Notes from the grimpen mire, part 2


So, let’s continue our exploration of various aspects of Irish politics, with a focus on the bits that Anglocentric Irish leftists don’t get. Firstly, I’ll admit some sympathy with the idea expressed in the comments box that the parent companies also lack an understanding of politics in Britlandia, and have a bizarre fixation with re-enacting the Russian political scene of a century ago. But that’s incidental to the main point.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Callinicos and Rees have a realistic perspective for Britain. Trouble is, once adopted by the burger-flippers in Dublin, Athens and Toronto and applied to their own countries, some distortion is inevitable. A small example is on the abortion question. Way back in the early 1980s the SWM and IWG, as was, were campaigning for abortion on demand. This is a derivation of the British reality where the 1967 Act is a starting point, not the Irish reality where we start from the position of illegality. I would vote for abortion on demand myself, but I don’t think it’s a winnable position in today’s Ireland, and it certainly wasn’t 25 years ago.

But I’ll move onto the characterisation of Irish political parties. It may be all right, in a 500-word article aimed at a British audience, to use the “Tory vs. Labour” analogy to explain, say, the CDU and SPD in Germany, or the PP and PSOE in Spain. Stretch the analogy too far – say, the Linkspartei is the German equivalent of Respect or Ségolène Royal can be sensibly described as “Blairite” – and you get into trouble. You get into even more trouble if you’re in the country in question and trying to apply what’s basically an alien framework instead of describing your country in its own terms.

So Ireland has a Labour Party like Britain (they aren’t all that similar, but let’s leave that for now). And our Anglocentric leftist will assume Fianna Fáil to be analysable as Tories. What then are Fine Gael? Can there be a second Tory party? They were a fascist party 70 years ago, so can we describe them as the far right? And what the hell are the Progressive Democrats? You see the problem.

In trying to work out a method for approaching Irish politics, I’ve previously written that the basic ideological divide in the 26 counties is not between left and right but between (in extremely broad terms) republicanism and Dublin 4. Perhaps a better way of illustrating this is to pose it in terms of state versus nation.

Go back to 1926, and read the speeches at Fianna Fáil’s La Scala launch rally and its First Ard Fheis. What’s striking is that, although the New Departure was a departure indeed from the fundamentalist republicanism of Mary MacSwiney (and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh!) there was no ideological capitulation to the Saorstát, nor an acceptance of its legitimacy. Indeed, the party existed for the purpose of abolishing the Saorstát. The aims laid out at the time, and enshrined in the party Córú, reflected this basic republican orientation: the unity and independence of Ireland as a republic; revival of the national language; building up a national industrial base; reversing rural depopulation, and so on.

Now, you may ask what is the connection between these aims and decades of Fianna Fáil practice in government, and the answer is, a pretty tenuous one. The fact remains, however, that these aims were never formally renounced and remain an important part of FF discourse. This contrasts with those who actually oppose such aims.

The neo-democrats, on the other hand, as the continuation of the historical West British tendency, are extremely loyal to the Irish state (that is, the Saorstát) which is a godlike entity in D4 discourse. However, they are notably hostile to the Irish nation, or at least the unreconstructed majority thereof, what Flann O’Brien used to dub the Plain People of Ireland. There are other things flowing from that: sympathy for unionism, based not on an affinity with the Prods but on a desire to keep the North a thousand miles away; anti-clericalism framed in terms of beating the religious majority over the head; the idea that we ought not to have a distinct language or, if we must, it should be no more than a quaint tourist attraction; a general view that we must aspire to British or Protestant-colonial social norms and take British (or increasingly American) culture as our model, with native resources being backward by virtue of being Irish.

Does this sound familiar? A useful thought experiment is to look at the hostility of the British franchises to lending even tokenistic support to the Irish language, perhaps via a column in their papers. Put that to the average SWP member and he will stare at you like you’re a lunatic. Put it to the average Socialist Party member and he’ll probably call you a left republican and an anti-Protestant bigot.

This will probably seem a little airy-fairy for our rigorous scientific materialists, who demand simple black-and-white definitions based on left versus right and workers versus bosses (in a country with a massive petty bourgeoisie!) and whose heads start to go like that bloke in Scanners if you complicate the picture. The standard response is to berate any ideas of “Irish exceptionalism”. To which I reply, any Irish socialist with a brain in her head is an Irish exceptionalist.


