Come the revolution?

Question: does capitalism have to be overthrown before can we tackle climate change?

Some at least of my fellow candidates think so. I respect their view, but I think it is unrealistic. My politics is about reining in the worst excesses of capitalism. That’s why I am for regulation, for State intervention, and for laws that protect the rights of employees. I am for what Joseph Stiglitz has recently described as “progressive capitalism.” I am for social democracy. I do not believe that we will abolish the market. But we definitely need to control it, and we need to recognise the potential of the State as the great progressive force it is in the economy.

Tonight the Environmental Pillar organised a hustings debate, attended by many of the Dublin candidates. The idea came up that climate change could not be tackled without abolishing capitalism. How that can be achieved in the next twelve years (the time everyone agrees we have to deliver radical action on climate change) was not explained.

We must fulfil our commitments on the Paris agreement. This can only be achieved through an enhanced role for the State. But we cannot exclude the private sector; not when you consider the levels of investment required – for example in off-shore wind. And we risk creating despondency amongst a generation of motivated young people if we tell them that progress can’t happen without the revolution.

It was a day that began early at the Red Cow LUAS with Robert Dowds, our excellent candidate in Clondalkin, and former TD. The most engaging experience all day was at Westland Row at teatime. Lots of warm good wishes. Will they translate into votes? Three weeks to go before I’ll know.


Coffee infusion with the boss before the Enviro hustings; Westland Row earlier