Profiling the poster boy: Richard Boyd Barrett in the Phoenix

Around this time of year, one’s thoughts turn to moonlighting. Perhaps it’s the tennis. You go home of an evening, tune in to Wimbledon, and what do you find? Billy Idol, discussing the day’s play with Inverdale. Right enough, Billy is an engaging and knowledgeable tennis pundit. But the striking thing is that, presumably for contractual reasons, when he’s doing his tennis thing he puts on a funny accent and gets everyone to call him Boris.

Nor is Billy alone in this. Thom Yorke, for instance, has a nice little sideline playing cricket for England. However, the lugubrious Radiohead frontman, when he’s wearing his cricketing hat (or helmet, I suppose) hides his shame by calling himself Ian Bell. That’s why I was tickled to learn, during the recent New Zealand series, that the Kiwis have a batsman bowler (my bad, thanks Daphne) called Chris Martin. Unfortunately it turns out to be a completely different bloke who just happens to be called Chris Martin.

Which brings me to the current Phoenix. A couple of people have asked whether I wrote the profile of Richard Boyd Barrett. The short answer is, no. But it is uncanny that I agree with Goldhawk on pretty much every point. Or possibly he agrees with me. Anyhow, it leaves me feeling a bit like Graham Greene when he would check into a hotel only to find that Mr Greene had just left.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a look. We have here quite a good portrait of

Dún Laoghaire’s answer to Che Guevara – without the gun.

The qualifier is important. Besides, although they both come from comfortable backgrounds and can cut a dash on a black-and-white poster, if by some chance Richie plays golf or smokes cigars he keeps sensibly quiet about these vices. Che liked to do both, sometimes simultaneously.

We then go on to an account of how Richie’s articulacy, media friendliness and position as spokesman for multiple SWP front organisations has catapulted him into the spotlight, to the point where he seems a good bet for taking a seat on Kingstown council next year. It may be that Joe Higgins and Patricia McKenna are still the recognised public faces of Irish leftism, but our poster boy is coming up on the rails.

Then a little bit of history, going back to the Dublin far left of the early 1970s:

As the north imploded, the energy gradually went out of the project as the more serious ones disappeared into republican groups while others made their name in journalism and other professions. At least three senior Irish Times editorial executives belong to this latter group.

I may point out that no fewer than three entire leaderships abandoned the SWM, although that also had something to do with Cliff’s habit of playing silly buggers with the Irish section. Many of these people are still in public life, in the media or the law or academe in particular.

Today, surviving far-left groups appear to have discovered a new lease of life as the northern conflict recedes – none of these groups had a clue about how to relate to the upheavals there – and as the southern establishment takes on some of the appearances of a neo-liberal ruling class.

Or, to put it another way, as Ireland has come to more closely resemble Britain. Regular readers will know that one of this blog’s occasional recurring themes has been that Anglocentric tendency in the Irish left that believes that Ireland is Britain, or if it isn’t that it should be. Alex Callinicos once accused me of being an Irish exceptionalist, to which I reply that any Irish leftist with a brain is an Irish exceptionalist.

I will cut the Socialist Party a little slack here as their frame of reference is the British labour movement, which has close enough ties to its Irish oppo to lend them some plausibility. The Swips, on the other hand, really are the Marxist wing of the Irish Times. They may disagree on conclusions, but they share the same cognitive universe – I more than once heard Swiss Toni argue that the big problem with the D4 agenda was that D4 didn’t have the clout to win it. This might help explain Richie’s vote in Kingstown as being a little more than just Save Our Seafront plus the celebrity factor. Not to mention those not inconsiderable transfers from Fine Gael and the PDs.

We come now to the post-Lisbon unity drive, which is a recurrence of the Dublin left’s regular unity drives, and typically of the Dublin left means every group running its own separate unity drive.

He [RBB] faces a political Everest in this ambition. First, he must persuade his SWP comrades not to plunge any joint socialist forum into a bear garden by treating unity simply as an excuse to assert themselves over other left tendencies.

Yeah, good luck with that. Because their record really inspires confidence, doesn’t it? Moving on, we arrive at a useful discussion of the structural problem facing the left’s electoral ambitions:

The real problem, of course, for all these groupings is that the holy grail of proletarian support for their brand of socialism is rendered almost impossible by Sinn Féin, whose traditional mix of Republicanism and left of centre politics ensures more working class support in any one constituency than the rest of the left can in the entire country… The far left is to Sinn Féin what the Labour Party is to Fianna Fáil and both leftist groupings suffer accordingly in that they cannot secure and hold working class support.

