenfranchised conservative and anti-EU voters. However, unlike our troubled neighbour to the east, isolationist and xenophobic sentiment holds very little electoral sway on this island-nation (bar the likes of the pro-British DUP and UUP in the north-east of the country). Among the big three of Irish politics, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin, there is almost zero appetite for the kind of policies advocated by the atavistic Conservative Party backbenches in the UK and their reactionary Labour Party peers. Policies which are taking London over the edge of the Brexit cliff to likely economic ruin.

The Irexit Freedom Party makes no bones about cleaving to what is now the far right of contemporary politics in Ireland, quite out of step with the nation’s electoral mainstream. This is reflected in the type of people it has already drawn to its cause, including at least two prominent Irish YouTubers associated with the amorphous alt-right or identitarian movements in Europe and North America (one of whom offered extensive video coverage of the IFP launch). Unsurprisingly then, the IFP’s inaugural gathering was addressed by Nigel Farage, in typically bombastic and mendacious form. However this cynical attempt to sow some paltry seeds of confusion in Irish politics to the benefit of the Brexit lobby in Britain had the unintentional effect of reminding observers that the new party is little more than a UKIP offshoot in Hibernian dress.

No doubt the minuscule band of ideological mavericks will amount to little more than a bad joke, despite the delusional efforts of the normally hibernophobic conservative press in Britain to present the IFP’s establishment as the start of some sort of anti-European uprising on the Emerald Isle. It is, of course, nothing of the sort. Rather, it is merely a weak and shallow echo of the populist and ultranationalist waves sweeping the democratic world in the aftermath of the Great Recession and the observable failure of neoliberal capitalism. Global events which require more left-wing and progressive solutions not more right-wing and regressive problems. Something the vision and composition of the so-called Irexit Freedom Party is anathema to.



15 comments on “The Irexit Freedom Party. Nigel Farage’s Brexit-Abetting Irish Fifth Column?

  1. It would probably be smarter to next these people, by pushing for EU reform, rather than just saying “Oh those idiots are marginal anyway.” Living in the US with President Trump, I can tell you the danger of writing off marginal and improbable factions.
    There’s no escaping the need for engagement with EU Reform. Germany has too much power for one thing. The Euro and the Central Bank have a real hinky set-up.
    While it’s obvious that few Irish citizens want to just follow Britain out of the EU, it might be a different story if Greece, Denmark or other nations leave or at least vote on leaving.

    • You’re right there Grace. Any support of the EU must at the same time be highly critical of the existing lash-up with concrete proposals for reform and how you push it through politically.

      For instance the proposals of DiEM25.

      • Wow!! That looks pretty sweeping and ambitious! Do you think it will work? And if it doesn’t what of more middle of the road paths between European Integration and weak “Coalitions of the Willing”?

        Also what do you think of the claim that Spain might be a good country for Ireland to build strong ties to? And by that I mean as a trading partner, in terms of building renewable energy and as a political ally both within EU politics and internationally if Britain starts tightening up on The North?

        In parts of the Hispanosphere including areas of the US where that influence in strong, the theory that Spain could turn out to be Ireland’s surprising natural ally, have been around in various forms for quite a while. Does that hold water with today’s EU politics?

        • I guess it will work if enough people get behind it. It’s a grassroots movement so it needs roots 🙂

          I’m all for more cooperation with Spain – the two parts of Eurasia complement each other in many ways. We are not really in a position to grow olives, more’s the pity. And they will suffer more and more from drought and the consequences.

          • Yeah! I was thinking of getting enough people! The challenges of creating that sort of movement across multiple countries-especially ones where the movement to leave the EU already seems to be fomenting. And in terms of some items in the proposal that looked like they’d be controversial.

  2. On the day Sweden Democrats are going to win? Det ar bra.

    • Except they came third. Don’t believe your own propaganda.

      • The millions of economic migrants can stay at your place then. Beeg Ishue?

        • That’s not really a response to GW though, is it, at least not to what GW was saying. Across the last decade about 5m + asylum applications were made in the EU, the only state where 1m plus came was Germany in 2015/16. No question that’s a very significant inflow, but it was on foot of the Syrian conflict (largely) and in that sense was a one-off.

          • Thing is, Syrians enter Europe usually along the Greek/Turkish border, so why cross a continent at peace just to get better benefits? (Note, UK only country on earth where ex servicemen sleep rough whilst anyone from the 3rd world gets a free house).

            • You perhaps should look again at the situation in relation to what countries were accepting people and which weren’t and how that impacted on where people wound up, and I suspect it had nothing to do with levels of benefit.

              As to the UK being the only country on earth…etc… that’s a crock. First up to get any assistance re housing (rental mainly) one has to have legal status in relation to refugee status or immigration. Even then social housing overwhelmingly is used by UK citizens, we’re talking 90% plus. But the reasons for homelessness in ex-service people is due to cuts in army numbers in the past eight years by the Tories (30k losing jobs), lack of funding from the state for charities and organisations working in the area, lack of support for people transitioning from army life to civilian life, lack of support for those suffering PTSD after the wars of the past decade (and more). The impact of immigration on that is minimal and you’d do better to point the finger at those who are actually responsible, which is the Tory government in the most immediate case.

              • I have been in the Holy lands (Belfast) 99% Bulgarian gypsy.

              • More like too many students and an embattled local core who don’t need the hassle of anti social behavior from them. But that’s another time you’ve not bothered to engage with what someone says preferring to throw out random assertions.

  3. Alan Gordon

    Wonder why they (Farage etal) have left it till this late stage in the game, is it just their usual display of arrogance? Or is it the unrealistic over simplification of the brexit negotiations, the late realisation that the undemocratic, overbearing EU has given Ireland a veto on any deal reached causing arse cheeks to start making buttons. It seems all a bit desperate.

    Below is the Scottish ukip MEP Coburn making a bid to reach the nation. You may have seen it but still worth another watch.

  4. Patrick Mulholland

    I’m not right wing but this piece of bias journalism is sad, Post recession ?? The little tweet about being a immigrant ?? Have some moral courage…The European project was about Europeans moving freely and working together…Not Africans and Middle Eastern people forcing their cultures on us…Also why did Britain Vote to leave the EU ?? The writer of theses piece is clearly a bias Moron…People are angry and want change doesn’t make them racist or nationalist…Why welcome other cultures and make it racist to love your own ?? I look forward to your next anti trump fluff piece you absolute utter snowflake Moron

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