Saturday, 11 October 2014

Great Britain and the Irish Republic: United today in saying no to the crooked establishment

Readers, I would like to thank those of you who took part in anti-TTIP actions across the UK today, whether you leafleted, canvassed, asked people to sign petitions, or otherwise. We need to do our best to defeat both TTIP and CETA (Comprehensive European Trade Agreement) both of which are corporate power-grabs which will undermine our standards, our democratic rights, and our environmental protections if they are ever passed.

I also ask you to only vote for parties which oppose such agreements and instead call for fair trade-which means the Green Party since the other four largest UK political parties (Labour, Lib Dem, Conservative, and UKIP) support such agreements and the neoliberal capitalist model in general.

Meanwhile over in Ireland, two Dail by-elections yesterday showed a collective rejection of the establishment there (that is Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour).

The most decisive of these was Dublin South West, where the Socialist Party of Ireland, standing under the Anti-Austerity Alliance label, gained another TD in the form of Paul Murphy, Ireland's Socialist MEP from 2009 to 2014 when People Before Profit split the Socialist vote enough to cost Paul his European seat. This time, however, Paul won after eight counts in a tight contest with Sinn Fein's not-as-left-wing candidate, Cathal King, who nevertheless polled an impressive 30.3% of the 1st preference vote, compared to 27.2% of the 1st preference vote for Paul. As for People Before Profit's vote splitter,Nicky Coules, his attempt (unlike Brid Smith's) failed badly, as he finished eighth out of eleven, and did not even poll enough votes to be able to reclaim election expenses. Nor did the Green candidate, Francis Duffy, who finished ninth, although he performed better than in 2011.
It is time for the left in Ireland to reunite in time for the next general election there in 2016 and avoid vote splitting to defeat the Fine Gael-Labour coalition and prevent Fianna Fail's return to power.

Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, and Labour were the real losers in this by-election,however. Their candidates, Cait Keane, Pamela Kearns, and John Lahart, polled just 8.8%, 8.5%, and 8.6% of the 1st preference vote respectively-even if these vote shares were combined, they still would not have defeated either Paul or Cathal. Water charges, which are unfair and unjust especially with the high unemployment that still exists in Ireland, were the key issue in the Dublin South West by-election, and the voters of Dublin South West correctly and effectively said, 'stick yer feckin' water charges up yer capitalist ****!'

Over in rural Roscommon-South Leitrim, Independent turf-owner Michael Fitzmaurice was elected, despite the best efforts of Fianna Fail's Ivan Connaughton, who failed to be elected as one of Roscommon-South Leitrim's TDs in 2011. Fine Gael's Maura Hopkins, the only woman in this contest, meanwhile finished third-Connacht, where these counties lie, is pretty conservative socially and psephologically by Irish standards. Sinn Fein made a strong advance but their candidate, Martin Kenny, just could not get enough useful transfers in the end to make the final counts. Another disappointment here in my opinion is that of young entrepreneur Emmet Concorran, who despite having some reasonably fresh ideas could only poll 3.8%.


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