Author Archives: Dan Boyle

From top: Dan Boyle, with then Green Party leader Trevor Sergeant in 2004, is returning to front line politics; Dan today.

I have become a ratified election candidate again. I realise this may cue a torrent of sniggers and face palms among some, but I’m going to try anyhow.

This will be my sixteenth election. I’ve only been successful on three occasions, even though I have been competitive in most – fighting for a final seat, or more often than not gallingly seeing my transfers elect someone else.

Most elections I would have contested as profile raising or flag waving exercises, with little or no expectation of being elected.

Being a candidate for a small, under resourced, political party is bit like running a marathon with a haversack of bricks on your back. It’s hard, often making you wonder why you are doing it at all.

Over that time more than fifty thousand ballot papers have been marked giving me a first preference vote. Of course not enough of them together at appropriate times.

That support has been the incentive for me to try and try again.

So why now and why again? I like to think I still have something to offer. The experience I have gained, good and bad, puts me in a better position than most (I would argue) to try and make a system designed to frustrate, work.

I would be going back to where I started with Cork City Council. That was half a lifetime ago. I began as a naive, green in a more literal sense, twenty eight year old who believed he could change the World. All these years later I now realise that to change even the slightest part of it, would be something.

I’ve kept my toe dipped; in my local community association where we rent out the premises to give local people choices that may not otherwise have existed.

I’ve participated in shadow local government structures that have developed to give some say to voluntary groups; the PPN (Public Participation Network) and the LCDC (Local Community Development Committee), a well meaning but still to find its way sub-structure.

I’m part of a housing association and several arts groups. It has made feel that I’m involved in work that is useful.

I would be trying to get elected to a different council for a new city. A city with an additional 80,000 people, an additional population equal to that of the next largest Irish city, Limerick.

And there will be a conversation about trying to make local government (which in Ireland amounts to little more than local administration) more real.

Cork is to decide, along with Limerick, Galway and Waterford, whether their cities should have directly elected mayors with five year terms. I want to be part of that conversation.

I hope the voters of these cities will bring this about. The continuity and better accountability will make for better local government.

Leaving Dublin out of this experiment should be viewed as a deeply cynical decision. It’s as if the government and senior civil servants are pushing the idea to make it fail.

There are also big local Cork issues I believe could do with a Green perspective, from within the City Council. The cack handed way the Office of Public Works is seeking to treat the city’s quay walls is brutal in its intent and its likely effect.

Where we are all fortunate is to have a system of election campaigning, that obliges candidates for office to interact, on a large scale, with those whose support they seek.

Knocking on doors is one of the more enjoyable aspects of any election campaign. While there is often a lot of indifference, or an occasional hostile person, most people you meet are pleasant, polite, and often good humoured.

I’m looking forward to knocking on those doors again, to face whatever slings and arrows come my way. I’ll be offering a choice by advocating different (and hopefully better) arguments than others.

If I succeed I’ll work hard to meet the new challenges. If I don’t I’ll try to continue to contribute in whatever way I can.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboylÉ

Rollingnews

From top: Sean Gallagher commiserates with Dana Rosemary Scallon during the 2011 Presidential election count in Dublin Castle; Dan Boyle

Seán Gallagher is back among us. Once again he is an officially ratified candidate for election to the Irish Presidency.

This, despite the fact, that over the subsequent seven years his only intervention in national debate (during a time of big issue, epoch changing debate) has been to brood that he was done in during the previous presidential election.

He has sustained a myth that he was ambushed during the final presidential television debate, and that this and this alone, was the reason for his ultimate failure.

He seems to believe that it was the nature of accusation against him, which he deemed false, that created the fall off in his support.

It wasn’t.

It was his bumbling reaction to the accusation that created an impression with many voters that he lacked the gravitas the office requires.

His was a curious campaign then. It was clear his was a particularly soft support, convincing voters to consider him because of what he wasn’t rather than who he was.

Over a ten day period his support increased by 18%, which provided no more clearer a sign of a fickle and indecisive electorate. Gallagher had done little during the campaign to create such a buzz.

There was no defining message he was seeking to impart, no stylised presentation to indicate he might be. He wasn’t a ‘politician’. At the height of what was then anti-politics, this appealed to many.

For most of the campaign Gallagher was to skilfully avoid the reality that he was in fact a crypto Fianna Fáil candidate, knowing that the party was then possessing its greatest level of toxicity.

