From top: Lynton Crosby, seen by many as the man behind the Conservative’s 2015 UK General Election victory; Dan Boyle.
The divisive tactics of a newly-knighted Tory strategist will be implemented by Fine Gael this General Election.
Dan Boyle writes:
While economic and social equality are concepts that seem ever distant in modern Ireland, I suppose we can be somewhat grateful that we’ve never developed an Honours system. Maybe it’s that collective hubris we share of never letting anyone get above themselves.
Our near neighbours have never had such qualms. While there are many in their society who gain worthy recognition for selfless activity, it is hard to avoid the impression that most awards are not given for services to the nation or to the body public, but to confirm and then entrench status within the system.
One of the major recipients in the UK’s New Year’s Honours list is an Australian political consultant, Lynton Crosby. It is debatable whether his achievement, in helping to elect the Conservative Party to government, is in any way in the best interest of UK. What is less debatable is that his honour is a reward from those who now have a stronger hand on the levers of power.
I mention this because the template that Lynton Crosby has successfully devised, is one that Fine Gael is intent on utilising for the coming Irish general election.
It’s also not unlike the methods being used by Donald Trump, albeit with less cartoon like intensity, in his attempt to win the Republican Party nomination for the US presidency.
It’s a method of political campaigning that ignores any attempt to persuade positively on the basis of policies, values or beliefs, but instead seeks to inculcate an exaggerated fear of an alternative or the alternative.
While recognising that politics and elections are more about sentiment than logic, is it too much to hope that informed debate might sometime be its basis?
I ask myself this question, and I ask it loudly, because I currently find myself in a situation of being a Lynton Crosby of sorts. On a much smaller scale of course. It’s not with the intent of electing a government, but to seek to have elected at least one person to be an alternative voice on a political body, that would help inform ongoing public debate.
One of the criticisms of the Green movement internationally, has been that it is made up of manic doomsayers and apocalypse hopefuls. It’s a narrative we’ve allowed be imposed on us.
We [Greens] didn’t invent this pretext. We’ve tried, with only limited success, to communicate what has seemed obvious to us – that how we deal or not with environmental issues has consequences for society and for the economy. I’ve always felt that a better analogy was of the boy pointing out that The Emperor was naked.
Politically this makes you no more popular. There may always be a reluctance in challenging the status quo. There will certainly be a reluctance of letting go of well cherished myths.
All of this is a convoluted way of saying that political success is more likely to occur when we create a fear of others, rather than confront the fears we have of what we are doing ourselves and to ourselves.
Becoming aware of this is as much an honour as anyone needs.