by David Farrell (June 23 2010)
A letter in today’s Irish Times calls for the creation of a new political party:
Madam, – With all the recent musings and mutterings from various media sources about the possible establishment in Ireland of a new political party, may I add my voice of consent to the chorus and suggest that what is needed is a truly liberal party which would provide a real alternative to the social democratic Labour Party and the centre-right conservatism of both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, now indistinguishable from each other?
The liberal tradition, with its emphasis on the inviolable dignity of the human person (including the unborn), the defence of the uniqueness of the individual, freedom, rights, responsibilities, self-determination, equality of opportunity and minimal governmental interference/intervention has much to commend it, if articulated cogently, convincingly and passionately.
Nietzsche was surely right to view liberal democracy as the offspring of philosophy (still sadly not taught in our secondary schools) and Christianity (which is much in need of rejuvenation and reorientation). Liberal politics, founded on classical ethics and rooted in transcendent reality, has potentially mass existential appeal and could do this State some real service. – Yours, etc,
STEPHEN J COSTELLO, PhD
Personally, I’m not persuaded. Previous episodes — most recently the PDs — were not exactly roaring successes. And the cross-national evidence does not stack up too well either: for the most part, the picture is that new parties come…. and go. I still think that the best route is to get the existing parties to buy in to serious policy and institutional reform.
What do others think?