Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Incivility in Irish political life…

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This is a great Cedar Lounge Revolution Post

“Stephen Collins is very exercised this morning about a problem in Irish politics…

“[Biden’s] plea to American politicians to “stop the shouting and lower the temperature” could well be applied to Dáil Éireann where aggressive grandstanding by Opposition TDs like Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and Richard Boyd Barrett have become the norm. Trump thrived on fomenting bitterness and division, constantly attempting to create conflict between “us and them”. A key element of the strategy was to portray political opponents as part of some ill-defined “elite” as distinct from the “ordinary people” he claimed to represent. It is no accident that the Trump social media strategy has been adopted here by Sinn Féin and a variety of extremists who dominate exchanges with aggressive and hate-filled messages which tend to drive more considered voices to the margins. Irish politics has steadily become more Trumpian in recent years and there is no sign that is about to change.

Irish Times Political Correspondent Stephen Collins – ludicrous claims ridiculed : “the idea that Boyd Barrett or McDonald have had to learn anything or adopt anything from Trump is risible. Or even that their politics is akin to that of Trump likewise.”

Now some of us would think that – given the level of antagonism displayed between M. Martin and L. Varadkar prior to their forming a coalition that these complaints are overblown, to put it mildly (and one could add to that the aggression of Martin towards McDonald over the years, and Varadkar similarly though to a slightly lesser degree, which has been marked by aggression and conflict and contempt). And the idea that Boyd Barrett or McDonald have had to learn anything or adopt anything from Trump is risible. Or even that their politics is akin to that of Trump likewise.

But unfortunately the very same day as Collins puts forward his argument we have a real example of an event that without question sits on the spectrum of Trumpist and worse behaviour. For only this morning one can read in the Examiner how…

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu has hit out at ongoing racism and intimidation after a group of far-right protestors showed up at her home and challenged her for wearing a face mask. A female member of the protestors was arrested and later fined for breaching public health laws. Ms Chu, who was born in Dublin to Chinese parents, has come under sustained and unrelenting abuse online from racist and far-right accounts since becoming lord mayor of Dublin.

And she related today on RTÉ how one of the protestors shouted at her ‘we’ll catch you on video turning into a dragon’ which presumably is one of the vile QAnon adjacent ‘theories’ about a global and political elite who are reptiles. As she notes:

“It’s not about my policies because no other Green Party rep is being protested.”

Odd isn’t it how Collins focuses on the – frankly – rather performative Oireachtas chamber and ignores actual events taking place outside it where a public representative is subjected to vicious and racist abuse from the far-right. Which tells us quite a bit about the focus of at least one tranche of Irish middle class political opinion.”

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