Spongebob, Bein’ A Manager’s A Tough Job

Should I be angry with my dog for not laying eggs for my tea, or should I just let him be? What if he’s dressed up as a big feathery chicken, and every now and again his bark sounds like a cluck? What if it turns out that I live in a town where no-one has had eggs for their tea for generations, and the historical memory of eggs relates to dogs dressed up as chickens who talk -yes, in my world, dogs can talk- about how they’re the proud bearers of a tradition of egg-laying dating back to way back hen, but who don’t seem to do much else to differentiate themselves from all the other dogs apart from wearing chicken suits?

I am talking, of course, about the Irish Labour Party. Man, I really ought to get beyond thinking about the Labour Party. But there’s an election coming up. I’m not one of those lunatics who believes that voting in an election is a solemn privilege or that the only civic involvement in democracy is the vote, nor do I think  there is some magical property to your vote that registers an effect even if your wishes are entirely ignored. But I don’t think it’s always completely pointless either, since there can be considerable material differences of consequence depending on the actual outcome of the vote.

Nor can anyone with an interest in seeing a better world ignore the fact that, whether you like it or not, and I certainly don’t like it very much, many people do believe that periodic elections are the sole legitimate instrument of political expression accorded to the population, and how they perceive politics is affected greatly by what they observe in the course of the electoral campaign. And given that the Labour Party is featuring heavily in electoral coverage as a party on the move and also as a party of the left, featuring even as ‘radicals‘ in this Guardian piece, I do not think it a good idea to pay them no heed at all.

Now with that said, I think James Connolly’s observation from more than a century back still holds true: that ‘the democracy of Parliament is in short the democracy of Capitalism. Capitalism gives to the worker the right to choose his master, but insists that the fact of mastership shall remain unquestioned’. And with this in mind, when the Labour Party claims to be the heir to James Connolly,  it is a bit like George W. Bush claiming to be carrying out Jesus’s will.

Nonetheless I am sure there are lots of people with whom I agree on a lot of things who believe they have very good reasons to be members of the Labour Party and, you know, maybe, just maybe, when I have been plied with rohypnol and tequila and taken to a darkened motel room in the middle of the night, I might concede that, in their terms, they have some justification. But in the cold light of day, my own rap sheet against Labour is mammoth, and includes, but is not confined to, the following:

