A Bad Case Of The Trots


Yesterday’s Sunday Independent

Further to yesterday’s criticism of the Jobstown protestors by Ed Brophy, former chief of staff to Joan Burton…

David Wall writes:

Reading Ed Brophy’s response to the the Jobstown verdict clarified a number of reasons why Joan Burton’s leadership of Labour was so ill-fated and indeed why Labour continue to flounder and struggle.

Labour are meant to be the voice of the many, not the few to borrow a phrase from the British Labour Party ( a group Brophy’s Ireland Thinks represents). Labour are meant to represent the rights of workers, the people without a voice.

This is their demographic, and yet a former Chief of Staff to the Tanáiste speaks of them as the enemy. He seems to dismiss the cases of Apollo House, Repeal the 8th and the non payment of tax by Apple as populist politics aimed at a ‘whimsical section of the electorate.’

Surely homelessness, reproductive rights and corporate tax avoidance should be the bread and butter of any labour movement?

Furthermore, he seems to want to limit the voice of the Solidarity Movement. They have filled the void left by the Labour Party as they snuggled cosily into the centre of politics.

The Solidarity movement are a dissenting voice to the left, but surely this is the role that Labour should be filling. Irish politics has evolved to have a number of centrist parties with Fine Gael on the right of centre while Irish Labour have moved towards the centre in a bold move away from their grassroots support.

That cannot be denied. Propping up what was seen as a government right of centre does not conform to Labour’s beliefs, even if it was ‘ameliorate capitalism.’

This amelioration, as noble as Brophy presents it, has simply seen a major shift from public to private, increased poverty and greater divide within society. Not a successful tactic it could be argued.
Brophy’s continues by stating that the for some Labours ‘mere act of entering coalition amounted to treachery.’ This seems to be a worrying oversight.

Rather than worrying about how entering coalition was viewed it would be more beneficial to examine the role of Labour within government. The electorate are forgiving, look at the recovery of Fianna Fáil. Labour have not been forgiven for their performance in government, rather than the act of entering coalition.

Performance is key and Labour never performed.

Finally, he praises the judicial announcement of innocence as being a positive because ‘in one fell swoop, the Solidarity thesis that the entire system is a conspiracy against them and the working class they purport to represent was put to the sword.’

Again, he is wrong, firstly a guilty verdict would have been a miscarriage of justice. Secondly, rather than exonerating the system it has raised further questions about the behaviour of the embattled gardaí.
At this point Labour have a battle on their hands. The centre is over populated and they are unlikely to take votes from the major powerhouses of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

They need to reestablish themselves as a voice on the left and unfortunately commentaries such as Ed Brophy’s in the Sunday Independent suggest that they have little interest in doing this.

Jobstown Verdict Is Correct But Beware Of The Backlash (Ed Brophy, Sunday Independent)

14 thoughts on “A Bad Case Of The Trots

  1. Sheik Yahbouti

    Couldn’t agree more, David, and I congratulate you on putting the matter so succinctly. Can you imagine how I have felt over the last number of years, as a loyal Labour voter? Gimmeemore, Rabitte, Howlin, Kelly and Burton didn’t just abandon all the principles held dear by that party – they actively scoffed at and denigrated those principles. Such a betrayal will not, and should not, be forgotten.

    1. bisted

      …don’t forget Comrade Quinn who gallently committed the first act of betrayal by reversing a pre-election pledge on 3rd level student fees by imposing an increase when he was scarsely through the door of the Dept Education…but sure…isn’t that the kind of thing you do…

      1. Sheik Yahbouti

        I haven’t forgotten, bisted. I just detest Ho Chi slightly less than the crew I mention.

        1. bisted

          …I’m the opposite…I knew him and lived in his constituency…from Mary Robinson onwards I was an activist. Can’t believe I was so taken in. The one thing that struck me as odd was that he firmly believed that he was making a huge financial sacrifice by being a TD and Minister. Turns out, all the other leadership thought the same…bizarre…

          1. Sheik Yahbouti

            I bow to your personal experience. I have not met any of them. I just believed they were socialists, like me. I’ve worked all my life, and received no handouts. Nothing unjust about that, handouts (or rather hand up) are for those in need. It is salutory, however, to realise in the autumn of your years that you’ve been exploited by an unjust system.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      The Labour party, in this country, should dissolve. It is irretrievably twisted by treachery.

      1. realPolithicks

        I agree, Ireland already has right wing parties it doesn’t need a third.

        1. JD

          Labour is not really a right wing party. It is socialist on some things, a protector of public sector pay is a core value, the liberal agenda is important them, appointing Labour supporters is key. In terms economics, they are as effective as a slightly worn brake on slowing down the right wing agenda. They are the cusp of becoming an irrelevant force in Irish politics in the next election..

          1. JuniperBerry

            Maybe WAS a protector … from 2011 on it helped decimate the public sector, pay, conditions, and services and now finds itself irrelevant as the mood of the electorate hovers in the extremes of the right and left

  2. :-Joe

    Forget about the Labour Party, it’s irrelevent unless the economic policies are fundamentally challenged and it’s just forgive and forget every few years without any real progressive change outside of the ususal pseudo party political left vs right nonsense.

    If labour(the human workers and not the political parties) can wake up from the neo-liberal ecomic policy delusion of the Washington consensus, Reaganism, Thatcherism etc. from the past forty years and revert back to the foundation of the post-keynes socio-economic policies, maybe then we can all continue to move forward and build on a more stable and equitable way of life for all.

    Unfortunately though, the 60%-ish majority will most likely keep voting against their own self interest and remain too ignorant to notice or even remember to stop believing the same lies and try something or anything new by the next election cycle.

    Any chance of real progressive change will be lost with the neo-liberalist economics of the fine to fail FF/FG coalition and any of the temporary gains achieved through forgiveness, rebranding and rebirth in the so called left-leaning minority for hire Labour party.

    It’ll be back to the same good auld five steps forward, four steps back malarky. Elections go by and it’s the same all over again. Nothing much will really change in the political system, but you’ll already be used to it and doing nothing much about it anyway and then you’ll die at some point…

    Hopefully later than sooner…. for most of you anyway…


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