‘Truculent Anti-Politician Mood’



Stephen Collins

But not in a good way.

Concerning the Pat Carey resignation and a rush to print, Stephen Collins political editor of The Irish Times writes:

One of the features of Irish public life over the past few years has been the growth of a truculent anti-politician mood. There are many reasons for this and it is arguable that politicians have brought it on themselves by the behaviour of some of them as revealed in a variety of judicial tribunals.

Nonetheless, the health of our democracy requires some level of understanding by the public of the challenges and choices faced by politicians in the course of their everyday work. Constant denigration of everything they do has helped to promote a nihilistic public mood which could over time prove to be very dangerous.

Much of what passes for current affairs coverage in the media no longer involves serious exploration of the issues and the choices facing society and amounts to little more than politician-baiting.

Nihilists, dude.

Treatment of Pat Carey by the media shameful (Stephen Collins, Irish Times)

Previously: Resigning Matters

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93 thoughts on “‘Truculent Anti-Politician Mood’

      1. mike

        This guy along with snivelling Noel Whelan were cheerleaders in chief of failed governments of the past who robbed/bankrupted our country. How they still even have a platform for their bullsh1t esconced pig/trough views is beyond me.

    1. Happy Molloy

      he’s so bloody right, can’t remember the last time I heard anyone being objective in the media.
      and as for internet commenters… well, part from clampers ye haven’t got an objective bone in yer arse. :-)

  1. Eoin

    I’m tired of listening to the propaganda coming from this establishment mouthpiece. So what’s he saying here? Lets ignore incompetence and corruption amongst our politicians and not hold them accountable? It’s sickening to hear media people telling the public that there’s been ‘enough’ banker and politician bashing. There’s isn’t enough justice being applied to these people, or oversight or accountability. When that happens maybe we’ll ease off on the ‘constant denigration’.

    1. ahjayzis

      Reporting accusations of child abuse before an investigation is concluded / charges are filed is vindictive and awful though. Whether he’s guilty or not his reputation is in shreds. It’s the same thing that happened to Leon Brittan in the UK. It’s not journalism, it’s gossip and complete character assassination and completely out of order.

      1. Neilo

        @ahjayzis: on the day of Leon Brittan’s death there were posts on this board that were utterly scabrous and libelous. A man’s reputation dragged through an ocean of poo to sate an atavistic loathing beyond my ken. Pat Carey’s plight mirrors this, I think.

        1. Clampers Outside!

          Well, he was the last one with ‘that’ paedo dossier in the 80s that just happened to go missing – only half of which has since resurfaced. That much is truth.

          And in my book, protecting paedos is as close to doing the act as you can get. Protecting paedos by having ‘lost’ a document is just like the Vatican protecting itself by moving paedo priests around.

          Brittan didn’t “lose” the document, in my opinion, he conveniently buried and forgot it.

          Pat Carey’s plight is nothing like this.

          1. Neilo

            I’m sorry, Clampers, but if this file relates to Establishment pederasts that were meant to be operating in both a guest house in South London and the Dolphin Square apartment complex beside Westminster then that canard has been squashed in both a recent BBC Panorama and the signal lack of prosecutions.

            The maligning of an individual outside judicial process is, in my opinion, all but identical to Pat Carey’s situation.

          2. Lilly

            The Indo didn’t run with the Carey story in response to any truculent anti-politician mood among the public. They did so in the hope that a few more dopes would shell out for their newspaper.

      2. george

        Senior figure in one business has a go at their main rival. Nobody published Pat Carey’s name. There’s some very suspect spin going on around this story.

        Pat Carey resigns because it might be him and he doesn’t know? Nonsense it could be anyone so why would he resign. Why doesn’t he ask the Gardaí if he’s under investigation. If he isn’t why wouldn’t they tell him?

        1. Neilo

          The deputy leader of the Labour Party? A clown of the greatest magnitude: not content with his attempts to shackle an occasionally obstreperous but vital free press, he continued to slander a dead man.

