The Red Scare begins

And who’s behind it? Why, the Pink PDs, of course! From the blog of Labour Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown county councillor Richard Humphreys.

STATEMENT BY CLLR RICHARD HUMPHREYS
Labour Party Councillor for Stillorgan
Friday, 26 November 2010

“UNITED LEFT ALLIANCE” WOULD WRECK ECONOMY – HUMPHREYS

Cllr Richard Humphreys, the Labour Party Councillor for the Stillorgan Ward, has said that the prospect of the hardline “United Left Alliance” holding the balance of power after the next election “should strike terror into the hearts of every rational voter”.

“This collection of radicals, hardliners and Trotskyites are posing as a reasonable alternative when they are nothing of the kind. They are political snake-oil salesmen, peddling an unworkable voodoo economics that would wreck Ireland’s economy for decades. In my view this grouping is an attempt to piggyback on the popularity of the Labour Party and to sell an extremist message in the process.” Humphreys said.

“I would strenuously urge voters not to gamble with their pensions, their future or their children’s future by letting this grouping anywhere near Leinster House. Most of their leadership appear to be candidates who were rejected by the People in the last general election and I fervently hope that the People will do the same this time.” Humphreys said.

According to their website, this grouping’s economic policy is as follows: “We reject the so-called solutions to the economic crises based on slashing public expenditure, welfare payments and workers’ pay. There can be no just or sustainable solution to the crisis based on the capitalist market.”

“Any political grouping that rejects the market – the only economic system which works – deserves to be dismissed out of hand as economic illiterates. Obviously the market needs to be regulated, but this group of has-beens would try to turn the clock back to before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and institute a Utopian command economy which would destroy individual liberty and entrepreneurship.”

“If this grouping got the balance of power with a mandate to oppose any cuts whatsoever in expenditure, including the welfare and public sector wage bill, they would drive the country to bankruptcy and destroy whatever hope there is of recovery from the recession. I see nothing remotely “left-wing” in destroying any hope of jobs or recovery – the inevitable result if this hardline grouping gets anywhere near the levers of power.”

“The other policies of this group would be equally disastrous to the country. Their policy that Ireland should “Give asylum seekers the right to work“, seemingly automatically, would allow asylum seekers including those with completely bogus claims to overwhelm the Irish jobs market, severely prejudicing Irish citizens as well as non-nationals who are legally present in the state. It amounts to an “open borders” policy of a kind which would savagely drive down employment, wage levels and labour standards and would lead to a massive increase in illegal immigration.”

“It would be one thing to suggest that asylum claims should be processed rapidly, and those still in the system after say 6 or 12 months could be eligible to be considered for limited and conditional work permits in specific circumstances. But as usual, the hardline left rejects any such nuanced possibilities and puts forward an extremist policy which would lead to economic chaos.”

“I urge voters to take a long cold look at the extremist policies of the “United Left Alliance” and to reject them as utterly toxic to Ireland’s economy and society, as well as presenting simplistic solutions which are entirely misleading.”

“The Labour Party has worked hard to present an honest and workable alternative to Fianna Fail’s policies and we will continue to do so in the months ahead.” Humphreys said.

If there’s one thing to be said for Councillor Humphreys, it’s that he doesn’t deal in ambiguity. In his attitude to the market, socialism and asylum seekers, he merely articulates explicitly what is implied by the obfuscations and evasions of his superiors. I’m sure the poor and the afflicted will acknowledge that Richard Humphreys SC, BCL, LLM, PhD shares more empathy with their plight than those who have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with them in their struggles against his kind.

Cllr. Humphreys represents the dominant, nay, hegemonic, current within the Labour Party. If its apologists remain implacable in their defence of a party which has stationed itself defiantly on the wrong side of the picket lines whenever the interests of workers, the poor and the unemployed have been ravaged, then their eyes need some kind of industrial-standard descaling.

(Thanks to Cde. Aidan for bringing this to my attention.)

