Sunday, 13 February 2011

Brighton and the Irish elections

Down to Brighton yesterday to help with the local election campaign in the ward where my friend, Phelim Mac Cafferty, is standing - Brunswick and Adelaide in Hove. We had a busy day and there was a fantastic turnout of people, 21 in all, ranging from Brightonians, people from Cambridge, Berkshire, Portslade, and, of course, London. I met a great group of people and spent the morning leafleting and the afternoon helping out on the street stall, where we had a great response from passersby.

Phelim has also organised a fund raising gig for the campaign - details below.

Saturday 19th March Brunswick pub, Holland Rd 8 till late

I have also organised a gig for the evening of Saturday 19th March at the Brunswick pub on Holland Rd which will feature an all professional line-up performing jazz/blues/show tunes/cabaret/classical. My brother (alto sax) is kindly coming over from Ireland while my friends Paul (jazz pianist) and Debbie (vocals) will provide an evening to remember.

Please come along- door tax only £6 and £4 with all funds going to the campaign.

In the meantime I have had a report from my friend Bronwen in Dublin, who used to be a Green Party councillor but is now a Labour Party activist there. Bronwen reports: "Labour are looking good but FG are going to sweep the boards so it looks like a another conservative led government in Ireland.

Difficultly for us, Labour, is to retain votes now, and not make promises we cannot keep. We in Labour who worry about environment policy are really concerned about who will be the next Environment Minister - and indeed if FG keep gaining we might be looking at an FG government with support from right wing indos.

Re greens, what a disaster, message for all of us who care about democracy is as follows -

1) Build robust internal decision making structures, develop internal leadership in your political party (my dissertation is on leadership in organisations with participative decision making structures).
2) Political parties need to be just that political, not campaigning.
Gormely and Ryan got away with destroying the Irish Greens by playing on the members lack of political nous.
3) Green Party's have to have strong economic and social policies, with bottom line policies to protect against careerists in government.

Bronwen's warning about what went wrong with the Irish Greens is a timely one and applicable to all green and radical parties. In the meantime here is a satirical sketch from Irish television station RTE about Irish politicians.

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