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February 28, 2007



Excellent article, Michael. As you say the distaste that almost all the parties have for Sinn Fein ignores the fact that they have become a significant force in the Dail in a relatively short period of time and are likely to increase their mandate and their forming part of a Northern Ireland government also makes a mockery of that distaste south of the border (not that I'm 100% or even 50% happy with Sinn Fein's politics either, but in our PR system alliances are inevitable and one with SF might make a Left coalition possible).

I also agree with you that Labour seem stymied by lack of ambition, and have put far too much effort into their partnership with FG, considering it the only available alternative. Once again they’re looking to the past and emphasizing their role as members of earlier FG/Labour government, as the weaker partner, just to reassure their ABC1 voters that they have the experience to deliver. They’re almost afraid to think ‘progressive’ incase FF/PD hark on again about getting shackled again by the manacles of redundant socialism.

There is no reason why a social democratic government with a strong environmental policy cannot maintain a prosperous economy – rather than all the time falling back on the market led UK/US model.


That's it entirely Donagh. I think one could even term it interchangeably socialism or strong social democracy. What's interesting is that here Michael, yourself and the CLR are attempting to articulate a sort of 'new politics' which doesn't pretend that there are no historic and deep rooted differences on the left but rather that in combination there is a genuine left alternative far removed from the utopian but sincere idealism of the further left.

Michael, I think you've pointed something very important up when you note the character of FF and FG is very different indeed above and beyond their policies. We can bemoan that as 'false consciousness', although what isn't these days, but it means that in a three bloc society there is an opening for the left to pick and choose in a way hitherto it appears not to have (in fairness due to it's lack of support).


I would refer people to Gerry's thoughts over at ie-politics ( There appears to be a number of people now - and I'm sure its not just in the blogospher - that are attempting to grapple with these issues in a serious way, moving away from 'utopian' assertions to the more difficult task of reading and acting upon our histories, where we are now and where we hope to go. The trick is to continue the good analysis that is being produced by a growing number of people, in particular the two contributors above, while at the same time seeking to bring it to a wider audience. To use a phrase from one of Gerry's references - Lets Go.

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