What if a Right-Wing Government was elected in Ireland (Part 3)

One of the questions political pundits asked as the results of the Irish general election of 2034 came in was how no one had predicted it. One older pundit pointed out that the new generation of political correspondents simply were not paying attention to the technical details of the voting system changes the government had made, more concerned with running vox pops and high-emotion stories, but there was a more significant factor at play. The outgoing government had quietly amended the terms of reference of the constituency boundary commission to push their constitutional limit, and restrict all constituencies to a maximum of three seats. Sinn Fein, as the main opposition party, had made a perfunctory objection but then had gone quiet for the exact same reason the NDP supported it. Because under the Irish Single Transferable Vote system, a small number of seat per constituency makes the quota of votes needed to be elected higher, and generally that allows larger party candidates to stay in the count longer, picking up additional preferences as the smaller parties’ candidates get eliminated. It makes a two party system more likely, especially with polls showing both the NDP and Sinn Fein neck and necking in the late 30s.

The Progressive Alliance (PA) of Fianna Fail, Labour, the Social Democrats and the Greens had, much to the surprise of the media, managed to agree a pact, running joint PA candidates, and between them had polled into the early teens right up until the final week before polling day, and the TV debate between the party leaders. Both Sinn Fein and the NDP had insisted that all party leaders be invited, not just the charismatic senator PJ Okono of Fianna Fail, the de facto alliance leader. Despite his pleading, the other three ineffectual party leaders insisted upon attending. Okono, who was probably the finest political orator of his generation, was reduced in time to fit in the others, and failed to have the impact he could have had in the debate, just as Sinn Fein and the NDP planned.

The count revealed its secrets quickly. The NDP vote had dropped slightly, and the alliance parties had all seen an increase in their votes, but the three seat carve-up (“The EveMander”, a few wags called it) delivered exactly as expected. PA candidates were doing respectably but narrowly losing the third seats to either NDP or SF candidates. As the final results came in on Sunday morning, it was clear that the NDP had scraped a slightly increased majority, and that the country was now a Two Party With Scraps system, the only real benefit being Okono topping the poll in Mayo and other PA candidates acting as sweepers for Fianna Fail. Fine Gael barely registered in the election, its voters and members effectively decamped to the NDP or Fianna Fail.

 

Irish general election 2034
% Seats
New Dems 43 86
SF 43 72
FG 2 0
FF 5 8
Labour 2 0
Green 2 0
Soc Dems 1 0
Alphabet left 1 0
Independents 1 0
100 170 Majority 85

The newly-elected government moved quickly on its success. The referendum on polling day to allow the government to limit the number of asylum seekers passed by 62%, and despite various objections from the European Commission and the European Parliament the reality was there were enough governments of comparable bent sitting on the European Council to allow the government to “do an Orban” and ignore Brussels on this matter. Work began immediately on building state of the art refugee processing centres modelled more on Centre Parcs than the dire Direct Provision facilities. The far-right mounted protests outside NDP TDs offices that the government was building “resorts for foriegners”.

The new budget finally delivered on the national security commitments promised for decades by various governments. The government would meet the 2% NATO defence spending obligation (despite not being in NATO), and would soon take delivery of a dozen second-hand Rafale fighters from France, as well as four brand new Naval vessels specifically equipped for patrolling Ireland’s undersea infrastructure and acting against unauthorised vessels sub-surface. There would also be considerable investment in existing and new Defence Forces facilities acros sthe country. However, the minister for defence told the house that given the controversial nature of additional security spending, extra funding to specific counties would only go ahead with the written consent of local TDs. If local TDs objected, the extra funding would go to other counties. The opposition were in uproar for forty minutes.

The government also decided to focus on the question of a United Ireland. The previous Sinn Fein government had set up a citizen’s assembly which had produced a report with much aspiration and little detail, and so the government decided to move forward, commissioning an expert legal panel to draft a new constitution for a United Ireland to act as a debate opening document.

