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US president-elect Donald Trump and Dr Rory Hearne

We are in an unprecedented time of political upheaval. All the political rule books are being torn apart. Anything is possible.

Dr Rory Hearne writes:

What is the impact of Trump’s election on Irish politics? Could we see an Irish Trump or new right-wing party elected into the Dáil or even lead a new government?

This potential nightmare scenario is possible given the economic crisis and distrust in political parties and government in Ireland. However, this means that there is also an opportunity for a new progressive political movement in Ireland that would direct people’s anger and frustration towards achieving equality and social justice rather than fuelling hate and the scapegoating of immigrants.

Firstly, does the current state of our economy (and our future economic situation) provide the basis for an anti-establishment populist politics? The reality is that it does.

A significant proportion of people remain excluded from the so-called ‘economic recovery’. It is increasing inequality. Those at the top are gaining the most from increases in income and wealth. Small wage increases will make little difference for people struggling with debt and crippling costs of living (particularly families with children).

A third of our population suffers material deprivation, a fifth of households cannot cover their monthly bills, 86,000 are still in mortgage arrears, while unemployment disproportionally affects young people and disadvantaged rural and urban areas. A lot of the new jobs are ‘precarious’ – low wage, short term and insecure.

On top of this, we have the lack of affordable housing for renters and those looking to buy their home while over 6,000 are homeless (2,500 of those children). We have a two-tier apartheid health system and continuing emigration. Things are extremely difficult for most lower income and working class families and an increasing proportion of the ‘middle class’. The future is not just uncertain, but for many it is terrifying, and parents cannot see a positive future for their children in Ireland.

For decades, Irish governments have developed an unsustainable economy built on neoliberal policies of corporate tax avoidance, low wages, low public expenditure, privatisation and a lack of indigenous Irish enterprise. This model now faces a major crisis from Brexit, the Apple tax ruling and Trump’s potential reduction in corporation tax. This increases people’s sense of insecurity.

Not to mention the injustices of the bank and Troika bailouts – where the ECB and EU lumped us with the costs of bailing out the French and German banks. Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour then ensured we paid for it through enforced austerity that devastated our public and community services and investment.

And we still pay up to €2bn a year extra of interest on our debt solely to cover the costs of the bailing out the banks and the European financial system. The scars and wounds of the crash, austerity and the bailouts run deep while the political establishment has shown that it has no interest in understanding this, or responding in a progressive manner.

This also explains why the Irish people have completely lost faith and confidence in our political institutions of the Dáil, the government, and political parties. The Eurobarometer (EB) survey of the Irish public carried out in November 2015 (below) shows the collapse in trust after the crash in 2008 [i] and again after the election in 2011 when Fine Gael and Labour failed to fulfill their election promises.

It highlights the collapse in trust in political parties.

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-12-32-18

This disconnect between the people and political parties and government is shown by that fact that just 65% of registered voters actually voted in the general election in February. In Dublin just 62.8% voted (which is down from 68% in 2011) [ii].

This means that over one million registered voters did not vote at the election – which is twice the number who voted for Fine Gael. While the two dominant conservative parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, got their lowest combined vote, falling for the first time below 50%.

And little has changed since February.

The most recent Irish Times opinion poll showed that in terms of their core vote, Fine Gael had 20% and Fianna Fáil, 21%, while Independents had 20 per cent and 19% were undecided. These figures show, firstly, the large section of the population who are alienated from the mainstream parties (non-voters, independents and ‘undecideds’) and thus potentially open to new political alternatives, and secondly, that we are in a period of political volatility with support for parties changing dramatically in short periods of time.

But the election and recent opinion polls also show that the anti-establishment mood in Ireland is more supportive of broadly ‘left’ policies than right-wing Trumpism. Just contrast the increase in electoral support for the left (AAA/PBP and Sinn Fein) to the failure of the right-wing Renua.

