One of the most widely-believed myths in Irish politics is the idea that the main political battleground is a conflict between the leftwing parties, like Sinn Féin and People Before Profit, and “rightwing” or “conservative” parties, like Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. In reality, Ireland has no political rightwing at all.
In fact, the madness of introducing minimum alcohol pricing is another piece of evidence for the pile.
This may sound hard to believe to those who have spent their whole lives assuming that the mono-party of FFG are a bunch of “far-rightwing ultra-conservative fascists,” as they’re often portrayed. But stop and think about it critically for a moment.
Conservatism, in a nutshell, is about three main things: minimal government intervention in the economy, individual rights, and social tradition. That may be an oversimplified description of it, but in broad strokes, when you say someone is “rightwing” or a “conservative” politically, that’s essentially what you mean.
Fiscally, all Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil ever try to do is regulate the ever-loving hell out of the economy in any way they possibly can. They literally can’t help themselves but interfere and stick their oar in at every opportunity.
You own a shop and want to sell alcohol at a competitive price? Not so fast – the FFG government says “no can do.” You’ll sell it at the price they tell you to sell it at, and not a cent less, so that they can manipulate the behaviour of the general public into drinking less.
That’s not conservative.
The Cabinet has signed off on the plan by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol productshttps://t.co/3JYglF0DRk
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) May 4, 2021
You want to get a cheap flight to Lanzarote, and an airline is willing to sell a ticket to you at that price? Not so fast – the FFG government says cheap flights are a “thing of the past” to stop climate change, and will artificially tax airlines to make journeys less affordable on purpose.
That’s not conservative.
— Irish Examiner (@irishexaminer) April 9, 2021
You don’t feel like driving an electric car, and would instead prefer to drive a traditional petrol one? Hold your horses – the FFG government is going to tax fuel until it’s so eye-wateringly expensive that you can’t afford it, in an effort to “force you out of your car.”
— Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) June 18, 2019
They’re even planning to ban the sale of new motor vehicles altogether within ten years so you can’t buy one at all, even if you want to.
None of this is conservative.
Ireland to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 https://t.co/j70mTR2eVW
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 17, 2019
At the risk of sounding dramatic, this is the textbook definition of social-engineering: “the use of centralized planning in an attempt to manage social change and regulate the future development and behaviour of a society.”
They are literally using massive taxes, levies, subsidies and regulations to manipulate the behaviour of the individual and bend society to their will. Economic conservatives they clearly are not.
So controlling are they, in fact, that in October of 2020, Fine Gael Minister for State Damien English said that wreaths for All Souls Day and socks for your children are “non essential” products, and they were subsequently banned from being purchased. Have we all forgotten about this?
Throwback to this last October. https://t.co/lyTmJZinFW
— Ben Scallan 🇮🇪 (@Ben_Scallan) May 5, 2021
There were even Gardaí going around ensuring aisles of so-called “non-essential goods” were blocked off in shops.
— Garda Info (@gardainfo) October 25, 2020
You’re at the shop looking to buy something with your own money, the shop is willing to sell it to you, but there is a State minister stepping in between both parties and saying “ah ah ah! Cool your jets!” and stopping the transaction. That’s not remotely conservative by any possible metric.
So what of individual rights? Do FFG stand up to the conservative litmus test on that?
Well, if in doubt, I would direct you to Ireland’s excruciatingly long covid-19 lockdown.
Now, obviously most countries in the world locked down their economy to deal with covid-19 – that’s a given. But our government particularly took the piss – especially as regards the length and severity of the restrictions.
We had the esteemed honour of having the #1 longest lockdown in the EU by far, and one of the strictest on earth, according to Oxford.
Irish workers have been out of the job with lockdowns for longer than any other EU state – 163 days in total.
Source: Oxford Coronavirus Government Response Tracker
— Ben Scallan 🇮🇪 (@Ben_Scallan) February 25, 2021
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) October 22, 2020
Ireland under strictest lockdown in EU, claims Oxford report https://t.co/gCXWOZLqe8
— breakingnews.ie (@breakingnewsie) February 24, 2021
And when we’re talking about a lockdown, what are we actually saying? Well, the government is preventing you from opening certain businesses, you can’t go to certain shops, you can’t buy certain products.
In this country, you are denied your fundamental right to religious worship, despite it being enshrined in the Constitution and UN Declaration of Human Rights.
Attending Mass a criminal offence under Covid-19 regulations, court hears https://t.co/8b3cG3QART
— The Irish Times (@IrishTimes) April 14, 2021
You are denied the right to protest the government and their policies, which is a fundamental civil right in any free society.
— Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) February 28, 2021
People are denied the right to travel, being trapped within 5km of their home for almost a year (at one point it was only within 2km).
— H24 News Ireland (@h24news_ie) January 3, 2021
Even so-called “hate speech” laws that deprive people of the right to speak their mind, coercing people into taking a vaccine that they may not want or need – the examples of individual rights violations are endless.
— Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) June 10, 2020
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed that student nurses have an “obligation” to take the covid-19 vaccine, even if they don’t want it, for the sake of “collective solidarity” and the “overall good.”#gripthttps://t.co/8cMvjInYKy
— gript (@griptmedia) March 31, 2021
Where other governments simply used the lockdown in emergency circumstances as a last resort, which is what the WHO recommends, Fine Gael and their political allies seem to use it willy nilly as they see fit. Their instinct and knee jerk reaction is to control your business and your way of life to an absurd degree.
