Thursday, August 12, 2010

People may have to starve! 86 years on the same old track.

'People may have to die in this country and may have to die through starvation.'
Cumann Na nGaedheal Minister for Industry and Commerce, Patrick McGilligan 1924

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
70 years ago.

A quote from an enjoyable post in the Dublin Opinion blog clearly showing how the southern state existed from an early day to protect the interests of a well heeled few who could peddle influence. How different, in mindset, is that McGilligan quote above to the words of Brian Lenihan snr. saying the underpopulated south could not support us all. How different to the deeds of Brian Lenihan jr. who has raised levies, taxes and cut services while bending backwards to protect the interests of failed developers and failed bankers.

The same bankers who are now relying on captial infusions taxed, levied and promised against ordinary Irish people. Which institutions are now the self same banks jacking up the interest rates on mortgage rates

A month or two ago  Sinn Fein spokesperson on Workers Rights Martin Ferris in a speech on the Social Welfare bill pointed up the  Government hypocrisy in how it treats people on social welfare and those who through property and financial speculation were largely responsible for the current economic mess.

Martin said:

“The current policy of attacking those on low wages and social welfare is not just a short sighted policy, it is an anti social one. It is also one that I suggest would not have gone down well with earlier Fianna Fáil cabinets who were attacked not for cutting social welfare payments and programmes but for increasing them. And they were attacked by the very same sort of people whose interests Fianna Fail now seems to have adopted as its priority.

“These were the people who in the 1930s were claiming that they couldn’t afford to take their money out of the London banks and stock exchange and invest it here because the tenement dwellers of Ireland would have no incentive to work for buttons if they were given outrageous luxuries like proper housing, schools, hospitals and so on.

“We are hearing the very same arguments now from people who are of the opinion that the only way to get the economy working again is to force people to work for a few hundred Euro a week and as part of that to reduce social welfare far below what it is now.

“In theory that may make sense but it overlooks a few important facts. Chief among them is that much of the growth during the Celtic Tiger was in highly skilled and well paid employment and of course a large proportion of that came from overseas investment in technology and other sectors. The economy did not grow on the basis of employing demoralised brow beaten poorly educated people on low wages, as IBEC and ISME and their cheerleaders in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael would have us believe.

“Indeed the greatest contribution of some of our own native entrepreneurs was to piggyback on the genuine growth in the economy by charging us exorbitant amounts for everything from mortgages to rents to pints of lager and paninis. And being careful at the same time to ensure that they paid as little tax or wages as possible. And these are the patriots whose bacon that the so-called republican party is proposing to save by imposing a massive drop in living standards on the decent people of this country, whose only crime was to work when there was work and suffer the indignity of unemployment when the work was gone.”

I think he hit the nail on the head.  Cumann Na nGaedheal, Fianna Fail, Fine Fail, Fianna Gael. 86 years is enough of that lot.


  1. Excellent piece an giorra. The more things change the more they remanin the same. I sometimes wonder when the people will wake up to the nonsense that has passed for politics in the 26 for the last 80 years

  2. Great post Giorra..however don't make the common mistake of thinking FF and FG are interchangable terms....@ Mellows as for the people waking up point taken but FG and FF consider themselves to be the people (or at least the people who matter). FG are the original party of the vested interests in the Free State, the wealthy,the professional classes, big business,large farmers and the catholic and protestant hierarchy.Sinn Féin in its present guise will never threaten the FG vote. FF began as a radical republican party of the ordinary people and they have filled the civil service and the public service with their supporters and their families over many years.. they also continuously take a large share of the working class/ small farmer vote.. They built and held that vote by looking after their own supporters (the wider FF family) while moving further and further away from their radical and republican roots.They have now seemingly turned their back on their most loyal supporters.. public service cuts,social welfare cuts,driving down wages,looking after the banks, the developers and big business.. Some FF supporters will definitely leave the fold..the question is can they be turned again to radical left republicanism. A lot of people however won't wake up themselves and they will have to be awakened. We are being too quiet in trying to appear respectable ..SF as a party has to start making a lot more noise.If we can begin to attract a trickle of support I believe the time is now right for it to become at least a stream if not a flood.