  • In terms of their historical intended purpose, social democratic parties have pretty much kicked the bucket across Europe. The idea that owners and investors in firms can be given largely free rein to do whatever they want with their surpluses in exchange for some worker protections, in a grand deal between labour and capital, doesn’t look too clever these days, seeing as social democratic political parties are tripping over themselves to clobber workers across Europe on behalf of unelected, unaccountable ‘markets’. Though I would find it hard to argue that Labour is a social democratic party by the standards of other such parties in Europe anyway. How is Eamon Gilmore’s ‘One Ireland’ of ’employers and employees’ substantially different from Brian Cowen’s ‘new politics that cherishes all sections and interests of our people irrespective of class‘?
  • Labour -whatever the position of its individual members and whatever Pat Kenny, the Irish Independent and The Irish Times say-  isn’t a left-wing party. Just because you dress a dog up as a chicken doesn’t mean it will lay eggs. However, after its leadership’s bout of violent red-baiting last week, it seems to be striking a more strident left-leaning pose, with Gilmore criticising Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s ‘Celtic Toryism’. Boo! Hiss! And yet, when you look into the fine print of its ‘plan for stability and growth’ -and let us note in passing that ‘stability and growth’ echoes the dogmatic and procrustean neo-liberalism of the Eurozone’s Stability and Growth Pact- you can see that it is not anti-austerity as such, but merely anti ‘excessive’ austerity. Now, reduction of budget deficits is not necessarily a bad idea. But, as Ha-Joon Chang -hardly a Marxist revolutionary- points out: ‘the appropriate level of budget deficit can only be decided according to the state of the economy. Of course, we may disagree on what the appropriate level may be for each situation, but any economically literate plan for spending cuts should specify the amounts of cut with reference to economic indicators – economic growth rate, unemployment rate, house prices, level of private sector investment, and so on – and not in terms of calendar dates, which has no economic meaning.’ So it seems that what the Labour Party -which claims to be the heir of James Connolly and Jim Larkin- plans on doing, with workers in the throes of the gravest capitalist crisis in living memory, is to present itself as left-wing outriders, opposing the swingeing crooks of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, by, um, slashing and burning a little less, in order to meet the optimum conditions demanded by the Eurozone capitalist class, gunning for a budget deficit of 3% by 2016. How do you like dem left-wing apples? Something to bear in mind when the Labour leader declares that “it’s Frankfurt’s way or Labour’s way“.
  • The recent penchant for saying mildly angry things about the European Union, like when it says the rates Ireland is being charged for the EU ‘bailout’ are ‘at odds with core principles’, should be taken with a shovelful of salt. The neoliberal dogma of European policy élites holds, as Vicenç Navarro notes here, that if the PIIGS had behaved themselves and had been as disciplined as the states of the countries of the centre and the north of the Eurozone with their public spending, they would not find themselves in their current situation. This, Navarro notes, is despite the fact that the current crisis has been engendered by the private sector, and that the public spend per capita and social spend per capita for PIIGS countries, including Ireland, are well below the EU-15 average.  But Ruairi Quinn -who is regaining prominence in the party- said back in May that not only was there  ‘no intellectual disagreement in political Ireland against the necessity for the macroeconomic measures‘ but, in full-throated approval of EU policy élites’ dogma, that “instead of learning to behave like Germans [Ireland] continued to act like Italians, or should I say Greeks.” Nor was he too concerned about the ‘core principles’ violated by usurious lending rates: au contraire, he cheerily pointed out that Ireland was ‘going to make a bit of money out of this’.
  • Sticking with Europe. The Labour Party -and this is really where it is a matter of questioning how much you should complain about a dog dressed up as a chicken for not laying eggs- gave wholehearted support to the Lisbon Treaty, plying the population about glittering generalities about how wonderful Europe is, either ignoring or endorsing the neo-liberal character of the treaty.  Perhaps -if one were to expect the Labour Party to represent worker interests over bosses’ interests, and not a One Ireland of ’employers and employees’ (remember Marx’s dictum that ‘between equal rights, force decides)- it might have been also reasonable to expect it to have been a little bit more circumspect in explaining the implications of that treaty.
  • The Chilean President. OK, this is a fairly minor objection. But that Gilmore interview that was the main source of the Joan Burton controversy on Vincent Browne last week featured a steely promise from Gilmore that he would take matters in hand the way Sebastián Piñera had done with the Chilean miners’ rescue. Piñera is a right-wing billionaire whose brother served under Augusto Pinochet: the perfect figure on whom to model your aspirations to government managerialism.

But with all that said, and I could go on, some people are suggesting that I should transfer to Labour in the upcoming election in order to keep Fine Gael out. I have no principles regarding maintaining some sort of communicative sanctity in my voting activities: if a certain order transfers will serve to keep an even more right-wing figure out of government, well, it stinks to high heaven, but I would do it if I thought it made sense (though this may be an idle boast: I have never actually done it). You only have to look at the revanchist vandals installled in the UK at the moment to realise that even if dominant political parties are all subservient to ‘the markets’, there can still be a significant difference in the viciousness of the policies that get implemented. And yet I am not so sure that a vote for Labour would, in fact, significantly mitigate the EU-IMF enema coming down the line. A few months back I wrote that a Labour party in government would push through the austerity measures with even greater enthusiasm because they would be able to make claims to left egalitarianism while doing so, with the wholehearted endorsement of the press. Not a lot has happened in the interim to tell me that this will not happen if Labour does well at the polls. But if you disagree, I’m all ears.

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20 Responses to “Spongebob, Bein’ A Manager’s A Tough Job”


  1. 1 John mcdermott February 5, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Excellent article.The Labour Party-left wing.? my back side!.
    David Beggites one and all.The Irish banks are buster than bust.
    Foe how much longer will their Euro masters (Fritz and Hans bosses in Frankfurt) keep replenishing their cash?
    By the way how is Iceland doing? will they be a role model in 5 years time, for what we should have done?

  2. 3 Patrick Martin February 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    The author of this vapid indictment of the Labour Party prefaces his rap sheet with an attack on parliamentary democracy itself. No one would argue that casting a vote is the “the sole legitimate instrument of political expression” but it should not be dismissed so blithely. The ability to consign an incumbent to political oblivion is precisely what the oppressed masses in Tahrir Square are fighting for. Connolly of course was referring to the Tory-Whig seesaw parliamentary system of the early twentieth century not our current albeit imperfect parliamentary democracy.

