Friday 20 January 2017

John-Paul McCarthy: Presidential victory for socialism masks isolation of the serious left

Joe Higgins's populist invective reveals the plight of contemporary Irish socialism, writes John-Paul McCarthy

Published 05/02/2012 | 05:00

My week was dominated by two men named Higgins, one of whom is President, and the other a hard charging backbencher.

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President Higgins's media adviser, Mr Wally Young, of Young Communications, wrote to convey the President's irritation with me for having described him in an earlier column as an atheist and a dialectical materialist. Not true, Mr Young explained, and asked for a correction which I gladly give here. I await the President's latest set of essays from Liberties Press as I write, and must postpone further inquiry into the precise nature of his socialist values for now.

How did I get him wrong though? By overdosing on Edmund Wilson's great book on the socialist tradition, To the Finland Station, during the presidential election? By shunning Dr Johnson's humility in characterisation, a quality shown when he explained a blunder in his dictionary by saying, "Ignorance, sir, ignorance"? If there are other ways of gracefully surrendering former views to a better considered position, I invoke them all today.

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