The conservative tax-cutting and austerity agenda of Fine Gael was also rejected in the election as people sought investment in public services, particularly health and housing. This is backed up by the recent polls which showed people wanted the Budget to prioritise investment in healthcare, housing/homelessness and childcare over tax cuts.

This is why Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are panic-stricken over the public sector unions threatening action over pay. They are worried that the defiant spirit of the water movement is spreading across Irish society as people are no longer just passively accepting growing inequality and political corruption.

So the FF/FG government are trying to spread fear about the rise of the ‘militant’ left. Fine Gael Minister, Simon Coveney this weekend ‘warned about the rise of left-wing populism in Ireland’.

He said “There has been a rise in the politics of street protests in Ireland and there has been a rise in small political parties and movements that spend most of their weeks thinking about when they are going to organise the next protest”[iii].

They know that the corrupt conservative establishment is in major trouble. Of course if this approach fails to deter the increase in public support for the Left, where will they turn next to blame for the mess and inequality the government has caused?

It won’t be the corporate tax avoiders or growing wealth inequality. It is more likely to be the immigrants, Travellers, or ‘welfare scroungers’. And that is how Trumpism could develop in Ireland – in the near future a Fine Gael or Fianna Fail party declining in support in the polls or some revitalised Renua, will try whip up hate and blame immigrants (or the homeless or public servants or the militant ‘left’) for the on-going misery faced by so many people excluded from the ‘recovery’.

So far, here in Ireland, we have not seen this blaming of immigrants for the crisis. This is largely thanks to the water movement and the left political parties and independents who have focused people’s anger, correctly, on austerity, the bailouts, the ‘neoliberal’ privatisation model and thus offered a political alternative to the establishment parties, particularly Labour, who failed to stand up for ordinary people.

However, while the existing left parties (Sinn Féin, AAA/PBP and the Social Democrats) and independents are doing a good job, February’s election showed that combined, they achieved just under 20% of the vote. That is significantly short of the required support levels to deliver a progressive, equality orienated, government.

For all their own reasons the existing left are limited in their ability to win the support of a majority of people in Ireland. This means that there is a political space open to be taken by conservative right wing populists who could then gain a majority support if the left parties fail to take that space.

That is why now, more than ever, there is a need for a new, genuinely progressive, political movement in Ireland that can reach out and win the support of a majority to challenge the politics of inequality.

Such a new political alternative, if it is to be successful, must go way beyond what the existing left is doing and reach out to involve all those unrepresented – the non-voters, independents, the undecideds, the trade unionists, small business people, young people, the excluded rural and disadvantaged communities. It needs to break the ‘consensus’ framework of Irish politics –and offer a way of doing politics, a new vision for Ireland, beyond the narrow left/right and civil war divides.

Some might ask if there is likely to be support for another political party on the left? The answer is likely to be no there isn’t. And that is why if a new alternative is to be successful it can’t just be another traditional party. To fill the political space and gain public support it will have to be a new, flexible, open, hopeful, broad, and inclusive political movement not a party.

To be successful in this age of social media and citizen empowerment it should be citizen-led, a cross country (rural and urban), cross society and social class alliance, with no one particular group or sector dominating it.

It will have to present as its aim the unity of the people against the political establishment and their unequal and destructive policies. Like Right2Water it must be something that, when ordinary Irish people look at it, they are inspired and want to support it.

I have shown here that the political space is clearly there for such a new progressive alternative. A significant proportion of the Irish population do not feel represented by the existing parties. It is thus a time of opportunity and possibility for new political forces to emerge and capture the public mood and attention. The many social and economic crises, particularly growing economic inequality are likely to continue into the future.

This shows the growing need for a new people’s movement of unity and solidarity to address this. And, it would not have to start from scratch. There is a large potential activist base in the water movement potential support from progressive Independent TDs, civil society groups (such as the Right2Water unions), academics, community workers, artists and many others.

We are in an unprecedented time of political upheaval. All the political rule books are being torn apart. Anything is possible. The victory of Trump should serve as a warning of what can happen if there is not a progressive political alternative available to people. Can we make sure that mistake is not repeated here in Ireland?

