From top: Members of the Fingal Battalion Direct Action group outside Minister for Health Simon Harris’s County Wicklow home last Sunday; Dan Boyle
They looked a sorry lot. The half worn balaclavas combined with sunglasses was not the most de rigueur look.
The self styled Fingal Battalion gave the impression they had arrived in Wicklow after a 21st century attempt at the Jarrow March, hiking from Balbriggan to Greystones but frustratingly failling to pick up any support between Howth and Bray.
After 40 minutes on the M50 they finally found soulmates in the form of Wicklow Says No, undoubted second cousins of Ian Paisley and the DUP.
Being angry for anger’s sake must be one useless and pathetic responses in modern politics. Anger, as John Lydon has warbled, is an energy, but a particularly empty one if not effectively harnessed or directed. Anger to be acted on needs to have a strategic purpose.
There is plenty airing these days of who and what most people are against. There is very little exposition on what most people are for.
It is very easy to be reactionary, to create then point at a panoply of hate figures who are there to be blamed; never to recognise responsibility as something that needs to be shared.
Maybe I’m wrong in being bothered about the politics of hate. It’s more of a religion really. Its rites and rituals now fairly commonplace. Its liturgy seems to write itself.
Its demonology affixed to the misplaced great and good, for whom a special place in hell has been bought and paid for several times over.
Like any mainstream religion there isn’t any need for theological consistency either. Followers of GOD on Earth (Gemma O’Doherty) seem to see no irony in demanding a platform, for her and them from the malign, nay evil, Empire of Google
The ultimate irony is that this type of politics of the playground often achieves the opposite of its intentions. It evokes an undeserved sympathy for the inept, the incompetent, the evasive and the incomprehensible.
The many failures of traditional politics lay not in not exposing the intricacies of conspiracies, but in the persistent inability to avoid cock ups.
It isn’t George Soros who’s having meetings about bringing about an end of the World as we know it, it’s the conspiratorialist who believe he is.
One of the sadder and more pathetic aspects of the religion/politics of hate is that anyone who questions these inconsistencies, who challenges these basic tenets, immediately becomes part of the demonology, a conspirator inter pares.
This type of buffoonery not only insults successful protest movements of the past, they also help undermine the credible vehicles of today and their near future counterparts.
That’s the frustrating thing about democracy, built into its modus operandi is the right, even the need, to be wrong.
I’ve been wrong before. I will be wrong again. I’d like to think that I have and will learn from my mistakes. The scary thing about the religion/politics of hate is an ingrained inability to admit they can be wrong.
Their messianic view of the World does not allow for the right to be wrong. To be wrong is to be as bad as they are. If you can’t be moralistic, in this solipsistic World they inhabit, how is it possible to be moral?
Like economics, political thought and actions are subject to cycles. It has been our collective tragedy that a dark phase of these cycles has co-incided over the past decade.
But these things too shall pass. We can choose to let these times overcome us, we can be the change we want to be, or we can live our lives in a state of perpetual bemusement.
Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. He is running in the local elections in Cork in May for the Greren Party. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle
Previously: Meanwhile, In Wicklow