Again, the SP is a partial exception, in that Joe and Clare’s strongholds are areas with relatively weak PSF votes, due not least to the fact that Joe and Clare got on the scene first. On the other hand, I don’t think we’ve yet seen the full potential of the southern Shinners – if they can professionalise their organisation, get some more presentable candidates (Donegal’s Piaras Ó Dochartaigh seems to be the coming man) and, importantly, if Gerry lets them have their head, rather than trying to run southern campaigns from Belfast.

But yes, RBB sort of proves the point. As the article points out, the poster boy not only has his base in the most affluent constituency in the state but more particularly in the most affluent parts of that constituency. He can, and probably will, win a council seat from Dún Laoghaire town, but on the other hand my friend Eoin Ó Broin reckons he, Eoin, can corner the proletarian vote in Ballybrack, and I don’t see why not.

Let’s move on to the conclusion:

With his greatly heightened profile in the Lisbon referendum, Boyd Barrett is certain to become a councillor next year, although it will be as a candidate for People Before Profit Alliance rather than the SWP given the lessons learned at previous elections [i.e., that the SWP was unelectable under its own name].

Having digested this political truth, the real question for Boyd Barrett is whether he sticks with the sect that is the SWP, which takes its politics straight from the British left and will never break into mainstream politics in Ireland. The undoubtedly sincere Boyd Barrett is currently in the limelight but without a more durable base he will remain as a radical but impotent voice on the fringes of Irish politics.

Older and more aware Trots like McCann enjoy the lifestyle that such harmless and radical posturing amounts to, but Boyd Barrett may come to realise that he must make a choice between this leisure activity and serious politics. He may conclude that he has to make the plunge into mainstream politics, either as an Independent like Tony Gregory or Finian McGrath, or with one of the larger political parties.

There is quite a bit to unpick here, so I’ll start with the far left’s traditional sniffiness about “clientelism”. Once again, there’s a partial exception for the SP, which might rail against “clientelism” but whose trade union cadre understand the value of constituency representation and patient spadework. The SWP, on the other hand, don’t really do patient spadework. What they excel at is agitprop. And agitprop is great for raising your profile, even to the point where you can get elected, but it doesn’t do you much good in terms of consolidating a base.

Let’s take Belfast as an example. The young and extremely articulate Seán Mitchell is, in my opinion, quite a catch for the SWP. He’s energetic, has loads of contacts and has enough populist street savvy to become quite a formidable agitator in coming years. On the flip side, he’s also of an age where he can find Kieran Allen impressive, but he’ll grow out of that. I have no doubt he could make a fine councillor, although for which party remains to be seen. But let’s compare him for a moment to Sue Ramsey. I’ve no doubt that Seán could argue rings around Sue about Iraq or Zimbabwe or the neo-liberal agenda. But would he have a clue how to sort out somebody’s housing benefit? I think not. And that’s why Sue is in Stormont and Seán isn’t – she may not entirely convince as a parliamentarian, but she’s very good at providing the kind of service her constituents want. If the SWP were really serious about building a base in West Belfast, they would open an advice centre in the middle of Andytown and do this basic clientelist work. But of course they won’t.

McCann is a similar case. If he had stood in the Bogside at the last council elections, there’s a reasonable possibility he might have got in. But instead he chose to stand in the mainly unionist Rural ward. There was some chest-beating about putting up a full slate across Derry, but I’m afraid it gave the impression that Eamonn didn’t want to be elected. Not that you could blame him – sitting on Derry council and listening to the gripes of pensioners with leaky roofs would be a lousy way to spend your old age. I can see that Eamonn is an attractive candidate, but he’s always had a pronounced streak of the ham actor about him. One gets the sense that putting on the performance is at least as important as getting a result.

And so, mutatis mutandis, we can apply this to Richie. I’m actually a little sorry he didn’t make it into the Dáil last year. For one thing, we’ve been deprived of the spectacle of Swiss Toni making a regular beeline to Leinster House to tell him what to say. But, more to the point, Richie would have had to make a decision as to whether to be a sensible and useful public representative or whether to remain a loyal SWP apparatchik. The two are not necessarily compatible. Above all else, there are the demands of revolutionary agitprop. Joe Higgins, it’s true, sometimes feels the need to get arrested, but Joe usually restricts it to once or twice a year. With Richie in the Dáil, there would have been considerable pressure on him to carry out some madcap stunt every week, just to keep himself on the teevee, which might just have managed to publicly discredit the SWP for the next twenty years.

