Sunday, June 4, 2017

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An Ireland Of Sequels

Anthony McIntyre feels Simon Coveney would have been a a better choice than Leo Varadker  as leader of Fine Gael.

The political ground in Ireland has shifted so far to the right that I quipped to a friend last Monday while observing a case in Dublin’s Central Criminal Court, that I was reduced to hoping Simon Coveney would succeed in his bid to become leader of Fine Gael and almost certainly the next Taoiseach. It was the type of sentiment associated with the nettle grasping logic of voting for the lesser evil. 

The irony of being in the Central Criminal Court was not lost on me either during that discussion. The criminality that brazenly strutted the austerity arena and which cruelly exacerbated the misery of poverty has rarely made its way to the dock of the court, and certainly not the Special Criminal Court. On the infrequent occasion that the court system found a bankster on its property, it quickly moved to get rid of him - through the front door and not out the back and into a prison van.  Villains are more likely to be seen sipping a pink gin in the Dail bar. 

There are some positives to the Varadker victory. A mixed race, gay man standing on the cusp of being the Taoiseach is revealing of how the political culture in Ireland has been transformed. Certainly not something that seemed conceivable in the days of John Charles McQuaid. The reactionary Catholic establishment has been inexorably pushed back. Its relentless attack on secularism and the rights implicit in that concept has been stunted. The Irish bishops perennially seem to be up a stump over the scandals that have embroiled the Church, increasingly looking more like moral deviants than they do moral guardians.  

And yes, we can rest assured that if an attack of the kind that theocratic fascism launched on the civilians of Manchester a fortnight ago or in London last night, was to hit Ireland, some evangelical wacko will be found pontificating on how it was a punishment from god to the Irish people for having allowed a gay man to become Taoiseach. That few other than fellow wackos will pay heed again underscores the journey travelled from the days when priestcraft held sway.

Another feather in the cap of Varadker was his backing of Garda whistle-blowers: a welcome intervention at a time when many of his party colleagues would have been jolted by such candour. 

That’s about as good as it gets. Coveney didn’t seem as far to the right although this is a matter of degree. A firm believer in a rampant laisses faire free market, he was prepared to see the trickle down effect broaden more than Varadker would countenance.

Varadker sees Irish society as being two nations: those who get up early in the morning and the rest who are scroungers. The bulk of Fine Gael TDs and senators got up early to back Varadker but not the membership who preferred to lie on in bed a while longer.

The harsh downside of course is that Varadker is, as Louise O’Reilly of Sinn Fein said, a Tory, sometimes referred to as Tory Boy.  I suppose she means by this that, unlike her own leader, Varadker does actually believe in something other than furthering his own political career no matter what it takes. 

Perhaps the real disappointment about Varadker is that as a gay man able to benefit from the outcome of the same sex marriage referendum, he is clearly unwilling to allow the equality apple to fall too far from the liberal tree where it might fertilise a wider and more inclusive economic ground.

Leo Varadker will need to get up very early in the morning if he is to pull the wool over the eyes of anybody other than his sheepish parliamentary colleagues. The sort of new broom he will bring is likely to be a wire brush. The type of country we will see is not an Ireland of equals, but an Ireland of sequels. Same old, same old from Fine Gael.

6 comments :

Christy Walsh said...

Good article, I would ordinarily be indifferent to who FG pick as their leader. When Varadker announced his witchhunt of the most economically vulnerable rather than target corrupt bankers, corporate tax evaders and politicians left me in no doubt about his ultra right wing views. Varadker should be praising and thanking the less well off for shouldering the brunt of FG ruthless austerity regime.

paddy maguire said...

Anthony. Mr Coveney,would seem to have been the favourite of the globalist elites,and of those pushing for the Irish state to be come more involved with NATO,and wars in other peoples countries. Simon Coveney was an attendee at the annual gathering of the Bilderberg cabal,in Copenhagen in 2014,alongside Peter Sutherland,the ex Goldman Sachs executive. I really do not believe it would have made that much difference as to which of them became party leader. Both would have continued with the present FG policies,of economic austerity at home,and support for imperialism overseas.

AM said...

Paddy,

you are most likely right and the preference was marginal.

Niall said...

I feel Varadker may not last long. He'll be courted by the establishment for a while as the 'New Face of Ireland' and displayed for the world to see but that will be short-lived. The Church will soon put an end to Leo.
As for who would have made the better leader....either would have but certainly not a better leader for the people, and who ironically will re-elect them!

larry hughes said...

Leo the west British Lion wants a COBRA style committee just like at No.10 LGBT Leo seems desperate to play with the big boys.

mal higgins said...

Changing the leader of FG is like changing the deck chairs on the Titanic. Same old same old and nothing will change for the better for the people of Ireland.