Support for Michael D. Higgins was also rising, if far less spectacularly, during the 2011 campaign. The increase in his support between the last published opinion poll and polling day was larger than the decrease experienced by Seán Gallagher.

This indicates that even without the TV debate implosion, Higgins would have come close enough to Gallagher after a first count, to be able to eventually pass him out in transfers.

It’s unlikely that Gallagher’s shtick can work a second time. This time it will become harder to convince. There is no element of surprise now. Instead there is a new level of expectation that raises rather than lowers the bar.

Perhaps Mr. Gallagher’s sense of belief is higher than my pessimism about his chances. If he isn’t prepared to accept my arguments then he might be more willing to examine the salutary lesson of Dana/Rosemary Scallon.

Dana was the surprise package of the 1997 election. She won close on 14% of the vote. Her success kindled hope that the religious right may have found its champion, and that possibly a viable political party could be formed in her image.

She parlayed her near success into a term in the European Parliament. From there it was all about diminishing returns. Becoming a general election candidate in 2002, as a sitting MEP, she won under 4% of the vote in Galway West.

Believing herself to still be a viable presidential candidate in 2011 she scored less than 3% of the national vote.

Perhaps the biggest baggage Gallagher may now carry is that having preceded the advent of Trump, the actions of Trump in office have now irredeemably damaged the brand of can do business/politician.

Not even Michael O’Leary could get elected now.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboylÉ

From top: Donald Trump arrives in Shannon Airport in May, 2014; Dan Boyle

Few here in Ireland claim to like Donald Trump. Even fewer people would claim to admire him or support his policy approach.

He has some friends. Those who admire the red tooth and claw capitalism they see in Trump, who, while as inarticulate as themselves, is sufficiently in your face to ‘own’ the liberal left.

He exists, despite his obsession with building a wall, to metaphorically tear down walls of regulations produced through liberal democracy, in pursuit of a fairer World.

Despite having had nothing but centre right governments since the foundation of the State, Irish Trump fans see Ireland as a something of a Socialist bedrock.

Our current socialist government in the form of Fine Gael, have been constructing a ‘how many angels on the head of a pin’ approach to both welcoming and not welcoming Donald Trump at the same time.

By its thinking we are not welcoming Donald Trump per se. We are welcoming the holder of the office of President of the USA, and a failure to welcome him properly will be seen by our American friends as a collective snub to all other holders of the office, past and future.

Bollocks to that. The nature of friendly relations between countries is that one can tell the other when they are fecking up royally, or, in Trump’s case, bigly.

It is the current administration that carries the can especially for policy positions that have currency – policies on trade, migration and the environment. Policies, on each of which Trump and his administration want to take us back to some perceived feudal heyday.

In all likelihood Trump’s motivation for wanting to come to Ireland has nothing to do with wanting warmer relations with Ireland.

The probability is that he wants to visit his golf course at Doonbeg, County Clare, as part of his global business promotion tour, rather than make small talk with our Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The people in Doonbeg, especially those employed at the resort, will in all likelihood look on with disdain at protest made there. This is understandable. However Trump thrives in these islands of dependency, where silence and blindness is bought.

Others would argue that the best way to protest Trump is to ignore him. There’s a name for that – it’s every other day in Ireland.

Without a large scale, physical manifestation of protest, Trump could rightly claim that Ireland is on his side.

Trump is a complete narcissist. He reacts negatively to anyone who is negative towards him. Large scale protests in London, in Brussels and in Washington do get to him.

I remember being a part of the 2003 No to War march, where 100,000 filled College Green and Dame Street. We may not achieve that scale, but the protest to Thump should be, can be and will be an event of that type.

The difficulty is that several groups want to see this protest happen for a myriad of reasons. There are many reasons to do so, but let’s make sure it brings together as many as possible under a collective banner.

This is a circumstance where we should put aside ego and positioning. Let’s have a welcome in the hillsides. Let’s give Donald Trump the welcome he deserves.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboylÉ

Pic via YouTUbe

From top: US Republican Senator for Arizone, John McCain, who died at the weekend with Ted Kennedy, the late Democrat senator for Massachusetts, confide during a Senate hearing in 2009; Dan Boyle

In the black and white world of social media few participants seem to realise that it is possible, and that it should be necessary to disagree without having to impugn character.

There seems a similar lack of capacity when measuring the life achievement of a person.