The Taoiseach also raised the age-old question of funding the new entity. Speaking at the commissioning of the new naval ship LE Fiontar, she announced that a country that was serious about reunification should start planning for it, and so the government intended to introduce a modest Unity Tax on income, pensions and social welfare payments, the revenue which would go into a “lockbox” to fund the gap in spending if needed when a United Ireland eventually came about. She stressed that pretty much every adult in the country would pay it, as she had no doubt that every Irish patriot would be happy to make a contribution to such an enterprise. Finally, however, she said that given it was such a long-term plan, saving money for possibly years or decades, she would put the proposal to a referendum and that the Irish people would finally be able to firmly put their foot down in favour of a United Ireland, but also show they world they were just talking about it but putting their money where their mouths where.

As if that weren’t enough, she also announced that the government intended to seek approval in a referendum to proceed with the building of a number of nuclear power plants around the country, along side a number of fast-tracked massive wind and solar farms, both on and offshore. She stressed that no community would be forced to take either without prior approval in a local plebiscite. However, she also proposed that given we were asking local communities to carry the burden of national energy infrastructure, those same communities would also be designated, if they voted accordingly, income tax free zones up to a very generous threshold, the idea being that such a threshold would protect house prices as it would transfer with the home.

We will, she said, abide by the will of the people.

What if…the west armed the women of Afghanistan?

 

It had been the scene of a young Afghan woman being publicly beaten by a tribal elder for talking to a boy on her mobile phone that had done it. There had been those in the administration in DC who had already crafted plans, but the media response to the incident had finally convinced the president, a decent man and father of daughters, to support the plan. 

The military had already selected the site in rural Afghanistan. Effectively a mountaintop fortress, accessible by air, but otherwise protected by sheer cliffs on nearly all sides, and with a ground access that could be transformed into a bloody killzone if needed. It had its own water source, grounds for crops and cattle, good solar power frontage and, the military reckoned, it could house up to 30,000 people if planned properly. 

Its approach was constantly surveyed by drones and its own designated NSA satellite. Female NSA operatives volunteered their own free time to guard over the site.  

It was called Operation Themyscira, after the fictional home of Wonder Woman. The name would become more and more appropriate as time moved on. 

The US president was clear in his address. The US had left Afghanistan. But it was not abandoning the women of Afghanistan. There would be a refuge for them, defended firstly by the United States, where women could flee to, run by women, for women. 

What if…President Trump was convicted and jailed?

President Donald J. Trump

It had been the selection of a jury that had taken so much time. Trying to find twelve jurors plus substitutes who did not have a strong opinion on the former President of the United States took months, because even those who claimed little interest in politics were found to have made some political comment on social media at one time or another. The Trump legal team, funded at huge expense by the Republican National Committee, had even objected to the idea of registered Democrats being on the jury, and the federal prosecutor was not enamored with registered Republicans serving either. The judge, on the point of desperation, proposed a compromise: Each side could submit 20 names, and he would pick, at random, 20 names from a hat. Both sides objected, but he ruled, and told them that if either side refused to submit their 20 names from the available jury pool he would pick names at random to fill that side’s quota. Both sides informed the judge that they would be appealing his decision, which he told them was their right, and set a date for the trial.

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What if….Europe elected a president?

The creation of the office of President of the European Union was one of those perfect storm moments that occurs in politics. As an idea, it drew relatively little support, but many of those who supported it did so with a vigor bordering on fanaticism. When that was mixed with the hubris of national politicians who thought it didn’t matter and the short-termism of a political system that only sees policy as a quick solution as opposed to long-term strategy, political tectonic plates started to move. The final key variable was the European Parliament, which had amassed power almost silently like a dog chained in a basement who has grown huge and strong because nobody in the house realizes that they have all been feeding the dog. Politicians stung by accusations of being “undemocratic” had thrown one power after another at the once rubber-stamping talking shop without grasping that all the combined powers were in fact creating a powerful transnational parliamentary assembly. When the parliament itself named an elected president as its price for treaty change the pols rolled over, once again assuming that it could be finessed with some retired prime minister doing a lap of honour. That was assuming the system even got off the ground, given how vague the details in the actual treaty were.