    The author’s “rap sheet” is a litany of poorly researched cheap shots. Firstly, it is in the interest of workers that we have a functioning economy with thriving business. Is the author in favour of clobbering business or perhaps nationalizing it? Is the author criticising Labour for not abandoning capitalism altogether? Social Democracy is about ensuring that capitalism functions in the interests of all in society not the privileged few as it has done under the calamitous Fianna Fáil-Green administration. The truncated “One Ireland” Quote needs to be corrected. What was actually said was; “Labour’s vision is the vision of One Ireland. Where we are driven by what unites us, not what divides us. Our country is too small, and our problems are too great, to indulge in divisions, or solo-runs, or sectional interests.” (http://www.labour.ie/blog/2011/02/01/together-we-can-change-way-country-is-run-and-fix-broken-system/ )

    Labour unlike other left wing parties voted consistently against the bank guarantee. It has also consistently argued for a renegotiation of the botched IMF-ECB-EU bailout. To accuse Labour of being fixated with dates is utter nonsense. Labour has always argued that the front loading of austerity will kill recovery and that the interest rate of the bailout should be reviewed. (http://www.joanburton.ie/economy-jobs-finance/unbalanced-finance-bill-must-go-back-to-drawing-board ). To pretend that Fianna Fail did not bankrupt the country, that the IMF-ECB-EU bailout is not needed and that no austerity measures whatsoever have to be taken as Sinn Féin and ULA do is irresponsible fairy-tale politics that can only be maintained by parties who have wilfully consigned themselves to perpetual opposition.

    The author is correct in one respect; Labour has always opposed the Euro-scepticism of the British-based Trotskyist left. At the risk of re-opening the Lisbon debate, which articles in the Lisbon Treaty does the author find “neo liberal” in character? Perhaps the author is in favour of protectionism in Europe and the elimination of free movement of workers. Perhaps the author fears the Social Chapter enshrined in the European Treaties will result in European Socialism creeping across borders as the British Tories do.

    Does it need to be said that admiring the organisation of a mining rescue is not the same as an endorsement of the Pinochet regime? That really is the pièce de résistence of his litany of cheap shots.

    Labour in government will indeed push through austerity measures and has never denied this. And yes this will be done by a party that espouses principals of social justice.

    If successful, the far left’s attempt to balkanize the left wing electorate will result in a Fine Gael-led coalition or worse a Fine Gael one-party government. If the author seriously believes that socialism is part of the solution to the current crisis, he should vote Labour on February 25th.

    • 4 montrose February 6, 2011 at 1:15 am

      Some good points here Martin. Will you be bringing these up with Paul Gogarty when you have your lunch date?

      And fair play to you to try to bring the Green Party into the fold – don’t listen to what everyone else is saying about you.

    • 5 Hugh Green February 6, 2011 at 1:25 am

      Well, in answer to your opening remarks that seem to imply I harbour anti-democratic inclinations, I would stress that there’s no such thing as ‘parliamentary democracy itself’, since it’s fruitless, if not downright obfuscatory, to consider a system of representation in isolation from the society in which that system operates. So what Connolly was saying, and what you have ignored with your self-serving historicising, is that the relations of production in a society have a decisive effect on the character of its political institutions. And so in a capitalist society, then as now, whatever democratic power there is in the legislative assembly is decisively limited by the interests and priorities of capitalists. So no, I’m not against parliamentary democracy, but I recognise that capitalism dilutes, subverts and destroys democracy, through attacks on organised labour, media manipulation, dismantling of public services, the privatisation of the commons, and so on. And this being the case, I make no apology for desiring the overthrow of capitalism. Your belief that capitalism can be made to function for the many, not just a privileged elite, strikes me as an anachronism. Even if it were true that Social Democracy could, in this age, put the brakes on the massive destruction being wrought by the overwhelming concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a privileged few, for it to regain the potential to do so would require a round of massive strikes and protests, bringing the machinery of capital to a standstill. We would be talking about mass action on a scale unseen in Post-War Western Europe. So the principled position for a self-described social democrat would not be timid come-hither noises to right-wing parties, along with warning noises to the public about how you’ll get an even more right-wing government if you don’t vote Labour. Nor would it be the propagation of silly fantasies about how the Lisbon Treaty is a sort of Trojan Horse for socialism (if only). Nor would it be the acquiescence in austerity measures demanded by the EU and the IMF (which apart from anything else will not lead to economic growth). Rather, the principled position for a social democrat would be the advocacy of mass militancy. However the Labour Party does none of this because, well, stability, party of government, responsible opponents of fairy-tale politics etc.

