Populism has created an “Elvis Presley politics of now or never”

A former third level chief has said populism has created an “Elvis Presley politics of now or never.’

Marion Coy, who is the Chair of the Collins Institute, a new policy think tank and Fine Gael initiative examining the long-term challenges facing Ireland, said the political centre in Ireland must now examine how it presents itself in the current “politics of fear”.

Ms Coy said:

“We have an Elvis Presley politics of now or never and increasingly we find ourselves confronted by people like May and Trump saying ‘pick me- there is no alternative’.

 “We don’t subscribe to this politics of fear and this creation of a sense of ongoing crisis and we want to try and contest that here in Ireland and make sure that we consider alternatives.

“The question for us in this country is are we too in a politics of fear, and we believe there is a need to have a look at how the centre presents itself in a world that is dominated by this philosophy.”

Ms Coy was speaking on Friday at the Collins Institute’s inaugural conference entitled Populism: The Response from the Centre. The event is taking place today (Friday) and tomorrow at Trinity College Dublin.

The Institute says the conference is an opportunity to consider some of the features of social, political, economic and cultural life that have given rise to our increasingly unpredictable political milieu.

Ms Coy, former President of GMIT, said: “One of the characteristics of populism is this creation of a sense of urgency and crisis, so regardless of what country you’re looking at- France, the UK, Hungary, Turkey, Greece and Ireland- there is a sense that time is speeding up and that the unexpected is always awaiting us.

“In Ireland we tend to hear the same voices all the time, so for our conference this weekend we have set out to find alternative voices to emphasise the notion that there are a multiplicity of ways of looking at issues and ideas.”

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