Middle class self loathing in Dublin media

Like him or loathe him, the Republic’s minister for Justice has a knack for getting to the nub of certain issues. This week he’s been in Glenties, Co Donegal addressing the MacGill Summer School waxing lyrical on what he sees as the heavy and fixed charicaturing by sections of the media of right or even centre right politics (subs needed)

Update: Full text of the speech. Thanks to Nevin for the heads up!

He said there was a strong element of an Orwellian “left good, right bad” theme to much of what was to be read and heard in some quarters of the media. “This is hardly surprising, since what is ‘left’ is heavily sanitised and what is ‘right’ is heavily caricatured to fit that mindset,” he added. “Those opposed to the ‘left agenda’ are, by definition, ‘right’. The ‘left’ is never reactionary; the ‘right’ always is. Holding on to the ‘left’ positions is never ‘conservative’, challenging them always is.”

  • peteb

    Only in the Dublin media, Mick?

    Hmm…

  • Keith M

    Another very astute observation by McDowell, he really is wasted in the Republic. He should have a bigger stage.

  • Chris Gaskin

    What about the Abbey?

  • Ginfizz

    McDowell is as sharp as a tack. The sooner Mary Harney moves aside and he takes over the reigns the better.

  • slackjaw

    much of what was to be read and heard in some quarters of the media

    Perhaps he’s been paraphrased here and there is more detail on this in the full article, but if his point was made in such general terms then it’s kind of hard to take seriously. Some quarters? What quarters?

    As part of my continued programme of auto-flagellation, I regularly read the Indo, the Sindo, the Evening Herald and the Sunday Times. These august organs could hardly be judged guilty of caricaturing the right or sanitising the left.

    It could be a valid observation to make if backed up with examples to give a sense of proportion. For example, much of what is to be read in some quarters of the media could be deemed reactionary bile. But it may not be fair to say that the opinion section of the Sunday Independent means ‘some quarters’.

    It also seems a bit odd that the person making the observation gets more media exposure than any politician in Ireland bar Bertie Ahern and perhaps Mary Harney. Was he trying to be objective?

  • Barney

    self loathing is one failing we can be sure that McDowell will never apply to himself

  • BogExile

    McDowell is someone Unionists can do business with. He seems refreshingly free of the usual green-tinted spectacles when he views the North and exposes Republican fascism.

  • Chris Gaskin

    “He seems refreshingly free of the usual green-tinted spectacles when he views the North and exposes Republican fascism.”

    West-Brit mentality can do that to a person.

  • Colm

    There’s no doubting his intellectual capacity. But politicians surely need people skills that McDowell is sadly lacking.

  • BogExile

    ‘West-Brit mentality can do that to a person.’

    CG:

    I take it by this you mean the absence of narrow conservative, catholic prejudice and a perspective which is capable of understanding that Unionists have legitimacy on this island and aren’t going away??

  • Chris Gaskin

    “I take it by this you mean the absence of narrow conservative, catholic prejudice and a perspective which is capable of understanding that Unionists have legitimacy on this island and aren’t going away??”

    No

  • Ginfizz

    Oh I think that is exactly what Mr. Gaskin believes, he’s simply afraid to say it. Don’t hide your bigotted petty little light under a bushel Chris. McDowell is obviously a traitor because unlike previous generations of Irish politicians he is unprepared to thurn a blind eye to what your colleauges in Sin Fein military wing are up to, on the perverse pretext that they are “our boys”.

    Of course McDowell is a West-Brit traitor and not an imposing intellectual force who makes your party’s Dail team look like the bunch of cretins that they are.

  • Chris Gaskin

    “Oh I think that is exactly what Mr. Gaskin believes”

    Then you are wrong

    “Don’t hide your bigotted petty little light under a bushel Chris”

    I don’t have a biogoted light to hide my delusional friend.

    What a sad child you seem to be Ginfizz. Do let me know when puberty hits.

  • BogExile

    Well done Ginfizz – i think CG’s reaction proves how much the truth hurts.

    It is very heartening to know that not all southern politicians are poisoned by their history. It’s so amusing to see how much this irritates the Shinners and their fellow travellers. Now all we need is a Unionist version of McDowell who has a cogent and inclusive vision of our future co-existence…. Nurse, the screens!

  • Ginfizz

    Clearly a master of wit and repartee, Mr. Gaskin. You must be the life and soul of the party on all those hill-side protests.

