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July 06, 2007



I think its quite obvious that Fine Gael see the Green's as the soft underbelly of government, vunerable to attack. I read somewhere that Fine Gael were willing to drop their opposition to co-location during initial talks with Mary Harney. I don't know how true that is, but its quite believable. Whatever is the case its imperative that Labour move away from FG, as they are only bouying them up while deminishing their own prospects.

If Irish politics was about trying to intelligently resolve issues for the greater good then it makes perfect sense for Labour to reach out to the Green's over climate change. It would certainly be excellent PR. But the worry is that they'll find it much more useful to give them a bloody nose and wait to take their seats in the next election. But I think you're exactly right about the need to shift from the central to the local. If Labour have a problem at the moment its largely due to their unwillingness as a party to work hard enough on the smaller issues.

It will be interesting to see if the Greens can retain a focus as a campaigning party who just happen to have a couple of members around a cabinet table.

I'd certainly like to see what you're suggesting happening as it seems the smartest way forward.


I know I'm always going on about this, but I also think it is necessary to see the local as a forum in which the left of SF and Labour can work positively together. I very much admire the ideas you posit above, particularly the critical, but supportive, approach to the Greens.

One major problem may well be that Labour lack the appetite or energy to move forward on this. I've been very struck by how defeated they appear in the Dáil at the moment. That sort of defeatism can lead to rather negative outcomes.


A variant of the Tallaght strategy should be adopted by Labour in relation to the Greens in government. The party should support initiatives that it would normally support and not look to score cheap points. Let not chronic short-termism get in the way of the bigger picture that is to build an alternative progressive block.

That bigger picture means that we have to stop thinking about how a few seats here or there might have lead to a different outcome. There's more to politics than electoral strategy and even if Labour picked off a couple of Green seats at most, what difference would that make in the long term? The most important thing to do is to re-assert Labour's identity as a serious party of the left that actually wants to set the terms of the political agenda and not merely react to it.

Michael Mc Loughlin

It is all made more difficult by GP being in Govt.

No less aperson than Bill Gates wrote in the Road Ahead that businesses needed to compete like hell in some areas and co-operate fully in others. Ireland may be ripe for a more mature opposition, look at how Bertie (and to a less succesful extent) Gordon Brown want to broaden Governing coalitions. I suggested an all party approach to vlimate change at an NEC/PLP meeting before the 1 day conf. and it was shot down by all!!

A long way to go on the road ahead


Michael, it's good to hear that there are leading Labour members putting forward progressive approaches in the Party. And disappointing that they are not accepted - though now that we are in post-election mode, more mature reflection will hopefully prevail. Keep proposing!

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