Muesli-belt liberalism


Sir, – According to Joe McCarthy, being socially liberal while fiscally conservative “made no sense” (“What’s left?”, Letters, April 29th).

Yet Irish referendum results would suggest a link between the two. In 1983, working-class Dublin Central voted 62–38 in favour of the Eighth Amendment while wealthy Dún Laoghaire voted almost 60–40 against. In Irish referendums over the decades, the most socially liberal vote tallies are always recorded in the affluent “muesli belt” – Dublin-Rathdown, Dublin Bay South and Dún Laoghaire.

Come election day, socially liberal fiscally conservative voters enjoy a bewildering selection of candidates from which to choose.

I wonder how Mr McCarthy feels about those of us who are the exact reverse – economically left-wing and socially conservative? We’re a group of voters that no party seems eager to represent. Consequently, many of us simply abstain on election day. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 18.

Sir, – As a self-declared Marxist and materialist, Joe McCarthy complains about “Irish reactionary hegemony”.

Surely Ireland suffers from a smug liberal leftist hegemony? Why else do we have a Cabinet that includes admirers of Castro’s Cuba, a public discourse that is only notable for its anti-Americanism, hatred of Israel and naivety about the threat from Islamism.

If Ireland is dominated by reactionaries, why do we spend so little on defence and supply An Garda Síochána with patrol cars that lack the wi-fi necessary for checking relevant databases? Why do we have a liberal justice system that permits violent criminals to walk the streets despite 60 or more previous convictions? And what self-respecting reactionary would ever waste billions on a new children’s hospital in the wrong place?

Perhaps the question is not what’s left but what’s right. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.