The problem for the “It’ll never happen” brigade was that this was Europe, and for every European thought there’s a well-funded committee that starts working out the details with almost self-pleasuring enthusiasm. Immediately, the committee ran into a problem. It wasn’t hard to figure out what powers would be held by the new office: the committee rapidly concluded that the simplest thing was to directly elect the commission president, with the president of the council acting at a intergovernmental balance.

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What if…a Right-Wing government was elected in Ireland (part 2)

The announcement by the Ceann Comhairle that Eve Hennessy had been elected Taoiseach was met with a wave of shouts and boos from the large demonstration that nearly filled both Molesworth and Kildare Streets. The signs, announcing “#StopTheSteal” and “the election was stolen” gave a clear indication as to the views of the crowd. Ogra Shinn Fein, who made up a significant proportion of the crowd, also held up signs calling for a “republican court” to put the outgoing Taoiseach on trial for collaboration because she announced that she did in fact accept the election result as legitimate.

Outgoing Sinn Fein ministers were abused far more than incoming NDP TDs.  The outgoing FF ministers had all lost their seats to either Sinn Fein or the NDP.

The speed at which the new government moved surprised many, despite the fact that it had all been clearly telegraphed by Hennessy from the election. Over 40 pre-prepared pieces of legislation were placed before the Oireachtas despite massive protests from the opposition parties who attacked the government for “steamrollering” the parliament. Hennessy replied by extending the sitting hours of both houses.

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What if…a right wing government was elected in Ireland?

The exit poll for the 2029 general election caused gasps in the studio. Recent polls had shown that the outgoing Sinn Fein/Fianna Fail coalition was struggling but still competitive. The New Democrats, led by former FG TD for Dublin Rathdown, Eve Hennessy,  were doing better than expected. The polls had given the new party a consistent support level in the late-thirties, with her former party struggling to keep about 10%. But as the first boxes opened on the Saturday morning, there was much talk of what was termed “shy Tory syndrome”, where voters are embarrassed to admit to voting for certain (usually right wing) parties, but acting accordingly in the privacy of the polling booth.

Hennessy had been mocked when she had been elected in the disastrous (for FG) election of 2025 which had seen SF come to power. From a wealthy south Dublin family, Hennessy had proceeded to become one of the wealthiest people in the country when she founded the Banshee Group which manufactured both civilian and military drones. She had rapidly become disheartened with FG in opposition, and the prevailing belief that some sort of natural electoral pendulum would restore the party to power eventually. Watching SF in power, she simply did not accept that, and speaking in a debate in UCD (in what the media would call The Belfield Platform) she took no prisoners and outlined a broadly right wing view of how Ireland should proceed.

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What if…a right-wing populist was elected President of Ireland (Part 2.)

Previously in the future…

https://jasonomahony.ie/what-if-a-right-wing-populist-was-elected-president-of-ireland/#more-19793

 

A populist right-wing former radio pundit has narrowly been elected President of Ireland, to the shock and disgust of certain parts of Irish society. The Taoiseach has visited the new president to remind him of his constitutional duty to sign new legislation…

The president placed the constitution on the table.

“That says you need my signature on every bill.”

“It also says you are required to promulgate every bill,” the Taoiseach said. Her attorney general had drilled the point into her.

“Whatever promulgate means. But what if I refuse to sign? Are you going to get a few lads in balaclavas to force my hand across the page?”

She ignored the jibe.

“No, article 14 is very clear. If you refuse to carry out any function, a commission consisting of the chief justice, ceann comhairle and cathoirleach can sign instead.”

