Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

Fianna Fail are Tories. Part 2.

Posted by Jason O on Apr 2, 2010 in Irish Politics |

Declan Harmon, from the thinking wing of Fianna Fail (the ones who believe that writing stuff down on paper does not automatically mean it will be used against you in a tribunal, or that a) reading something heavier than the Racing Post, and b) not being Martin Mansergh does not make you a dangerous intellectual revolutionary), has been in touch to say  “I resent your suggestion on the blog that FFers would be Tories in Britian – I’m a FFer and I’m in favour of gay marriage and I subscribe to the Bill Clinton view of abortion that it should be safe, legal and rare.

That’s me corrected, so. Fianna Fail has loads of secret liberals (Declan being an honourable exception) who will remain liberals as long as nobody expects them to say or do anything liberal. Kind of a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” type arrangement? 

4 Comments

Mr_James
Apr 3, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Errr, The tories are in favour of safe legal and rare abortions and civil partnerships for gay couples. So the comparison still holds.


 
Jason O
Apr 3, 2010 at 8:19 pm

James, I think the point is that you would be hard pressed to find people in FF who subscribe to those policies, even though they are Lib Dem (as well as Tory) policies, despite FF protests about the Lib Dems being their sister party.


 
James Lawless
Apr 12, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Jason,

Meant to comment on your first post on this, so here goes.

I am similarly inclined to reject the comparison. I also think the title to be a little pejorative as following the logic expressed, FG would similarly be ‘Tories’, in fact possibly more so following in a more explicit conservative christian democratic tradition.

In considering my own views I concluded that an objective cold comparison may allow me find common ground with the Tories, however the antipathy is more cultural and historic than policy.
Regardless of the actual policy detail, the Tories have long been viewed as the party of the colonial opressor from pre-war Carson and Unionist dalliances to ‘NI is as British as Finchley’ Thatcherism. Whilst (UK) Labour were the party of reason, of mutual respect from Clare Short in cabinet to their Irish subcommittee and ‘Red Kens’ slightly barmy but undoubtedly benvolent overtures right up to the most recent round of Good Friday Agreement era peace talks with Labour far more convincing in an ‘honest broker’ role than the grand old men of empire and union on the Tory benches. History, if not policy per se, has pitted us against them.

Culture and tradition at least as much as policy detail muts inform the political choices and voting intentions of very many. At times it can almost be a happy coincidence if ones party’s policies reflect ones own outlook. When this is not the case activists will often talk of ‘working on the inside’ to effect change from within. It is as much a cultural as a political path being followed.

It might be interesting to perform a sort of blind taste testing of political parties – where practising politicians and declared supporters chose from a multi menu of policy choices to see where their natural alignment / loyalty should lie. I expect both sides may be horrified at the results – or the suggestion.


 
Jason O
Apr 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm

James, I agree with your remark that FG would similarly be Tories. I agree. I see no difference, from a core values perspective, between FF and FG. Even the faux arguments that FF and FG people suggest, that FF is more nationalist and FG more Euro-integrationist, turn out to be bogus in reality. Both support the GFA and EU in its current form.
It would indeed be fascinating if FF/FG were banned, and their former members had to find or create new political homes. Some would join Labour, but I suspect most would end up in a what would effectively be a single centre-right christian democratic party.


 

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