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8 Responses to “The Red Scare begins”

  1. Hugh Green Says:

    They had their pre-budget ding-dong at Chartered Accountants House yesterday morning. I guess they want to make sure they stay close to their base.

  2. LeftAtTheCross Says:

    From his website (http://www.richardhumphreys.ie/):

    “I represent Clonskeagh, Mount Merrion, Stillorgan, Kilmacud, Goatstown, Foxrock, Leopardstown, Cornelscourt and Cabinteely. ”

    I grew up in Kilmacud / Leopardstown. A hot bed of proletarian revolution it is not. Solidly middle-class with a bit of champagne socialism, an area that voted reasonably progressively in the 80s/90s on the social issues of concern to the chattering classes.

    That the LP representative for this area comes out with right-wing economic rhetoric is totally in character and in reality cannot be criticised as being in any way surprising. I haven’t lived in leafy South Dublin for a good while now so I’m not aware of this guy’s general position on policy. This statement is absolutely fair game for criticism, I’m not defending him here, just adding some local context.

    With such a diverse electoral base to try to keep happy it’s no wonder the LP has lost its perspective on what an alternative society might look like. I was tempted to say “never found” rather than “lost” in that sentence but the reality of 30 years ago was that at least there was a cadre in the leadership who made shapes about being socialist, even if it didn’t necessarily amount to much ultimately.

    • DublinDilettante Says:

      LATC, this isn’t about Leopardstown or even Dublin South (where Humphreys is unlikely to get the nomination.) It’s about Dún Laoghaire. If you follow the goings-on on Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown CC, you’ll have noticed the excellent job Cllrs. Boyd Barrett and Lewis do of exposing the FG/Lab consensus there. Humphreys, presumably because he’s an SC, has been designated to man-mark RBB at meetings. He’s forthright but ineffectual. This scare is presumably an extension of that arrangement, with an eye to securing Labour a second seat in DL. I didn’t think RBB was likely to deny them one, but they’re clearly rattled, judging by the above.

  3. LeftAtTheCross Says:

    DD, I don’t follow what’s happening in south Dublin or Dun Laoghaire, I’m glad to be away from it to be honest. I take your poin ttotally about the man-marking of RBB. Not that I’ve much time for the SWP in general but I do like RBB’s style, he’s a polished operator and is apparently well liked by the middle aged middle class ladies of the Borough, such a nice boy! Dun Laoghaire of course does have a decent sized working class population and a fair share of social issues over the years, so there should be a good vote for RBB there also (as there was for Gilmore back in the day when he was first elected for what was the name of that party anyhow?). No wonder the LP are running scared.

  4. coc Says:

    Cllr. Humphrey’s blogroll is impressive. It reveals a a man who likes what he knows and knows what he likes. If only some of our other putative leaders could focus their formidable intellects so precisely.

  5. ejh Says:

    I rather liked “would wreck economy”.

  6. Ryan Says:

    Just curious – what solution would there be to the problem of a party “With such a diverse electoral base to try to keep happy ” ? Are there possibilities for any political party to claim to be genuinely left wing, and still represent a wide array of interests? Or does the title ‘left-wing’ only apply to parties who only look for the votes of those who exactly mirror their views? Or is the concept of ‘political party’ not applicable to those who claim to be genuinely left wing, because it demands a level of compromise which is unacceptable?

    I know this sounds leading – but they are actually questions I’ve tried to work out myself, and can’t.

    • DublinDilettante Says:

      Ryan, the classic template for a mass (socialist) party of the working class is one with many different tendencies operating within it, but near-unanimity on the fundamental questions relating to capital and labour.

      I can’t speak for LATC, but I think he may have been getting at the fact that Labour has an explicitly right-wing, pro-market liberal leadership and outlook, and a base composed of several less compatible ideological currents (centre-right liberals being a thumping majority, but with small social democratic, union-based and left liberal currents.)

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