Wednesday 17 January 2018

Incisive Higgins exposes dearth of talent in the Dail

'A sizeable proportion of voters in the upcoming election will see Higgins as speaking the sad truth about what Europe has done to us'

In a week of mesmerising political confusion one voice spoke out with a simplicity and directness that was welcome and incisive. It was also in marked contrast with the displays of histrionics and hypocrisy that passed for political logic here in Dublin, in the Dail.

The voice was that of Joe Higgins, the only Irish Socialist Party MEP, representing Dublin but speaking more widely for what used to be called 'the left'. He is a man whose politics, looked at in the abstract, would not be all that close to mine, but whose performance as a politician is powerful and direct. He also belongs to an honourable tradition that has really ceased to be adequately explained by using the old terms of 'left' and 'right'. He is instead engaged on behalf of people whose lives of struggle are not endowed with wealth or privilege.

He has had a difficult life in politics; no doubt he will be standing for a seat on March 11 and I wish him well. He will be part of that mix that comes under the broad title of 'independents', though he would insist on the addition of 'socialist' and would then say he has a party to prove it. Increasingly, people are looking to the category of 'independents' to fill a vacuum in this country's democracy. That, too, I support and will have more to say about it presently.

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