  1. WorldbyStorm said,

    June 4, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Totally agree. Two thoughts. Take abortion first. Maximalist demands are great…but the problem is when they have zero traction in a polity they tend to wind up looking infantile and arguably become counter productive. It’s a fine line though. Secondly I was talking the other day to someone who had come through the PDs and we were discussing how it was that neither of us had any anathema to Fianna Fáil albeit we came from left and right, whereas many in Labour or FG seem to base much of their political position around just such an anathema (I exaggerate, but only a little).

  2. Andy Newman said,

    June 4, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    You see it us in Britland who need to learn from you, not the other way around.

    As the Scottish national question becomes increasingly important, then the antagonism between Tories and labour becomes increasing secondary in north Britain, to the question of the union. And if Scotland goes then is England to become Little Britain, or recover its own nationhood?

    So even in Britain it will not be the old economics, but the new (for us) politics of identity and how the state changes to match those identities , that will come increasingly to the fore.

    And here is the perverse symmetry. Blair’s new labour gave devolution to maintain the union, saying OK you can have your culture, and you language and support your own football team, and you can have a parliament to decide where the park benches are put, but the unity of the British state is inviolable.

    And the other side of the symmetry is that the Brit-left says, Ok we don’t mind seeing the British state broken up, but for those of you who want to talk about your own culture, or your own language, and or support your own football team, then you are nationalists, and we will lecture you on working class internationalism, and how lenin understood everything better than you.

  3. ejh said,

    June 4, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    There’s a certain amount of, shall we say, elision going on here, though. The various attitudes of the various political organisations mentioned here (and indeed their reasons for adopting these attitudes) are not the same and one should not approach these things by saying “because we think that different things have something in common then we can treat them as being essentialy the same”. It seems to me that the original posting does this.

    There’s not much definition about the post, either – for instance, what does this refer to?

    This will probably seem a little airy-fairy for our rigorous scientific materialists, who demand simple black-and-white definitions based on left versus right and workers versus bosses

    Who does this? In what way do they do it? Do they actually do it or are they just being caricatured as doing it?

    What does “Irish exceptionalist” actually mean in the post? That Ireland is different to other places and has its own characteristics? Would anybody actually disagree with that? Where and in what way have they done so?

    Andy’s posting seems to me to be similarly lacking in defintion. What on earth does the last paragraph mean? Or the middle one? What is being said, what precisely is being objected to and why?

  4. Ciarán said,

    June 4, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    Andy: And the other side of the symmetry is that the Brit-left says, Ok we don’t mind seeing the British state broken up, but for those of you who want to talk about your own culture, or your own language, and or support your own football team, then you are nationalists, and we will lecture you on working class internationalism, and how lenin understood everything better than you.

    And this is why God invented icepicks.

  5. ejh said,

    June 5, 2007 at 6:51 am

    It’s depressing how many loudmouths on the left think that kind of comment is funny: even if it had ever been funny, it’s surely worn off long since.

  6. splinteredsunrise said,

    June 5, 2007 at 9:24 am

    I accept there is some elision going on here. The thing is, I’m not thinking of explicitly held positions so much as unstated assumptions that the people holding the assumptions may not even be aware of.

    For example, I’ve never heard anybody in the SWP say that Irish politics was exactly like British politics or that Ireland didn’t have its own characteristics. But if you argue that Irish politics is so different that you can’t just adapt a British slogan, then you become a national deviationist.

    Say, there is a general assumption that a two-class model of society will do for analysing the country. I’m not sure that even works in Britain, but the peculiarities of Ireland – a huge farming population, important industries (like construction) where most “workers” are self-employed tradesmen, etc – mean you can’t carry over the same sociological assumptions. What I think we should do is, well, start thinking for ourselves.

  7. Andy Newman said,

    June 5, 2007 at 10:26 am


    I thought I was clear enough, and it wouldn’t need spelling out.

    What does the middle paragraph mean? Well, unionism and preservation of the British state is firmly in the labour party’s DNA. Devolution to Scotland was offered as way of preserving the union . So the Scots can have the trappings of nationhood, but not a state. The same issue affects the English, now even the dogs in the street might laugh if we talk about the English national question, but that is only because the English are such a majority and economically dominant that the English don’t recognise that there is much difference between a British and English identity. There is no such confusion in Abergevenny or Fife.