      There was no need to correct the quote as there was nothing incorrect in the truncation. Gilmore says he believes in one Ireland of employees and employers. That is a pretty unambiguous admission that Labour does not see itself as a party of the working class but as a party that represents the interests of workers *and* bosses, a sort of Human Resources department to make sure Ireland Inc keeps ticking over. Anyway, the quote you approvingly cite is, to use your word, vapid.

      As for the other points, the ‘Euro-sceptic’ label won’t wash, I’m afraid. It might be a badge of pride for Tories, but it’s also a stupid smear when brandished by someone claiming to be on the left. It says: but how can this person not be a true believer in the evolution of institutions of the European Union? Why, it must be because he/she’s a Tory! Well, if you can’t see, for instance, how the prohibition on Member States restricting the movement of capital (Art. 63, I think) imbues the treaty with a neo-liberal character, there’s not much I can do for you. And as for your praise for the free movement of workers: yes, as *workers*, but not as political subjects, since there is no provision for migrants to vote in national elections of the state in which they reside (and Art. 16 of ECHR allows states to prevent aliens from exercising political rights).

      Regarding Piñera, it’s quite simple. It takes either blithe obliviousness or calculated indifference to the recent history of Chile, in particular the murderous repression of the Pinochet era and the Chicago School-driven experiments in free market fundamentalism, to name someone like Piñera as your role model. Either way, it was an eye-popping claim from someone who lays claim to a left-wing tradition. I find it hard to imagine James Connolly saying he wanted to emulate a mining magnate.

  3. 6 Patrick Martin February 6, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I’m curious Montrose; Does the habit of referring to people by their surnames stem from a British public school education? And yes I’d happily go to lunch with anyone of any political persuasion as long as they were paying. Seriously though, the impending demise of the Greens, while well-deserved and self-inflicted, is a tragedy for political discourse.

    Now Green old boy, or should I say Hugh, I’m glad you cleared that one up. The ultimate aim of those such as yourself associated with the United Left Alliance (correct me if I am wrong on this) is the overthrow of Capitalism. It is a shame that this is not highlighted more in the ULA’s manifesto. They seem to be somewhat shy about this core belief which is a shame because people on the left really need to know what the ULA is about. There is of course an obvious contradiction in your claiming to be a democrat and your wanting to overthrow capitalism, as the overthrow of capitalism can only be achieved by revolutionary means in the absence of any popular support. I would urge you to be clear on this point; how is capitalism to be brought to its knees?

    As for your aversion to the free movement of capital in the European Union, is this motivated by your belief in protectionism? Is protecting native capitalism a prelude to the overthrow of the system itself? Tories and the Catholic right in Ireland correctly argue that Europe has been a Trojan horse for socialism and social justice. Europe was responsible for making gender based wage discrimination illegal in Ireland and more recently witness the panic of Tories over the Working Time Directive and their desire to “repatriate social and employment back from the EU” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/7066898/Britains-working-time-directive-opt-out-under-threat.html). The British Trotskyite movement and the Tories do indeed have a lot in common; they are both political luddite movements when it comes to Europe.

    Nevertheless, I must concede that your rebuttal is essentially correct. If you seek the overthrow of capitalism by revolutionary means or otherwise, you should not vote Labour. Labour is a democratic party whose policies stem from a belief in social democracy and social justice. It is not a populist party of protest that has wilfully consigned itself to perpetual opposition.

    • 7 montrose February 6, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      “I’m curious Montrose; Does the habit of referring to people by their surnames stem from a British public school education?”

      haha!

      Funny, I seem to remember the Christian Brothers calling me by my surname all the time.

      Are the Christian Brothers part of the British public school system????

      Gasp!

      You should write a book Martin, it would be a shame to see those research skills go to waste.

    • 8 Hugh Green February 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      I have no idea why the overthrow of capitalism is not mentioned in ULA election literature. Maybe they don’t want to make promises to voters they can’t deliver on. But it’s hardly a secret that the Socialist Party and People Before Profit/Socialist Workers Party are opposed to capitalism. Indeed, you would have to wonder what sort of ‘people on the left’ in Ireland are unaware of this fact.

      an obvious contradiction in your claiming to be a democrat and your wanting to overthrow capitalism

      No there isn’t. Like I said, capitalism undermines democracy.

      as the overthrow of capitalism can only be achieved by revolutionary means in the absence of any popular support. I would urge you to be clear on this point; how is capitalism to be brought to its knees?