Happily, though, he didn’t quite make the cut, thus enabling himself to postpone the conflict between his electoral career and his organisation a couple of years more. But a day will come, and it won’t be long, when he won’t be able to duck the issue any more.


  1. chekov said,

    July 4, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    The thing that I thought was interesting about the profile was the way that it freely mixed fantasy with the odd observation. It was an analysis which looked at the left through the binoculars of the 1980s and it’s mostly just wrong. I mean the far left is at easily its weakest point in living history – both the SP and the SWP have greatly reduced presence and the fact that they’ve both essentially switched their focuses onto getting a candidate or two elected is a sign of weakness rather than strength. The assertion that the shinners are a major block to the far left is also flat wrong – they are stagnating and are firmly focused on reaching outside of their core blue-collar vote, while having a greatly reduced presence on the ground.

    Aside from that major quibble, most of the details of the story were just totally wrong – all sorts of stuff shoe-horned into a pre-defined narrative of SP vs SWP which just isn’t accurate.

  2. Mark P said,

    July 4, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Much of it is indeed wrong and Chekov is correct to note the stuff about Sinn Fein.

    In fact it read very much as if it had been written by a Provo with a greater than average interest in the left, but an interested badly obscured by Provo prejudices. All the stuff about the Provos blocking the path of the left, about the Provos having more support in any one constituency, about the more “serious” leftists joining the Republican group and about the middle class nature of revolutionary socialists was exactly the sort of thing you’d expect a particularly self-aggrandising and somewhat dim PSF member to come out with. The stuff about ballot boxes in DL reeks of some supporter of O’Broin’s there. In fact, Boyd Barrett absolutely crushed the Provos in both the DL and the Ballybrack boxes.

    It is very important to remember that while you, Chekov and I (and whoever wrote the article) are well aware of Boyd Barrett’s far left politics, that is not in fact the profile he projects in the media or more importantly in Dun Laoghaire. He stands as a nice well spoken well young man who doesn’t like that awful George Bush and does like Dun Laoghaire sea front. Not only has the name SWP been carefully hidden, in favour of the bland People Before Profit (actually “non-party” on the ballot paper), terms like socialism or working class have been ruthlessly kept out of all of his election material and local campaign leaflets. It isn’t some accident that he got a big vote in the richest part of the country and that he competed so well for FG, FF and PD transfers. There’s a long tradition of liberalism in those parts.

    Now that Dun Laoghaire has been reduced to a four seat constituency, things have gotten a lot more difficult for him in terms of his future Dail chances. It isn’t enough for him to edge ahead of Cuffe, he needs to beat not only the Green and the returning PD but also whichever of the two firmly entrenched FF TDs is doing worst. That’s a very big ask and it, in my view, guarantees that the SWP in their PBP guise will continue to track to the right and will do everything possible to avoid scaring the good burghers of Kingstown.

    By the way, Chekov is correct that SP is smaller than it was in say the mid-1980s, but it is larger than it was in the mid-1990s or mid-1970s. The SWP is a lot smaller than it was in the late 1990s or early 2000s but it actually may be bigger than it was at some points in the 1980s. The weakening of the far left isn’t really the weakening of those two organisations, but the disintegration of pretty much everything else around them. The CP is moribund, the WP has gone from thousands to practically nothing, the other Trotskyist groups are tiny, the broader left republican scene is very weak and the WSM going from a dozen to a few dozen doesn’t really compensate. It’s also quite false to equate the Socialist Party’s strategy – which is certainly not focused on getting a candidate or two elected – with the SWP’s PBP adventure.

    Finally, all the stuff in the article about “left unity” initiatives badly misreads the situation. Nothing new is going to be launched in the short or medium term. The Socialist Party doesn’t think that the forces are there for it. The SWP already has its PBP front.

