As far as I’m concerned, one of the principal tenets of “progressive” political thinking is that it does not matter who you are, where you come from nor whom you love; your equal place in society should be protected.
There’s going to be much reporting around the world about Ireland electing its first gay Taoiseach who is also the son of an immigrant. This will no doubt be added to the marriage referendum result to imply that we are an ever-evolving tolerant country.
On a personal level, of course Deputy Varadkar should be congratulated but if he is to lead the country in a manner that matches his rhetoric and his ministerial performance over the years, then Ireland’s true opposition must continue on it’s path to break the Civil War duopoly’s grip on power.
What Ireland actually needs is its first Progressive Taoiseach. One who has issues like health, education, housing and social justice as their priorities for government.
I know that sentence would invite howls of derisive laughter from most Irish political experts. At best, it would be met with patronising talk about naivety with regard to how things work on these shores. Our Taoiseach can only be the leader of Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael and that’s simply the Irish political reality, they would no doubt say.
Well, the way I see it, if we’re not at least prepared to talk about it, then it definitely won’t happen. You want to see Ireland’s first Progressive Taoiseach? Then say it out loud. “I want to see Ireland’s First Progressive Taoiseach”. Now, say it out loud to someone else who would probably agree with you. Then say it to someone who would probably laugh at you and when they do, keep your head held high and be sure to say it again next time you see them.
I believe it’s a conversation that can grow over time if we truly want it. Issues such as #Right2Water, #RepealThe8th, social housing, the hospital trolley crisis, LGBTQ rights and immigrant rights provide a common thread that runs through communities up and down the country. It surely can’t be that hard to bring them together and move the country in a new direction that is fair to all.
Who would this first Progressive Taoiseach be? Who knows. Now is not the time to name names. Now is the time to get active and join the conversation.
One thing’s for sure…anyone who points out that we have at least had a Tánaiste or two from a party which called itself the “Progressive Democrats” can go to the back of the class!
Meanwhile, Stephen Fry has won the internet tonight I reckon.
I keep hearing on the news that Ireland has its first openly gay teashop. Happy for them, but Brighton has had at least 7 since the 60s.
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) June 2, 2017