No life is without error, yet in the bubble that is social media single individual error is often exaggerated and is taken to encapsulate who and what a person has become.

The nature of discourse, in particular political discourse, in these uncertain times seems to be that the more nasty, the more ignorant, and the less honest you can be, the better your political prospects become.

Trump has been has been the best, and most obvious, exemplar of this in recent times. His reaction to the death of John McCain shows how far his politics and US politics in general have fallen.

McCain death delivered a cascade of eulogies. Trump, as usual, stood aloof in his indifference, choosing to say nothing at all (which has been unusually disciplined of him).

Like Ireland, in the US political deaths are meant to carry with them a Marc Antony quality of mentioning only the good that is in men.

There would be many things that I would have found objectionable about the political positions and opinions of John McCain. He was a military and fiscal hawk, utterly wedded to a US interventionist view of the World.

There was also the question of his judgement which saw him select Sarah Palin as his Vice-Presidential running mate in 2008.

Although in his defence there is something of a tradition in US politics of choosing lightweight, risible candidates as running mates. It’s seen as something of an insurance policy.

And yet he was prepared to reach across the political divide (which is a relatively narrow divide in US politics) to seek and to reach accommodations.

Much was made of his friendship with Senator Edward Kennedy. During my time in Oireachtas a similar relationship existed between Michael McDowell of the PDs and Pat Rabbitte of Dem Left/Labour.

It’s hard to know whether such relationships are great beasts basking in each other’s egos, or are based on mutual respect.

Such is the cynicism now towards politics throughout the world, that for many the exhibiting of decency, civility or respect is a veneer that masks the everyday and ongoing corruption that many believe everyone in politics engages in.

It’s probably impossible to shift such a narrative, but in my experience whenever decency has been exhibited it has been real and sincere.

Therefore it is possible to believe in the innate decency of a person and be able to criticise any or every political position they hold.

Politics can be decent and it can certainly be principled. John McCain, however much I disagreed with his politics, seemed to possess that. Maybe he came to be seen as being virtuous when compared to Trump. Perhaps most of us would be seen as saintly if put into such a scenario.

It would be better if we could aspire to be more than Anti-Trump though.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboylÉ

Pic: RTÉ

From top: Bishop Eamonn Casey (left) and Fr Michael Cleary entertain the congregation ahead of a ‘youth mass’ celebrated by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Ireland in 1979; Dan Boyle

I was ‘encouraged’ to go. It was a few weeks after my 17th birthday, making me part of the key demographic to participate in an intimate audience with the Pope (along with a quarter of million others).

JP2 had a rock star quality. He was little more than a year in office. He had broken the centuries long stranglehold of Italians on the Papacy. He was still in his fifties.

His appointment seemed to be an attempt to place the Catholic Church into the twentieth century.

Later his deeply held adherence to Catholic social teaching, combined with an inconsistent approach to Church involvement in politics – good in Poland, bad in Central America – would bring a squandering of the potential his appointment had brought.

By the mid eighties I had given up on him, seeing his blind spot towards Liberation Theology as being a key factor that brought about the murder of Archbishop Romero in El Salvador.

But in Galway in 1979 it all felt very different. He was a man of considerable charisma. His visit was viewed by many as bringing hope.

The organisation of the event was quite impressive. Hundreds and hundreds buses arrived in Ballybrit [County Galway]. Those of us coming from Cork left from 5am/6am that morning. When we arrived we were herded into pens that were actually called corrals. The sheep analogy wasn’t lost on many of us.

Where we were was a fair bit away from the altar. One advantage of that was while we could hear, we didn’t have to watch the warm up routine performed by Eamonn Casey and Michael Cleary.

I would swear that one of the songs they tried to get us to singalong to was John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’

‘Imagine there’s no Heaven. It’s easy if you try…’

Maybe they were trying to prepare us for the moral duplicity both would later epitomise.

While we were quite distant from the altar we found ourselves quite close to where the helicopter bringing the Pope landed. That would be as close as we would be to the man.

We were so far away from the centre of activities that the sound system (a series of interconnected tannoy speakers) relayed events to us through enormous feedback.

When it came to the key phrase in his sermon what we heard was:

“Young people of, young people of, Ireland, Ireland, Ireland, I love, I love, I love you.”

I don’t remember a great deal of religious observance or displays of piety taking place. Hormones were more at play than any need to pray.

