1. To post you need to register an account and await approval. Click Here to sign up!

A political system built on Acrimony.

Discussion in 'Oireachtas' started by ShinnerBot No.32564844525, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. ShinnerBot No.32564844525

    ShinnerBot No.32564844525 Member Political Irish

    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    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.
     
    Tadhg Gaelach likes this.
  2. The Eagle of the Ninth

    The Eagle of the Ninth Member Political Irish

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Not sure what the OP is driving at? "Great hatred/little room?" Maybe I am just over-analysing it.

    Australian parliamentary exchanges are possibly the nastiest you will ever read, and I don't think it is all playing to the gallery either.  Their history of internecine party feuding makes their treatment of opponents seem quite civilised, BTW. But the Australina context is different and doesn't provide a good insight into the Irish one, except to note that the most vicious practitioners of the verbal diss tend to be of Irish descent.

    US politics has been completley mediatised and in a country that large the message is often reduced to its simplest core content: negative propaganda. There is a lot of evidence this has the effect of switching people off politics, but hey, that might be useful to certain elements.

    This "acrimony" is often, but not always, a symptom of factionalism rather than party politics. It occurs when there is very little that divides the so-called parties ideologically and often no reason to beleive that they would have markedly different values or ways of conducting themselves in govt, either because the external constraints are such that they have no great latitude for action or because what separates them is not a fully developed political philosophy.


    Most Irish politics is of the latter kind: a game for courtiers. Courts are nasty places.
     
  3. Plebian

    Plebian New Political Irish

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    An excellent topic. It's a miracle that this state actually functions sufficiently well to feed its citizens, we can thank the civil service-IDA for keeping the FDI machine that the state is currently so dependent on running so smoothly.

    Indeed, we can even thank the corruption for ( just the Tigerish and immediate to that years of it ) greasing the wheels of development. There's a reason why people voted for Auctioneers and speculators as councillors and TDs. That reason was that those characters were interested in building and developing, activities which enhanced the piss poor economic and employment prospects in a country that was underdevelped until recent times.

    The South is a version of the North, except in the South our differences are hidden by an impenetrable wall of disingenuousness. We're far too nice and inculcated into an ingrained conspiracy of silence on the real reasons that lay behind our various contempts for each other.

    I'll get around to posting on that inpenetrable wall of disingenuousness in another post, because it'll be a long post in its own right.
     
  4. Plebian

    Plebian New Political Irish

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    For a country that prides itself on being classless the primary tribal divider in the ROI is class. There is a tradition of not discussing the roots of the historically wealthy and those whose families historically have made good out of others misfortune in this country.

    This goes back to The Famine and the Land Clearances which had started well before The Famine and continued after it. A family history that involved being part of the apparatus that cleared and or benefited from clearing the the cottiers off lands to make way for bigger farms and better lives for the ones who got to farm and manage the cleared land.

    The new middle-class as it were are never mentioned in our agreed history of the past.  There's a tradition that old people in Ireland wouldn't talk about the past as for many of them it wasn't a pleasant one. After the War of Independence and Civil War there was no history of discussion of who exactly benefited from the change of management. 

    We've had plenty of childish football team type banter between the sides but no serious discussion of the actual type of state both sides eventually agreed on. 

    There was more to ROI than Civil War politics. FG set themselves up as the party of the Daecent people, FF set themselves up as the party of the little guy, of course the job of being the party of the little guy should have been the preserve of an Irish Labour party and their disinterest in being a mass party of the working class  ( particularly the rural working class ) tells another tale ( which I will get to ) of an unowned up to mindset that most definitely has scarred this country and seen Labour cede seniority to FF and FG so easily and completely.
     
  5. The Eagle of the Ninth

    The Eagle of the Ninth Member Political Irish

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36

    Those are the roots, but it doesn't matter. The foundations of British mainstream parties could be accounted for in similar ways and their relevance has gradually disipated over the years through internal evolution and external pressures.

    The crux of the issue is that you have a post-colonial state witha very small population which has regularly exported any elements that didn't fit.

    The North was the great catalyst because it stayed exactly where it was. Something to think about.
     
  6. Plebian

    Plebian New Political Irish

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Not to be picking on Labour for the sake of it, but it's important to discuss how it fits into the political system we had and have in this country.

    Labour claims the legacy of Connolly and has been since the birth of this state very far removed from his militant idealism. This is after all the party of Dimples O'Deary who joined FG, of Conor Cruise O'Brien ( what interest did he actually display in the nitty gritty of working class politics? ), Dick Spring ( not a bad egg but he's a businessman and former member of the board of AIB, a posh chap ),  and Ruairi Quinn another posh chap who's much more of a reformist type business class friendly chap than a champion of the interests of the poor.

    There's a very perceptive and prescient 2007 CLR blog post below about the relationship between the Irish working class and the Labour Party, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein. It's well worth a read.

