Commentary on Political Economy

Saturday 16 March 2024



Campaigning Yes and voting No: little wonder the Irish elite lost

The Sunday Times

I am still somewhat under the weather, the consequence of having spent the last week on the “craic”, celebrating the Irish referendum results. It’s been four days of extremely heavy drinking, dancing the occasional jig around our local peat bogs and adding the convivial phrase “to be sure, to be sure” to the end of each sentence.

I accept entirely that this is insultingly stereotypical behaviour even by my rebarbative standards, but please understand how fervently and sincerely I felt the need to rejoice, pay homage and show solidarity. “Is Eireannach me!” I shouted, three sheets to the wind, from the top of our local grouse moor, to a bored lapwing. Referendums very often throw up interesting outcomes, deeply discomfiting our elites. But by any standard Ireland’s was a scorcher.

It was a vote on whether to amend two articles of the Irish constitution, both of which dealt with marriage, the family and women. The first article pledges to recognise the family as the “natural and fundamental group unit of society”; the proposed amendment added the inclusive line “whether founded on marriage or on other durable relationships”.

The second involved the constitution’s noble pledge to women: “In particular, the state recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the state a support without which the common good cannot be achieved. The state shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.” The proposed amendment basically removed the words “woman” and “mothers” so that this protection might be afforded to absolutely anybody — women, men, hermaphrodites, leprechauns, Gila monsters and so on.


Now, the result was a foregone conclusion. Not a single politician from any one of the mainstream political parties — Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein, Fine Gael, the Labour Party, the Greens — spoke out against these amendments. They were all in favour. So was pretty much the entirety of the media, polite bourgeois opinion and, of course, Twitter. The poll was scheduled to be held on International Women’s Day, just to drive the progressive message home.

And the result? The people of Ireland voted against the amendments — by a margin that you would consider utterly astonishing if you were a deluded member of Ireland’s liberal elite. The No vote on amendment No 1 was 67.7 per cent, and on No 2 it was 73.9 per cent. The turnout was a respectable 44 per cent, by the way.

Then, the usual thing happened. The establishment blamed the public for not understanding the amendments and the campaign for being disorganised and lacklustre — par for the course when the elite gets a bloody nose. The electorate are all thickos and we just didn’t campaign very well, or the wording was awry.

But several politicians who had either campaigned for a Yes vote or been senior members of parties that campaigned for a Yes vote confessed that they might have secretly voted No or criticised the notion of holding a referendum at all.

For example, Willie O’Dea, from Fianna Fail, said his party should “focus on housing, health and law and order, and stop playing to the woke gallery”. His party colleague John McGuinness said Fianna Fail had lost touch with its voters. To be sure, John — squared. Credit, incidentally, to the tiny Aontu party (just one MP in the Dail), which opposed the changes. I hope it takes my subscription.

My guess is that a lot of those mainstream politicians thought the whole thing was a fait accompli, or were afraid to speak out against it for fear of being labelled antediluvian bigots by the perpetually caterwauling liberal left. And so they went along with the whole shebang even if they suspected, or, more likely, knew, that it was wholly asinine. The public was less fearful. It usually is.

The glorious Irish vote brought to mind last year’s referendum in Australia that proposed to give additional governmental “voice” to Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. That, too, was expected to be passed with consummate ease. Instead the No vote was 60 per cent, and included among that was a sizeable proportion of Aborigines.

By and large, ordinary people hate this obsessive, usually self-flagellating tearing-up of history at the behest of wokeish Gauleiters serving the tyranny of now. They have instead a respect for history and tradition, for the nuclear family and the nation state, which is inimical, almost incomprehensible, to the elite that controls our institutions. That elite has acquired for itself unchallengeable power, but it has no hegemony among the population, and every so often a referendum comes along to prove that fact beyond dispute.


Meanwhile, in the UK politicians from the mainstream parties connive with, or succumb to, tendentious or absurd demands from activists, believing that a failure to do so will result in their being labelled reactionaries, or racists, or fascists — or just, as the BBC tends to put it, “far right”. Have a bit more spine, then. There is nothing far right about Aontu — it’s a socialist party that has its origins in Sinn Fein. Like a whole bunch of parties across Europe, some of which are now in power, it simply believes that not every tenet we held in the past should be exorcised, because many of them hold lasting value.

Russia goes to the polls


Blacklist the lot of them, Govey

Michael Gove’s designation of several Muslim groups as being potentially “extremist” has led to accusations that he is restricting freedom of speech. One such group is the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), which has close ties to the naughty Muslim Brotherhood and whose former leader Anas Altikriti is an effusive apologist for Hamas (including its abduction of Israeli hostages). But Gove isn’t silencing the MAB; merely suggesting that we shouldn’t give it any more taxpayers’ money.

In truth, I’m not sure why any “charities” — or indeed charities — should receive money from the public purse. To my mind it suggests they are not charities at all. Yet each year central and local government spends at least three billion quid on organisations that are supposed to rely upon voluntary donations for their existence.

Talking ourselves into mental illness

It seems that two thirds of incapacity benefit claims are for people who believe they are suffering from mental health problems. I do not have the full breakdown of what these specific issues are, but I understand that “feeling a bit peeved” and “not feeling sufficiently motivated to put the bins out” account for a reasonable proportion of the 873,000 claimants.

You may, or may not, think it significant that the more publicity we afford mental health problems, and the more we are told that almost everyone has them, and the more money spent on therapists or charlatans, the more mentally ill we become and the more unhappy we are.LIDDLE

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