    This brings us on to the last paragraoh and what it means. For example, Billy Bragg’s book on Englishness is quite importnat, not so much for its specific content but because it was written at all – we are beginning to tease out and debate a progressive English politics that starts by saying we are not British, and we have no identity with the imperial British project. We want the British state broken up not just becasue it weakens capitalism, but becasue it is not our country. It is not a nation state because the British are a fictitious nation.

    Given the constitutional crisis that the restoration of Scottish sovereignty implies – (and whatever powers Hollyrood has, when push comes to shove it will be obvious that they have soverignty and not the Crown and Westminster) – then the politics of national identity, and culture will be increasingly important.

    Now what am I objecting against, Martin Smith for example reviewing Bragg: “He throws together a number of disconnected historical events, myths and anecdotes and tries to make a case for an English national identity”

    So according to Smith we don’t even have a national identity? Why not, because martin conflates the British and English national identities into one – which is typical of the “internationalism” of the metropolitan centre, believing their own specific culture is normative for the human race.

    Or Paul McGarr writing in Socialist Worker: “Musician Billy Bragg argues, ‘It’s all about reclaiming the notion of Englishness.’ Socialists disagree with this-and oppose all nationalism. … England is not a single “nation”, but is split from top to bottom by class”

    So for mcGarr class trumps nation. maybe it does in economics, but politics is not just economics, and the real debate in our society over this is not between proletarian internationalism on the one hand and abstract nationalism on the other. It is between those who see themselves as Scottish, English and Welsh, or British.

    And that means a debate in our socities about what sort of values we identify with our national culture.

  8. ejh said,

    June 5, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Of course, but “thinking for ourselves” never starts from scratch and models are there to be amended rather than either adopted tout court or entirely rejected. I think there’s always a problem with criticising these models in that they can be taken to be far more of a straitjacket than they really are. (In fact, veering away from the point, I’ve always found this common in criticism of Marxism as such. Often people will impose an exactitude and simplicity on it that it doesn’t possess or purport to possess – and finding that real life is more complicated than the model, they reject the model which is in fact of their own creation.)

    I don’t think there’s anything startling about the existence of sizeable farming populations or the status of many workers as self-employed (the latter is surely true in Britain, for instance, and probably in most places now). Of course that doesn’t mean that you can just impose a British – or English – model on other West European countries or take them as deviations from a British template. (One thing that’s struck me since moving here, for instance, is how many people in Aragón still have a home village where their famly is from and where some of that family still lives. I’d guess that hasn’t been generally true in England since enclosure.) Nevertheless it doesn’t hurt, I think, to continue to consider society in terms of a huge conflict between US and Them and that one can do so while being aware of all sorts of complicating factors that one can’t deal with by insisting that people ignore them.

    At a second tangent, but I’ll explain – I think it’s startling, in retrospect, how much of a different mental world exists today than did so when I was, say, ten or fifteen and I’d guess this was even more so in Ireland. I think in Western Europe generally this involves the poliics of organised labour, and people’s identification with same, as having enormously shrunk and having been replaced with a self-identification as consumers – people may still think of themselves as being in, of or from the working-class, but they don’t identify with “us” against “them” in the same way and this is hard for those of us who grew up in social democratic societies with powerful labour movements to adapt to.

    Now the reasons for this are several. They’d include rising living standards and easier access to consumer goods, the inability (whether actual or perceived) of socialist and social democratic societies to work in a satisfactory fashion, the passing of anti-union legislation making united action less attractive, less effective and therefore less able to make new recruits. Anyway, the number of people attraced to organised labour and its parties has shrunk and the connection between organised labour and progressive social ideas has also been damaged in various ways.

    Now the reason for this digression, hwhich (apologies) has nothing specifically to do with Ireland, is that this has occurred while the economic gap in society has widened, in some cases enormously, and therefore the difference between Us and Them has become more prominent and more socially damaging precisely at the time when it has become more ideologically obscured.