    Labour have always to my mind set themselves aside from the rest of Irish political parties bar their natural instinct to bond with FG. That instinct has damaged Labour's relationship with the working classes time and time again to the low point that they have currently reached. I used to put Labour's aloof attitude down to their feeling the ungrateful public didn't deserve Labour's love because the electorate had never really embraced Labour. That mindset explains the bitterness of Pat Rabbite, but he's not really a traditional Labour politician at all.  


     
     
    https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/?s=labour+fianna+fail+and+the+working+class&searchbutton=go%21


    I'll get around to posting on the real hidden class inspired deceptions and contempts that really define how this country functions.
     
  7. OP
    ShinnerBot No.32564844525

    ShinnerBot No.32564844525 Member Political Irish

    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    The OP is kind of inspired by the exodius away from the other site to here. The reason this site is growing is that it is an oasis away from the outright trolling that happens in every thread. Rational discussion is eschewed in favor of the same sort of acrimonious bickering that has defined politics in this state since the Civil war, and even before with respect to Plebian's posts. Between Aus and the US you've highlighted factionalism, which in fairness is a root cause, but it's also worth considering other systems of governance where discussion takes precedence over attack politics. Not to credit the Brit's too much, but it would seem that even with their factionalism, there is more discussion than in the southern state, Eoin O'Broin went one further and mentioned that the level of discussion in Belfast politics seemed to be higher despite the Green/Orange divide.

    So at this stage I'm asking, how ingrained in the psyche is the mode of behaviour, it seems to come as natural as breathing to the extreme that even new initiates in Irish politics get drawn down in to this culture and behaviour of acting like buffoons despite the best of intentions.



    I can agree it goes back further, I guess I'm fascinated by the behavioural norms of the current contiguous southern Irish state. Good contributions btw.
     
  8. Plebian

    Plebian New Political Irish

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    On disingenuousness and contempts everything about the Irish political system hangs its hat.

    No party is loyal to the state that has been built not even those that built it.

    Our law is some kind of relic of British rule which is deliberately ineffective and providing of an excellent living to those on that merrygoround. Why has our Justice system not been modernised to operate efficiently and as a deterrent and safeguard of the citizens as a whole? Answer because it suits the insiders as it is and those Turkeys ain't voting for Christmas. The insiders have contempt for those not inside and disingenuously act as if changing the justice system isn't necessary.

    The health service is another inefficient clusterfk. Much disingenuous wailing and gnashing of teeth and contempt for the end user who can just put up with the inefficiency because the God like system is a cash cow for too many vested interests to be tackled. What has changed in the sincerity stakes since Noel Brown's proposals were torpedoed by vested interests, nothing has.

    The banking sector has kicked the citizens in the privates time after time generation after generation and it's still a secretive sacred cow, why? Eh because it quite obviously takes care of those who have taken care to make sure that they don't regulate it in the citizens interests.

    You citizen are a cow to be milked, a crop to be farmed, a mushroom to be fed on the manure of obfuscation and inpenetrable process and plucked when ripe.


    FF were the big winners in the Irish system, their disingenuousness lay in pretending that they were still the party of the little guy while contemptuously creaming off a big management fee in privilege, personal wealth and nod and wink justice applied to their set.  The Mr 10% fixers who eventually in fairness built a modern economy and a fair blast of social housing while prospering themselves. 

    FG were nearly always the perpetual runners up, somewhat sore losers who developed an aloofness based on a belief that they were a better class than the corrupt populist Republicans and that when they got their turn at the tiller they were entitled to take care of their own set who deserved something for waiting patiently for their day. Their disingenuousness lies in their portrayal of themselves as being the virtuous and competent party, when their record when examined is very tatty indeed. Their contempt for everyone other than their own is on open display all the time.

    Labour, think they've been left in a backwater that they're too good for and have zero loyalty to anything or anyone but themselves . Their disingenuousness is in pretending they're socialists their contempt for Irish sovereignty is almost total. In truth they aren't really important bar an honourable commitment to some modernising social legislation. 

    SF are the outsiders, the newbies. They hold the Southern state in contempt with good reason, it battered them and they don't believe its anywhere near the finished article. Their disingenuousness lies in claiming to be socialists when they're not. Given time they will sucked into the political system here and be no different than the rest. 


    Behind the obvious and public system lays an upper tier of unseen movers and shakers. Wealth and protection of privilege is their business. I once asked someone from South County Dublin about the anti-republican mindset and the answer was very enlightening. The suppression of republicanism and utter contempt for it was driven not by a West Brit love for mother England but by a fear that a Republican Govt would somehow seize their wealth and that answer explains an awful lot about the last 40 years of Irish media coverage of everything in this country.

    The message is it's all grand, keep your head down or you'll get whacked and sure none of ye are starving so why change anything.



    And the average citizen knows that they are playing handball against a haystack because there is SFA that they on their own can do against the political system that has been built.
     
  9. Anglophile

    Anglophile Respected Member Political Irish

    Likes Received:
    631
    Trophy Points:
    113