  3. Dunne and Crescendo said,

    July 4, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Of course the profile WAS written by a provo ‘with a greater than average interest in the left.’ The Phoenix editor is a former member of the British SWP, sometime head of its Irish committee in the 1970s, who returned to Dublin in the late 70s, wrote for Hibernia, got into the Provo slipstream in the heat of the hunger strikes and has made a comfortable living in journalism since then. Just like the others he mentions. RBB has many failings but PP going on about how middle class he is…well pots and kettles etc.

  4. ejh said,

    July 4, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Ian Bell looks like a chipmunk.

  5. splinteredsunrise said,

    July 5, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Some good points there from Mark P, and he’s right to flag up differences in the SP and SWP strategies. At least in terms of the electoral strategy, the SP concentrates on long-term spadework while for the SWP it’s really a lack of any other ideas from a declining organisation, plus whatever wheeze has come over from Britain.

    Worth remarking maybe that the SWP today is probably smaller than it’s been for nearly 20 years in terms of real members, but RBB’s media profile is totally out of proportion to that. We know he’s very loyal to the group, but he’s also very ambitious.

    The stuff about SF standing in the left’s way really does need to be qualified, if only that in Dublin W, Dublin N and DL it just isn’t true. As I might have made clearer, they don’t have the organisation to make the most of their support, and they don’t have enough high-quality candidates. (The candidate problem also exists in the north, but it doesn’t matter much there.) On the other hand, if there’s a vaguely leftish working class protest vote, in most areas SF are better placed than the far left to get it. Much of the SF vote (and much of Joe’s vote) is sociologically speaking the old WP vote – worth considering. On the other hand, the rural SF vote is basically the more plebeian end of the FF spectrum, and that could actually be more important than Dublin.

    And you’re dead right about Dun Laoghaire as a four-seater and the pressures that creates. One small question mark over whether the SWP ideologues are serious enough about the RBB project to do what he requires…

  6. WorldbyStorm said,

    July 5, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    I’d very much agree with Chekov on this one – not least because I think SF is still, although showing some signs of recovery post May 2007 – and a cracking Lisbon campaign – simply not able to marshal the support/activists it had even 2 years ago.

    Knowing PP, as I once did, who I suspect wrote the profile also important Dunne & C to note that he was IIRC close to the IRSP as well at one point, way back when it was half-respectable.

    Great post though splintered, much to think about. I’d entirely agree that the SP vote is in part a capture from elements of the WP vote. I also think that Higgins personality has – very significantly – transcended the SP itself in terms of attracting votes and plaudits. Implicitly you seem in your final paragraph, as did the Phoenix to point to RBB having a life beyond the SWP. But where? He doesn’t strike me as a Finian or Tony style independent pol at all.

  7. Mark P said,

    July 5, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    About the last point splintered makes, I think that so far the SWP have shown quite uncharacteristically prolonged determination in their attempts to build an electoral base in DL and to a lesser extent Ballyfermot and some other suburbs.

    It’s easy to miss this if you aren’t paying attention but they really have changed their method of operation quite a bit. They have drastically scaled back on things like city centre stalls in Dublin, regular public meetings on relatively abstract political issues, mass paper selling on demonstrations and the like, things that were their bread and butter for many years. Part of this is down to their quite obvious numerical decline – they just don’t have the activists they had five years ago. But part of it is also a decision to focus on other things.

    Walk around Dun Laoghaire for instance and there is a fairly regular stream of posters up advertising meetings on various issues featuring Boyd Barrett, mostly bread and butter or local stuff and never in the name of the SWP. Sometimes they use the PBP hat, sometimes that of a newly formed single issue campaign group but always with Boyd Barrett out front. This sort of thing is repeated on a smaller scale elsewhere, with Brid Smith or Rory Hearne or whoever as the front person. They really are taking a long term gamble on getting some elected representatives and they are willing to move their focus away from recruitment focused activities to do it.

    Now this doesn’t mean that they have changed entirely. People Before Profit represents in its own way exactly the combination of self-delusion and opportunism which characterises the rest of their work. Despite all the work they have singularly failed to build PBP into a real organisation. There is nobody bar themselves and a handful of individuals regularly active in it. It is, in practice, a disguise they wear for electoral purposes, allowing them to present their candidates as nearly apolitical “community activists”, hiding their actual politics behind a bland, leftish liberal front. I wonder for instance how many votes Boyd Barrett would be getting if he was standing as a socialist on a class based platform. Something a lot closer to the vote he used to get a few years ago when he was doing just that, I suspect.