“Grand, then. That effectively means I can publicly reject legislation without bringing down the country?”

The Taoiseach shrugged.

The following weeks saw the president, a prolific Twitter and Tik Tok user during the campaign, use the social platform for relatively mild observations. It was only when a new hate speech bill was put before the Oireachtas that he stirred.

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What if…blue state governors decided to implement the Second Amendment in full?

 

 

The meeting between the Governors of California, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, and ten other states were effectively a formality. The final details of a document had already been negotiated by their political staff, and the decision to meet in Independence Hall, in the Pennsylvania state house was deliberate.

The Independence Hall Compact, or IHC as it was called was purposely launched in the same place both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed.

The governor of New Mexico was chosen to lead the press conference to avoid the impression that it was just north-eastern states traditionally liberal states that had signed the agreement.

The governor introduced the group, and explained the core objective. Gun crime was out of control, and action had to be taken. The hard-right US Supreme Court had essentially ruled that the Second Amendment prevented significant action against individual gun owners.

In that light, the governor announced, they were going to try something new. They were going to enforce a plain text reading of the Second Amendment, in full, in their states.

“The amendment is very clear. It reads “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” We shall defend and apply the amendment to the letter. We shall require every gunowner to register and train with state militias that we shall form, as the amendment demands.”

The response from Fox News and others on the right was hysterical. Right-wing scholars were quick to point out that many jurists believed that the first section of the amendment was merely an observation, as opposed to an obligation.

The governor addressed this head on.

Quite simply, he said, we disagree. We are going to require every loyal citizen of our states, who owns a gun, to play their role as required of them by the Founding Fathers. We will insist that the Second Amendment be respected in full.

The plans were well-advanced, and ready to go within days of the launch. The new militias would be locally-based, and headed up by retired veterans and former US Marine drill sergeants, and the first meetings were relaxed affairs where many legal gunowners just turned up to understand what the plan was.

The governors had been very careful in their preparation: the first meetings were very informal, and more akin to well-run gun clubs. Locals were asked to vouch for each other, and many of the militias were immediately challenging neighboring militias to good-natured shooting competitions. Every meeting started with the officer in charge stressing they were not there to take anybody’s guns, but to encourage good practice and responsible ownership. Requests for LGBTQ and other minority militia groups were agreed to, and soon those militias were being trained and drilled.

One black militia group decided to drill in tailor-made uniforms based on the US Army civil war blues. The sight of 200 black men and women marching with AR15s behind a poster of Lincoln and John Brown, singing the Battle Cry of Freedom, sent the resident hysteric on Fox News into emotional breakdown, and he screamed at the camera that this was a communist plot and called on all gunowners to refuse to participate.

Many gunowners were indeed suspicious, but the vast majority of gunowners in America are also law-abiding, and indeed many of them felt that the NRA was not speaking for them.

A particular incident in Virginia set the tone for the proposal when a group of far-right NRA supporters turned up at a meeting with the intention of disrupting it. The scene was familiar, a group of angry people in body armour and brandishing semi-automatic rifles, standing about as if they were some sort of security force.

When they attempted to enter the local community hall being used for the event, the commandant of the militia, a retired marine colonel, stopped them at the door to inquire were they coming with the intention of registering themselves and their weapons to join the militia?

When the expletives started he refused them entry. Things got heated, and he gave the signal. Suddenly, the intruders found themselves surrounded by the state militia, all shielded behind walls and vehicles and pointing their guns at them. A local news team filmed the event, and the withdrawal at speed of the hardliners unused to not being the only armed group on the scene provided much material for late night comedians.

The NRA and the Republicans vowed to take the actions of the governors to the Supreme Court, and pundits predicted that the court would indeed rule that the governors were wrong. But as one pundit pointed out: by the time the court does strike down the law, the state militias will be active, with thousands of moderate legal gunowners who will have found that it is not a plot to take their guns but also a place for friendship and sensible gun practice, and at worse the court can strike down the requirement to join a militia, but not the militias themselves. The fact that all militia members had access to a confidential line to report someone they felt should not have a gun resulted in a lot of tip-offs to state police, and stopped a number of potential mass shootings.