Dr Rory Hearne – author and researcher – writes here in a personal capacity.

132 thoughts on “Trump Card

  1. norman bates

    I think the best way to ensure that a far right movement doesnt gain any sort of foothold over here or anywhere in general would be to shut down all debate and topics that we dont agree with and shout down opposing viewpoints as racist, misogynistic and homophobic. finally, we need the media personalities to constantly remind us that they are in the right and to belittle those who think otherwise, it worked in england during the brexit campaign, it worked spectacularly in america during the presidential campaign, and it should work here too.

      1. Maire

        Nigel, I got the opposite of that from Norman! Its because anyone with right wing views was shut down and frowned upon that the rest of us stuck up for them. Free speech and all that. Our Government are doing the same so we will see what happens in the next election. Listen to the song ‘something inside so strong’

        1. Nigel

          if you stuck up for right wing views because you took a dislike to the people criticising them, then thanks, I guess, for supporting the likes of Brexit and Trump out of no real conviction whatsoever?

          1. Maire

            Nigel, I should have used the word ‘One’ instead of ‘us’ What I was saying that unless one is able to have free speech, listen to others points of view without criticising or personal attacks on them, one can have a more balanced view and make ones own mind up. I do not support Trump but I can see how he succeeded. The same can happen here in Ireland if we stifle balanced debates.

          2. The Real Jane

            The problem you all have with free speech is that you don’t like when others have it too. Say racist or homophobic things if you must, nobody can prevent you, but you really need to accept that have the free speech to disagree and argue otherwise.

          3. Nigel

            Fair enough. You’d rather oppose people who criticise racism and misogyny and homophobia than oppose racists misogynists and homophobes and then when they win, turn around and blame the people who opposed them and feel no responsibility yourselves. Hey, you won! The people you opposed lost! Be proud of that victory!

          4. Clampers Outside

            There you go again, putting words in peoples mouths and making assumptions about motivations, rather than discussing free speech, which is what this is about.

            I can only surmise that you are an anti-free speech advocate, like a true regressive. You’ve avoided that point in all your responses, and instead gone for your own assumptions.

            Blinkered.

          5. Nigel

            What, you mean, I don’t obligingly go along with your narrow tunnel-visioned framing of subjects in order to let you feel, what might the word be… virtuous? I can see why you’d find everybody but yourself blinkered on that score. ‘Stop saying those things I don’t like, this is about free speech!’ Maybe you won’t get that joke, either, even though it’s yours.

        2. Bob

          The thing is, the far right weren’t shut down, they just kept telling people they were (and nobody saw the irony). People are lazy and don’t fact check, so they readily believe what they want to believe.

          It was the left’s willingness to fight the far right on a level playing field that was their downfall, because the far right were never willing to play that level field.

          1. Sheik Yahbouti

            Bob, I heartily agree. If successive American Presidential Campaigns and our own great “Pro Life” debates should have taught us anything is that the truth doesn’t matter to these people – they have no interest in rational argument – only the pursuit of power over other people.

          2. Starina

            and we’ve seen this again and again in American elections – the left tries to play fair while the right pulls all kinds of underhanded tricks and slander. sometimes i wish the left would campaign dirtier to regain some advantage but the right would be all over them like a chicken on a bug.

      2. Tony

        Sticking to the “if anyone disagrees just call them racist alt right fanatics”. Cos that’s working very well.

        1. Nigel

          Sticking to letting alt-right neo-nazis off the hook because special snowflake Millennials are being mean to misogynists and racists and I’d say that’s working the absolute best.

          1. Tony

            It’s been a tough few weeks for you and your libtard friends. However, I admire you for learning absolutely zilch from all that happened and sticking to your metaphorical guns. Stick to the university canteen, it’s still a safe space. Hygge x

          2. Tony

            I think you’ll find I was always against the self-declared moral superiority of those you represent. I was against their simplistic form of discrimination and othering and the way they attacked, mocked and belittled those who in anyway diverged from their quasi religious doctrine. And I was especially against the tone policing they carried out on anyone not in their camp to the point where they were told where to shove it. To suggest this makes me alt-right is just a continuation of the divisiveness you have stoked so successfully.

          3. Nigel

            And I’m glad you’ve shown who you stand with, though it hardly comes as a surprise.

            I’m also glad we’ve got Tony policing tone policing, but that’s beside the point.

          4. edalicious

            “I was against their simplistic form of discrimination and othering and the way they attacked, mocked and belittled those who in anyway diverged from their quasi religious doctrine.”

            While at the same time othering people that diverge from your particular doctrine, calling them “libtards” and mocking and belittling people by using the term “safe space”? I’m pretty sure that’s textbook cognitive dissonance.

          5. Tony

            They deserve every backlash they get for trying to promote their hate so tyrannically over the past few years. Getting people fired from jobs, stopping them speaking, labelling them every -ism and -ist they could think of. It was a truly nasty and divisive movement of identity politics that was condescending, patronising, punishing and medieval in its methods of banishing, banning and shaming. The most dangerous thing of all (the religious bit) is that they tried to corner the market on virtue- and thats what finally broke their grip. Their use of virtue mocked virtue itself, and good people were not willing to let that happen. So Im sorry if you’re bothered, but unless you can “do good” in a way that doesn’t involve crushing others, fupp off from me and all belonging to me.

          6. Nigel

            ‘but unless you can “do good” in a way that doesn’t involve crushing others, fupp off from me and all belonging to me.’

            And somewhere out there, a black lesbian barraged hourly with hate feels ashamed for thinking badly of her abusers, which would bother them, and wishing they’d shut up, which would be an attack on their freedom of speech, and felt guilty for being nasty and divisive by complaining about it. Thanks Tony Police! You;re ‘doing good!’ You’re only helping crush people who don’t matter anyway!

          7. Nigel

            White male privilege needs no apology while you’re here to defend the abusers of black lesbians from people like me calling them mean names, Tony Police!

          8. Clampers Outside

            According to Nigel, everyone who voted for Trump is an “alt-right neo-nazi”

            This is the level of stupidity that lost the election. The only ones not willing to accept this are the ones still saying such moronic nonsense.

          9. Tony

            Do you always reach for the black lesbian to justify your knighting? How sickeningly patronising, cliche’d and condescending.

          10. Nigel

            The level of stupidity that lost the election was the type of person who relentlessly attacked Clinton while, occasionally, in parentheses, by the by, mentioning they thought Trump was just as bad, being surprised at the idea that they helped put an alt-right neo-Nazi-supported woman-groping bankrupt with a homophobic VP in power. I’m not saying it’s the only stupidity that lost the election, but it sure features.

            Everyone who voted for Trump voted for a racist sexist KKK-endorsed con-man. Trying to shirk responsibility by saying stuff like ‘but not everyone who voted for him was a racist sexist KKK-endorsed con-man!’ is pure cowardice. Honestly, it’s disgusting.

          11. Nigel

            Tony Police – I do like to occasionally acknowledge their existence, and the existence of people like them, and the abuse they suffer, particularly on-line from what is forming up to be the alt-right in its ascendancy. Do you think their existence and what they put up with justifies anything, or are you satisfied in your complacent support of their abusers to abuse them without me being mean about the abusers?

          12. Tony

            Have you dumped the black lesbian now that you’ve been called on how you were shameless using her? Or did someone just hack your account?

          13. Nigel

            I guess you are conceding that you do, in fact, prefer to be a valiant defender of those who abuse others with racism, misogyny and homophobia, protecting them from horrible people like me who blatantly call them mean names like racists, misogynists and homophobes. Keep fighting that good fight!

          14. Tony

            Sorry, Im waiting for the end of the black lesbian story? Was she that disposable? Remember, caring is for life, not just to win an argument.

