An article that should hopefully spark a bit of debate as it’s been a slow week.
Maynooth is, and has been a predominately left wing University since
its boom period of the 1990’s and 2000’s. This is obvious from its
very large Labour Youth support in the society and its large number of
Labour party supporters on the MSU executive committee. During the
last General Election the ULA had a much stronger showing on campus
than both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, but why is this? Is it because
the youth of today want an end to Civil War politics? Judging from an
article in the Print around the time of the General Election this has
at least something to do with it.
Civil war politics has defined our country to this point. You were
either a Fine Gael voter or a Fianna Fail voter, there was no real
alternative available. Despite Labour’s best efforts, the party has
never been able to expect a majority share of Government seats.
However, in recent years support for the party has ballooned,
surpassing the “Spring Tide” golden age of the early 90’s, with its
core support coming from the youth. The left wing ideology of Labour
appeals to a much more liberal and accepting Ireland, but it’s not as
if other parties haven’t tried to do the same. Fianna Fail brought in
“civil partnerships”, have recognised same sex couples and has given
them the same tax reliefs of a married Irish couple. I agree that this
isn’t ideal, but as a supporter of same sex marriages, it is, in my
opinion, a huge step in the right direction.
My problem with the left wing does not come from their ideals, far
from it. In terms of ideology most of my opinions are in line with
liberal left, but their economic policies don’t quite stack up to me.
Their idealistic stance on the economy in the recent election was
laughable at best. Sinn Fein and the ULA’s policies of “not another
red cent” in regards the banks were ridiculous, naive and a desperate
attempt to get votes. How could they possibly believe that letting the
Irish banking sector collapse was the best plan of action? How did
they think our friends in the EU would react when we told them we
weren’t going to repay the loans? We are in the unfortunate position
that we are tied into a single currency and simply can’t let the value
of our currency drop like in Iceland. Large countries such as Germany
have as much of a stake in the Euro as we do and they need to look out
for their interests. Like it or not, Ireland is a part of the EU and
without their help over the last 35 years this country would not be in
the position it is today. An excellent education system, road
infrastructure, public transport system and an…. ahhh…. Functioning
health system. So, despite being in debt to our EU overlords, without
them we would have had nothing to lose.
I have centre left moral views and centre right economic views. What
does that make me? I’ve traditionally been a Fianna Fail voter but in
light of recent events, the Ogra in Maynooth has taken a nose-dive in
popularity. I don’t agree with the economic policies of Labour and
other Left-wing parties, and I don’t agree with Fine Gael’s polices on
moral issues such as abortion and same sex marriage. On polling day I
couldn’t bring myself to vote for either because I don’t believe
either of them share my vision for Ireland’s future.
So, I guess my question is, where does a student sharing my political
views get to have their say in all of this? The Print follows the
political view of whoever is the editor at the time, who, more often
than not, is a Labour supporter, so that’s out. Even here in the
Student Observer there is a tight creative lease regarding what does
or does not get to see the light of day. The centre student appears to
be becoming an endangered species in the University and without our
excellent judgement who will keep the red and blue in check?