Bryan Wall: Election Bias

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From top: A car in Molesworth Street, Dublin promoting Fine Gael’s Frances Fitzgerald for the forthcoming European elections; Bryan Wall

With the local and European elections upon us the same worn-out cliches have reappeared. Our various candidates will make a change, be the change, or simply remind us that they know we want change.

Every candidate promises a commitment to job creation. They’ll simultaneously create them, protect them, and bring them in the form of industry. It is, to put it mildly, tedious.

Voting in the current system we live under is seen as a pressure valve. It’s there to relieve the political pressure that builds up over time and release it safely in the form of anodyne candidates who can be coopted by the system if they’re not already part of the system.

But candidates like Frances Fitzgerald are far from anodyne. Her porous memory is a wonder to behold. Even more so the fact that she was “vindicated” by Justice Charleton without actually being so.

The magical wonderland that is Irish political culture means that Leo Varadkar was going to ensure she was appropriately compensated for having her name brought into disrepute by something as tricky as the facts.

Then we have candidates openly mocking trans people. Others calling for the deportation of those they consider “freeloaders”. There are some who rail against the apparently communist government we live under.

We have a candidate in Roscommon who said he didn’t want “Ali Baba” coming into his community. And let’s not forget the assorted mix who combine anti-choice, ultra-conservative Catholicism with a misunderstanding of Catholic doctrine that makes the Life of Brian seem like a canonical text by comparison.

Essentially, what they want is to regress Ireland to a pale church-fearing country where difference is to be destroyed in the name of their version of cohesion and culture.

Somewhere in between is the Social Democrats, ie., Labour without the charm or the intelligence. Their policy of creating an environmentally sustainable society goes hand in hand with their support of “international businesses in creating good jobs”.

The inherent contradiction of the above goes unmentioned. It’s all perfectly grand in the finest Irish sense of the word.

At least Labour pretended to represent the working class. This meant that it realised it had completely abandoned its base in the pursuit of power. In response it decided upon a tactic that it’s best try to keep up appearances.

A tactic that involved congratulating itself publicly for defending the common person while allowing these same people to feel the full brunt of its economic and social policies.

In the morass there are decent people who want to make a change in the way that they know or feel is best. For them, that means getting elected. And a lot of us will be in a position where we will vote for them if their policies aren’t stupid, racist, or both.

Because given the prevailing situation the best that many of us can do right now is vote tactically. Keeping out the old guard and the hatemongers is of such urgent necessity that it is difficult to put into words.

Suffice to say that voting to keep them out is one method of undermining them and ensuring their demise in the long term. This is far from ideal but it’s all that most people are willing to risk.

Hopefully out of this something positive will emerge. The problem is that the political system is set up to divert people and ideas. People can work as much as they want to try and advocate for legitimately good and decent ideas, such as a pushing for a carbon neutral society.

The reality is that anything that runs counter to the establishment and the establishment narrative is to be blocked, undermined, and dismantled. The establishment wants nothing more than business as usual.

Right now that means a lack of any kind of tangible action when it comes to housing and homelessness. A profit has to be made somewhere after all, and if families have to be made homeless to do so then so be it.

Sinn Féin’s bill, which would have made housing a constitutional right was duly voted down. Who needs housing anyway? For too long we put all our hopes in elected representatives being able to gain a few crumbs from the wider political table for us The results have obviously been pitiful.

Political representatives are supposed to fit in and play the game as it has been played for decades. Don’t cause a fuss and you’ll have some success. Dare to raise your voice and you had better watch out.

The best I am hoping for is that the far right gets a trouncing. Beyond this immediate concern there is no hope to be had in voting for candidates who are limited by the system as to what they can achieve.

Greater protections for workers’ rights, the creation of an environmentally sustainable society, and the ending of all forms of capitalism are never going to be within the purview of a somebody running for office. These things can only be achieved by concerted mass action on the part of the wider population.

Our duly elected leaders are currently sitting by as the planet burns and corporations rake in massive profits on the backs of their broken workers. When they ignore something as basic as housing then how can they be trusted to deal with something like climate change? They can’t and they won’t.

So go out and vote in the elections. But go and do so with the realisation that its effectiveness is limited by design. Putting a roadblock in the way of the far-right should be the main goal. Any positive result beyond that is a bonus.

Maybe I’m wrong though and it’s just my own bias. Maybe there are candidates who will be able to change the structure from the inside for the better. I hope I’m wrong. And I hope they can prove me wrong.

Bryan Wall is an independent journalist based in Cork. His column usually appears here every Monday. Read more of Bryan’s work here and follow on Twitter:  @Bryan_Wall

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19 thoughts on “Bryan Wall: Election Bias

  1. Anomanomanom

    You lost me at the social democrats remark. If you think they don’t have more intelligence than Labour then you clearly know nothing about politics. Because the dirt I clean from under my couch has more charm and intelligence then Labour.

    1. Dr.Fart MD

      same. i thought it was a mistake, that he placed the names in the wrong order, but as i read on he still had Labours flute in his mouth. To say Labour had more intelligence and charm than literally anyone is innaccurate. imagine looking at joan burton, alan kelly, etc. and thinking “well they certainly have charm and intelligence nailed”

  2. Jake38

    “…….support of “international businesses in creating good jobs”.