    As for whether the SWP will stick to this approach, they’ve already been sticking with it a lot longer than anyone would reasonably have expected on their previous form. They have shrunk consistently over a period of years while waiting for the big electoral pay off, letting their basic routine wither. They don’t have any substantial university groups left and outside of Dublin they are in a particularly poor organisational state with next to nothing in Cork, nothing in Limerick and only very small branches in Galway and Waterford. In the North they are as small as they have been for many, many years. Through all this time they still haven’t managed to get a member elected at any level. And yet they persist, presumably on the assumption that when (more accurately if) PBP takes off, or they get Boyd Barrett in the Dail, that they can rebuild around that.

    Now, this being the SWP, it’s always possible that they could get a rush of blood to the head and drop everything for some newer shinier area of activity, or that they could get a new set of orders in from the London head office. But so far they’ve shown much more persistence than anyone would have been likely to accuse them of. What’s more, the organisation has to some extent been reshaped by this turn. Their existing members have been at this for a long time now and whatever newer members they have have known nothing else. They have put an awful lot of eggs in this basket, which I think makes it likely that they will continue to be at it for the long haul. It also nearly guarantees that PBP will stay bland, unthreatening and well away from terms like socialism or working class.

    I don’t think, by the way, that Boyd Barrett is likely to head off anywhere, short of a massive turn back away from electoral work and him losing the faction fight that would inevitably ensue. As WbS says, where would he go? I also think that it’s a mistake to evaluate him in those terms. I think his underlying politics are deeply flawed and the mask he presents for electoral purposes is dishonest but I don’t think for a second that he’s a careerist. There’s almost no worse way to build a career in electoral politics than to become an SWP fulltimer.

  8. chekov said,

    July 5, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Yep, totally agree with Mark P. In particular, the speculation that boyd barrett is likely to head off to pastures greener has always struck me as unlikely. It is based solely on the observation that he would be able to make a career of politics if he was in a more electable party, but not everybody is in politics for careerist reasons. I’ve never seen anything to suggest that RBB is likely to be motivated by that and, as Mark P. says, his membership of the SWP is strong evidence against.

    My best guess at the current strategy is that it flows out of the impasse they found themselves in after their success in setting up and controlling the IAWM and other broad organisations was not followed by the expected surge of members into their ranks. They found themselves with a few people who they had built profiles for, but a decline in footsoldiers. It was a natural progression from there to focus on retaining and building up those profiles because they had nowhere else to go.

  9. WorldbyStorm said,

    July 5, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    V. interesting analysis Mark P. Odd, that consistency though. Perhaps a spin-off from Respect UK?

  10. Mark P said,

    July 6, 2008 at 2:12 am

    I think that the reasons for their turn are complex.

    The prehistory of the turn goes back to 1996, when they abandoned their long opposition to standing in elections and rushed to do so in time for the 1997 general election. The spark for this move was quite obviously the vote Militant Labour managed in the 1996 Dublin West by-election. It suddenly seemed clear to them that there were electoral gains to be had and they ran headlong into standing themselves. And did very badly indeed.

    They could have disappeared back into their shell after that, but the English party was quite soon afterwards moving into standing in elections itself and I suspect that that had a strong influence. After the British SWP belatedly joined the Socialist Alliance, this was reflected in the Irish party’s approach and it kept standing in elections but started making appeals for some kind of left electoral alliance here. This period reached its peak when they actually became the major component of the, now almost entirely forgotten, Irish Socialist Alliance.

    The ISA involved the SWP, a couple of people from Socialist Democracy and a small number of independents. And it was a total flop. The important thing to note here though is that by this stage, the SWP were committing some time and effort to electoral work and looking for some kind of broader coalition to stand as part of. However, this was still an openly socialist approach and it was still a very much subordinate part of the SWP’s work. After the failure of the ISA they keep standing in elections and keep issuing appeals for a broader alliance. The shift to the PBPA doesn’t happen for some time and I think a number of factors contributed:

    First and foremost, the English SWP abandoned explicitly socialist electoral work for the much softer vehicle of Respect. They didn’t ally with the existing left but looked for some new forces to ally with. And they had some localised electoral breakthroughs very quickly. Given the authority of the British party within their international grouping and given what looked like immediate significant success (Respect doesn’t look quite so clever now, but I digress), the Irish SWP was always likely to be attracted to the idea of a Respect of its own.

