The Invisible Right Wing


Gene Kerrigan-63192366dff06cf4fa31aaf422de79dbe4da3a98-s6-c30

Sunday Independent columnist and author Gene Kerrigan

Grab a large tay.

Because David Manning, of media monitoring website MediaBite, has carried out a lengthy interview with Gene Kerrigan.

From the interview:

Gene Kerrigan: “Generally the media – not always or directly – reflects society. We live in a fairly conservative society where people see politics through a narrow lens. You vote every four years, elect a government which then looks after the running of the country. When something happens, such as the water tax protests, media people are interested, but it’s not something they’re comfortable with. Then someone throws a brick, it confirms media people in their discomfort. They’re more comfortable posing the story as real politics versus throwing bricks. I think that mindset applies to everyone, citizens and journalists alike. I wish it wasn’t that way – I’d rather a broader interpretation of debate and political interaction but I think it is a very conservative country.”

David Manning: In terms of that idea of reflecting a conservative society, it seems like a contradiction in the sense that there is this movement that has grown organically, it didn’t come from the universities, it didn’t come from the established political parties, it came from ordinary people who can’t afford to pay. On the other hand the press appears to be representing another public, a more conservative public. What public do you think the press represents?

Kerrigan: There’s something I find amusing – the total absence of the right wing in Irish politics. For instance, Clare Daly would be described as a left wing TD, and she would have no problem with that. But the media never describes Willie O’Dea as a right wing TD, or Leo Varadkar, Brendan Howlin or Eamon Gilmore. Gilmore was Tanaiste in a government that implemented very right wing, Merkel-style politics. And yet he would be portrayed as left of centre by most media, simply because of the Labour label. Similarly, in journalism. People would describe myself and some others as left wing, and we’d have no problem with that. But no one ever describes the political correspondents as right wing journalists – even though they clearly report, approvingly, almost entirely within the consensus of the right wing parties. So there’s an invisible right wing, that is so much part of life that we don’t even have a name for it, it’s just seen as the norm. Anything on the left is identified as being somehow from ‘the other’. It’s from the outside. I don’t think the media even recognises that what is seen as the centre is way over to the right.”

Read the interview in full here

H/T: Miriam Cotton


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29 thoughts on “The Invisible Right Wing

  1. Jonotti

    Well, the good news is that no one is buying papers any more, so the Indo, Sindo and IT will be gone in a decade.

  2. Mr. T.

    The whole Left/Right thing is really just an illusion and far too simplistic. Most people hold opinions which straddle both or none. It’s a lazy labeling system which people use to dump someone into the opposite camp.

    1. Jane

      That’s not refuting the point that Kerrigan was making, though. It’s not even really engaging with it. The point that he was making is that the policies and attitudes that most people would recognise as right wing are taken for granted as the centre, as normal,as natural, even, whereas the policies and attitudes of the left wing are pointed up. Overall, the effect is that the right wing looks like the centre and the left wing looks like an extreme opposition. This is due to the very conservative nature of many people and almost all of the media. Mind you, since almost all of the media is aimed squarely at people who have the buying power advertisers want (typically older, whiter, richer), this is hardly surprising.

        1. tucker

          General Point is superior to Major Disaster. But both of them wish they had Admiral Qualities.

      1. Miko

        More nonsense from Kerrigan.

        The reality is that Ireland exists on a less populist to more populist paradigm. The other axis is what your base is looking for. But the reality is that the entire Irish System is geared towards distribution of goodies to the more powerful voting blocks. Which in many cases are actually welfare recipients.

        TBH on any objective look at Ireland compared to any socialist country in Europe pretty much all the parties and certainly govts. as a whole are left of centre. What I’d really like to ask Kerrigan is “compared to what?” where is this nirvana country he speaks of?

    2. The People's Hero

      It’s more of an X/Y axis…. Left and Right, Authoritarian and Anarchistic (or maybe liberal/neo-liberal) There’s probably a Z axis too…. perhaps based on Religion and Lack Of given how it influences so much

      Therefore it is always more complex to gauge and always flawed to focus on the old left/right chestnut….

    3. Vote Rep #1

      An even lazier labelling system is the class system which you also drone on about. It makes you sound like a person who is annoyed they grew up in Monkstown.

  3. Unreconstructed

    The Right Wing is pretty visible (in your face) if you’re on a zero hours contract in Dunnes…or listening to Joan Burton in the Dail. I would say workers on the minimum wage and on precarious contracts would not hold that the Left/Right issue is an “illusion”…

  4. bllllllllllllaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    he seems to be in two minds about having a moustache. make of that what you will!

  5. Joe the Lion

    Gore Vidal said there is one property party (in the US) and it has two right wings.

  6. My Daddy is bigger than Yours

    nonsense- Wille O’Dea is in no way as right wing as a UK Tory or German CDP. Can you imagine George Osbourne advocating the chicken in every pot policies espoused by Fianna Fail

    Clare Daly on the other hand likes to portray herself as left wing but opposes the property tax. Go figure

    Kerrigan is not all he’s cracked up to be, he writes well but his analysis is lazy and predictable.

    He devoted a column last week asking why “Hedge FUuds” were buying up Ireland – except the guy doesn’t know the difference between a hedge fund and any other kind of fund.

    1. Richard

      You suggest that since Clare Daly does not support the property tax, she cannot really be left-wing. But Enda Kenny supports the property tax. Does this mean Enda Kenny is really left-wing? According to your logic, indeed it does.

      The ‘lazy and predictable’ qualities you discern in Kerrigan appear in your own contention that left-wingers by definition support property taxes. But what if the property tax in question is part of a package of measures intended to strengthen the power of the rich over the poor? Do you think that left-wing people by definition are incapable of taking into account the particular political context in which they give their support for things?

      1. italia'90

        8 hours later and no reply from MDIBTY?
        That, ladies and gentleman, is how you burn a graduate from Right Wing Templemore University.
        Well played Richard, well played.

  7. sendog

    As far as i can see its not quite a right wing vs “others”
    To me its quite simple, on one side you have a clique of parties who have become well accustomed to ruling in various forms. Managing power and taking care of their own. Getting into power, filling their boots, stuffing quangos with their cronies and continuing this farce over and over again all the while aspiring to ideals they pretend to follow. They are devoid of any leadership or ideals.
    The established parties.

    Then you have the others on the left.

  8. PPads

    First word is economics, second is social.
    1. Left Liberal
    2. Left Conservative
    3. Right Conservative
    4. Right Liberal
    What has happened in Ireland is a shift from 3 to 4 although 1 is gaining traction. Cheque please.

  9. Joe

    “Invisible right wing”.. ?

    Surely, the greediest of cucking self-serving elitist bastard funts, dominating the upper echelons of political and economic power have not gained a new super power?..

    ..Have they?…

    ..We’re well and truly munson’d 0_o

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