Understanding the nature and practice of politics in the 26 counties, the psychology involved, established patterns of behaviour, negativity, and recurring Irish political memes. Friends, in following politics in this country, sometimes an overriding sense of fatalism can set in. Having lived in other countries, while it is quite understandable that there are common themes of attack politics and moves made to pursue power no matter where you go, in Ireland it sometimes seems as if the raison d'etre of Irish politics is just to attack others in pursuit of protecting established political norms. In the last century, it was quite literal in that the dominance of the civil war was directly referenced in describing FF and FG as the civil war parties. In terms of living memory and oral tradition, both parties defined themselves by their disdain of the other from their actions in the Civil war. Both had their godheads in the form of Dev and Collins, and both fresh in their memories of fighting the other entered in to the political establishment of the new state in terms of acrimony and not co-operation. The legacy of the civil war was an inherent part of party identity and self-image which in a more modern context would now be referred to brand identity. Now this is nothing we do not know already on an extremely general basis, but in bringing this up, it would help to look at the behaviour of both parties which dominated the state in the last century effectively setting the practices for the state of the current century. To give a sense of how fresh the acrimony from the Civil war was, here's a sample of a dail debate from the late 60's: Another example from the 40s: You'll note that from the above, debate today seems little different from the time's in which they took place. Especially depressing is the 1968 discussion in which emigration and economic ruin are familiar concepts. Effectively this demonstrates that Ireland has moved on very little in how it conducts it business of parliament, something that should be especially concerning in the 21st century where we are not isolated anymore and are in regular contact and observation of how other countries choose to conduct the business of government in line with rational best practices. Building on this this system of accusation, and counter accusation, it becomes only natural that victim's become the football of convenience for such a political system. This might be observed as a natural extension of the politics of acrimony. Which in itself brings the psychology of acrimony and conflict in to focus. How are we likely to behave as individuals in such a system where acrimony is part of normal behaviour? And as with so many other things in Irish governance, what type of culture arises? One of the major failures highlighted by the economic collapse of 2008 in Ireland was how culture within public life and governmental organisation led to a bystander effect where people failed to point out the danger because others in the group were actively ignoring it. In this regard, we can see that reason and civil behaviour become victims to acrimonious behaviour when groups engage in it, and that this as an ongoing political Irish meme is well established within our government. In conclusion, I'd like to highlight the trend towards hyperpartisanism in the United States, and offer the shocking realisation that the divisions now doing the US great harm have been a standard feature in Irish politics since the inception of the first dail post civil war. We have structured and built our methods of political practice, behaviour and debate so assiduously on this model of acrimony that even an event as severe as economic collapse cannot exorcise this demon from our island. It appears we can only hope to contain it, and in this regard I can only offer the suggestion that every time we feel inclined to attack each other, we must ask ourselves if we are feeding our own political demons in doing so.