Leo Varadkar

Varadkar? A Progressive Liberal?

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If I see another person share an article celebrating the fact that Ireland’s next Taoiseach is a ‘generational change’, I will vomit everywhere.

What are people saying about Leo Varadkar?

Leo Varadkar is the Minister for Social Protection, and has been crowned Ireland’s Next Top Taoiseach. Media outlets are celebrating how great Ireland will look with it’s first openly gay Taoiseach, of Asian immigrant descent. It is impossible to deny that that will make Ireland look exceptionally admirable to an outsider. It might even put an end to the Catholic State stereotype (although a total separation between church and state could end the stereotype more efficiently.)

A threat to women’s health

Varadkar believes that the current legislation in regards to Ireland’s abortions laws is too restrictive. However, this does not mean he is in favour to repeal the 8th. In fact, he compares women who are forced to travel abroad to access basic healthcare, to those who travel for luxury holidays to engage in gambling and recreational drug use. Varadkar said “People travel overseas to do things overseas that aren’t legal in Ireland all the time. You know, are we going to stop people going to Las Vegas? Are we going to stop people going to Amsterdam? These are things that are illegal in Ireland and we don’t prevent people from travelling overseas to avail of them.” That really doesn’t seem very promising for the hope of free, safe and legal access to abortion.

Furthermore, Varadkar supports abortion in “certain circumstances.” This means that one woman’s abortion should be legal, and another woman’s abortion should remain criminalised. Why should one moral perspective get to determine whose termination is “acceptable” and whose isn’t, when it is the very same procedure for both terminations.

A threat to workers rights

Varadkar has said that he will ban all essential public sector workers from being able to strike. This includes guards, nurses, transport workers, teachers etc. This group of people have frequently been engaged in strike action in the last five years. They demand better working conditions, a fair wage, humane working hours, an end to pay cuts etc. Varadkar would find it preferable if these workers continue to work barbaric hours, have their wages cut, and continue to work in hazardous working conditions. This sort of mentality is very difficult to comprehend. However it is unlikely that Varadkar or anyone from Fine Gael have to use public transport. Therefore, his comments to let Bus Eireann fold as a firm came as no surprise as his capitalist policies come to light.

A puppet for the right wing government

It is apparent that Varadkar is attempting to present himself as a forward-looking liberal. After a quick examination of his policies, it is evident that he is repeating the same old ideologies that we have been hearing since 1922. He is a mere puppet for the right-ring government. He disguises his backwards and undemanding policies as progressive and forward-thinking. I have seen countless amounts of young people support Varadkar for his seemingly accelerating policies. I do not blame them for thinking this way. He almost seems like a breathe of fresh air compared to Enda Kenny.

However it is important to note that Varadkar dislikes the traditional labels of left and right wing. Why? He does not believe that the labels accurately describe what he is trying to achieve. Lets recap; He is more than happy to allow women to continue to travel abroad to access a healthcare service that is criminalised in their own country. He supports the banning of strike action for workers. These examples are key components of right-wing ideology. Varadkar is attempting to shed the right-wing label from himself in an attempt to appear fresh and unconventional, to lure people into a false sense of hope.

 

That’s just a few examples that show Varadkar is not the progressive liberal that he presents himself to be. Irish people have an awful tendency to support a person, but neglect to look further at their policies. The idea of an Irish Taoiseach being gay, of an Asian immigrant descent, would present Ireland as a progressive, welcoming country. But this so called progressive Taoiseach is just as backwards as the one that came before him.

A community and youth development student, a socialist, a feminist, a lover of plants, a lover of food, a very small person