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Joe Higgins responds to George Lee Candidacy

category dublin | elections / politics | opinion/analysis author Thursday May 14, 2009 22:13author by Joe Higgins - Socialist Partyauthor email info at joehiggins dot eu Report this post to the editors

Joe Higgins is standing for the Dublin Constituency in the Euro Elections to be held on Friday, June 5th

Key Questions Not Being Answered

The fact that an economics commentator on the national broadcast network resigns to run in a Bye-election is hardly an earth shattering event. Yet it commands acres of coverage in the printed media and endless airtime. Why?

Two reasons. The poverty of establishment politics in this State and the shallowness of much media coverage which manages to blend this event in with the obsession with so called celebrity.

But the fact that this rather unremarkable event has the political establishment, the political correspondents and gossip columnists in a tizzy speaks volumes about the choices available to the Irish people when it comes to election time.

It speaks volumes also about the grey sameness of the policy stances of the establishment parties, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour. If there were radical and meaningful policy differences between these parties, then this would be the subject of a real discussion. But of course there aren’t

Instead of exploring this conundrum and pressing the parties to be precise on the differences they say that divide them we have the arrival of a new candidate in the person of George Lee billed as a circus for the masses.

It is the ordinary voters who lose out here because political programmes and the key points of policy are drowned out in a celebrity obsessed media scrum. The so called celebrity candidate becomes the message instead of the substance of what is being put forward by, in this case, the Fine Gael Party as an alternative to the government’s position.

The reality of course is that neither Fine Gael nor the Labour Party are being honest or straightforward with the hard pressed voters. They say they oppose the Government’s public spending cuts and the savage attack on wages and living standards or ordinary working people. When pressed they say they agree that cuts need to be made but they refuse to specify.

The reality is that if Fine Gael and the Labour Party form the next government, the policies they implement will not be too different from the present Coalition of Fianna Fail and the Green Party. That is because they all adhere to the same ideology bowing to the dominance of the market capitalism.

If there were a basic honesty in Irish establishment parties, they would spell out in the course of the current Euro and Local Election campaigns exactly what they would cut in the event of being in government, what cuts they propose to carry out in public expenditure and which services they would dispense with. They would also say what they propose doing, if anything, about the savage regime of wage cuts and levies on both public and private sector workers over the past months.

It is all the more reasonable to expect them to do this because these Local asnd Euro elections have, more than ever before, the character of aGenaral Election . On the doorsteps it is generally not the potholes that are bothering people but the crisis in the economy and the fact tahat they are the ones being forced to pay the price for ht economic and political crimes of others.
Fine Gael’s new candidate in the Dublin South By-election, George Lee, writing in Monday’s Daily Mail is empathising with workers he met o his canvass who complained about savage cuts in their pay. One woman was angry about the fact that her household had lost more than €400 per week.

There is good chance that this woman or someone in her family is a public sector workers suffering a savage wage cut masquerading as a pension levy.

George solidarised. But does he agree with the Deputy leader of his new party, Richard Bruton, that the public sector needs to be cut by 20%? And does he agree with his new party Leader, Enda Kenny, that low paid public sector workers should never have been awarded any pay increases from the benchmarking process which would have left them with incomes very close to the poverty lines?

George Lee says he is being told on the canvass to ‘keep telling it like it is’. Will he do so then on these and related questions? And will he be asked precise questions along these lines by those in the media who are supposed to do so?

Certainly not if it is left to apolitical commentator in a Sunday broadsheet who commends The Labour Party for ‘playing the game of populist opposition’ so as succeed in ‘marginalising more radical groups.’ Apparently that’s fine because when it comes to forming and running a government, Labour will play ‘a constructive role’. Constructive means that its solidarity with the working class will evaporate and labour will join with Fine Gael in carrying on the savage attacks deemed by conservative economists and journalists to be necessary to allow market capitalism to crawl out of the chasm into which its own contradictions have pushed it.


Joe Higgins is standing for the Dublin Constituency in the Euro Elections to be held on Friday, June 5th, to give people throughout Dublin an opportunity to strike a real blow against this government’s attacks on working people.

Joe is well known as a fighter for working people for the last thirty years, and as being the ‘real opposition’ when in the Dail from 1997 to 2007. Now more than ever we need to elect fighters like Joe.

For more, check out the link below.

Related Link: http://www.JoeHiggins.eu
author by Joe Higgins - Socialist Partypublication date Fri May 15, 2009 14:35author email info at joehigins dot euauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

From the May edition of the Socialist, election special edition
“People should use their vote to punish Fianna Fail and wipe their feet on the Greens as they leave the polling booth” - Joe Higgins

THE REASON I am standing in the Euro Elections in Dublin is to give the people of the capital city the possibility of a clear socialist alternative to all the establishment political parties.

There is no doubt that the current economic catastrophe will be foremost in the minds of people as they vote on 5 June in both the Local and Euro elections. They will want to punish Fianna Fail for its’ pro-speculation policies that engineered the huge property bubble that has inevitably burst with horrific consequences. They will also want to hit back at both Fianna Fail and the Green Party for their current policies of making working people pay for this crisis while bailing out the banks and the speculators.

Despite their posturing as the parties in opposition, that too is the policy of Fine Gael and the Labour Party. In government they could continue largely the same policies because of course they also fall at the feet of the capitalist market and obey its rules.

The Socialist Party stands for a completely different approach. We say that working people have no responsibility for the crisis. Therefore they should not pay a cent toward bailing out those who caused it. Where are the billions in profits which were raked in during the boom? Some tied up in toxic assets no doubt, but the bulk salted away safely. Those funds are now needed to maintain public services and we demand them back.

Our campaign for the Euro elections puts the alternative clearly out there - an economy that is run for the benefit of the majority in society.

This means banks would be taken into public ownership with democratic control as a basis for a plan of regeneration. It means nationalising companies like SR Technics which is sacking 1150 aircraft engineers despite having its order books full for the next there years. It means taking control from the big corporations and financial institutions which dominate the crazed workings of the financial markets and stock exchanges.

Although the focus will be overwhelmingly on the crisis at home, we will also raise many crucial issues relevant to Europe. We will stand by our criticism of the present European Union as a structure dominated by the interests of the major EU based multinational corporations. We will explain again how the Lisbon Treaty was another mechanism to further the agenda of privatisation and neo liberalism in the interests of corporate profits.

We will also explain that the militarisation of the EU and an increase in armaments spending envisaged in Lisbon is not the way to achieve peace in our world.

We will counterpose to the Europe of big business, a socialist Europe democratically run by working people in the interests of the majority. On the basis of co-operation across borders between genuine workers’ democracies it would be entirely possible to build a Europe that would give every individual a dignified life, excellent public services and a future of peace.

Taken from the May edition of the Socialist, election special

Joe Higgins poster on pole
Joe Higgins poster on pole

Related Link: http://www.joehiggins.eu
author by Punter Patpublication date Sat May 16, 2009 08:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I can't, for geographical reasons, vote for Joe Higgins. I get the impression that, like Martin Luther in a different era, he says: Here I stand; I can do no other. His opinions about the economy and the working class and the generally disadvantaged are plainly stated. Plain-speaking public representatives are needed in Irish society, and it seems to me that Higgins follows in a tradition of individuals like Noel Browne and Tony Gregory. I hold no brief for Joe (he speaks well for himself always) but hope the Dublin voters will read his election leaflets closely. I'd give a good number to plain-speaking candidates like Patricia McKenna and Cork independent Kathy Sinnott too if I had the chance, not necessarily because of all their ideas but on account of their personal transparency.

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