The Labour Party – power and principle


Sir, – Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (June 16th) claims that I took issue in my letter of June 15th with his “assertion that extremism on the left does poor service to principles”. I had in fact noted his assertion that the Irish Labour Party “gave up a long time ago on absolute extremist adherence to principles”, not at all the same thing. Let me remind Senator Ó Ríordáin that his former colleague Pat Rabbitte “warned that the British Labour Party will be making a ‘big mistake’ if it elects Jeremy Corbyn as leader” because his “views would not have a very wide audience in Britain outside of a section of Labour Party members”.

More recently, party leader Brendan Howlin dismissed Mr Corbyn for having a “set of principles, and an unaltered set of views going back over three decades” that put him in the same box as “the Irish far-left parties” who “operate as commentators on working people’s problems, not delivering compromises and solutions”.

Mr Corbyn came close to toppling Theresa May’s government precisely because he enunciated principles of social and political justice long-discarded by Blairites and their Irish Labour Party acolytes, and now once again striking a chord with British voters. To cite his “ambition to govern” as in some way a vindication of Irish Labour’s lack of principles is the height of cynicism. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 1