Friday 28 October 2016

My Week: Ruth Coppinger* (*As imagined by Eilis O'Hanlon)

Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 10/04/2016 | 02:30

Ruth Coppinger. Photo: Sam Boal/
Ruth Coppinger. Photo: Sam Boal/

MONDAY: Morning in ­Mulhuddart. We're out of Sugar Puffs again. I drag myself away from a must-read article in Socialist Worker on collectivist farms in Cuba and head down to the shop, but they only have Coco Pops. Typical.

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This would never happen if we nationalised all breakfast cereals.

"Why is it," I ask the girl behind the counter, "that the richest 1pc in our society have more Sugar Puffs than they'll ever need whilst the working classes have to make do with the scraps thrown to them by neo-liberal capitalism?" She pretends not to hear. I hate it when people do that.

Thankfully, it's only a matter of time before capitalism is on its knees. The Panama Papers prove what we always say - the rich have more than enough money to pay for everything we want, we just need to get it off them and give it to those who really deserve it. Like Luas drivers.

If there's one thing socialists are good at, it's spotting a popular cause. The Irish people are totally behind the strikers, they're just keeping quiet about it to lull bosses into a false sense of security.

TUESDAY: Talks continue on the formation of a new government, though we in the Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit aren't involved, we stood on a platform of getting another five years to moan about the mess everyone else is making of it.

I'm reminded of that time we suggested a socialist government would nationalise computer giants and other greedy multinationals in order to create jobs, even though they'd probably pull out of the country if we did, thereby creating mass unemployment.

You'd think we'd at least be glad that the abolition of Irish Water is finally on the agenda for talks between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail; but what's the point of getting rid of water meters if Micheal Martin gets the credit? James Connolly didn't die for this.

WEDNESDAY: An historic day, as I become the first woman ever to be nominated for the job of Taoiseach. Last time we were here, it was Richard Boyd Barrett. Never mind a rotating Taoiseach. The AAA/PBP have been putting up a 'rotating token Leftie' for years now.

We've already promised Paul Murphy that he can have a go next time.

Obviously I don't win, as the establishment parties cheat by having more TDs than we do. Later, I'm invited on to state propaganda radio to discuss my nomination, so naturally I talk about abortion in Northern Ireland.

THURSDAY: Once again, the Irish media shows its true colours, silencing the true voices of radical opposition by, er, inviting me on to Morning Ireland and asked questions like what exactly we're doing to help form a stable government.

I dig myself out of that hole by having a go at fellow TDs for not supporting the nomination of a "left-wing woman" for Taoiseach yesterday. We should always support other women.

I'm glad the Labour leader is on the ropes. I speak for the real people of Ireland, even if I did only get 75 more votes than her on the first count in Dublin West at the recent general election. We in AAA/PBP love going on about "real" people, as if there is any other kind.

By the end of the day, talks between FG and FF, unlike capitalism, have totally collapsed, raising the prospect of another poll in the summer. That'll totally ruin left-wing TDs' plans to spend the recess going round all the summer schools giving speeches in which we complain about not having a platform to express our views.

Worse still, Alan Kelly's back again, pretending to care about Irish Water workers who might lose their jobs if the utility is abolished.

Everyone knows we're the only ones who care about workers' rights, which is why we backed those protests where they were physically prevented by mobs of troublemakers from doing their jobs.

I point out that Kelly's done nothing for the homeless, unlike us, who'd do anything to get them a roof over their heads - except for cutting a deal with FG or FF for a massive social housing programme in return for our support, obviously.

I'm sure homeless people would rather keep living on the streets than see us compromise on our principles.

FRIDAY: I wake to the bad news that capitalism is still alive and kicking. I don't get it. It was meant to be history by now.

I ring up Boyd Barrett and suggest we call another meeting, making sure to take really detailed minutes, because that might make all the difference come the revolution. "Good idea," he agrees democratically. "I'll order more badges."

Because being a socialist also means never having to say: "Aw, lads, do you not think we should try a different tack?"

Pick up some Sugar Puffs on the way home. Capitalism wins again.

*As imagined by Eilis O'Hanlon

Sunday Independent

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