FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Painting the Irish Titanic Pink

What’s the most opportunistic thing a country can do in today’s vacant political culture? Elect a youthful face as leader? What about a coloured face as führer? Or an LGBT front man or woman? Forever trying to hitch a ride on the latest capitalist trends – Ireland just did all of the above. And it all means nothing. Ireland could elect the first black female pope as it’s leader and it still wouldn’t change the empty feeling one gets in the Emerald Isle these days.

In June the Irish parliament made Leo Varadkar Taoiseach (leader). At the age of 38 – not only is he the youngest person to hold this position – he’s also the first Irish leader to have roots in the Third World (India). And to cap all of this “exciting” package – he’s also the first openly gay man to lead the country. Indeed, according to Pink News, only three other nations in the world, in recent times, ever had openly gay leaders.

But does anyone care? In an Ireland were economics and geopolitics are untouchable subjects because foreign “experts” (or gangsters – the UK, IMF, EU and USA) know best: a gay and colourful leadership amounts to being a cultural cosmetic or game and nothing more. Why bother play it or endorse it – especially when the gay leadership in question is right wing?

Leo Varadkar is the leader of Fine Gael – Ireland’s most right wing political party. Since the birth of the southern Irish State (1922), Fine Gael – or as it was known back then Cumann na nGaedheal – has been the Irish guard dog of private property. So much so that it worked clandestinely with Winston Churchill during the Irish civil war. And attracted the support of the pro-British (pro-Empire) landlords who decided to stay in the Free State.

In 1933 the Fine Gael brand was officially launched – just in time for the fascist trend. Accordingly some of its members (the Blue-shirts) would go on to fight for Franco in Spain. And the rest would go on squeezing Ireland dry for the sake of profit.

Since the 1930s Fine Gael has been mostly on the sidelines cheering for landlordism – the Irish curse. But in Garrett Fitzgerald it found a late capitalist intellectual (and Taoiseach in the 1980s) who easily stirred the party towards hedge funds and the “values” of the international markets. Unfortunately for Ireland – after those markets collapsed between 2008 and 2010, power fell into the hands of Fine Gael. And instinctively it followed foreign orders and plugged the country back into those failed markets.

This is the political genealogy of Leo Varadkar. And it coincides perfectly with his genes. Fine Gael may be Irish but it’s politics fits into the Indian caste system. As do all capitalist organisations. Varadkar – like Churchill and Gandhi – would say social divisions are written in stone. The rich will always be rich. And the poor always poor. That’s just the way it is.

Sexual divisions are another matter. Apparently these are not written in stone and can be turned upside down. And why not? Capitalism has turned everything upside down. Contemporary capitalists though, while embracing sexual revolution, don’t entertain social revolution. While they’re all for free love – they can’t tolerate free education or free housing. It’s a case of them stealing the freedom of the left while at the same time sticking a knife into the back of the left.

This type of arrogance and hypocrisy from liberated queers is hard to take. One of Leo Varadkar’s first acts as Taoiseach was to attack people depending on social welfare – as if the bank bailouts and austerity are not happening. However we’ve seen many liberated feminists do the same. Hillary Clinton for example. And that queen of reaction: Margret Thatcher. Ireland’s new queen is following their lead. The lesson is the usual one: when it comes to politics one’s social class means much more than one’s gender and sexuality.

The prospects for Ireland therefore are not great. Free love doesn’t translate into justice or even common sense. Varadkar is committed to paying off Ireland’s odious debt. All €200 billion of it. Plus the 8% of government revenue each year that services it. Fine Gael doesn’t question this debt servitude. On a per capita basis – only Japan’s and America’s debt problems are worse than Ireland’s. Compared to these economic giants however, southern Ireland’s pygmy-like reality (population: 4.7 million) is extremely vulnerable.

Varadkar & Co. also don’t question the monetary policy of the European Central Bank – which, while Ireland drowns in sovereign debt and is battered by austerity, pumps €60 billion every month into the European financial markets for free (quantitative easing). The priorities of the EU are clear. The troubled banks are to be indulged while the troubled EU nations (the PIIGS) are to be slaughtered.

But that’s OK for Varadkar! He’s a loyalist. He’s loyal to the Empire. He’s a committed “centralist” like the other new kid on the block, Emmanuel Macron. Which means they both are committed to the needs of the transnational corporations.

In Ireland’s case that means corporate America. That’s why Varadkar is now on the cover of TIME. He’s America’s new man in Europe. Indeed Varadkar was groomed by something called the Washington Ireland Program – a US organisation that “inspires and develops promising [Irish] leaders”. He was in its “Class of 2000”. So the 700 plus US companies with an “international HQ” in the south of Ireland can rest assured. The $343 billion corporate America has parked in and around Dublin – for tax dodging reasons – is safe for the moment.

You could call it a gay conspiracy. Since Ireland’s greatest corporate client – Apple Inc. – is led by the openly gay Tim Cook: the country’s new found sexuality is suspiciously convenient. However there’s no difference between homo-capitalism and hetro-capitalism. We wish there was. But the equality on offer these days is only negative. All capitalists – gay and straight – are equally bad.

The bottom line is that two bad bubbles completely distort Ireland’s rainbow republic. And each one could go pop at any moment. Together they form a uniquely absurd political economy (it’s called “leprechaun economics”). An enormous national debt and an enormous dependence on hot American money do not form the basis for any kind of rationality or stability. And the overall management of it all isn’t even in the hands of the Irish. Berlin and London have Dublin’s independence by the balls. And Boston’s nuclear bombs are raping any chance of a future in which to express Irish independence.

Pink is a pretty colour though. But it won’t scare away the icebergs that are all over the North Atlantic. Ireland floats blindly amongst them – in search of money instead of freedom and safety. It’s venality has already been hit hard this century. And the next hit could be fatal. However, if that’s the only way to finish off the politics of landlordism and “corporate tax breaks” in Ireland: lets have it. Let’s encourage Varadkar as he describes the place as “an island at the centre of the world”. Such cockiness crashed the Titanic. And will do so again. Let’s be ready this time.

More articles by:

Aidan O’Brien lives in Dublin, Ireland.

September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail