Great movies you should see: The Last Hurrah (1958)

Fianna Fail, Boston Cumann.

Yet another must for the Political Junkie’s DVD library, The Last Hurrah   has Spencer Tracy ( Now there’s an actor) at his finest as a charismatic old school Irish American mayor seeking re-election one last time.

If you want to know how the old Democratic machines locked up the cities, and indeed how Fianna Fail used to do it, this is textbook stuff. The party is everything, with loyalty, decency and just the faintest whiff of corruption keeping the whole thing together. Very watchable, especially the ensemble of yes men the mayor surrounds himself with.

Sadly, only available on Region 1 DVD, but really, isn’t it time you invested in a multi region DVD player. It’s not like they’re dear anymore.  

Pay close attention for a reference to a certain Fianna Fail politician, by the way.

An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: Labour

Labour: Left wing in a hug-a-kitten kind of way. If there was a physical mannerism for every party, Labour’s would be a shrug of despair. To Labour, things just aren’t right. The health service is in shite, housing is either too dear, too small, or in Mullingar, and trying to get anywhere is like the retreat from Moscow.
Labour are actually the oldest of the three main parties, but spent their early years trying to raise class issues when every one else was busy punching Englishmen in the back of the head, and never quite managed to catch up. The big difference with Labour and the other parties is that Labour believes that feelings should count more than money. Labour give the impression that everything could be solved if only the government cared as much as they did, and voted to abolish homelessness, poverty, war, death, days when you just feel fat, and that pain that takes a few “Oh no!” seconds to arrive after you stub your toe.
In fairness, they are thoughtful, honest and responsible for most of the liberal social reforms Ireland has seen in the last 20 years, including divorce and gay rights. They used to believe in taxing the shit out of anything that moved. They still do, but smartened up to the fact that no one else does.
Their hopes in 2007 had been to put the rogueish Fianna Fail out, and settle down with that nice and sensible but boring Enda. But now they’re getting on a bit, and becoming afraid of being left forever on the opposition shelf smelling of cat piss, and so have started showing FF a bit of skin. In short, Labour is willing to put out on a first date.