  3. FG is not just the party of the middle class and well to do though. RTE/Landsdowne exit poll of Euro/Locals election (for whatever its worth)
    In the survey The Fine Gael vote in the C2DE, described as the 'working class', was 29% in the locals. Their vote in the ABC1, the middle class up group was 34%.

    In the Euros same story - 26% of the working class surveyed said they voted FG. From the survey, whatever its worth FG got nearly the same block of working class votes as Sinn Fein and Labour combined for the locals.

    There is a big block of FG votes that really should be in play for Sinn Fein, even if only as a 2nd, 3rd, 4th preference. The 34% ABC1 who said they voted FG will never yield that much but leaves a lot of working class FG voters who we can speak to. Hopefully some can shift as 1st prefs and some as 2nd.

    I find it striking that the surveyed FG vote amongst working class was equal to the SF/Lab vote. One nice thing to see was the FF working class vote at 24%. Mixing surveys here but i saw data that had the fianna Fail working class vote drop from its high of 45% in 1969 to a low of 32% in 1997 but go back up to 47% of working class votes in 2002. So the example of FF shows the working class vote can be wrested away from these big parties.

    its this crazy situation with working class votes, and in general, whereby there seems to be no change in irish politics which i tried to consider in monolithic irish politics.

    I reckon that a large block of votes are out there and 'conscious' of the need for change but for some reason getting them out of this same old same old mindset and putting an x beside a progressive party at a general election is proving to be very hard.

  4. I take your figures from the exit poll but i still don't think that working class FG voters will come over to SF in any significant numbers...Where did that FG working class vote originate? I am not being disparaging to them but some of them are committed FG voters because of clientilism whilst others (and I would think the vast majority)vote FG because of historical reasons.. they are the descendants of ex-British Army/Free state army soldiers, the descendants of servants who worked for the Landlord/ Ascendancy/ Big business classes and who were pro treaty in 1922 for economic reasons and some who were Labour supporters who decided that they might as well vote for FG directly as Lab only seems to exist to prop up FG in Gov every chance it gets..

  5. Maybe in some parts of the country Fine Gael voters tend to that backgroud but in other parts it would not be so like that.

    Two different FG families I cna think of. Typical of maybe groups 2/3 below.

    1st - IRA tan war background, rural, no great wealth. Committed FGer but strong national consciousness - votes SF in locals.

    2nd family - dirt poor in the tan war, FG by location and local history.

    many more like that but the type you mention above have FG by the scruff.

    My rough breakdown of FG voters is as follows, Some mixing between each group.

    (1) Cultural Fine Gaelers - Unionist Lite types who think Redmond should be up on the wall. Will never vote SF. The type who burst a vein when Flanagan talked about transfers.

    (2) Traditional Fine Gaelers - Antipathy to FF maybe all the way back to the 20s. People who vote Fine Gael because that what their parents did. They arent unionist lite, but history, maybe locality, has them coralled into the Fine Gael voting block. They will follow the FG lead on republicans. Will give some few preferences to SF if FG give a coded signal in order to hit labour. (Michael Collins)

    (3) Default Fine Gael voters (long Term) - People who cant stand FF but who for decades have had no option but to vote FG. These are not FG mindset people but do vote FG. Large swathes of the countryside like this I believe. These people will give preferences to SF kenny flanagan or whoever.

    (4) Default Fine Gael voters (short term) - People who have switched to Fine Gael over the short term from FF. Real floating voters. May switch to labour, may switch back to FF. Voting FG as the best option to put FF out. Votes here for SF firsts and higher.

    Thing is though I cant think of any way we could specifically particularly target FG voters of type 2/3/4 other than by just working at offering a credible alternative to old Ireland politics.

    That means its probably academic what the composition of FG voters are.

    speaking of FG. Interesting to see what the barrister for finance will say at the commemoration of Michael Collins.