Christy Moore at the "IrelandforAll" rally, Feb 18th

Saturday’s Protest: Viva La Quinta Brigada, my arse

On Saturday, in front of a crowd that was either 50,000 strong, if you believe the Irish Times and RTE, or maybe a fraction of that, if you believe your lying eyes, Christy Moore stood up to warble out the song he reserves almost entirely for cameo performances at left wing protest events: Viva la Quinta Brigada.

The lyrics of that song are instructive. It tells the story of those poor souls who travelled to Spain in the mid-1930s, to fight on the losing side of the Spanish Civil War. For many of our friends on the left, this heroism is something they see in themselves:

They came to stand beside the Spanish people

To try and stem the rising fascist tide

Franco’s allies were the powerful and wealthy

Frank Ryan’s men came from the other side

The lyrics really should give the listener pause. After all, whose allies, today, are the “powerful and wealthy”? And whose men “come from the other side”?

In most countries, the establishment usually has the good grace to recognise that it is, in fact, the establishment. Say what you want about attendees at Eton College, but few enough will try to present themselves as revolutionary insurrectionists fighting against the system.

In Ireland, though, you get the sight of Ailbhe Smith – UCD academic, National Women’s Council Scion, awardee of the freedom of Dublin, fixture on the college speaking circuit, and who has earned very few euros in her life that did not originate in the Department of Finance – standing up in front of a crowd representing dozens of state-funded organisations, to declare that the time for revolution has come.

Most left-wing revolutions, of course, target the state. The French revolution decapitated a King. The Russian one murdered a Tsar, his family, and, for good measure, his little dogs. These Irish revolutionaries do not seek to target the state. No, the revolution in Ireland targets the people.

The enemy of the marchers on Saturday is not Leo Varadkar. How could it be? He funds almost all of them. Nor is it Micheál Martin. Nor even is it President Higgins in his enormous mansion. Traditionally revolutionaries would oppose such signs of privilege. But for these revolutionaries, President Higgins is their spiritual leader: The Dalai Lama of the Quinta Brigada.

Certainly, lip service is paid to the need for change. But it is no more than that, because the maths do not work. After all, in the matter at hand, it does not matter how many houses the Government builds, seizes, or repurposes: Eventually, if there are no limits on inward arrivals, you run out of houses for those new arrivals. Not to mention those who already live here.

No, the real rage of these revolutionaries – and that is how they see themselves – is directed at you.

That is why there were transgender flags. Because you are not only racist, in their eyes, but transphobic. That is why Pavee point were there: Because you are not only racist, but anti traveller. That is why extinction rebellion were there: Because you are not only racist, but destroying the world. These people have no reason to protest the Government, after all – this is the same Government that is planning to allow children to change gender in the absence of parental consent. The same Government that dubiously recognised travellers as a minority ethnic group. And the same Government that plans to ban your diesel car by 2035. This wasn’t a protest against Government – in fact, without Government, many of these people would have no jobs.

When they say that their march was opposed to racism, what they mean is that it is opposed to you, the plebs. That’s where the anger is directed – not at the Minister in charge, Roderick O’Gorman, but at their fellow citizens who dare to question progressive ideas that have become borderline religious.

And when they absurdly say that there were 50,000 people there, and prove that they can get RTE and the Irish Times to repeat the lie without a hint of conscience, what they mean is “See? You’d better not cross us. We can do what we want”.

That brings us back to Christy, and his lyrics: Who, indeed, are the “powerful and the wealthy” in Ireland today?

Is it the working class people of Finglas, with their plain talk about their communities being full? Is it English Jester Tommy Robinson, whose arrival last week to Dublin was greeted by the Irish Media like the arrival of seventeen British armoured divisions on our borders, under the command of the revived corpse of ol’ Olly Cromwell? Is it me, and my colleagues at Gript? Is it Mattie McGrath, or Senator Sharon Keogan? Is it, Lord help us, Derek Blighe and his cameraphone?

Or is it, perhaps, an NGO sector that is paid billions every year? Is it a media that says it opposes misinformation but will tell you that 50,000 people attended this march, with a straight face? Is it perhaps the armada of corporations who fund Pride Events and Inclusivity festivals and make sure, on pain of losing their jobs, that all of their employees wear the right rainbow badges on the right days? Is it the Universities, again, funded by you, who trot out social studies graduates to work in organisations chronicling your bigotry, and your racism, and your imperfections, to be showcased to you on RTE’s Prime Time?

I know what I think.

I think that for all their pretensions, and all their dress-up, and the odes to communist resistance, and the pitiful cultural appropriation of belittled minority status, this was a march of the powerful, raging against the uppity powerless.

Viva La Quinta Brigada, my arse.

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