Monday, June 28, 2010

A stag in red clothing?

Labour must be feeling the pressure. A good socialist, someone somewhere once insisted, should be against all forms of animal cruelty. John Gormley proclaimed as much, as if this was this swipe was the last chance for the Man in Green to scrape a bit of dignity back.

In fairness, he had a point. I don’t know why exactly, but I do feel that socialists should be adverse to stag hunting. Especially considering their own Stagg came under attack by another Green using weaponised “unparliamentary language.”

Perhaps this was an olive branch towards the Labour Party. Yes, the Greens are pushing a bill banning stag hunting to say sorry to Emmet Stagg for telling him to “F” off. But, with all eyes on Labour, such a kindly gesture was not appreciated.

It is quite odd now, to see these two parties, champions of the Left in all but policy decisions, fight over, of all things, a stag-hunting bill. So far, Labour might as well have been called the Populist Party, with an emphasis on the “little man” and him being at the mercy of greedy bankers and developers who the Capatilists over on the other side of the house were in bed with, snuggling up warmly together.

Not a pretty image, if you consider that the average visage of a developer, a banker and a Fianna Failer is a middle-aged man who is slightly overweight with a bald patch. Not pretty at all.

Then the Greens, another party of opposition, hopped into that already crowded bed. “Pfft,” they shrugged, “this is the only game in town.”

But Labour didn’t. Labour stuck to their guns, dug their trenches expecting a bubble to burst at anytime. And people respected them for that. They seemed to see that it was all coming to an end, that it was all going to come crashing down.

And there most certainly wasn’t going to be any Bertie Bowl.

But now the pressure is really on. Can the party of opposition take the reigns of power and sit comfortably in the driving seat of a country going over the edge?

Even if things pick up, will they make the changes that need to be made? Will they radically alter the systems in place to bring about something new, a shining beacon of socialistic hope, free from the booms and busts of a global capitalist market, and the exploitation that grows from such systems?

They certainly like their “little people”! So much so that Joan Burton should have her own personal oompaloompa to emancipate from the shackles of its capital driven oppressor, Mr. Willy Wonka.

At this point in time, one feels that changing the system is not really on the agenda of the Labour Party. They walk a delicate tightrope; if they fall they risk falling into a sea of irrelevance.

You see the party knows that being a radical leftwing or even a moderate left wing party isn’t going to translate across to the Irish people. At least, that’s what they think. They know that the Irish people don’t want to hear about class struggles; they know the Irish people isn’t ready for Marx and the true implications of living in a capitalist society; they know that their best bet is to do a little bit of translating.

You gotta dumb it down, they surmise, for your average Sun reader. It has to become about little men versus big forces. It has to be emotive, and it has to be delivered well. It’s all about the delivery – something Gilmore knows all too well.

At least, that’s what I hope they’re going for. I hope that they are just being populist, that they are actually interested in social reform, and that they aren’t just wigging it, riding on a wave of public anger. In essence, I hope that they’re not just making it up as they go along.

That’s what scares me about their opposition to the stag-hunting bill. Hopefully it’s just a whiff of desperation that I’m getting, a kind of nervousness that sets in when one is close to a goal of some description, but the outcome is up in the air.

I can live with whiffs of desperation. The fear I have is that it is an ill-advised move that the party thought would make them more popular. Because if that were the case, and the party is fuelled by populism without belief or ideas, then they really would be irrelevant.

I’d probably rather vote for Fianna Fail if that were the case.

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