You may be surprised to know that there’s actually a very handy trick which allows you to predict, in a Nostradamus-like fashion, what the Irish government’s policy on any given issue is going to be months in advance.
At this point you might be wondering how I acquired this amazing power, exactly. Did I come across some sort of magical crystal ball, or an ogham prophecy on a clay tablet? Was I bitten by a radioactive spider that gave me prophetic superpowers and psychic abilities?
Well, I wish – the reality isn’t nearly so exciting. In truth, all you need is a simple formula; so simple, in fact, that you can try it yourself at home.
All you need to predict the government’s future policy on an issue is to identify which policies they’re currently denouncing as “far-right” and “dangerous.” As soon as you hear those sorts of labels used, you can go long and bet the farm that they’re likely to announce the same policy in the not too distant future.
To get an idea of what I mean, let’s read an article from the Journal.ie this week, in which Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced that he’s getting seriously concerned about – wait for it now – illegal immigration.
The Taoiseach has said that the Government will be examining stronger controls at the border to limit illegal immigrationhttps://t.co/Bsth1Hum1P
— TheJournal.ie (@thejournal_ie) January 11, 2023
Now where on earth have I heard this before?
The article explains:
Speaking to reporters this evening, Varadkar said that the Government had discussed how they could introduce “more appropriate and more robust” border controls to prevent illegal immigration into Ireland.
Now this sounds suspiciously like, you know…exactly what the Irish anti-establishment Right has been saying for years now? That illegal immigration is rampant and putting pressure on the country’s resources and services? That many of the people entering the country are not refugees or asylum seekers at all, but are economic scam artists gaming the system?
Of course not too long ago, this view was a “far-right” narrative according to Official Ireland. In fact, protesters that made those same arguments such as the ones at East Wall may well be guilty of “hate speech” according to at least one government Minister of State last year, James Brown TD.
— The West's Awake. (@west_awake1) November 25, 2022
And yet what yesterday was written off as a hateful, far-right lie, is today government policy. Amazing how that works, isn’t it?
But this is not the only case like this, however. For many months, the hashtag #IrelandIsFull has been trending on Twitter, and it was actually raised in the Seanad by Independent Senator Sharon Keogan last November, basically making the point that Ireland’s infrastructure can’t handle an unrelenting torrent of new arrivals.
Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne replied at the time, saying that this was a “dog-whistle approach,” and basically implying that this was a racist talking point.
And that remained the government position – that is, until the very next month, when Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman started urging Ukrainians not to come to Ireland because there was nowhere to put them.
Ukrainians urged not to come to Ireland over Christmas due to accommodation capacity issues https://t.co/v6dx0yooYG
— Irish Examiner (@irishexaminer) December 14, 2022
In other words: Yes, the country is indeed full. We don’t have capacity for everyone and they should stop coming here.
The examples go on and on – and not just on immigration either.
For example, during the Covid period, if you said that the virus was endemic and would never end, making the restrictions a futile waste of time, you’d be written off as a far-right conspiracy theorist who was anti-science.
And that label would have stuck with you, until the end of July 2021, when the government-appointed advisory body known as NPHET admitted that “Actually yeah, Covid’s going nowhere.”
Remarkable that it has taken until the last week of July 2021 for a senior Irish public health official to admit what has been obvious since about April 2020. https://t.co/6GG4lJGZXt
— John McGuirk (@john_mcguirk) July 28, 2021
In 2021, not wearing a mask on the bus made you a rightwing Granny-murdering extremist. In 2023, nobody wears a mask anymore – not even politicians who jailed grannies over Christmas for not wearing one in certain settings.
— Irish Daily Mirror (@IrishMirror) December 17, 2021
We could also look at the fact that supporting fossil fuels to prevent blackouts makes you a climate denier – unless you’re Leo Varadkar and you want to invest in LNG to secure the country’s energy supply.
EXCLUSIVE: Leo Varadkar has privately told his party that he supports building LNG terminals to ensure the security of the State’s energy supply.
Tánaiste's comments put him at odds with Eamon Ryan who has strongly opposed the Shannon LNG project https://t.co/X62Fi1R3Mq
— Hugh O'Connell (@oconnellhugh) August 24, 2022
Etcetera, etcetera – we could go on all day.
You know, since I’m putting this future-predicting formula out there, and I’m quite confident in it, I’d like to make a prediction, if I may be so bold.
I predict that in the future, the next big reversal from the government will be related to climate change and energy policy. I predict that the country will be brought to the brink of blackouts and catastrophe due to government green policies shutting down power stations. And I predict that the government will have to scramble to re-open some of these older carbon-rich stations that they previously closed, just to keep the lights on.
Now, maybe they’ll prove me wrong in spectacular fashion and I’ll have to eat my hat. Maybe it’ll be full-steam ahead (no pun intended) on the Green Train, and the country will not need to reverse any of its fossil fuel closures. But if history is anything to go by, I like my odds.
Ultimately, it looks like the definition of a “far-right” person is anyone who has the good sense and foresight to predict a crisis before it arises. If you want to not be labelled “far-right,” just do what the government does: walk full-speed into every predictable disaster head-first, and then flounder to do what you insulted other people for suggesting you do originally when it all blows up in your face.
It turns out that the difference between an extreme far-right position, and a government position, is around 6 months. Who could have guessed?