    This attraction was reinforced by their wider political perspectives, which held (and continue to hold) that a big political breakthrough for the left is on the cards and that major gains are there to be made. They had, as a consequence of chasing these illusory breakthroughs, already made a wider turn towards more “movementist” politics. By this I mean that some of their fronts had become more stable, longer lasting affairs. And their approach in arenas like the IAWM was already to water down and avoid openly arguing their politics. Extending this to their electoral work was fairly natural.

    Then you have the reality of the situation on the ground. They’d been making appeals for “left unity” for the best part of a decade and it had become pretty clear that nobody was interested in allying with them. Trying again to set up an alliance, without any initial allies, was to some extent of choosing to shit rather than get off the pot.

    So what you had was the example of their British organisation, the impasse that their previous electoral strategy had reached and their frustration at their failure to make the big breakthroughs that their perspectives told them were waiting for them.Plus as Chekov notes, where else where they going to go? After the anti-war movement began to fall away there wasn’t really much going on in terms of social struggle. They could have moved back more firmly into a routine and concentrated on holding and building their forces until something more productive could be done with them, but they’d already spent a lot of time convincing themselves that they were on the verge of the big time.

  11. WorldbyStorm said,

    July 6, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Interesting isn’t it how similar contexts worked upon both SP and the SWP but the outcomes have been radically different. I do think both Mark P and Chekov are right when note RBB entirely sincere in his affiliation. Still, lack of electoral success can do strange things to a man…

  12. splinteredsunrise said,

    July 7, 2008 at 8:06 am

    Or success, as RBB could be argued to be bigger than his party now. And it’s not so much a sense of him being careerist in the crude sense, but if his ambition to be a useful public representative comes up against the SWP as an obstacle… you know, Noel Browne wasn’t really a careerist either.

  13. Ray said,

    July 7, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Does he really have an ambition to be a useful public representative though (in the Gregory/McGrath/Ramsey sense)? Is he setting up clinics, and helping people with housing claims, or is he setting up public meetings and campaign groups?

  14. Daphne said,

    July 11, 2008 at 2:13 am

    A Kiwi cricket pedant writes: Chris Martin isn’t a batsman. He’s quite notorious for not being a batsman, in fact.

  15. ejh said,

    July 12, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Mind you I’ve seen him bat more than once without him getting 0.

  16. prianikoff said,

    July 12, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Does Eammon McCann have a secret life?

  17. splinteredsunrise said,

    July 12, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    He’s always liked his rock ‘n’ roll image…

  18. prianikoff said,

    July 12, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    I think it he has a namesake, who also seems to double up as

    the third chuckle brother

  19. July 19, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    […] as it happens over at splintered sunrise there was an interesting discussion about a profile of the near ubiquitous RBB in the Phoenix. A profile which ended with the thought […]

  20. Katie Cahill said,

    January 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Daviud McWilliams to stand in Dun Laoire, bye bye RBB.

    • Katie Cahill said,

      January 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm

      Sorry, DAVID McWilliams.

  21. Michael Mc||Grath said,

    January 27, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    A strong dose of Trotskyism in the form of Richard Boyd Barrett is what this coumntry needs.

  22. Michael McGrath said,

    January 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    It looks as if RBB has shot his bolt in DL , so near yet so far away. Ciaran Cuffe’s transfers , when he is eliminated, would go preferentially to Ivana Bacik, probably then to the Fine Gael buxom blonde second candidate, even to Barry Andrews before they would go to RBB.

    The big issue of the election is the Bail Out money that RBB and Sinn Fein don’t want to accept , that could well be their downfall. Irish people are very practical about taking money and bothering afterwards about it . They’re going to go with the parties and politicians that take the hands of the EU and the IMF in snapping up those 65 billions – live now, pay later ( if at all) that’s the Irish.

    RBB & the ULA would, after all, have us eat grass in June.

    This could even threaten Joe Higgins’ accepted seat in the Dail if he doesn’t change his tune and Joe can’t) , FF & FG are already posing questions about where else the 19 billions, MORE TAX, RBB and Joe chorus!

    The Irish electorate was beginning to accept the Left , even ethe usual suspect extremists, over the couple of years of the recent crisis, abortion , gay marriages, toleration of Poles on the Dole and all – but MORE TAXES is putting the people off from their brief Leftist honeymoon. Nobody has a cent left to pay any more tax, the economy wouldn’t stand the stress, it would totally collapse , this is RBB’s Achilles heel that will be well tapped throughout the match by FF, FG and Labour centre halfs.