      3. Cluster

        Equating Carey’s case to Brittan’s is (at the moment) extremely unfair to Carey.

        There are still an awful lot of unanswered questions around Brittan. There has been a huge pushback from the British establishment to the numerous and persistent allegations of a paedophiles ring operating over a prolonged period – particularly under Thatcher.

        It’s not an accident that the RCC allegations emerged in Ireland (and elsewhere) as the power and influence of the Church waned.

    2. Cluster


      It’s not there is objectively too much politician bashing. The problem that politician bashing here is so crude, so ill-informed, so personal and so all-encompassing that it is destructive.

      Agree or disagree, criticising Kenny for continuing a job creation policy which favours foreign multinationals over indigenous enterprises is worthwhile & reasonable.

      Saying Kenny is poo ’cause he’s a gobsh!te from Mayo & sure the ‘Blushirts’ just want their pensions is completely worthless. There’s no discussion to be had, no way forward.

  2. PhilJo

    Says the man who’s one sided take on politics makes it impossible to take political journalism seriously

  3. MoyestWithExcitement

    “There are many reasons for this and it is arguable that politicians have brought it on themselves by the behaviour of some of them as revealed in a variety of judicial tribunals.”

    So Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are popular in the States because of the Moriarty Tribunal?

    1. Sham Bob

      He also lets this government off the hook by not referring to their broken election pledges, like ‘Labour’s way or Frankfurts way’, or a new transparent politics. The electorate must be having one of it’s moods.

      1. Drebzhinsky

        Perhaps the blinding stupidity of a commentariat which doesn’t understand “smaller party in a coalition” is part of his point.

    2. Cluster

      He has given an example of one of the causes of the discontent.

      Corruption, sleaze amongst certain politicians is certainly one of the causes. Much of that behaviour has been detailed in tribunals.

      Similar behaviour has been exposed in the U.S.

      In some ways, it reflects how the public have better access to information on the wrongdoing of elites now!

    1. Neilo

      Weird: I always though SC tended more to Fianna Fáil given his first gig on the Sunday Press *kisses fingers, pours out puréed chicken’n’chips over shrine honouring Ray McSharry*

      1. dav

        he kisses the 2 cheeks of the same arse, that’s been defecating on the irish people since the foundation of this state.

  4. Starina

    “Constant denigration of everything they do has helped to promote a nihilistic public mood which could over time prove to be very dangerous.”


    “Don’t be mean to our politicians, they’re trying hard, you guys!”

    what a toadie.

    1. Zuppy International

      “Constant denigration of everything they do has helped to promote a nihilistic public mood which could over time prove to be very dangerous [to me and the elite cabal of incompetence I defend every day].”

    2. Cluster

      If you constantly cover everything a group of people do with poo, you give individuals within that group to do better.

      If you cover every policy proposal with poo, however good or bad, you prevent a proper public discussion of policies from proceeding.

    1. ahjayzis

      He kind of brushes lightly over the fact that politics has failed this country abysmally for a generation. In every conceivable way. We have a political system for certain reasons, and they’ve failed in nearly every bracket. Healthcare, social mobility, housing, financial stability, employment stability, tax certainty, income certainty, future planning, education, the list of scandals and mismanagement goes on, from all parties in government and an equal dearth of forward thinking in oppositions past and present.

      We get the politicians we deserve, certainly, but this crowd don’t deserve a gloss of respectability, they’re a disgrace.

      1. Cluster

        The problem is that if you tar them all with the same brush, then you encourage the exact problem you are denouncing.

    2. Starina

      we’re jaded because they made us jaded with their persistence on being self-serving, cack-handed and nepotistic.

      1. Cluster

        That’s the answer of a teenager.

