The vaulting ambition of Vincent Browne

The latest Phoenix [subs required] turns once again to its bête noire Vincent Browne, apropos of his involvement in discussions to lash together a far-left electoral slate for the next southern elections. Some of us may point out that these discussions have been happening periodically for a dozen or more years with underwhelming results, but evidently Vinnie is a desperate man. Take it away, Goldhawk:

The born again Blueshirt/Trotskyist developed cold feet at the slight whiff of sulphur arising from that “Right to Work” kerfuffle outside the Dáil (elevated to the status of riot by some media) in May [this was some excitable SWP types deciding to “do a Greece” and storm parliament, only to be anticlimactically turned back by ten unarmed guards] and his enthusiasm for the new Bolshevik Party waned simultaneously. Browne had been approached by various media friends who advised him that he was damaging his profile (specifically, that he looked a little foolish rather than dangerous) by associating with Trots and other malcontents…

Browne has now used the inability of the NGO community types to relate to the more hardline SWP Trotskyists such as Kieran Allen and Richard Boyd Barrett as an excuse to bow out from the putative new movement. All of which means that Browne’s long time ambition to make it into the Dáil – with any party, be it Blueshirt, Trotskyist or the Monster Raving Loony Party – has once again been thwarted.

I would only add that those Vinnie has left in the lurch may like to ponder the predilection of Swiss Toni and his acolytes for celebrity politics, especially when the celeb is as politically promiscuous as Vincent Browne. This may be a point worth addressing before you find Gráinne Seoige or Eamon Dunphy being unveiled as People Before Profit candidates on the principle that you can’t beat the marquee factor.


  1. Garibaldy said,

    July 2, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    I’d pay good money to see Dunphy in the Dáil. It would be great. Or possibly Senator Dunphy v Senator Harris in a battle royal.

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      July 3, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      I’d love it myself. Especially if he could have Giles with him.

      • Garibaldy said,

        July 4, 2010 at 2:01 am

        Can you imagine how baffled Souness would be left by that?

  2. Mark P said,

    July 3, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Phoenix isn’t a reliable source on the socialist left, quite aside from its dislike of Browne.

    It gives very much the point of view of an arrogant but slightly dim Provo, which normally entails much sneering at “trots” and frequent comparisons casting SF in a positive light. This general tendency is likely to be amplified by the Provo fear that Joan Collins might take O’Snodaigh’s Dáil seat.

    The SWP/PBPA/Browne/etc discussions are of some interest though, in that they seem to represent an attempt by the SWP to put something broader, looser and politically shallower than the PBPA in place. It’s certainly the logic of their approach at the moment: If at first you don’t succeed, water things down even more and try again.

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      July 3, 2010 at 4:55 pm

      One might call it the homeopathic approach to politics…

      • WorldbyStorm said,

        July 4, 2010 at 12:34 am

        And yet at least one person I can think of in the Phoenix would have been very very close to the ‘socialist left’ in the dim and distant past, and is hardly likely to have become a Stalinist in the subsequent years.

      • Mark P said,

        July 4, 2010 at 2:42 am

        Absolutely he was (I presume we are talking about the same person here), but the Phoenix’s sympathies have been more Provo than far left for quite some time.

        In particular it’s writings on the left tend to have a distinctly pro-SF tinge. This manifests itself in things like offhand and bizarrely wrong claims that SF have more support in any one constituency than the socialist left nationally and in mindnumbingly stupid claims that SF got more votes than People Before Profit in the working class parts of the Dun Laoghaire constituency.

    • Ciarán said,

      July 4, 2010 at 7:50 pm

      This general tendency is likely to be amplified by the Provo fear that Joan Collins might take O’Snodaigh’s Dáil seat.

      Is there any basis to this fear or is it just paranoia on the Shinners’ part? I’ve had thought the main threat to that seat would have come from Labour.

      • Mark P said,

        July 5, 2010 at 9:13 am

        Labour will certainly take one of the Fianna Fail seats. It would be hard for them to go from one seat to three however. The most obvious remaining threat to O’Snodaigh is from Collins, particularly when you recall that in the recent local elections, the PBPA outpolled SF across the constituency by 5,500 to 3,900.

        There are a lot of complicating factors – O’Snodaigh probably has a bigger vote than the SF local candidates, while Collins may not poll as well outside her ward as the other PBPA local candidates, for instance. Or as another example, part of that SF local vote was accounted for by Louise Minihan who has since left and might conceivably take some of her vote with her. Even accepting that it’s all a bit messy and uncertain though, SF are not being paranoid when they fear Collins taking O’Snodaigh’s seat. The numbers are on Collins side.

  3. Captain Rock said,

    July 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Browne can be great when confronted by a politician or a journalist who’s not expecting a row. He also sees himself as the man whose going to challenge the consensus on the recession, crime or whatever and thereby ask questions others won’t ask. HOWEVER…his show’s panels are the same old pals act as most radio-tv talk shows and he is so ADD and impatient that he won’t let people answer questions properly and badgers people incessantly. In a word he’s a bully, but ‘he doesn’t like it up him’ himself, becoming either incoherent or defensive when faced with someone equally bullying- see Ger Colleran from the Star last week on crime for example. Colleran went for the ‘you live in a big house in Howth, Vincent, you haven’t a clue how crime affects the working class’ line and it worked.
    As for a link up with PBP, Jesus there would be some ego clashes there.

  4. Mark P said,

    July 3, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Vincent is in many ways a national treasure, but he doesn’t strike me as someone likely to submit the rigours of Democratic Kieranism for long.

  5. Mr. Cranky said,

    July 7, 2010 at 12:07 am

    I have found this article to be very undermining not only to Vincent Browne but to the left. It would appear that there are very few journalists in the country who try to defend or support the left. It is one thing having an opinion or a particular perspective, but when it lacks balance and fairness it becomes very disrespectful. I would like to note that it appears to be a very bias and slanderous article. Mr. Cranky.

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