          15. Nigel

            The black lesbian is a threat to all them racist misogynist homophobes, Tony Police! Only you can save them from people like me being mean about them over people like her!

          16. Tony

            You’re like Joe Duffy, preying on the vulnerable and moving on as soon as you have used her to tell the world how much you care. Shame on you.

          17. Nigel

            While your sympathy for the sort of person who’d attack and abuse people like her is real and strong, while being at the same time non-virtuous, non-sanctimonious, and non-free-speech-threatening!

            I do love that you called me a ‘libtard.’ Any illusion that your concern about poor innocent victims of PC snowflakes was anything other than a pose just vanished.

          18. Tony

            I am and always have been against those who use other peoples misery to promote themselves. Its what the church did, its what those liars in charities did, its what the failing media does.That is what you do and that is what I call you and your mates out on. And I will continue to call your fakeness out wherever I can. To conflate that with my being against any minority is typical of your strategy of resorting to hate speech and name calling.

          19. Nigel

            I love that by sometimes trying to defend gay people, women and people of other races against homophobia, misogyny and racism I am ‘using’ them, but you get to pretend to be morally pure by turning your nose up at name-calling while calling me a ‘libtard.’ Not to descend to name-calling and religious imagery after your impassioned and sanctimonious diatribe, but you’re basically trying to be Pontius Pilate.

          20. Tony

            Thats your schtick Nige.You have “concern” down pat. Even your forgotten black lesbian friend was convinced till you dropped her…

          21. ONigel

            ‘If a man is considered guilty for what goes on in his mind give me the electric chsir for all my future crimes.’

        2. The Real Jane

          It’s just non safe space common sense not pc gone mad telling it like it is, Tony. Don’t be such a safe space snowflake.

          1. Clampers Outside

            No… says the guy advocating for free speech, and allowing people put their own words in their own mouths.

            You should take the blinkers off Nigel, you’re getting quite muddled.

          2. Nigel

            Advocating free speech by telling other people to stop speaking? ‘Thinking through the implications of what’s being said’ is not the same as ‘being muddled’ no matter how difficult you find it.

          3. Unlucky in locks

            Free speech implies one is entitled to express ones beliefs.

            But you’re not entitled to have your beliefs respected, that would infringe on someone else’s free speech.

            If an opinion is expressed that, for example, Nigel finds to be racist, homophobic, bigoted etc. then Nigel gets to say so.

            It’s disingenuous to say that he was “advocating for free speech”. He was advocating to be allowed say what he wants without repercussions. That’s not how it works

          4. Clampers Outside

            @Unlucky… plse scroll to the top and re-read norman bates’ original post.

            When done, plse show me where his/her obviously satirical comment “was advocating to be allowed say what he wants without repercussions.”

            Thanks

          5. Nigel

            Yeah, Unlucky, Norman was obviously sincerely and non-ironically endorsing all those things and did not want people to stop doing those things because they were hurting people’s feelings, while also being satirical.

          6. Nigel

            No, Clamps, that’s what I said, a different interpretation of the same words as a counterpoint to yours and his. It’s a reasonably common rhetorical convention used in various types of discussion, most people get the hang of it sooner or later, keep trying.

          7. Unlucky in locks

            I don’t think he’s necessarily agreeing with those ideas, no.

            But the point remains that anyone who does offer those opinions is not protected from the repercussions of what they said. Again, not suggesting Norman Bates has those opinions. The point I was making was more to do with the tactic of retreating behind “respect my views”.

            I still think you’re wrong to suggest he’s advocating for free speech.

            It’s a thornier issue of how the left reconnects with a demographic it’s lost the trust of. I personally don’t think infantalising them is the way to go.

      3. louislefronde

        I’m Alt-Prog. I refuse to vote for any career politician or any party. Public Representatives should get two terms and no more. Then out!