      Well there you go. You win popular support for the overthrow of capitalism and start from there.

      is this motivated by your belief in protectionism?

      This is just silly. I don’t believe in protectionism any more than I believe in wearing purple underpants every day, tthough I do recognise the obvious benefits of ‘protectionist’ measures to countries that wish to base their economies on the development of particular industries, and also the fact that the US, for instance, attained its pre-eminent position as a world economic power on account of ‘protectionist’ measures.

      As for progressive measures taken by the European Union. Well, I have never denied that they have introduced some. But that they did so is not on account of the bountiful nature of its institutions but the result of popular campaigns over long periods of time. Also, your accusation of ‘luddism’ reveals your own entrenched free-market faith more than any backward attitudes on my part (or, for that matter on the part of the original ‘Luddites’).

      If you seek the overthrow of capitalism by revolutionary means or otherwise, you should not vote Labour

      I appreciate your assistance in clearing this matter up.

  4. 9 montrose February 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Mind you, it is a distinctly English mindset to believe that opposition to the right-wing core of the Labour Party equates to Trotskyism.

    Communist Party of Ireland members who joined Labour in the late 1970s and early 1980s posed a greater threat to the conservative block in the party han the Trotsky ewoks of Higgins et al.

    But to know that would require a knowledge of Labour Left in the 1980s.

    and a knowledge of the history of the Irish Labour Party.

    and then, of course, there’s Sinn Féin…

    Methinks you’ve been reading too many New Labour biographies my dear boy.

    That Trot stuff is so English!

  5. 10 CMK February 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Patrick, I understand Labour are a bit depressed by the overthrow of their fraternal comrade Ben Ali in Tunisia, and I’m certain every Labour party member & branch are rooting for Comrade Hosni. No doubt those tanks ringing Tahrir Square will soon show those democratic hoodlums that there’s only so far you push an honest-to-god Social Democrat, before he snaps.

    Quite apart from Patrick’s gibberish, for that’s what it is, the institutional links between the Irish Labour Party (and most other European Labour parties) and Mubarak’s repressive regime and Ben Ali’s dictatorship completely undermines the Labour Party’s human rights policies over the past 22 years. At a stroke it shows Michael D. Higgins to be colossal hypocrite.

    It’s clear by the rhetoric emanating from the Labour Party, and it’s emissaries to the lefty blogosphere, that the party is gearing up to destroy the Left. The know that they’re a right wing, increasingly Thatcherite, party whose members also know that in the forthcoming government they will betray every principle they ever held. Deep down they can intuitively sense the shameful behaviour they’re going to engage in and to compensate for this they’re taking a scorched earth approach to the socialist Left, SF and anyone else who has the temerity to point out just how horrendous the forthcoming FG/Lab government will be.

    In five years time expect Labour to be a similar state to that currently occupied by the Greens. Worn out, exhausted, demoralised, paranoid, self-absorbed but lacking self-awareness, bovine and waiting for inevitable electoral annihilation.

  6. 11 CMK February 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Oh, and great article, by the way Hugh.

  7. 13 Patrick Martin February 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Hugh, thank you for clearing up so many points. One small quibble however; you cite an anti-protectionist measure in the Treaty as evidence of Europe‘s “neo-liberal” character and then state that you are not protectionist which would imply you support anti protectionist measures although somewhat flaccidly in that it is important to you as the colour of your undergarments. However, you then go on to proclaim the virtues of protectionism by highlighting the economic dominance of the United States as evidence of that virtue at least for Americans. As my previous posts reveal, I am unfamiliar with the Trotskyite mindset, but would logic not suggest that the American worker would be poorer in the long run if America decided to obstruct the free movement of capital within its borders? Is America not economically dominant precisely because it is a vast free-trade area and should Europeans not do the same in Europe? You associate free-trade with “neo-liberalism” which let’s face it is a meaningless moniker coined I suspect by French sociologists. After all, liberalism, neo or otherwise, is for Tea-Party Americans synonymous with Socialism. Would not the rampant unregulated capitalism started in the Reagan-Thatcher era and responsible for our current misery not be better described as Chicago-School Conservatism or even neo-Conservatism. At the risk of repeating myself, the reason Europe is feared so much by British conservatives and the far right in general is that it is not Conservative and is dominated by Social Democratic thinking. Even allowing for the electoral success of the CDU in Germany and the UMP in France, Social Democratic values are firmly entrenched in the political culture of those countries and indeed most of Europe. Ireland and, since the 1980s, the UK are quite exceptional.

