At The Margins

Popular thinking on crisis swept aside – The Irish Times – Tue, Apr 13, 2010

I cite these two examples in order to suggest that something extraordinary has happened to our public discourse about the crisis. Given the right-wing domination of our political and media cultures, it is not at all odd that radical dissent has been marginalised. (Even the word “marginalised” suggests, wrongly, that it was anything but marginal in the first place.) What is much harder to grasp, however, is that mainstream, rational analysis has been marginalised too.

‘Public discourse’ in Ireland is a sick joke. Perhaps Fintan O’Toole thinks he’s living in the last days of a liberal democratic state in which Arnoldian sweet reasonableness can win the day every now and again, rather as a genteel ambassador in some far-flung clime might emerge from under the wreckage of a devastating earthquake, still clutching, intact, the bottle of sherry he was about to pour out for his associates.

Well, good for him. The airwaves and the newspapers are thronged with middle-class national-corporatist drones whose notion of democratic politics derives in equal parts from The Scorpions’ Wind of Change and this one time their father cornered them in the bathroom about what a great man TK Whitaker was. Do you think they give a fisted pig about anything so grand as democracy, justice or reason? Do you think they ever did? If you do, I have some asbestos sleeping bags in my van which provide a sound night’s sleep at very reasonable prices.

Ireland is not a ‘democracy’: it’s an oligarchy with democratic pretensions, one of which is to allow for a few whirling dervishes of mildly radical inclination to do a nice animated dance before the public, a nice little sideshow to the main event of people who count getting on with the business of deluding and screwing the working class. For their own good. ‘Twas ever thus, I suppose, but its quality was never so unadulterated.

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2 Responses to “At The Margins”


  1. 1 Mark April 13, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    True. And don’t get me started on “The Republic”.

  2. 2 Hugh Green April 14, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Ah yes, the ‘Republic of Ireland’. It would be an improvement, I suppose.


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