The couplings that occurred were innocent enough of themselves. The hand holding and face eating that took place, didn’t cause many to lose sight of what passion was meant to be concentrated on.

Not for me I should add. On the bus ride back home I found myself sat next to a somewhat older nun. She would later fall asleep on my shoulder. A portmanteau that would characterise the messed up nature of my future religious and love lives.

We would arrive back in Cork around midnight. We weren’t aware then that we were arriving back to, if not to a changed Ireland, than to a changing Ireland.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboylÉ

Pic: RTÉ

From top: A mural in Bristol, England; Dan Boyle

For those who believe in the ‘stable genius’ theory of Donald Trump, that his very erraticism is proof of his genius; that for them he is practising a sublime form of right wing anarchism, purposefully seeking to destroy everything that doesn’t accord with his worldview, what I write here probably isn’t for you.

It would be morally suspect to invest so much credit in Trump. The more likely reality is that Trump is every inch the spoiled child he portrays himself to be. Someone who instinctively strikes out at whatever he doesn’t like.

The problem is that this accidental anarchist, however unintentionally, may be defining a particular, peculiar, and ultimately poisonous political creed.

Right wing, far right wing, anarchism is scarcely related at all to its left wing mirror image. Both forms of (wishful) thinking seek to deconstruct society.

Left wing anarchists, sometimes naively sometimes more sinisterly, want to deconstruct in order to build anew. What would follow would they believe be a kinder, more gentle society. In his books George Orwell pretty much demolished these conceits, convincingly showing how narrow the gap is that exists between Utopia and Dystopia.

Right wing anarchists, those inspired by Trump and the merrymakers behind Brexit, seek to deconstruct in order to reconstruct. This reconstruction seeks a return to supposed halcyon days. Times when everything had a place and everyone knew theirs.

A mythical place where the rich could become further rich without having to contribute to any sense of a fair society. A World of benign empire where those less worthy became more worthy merely by basking in the presence of their betters.

Right wing anarchists want to remove every triumph of social democracy. They despise labour rights – the forty hour weeks, paid holidays, maternity rights, social protections. All things they believe compromise the right to make profits.

They abhor consumer rights. The right to know everything that should be known about a good or service before purchase. What has been wrong with caveat emptor where the consumer took total responsibility for a purchase, they ask?

What RWAs (Riggers With Attitude) especially detest are the gains made by the environmental movement over the last number of decades. The idea that environmental costs have to be measured; that there is no right to pollute the air, water, soil or atmosphere, is anathema to these people.

This is the battleground – The entitled against the envisioned.

The Vanguard of the Right are no revolutionaries. They certainly are no harbingers of a better future. They are the pedants of a discredited past.

Their idyll is no Iliad. For them Trojan Horses have been used to create false expectations of a better, fairer society. Expectations have been raised, they believe, in ways that can never be met.

Far better to return to the paternalistic glow of a benign capitalism that never really existed either.

Liberal tolerance has allowed the dark right to fester. It may be that the only way of meeting intolerance is by being intolerant. Liberal distaste of ‘lowering’ themselves to levels of the New Right has given extreme right views a credibility they do not deserve.

Perhaps a head to head, point by point challenge of the hate being promulgated by the New Right being exposed, is the only way of returning them and their hateful views to the obscurity they deserve.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Pic: AFP/Getty

From top: Minister for Transport and Sport Shane Ross, who has called for a ‘granny grant’: Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Older People, Mary Butler and Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Employment Affairs and Social Affairs, Willie O’Dea have called for an incrrease in the state pension; Dan Boyle

The battle lines are being drawn for Budget 2019. The grey vote is where the Fine Gael led government is being directed.

Fianna Fáil is insisting on another €5 increase in the State pension. The Independent Alliance (The Shane Ross party) has come up with a wheeze that grandparents should be given a grant for looking after their grandchildren.

Both are cynical attempts to buy support from the part of the electorate most likely to vote.

Many pensioners in Ireland, particularly those reliant on the State pension struggle with income adequacy. Women prohibited from the workforce because of the marriage bar in place until 1973, are especially affected.

If political parties were more interested in ending inequalities in our pension system, their concern for the grey vote would be taken more seriously.

Since the economic collapse in 2008, those Over 65 years of age have been the one sector of Irish society whose standards of living have been maintained and in many cases improved.

