Imagine the following scenario: a high ranking member of the Labour Party Youth group attends a foreign conference of international socialists. The conference, while banal in their eyes, plays host to a variety of far left Stalinists and Marxist-Lenninists sympathetic to armed insurrection.
The speeches given are militant, with unabashed Soviet symbols flaunted with rationalisations given to Soviet famines. Imagine then, upon returning to Ireland, this Young Labour member suddenly faces a strategic media campaign targeting him personally originating from the far right and their own Party.
The situation is of course absurd, many of the old guard of the Irish Labour Party cut their teeth in the extreme left through organisations like The Workers Party and that’s not even beginning with Sinn Féin’s connections.
The very concept of disavowing their own for radicalism is alien to the Left and they are much the better for it. People Before Profit activists can flaunt quirky Stalinist memes on their social media pages without a second thought.
Naturally a different dynamic exists for the conservative right. Reported upon yesterday in the Irish Independent we have an example of the above case but in the reverse. A handful of the upper echelons of Young Fine Gael (YFG) were revealed to have attended the annual Young Americans for Freedom Conference in Washington, addressed by American Vice President Mike Pence.
While perhaps the dweebiest of centre right events to possibly attend, their attendance has drawn fire not merely from the usual crazies on the far left, but also from the Fine Gael parliamentary party itself in the form of Noel Rock TD. While the conference has the same ideological depth as a Ben Shapiro video, the attendees are being tarred as having attended a Klan rally.
Young Americans for Freedom is quite literally the safest and most genuinely boring right wing conference going. The corporate styling of it is derivative, and I can see no genuine reason why an Irish person would want to go to it, especially seeing how that brand of centre right conservatism has gotten America nowhere.
The youth leader in question, Killian Folely-Walsh, has featured in this publication advocating for membership of Young Fine Gael. The points made in his article are of a centre right youth leader, not a far right wingnut.
The basic insinuation made in the criticism of the lads is that even the slightest deviation from liberal norms results in immediate purging. In a healthy democratic society Fine Gael being our mainline centre right should play host to a respectable conservative faction. However since the recent abortion vote, it appears that even a modicum of conservative thinking merits severe social repercussions.
To be honest, I don’t much care for Young Fine Gael. My family politics are on the other side of the Treaty and my income bracket well below their average member. The stereotypes are more often than not true with the youth wing is primarily populated by careerists or geeky South Dubliners. Ireland could be in flames but if their corner of white collar South East Dublin was making money the average Fine Gaeler probably wouldn’t care. However, the furore is as engineered as it is disingenuous.
Perhaps the greatest faux pas committed by the lads involved was thinking that imported reheated American conservatism could ever fly in Ireland. Anyone with an understanding of Irish politics above the level of half-watched Prager U videos understands Americanised conservatism hasn’t a hope in this country. Frankly, it’s just not radical enough to begin to address our current national malaise. A flat tax is not nearly enough to address the current trajectory of Irish society and, if we are honest, we all know it.
The perennial sin of the centre right is to eschew any and all radicalism originating from its right flank. While the British Labour Party feeds off the energy and ideas ofMomentum, the Tory leadership were adamant in shutting down their radical faction in the Monday Club.
The lads, whether they know it or not, are victims of the cowardice of the generation before them in the Party, happy to allow the Overton Window drift to the point where even the smallest of centre right utterances are prohibited.
A generation ago Fine Gael was happy to entertain the conservative firebrand Alice Glenn, now even Leo Varadkar’s comments against gay adoption from less than a decade ago would merit deselection.
The significance of the recent hit piece on this contingent of YFG members is that there are no safe spaces to hide within the centre right. Ireland may be governed economically by a centre right government but public discourse is dictated by the hard left.
So far it appears the lads involved are holding firm enough, perhaps understanding that it’s silly to back down and repent for their actions. The ordeal ends the notion that any negotiation can be had with the left-liberal consensus in Ireland. Also, smashed is the idea that any sort of a radical faction could be created in Fine Gael, a fact that most young people in this realm of politics increasingly gauge. You do not negotiate with terrorists, and do not hope to negotiate with the ‘anti-racist’ grievance mob.
Fine Gael is a vehicle for middle class careerists and we shouldn’t expect any lipservice paid to conservatives. The future face of Fine Gael looks more like Maria Walsh, not Killian Folely Walsh, and it’s about time people realised that.
Fine Gael is a middle class propertied version of People Before Profit, even if its members and detractors scarcely fathom it. The anti-national rot is the same in Fine Gael as anywhere else, even if it keeps a veneer of centre right respectability.
The warning signs were there two years prior with the public chastisement of South Dublin Councillor Brian Murphy for Islamophobic remarks. The chance to hammer out a conservative faction in Fine Gael was two decades ago These young lads, whether they know it or not, will have doors shut on their advancement going forward.
The very first step for Ireland to regain sanity is for the centre right to stop playing to the tune of the left on accusations of racism. Young Fine Gael shouldn’t be castigated for attending a bland centre right conference in America, but for failing to provide even the slightest fightback to the liberal-left takeover of Ireland while their Party is at the helm.
The future belongs to those willing to stare down the left leaning Overton Window, and don’t think for a second that’s going to come from Young Fine Gael.