    Instead of hurling insults, perhaps you’d care to define what exactly it is that makes McDowell such an evil “West Brit”?

    Could it be his lack of obsession with the “national question”? Or perhaps because he doesn’t believe that all Unionists should be driven into the sea?

  • Chris Gaskin

    It seems delusion suits some people.

  • Ginfizz

    No response then? Fair enough, I think I’ve exposed you enough (scary mental image) – now back to the cricket!

  • Chris Gaskin

    “You must be the life and soul of the party on all those hill-side protests.”

    LOL, they normally provide their own amusement

    “perhaps you’d care to define what exactly it is that makes McDowell such an evil “West Brit”?”

    I didn’t say he was an evil west-brit

    “Or perhaps because he doesn’t believe that all Unionists should be driven into the sea?”

    Neither do I

  • BogExile

    ‘It seems delusion suits some people.’

    CG

    The chief republican fascist delusion is that the pro-British people have no moral legitimacy and somehow can be forced to drop their nationality and assimilate into a 32 county socialist republic or head for the Larne Ferry. It’s as deluded now as it ever was and constitutional nationalism has come to terms with it. Why don’t you?

  • Jimmy_Sands

    Sadly there is a current of Irish nationalism that can only define itself negatively, as the absence of Britishness. Those affected by this lamentable poverty of ambition cannot conceive of an Irishman being an anglophile without it being evidence of some moral turpitude, hence the playground taunt “west brit”. McDowell’s challenge has been to posit an intellectual and idealistic framework for what Republicanism might actually mean in the 21st century, and point out the respects in which provisionalism betrays those ideals.

    This unfortunately is the level of the response to that challenge.

  • Ringo

    What about the Abbey?

    they couldn’t afford him

  • Waitnsee

    From what I’ve heard, Chris Gaskin couldn’t get up a hillside.

  • Chris Gaskin

    Then you heard wrong

  • martin

    MMD “Exposes Republican Fascism”

    His grandfather was one of the founders of the fascist blueshirt movement in the 30’s.

    I wonder does Michael Mc Dowell regard his other grandfather E mc Neill as a criminal conspirator for (1)importing arms into Ireland
    (2)Threatening to use the Irish volunteers in a low intensity gurilla war campaign against British forces in Ireland if the UK failed to grant home rule—this was before 1916 rising and before he had any knowledge of the IRB conspiracy.

    In Michael Mc Dowells eyes does he see his grandfather as a criminal because gramps and co had no electoral mandate from the Irish people to act as he did in above mentioned.

    If he believes Bobby Sands was a criminal,wouldn’t that make Eoin mc Neill one as well for similar reasons.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    I suppose you could always write to him and ask. I don’t think he posts here.

  • MARTIN

    I think i shall write to him and ask—–wouldnt that be seen as harrassment,threats,pestering,invasion of his privacy etc etc though ?

    I Know ill keep writing it into the opinion colums of newspapers—do you recon he would answer ?

  • Jimmy_Sands

    Ask and ye shall receive.

  • andy K

    Mcdowell is a bit of a complex character. Although resolutely anti-republican (he would call it anti-provisional but given his focus on action in the North which comes purely from the republican side I would argue this is the same thing), he was one of the few TDs to ask questions about the 1974 Dublin and Monghan bombings when most of the Southern Political establshment wanted to sweep it under the carpet – albeit with limited effect.

    The problem with his approach (and the approach outlined in this speach) is that he would define his critiscism of the republican movement as being an effort to remove a threat to his modern, liberal republic – he wants “a recognition that the State serves everyone and that the rule of Law is the true master”. However, he doesn’t act to remove other threats to this type of republic if they are politically incovnenient. Garda corruption and malpractice come to mind. The speech was in Donegal and he didnt’ think fit to mention the Morris Tribunal……

    On a separate note his regular reference to “the patriots” of the war of independence smacks a bit of sentimentilist double-standards.

    As Jimmy implies, its a bit of a sad indictment of SF’s current crop of TDs that they can’t challenge him on his blind spots in the Dail.

    Regards All

  • Jimmy_Sands

    I think it may be too early to call it a blind spot. Garda malpractice is hardly something which began on his watch, despite the efforts of a certain political strand to tie him personally to every incident. He is really the first holder of his office to attempt any degree of reform at all and given the vested interests involved it is a task in which his conspicuous immodesty may serve him well. He will be judged, rightly, on his results.