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Is Rory calling for armed insurrection? Nothing short of that will dislodge the plump and ample arses we have all paid to cultivate from their seats of power. Ireland is “conservative” I am often told – this is essence means that those who are doing well (and attempting to hide the fact) will fight to preserve the status quo. ‘Socialism’ is a no no, on account of the fact that the Catholic Church equated Socialism with ‘godless’ communism and for that reason large swathes of the population would never entertain anything even smacking of socialism. All this at a time when clerical sexual abuse of children, and the sale and proffering of children for medical experimentation by the Nuns (for money) was AOK and super wholesome. I use to comfort myself with the thought that the country had moved on somewhat. I now believe that I was mistaken – we now have the internet and ‘reality TV’, but aside from that not enough has changed.

  2. Tony

    Sounds to me like you’re saying we need a strong nationalistic leader to protect our people from the far right. This person would sweep to power on a broad consensus of the forgotten and take strong decisions to favour those hurt by the EU and other do gooders. Now if there were any template for such a thing to happen.. Hmm.

  3. Anne

    “This potential nightmare scenario is possible given the economic crisis”

    What economic crisis? Everything’s hunky dory for me. I’m thinking of buying an apartment in Belgium don’t cha know. Homelessness .. meh.

    That could be a comment from the usual neo-liberal capitalist apologists.
    Rob G, Andy, Fact Checker and a few other trolls should given the credence they’re due. That’d be none.

  4. Boy M5

    “achieving equality and social justice rather than fuelling hate.”

    Better dismantle Fine Gael so. Let’s start with Young Fine Gael in UCD, the only students who wear suits to college.

    1. 15 cents

      some dude in america made it up recently, as a term for what are basically nazis. so theyll edit things, like seinfeld, where people get the best soup ever, from the soup alt-right guy.

  5. wearnicehats

    Why would an Irish Trump be “a nightmare scenario”? I’d welcome anyone who would take all these wasters, turf the lot of them out and restore a bit of order to the place.

    1. whut

      yea im willing to give someone else a chance. FF destroyed the entire country, FG somehow managed to be worse, and theres no viable options. id look at any option other than what we have at the moment.

      1. C Sharp

        Vote for me, I’m not going to tell you anything about what I will do or who I am. I hate everyone that makes you feel uncomfortable, whoever they may be. In fact, its their fault you’re in this mess and you are not even allowed to call them names.
        The whole system is run by and for them, these people you hate.
        Together we can make Ireland great again – remember, crossroads, poets and $hit? All that.
        We can re-open the sugar factories that once made the midlands a beacon of hope.
        You can abuse whoever you like, be grand.

        Just don’t look over here while I do some other stuff and leave my pals’ property alone and vote for me and you’re golden.

        Come on, better than what we have at the moment right?

        1. edalicious

          Yeah, the center-right has repeatedly shown themselves to be incapable of governing this country so we should definitely give the far right a go.

          1. Unlucky in locks

            I’ve posted this before in a thread, but have a read of Umberto Eco’s essay Ur-Fascism:
            http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1995/06/22/ur-fascism/

            He has a handy list of the 14 characteristics of the fascist/fascism towards the end. I reckon Trump fits 12 of them very well at least.

            It’s such a tricky ideology to pin down. I found that essay very useful for getting my thoughts in order on it, rather than just assuming he’s a fascist, or alternatively ridiculing the notion that he is one.

  6. Rob_G

    So, because the left is too fractured as is, you are proposing to solve this with… yet another left wing party?

    “… potential support from progressive Independent TDs, civil society groups (such as the Right2Water unions), academics, community workers, artists and many others.”

    – saints preserve us; are those groups not catered to by the current left-wing parties?

    1. Neilo

      No, no, Rob – we need more left-wing parties, please, to join the Alphabetti Spaghetti crew. Opposition that’s increasingly niche and disorganized, warming the Dáil benches until the end of time.

  7. batshitcrazy

    Why does he presume people want equality and social justice, they don’t they only want that for themselves and screw the other guy if he’s doing better. the only solution comrade is communism……

  8. Yep

    Alt-right is essentially white nationalism. Thing is, in Ireland, not everyone who would be considered alt-right is a white nationalist nor would most consider themselves to be.