    As the election campaign starts into its official phase it’s obvious that RBB is well marked by all in DL right now – he may in fact have been better off to gain half the vote he did last time round, they’re all ready to hook him with the basic question on how to pay the 19 billion difference annually ., and they’re right. And the more he appeals to further taxation, the more he’s hooked.
    Verdict : SBB will get half the vote he got last time, maybe even less, but sufficient to keep him hooked .

  23. Michael McGrath said,

    February 21, 2011 at 4:01 am

    A mob orator, a class warrior, a demagogue like Hitler or Stalin.

    To vote for the likes of Boyd Barrett would be jumping from the frying pan into the fire, he is a poison in Irish politics, a canker to be cut out.

    His Socialist Workers Party are the real Nazis of our age: The Nazis had the same Party title, the National Socialist Workers Party!!!

    Boyd Barrett takes over where they left off , there is no overt racism ( though there is thinly-disguised anti-semitism as Alan Shatter TD and Cllr. Richard Humphreys have charged, Sean Dublin Bay Loftus actually calling them ‘ the Real Nazis) but all the rest of the nihilistic destructive policies are there.

    They have the most negative economic and financial policies in the Western hemisphere , they stand against everyting and for nothing as they now attempt to use the crisis to get themselves elected and carve a Soviet State out of Ireland.
    Avoid Boyd Barrett and his Socialistiche Arbeiter Partei Apparatus like the plague!


    • Jim L. said,

      February 21, 2011 at 8:37 pm

      Michael McGrath – do shut up, you hysterical idiot.

  24. Michael McGrath said,

    February 21, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Why not come and shut me up, Jim , and while you’re at it shut up all freedom-loving people too, just like you and Boyd Barrett and your group of SWP Stormtroppers are wont to do.
    I am a Peaceful citizen , but I’ll die before I ever let your ilk shut me or anyone in this country up!
    BTW in case you didn’t know , it’s called Free Speech – something you lot do not believe in.
    Boyd Barrett must be doing very badly on the doorsteps of Dunlaoghaire for you lot to be in such an ugly mood!
    Even Gerry Adams could teach Boyd Barrett lessons in economics from what I have heard from him over TV and in the newspapers so far – his latest leaflet here is unreal, a 12-year-old schoolkid could have written up his ‘policy’ paper, which begs the question –
    Just who is hysterical , him or me, looking at his contorted face on TV you’d think he was going through an epileptic fit!
    He’d never get away with his Dunlaoghaire act in an intelligent place like Kilkenny , but then the Dubs are traditionally led by the nose more easily, great people but the Pied Piper only has to start playing, and Boyd Barrett would make a fabulous Pied Piper on stage –
    oh well, he can try that next after Saturday!

    ” People Before Profit” – what a stunt, as T.P. Barnum said , ” there’s one born every minute” , and that’s why political con men thrive!

  25. Jim L. said,

    February 21, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Erm, I’m not a member of the SWP. But I do find it utterly ridiculous that you would compare them and their members to the Nazis. I think you need to seek help.

  26. Jim L. said,

    February 21, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Oh, I see you are accusing the SWP of being Nazis, while making racist comments about ‘Poles on the dole’. Interesting how you can keep two contradictory moronic thoughts in your head at the same time.

  27. Conor said,

    February 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    “If the SWP were really serious about building a base in West Belfast, they would open an advice centre in the middle of Andytown and do this basic clientelist work. But of course they won’t.”
    That’s a little bit unfair, if we had the money and resources to do that we would.

    Jesus christ lad, chill out take a breather, the Ttots aren’t out to get you and your precious bodily fluids, by which I mean your days are numbered, I’ve back-traced your URL ISP codes and reported you to the central command, the cyber-commies and our Islamo-fascist buddies. As soon as we get Ritchie BB in the Dail you’ll be wearing the stripped pyjamas, oh yes. You ever get that feeling you’re being watched? that’s us actually.

  28. Terry McDermott said,

    February 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Michael McGrath, the old Dominic Street Kilkenny member of what party again? Oh that’s right, the NSIWP.
    Hope RBB in the Dail makes you choke on your fucking cornflakes you cunt.

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