Pensions were the one area of social protection expenditure that were not reduced. In the period of deflation that followed that resulted in a real value increase. In the subsequent era of low inflation increases have been above the rate of inflation.

Of course this is all relative.

The State contributory pension in Ireland in nominal terms is high when compared to pensions paid in other EU countries. However, we know the cost of living in Ireland is also relatively higher. Comparisons in terms of disposable incomes put Ireland into the middle category of EU countries.

Nevertheless, again strictly in nominal terms, the State contributory pension in Ireland is the equivalent of the average income in Portugal, a country where such a sum has greater purchasing power.

I’m not arguing for any reduction in these rates. We should take great pride in how we aspire to give social protection to the older members of our society. When added to benefits in kind of great innovation, such as the free travel scheme, we do provide that protection better than most countries in Europe.

Where additional resources should go is to making housing for older people more secure, more energy efficient. We should be increasing resources for care in the community, hopefully then making savings in the cost of hospital care.

We should strengthen the State pension. Current policy is a peculiar combination of obsessing on rates, while raising further reliance onto private, occupational pensions. The tax foregone with this policy is equivalent to direct payment of the State pension itself.

We also have tax credit given to people for being older. Lessening or phasing out these measures would create additional resources to help to meet the future needs of our older population in a more holistic way.

As a country Ireland has some demographic advantages. We have population that is younger in age, with a steady replacement birth rate.

A more open immigration would also be an advantage in meeting future pension needs. We should be making these advantages count, rather than engage with cynical policy wheezes.

You might remember a voice from a lost Ireland, Frankie Byrne, whose agony aunt radio programme ‘Dear Frankie’, weekly contained this tag line:

“The problems you are hearing today may not be yours, but they may be some day.”

Sage advice then, even wiser now.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Rollingnews

From top: Defence Forces helicopter fighting a fire in the Slieve Bloom Mountains near the Laois-Offaly border during the heatwave; Dan Boyle

I have two tenets of belief that underline my personal political philosophy. The first is that the way that resources (economic, social and environmental) are allocated determines the fairness of a society. The second is how decisions are made, in what way and by whom, is the other vital component of a fair society.

Any political issue, I believe, can be measured against both these tenets.

I’m became a Green because I believed, and still believe, the principles of the party most accorded with those of my own.

Like any member of any political party, I am never 100% in agreement with how the party operates. Over the course of what soon will have been a 30 year journey, I have contested within the party how issues have been prioritised and progressed.

I would have classed myself as a Social (ish) Green dedicating myself to identifying, developing then advocating policy areas not readily identified with the Greens, even if still very much part of a holistic Green vision.

As an elected Green I tried to address not only these issues, but also those issues with a more obvious green bent. Issues like transport, energy, waste management, water use and environmental protection.

While I contributed on all these subjects, I would have deferred to other colleagues to expound more deeply on the Green agenda, while I concentrated on a more conventional political agenda.

I’m still of the belief that that needed to be done. This dual agenda hasn’t benefited The Greens. The social and economic political agendas are of obvious importance, and most particular importance to voters themselves.

Where Greens have fallen down politically, has been in the failure to gain a critical mass among the electorate, that environmental issues should be given precedence.

Without a serious attempt to tackle our environmental difficulties, we will have no means, or wherewithal, to address what it economically or socially unfair.

This is especially true of climate change. Greens have meekly accepted that false narratives should be expressed by those who fear change and who hate science.

What can be argued is the scale, the depth, and the timespan of the problem. What can’t be argued it that the problem exists and is worsening, through political indifference and ineptitude.

In the past nine months Ireland has experienced three extreme weather events of different variety. As I write a heat map of the World shows hundreds of conflagration points.

This is not theoretical. This is not potential occurrence. This is happening and it is happening now.

Reports such as the recent recommendations of the Climate Change Advisory Council, must be acted upon immediately. They must not be placed once again into that vast library of indifference.

We can now longer show tolerance towards the wilfully ignorant. They are no longer part of the problem, they are now the problem itself.

Climate change is the political issue of our time. Life itself depends on how we respond.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Rollingnews

From top: Remainers in Westminister, London last weekend calling for a second referendum on Brexit; Dan Boyle

History, I suspect, will not look kindly upon this period of time of the political entity that styles itself the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UKGBNI). 

This multi national state, that is less multi ethnic than it imagines itself to be, has been tearing itself politically apart, over its whitewashed past and a delusional sense towards where it wants its future to be.

