Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Budget 2012 – Round-Up of the Real Left Response – “Death By a Thousand Cuts”

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Joe Higgins Speaking in the Dáil :

The Spectacle of Defiance Inspires on the Streets of Dublin -“Arise Ye Risen People” :

Death By a Thousand Cuts – Joan Collins Speaks :

The Dublin West Labour TD, Patrick Nulty, winner of the October 27 by-election, voted against the budget, managing to stay within his organisation’s parliamentary party a mere 6 weeks – prompting me to observe on the Cedar Lounge Blog :

Adrian Kavanagh’s analysis of the Sunday Business Post December 4 Poll is here : “State of Enda? Sunday Business Post-Red C Poll” – (the author has mistakenly dated the Poll September 4)

The previous Fianna Fáil / Green Party Coalition, elected in May 2007, governed after mid-2008 without electoral support (a form of political negative equity – Ahern-Gormley clung to office with a crumbling Dáil majority). After ten months of Kenny-Gilmore, we are heading into similar waters. Dublin West by-election winner , Labour Deputy Patrick Nulty has voted against the budget (a good decision), further eroding the current government’s legitimacy.

Perhaps the deputy could update his blog?

After all, it now seems that the government lost the Dublin West By-Election.

Mark P of the Socialist Party followed up with this Ruth Coppinger Post, which makes some very good points :

Nulty decision reflects growing shift against austerity & Labour – New left party needed

Press statement from Cllr Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party/United Left Alliance, Dublin West

The decision by newly- elected TD Patrick Nulty to vote against the Budget is a welcome blow to Labour’s continuance of the disastrous bailout/austerity programme. The choice by Labour to attack the poor rather th…an bondholders is putting pressure on a section of backbenchers and shows the need for a new left party.

The swingeing cuts to health, education, the disabled, lone parents and part-time workers on social welfare was clearly too much for Deputy Nulty to stand over, despite an earlier commitment to always vote with Labour.

However, this mainly reflects the pressure placed on Nulty by the Socialist Party/United Left Alliance during the recent Dublin West by-election. The ULA has struck a bulls-eye against Labour in the run-up to the Budget.

During the by-election it was also pointed out by the Defend Blanchardstown Hospital Campaign that a vote for a Budget containing €540 million in health cuts is effectively a vote for ongoing cuts at our hospital. It is regrettable that Deputy Nulty did not clearly state this position then, as a more honest debate could have taken place.

This decision reflects the growing realisation among a majority in society that austerity won’t create jobs or bring economic recovery, but adds to the crisis by killing demand, which the Socialist Party / ULA campaigned on in the by- election.

If Deputy Nulty is sincere, we call on him to now resign from the Labour Party and make a principled stand against austerity and for the building of a new left party in this country.

Ruth suggests another step forward for Deputy Nulty – resignation from Labour and making “a principled stand against austerity and for the building of a new left party in this country.”

That would be great, but I do not see it happening too soon.  In the meantime, he is free to engage in united action against this budget, and the Alliance Against Austerity offers all those sincerely opposed to the government a chance to put organisational differences and past disagreements aside, and work together – D_D puts the case very well on the Cedar Lounge, responding at the start to Justin Moran of Sinn Féin :

That is all fair comment Justin. The poll is a bit rickety, given the vagueness of ‘Others’, there is a margin of error, the ULA is localised and in the general election, according to Wikipedia, “United Left Alliance candidates won a combined vote share of 2.7%, more than the Green Party.”,_2011

So, 2% in this partcular poll for the Socialist Party and ‘Others’ would not be too far off the actual vote. Yet there is still something of a wake up call in the figures. The ever escalating crisis and the new parliamentary base of a semi-united left should have been engines of growth for the ULA over nine months since the election (though, on the other hand, the crisis has not yet produced the consequent social struggles on any scale) . The thing about this straw in the wind is that, like today’s windchill, there are other, more tangible, indications of a developmental freeze up. However I believe that a number of things planned will help move things forward somewhat: the regular newsletter, the two new organisers, the ULA conference in the New Year, the prospect of all-ULA campaigning through the Alliance Against Austerity*, an upcoming ULA public meeting (believe it or not), the organisation in some form of independent ULA supporters.

The emergence of three TDs (well, two to the left) from the fold of the Labour Party should give the ULA pause for thought on how to relate to them, besides dismissing them. They are not going to join the ULA but some association or co-operation with them might be possible and desirable. Helena Sheehan’s suggested Forum of the Left could take shape here. There’s also the consideration that being closer to some trade union leaders, and being looked up to by some lay functionaries in the unions, they might add leverage to getting some shift from the union leadership. Some from this small corner of the left already have feet in both the Alliance Against Austerity* and the proposed conference by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions in the New Year.

*At the Open Assembly following the march of November 26 it was agreed that a meeting of activists should be convened to discuss building a broad campaign against austerity. This is to be held on December 10 from 2.00pm to 5.00pm in the Ireland Institute at 27 Pearse St., Dublin 1.

I confess : when I first heard of the AAA suspicions immediately arose that yet another Socialist Workers’ Party  glove-puppet was on the march – and fell into the temptation of baptizing it “Alcoholics Anonymous (With A Stutter)”.

Reassurance is Bliss, in this case.  At the same time, while handing out leaflets for the Dublin Council of Trade Unions /AAA march, I detected a few people who did not know the word “austerity”, but had no trouble supporting action against the cuts.

Let us keep uniting and fighting – the only way to go.

One Response

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  1. There is more useful comment on left rejection of the Budget here :


    Dec 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm

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