So I was flicking through my twitter feed today, desperate to find something, ANYthing that didn’t make reference to US presidents apologising for racists. I noticed this –
I’ve gotten to know lots of SD activists. The notion that these principled, decent people would give it all up for Alan Kelly & Labour 🙄
— Dermot Looney (@dlooney) August 17, 2017
Dermot Looney is a local councillor to me and I have followed his tweets for a while. He is talking about this article in the Irish Examiner where Labour TD and former Environment Minister Alan Kelly suggested that the Social Democrats should merge with his own Labour Party. An interesting proposition. Interesting in that it’s so laughable and smacks of desperation.
I made a grave mistake in 2011. Not only did I vote for Labour, I backed their going into government. I thought with such a strong contingent in the Dáil they’d be able to implement a decent portion of their manifesto. I was very, very, wrong.
On the contrary, while they certainly did not do nothing in government (bringing Educate Together into the Irish school system wasn’t nothing and despite all the austerity they managed to keep union strikes at arms length), they were an absolute failure at accentuating any positives and were attacked from all sides to become yet another minority partner of an Irish coalition to be devastated by the electorate.
So is there any way back for them? Well with this ‘new politics’ we seem to be ‘enjoying’ now, they have been able to get policies pushed further down the Leinster House canal than they might have before, but is that enough?
Well I can tell you one thing…courting other parties on the ‘left’ to join them isn’t their answer, at least if they ever want me to take a punt on them again. In fact, now that I think of it, only one thing would turn my head.
I want the Labour Party to pledge that they will never again form a government in this country until it’s one they can lead.
Prefereably I’d want to broaden the scope of the pledge to say they’d go in with any ‘left-wing’ government but since Sinn Féin are considered ‘left’ that just wouldn’t do.
Now don’t get me wrong – I know they would never make such a pledge. They’d continue to use the ‘watchdog’ argument for going in with either FF or FG even though it has failed to materialize so many times.
But for me, if they really want any hope of getting a sizeable vote at a general election they have no choice but to lead the resistance to the FF/FG monopoly – in fact, if there are any two parties on this island Alan Kelly should suggest merge it’s them.
The way things stand now, the Roisin Shortalls and the Joan Collins and the Mick Wallaces of this world do nothing but mock Brendan Howlin’s party, and from his own rhetoric the feeling appears mutual.
Perhaps my idea is folly but Labour will need to do something otherwise more of their ranks, including Dermot Looney himself, will defect to parties like the Social Democrats. JLP