    Gosh, how incredibly evil.

    1. Dr.Fart MD

      not everyone. he reckons Labour are charming and intelligent. making him one of the 5 people in the country to think that, party members included.

  3. Owen C

    “Because given the prevailing situation the best that many of us can do right now is vote tactically. Keeping out the old guard and the hatemongers is of such urgent necessity that it is difficult to put into words.”

    If only we could figure out how some of them got their initial public platform. If only we knew who gave them that first precious sense of credibility. If only if only. It remains a mystery to this very day. Ahem.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heKshcp9YhI&feature=youtu.be

    1. Owen C

      “Ms O’Doherty’s campaign was torpedoed by those intent on upholding the current political and social orthodoxy.

      Her views being warped beyond recognition, along with beliefs being attributed to her which are completely at odds with the work she has done and the statements she has actually made”

      This still makes me laugh. Man implores people to vote against hatemongers etc having previously complained about the treatment said hatemonger is receiving and how their comments were being “warped beyond recognition”. Oh the hilarity.

      https://www.broadsheet.ie/2018/09/28/access-no-areas/

      1. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane

        Ah it’s a different fella
        Surely

        Like I get the Nick Kellys mixed up
        And the Kevin Higgins’ es wrongways around all the time

        Nobody connected with that Change Makers ACI set up would even dream of writing
        We have a candidate in Roscommon who said he didn’t want “Ali Baba” coming into his community. And let’s not forget the assorted mix who combine anti-choice, ultra-conservative Catholicism with a misunderstanding of Catholic doctrine that makes the Life of Brian seem like a canonical text by comparison.

        Essentially, what they want is to regress Ireland to a pale church-fearing country where difference is to be destroyed in the name of their version of cohesion and culture.

        That type of criticism – what they call Libtard/ Cultural Marxism talk is just not tolerated

        And if I’m allowed to be honest without their troops attacking
        I think Diarmuid O’Cadhla will struggle to regain his seat because of this rhetoric

        And that’s a shame because like him or not he did aggravate the Council Chamber
        And that’s always a good thing imo

      2. A Person

        I agree, he lost all credibility for me with that article, well that and the Junior Cert opinions. How was he and BS so clouded by her. The Village has a good article on her.

  4. David O'Connell

    I love broadsheet but this regular article from Bryan annoys me. No offence Brian, its not personal, ive never met you. And Its not like I contribute anything and i dont pay for this service. Since you appear to be young and write for Broadsheet, i am guessing you are left, so i want to encourage your articles. Here are some comments that you take in or not.:

    – The articles are too long – ill read longer articles from other political contributors such as Derek Mooney as they were well established and i trust this is a good investment of my time. But Bryan is unknown, so and i dont want to waste time needlessly. I suggest shorter pieces. Though i accept this is alot shorter than some of your really really long articles.

    – The photo is awful. its amateurly taken. The image makes me think of a young-know-it all that is attacking from the safe refuge of his computer desk. His skin is pale which makes me think he has never gone outside to partake in any protests, political events.

    -you use the line ‘anodyne. Her porous memory’ in this article. I have read alot and dont know what you are trying to say here. Using big words unnecessarily is amateur and seems like you try to be smart. i expect you know how to write so you shouldnt need to use big words.

    Apologies if this is taken in bad spirit.

  5. David O'Connell

    I love broadsheet but this regular article from Bryan annoys me. No offence Brian, its not personal, ive never met you. And Its not like I contribute anything and i dont pay for this service. Since you appear to be young and write for Broadsheet, i am guessing you are left, so i want to encourage your articles. Here are some comments that you take in or not:

    – The articles are too long – ill read longer articles from other political contributors such as Derek Mooney as they were well established and i trust this is a good investment of my time. But Bryan is unknown, so and i dont want to waste time needlessly. I suggest shorter pieces. Though i accept this is alot shorter than some of your really really long articles.

    – The photo is awful. its amateurly taken. The image makes me think of a young-know-it all that is attacking from the safe refuge of his computer desk. His skin is pale which makes me think he has never gone outside to partake in any protests, political events.

    -you use the line ‘anodyne. Her porous memory’ in this article. I have read alot and dont know what you are trying to say here. Using big words unnecessarily is amateur and seems like you try to be smart. i expect you know how to write so you shouldnt need to use big words.

    Apologies if this is taken in bad spirit.

  6. Termagant

    So once you take away:
    the sexist racists
    the establishment stuffed suits who believe in nothing but a cushty pension and whatever they can skim off the top, bottom and sides
    the airy fairies whose main policy is energy production by cow treadmill

    Who’s left to vote for?

  7. Alan

    Pretty much sums up exactly how I feel about the whole horse manure show … will be tactical voting all the way to try and make sure far-right nut jobs don’t get anywhere.

    1. Joe Small

      Why is the far left considered so much more benign and social acceptable than the far left? Both essentially would destroy society in the long term.

        1. Liam Deliverance

          . . . which is why one needs to take a leap of faith from time to time, break the mould, give peace a chance

          1. MaryLou's ArmaLite

            Go too far left and you get war and death, go to far right and you get war and death.

            Stay in the middle, and the left accuse you of being right wing nutter, and the right accuse you of being a communist.

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