A very good question by the interviewer here, and a very bad answer from the putative politician. Have a listen to it yourself. She basically says “I denied that I believe in a world with no borders even though I absolutely believe that the world should have no borders”:
— Gearóid Murphy (@gearoidmurphy_) May 19, 2020
The problem with this sort of thing, of course, is that it erodes trust in politicians in general. We now know (whatever our views on immigration and borders might be) that McHugh is more than willing to lie about her views on the question in order to get elected.
Which raises a couple of obvious questions: First, is she in a minority in the Green Party? Are we to expect, for example, that the rest of them are totally serious about having some border to the country, and that McHugh is the cuckoo in the nest, just pretending to be like the rest of them? Or is it more likely that people with McHugh’s worldview are lying about this kind of thing en masse to help them get elected?
There’s actually more evidence for the latter argument – that they’re all lying – than you’d think. McHugh is now the second politician in the Dáil to be honest about it. Accidentally, in her case. But remember that Paul Murphy, when he founded RISE last year, published a manifesto which explicitly stated that “a socialist world will have no borders”. Talk to an activist on the left and you’ll regularly be told that the world should have no borders and people should be able to come and go to any country as they please. And yet, for some reason, as soon as they become candidates for office, they stop saying that out loud. And in many cases, they deny it. A political tactic in McHugh’s case, but of course the rest of them have had genuine changes of heart, right?
What’s amazing, of course, is that if you think about the consequences of open borders, it’s the left who should fear them most. Hardnosed capitalists like me, who value money and whatnot over patriotism (or so we’re regularly told) should have no problem with open borders because open borders will always drive down wages by increasing competition in the labour market. As things stand, if a business wants to benefit from cheap Cambodian labour, it needs to re-locate lock, stock, and barrel to Cambodia. This is expensive, and it’s also relatively good for the Cambodians, who benefit from more taxes and investment in their country.
But with open borders, you can keep your business here and fill it with Cambodians you fly over, and pay minimum wage to. This costs much less.
The point is, for a movement that’s so eager to help the workers and the poorest, McHugh’s version of the left is one that would transparently make things worse for workers, and the poorest. No wonder she’s eager to lie about it.
Of course, the only way workers rights and free movement with no borders could work effectively is if every country on the planet had the exact same minimum wage laws and employment rights. But putting an Irish minimum wage, for example, into Cambodia, would immediately bankrupt nearly every business in that country.
The other thing that’s interesting here, by the way, is the brazenness with which she admits it, which is very jarring. Until you remember that she thought she was talking to a friendly audience. That’s something that the left is very good at, which the rest of us are not: A true left winger can go on television and deny something that they absolutely believe and not have to worry about annoying her supporters, because they all understand that the lie is necessary. It’s like how, at some stage later this year, US Democratic Candidate Joe Biden will have to go to somewhere like West Virginia and be photographed holding a rifle saying how much he likes guns and how he always went shooting ducks with his Pop as a child. Nonsense, of course, but all the “ban guns” people know it’s necessary to get him elected. McHugh is just saying here what she’d say to all her friends in the pub, because she probably thought that the audience for a fringe lefty podcast would be confined to the kinds of people who are her friends in the pub. Alas, she was wrong.
Anyway, that’s what she thinks, and when she tells people at the election that she thinks something else, she’s lying, and she’s just admitted that she was lying. That’s news, and you probably won’t read it anywhere else, so make your own minds up about whether to vote for her next time she’s on the ballot.