With Ireland’s NGOcracy scrambling to put out fires at home, liberals took a minor spit take at the presence of An Taoiseach in Brussels hobnobbing with Órban and Meloni at this month’s EU migration summit.
A standard tête-à-tête, it constituted clearfire evidence of Leo’s latent neofascism to progressives itching for Fine Gael to be an Irish equivalent of the British Tories rather than our Lib Dems.
Leo’s alleged straying to the dark side concurs with Ireland currently ‘finding its level’ regarding right-wing populism as anti-asylum protests continue.
Regardless, Europe has already moved on, in many cases electing semi-reasonable nationalist governments before Ireland has even left the electoral starting gates. Last to the party, when it came to embracing liberalism (or even witnessing a nationalist backlash), provincial minded progressives cannot comprehend the Continent heading rightwards after 6 years of castigating Brexit Britain.
Pundits like Fintan O’Toole have focused inordinate fire on the UK, not realising the shifting sands in Europe as the populist right entered power in many jurisdictions and the scars of mass migration manifest more and more.
Hardly the Fourth Reich, these wins have influenced, at least cosmetically, politics at an EU Council level, as seen by reforms announced to ameliorate the bloc’s asylum pitfall. If Europe is to bury itself under demographic rubble, it at least now wants to do so in an orderly fashion as it ponders putting up token fortifications. Not much, psychologically it’s a major break from the Peter Sutherland days of pre-2016.
Unlikely to put a real dent into spiking migration numbers for now, the thought that Europe could master her external borders was enough to send Eurofederalist Barry Andrews into a state of moral panic on Newstalk.
The reaction was similar in print on Tara Street, where Naomi O’Leary was practically pounding the table at Europe hardening deportation laws. A rather calculating Varadkar has begun a policy of dog whistling on migration, which in Ireland’s case means hinting that bogus applicants could perhaps be deported.
The Europe of the 1990s and early 2000s, which Irish liberals imagine themselves to be still inhabiting, has long since rusted into a bloc which may be forced to take responsibility into its own hands. A malformed union and wannabe superpower which grew under the umbrella of American protection during the unipolar era, its survival now rests on modulating flows of migration into the European heartland. Frogs are better boiled slower elites are learning.
The impact of mass migration has altered the European body politic already. Both the old Christian Democratic right and socialist left are and have been collapsing under the weight of populism, with more longsighted members of our native comprador class acknowledging that the past weeks of protests signify if Ireland is set to follow European political norms-one way or another.
The mighty progressive citadel of Sweden now faces up to the reality that its inner cities are beyond the rule of law, with the French Zemmourian wave bringing overly racialist ideas practically to the Fifth Republic’s front door. The threat of hybrid warfare in the form of weaponised migration from Ankara or Moscow is also a pull factor in influencing the creation of a half-hearted Fortress Europe.
Little old Ireland has been a harbour of political calm with all this turmoil.
National populism has not ended, let alone reversed mass migration but has at least forced governments into the corner where they are forced to at least register public discomfort. America may not be in such a decline as was thought in 2020 and needs Europe to be able to tokenistically defend herself as Washington lumbers up to Asia.
Europe, which has since the 1970s existed as a shorthand for the dissolution of Irish nationhood into the acid bath of secular social democracy, now seems to be veering into a rather uncouth direction for certain Dublin elites. The paradox of a Europe sitting further to the right than post-Catholic Ireland is slowly dawning on us all. All except those seemingly in the belly of the European project.
Bar republican interludes, the Irish national elite have eschewed real responsibility preferring instead the fleshpots empire whether from Brussels, London or DC. It was however not part of the plan that Europe would perhaps alter its ideological course.
If Europe’s muscles for governance have atrophied then Ireland’s can hardly be said to exist at all, existing as merely a satellite for foreign powers to impose themselves. If theoretically Europe was to elect hardline nationalist governments in the morning there is a good chance that Official Ireland would simply albeit begrudgingly comply with the new order.
Brussels was and remains a glass prison for Irish sovereignty but relative to the insanity at home offers a small degree of respite with its increasing populist presence, if only for how wayward Irish politics have become.
Fortress Europe is not upon us, though gallant allies on the Continent grow stronger. Let’s see where Ireland’s euro sycophancy goes now the adults have begun to enter the room in Brussels. A geriatric Europe may still have some life in her yet.