    So what does one do? If one ignores the fact that people’s heads and perceptions have changed and that today’s nineteen-year-old lives with somewhat different influence and priorities than I did (I was that age when the British miners’ strike was at its height) then it will not be possible to relate to them. If the left simply tries to repeat old slogans then they reach no audience and end up simply denouncing one another:

    We cannot revive old factions
    We cannot restore old policies
    Or follow an antique drum

    And yet if we say the world has fundamentally changed and that it is not any longer about Us and Them – or if we cease to say that the organisation of labour and the provision of state services are really quite important – then I think we mistake ourselves as well as, in fact, ceasing to be the left.

    What’s this got to do with the above? Well, it’s simply a roundabout way of saying that of course things are always “more complicated” and every place and period has its own characteristics. But in identifying the particular differences, the similarities with other societies remain and most noticeably the division of society into the comfortable and the harrassed, the complacent and the worried, the owners and the beneficaries on one side and all the rest of us on the other whether we know it or not.

  9. ejh said,

    June 5, 2007 at 10:41 am

    Mine was a reply not to the seventh comment but to the sixth. On the seventh comment – Andy, whether you like it or not, if there is a discussion about English national identity it has to include the question as to whether that actually means anything and whether it is possible to define without excluding. The same is true about Welsh, Scottish and Irish identities and if there is less apparent doubt as to what these are, you will still find that the question exists. Does a librarian in Pontypridd have anything meaningful in common with a follower of Glyndwr? I don’t reduce the question to simple economics of position in society – but if the answer is that linguistically or culturally they do not, then what is Welsh identity?

  10. Andy Newman said,

    June 5, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Murray Smith quite usefully advocates the definition of a nation from Miroslav Hroch – who defines a nation as being “a large social group integrated not by one but by a combination of several kinds of objective relationships (economic, political, linguistic, cultural, religious, geographical, historical) and their subjective reflection in collective consciousness”. Hroch adds three elements that seem to him “irreplaceable”: i) a ‘memory’ of some common past, treated as a ‘destiny’ of the group – or at least of its core components; ii) a density of linguistic or cultural ties enabling a higher degree of social communication within the group than beyond it; iii) a conception of the equality of all members of the group organised as a civil society”.

    On inclusivity: in Swindon where I live there is a large Goan community, with Portuguese passports and speaking KonKani as their native tongue. It is extremely common to see them wearing England football shirts, probably a higher incidence than the “native” population.

    And a Sikh, Monty Panasar, is an English national sporting hero.

    Whether our national culture is welcoming and inclusive to newcomers is a political question that can only be decided by involvement in the debate, not saying that the whole debate is reactionary.

  11. ejh said,

    June 5, 2007 at 11:40 am

    a ‘memory’ of some common past, treated as a ‘destiny’ of the group – or at least of its core components;

    It’s not clear to me that this means anything useful, or not if the “core components” are not to be considerd as privileged over the rest.

    I think the whole question of Monty Panesar means next to nothing. There was a whole load of this when France won the World Cup, it was supposed to mean something very siginificant that a multiethnic team had won the trophy and in fact it made essentially no difference to how people fom the same ethnic background as Marcel Desailly were treated in France.

    I think you miss the whole point about defintions and exclusions. If you try and say what anything is – be it Englishness or baked beans or time or socialist politics or cricket – you are necessarily defining it and definitions involve limits. They don’t have to involve absolute or impermeable limits but they do involve limits, that’s what definitions do.

    Now I’m not deaf to the question of whether national identity means anything: in fact, if you want to be dfined in tems of your nationality, then living abroad will do the job for you. I’m inglés or el inglés or one of los ingleses whether I like it or not. But does it actually mean anything? Does it mean I have something innate, cultural in common with other English people in the present or past? The moment you start looking for it, even with a generous definition, it starts slipping away from you and the only meanings you can attach to it as temporary and time-specific. I’m English because….well, what? Are we talking about something administrative, or something wider? I’m no intention of being dogmatic about it, but it’s just, as I say, a problem that it doesn’t pin down and it doesn’t man anything fixed or permanent.

    Now, you say this:

    Whether our national culture is welcoming and inclusive to newcomers is a political question that can only be decided by involvement in the debate, not saying that the whole debate is reactionary.

