Midlands Northwest MEP, Colm Markey has warned that the civil unrest and undermining of democracy seen in the US in recent days and weeks could happen anywhere in Europe, even here in Ireland.
“The insurrection that we saw yesterday didn’t come as a surprise. It is the predictable result of a deliberate process to undermine Democracy and sow seeds of unrest. President Trump actively stoked the unrest and negativity which overflowed into yesterday’s scenes. Likewise, if we look East across the Irish Sea, we can see the result of the politics of the populist playbook. None of these politicians are concerned about the long-term effects on their country or on the people that they represent. They are driven by self interest and by party political agendas.”
“And we would be foolish to think that this could not happen here. Political discourse, both here and abroad is being degraded. It has moved away from a debate on issues to find common ground and is now reduced to nothing more than negative Tweets and sound bites.”
“On a daily basis, we see far right and far left groups, independent candidates and political parties such as Sinn Féin and the Socialist Party engaged in a deliberate agenda of stoking up division here in Ireland for their own political ends. They engage in populist campaigns based of negativity, hate or fear, designed to get attention and support for themselves, irrespective of the consequences of their message to individuals, to the State or to society.”
“They all have a couple of things in common – their message is one of division – setting one group in society against another on the basis of nationality, social class, political ideology, gender, sexuality, colour, religion, ethnicity, or indeed any perceived variant of ‘otherness’.”
“They all have simplistic answers and superficially appealing mantras, blaming others rather than seeking solutions. The third thing that they have in common, whether they are right-wing or left-wing is that they are not concerned about the interests of the people that they supposedly represent; their primary concern is to radicalise people behind their own cause or group or to draw attention or electoral support for themselves.”
“One of the many great things that I learned during my time in Macra was the ability to debate – to look at both sides of an argument and to discuss the issues thoroughly. I also found in negotiations at national or European level that solutions are built by working to identify common ground and then working outward, not by taking extreme positions.”
“Whether it is Sinn Féin or Ming, Wallace or Daly, their approach is unrelentingly negative and divisive, never offering realistic solutions and always motivated by the desire for attention and by self-interest. As someone who believes that our best interest is in building a progressive centre, I will continue to challenge the populists and the extremists whose aim is to set one element of society against another for their own political ends. Consensus, rather than conflict, is what makes us strong.