Once again, none of this is conservative or an example of “small government.”
And when it comes to “socially traditional values”, forget it. This one shouldn’t even need addressing. We’re talking about the same government whose HSE advised young people to have sex online during the covid-19 lockdown.
"Advising people to have “internet sex” amounts, in essence, to advising people to get naked, and perform sexual acts, on camera. This is horrendous advice from anyone – let alone coming from the Irish Government"https://t.co/k7FPYI5Zzc
— gript (@griptmedia) August 4, 2020
That’s sex online – as in, sending naked pictures and videos of yourself to people over the internet. Very traditional values there. I’m sure your granny would give it two thumbs up.
They want to make it easier for children under 16 to change their gender.
— Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) June 2, 2020
They campaigned hard for abortion and gay marriage – our Garda cars are even rainbow coloured for an entire month out of the year in solidarity with gay pride and LGBTQI+ values.
— Garda Info (@gardainfo) June 10, 2019
Now they’re pushing assisted suicide and euthanasia.
TDs voted in favour of the Dying with Dignity Bill by 81-71 and it will now continue to the committee stagehttps://t.co/hl9IfXl94a
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) October 7, 2020
Gay pride, non-binary, trans, feminism, radical sex-ed curriculum in schools, gender and racial quotas for politics – you name it, they’re all about it. And maybe you support some or all of these things – maybe you don’t have an issue with anything on that list. And if that’s the case, whatever, you’re entitled to your opinion.
The point is, it’s not traditional and it’s not conservative in any way, shape or form. These parties aren’t fiscally rightwing, they aren’t socially rightwing, they aren’t culturally rightwing. And all of this is just the tip of the iceberg, this article could be 100 pages long – they’re not conservative on border control, on law and order, on individual rights like free speech. Their instinct is to regulate, control and micromanage every facet of your life, while destroying every value our society traditionally held dear.
In fact, Leo couldn’t wait to big up Joe Biden for President in the US, who is clearly a Leftwing candidate with the Democrat Party.
Good luck Joe. Delighted you chose the brilliant @KamalaHarris as your running mate. A true trailblazer, half-Indian and committed to justice. And you’re both Finnegans! I know you’ll both be friends of Ireland https://t.co/aIPjy3Lae3
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) August 13, 2020
Now, are Fine Gael better on these issues than, say, People Before Profit, or Sinn Féin?
Well yeah, they are.
But is that really the bar for being a conservative? You’re not quite as far-Left as literal Marxists and Socialists? That hardly qualifies them for anything. Whatever about 50 years ago or their party origins, as of today, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are both basically cringier versions of the Social Democrats. They are self-described “progressives” and bear absolutely no resemblance to Burkean conservatism.
Which means we literally have no rightwing parties with institutional power in Ireland. Every single party with seats is Leftwing to a greater or lesser extent. Either progressive liberal left, or Marxist left. And it’s really not healthy for a society to have so little balance in its politics.
They even use “rightwing” or “conservative” as a perjorative to smear their opponents. At Sinn Féin’s 2017 Ard Fheis, they even accused Leo Varadkar of being “so far-right he outdoes Marine Le Pen.”
— Kevin Doyle (@KevDoyle_Indo) November 17, 2017
Hilariously, just a month before that, Leo had compared Mary Lou McDonald to Le Pen as an insult as well. “I know you are but what am I” comes to mind.
Leo Varadkar compares Mary Lou McDonald to Marine Le Pen https://t.co/6pDFbD5bTV
— Irish Times Politics (@IrishTimesPol) September 26, 2017
They’re always comparing each other to Donald Trump as a criticism – Leo even recently said that the conservaitve label was falsely levelled at his party as an insult:
“Mr Varadkar said that the conservative label has been pinned on Fine Gael partly due to “our friends on the left who don’t like us”. He said some on the left are “embarrassed” that the Fine Gael party has brought about such social progress “sometimes with them, but often without them”.
Varadkar considers the conservative label to be a slander. It’s a smear, in his view, that is directed at his party by people who don’t like him. That’s how much disdain he has for the conservative worldview. He’s offended when you paint him with that brush.
It’s their go-to insult, and reveals that as far as our politicians are concerned, the worst thing you can be is rightwing. I’ve yet to hear how being rightwing is anymore egregious than being leftwing, but there you go.
And meanwhile, basically nobody in our politics is willing to call out, say, mass immigration, which, in modern times, is usually an area opposed by rightwing parties. We don’t have any rightwing parties in this country, so we end up with an absolutely extreme immigration policy and no opposition to it.
Nobody is willing to call out insane social issues like putting biolgically male transgender criminals into jails with women – because that would be insensitive to the LGBTQI+ community, and as a liberal, you can’t have that. So our female prisoners are put under threat, because we have no conservative voices.
Nobody stands up for private business, nobody stands up for property rights, nobody stands up for individual liberty, or free speech, or taxpayers, or any of these vitally important issues, because our discourse is totally lopsided and unbalanced in favour of the Left and Leftwing ideals.
The things our politicians argue about don’t differ in substances, but in degree. How fast are we going to solve climate change, how radical is our abortion policy going to be, how many tens of thousands of illegal immigrants are we going to let in and give legal status to – they don’t disagree about the Leftwing goal. Just the speed at which it’s reached.
Ultimately, if you’re unhappy with the way the country is being run, maybe some conservative representation in our politics would help balance things out. Just some food for thought.