I’ll have what he’s having…

Fascinating piece on Naoise Nunn the energetic force (subs needed) behind the Leviathan political cabaret we’ve covered here from time to time. Unfortunately it’s in the subscription only Irish Times website, but here’s a few abstracts that give away something of what Naoise set out to do:

He has described Leviathan in incendiary terms (“a Molotov cocktail . . . intended to inform and challenge”), yet he insists his role is apolitical. (One condition of his Civil Service job is that he cannot belong to a political party.) Instead, Nunn, who studied politics at Queen’s University Belfast, seems to approach politics like a spectator sport.

Whether tracing the neo-conservative movement to Marxist origins, or happily outlining the contradictory political history of a particular journalist, he speaks as one who knows the stats and follows the form, but who ultimately won’t support a team.

HE DOESN’T LET this stand in the way of some naked provocation, however, and so he fires an opening salvo at that most worthy, woolly and liberal institution, The Irish Times.

“Really, what [Leviathan] is trying to shake up,” he says, “is what I perceive – and what a lot of people of my generation perceive – as a cosy consensus in your own paper and in the liberal intelligentsia broadly. What I identify as a suite of ideas on everything from Palestine to Northern Ireland to family issues to the public service.

Put simply, conformity is the enemy for Nunn. Journalists such as Kevin Myers, Eoghan Harris and John Waters – with whose views, he says, he may not necessarily agree – are nonetheless “very valuable agents provocateur who are shaking the system up and getting people to debate issues that they basically take for granted: feminism, in all its forms, is good; American foreign policy is bad; Palestine good, Israel bad”.