At least those who purport to be in control there are. Despite a system of election that gives an advantage to winning a plurality instead of a majority of votes, the past decade has seen its governments lurch from coalition, to thin majority, to minority governments. None matching the permanently strong system of government promised by a first past the post system.  

Of course, this has been a State that boasts of not having a written Constitution. Among the many reasons, those least talked about, of reasons why Brexit has come about as a political philosophy, is not so much the British being told what to do by ‘unelected bureaucrats’, but in having such rules written down, constitutionally defined and then decided upon by Johnny Foreigner.

Britain has never lacked its own unelected bureaucrats. Nor has it been short of having a judiciary creatively interpreting a nebulous common law system that has as it base document, a 13th century arrow to the head blackmail note given by its then aristocracy to weaken the powers of its King.

The country’s current travails emanate from a somewhat perverse attempt, by then Prime Minister David Cameron, to use a participatory democracy mechanism – a referendum; to try to put down an essentially Conservative Party argument.

It failed not only because it produced a wrong result, but largely because it never was a binary yes/no question. In the three years since this dubious exercise, the intricacies involved have been made ever more obvious and are now are even more intractable.

Away from the conspiracies, the power plays, and the gathering together of malcontents, Brexit will surely come to be seen as the biggest ever example of collective stupidly.

It entrenches the tragedy that the hubris that brought about Brexit will also block its reconsideration.

The cast of villains may seem obvious. However the person I believe holds one of the greater shares of responsibility for the mess that is Brexit; is not even a Tory. It is the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. 

A life long europhobe, his lethargic campaigning during the referendum help create the narrow majority for its failure. His will of the people stance since cast aside 16 million voters, who had and still recognise Brexit for the disaster it has been.

This week he has sought to convince that Brexit can bring with it an economic upside. Jeremy – THERE IS NO ECONOMIC BENEFIT FROM BREXIT. Not for the UK, not for the EU, and certainly not for Ireland.

A head of government who can’t lead. A leader of the opposition who won’t oppose. Britain might deserve what it is getting. We don’t.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Pic: Getty

From top: Donald Trump protests in London during the US president’s UK visit last week; Dan Boyle

Identify issue.

Create a narrative based on fear.

The more irrational the fear the better.

The more distant your target group is from the effects and/or the realities of the issue, the more appreciative your audience can be.

Be vague in your language.

Devise trigger words and phrases, meaningless in themselves, designed to confirm your narrative.

Virtue Signalling – that’s a good one.

Place emphasis on words to give them evil intent – Left, Liberal, Do Gooder.

Accept no responsibility.

Others are always to blame.

Truth is expendable. Rarely rely on it.

Re-invent history to suit your narrative.

Demonise the future.

Always deflect never reflect.

Deny deny deny.

Refute refute refute.

If your truth isn’t working make up another truth.

Counter the telling with whataboutery.

When in danger of exposure resort to name calling your opponents.

Make up insults suggesting diminished intellectual capacity against those who oppose you.

Libtard – that’s another good one.

Compare what shouldn’t be compared.

Equate what can’t be equated.

Quote liberally but always out of context.

Use only information that confirms your bias.

Never seek to verify.

Discover bogeymen

If you discover an individual so much the better.

Invest in their persona every foible you can imagine.

Remember opinions are facts, your opinions in particular.

Anecdotes represent scientific observation.

You are not alone although there need not be many of you.

If you lack charisma find your own God. Invest in them human qualities. Have them speak plainly however ignorantly.

Your God will always be right and well intentioned.

Your Bogeymen will always be mendacious, and be forever evil in their actions.

When in doubt claim you misspoke.

No one will believe you, but they will admire your shamelessness.

Or Lost in Translation. That’s another good one.

Choose your friends and companions wisely.

They need not be friendly or approachable. They should be encouraged not to be.

Neither should they be wise or knowledgeable.

Only convinced they are right.

Science or scientists are not your friends, and can never be.

Say we have had enough of experts and everyone will laugh.

You can never go wrong with a good conspiracy. They never are true. They never need to be.

Shut down all criticism.

Question the motivation of those who criticise.

Seize on any error, no matter how minuscule or how petty.

Exaggerate accomplishment.

Ignore failure.

Misrepresent actions

Lie. A lot.

Denigrate any, and every, accountability mechanism.

Make what you don’t like fake or deep.

Repeat ad nauseam.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Pic: getty