Could The Far-Right Be Successful In Ireland?

Across the West there has been a growth in support for the far-right and a surge in the number of votes they’ve received. New Fascist political parties have been increasing in size and influence and even the mainstream conservative parties have been pulled further right. Anti-immigrant sentiment can be seen in the Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump and the threat of Marine Le Pen.

So far Ireland has stayed completely clear of this rising tide. There is no New Fascist presence here and little anti-immigrant activity. There have been attempts to create a far-right party (Identity Ireland and the National Party) but neither of them got off the ground. A google search shows that their party launch was their only activity. Out of all the candidates in the 2016 general election, only a single one could be called far-right and he only received 183 votes.

So is Ireland safe? Does the far-right simply have no appeal here? Is there something about Irish society or politics that prevents the extremists from being popular? Or are we just as susceptible as the rest of the West and might one day too have to face far-right extremism? Can it happen here? Continue reading “Could The Far-Right Be Successful In Ireland?”

Restoring Some Humanity To The Refugee Debate

I’ve noticed that most discussions about the refugee crisis discuss the issue in a very abstract way. The proposals are spoken of in a technical and hypothetical manner relating to various treaties, agreements and EU regulations, as well as figures about what may or may not happen. The discussion revolves around quotas and flows, as if refugees were something that come out of the tap. Even worse still, many opponents to refugee resettlement take a simplistic view of “Us versus Them”. “We” have a common culture and heritage that is apparently under attack. “They” are a strange foreign thing, incompatible with us. Continue reading “Restoring Some Humanity To The Refugee Debate”

Scots and Ulster-Scots Are Not Languages

Now don’t get me wrong. This isn’t one of those articles complaining about people who don’t use the standard or official form of English (I don’t do that myself). My aim isn’t to mock and insult everyone who speaks differently than me. Nor I am someone who thinks English should conquer the world and crush all other languages underfoot (I even speak Esperanto!). I support language diversity and think it’s good when people maintain local words and accents, as a world where we all spoke the same bland accent would be very boring.

However, sometimes the support for local languages goes too far. For centuries local dialects and languages were suppressed and discouraged in favour of English and other major languages. As if to compensate, the pendulum has swung the other way and all forms of local speech are studied, celebrated and supported. However, I feel the pendulum has swung too far and now some local differences are being exaggerated and put on a pedestal where they don’t belong. Continue reading “Scots and Ulster-Scots Are Not Languages”

Does Fascism Exist Anymore?

Across Europe and America there is a surge in support for far-right politicians which has led some to fear a resurgence in Fascism. Donald Trump in particular has been labelled a Fascist and accused of normalising Fascism in America. A book review of the rise of Hitler lead many to draw parallels with the rise of Trump (whether it was written that way or not). The night he was elected president, my article “How Fascism Takes Over” received a surge in views, receiving a months’ worth of views in two days. Some wonder if we will see a rise of Fascism across Europe.

Yet others see this as merely hysteria. Many believe that Fascism died in the Second World War, that the age of uniformed thugs attacking Jews no longer exists. That Fascism is a mere insult that has lost all meaning. That to worry about Fascism is to cry wolf and nothing more than an attempt to smear your opponents. So does Fascism still exist? Continue reading “Does Fascism Exist Anymore?”

Would Bernie Sanders Have Won?

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s shock victory over Hillary Clinton, many people are wondering how it could have been avoided. A common explanation I’ve seen a lot on social media, is that if only the Democrats had chosen Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump certainly would have been defeated. Only Sanders had the principles and honesty to mobilise and enthuse people to counter Trump’s anti-establishment rhetoric. Some even go further claiming that the DNC rigged or even stole the election from Sanders. Continue reading “Would Bernie Sanders Have Won?”

I Have Dual Irish-American Citizenship But Today I Only Feel Irish

No matter which way you look at it, I’m the child of immigrants. My mother was born on a small farm in Cavan and emigrated to America in 1980. What else was there to do? Cavan is a small place and the economy was in a terrible state with no work to be found. There were 7 children in the family, 6 of whom emigrated (the rest went to Britain). In New York she met my father, a man from Brooklyn with a Danish surname. In 1990, they returned to Ireland, she had become an American citizen and later him an Irish citizen. So when I was born in 1991, I was automatically a dual citizen with a foot in either world. Continue reading “I Have Dual Irish-American Citizenship But Today I Only Feel Irish”

Why America Should Adapt The Irish Electoral System

After an extraordinary campaign, Americans are finally voting. One of the most incredible things about the American electoral system is how dysfunctional it is. What’s even more incredible is that everyone knows this. From the insane amounts of money spent, the stifling two party system, the inexplicable electoral college, the incredibly long campaigns, extreme partisanship, the lack of choices and so on. It’s truly a bizarre system that few people can defend. However, most discussions have a fatalistic tone, ‘elections have always been bizarre, there’s nothing that can be done.’

However, I will now show that a better electoral system isn’t just some pipe dream or unrealistic fantasy, it already exists. It isn’t merely a hypothetical dream, it has been put into practice and it works. There is a far better system that I am very familiar with, here in my native Ireland. As a dual Irish and American citizen, I think I’m in a good place to compare both systems. Continue reading “Why America Should Adapt The Irish Electoral System”

Donald Trump Has Too Many Scandals To Keep Track Of

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post on Donald Trump for a while. However, I faced a major problem, in that there are just so many scandals that it’s impossible to keep track of them all. I was simply overwhelmed by the enormous amount of horrendous things Trump has said and done, and that’s without even starting on his policies (although he seems to have very few of these). To give all his scandals the attention they deserve would require a ten part series, and each part alone would be disqualifying. But I don’t have the time to make such a list (I doubt anyone does) and even the professional media has trouble keeping up. Even this post took several days, and I more than likely missed something important. Continue reading “Donald Trump Has Too Many Scandals To Keep Track Of”

How Fascism Takes Over

Have you ever watched a historical documentary or perhaps a Second World War movie and wondered how the fascists ever took over? How did they convince people to follow them? How did they reshape a nation in their mould? How could anyone support that kind of hatred? Why weren’t they stopped, why did more people not stand up to them? Have you ever wondered what you would have done if you were in that situation? Surely you would have stood up to them, right? Surely they would have no appeal to people like you? Continue reading “How Fascism Takes Over”

They Say Muslims Immigrants Are Threatening Western Values, But What Are Western Values?

A major issue nowadays is immigration and the refugee crisis, particularly the immigration of Muslims into Europe. Some people warn that they are a threat to Western Civilisation as they don’t have “Western values”. This is a strange argument for numerous reasons such as the assumption that none will assimilate and that it’s somehow impossible for two cultures to live side by side. However the strangest part is that no one seems to know what Western values are. Continue reading “They Say Muslims Immigrants Are Threatening Western Values, But What Are Western Values?”