Killing Honours

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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.

Be afraid.

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.

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

(Daily Telegraph)

44 thoughts on “Killing Honours

  1. Zuppy International

    The Greens are a party built on fear-mongering ; a self-satisfied doomsday cult of ‘modern parenting’ pushing bad science to justify yet more taxes.

    Get over yourself Dan.

  2. nellyb

    Get Barry Murphy or David McSavage on the case. To distill it to what it is and laugh the fupp out of it.
    But yeah, fear works magic on nervous nellies. Especially on God-fearing ones (not to be confused with God-loving ones). Both seem to be FGs core voters. So, yeah, FG will be doing a term, but unfortunately, in our government.

  3. Formerly known as @ireland.com

    Lynton Crosby is from South Australia, just like Rupert. There must be something in the water.

    Seriously, his Liberals ran an outrageous campaign in 2001, when it looked like Labor were going to win. 9/11 came in handy for them to manipulate.

  4. John M

    ….I’d be far more afraid of the thought of any Greens getting anywhere near elected, let alone into power in any Govt here tbh. A bunch of self-righteous evangelicals who are clueless to Real Life.

    1. bisted

      …not to worry John…the greens were elected a few years back and even held the balance of power. They had several key ministers but were found out. They were totally ineffectual and their only ‘success’ was to keep FF in power so they could plunge the country into the abyss.

  5. Clampers Outside!

    “One of the criticisms of the Green movement internationally, has been of being made up of manic doomsayers and apocalypse hopefuls.” …and the disastrous delays that the Greens have placed on projects, like they had on Galway developing its sewerage treatment plants… a 20 yr delay, because of the Greens crackpot objections. And they were crackpot.

    In other words, the Greens need to be realistic and not carry on with pie in the sky stuff which is what they are really known for, among everyone I’ve spoken about it with in Galway anyway.

    I’m still votin’ Green though, won’t be first pref but I’ll be votin’ Green. Because I’m voting ABE – Anything But the Establishment parties of FF / FG / SF / L !!

    1. ollie

      The pie in the sky stuff is not confined to the greens Clampers.
      Look at the reaction to flooding: A new forecasting service, Shannon Quango, build an ark.

      Or the homeless crisis, 4 billion euro available, millions of modular houses, yet to date not a single modular house has been completed because no contractor could do it in the time given. Then we get the fable of the masked men turning up on site and scaring the contractor’s staff.

    2. Frilly Keane

      Ah
      That’s nice

      You’ve establishmented Sinn Féin all by yerself

      I knew you’d get there Cramps

        1. Frilly Keane

          That’s democracy for ya Cramps

          Hold tight tho
          They
          Well a few of ’em anyway
          Might surprise you

  6. DubLoony

    “While economic and social equality are concepts that seem ever distant in modern Ireland ”
    As concepts, they are argued over a lot. Its the implementation is the problem.

  7. Rachel

    Dan Boyle. Served ONE term as an elected TD. Receives an annual pension of 20,000 euro. Sweet Jesus.

    1. Tucker Done

      As Dan no doubt pops in here to view reaction to his column, he might care to justify taking a pension at such a young age

      1. Bodger

        Tucker Done, Just to avoid repetition Dan has considered that conundrum underneath previous columns, in fairness.

      2. inPisces

        No – he mightn’t
        Why would he justify himself or his income stream earned in the service of the public to some dumb, thick as ditches, anonymous Neanderthal commenter?

    2. Frilly Keane

      Well if I had’ta sit at the same table as Brian Cowen and Mary Harney I’d take that pension handy enough
      And so would everyone else

      Get rid of the Gravy Boat
      And people will learn to live without it

    1. Dan Boyle

      That’s a rhetorical question isn’t it? Isn’t any point in asking it never responding to it.

        1. Dan Boyle

          I did nothing to destroy anything. Quite clear on that. I’m more than weary of these childish admonitions. You should put your tone and fingerpointing to better use.

          1. inPisces

            Why don’t you shuffle off the stage gracefully you irrelevant old goat? You do realise broadsheet are just shoring you up to extract page clicks ?
            No one in the wider world beyond about ten gobspoos here has even an iota of interest in your world view. You do know that right?

          2. Dan Boyle

            It’s a great laugh seeing people spending a great deal of energy to tell me they have no interest in me.

          3. inPisces

            You’re right it is somewhat amusing.
            Also that you consistently come back here trolling and baiting your interlocutors
            It does take a special breed of self important reactionary gobspoo to go into environmental politics I suppose .

          4. Dan Boyle

            Nah when it comes to self importance I ain’t got nothing on you boy. I’m only trying to help you improve your confidence. The compulsion to insult anonymously is very very sad.

          5. inPisces

            Perhaps though its not on the same scale as a compulsion to remain in the public eye long past reaching the point of utter irrelevance , preaching a reactionary blend of cant and codswallop to a congregation of dunces

  8. gerogerigegege

    you’re a real smart man Dan.
    take a look at the wreck YOU left this country in.
    you’re a pity

    1. Dan Boyle

      You tell me. What is the point of angry cliches? What does it prove? What does it explain? You must have better things to do with your lives? Instead of projecting onto me you could be doing something positive.

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