    Unfortunately this is surely an attempt to delegitimise objections to the concept of national identity: to say “you must accept it as a precondition for involvement”. That’s not reasonable. There must be space for asking whether the term “our natioal culture” actually means anything definable. Which it may – Orwell writes about England having a culture as individual as that of Spain and while it’s not his best piece (because, when he starts trying to define it, he finds himself all over the place) it’s obviously not a foolish conception. But there is a genuine objection to the effort and to the likely outcome of that effort.

    Incidentally, it’s also perfectly legitimate to call into question the nature and wisdom of support for national sporting entities, though despite the act that it always provokes a huge debate I’ve never been able to find a publisher who was interested in the idea.

  12. ejh said,

    June 5, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Incidentally, huge apologies to all seeing as a discussion about how Britsh and English models were being imposed on Irish realities has turned into a discussion of, er, English identity. Hey ho.

    But before I sidle away whistling, perhaps I could try a small amount of definition and say that perhaps we can only really define —-ness in terms of certain cultural habits and preferences which have, for the while, gained particular currency or favour in —–. Outside the realm of administation I don’t believe it means any more than that.

  13. splinteredsunrise said,

    June 5, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    I’m actually not sure that it’s easy to define Irishness. But there is a negative definition that D4 uses. It tends to include such things as unreconstructed Catholicism; subversive opinions on the North; a wonderful facility for the Gaelic; sex only for procreation and definitely not enjoyment, not even at the same time; an aversion to foreign sports like soccer; and cultural horizons defined by Wolfe Tones records and the poetry of Pearse.

    Then there are nice Anglicised folks who are guilty of none of these sins. But that says more about the attitudes of the characteriser than the nature of the characterised.

  14. Andy Newman said,

    June 5, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Yeah – I have worked in Germany, and that made me very conscious of being English, and when I worked in Hong Kong, even more so.

    Ok – unapologetic about imposing our English debate over here – ejh, where national culture and identity becomes an issue is not in comparing national identity with the absence of identity, but with other identities.

    Yes I accept they are permeable concepts, and as all social categories they are ellusive. But where would we get as English people telling the Irish that they don’t have a national identity or distinct culture. They fought a war to shove that idea up our arse.

    And this is not all about high culture, Gianluca Vialli’s book “The Italian Job” comparing life as a pro footballer in Italy and England is very revealling. Traits which we regard as admirable like not giving up fighting when all hope of victory is lost, are regarded as simple-minded in Italian culture.

    And I am not seeking to disempower you from the debate, but I am saying that the terms of the debate are not easily subverted by saying national culture doesn’t exist, when there is a mainstream debate insisting that it does, which is much more in tune with common sense – if we wish to influence the political outcome we have to participate in the debate in its own terms.

  15. WorldbyStorm said,

    June 5, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    I may have posted this before, in which case apologies. But I remember many years ago in the mid 1980s traipsing around a corporation estate late one evening having been canvassing for the WP,or doing the twice or sometimes three times yearly annual collection. I’d been waxing lyrical about 1917 and the necessity for a vanguard party when a comrade fixed me with a particularly baleful expression and muttered tersely “Lenin never lived in Kilbarrack”.

    It is dangerous to map one struggle onto another, and nostalgist politics is more dangerous still. I guess it’s the difference between inspiration and imitation.

  16. ejh said,

    June 5, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    But where would we get as English people telling the Irish that they don’t have a national identity or distinct culture. They fought a war to shove that idea up our arse

    Yeah, but I don’t care about that argument very much because it has nothing to do with whether or not what I’m saying is true. So, tell you what, I’ll say outright: I don’t think there’s another such thing as Irish national identity. There is such a thing as the Irish nation and there is such a thing as an Irish passport. But there is no such thing as national identity, Irish or any other kind

    There is such a thing as Irish culture. It is helpful to appreciate that two concepts, nationality and culture, are distinct: one refers to the nature of people and one refers to a set of social practices (of which language might be one) which, for one reason or another, have become prominent in one part of the world or another. Even then, the description of a national culture is necessarily a very diffuse, inexact and permanently changing one and really all one can do is to point to such-and-such a cultural practice and say “look, this is unique to Ireland” or “look, this is plainly more common and popular in Aragón than it is in Oxfordshire” and by such means appreciate and accept that there as such things as identifiable (if not necessarily distinct) cultures. But as far as I’m concerned that’s basically yer lot.

