From top: Irish Times’ Pat Leahy; Anthony Sheridan
The standard of political analysis within Irish journalism is disturbingly poor. There is one simple but very troubling reason for this.
Most journalists are loyal members of the establishment and as a consequence refuse to even acknowledge never mind actually write about the dark, underlying reality that lies at the heart of Irish politics.
The dark reality is that the three centrist parties, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour, are not separate political parties struggling to attain power in order to implement policies for the greater good of Ireland and its people.
The dark reality is that these three parties constitute a corrupt political class that, for the most part, works to enrich itself and those who support its agendas.
The economic catastrophe and consequent extreme austerity inflicted on the people of Ireland by this ruling political class since 2008 has resulted in very serious damage to its credibility and as a consequence to its power.
Labour has been virtually wiped out by an angry electorate while Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have been so damaged they have been forced into a coalition of desperation where they are engaged in a life or death struggle for political dominance.
The establishment media plays a major role in propping up the power of this corrupt political class. Journalists do this by simply ignoring political corruption altogether or by retreating into a parallel reality.
A recent article by Irish Times journalist Pat Leahy provides us with a good example of how establishment journalists ‘analyse’ politics from within this parallel reality.
In the article Leahy is making the point that the Left in Irish politics is not serious about achieving its political goals. They prefer talking to doing, he says. He goes on:
If power is impossible without compromise and personal sacrifice, they prefer the empty dance of politics without the prospect of power.
This, of course, is a ridiculous conclusion. But such silly opinions are not unusual among journalists like Leahy because, while they must be able to see the rot in the political system, they are not, for whatever reason, prepared to expose it.
Clearly, Leahy doesn’t realise that the three centrist parties are a political class masquerading as separate entities.
We witness his ignorance by his use of the term ‘go figure’ when describing how Fianna Fail and Fine Gael can operate on any point of the political spectrum without apparent scruple.
Political parties of integrity and principle do not do this. They avoid associating with parties of opposite ideologies altogether or lay down very strict conditions for any coalition deal.
A single ruling political class, particularly one infected with the disease of corruption, has no scruples about moving to any position on the politcal spectrum if it suits its purpose.
That’s why, for example, the Labour Party had no difficulties in collaborating with Fine Gael’s extreme right-wing austerity policies.
Leahy further demonstrates his ignorance of the political landscape by asking the following question:
What, exactly, is the difference between the Labour Party and the Social Democrats apart from the fact that they cannot get along together at a personal level?
The answer, of course, is that the Labour Party is a loyal member of the corrupt ruling class. The party sold out on its socialist principles and political integrity in 1992 when Dick Spring went into coalition with the criminal politician Haughey shortly after [accurately] describing Haughey and Fianna Fail as ‘a cancer on the body politic’.
The Social Democrats, on the other hand, represent the complete opposite of what Labour has become. The Social Democrats came into existence as a direct result of exposing corruption within the ruling class.
The party’s leadership know very well that they would be signing their political death warrant if they were to associate themselves with any of the parties that constitute the corrupt political class.
It is incredible and deeply disturbing that a journalist such as Leahy, who is considered an expert on political analysis, is not aware of this obvious political reality.
But, as I said at the beginning – the standard of political analysis within Irish journalism is very poor.
Anthony Sheridan is freelance journalists and blogs at PublicEnquiry.
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