Martyrs For The Drop


From top: George Hook and Kevin Myers; Dan Boyle

Ireland is a right wing country. We may have became far more socially liberal, but in terms of economics we tolerate excessive inequality, in order to obsess on our use of property, to maximise our desire for profit.

Our politics reflect this. Our media reflects this. Our two largest political parties are near identical in their philosophies, and are centre right in their inclination.

Our media is also right wing, reflecting its ownership (including state ownership). The four estates are unwilling to challenge an economic consensus that is undoubtedly unfair.

In this environment we have produced a commentariat who live cosily in the centre, never prepared to question the root problems we have produced in our society.

Controversies become contrived. Exaggerated ephemera is gained from far off events and people. These become useful tools that help ignore the real problems in our World.

It is the media stormtroopers of the Right who seek to move consensus, not so much by seeing it challenged, but more by nudging it closer to a preferred location.

Their weapons are the misuse of truth and language. Their three Rs are Rectitude, Revenge and Responsibility (yours not theirs).

To that can be added righteousness, as in self righteousness. Tone is an important part of their tools. Commentary must be loud, brash, and insulting against its targets to the point of hatred.

They present as defenders of the common man. What they are, however, are bullies for the ever present, and privileged, majorities.

And yet it is right wing commentators, even among the most tolerant of audiences, who are more likely to fall on their swords.

This is rarely because of any single event or comment made. Often the final act of these contrarians is less offensive than many events that had gone before.

In Ireland so it has proved with the stories of Mary Ellen Synon, of Kevin Myers, and now of George Hook. While each may differ from each other in terms of intellect, or personality, there is an eerie similarity in their respective stories.

Discovering the niche that saying or writing something vaguely controversial, bestows on you a perverse popularity, informed each of their careers. Each amassed lengthy careers advancing as many offensive comments as they could, until the camel’s back would be broken by one final objectionable action.

Their followers, who have accepted prejudice to be truth, believe them to be martyrs brought down on the altar of political correctness (if only). The truth is more prosaic. By playing with fire, each of these commentators ended up burning themselves.

They have lost platforms on which they plied a questionable trade. They continue to hold the right to free speech, and with that the ability to misinform. Unfortunately.

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

Pic: Newstalk

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53 thoughts on “Martyrs For The Drop

  1. Sam

    Couldn’t agree more. Greedy. Unequal. Like people who spend one term in the Dail and then draw a pension for life.

  2. Baz

    Only a taxpayer leaching insane Trotsky would claim ‘Ireland is a right wing country’

    Why BS gives Dan so much bitspace boggles.

    1. Paul

      The assertion that Ireland is a right wing country economically is absurd. Assuming he means relative to other countries. Welfare and tax rates on high income earners are the primary determinants of left right economic leanings. We are very far to the left on both metrics. Silly piece.

  3. Andrew

    “Ireland is a right wing country………
    ….Our politics reflect this. Our media reflects this”

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. the level of delusion is extraordinary. he’s not alone of course.
    I’ll tell you what Ireland is. Childish.

    1. Gorev Mahagut

      But if you travel in Europe you’ll notice a few things. Firstly, left wing parties are bigger there (the Communist movement is huge in Italy). Secondly, the Germans, Dutch and Swedish have more pride in civic services and duties. Here we have an attitude towards towards government molded by generations of colonial rule, and an attitude towards the left molded by decades of unchallenged Catholic propaganda. And our politics and media reflect this.

      There are two kinds of right-wing. The rich man is right-wing because it justifies his greed. The poor man is right-wing because he doesn’t trust anyone but his own next-of-kin. Ireland is poor-man right-wing.

      1. b

        the only people who use the term right wing is the Irish left when they seek to tarnish people who disagree with them

      2. Andrew

        In the last election:
        Sinn Féin has added nine more TDs with 23 representing the party in this Dáil. The party commanded 14% of the vote, four points up on its 2011 result but slightly less than the final opinion polls.

        The number of independents is 18. The newly-formed Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit party has returned six TDs while the Social Democrats have three, the same number it had going into the election.

        The Greens have returned two deputies and the Independents 4 Change grouping of Clare Daly, Mick Wallace, Tommy Broughan and Joan Collins all return to the Dáil.

        The final seat then is filled by Seamus Healy of the Workers and Unemployed Action group.

        1. Otis Blue

          In what universe are Sinn Fein left wing?

          They’re shameless populists. Just like Fianna Fáil but with more ‘efficient’ party discipline.

    2. MoyestWithExcitement

      “I’ll tell you what Ireland is. Childish.”

      Yes, and right wing ideology comes directly from a childish attitude. ‘I don’t like gays so they shouldn’t be allowed to get married but not because I don’t like gays because….um….my kids will bully their kids. I’m concerned for the childer.’