    Due the the issues that bring up this label being so contentious it falls down to a right v wrong debate and because nuance doesn’t seem to exist anymore if you are vocal about your disagreement with the other side the labels Libtard or alt-right are used.

    We loooove labels. Easy for idiots to understand.

    A new left wing party? No thanks

    1. Neilo

      I honestly don’t even know ‘alt-right’ means, to be honest. I’ve heard it’s associated with anti-Semitic actions – well, I’m the polar opposite of that. White nationalist/racist? Not much use to me either as I like Ireland’s increased diversity. What’s the label for someone who despairs of profligate public spending, inconsistent justice and likes change to evolve in bite-sized increments? Conservative it is, so. There are slightly more of us in Ireland than one might think reading through all these clenched fist threads.

      1. The Real Jane

        Change in bite size increments. So basically, if this country oppresses you, shut up till some lads get around to thinking that they don’t mind if, for example, women can control their own fertility?

          1. The Real Jane

            Well if you’re not saying that you think social change should be dependent not on those who need those changes but on your whimsical comfort levels, what are you saying?

          2. Neilo

            Mine are Pooterish ramblings, not bold policy nostrums for all to follow. Heaven forfend that anyone might try to analyse modern political nomenclature: might I suggest you look elsewhere for a casus belli?

      2. edalicious

        I reckon, considering that Ireland has only ever had conservative-led governments, people aren’t under any illusions as to how many conservatives there are in Ireland!

          1. edalicious

            On a side note, you seem like an alright guy, Neilo (despite being on the opposite side of the political divide to me). There’s far too much arguing in here lately but you always seem to be able to debate calmly.

          2. Neilo

            Edalicious: a little pause for breath and a sage rub of the chin is always appreciated. We may not be all that far away from one another!

          3. Neilo

            If it’s any consolation, Starina, Tony’s torn me a new one here from time to time! JK, Tony, I love your passion. Mind, I do enjoy a nice sip of whiskey *raises imaginary tumbler of Bulleit to Ms. S*

          4. Tony

            Hey, Im a mellow whiskey drinker too. So glad to be home and away from the bourbon and rye…I adopt this tone to get breakthrough and reaction, but not trolling. We all develop a persona of sorts on here. And any tearing of new ones is merely meant in intellectual battle… Ive had my own torn and even apologised at times. When my mood affects my message.. Agree with the breath and chin stroking approach.

      3. Yep

        I don’t think many people know what alt-right is. I include myself in that and many of the people who probably consider themselves part of it.

        I would consider myself fairly Conservative too but not a Conservative. Just as supporting most “isms” allows people to assume a lot of your views not in the discussion, waving a flag for a particular political ideology does the same.

        It’s the assumptions that are annoying and allow people to avoid dealing with your point and to accuse you as being “one of them”. Same on both sides.

        I feel we are a country of moderates nowadays but with nobody to champion reason and logic tis tough…could be very wrong

        Jane, you’re just looking for a row.

        1. Tony

          You are right. Sentiment has overtaken reason, feelings trump fact and politics are replacing economics. Thats the world we live in and will do for a generations. All lubricated by social media and the collapse of MSM.

        2. The Real Jane

          No, I am just looking at the implications. It’s fine to say that you don’t like change when you don’t need it. Very easy to be oblivious to the needs of other groups and prioritise your comfort over their needs without ever questioning it.

  9. Fact Checker

    Rory writes: “A significant proportion of people remain excluded from the so-called ‘economic recovery’. It is increasing inequality. Those at the top are gaining the most from increases in income and wealth. Small wage increases will make little difference for people struggling with debt and crippling costs of living (particularly families with children).”

    I’ll focus on this sentence in particular: “Those at the top are gaining the most from increases in income and wealth.”

    Neither of these contentions can be supported by evidence.

