Friday 24 August 2007

Rabbitte's retirement

News that the Irish Labour Party leader, Pat Rabbitte, is to step down is hardly surprising. Though a good media operator, Rabbitte failed to raise Labour's seats tally in the Republic's general election, a failure that ensured Bertie Ahern's position as Taoiseach-for-life is made more likely. Today's Irish Times reports that either Eamonn Gilmore or Brendan Howlin are the likely successors. Surely now is the time for a rather bigger shift in Irish Labour, rather than a rerun of old Democratic Left-traditional Labour battles? Perhaps one of the party's able women TDs could bring it - Joan Burton or Liz McManus? Rabbitte himself recognised the need for real change some weeks ago. Labour needs to recognise the reality of the challenges it faces in modern Ireland. Rabbitte's retirement gives them the chance to do so.

1 comment:

adrian said...

I very much agree.

The cultural changes in Ireland since the late 1980s must rival anything west of the Oder! The country (as in the whole 32 counties) I grew up in was one of the poorest in Western Europe and locked into a permanent cultural cringe.

Now it's one of the wealthiest in the world and has a cultural confidence that is stunning.

A new Labour approach has to be built on that whilst providing a realistic alternative for those who can see the many faults of the society and the way in which public services have lagged so far behind the rest of the economy.

But none of that is easy - especially as the NDP locks so many into the political status quo.

And simply being the bridesmaid to either of the civil war parties isn't ever likely to be a successful model anymore.