As for the issue as to what states should do with those gun owners who refuse to register with their local militia, the state police were quick to target extremists and move against them, whilst writing to most others inviting them to join. The social side of the state militia, with the inter-militia competitions, focus on training of civilians in sensible gun ownership and family BBQs, all funded by the state governments, ensured that the membership of the militias grew steadily. The elevation of the militia shooting championships into a national competition also spiked membership by appealing to Americans’ inherent competitiveness.

The raids by SWAT teams on targeted extremists was leapt on by the far-right as proof of “they’re coming for our guns!” but the governors were quick to juxtapose those men with their Nazi flags and the families at State Militia events enjoying themselves, their weapons safely holstered, prizes been awarded for shooting excellence, and huge amounts of BBQ being devoured.

In non-militia states the debates went in unusual directions. The sight of black, Hispanic, gay and Islamic Americans drilling with semi-automatic weapons caused alarm and calls for state militias to be formed in those states, which in turn created states problems as they had passed knee jerk laws to ban state militias and any form of registration or list taking “by the guvm’nt” after the IHC.

“How the hell am I supposed to form a state militia when I’m barred by law from writing anybody’s name down?” The Mississippi Secretary of State asked.

When the case finally reached the Supreme Court, the California attorney general led the case against the Texas AG. The California case was straight forward: a plain text reading of the amendment at best does link gun ownership and militia ownership, and at worst this is a case for the states to decide. She summed up by being very blunt: in her opinion, it is not just the Second Amendment on trial here but the court itself. The court overturned Roe Vs Wade by saying it wasn’t up to judges to legislate, and the letter of the constitution must be kept to.

“If you overturn the compact, your honours, the message is clear. That the court is effectively a partisan third chamber of the legislature, bending from states rights and plain text to judicial activism as it suits the pursuit of a specific political agenda. This is a matter for the states to decide. The wording is clear, and your ruling will tell us whether you are a court of impartiality, or a de facto House of Republican Lords.”

What if…King Charles III sought a democratic mandate?

The British prime minister brushed her sweeping blonde hair back from her eyes, giving herself a moment to consider what the new king had just asked her. It had to be said: Charles had taken on the mantle of sovereign before her eyes, with surprising ease.

Yes, he had spent his whole life waiting for this moment, as had the country, but the transformation from gangly awkward youth to a more well-filled figure had made him look, quite simply, more like a king.

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What if?: The Pro-Life Amendment of 1983: an alternative history.

Wrote this about four years ago.

Please note: this is a work of FICTION.

But for Deputy Martin Faraday, it could all have been so different. The Irish government, pressurised by a politically active Pro Life Campaign (PLC), would still have held a referendum in 1983 to insert an anti-abortion clause into Ireland’s constitution. The 8th amendment to the constitution would still have overwhelmingly passed, declaring that the state would vindicate and defend the right to life of the unborn. Then Ireland would have continued on its “Do as I say, not as I do” way, turning a blind eye to its women leaving the jurisdiction to seek abortions in the UK. The PLC would celebrate their surreal victory as the one pro-life organisation in the world which celebrates not what happens to a foetus, but where it happens. An Irish solution, as it were, to an Irish problem.

The problem, however, was that Martin Faraday was that rare beast in Irish politics, a politician who actually believed what he said. A devout Catholic, the young deputy from Kilkenny was tall, handsome, charismatic, and had led his native county to victory in the GAA hurling championship in 1979. Although socially conservative, Faraday nevertheless had respect on the liberal left for his consistency, speaking out just as strongly on issues of poverty and on opposition to the death penalty. Many spoke of him as a future cabinet minister, perhaps even party leader.

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