      1. Andrew

        I suppose you can be right wing economically but support same sex marriage, no?
        Maybe an update on the meanings of left and right are required; to take in to account identity politics which is so important to many.
        “the Human Rights issue of our time” as the former leader of our Labour party described the same sex marriage question.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Right wing ecomically is right wing. Economics isn’t maths or science, it’s ideology. Supply side economics, the notion that business owners create wealth, is pure ideology. Economic systems are reflections of people’s attitudes towards society. Right wing economics means you think some people are more important than others. Right wing economics is inherently selfish and myopic. Sure Rob G, who says he’s not right wing, was advocating the notion that the state can’t afford to care for people who get too old! Right wing economics is sociopathic. If you are right wing economically, you are right wing.

  4. ollie

    I’ll tell you what Ireland is. Spineless.
    Each and every TD is Spineless, terrified to do the right thing for fear of losing votes.
    And the state owned media (RTE) is complicit in this spinelessness.

  5. Junkface

    This is why so many Irish people emigrate. Sick of the useless politics, inequality, corruption, and tired of the same crisis management decade after decade.

  6. phil

    Dan, when you are your buddies socialized the private banking debt in 2008 , would you say that was a left wing position by your party ?

  7. Twunt

    Low wage earners pay almost no income tax. We have one of the lowest upper tax band thresholds in the OECD. More than 80% of income tax is paid by less than 20% of the population. That is not right wing economics.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Those things are true, yes. That those things mean Ireland isn’t right wing economically is jaw-droppingly wrong.

          1. Twunt

            Our income tax is rooted firmly in left wing economics. That our services are woeful is neither left or right.

  8. Ciara.

    I remember Dan down in Rossport pledging not to abandon the community to Shell. The minute he got into power, he fled from them. Disgusting.

      1. Truth in the News

        Did not the Green Party give support and recognition to the Shell to Sea
        protests and when they tasted power in 2007 quickly abandoned all in Rossport
        and what did either Ryan or Gormerly do in their respective Government Ministries
        to help those who stood up to Shell, we need an investigation into whole the
        episode, as the same tactics were tried again in Jobstown…..Operation Mizen
        this time it floundered.

  9. EightersGonnaEight

    Well said Dan Boyle.

    It should be pointed out that they were playing with fire for money; and end up burning their companies’ financial pile. You can add the daftness of the RyanAir debacle into it.

  10. MoyestWithExcitement

    “In this environment we have produced a commentariat who live cosily in the centre, never prepared to question the root problems we have produced in our society.”

    That makes them right wing. If you are happy with the status quo, if you are ok with the idea of social heirarchy, you are right wing. “Centrism” is a con. Some right wing people know the term right wing has serious negative connotations so they pretend they’re not ideologues and came up with that name.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        It’s absolutely amazing there are people on this thread that claim Ireland isn’t right wing. Truly amazing.

        1. A snowflake's chance in hell

          It’s a common thread though since the foundation of the state. I don’t think at least many FGers believe themselves to be anything other than right wing, though the odd few are socially liberal. Whereas many FFers, rooted in that peculiar religious conservative ideology many of them have (ie. you are a sinner but if you are rich and do ‘some’ good that’s ok) genuinely believe they are a socially conservative party but with a well-meaning liberal conscience. Hence why it was possible for example for Lord Haughey to live the life of Reilly, while simultaneously giving free travel to the pensioners, or Lynch, I think it was, to ban the original household rates. These guys genuinely think that so long as they occasionally throw out a few crumbs from the top table – to people who think like THEM – and who show their appreciation by voting for whoever their Dads told them to – well you know the rest yourself

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Agreed. It all comes back to ‘be grand’. ‘I have no idea what right wing ideology actually is but I know I’m not it because it’s bad.’ But then I guess you also have FG -esque psychopaths. I’m retiring in Germany, fupp this illiterate pooplace.

  11. rotide

    “To that can be added righteousness, as in self righteousness. Tone is an important part of their tools. Commentary must be loud, brash, and insulting against its targets to the point of hatred.”

    Wait, are you talking about right wing people or the broadsheet comments section?

      1. rotide

        I was going to say you are the most conservative person I have ever come across. Rigid in belief, immune to persuasion by any means. Agressively defending your ethos.

        I was going to say that, until i remembered you’re merely a troll and don’t have any real beliefs. Have fun with the adhoms

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          “you’re merely a troll…..Have fun with the adhoms”

          lol Poor, simple King Troll Rotide.

  12. Paul

    How can a country with the most progressive tax system in the EU and amongst the highest welfare rates be considered economically right wing? The above statement can be verified objectively with things like numbers and Percentages. Problematic isn’t it?

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      “The above statement can be verified objectively with things like numbers and Percentages.”

      Jayzus. When you’re a kid, you assume all grown ups are smart. Every day is a crushing dissapointment.

      1. Paul

        Implying that I’m stupid doesn’t address the point I made. Ireland is objectively not economically right wing. And that can easily be proven. With numbers. Tax bands, tax rates, welfare payments as a proportion of average wage and so on. That’s a big problem for you admittedly. Unless you mean right wing versus your personal ideology as opposed to versus other countries. Can’t help you with that.

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