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I don't know about your analysis of the attitude to the EU or Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein are picking up votes because there's a good number of people who can't vote for Fianna Fail this time and won't vote for Labour or Fine Gael for class - Labour is very middle class and a bit West Brit - or historical reasons. Add in a bit of a nationalist leaning and you end up voting for Sinn Fein.

How much blame the EU is going to get is an interesting question.

The personal past may be more important for the chances of a Labour/Sinn Fein government than the political past. Many of the senior Labour figures come from the Democratic Left party which came from the Offical Sinn Fein movement and later merged into the Labour party.

The relationship between Official Sinn Fein and Provisional Sinn Fein - the Provisional IRA linked party that Adams is in - was less than entirely friendly. On the other hand, this is maybe the best chance ever for a Labour Taoiseach and to completely rewrite the rules of Irish politics, so I suspect that will be sufficient to overcome any of Labour's or Sinn Fein's objections. There's enough Labour supporters like me who would normally abhor Sinn Fein but are willing to hold our noses this time around, given the alternatives.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 04:48:09 AM EST
This started out as a simple report on an opinion poll which expanded to explain the difficulty of forecasting seat outcomes from headline % vote share data.  I then began speculating on the likely outcome of such a shift in voting patterns but surprised even myself by my conclusion - that the result was likely to be a tectonic shift in Irish attitudes to the EU  - despite the fact that Fine Gael and Labour are traditionally very Europhile.

Sinn Fein are staring to give a concrete political expression to the xenophobic, Nationalist, and atavistic vote that appeared in a more inchoate form in the NO votes on EU referenda.  I can't see their rise not effecting how even a Fine Gael Labour government would act.  Gerry Adams would be Leader of the Opposition on the basis of these figures after all...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 05:19:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sinn Fein try quite hard to avoid xenophobia, of a sort. They're pretty internationalist in an old fashioned way. Doesn't mean some of their support isn't of that type, but the party seem to be surprisingly ok on that front. In theory at least.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 08:00:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Adams/McGuinness are very able people and seem to have a long term vision of Sinn Fein as an all-Ireland, nationalist but progressive political force.  I do not underestimate their achievement in weaning Sinn Fein away from the hard men of the physical force tradition and negotiating successfully with hardline Loyalists who basically don't want to talk to them anyway.

Most southern politicians can only dream at an achievement like that and are political spoilt children who have inherited their positions of power by comparison. However SF will also seek to hoover up votes wherever they can and my sense is that virtually all of the 30%+ hard no vote in the EU referenda is up for grabs as all the other parties are v. pro-EU.

So SF will at least have to pander to the hard-line Nationalist, xenophobic, and atavistic vote even if they end up implementing more traditional left wing policies.  They will, of course, not oppose the EU per se - just our current neo-lib model of it - so I do not necessarily have a problem with that.

However I see a more tough minded and less fawning approach to the EU in the future - and great difficulty in passing another EU related referendum unless it is clearly in our national interest.  The major change will be that Sinn Fein - if they lead the opposition - will almost have the power of veto on any new such Treaty, and Merkel will find that Adams is a much tougher negotiator than she has ever had to deal with in the past.  Think of it as requiring Merkel to negotiate with Die Linke Partei in Germany to form a Government...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 08:39:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
However I see a more tough minded and less fawning approach to the EU in the future

You say that like it's a bad thing.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 09:17:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 09:29:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An informative back and forth from two Irish. Thanks to both.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Dec 4th, 2010 at 12:55:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However I see a more tough minded and less fawning approach to the EU in the future

By "the EU" do you mean the NCE consensus within the EU or the EU as a whole?


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 01:06:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Effectively the neo-con consensus although it may be difficult to distinguish the two.  Obviously a key to successful negotiation is to identify potential allies as well as adversaries, but who (within the EU establishment) has come out in support of enforcing haircuts on Irish bank bondholders or ECB loans at sustainable interest rates or quantitative easing on a realistic scale to provide greater liquidity...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 01:27:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a bit West Brit

What does this mean in Ireland?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 09:34:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
West Brit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
West Brit (abbreviation for West British) is a pejorative term for an Irish person perceived by some of his countrymen as too anglophile in matters of culture or politics.[1]

West Brit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"West Brit" is today used by Irish people to criticise a variety of perceived faults:

Generally a humorous or sarcastic reference to someone who is perceived as being a bit posh, well spoken, or socially aspiring ... its the post colonial way to fight off colonial cultural assimilation...  

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 09:45:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... while holding a copy of the Sun rushing home to watch Coronation Street and the X-factor.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 11:06:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You must move in different circles.  The West Brits around here are altogether more refined.  They even disdain their kids watching X factor...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 11:49:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no, I mean the ones using the term "West Brit".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 12:02:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Culturally, Ireland is a region of the UK.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 12:03:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
your on the SF watch list after a remark like that!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 3rd, 2010 at 12:10:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A much more apposite slur these days would be East Yank.  The cultural cringe is all towards the US these days, with them dominating cultural attitudes, as well are representing some imagined entrepreneurial utopia.
by Pope Epopt on Sat Dec 4th, 2010 at 08:17:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There might have been quite a bit of that in some circles during the Celtic Tiger - I'm not sure there are many extolling such virtues right now - perhaps excluding some Fine Gaelers who think the current crisis is all about cutting public services...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 4th, 2010 at 09:25:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... have not taken advantage to cut all cut-able services? For shame, what slackers.

I wonder if I'll live to see the Mei Guo Province Americans.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Dec 5th, 2010 at 01:44:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Much as I have given up on the USA, I like the Peoples's Republic even less.  Both seem intent on proving that democracy is an outdated concept.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 5th, 2010 at 02:26:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Its not a prospect I look forward to with glee ... I'd rather the US pull back on its Empire and start pushing toward a sustainable system to takes its place, instead.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Dec 5th, 2010 at 04:22:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think, since the internet removed all excuses about lacking information, that the electorate has been the one revealing demoocracy as an outdated concept.

No one can plead they didn't know what was going on.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Tue Dec 7th, 2010 at 08:54:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the fall of Soviet-inspired communism have singularly lacked any credible alternance, generally by design and at the elite's behest, I think it fairly clear that the so-called Democratic deficit we all seem to see in our various countries is a feature, not a flaw, in our societies, one whose primary intent is not to express the will of the people, but rather, as Noam Chomsky might put it, manufacture consent.

I think we do progress a disservice when we reify the concept of democracy.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 05:10:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If marketing is the art of manufacturing happiness with a product which is anything but what it claims to be, then perhaps politics is becoming the art of manufacturing consent to a "reality" which is anything but what it claims to be.

I think a diary on the concept of the reification of democracy and its implications for "progress" is warranted, Redstar! My Althusser isn't up to much...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 07:03:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...drawing more from Lukacs in my case, unfashionable as that may be.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 07:53:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pragmatically, Democracy is electoral selection among rival political elites. It is better than having selection among rival political elites by raw force, but the reflection of the "will of the people" is an idealized aspiration of Democracy, not a concrete description of Democracy.

And reifying the idealization of Democracy obscures the fact that there is a constant struggle by an incumbent political establishment to narrow the range of available choice, which has to be constantly fought against by movements in civil society to maintain a broader range of available choice.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 12:38:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your comment neatly encapsulates current attempts by the Dublin elite to exclude Sinn Fein from the range of acceptable "realistic" alternatives.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 01:06:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Political parties are patronage networks and little else.

Policy-oriented or ideological parties cannot hope to be major political parties.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 02:25:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A movement can hope to capture a political party for a period, but in the end either the movement ends up being captured or the party ends up getting sidetracked in favor of another.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 06:41:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Given that western democracies since the fall of Soviet-inspired communism have lacked any credible alternative

Except that it wasn't a credible alternative.  There was the benefit of providing pressure for a stronger welfare state and greater income equality, but in states where the communists were powerful it made it much more difficult for the left to come to power.  Think Italy, or even France where a straight left wing government didn't get into power until 1981.    Furthermore, the existence of communism provided pressure for increased domestic repression.

I think we do progress a disservice when we reify the concept of democracy.

Here I really think that there is no credible alternative.  A non democratic state, by its very nature has to engage in a greater degree of domestic repression to maintain elite power than a democratic one.  In an authoritarian state, even a left wing one, all of us would either be keeping our mouths shut online, or we'd be on a path to jail.  Workers would have even less right to organize and strike than they do now.  The right to public protest against government policies would be gone.

 

by MarekNYC on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 01:19:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The alternative to a reified concept of democracy is an operative or functional concept of democracy. This involves seeing and showing more of how electoral democracies have acted over history and continue to act and less on glorious ideals that grossly fail to exist in practice. Given the indoctrination pressures on secondary education, the last chance for most is usually college political science or history courses, but that is iffy.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 02:20:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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