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A lack of alternatives — 5 Comments

  1. I think on both these islands there is a real problem with the Left. But in Ireland the Left rarely included the Labour party in any true sense.
    The Irish Labour party was a development of the Railway and the increase of State sponsored industry and services. But in general you have the Left of the Communist communes in Limerick and Clonmel, and the left of the railway and bus companies, then the ESB and Bord na Mona, and the lower civil service. And these positions were the property of ex-army, having followed the tradition of the GWR re-employing the people employed before the first war.

  2. And if ever you are going north from Dublin again you might give a read of the plaque to those that joined up from the GNR.

  3. The IRSP of Seán O’Casey’s time seemed genuinely radical.

    The memorial plaque erected in what was Amiens Street station is a very fine one.

  4. Ohh yes. But the Labour of Connolly was far more connected to Scotland and England. And he was held as a beacon having been killed but his direction wasn’t followed by the party, if indeed there ever was a following while alive here. I would argue Labour in Ireland is more akin to the denizens of the Union Jack festooned pubs and their relationship to the Tory party, where the relationship with Irish labour is too FG.
    In my studies of the islands since 1730 (George II, more or less), calling something an Elephant rarely has any relationship to that thing with tusks and a long nose. Blaming England for the Great Famine in total is just plane wrong. Highland Clearances for sheep ditto. The sheep thing was a bonus, the real goal was seaweed and it’s uses in gunpowder.
    The Irish Tithe was another.

  5. I agree with Ian’s comments on the Irish Labour Party. I was a member but left in 2014 because of the Party’s enthusiastic implementation of Fine Gael’s neo-liberal policies. Ireland had, effectively, a majority Fine Gael government and, if there was one thing that scared me more than a majority Fianna Fail government it was a majority Fine Gael one. The current leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin, was one of the most energetic and enthusiastic of the Ministers implementing Fine Gael policy as was Joan Burton, Deputy Leader and then Leader. Howlin’s calls for left unity made me smile.

    Every 20 years or so Labour swings left, produces attractive policies, gets an electoral boost, and then throws the opportunity of further growth away by going into an, at best, centre-right coalition. Result in subsequent elections is back to square one. The party’s recent time in government may have damaged it beyond repair. Its main achievement, apart from hari-kari, was to open the space for FF to revive and lots of independents to thrive.

    Despite all, I voted Labour in the Euro elections because I believed that another seat for the Party of European Socialists would help slow the rise of the extreme right – especially as Corbyn and co have given on any attempt to do the same. I don’t expect FG and their allies in the EPP to do anything other than to adopt some of the extreme right’s policies.

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