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These left right descriptors are, of course, relative. You could probably fit 98% of the Irish political spectrum to the left of the Tory Party, for example, not to mention the UKIP or Brexit Parities, if they still exist.

Fianna Fail started a whole raft of semi-state companies to fulfill unmet infratructural and economic needs in electricity generation, public transport, fuel, communications and telecommunications, air travel, shipping - almost every sector of the economy you can think of - state socialism by any other name.

The problem is that most of those companies became, in time, sclerotic and run more in the interests of their management and workers than they were to serve their customers, and so the only solution identified was to break most of their monompolies and allow the private setor to compete or to privatise them fully.

That too was a managerial disaster, as some privatised companies, like telecommunications giant Eir, were simply passed from one vulture fund to the next which gutted their capabilities, stripped their assets, loaded them with debt, and moved on. So we still don't have nationwide broadband.

Now, parties like Fine Gael (and the Progressive Democrats before them) have an allergic aversion to the government taking direct responsibility for any economic activity whatsoever creating loads of quangos to buffer themselves from direct responsibility for delivering on public healthcare, childcare, housing, transport or planning.

But these quangos have neither the autonomy, resources, nor ambition to meet unmet public needs, being composed mainly of bureaucratic place holders adept at passing responsibility onto others and finding reasons to justify their owh lack of dynamism.

But politics in Ireland used not to be dominated by these ideoplogical concerns - except for obsequiesce submission to the Church in education, health and child care. With the fall of the Church, the field has become much more open for public or private provision. The argument is about where that balance should be struck.

But privatisation per se is now beyond the pale and socilaisation the growing trend. Sanders would probably be a fairly centrist politician in Ireland.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 24th, 2020 at 02:16:44 PM EST
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