Mercs + Perks = Jerks

  • Eamon Gilmore has been exposed as a bag of wind – Eamon Dunphy 2012.

There is a story doing the rounds that Eamon Gilmore, while still with the Workers Party, undertook to destroy the Labour Party. If nothing else it should at least help dispel charges that he broke every promise he ever made.

His or somebody else’s decision that he would resign as party leader is a pyrrhic victory for those glad to see the back of him. A few short years ago the slogan was Gilmore for Taoiseach. Now given the mood of those let down it would be less jarring on the ears to hear the chant Gilmore for Mountjoy. Yet as one blogger pointed out:

it’s not just a problem with Gilmore. It’s a problem about abandoning the policies you had in the first place (no great shakes by the by). It’s a problem about abandoning your base.

Gilmore was symptomatic of the pathology that is the Irish Labour Party. He did not infect it. The defective gene that perpetually compels the party to lurch to the right and throw those forced to live by the side of the road under the bus is by definition part of Labour’s DNA. No amount of leadership changes will act as a corrective to that.

It really it is a case of move on, nothing to see here: nothing new anyway. Labour has done it all before. It has always done it. That is what Labour does. And the next Labour leadership will do exactly the same.

Gilmore’s departure is only thin icing on the cake of a collapsed party vote. It is not nearly as thin as the gruel he and his colleagues served up and had the audacity to tell those forced to live off it that they were being protected from austerity. Audacity and austerity are two words that will always be associated with the Labour front bench team. It pushed austerity and had the audacity to claim it was the proper course of action.

Labour was audaciously an austerity party, there was nothing anti-austerity about it. It might be wrong to say Labour believed in austerity simply because Labour believes in nothing other than being in office. But it championed austerity and played the patriotic card of national interest to cover its abandonment of any commitment to even a minimal notion of social justice. It made no assault whatsoever on capital, just provided the eye mask for the rich as they stuck up and shook down the poor, the weak, the aged, the sick, the marginalised.

Eamon Gilmore personified that phenomenon. From student prince to state popinjay, he slaughtered every sacred cow he had suckled on for nourishment over the years as he built his political career. Like Labour ministerial colleague, Pat Rabbitte, his undertakings at election time showed he was full of promise: promising anything so that he might lead the chase for high office.

Wholly enamoured with the trappings of office he was the consummate place seeker who demonstrated aptly that Labour never took power; that power merely took Labour and moulded it in its own image. The Labour Party was a condom worn by Fine Gael for protection as it set about screwing the most vulnerable in Irish society. In its defence Fine Gael at least entered government ideologically believing something; that a heavy neoliberal bell needed to be put around the cat’s neck and that when it tolled it would not be for Enda Kenny. Gilmore’s Rubber Party believed in nothing other than getting inside the tent; to be part of the management of whatever was going and being eager to jettison every ideological tenet of the Left as if such canons were residual disorders from a juvenile past.

The last word should be left to the the blogger WorldbyStorm who over the years has made some very astute commentary on the trajectory of Gilmore’s Labour  and who in a few words strips them bare of any radical veneer or human decency.
... perhaps they were a generation of politicians just too wedded to getting into government at pretty much any cost, too wedded to staying there, not wedded at all to questioning why they were, what they were seeking to achieve, what they wanted at the end of the process.


  1. 'Labour believed in austerity simply because Labour believes in nothing other than being in office'

    SF are next in line to be slaughtered after a spell as minor partners in a coalition government. Adams sees it himself. He says SF will only enter partnership if it suits them. Two days after the election in the North SF Education minister O'Dowd closed a school in Derry. Quicker out of the austerity blocks than expected! Adams will jump at any chance of government but only if people continue to buy SF double speak on either side of the border.

  2. Gilmore the failed revolutionary is gone,drowned in his own crap ,jail imo would to to comfortable a place for him and his cronies,in the wings waits the new pretenders to the throne those social climbers without the bombs these days quisling $inn £eind,they will do whatever it takes to get their hands on the reins of power and then proceed to shaft the population here in true dictatorial fashion ,its seems to me thats what the people here on this island like ,everyone shafts them including the church.