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do people really want party unity?

5.28.2005

Listening to some of the labour debate about the electoral pact I am inclined to agree with Ruairi Quinn’s analysis that no other party could have quite such a debate as labour. Perhaps like all other leftwing parties it is a big tent that houses many different approaches to social justice but more importantly the labour party can seriously ask question of itself and its leader in a way some other TDs would envy. I am not going to over romanticise a party which is rife with whips and line managers but some semblance of light and debate are always to be praised.
However do voters listening to this think, as John Bowman pointed out, that labour are at war and factious or is debate a commendable thing. I am inclined to the latter, when we are given clarity in how a party sees itself and defines its policy agenda we cannot but be assured of the fullness of the principle. It is perhaps overblown and over educated pedantics but it is worth praising for its freshness and clarity. The left has always loved talking shop but when it comes to solid policy and complete party competence a debate is the only way forward.
Party discipline means that we get a hundred or more clones of the party leader and his policies when that is unrepresentative of the support base and electorate. The leader’s cabinet will always be allied or sympathetic to him but in being si public bout this issue labour have said we are open and willing to debate our selves and our ethos. Whether right or wrong they point the way to some utopian state of iris politics. I won’t hold my breath that dissent and intelligent debate will follow from all sides of the house.
Red Rover

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