But it is not just in America that the politics of fear is being used to gain support from people here too in Ireland all the parties use fear to garner votes. Some more blatantly then others
Fianna Fail has always been the most powerful party in the country. Other then Cumann na nGheadheal no other party has ever been in a single party government. Yet they have a fear and they are using this fear to gain votes. One of the big fears a lot of people have in this country is to have Sinn Fein in government. The prospect of having murders who are not repentant at the cabinet table is not something that many people relish. So afraid that Fianna Fail will lose their Republican base they are trying to reclaim that ground with such things as 1916 Commeration parades. Fianna Fail make people believe that they alone can hold off Sinn Fein taking all the republican votes. They say vote for us as we are the only ones that can halt the rise of Sinn Fein.
Fine Gael are trying to appeal the people who are afraid of rip-off Ireland. The people that feel they are being robbed blind by stealth taxes. That the tax man is behind lurking every corner just waiting to take all your cash and siphon it off to some rich property developer. They gave birth to the www.ripoff.ie website and wished had gave birth to Eddie Hobbs. On the rip off website Fine Gael say
For over two years we have been lifting the lid on Rip Off Ireland. On everything from soft drinks to mobile phones, houses to funeral costs we have been highlighting the high cost of living in Ireland and coming up with radical, workable solutions that will shut the door on Rip Off Ireland once and for all.They say vote for us as we are the only ones that can save you from the stealth taxman.
Labour’s exploit the greatest fear of many now in Ireland have. Xenophobia. Anecdotal evidence is portrayed as facts and the country is made believe foreigners are coming here to take Irish peoples jobs. They are starting a race to the bottom. And there is more waiting to come, to invade. Pat Rabbitte articulated this in saying “There are 40 million poles you know” and few in the party have disagreed publicly. They try to defend their liberal morality flank with talk of labour inspectors but really they are taping into the fear of foreigners to increase their vote. They say vote for us as we are the only ones that can save you from foreigners taking your job.
The PDs participation in government was secured by a picture of Michael McDowell putting up a poster saying Single party government No thanks. They used peoples fear of a majority Fianna Fail government by portraying the PDs as the only party that can stop a single party government and “keep an eye on Fianna Fail”. However this time round with the possibility of another single party government is remote. So they are changing their tactic. They claim that they are available for both coalitions and that the people of Ireland would want them in to keep an eye on things. They claim that economic progress is not guaranteed and is solely due to their vision and policies. The fact that Charlie McCreevy was from Fianna Fail does not stop them as they eagerly point out that he greatly influenced the parties policies when they formed and thus their policies is what and will continue to keep the country booming. They say vote for us as we are the only ones that can save the economy from ruin.
The Greens operate on fears. Few people know where they stand any issue that are not environmental which is probably a fault of their own. They say vote for us as we are the only ones that can save you from global warming/nuclear power/incinerators/peak oil/GM crops/Russian gas/landfill sites/Kyoto fines.
Sinn Fein has always been one of the smoothest political operators in the business. What other party with a terrorist group can gain as much support. What parties terrorist wing can commit the largest bank robbery in the history of the Irish isles (I ain’t calling it the British Isles) and get a bump in the opinion polls. What parties terrorist group can kill one of their own and cover it up and not suffer for it. This is all due to the political genius of Gerry Adams. So their political strategy is going to be as brilliant as it is subtle. Basically Sinn Fein exploit the fear of themselves. As Pastor of Muppets said about the North.
Once the violence was switched off, Irish nationalism was greatly attracted to Sinn Féin. Many long-term SDLP supporters freely gave their votes to the republican movement, if only to encourage them along a peaceful route.This is part of what Sinn Fein do down south. They say vote for us as we are the only ones that can save Ireland from us.
Then we have the independents, Sinn Fein and the SWP working at a local level. They zone in to an issue that people have in the area. They make people fear that they are being left behind by the Celtic tiger, fear someone is doing better then you by employing unfair means. They say vote for us as we are the only ones that can make you heard.
Now many of the parties are exploiting real fears others are phantom fears. Some parties exploit the same fears such as fear of Sinn Fein. Some exploit peoples fear more then others. The program suggested that the people with the darkest fear will have the most power. Now this is probably not true in Ireland but maybe the people with the greatest fear will gain the most in the next election.