    While you may not be a liberal, I am relieved and heartened that you are at least a democrat as you state that you are prepared to wait for popular support before you embark on the overthrow of capitalism. Now while we are waiting, and believe me I think we have time, you might help me on a point made by the person hiding behind the nom de plume of “CMK”. It seems that there was some European socialist conference where Ben Ali and his henchmen managed to slip past the bouncers. What conference was this and when did it take place? Obviously, if this happened, that organisation is to be condemned as is the Labour party for participating in it. However, in defence of the Labour Party, it is a member of the Socialist International. The only Tunisian representation in that organisation is the Forum démocratique pour le travail et les libertés (التكتل الديمقراطي من أجل العمل والحريات) which was a principal actor in the “mouvement du 18 octobre” that ousted Ben Ali. To impute Labour support for Ben Ali is yet another cheap shot at Social Democrats at which you and your commentators are admittedly so adept.

    Finally, I can only urge you and your ilk to stop taking pot shots at Labour and to be more forthright in your advancement of the cause of the overthrow of capitalism and free enterprise. You should encourage the ULA to proclaim to their prospective voters that clobbering business is a fundamental aim of that organisation and regale them with tales of a future without capitalism; just please emphasize that the Labour Party has nothing to with that particular goal.

    • 14 Hugh Green February 9, 2011 at 10:34 am

      Patrick,

      Your first point makes no sense. Support for ‘protectionist’ measures is a matter of degree. For instance I doubt you support the immediate dismantling of immigration controls, even though immigration controls are a blatant protectionist measure.

      Your second point makes no sense. For one, I’m not a ‘Trotskyite’. Second, there is a difference between free trade as an actual fact and free trade as an ideological fig-leaf for rich countries’ exploitation of poor countries and ratcheting down of worker wages e.g. NAFTA.

      Regarding the matter of neo-liberalism as ‘a meaningless moniker coined I suspect by French sociologists’, this is an interesting point of view. In one of his books, French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu quotes Valéry Giscard D’Estaing as advocating the use of neo-liberalism as an appropriate term to describe the updating of classic liberal economic doctrine. In any case, its meaninglessness has been lost on Labour Party president Michael D. Higgins, who sees its influence in Europe as all-encompassing:

      I was President of the Council of Culture Ministers and of the Council of Audio-Visual Ministers of the European Union in 1996 when we sought to resist the definition of film as simply a commodity. I witnessed the victory of the neo-Liberal market theorists over nearly all aspects of life.

      and

      Today, there are few forums, academics or journalistic, where it is acceptable to raise an ethical, political or social reservation to the hegemonic discourse of neo-liberal market economics.

      So you seem to be saying that Michael D. Higgins is speaking Tea Party language. You should really stop taking potshots at the Labour Party.

  8. 15 Mark February 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Finally, I can only urge you and your ilk to stop taking pot shots at Labour…
    You’re not doing them any favours yourself brother. Genuinely depressing reading. Almost makes me want to vote Fine Gael.

  9. 16 CMK February 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Patrick, google “Ben Ali+Socialist International” and you’ll see the connection between Labour and Ben Ali. Or maybe you won’t.

    And why do Labour insist on calling anyone to their left a ‘Trotskyite’? A label that sent hundreds of thousands to their deaths, but one happily co-opted by Labour. Strange.

  10. 17 CMK February 11, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Patrick! Patrick! Patrick! Paaaatttricckkk!!!! Are you still there?

    • 18 Patrick Martin February 16, 2011 at 2:32 pm

      Yes I am CMK. I did as you instructed and google came up with the following http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/tunisia-politics.85x
      Ben Ali did not evade the bouncers at the Socialist International forever. As you know he was sacked from that organization. Even if this “sacking” was shamefully late in the day it nevertheless puts paid to your pot shot about Labour supporting Ben Ali. If you wish to know what Tunisian organization is represented in the Socialist International you might read my comments above again. By the way if you read the last paragraph of the link you will see that Ben Ali has links with the EPP of which Fine Gael is a member. Amazed that this didn’t catch your eye or maybe you are only interested in trashing parties on the left. That acutally has some logic as one of your fellow commentators seems to be on the brink of supporting FG (See Mark above). Who would have thought that FG would hold such an appeal to ULA supporters. Maybe you believe that having Inda as taoiseach it the quickest route to bringing down capitalism and I must admit you may have a point.


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