    There is no way of telling whether wealth inequality is on the rise or falling simply because there is NO TIME SERIES DATA FOR WEALTH IN IRELAND. There was ONE (very nice) survey done in 2013: http://www.cso.ie/en/newsandevents/pressreleases/2015pressreleases/pressreleasehouseholdfinanceandconsumptionsurvey2013/

    Also, there is no real evidence that income inequality is on the rise either. You can find the ratio of the top income quintile to the bottom income quintile here (http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&language=en&pcode=tessi180&plugin=1) It bounces around from year to year but there is no discernible trend. The latest data for 2014 is a tiny bit below the 2004 level.

  10. Hog

    This is hilariously inward-looking. Does no one think that irreversible climate change is now definitely on the cards? What do you think the next 100 years is going to look like? The whole thing is effed, and we’re all going down with it, while Rory prattles on about this, frankly, hilarious ignorant of the big picture nonsense.

    1. Seosamh

      If you are concerned about climate change, you should know that capitalism is woefully ill-equipped to combat it

    1. Kieran NYC

      +1

      The far-left’s strategy seems to be to make people frightened, lost and angry, saying the system is unfair, broken and “rigged” to get people to vote for extreme left wing policies and demagogues rather than extreme right wing ones.

      Instead of stoking up hatred of immigrants, it’s directed towards “the elite”, this nebulous group of ‘others’.

      Oh and a good amount of bile towards the ‘mainstream media ‘ too, just like Trump.

      Two cheeks of the same arse.

    2. Painkiller

      In economics, the definition of unemployment is something like, “when a person who is actively searching for employment is unable to find work”.

      The government typically cite numbers based on the Live Register: http://www.inou.ie/empmeasure/

      I am not sure whether the data source has changed over the years but this definition (even if being reflective of an international standard) seems a bit selective and biased downwards. You can assume many people find themselves forced out of the job market, run out of Jobseekers Benefit and then have to rely on the savings they have until pension entitlement kicked in. It’s quite sad that the statistic does not reflect people in that situation (particularly with the last recession just behind us) – “lies and statistics” is a bit strong a claim but this is worth a thought..

      1. Fact Checker

        When you run out of jobseekers benefit you get means-tested jobseekers allowance……

        The definition of unemployment is compiled on a TOTALLY different basis from the live register or indeed the self-definition in the Census.

        It is based on a large quarterly survey of households and is basically the number of people without employment but actively seeking employment in the previous month.

  11. Tony

    I think we should all take a leaf from Mr Trumps book and practice forgiveness. He has decided to forgive Hilary and help America heal. Now some of you cynics may call him a snowflake and all that, but he is setting an example that we might all do well to follow.

  12. Lowkey Oakey

    Ah come on. I think the point is being missed. Dr. Rory Ahearne in his article above actually sets out an alternative to the old-fashioned left-is-good right-is-bad (or vice-versa) polemic, which invariably leads to political name-calling as we see here in the thread. He’s talking about a movement for the betterment of society which could pull ideas from wherever they originate in the political spectrum, debate them in the same spirit to see if they seem to advance the cause of the collective…(if there is a collective!) One thing for sure is that trying to out-smart, out-wit, out-demonise, out-cynicise others only leads to deeper division…

  13. :-Joe

    If you give any kind of a 5h1t about common everyday workers from the ground up then everything falls into place.

    The rich still are rich and get more riches. = BASIC FUPPING MATHS, COMMON SENSE AND ECONOMICS

    The unfortunate or as Trump prefers to call them ” LOSERS ” get taken care of.. = COMMON FUPPING DECENCY

    IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS BASIC LOGIC THEN YOU ARE INSANE OR AT THE VERY LEAST IGNORANT OF REALITY !!!!!!!

    END TRANSMISSION

    :-Joe
    Night manager.
    The future.

    -A place where humans have evolved beyond talking endlessly, rarely acting and being petty, stupid and repetitive….

    P&L

    :-J

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