        Part of the duty of s democracy is continuing to hold your politicians to account, ideally in a fair-minded, well-informed manner

        1. Lilly

          What a joke Cluster! Who is ever held to account in this country? Is Michael Lowry in jail yet? I don’t think so. I’d like to see Fionnan Sheahan, editor of the Irish Independent arrested and charged with perverting the course of justice over the Carey story but how do I make that happen? Should I make a citizen’s arrest?

          1. Cluster

            People being held to account is not the same as Lilly getting her way on every topic. (I don’t like the Indo nor Sheahan but I don’t personally see any grounds for charging them over the ‘Carey’ story).

            Anyway, the point is that while it will never be perfect, we have a big influence on how well those in power are held to account.

            i think that a rational, reasonable public discourse and fair-minded critiquing of parties & individual parties would help

          2. Lilly

            Well excuse me for having the temerity to post an opinion not aligned to your own Cluster B but it’s not quite the same thing as ‘getting my own way on every topic’. Who appointed you Broadsheet censor.

  5. 15 cents

    if it wasnt clear enough that he has strong political ties from this piece, its capped off with a politician style threat “which could over time prove to be very dangerous.” .. yea yea, use fear to control the people, we’re used to it by now, you’re the prime contributor of this tactic. times like this i wish BS allowed swear words.

  6. martco

    national politics should be vocational as opposed to being a career

    our political system is a self-interested diseased piece of —p

      1. 15 cents

        as opposed to… iceland, norway.. just first two to spring to mind. theres too much acceptance of how our political system is run. controversary after controversary, and its just roll the eyes to heaven and sure what can ya do ..

        1. rotide

          We can discount norway straight away because we certainly aren’t comparing like for like.

          Iceland, possibly, don’t know enough about it but thats one out of a possible 196.

  7. bukowski

    “Much of what passes for current affairs coverage in the media no longer involves serious exploration of the issues and the choices facing society” – did it ever? There’s more analysis in a first year university student’s sociology essay then in most Irish print media. And they’re likely to have been drunk when they wrote that essay. Don’t get me started on RTE.

  8. Stephen

    Serious misjudgement of the public mood. There are basically two flavours of Irish politician – The Moron (Fidelma, Averill Power) or The Corrupt Cute Hoor (Healy-Raes, Lowry etc). It’s a very rare individual you’d actually consider voting for.

    The Irish Times (any good journalistic outfit, in fact) should question and hold to account politicians of all stripes

    1. Cluster

      The idea that a journalist should be commenting in line with the public mood is a big part of the problem.

      Holding pols to account is necessary but being unnecessarily negative does not do that.

  9. ReproBertie

    Everytime Mick Wallace does something of interest or of note someone jumps in with a “pay your workers” comment. It’s as if the entirety of his life’s work is irrelevant because once upon a time he did something bad.

    Only last week there was a post about something positive that the government had done (something to do with children, I can’t be expected to remember everything) and the comments section was filled with the usual cut and paste anti-government bile.

    In this regard we are no better than the government who respond to opposition questions with “yeah, but look at the mess you made of the place.”

    This government has to be accountable for its many, many failings but that does not mean it should not be praised when it does something right (like admit it can’t deliver free health cover rather than force it through and damn the cost). The same applies to the opposition. I have been as guilty as anyone of reacting with anger to every utterance from a FFailure that hasn’t started with an abject apology. Recognising this I have taken to biting back my anger to listen to them first.

      1. Neilo

        Also, that ‘mess you made’ stuff is dirty pool: the current administration has had five years to work on its programme. Agreement @ ReproBertie once more.

      2. ollie

        Except he didn’t make payments to his employees pension fund or their prsi. So, they lose out while he doesn’t get punished

        1. ReproBertie

          Except he was convicted and fined €7K as punishment and, of course, his worker’s contributions, while late, were all paid.

          1. Cluster

            The truth is that he got off easy because he ran for election & was elected.

            The other is that there are assets purchased with his ‘wealth’ during the boom in the names of his family.