  17. Red Squirrel said,

    June 6, 2007 at 10:51 am

    The problem you describe has been recurrent in all “international” organizations, as every one of them, starting with the comintern, was essentially a mothership controlling the colonies. It leads to a complete inability to understand particular political (and economic) conditions. The underlying idea is that since all economies are capitalist, then they all have the same class structure.

    And then of course there is the inability of so called Marxists do deal with any issue of identity, as in their ideal world, workers define themselves solely by their relative position in the production process.

    It’s no wonder that capitalist cultural hegemony is so enduring.

  18. ejh said,

    June 6, 2007 at 11:15 am

    And then of course there is the inability of so called Marxists do deal with any issue of identity, as in their ideal world, workers define themselves solely by their relative position in the production process.

    I think there may be a straw Marxist being poked in the midriff here.

  19. Ed Hayes said,

    June 6, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Splintered, I fear you are veering close to the theories of the artists formerly known as BICO in the Irish Political Review. There is of course something in waht you say about the differences between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and the differing preceptions of what constitutes the real Ireland. I think it is even more complicated however with some Fianna Failers who are as resentful of the north and Shinners as any Blueshirt and cenversely a section of FG who yearn for the simpler days of Mick Collins and co, and believe that had he been allowed live he would have sorted out the Prods in 1923 and we’d have a united Ireland. But more to the point of the above, yes, the SWP or SWM as it probably was when you knew the wonderful Mr. Allen do deep down wish they lived in Britain. if you had someone a) mad enough b) could pay them enough c) could force some poor undergrad to do a thesis on it, I think you would find in 20 years of Socialist Worker a paucity of either articles or reviews of work on Irish labour, working class or social history. Meanwhile the latest product of the Brit SWP is hawked like its the new Shakespeare (or something). BTW Mr. Allen or Swiss Toni as you call him has sorted out the history of the Troubles on the SW website with an analysis so unhistorical and appalling that I couldn’t ever read anything he publishes seriously again. But I should have known that already.

  20. splinteredsunrise said,

    June 7, 2007 at 7:46 am

    Actually, I’ve warmed a little to the BICO over recent years. Brendan Clifford has usually managed to be extremely wrong, but wrong in a really interesting way. I have acquired Brendan’s new book on FF, but haven’t yet got round to reading let alone reviewing it, so watch this space.

    I did read Swiss’s article and can only say he deserves the hatchet job Socialist Democracy have done on him. A pity really, because he is capable of doing much better.

  21. Ed Hayes said,

    June 7, 2007 at 8:19 am

    He is capable of much better. But Kieran seems unable to avoid silly mistakes. He writes that the Official republicans objected to the rosary…at funerals. Nobody ever objected to prayers at funerals, Roy Johnston objected to the rosary at commemorations as they they were supposed to be primarily political events. That was in 1966. The republican movement rejected his advice and the Stickies happily said rosaries until the mid 1970s. That they re-wrote that aspect of their history shouldn’t mean a historian should get it wrong. But as SD pointed out the Sticks are just straw men in KA’s article for people who refuse to think that the Islamic fundementalists are right on, man.

  22. ejh said,

    June 7, 2007 at 9:48 am

    They’re not actually, are they?

  23. Idris of Dungiven said,

    June 7, 2007 at 11:40 am

    To go back to the point in post 13, about how D4s define their identity in primarily negative terms, in terms of a rejection of a particular sort of conservative Irish catholic, and largely rural picture of Irish identity. . . what does it say about a country when it’s elite defines their identity in that sort of negative terms? It might have been different when the Liberal Agenda was still an insurgent force, and the Forces of Conservatism were a lot stronger, and the future liberal Ireland could be left in some nebulous and vague notions of ‘pluralism’. We’re in that future now, one in which the liberal middleclass Jihad has been more or less victorious. And still the D4s persist with their negative self-definition. Their only positive act would be self-congratulation on economic growth. But that won’t last forever. Sooner or later, the boom will end. The elite may find that lacking a national identity with which to rally the masses, they won’t be able to persuade the masses to partake of the kind of austerity measures that dominated the 1980s. What then?

    (hope that makes sense, just some random musings, which means it probably doesn’t make sense actually).

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