            So yea, while the personalised style of criticism is to be resisted, it is extremely difficult to listen to Wallsce pontificate sometimes, even when I agree with the specifics of what he is saying

      3. FreshFish

        Even if he’s doing an odd days work
        He’s stil an absolute leech and a prick
        If he is the best opposition we can muster we’re well and truly fupped

  10. Sham Bob

    Isn’t Stephen Collins one of those political pundits who treats party politics like inter-county hurling, and the electorate as some kind of unknowable force, like the weather, or a bad referee. Little discussion of politics as such.

  11. Clampers Outside!

    Everyday I see the news I think to myself…. you really have lost faith in all the corrupt fuppers in politics in this country and there seems to be only two* politicians with any integrity and they’re not in my constituency !

    FG, FF, L & SF – the establishment parties (yes SF belongs there) are all scumbags, so why wouldn’t anyone bash the fupping liar and inconsistency and lack of integrity in all of them! As a member of the electorate, that’s my job! Maybe it wouldn’t be so harsh if those pricks actually started talking facts and truths rather than spin.

    * – socdems’ Catherine and Stephen

    1. rotide

      When people make sweeping statements about travellers or muslims, they are rightly castigated for tarring everyone with the same brush.

      Politicians get the exact same treatment every single day (ALL politicians are scumbags) and that sentiment is lauded.

      Opinion about party policy is one thing, but do you really believe in the back of your logical brain that every TD in the house is an incompetant criminal on the make? That’s the impression that a visitor from mars would get from reading these pages.

      1. Clampers Outside!

        The parties as a whole are scumbags, yes.

        The few politicians with decency should abandon their party if they don’t want to be tarred with the historical scumbaggery of that party. It is that simple for a politician with integrity, but for a career politician I’m sure it’s a tough choice.

        I couldn’t be asred with the minutae required to explain to internet tourists what these pages are like :)

        1. Cluster

          If you abandon your party, in most cases you abandon the chance (frustrating & slow as it may be) to set policy or have an influence.

          We should be more critical of self-serving, populist independents.

          (I’m not talking about Murphys efforts on IBRC here. Note that she is trying to start a party).

      2. scottser

        ‘Opinion about party policy is one thing, but do you really believe in the back of your logical brain that every TD in the house is an incompetant criminal on the make? ‘

        the party whip system is the very mechanism that turns our political system into an oligarchy. politicians serve only to further and protect their vested interests and when they advocate for ‘progress’, ‘democracy’, ‘justice’, etc they do not mean for everyone. they will only work for a constituent who votes for them. TDs, with a few notable exceptions are self-serving liars.

      3. ahjayzis

        If party politics is rotten, and it is, then the individual virtues of most TDs are completely irrelevant – our system stamps out individuality among elected representatives, it’s an irrelevant variable in making an assessment of the political system as a whole.

        Rupaul herself could be my local major party TD and I wouldn’t go near Her – because the TD is unimportant, as they won’t be making a single decision themselves.

  12. ollie

    Political editor of the IT defends the government the day after his newspaper blames the same government for the failure of a gay couple to complete their paperwork in time.

    Stephen Collins, I salute your scrotum like neck.

    1. ReproBertie

      He’s not defending the government. He’s saying society’s knee jerk reaction to politicians is questionable.

  13. Mr. T.

    Pity no Irish journalists reveal the truth behind certain wife bashing types.

    Irish journo hacks are notoriously choosy about what they decide to pursue.

  14. Mr. T.

    Oh poor politicians.

    Shove it Collins. You’re part of the problem, a compliant complicit media which chooses to ignore its duty in a Republic.

  15. panga

    the only tests I’ve passed are pregnancy tests…..and even I can see through his poo!
    who tha fupp does he think he’s talking to?? patronising ignoramus

  16. FreshFish

    He thinks that polo playing , I mean political elites get called too many nasty names and he’s absolutely right

    Political types
    May be mostly crap
    But who voted for them?

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