The main reason being that he is just so right in so many areas, and his no-nonsense, pro-Capitalist stance appeals to proper Liberals such as myself. Coleman has also been busily reaching out to left-wing groups, something I myself have a tendency to do, and has been similarly rebuffed, but nonetheless feels that his ideas and economic plan are the best for the country, including for the most vulnerable. I happen to agree, in fact, and Ireland as a whole is pretty vulnerable right now, given the recent presence of the IMF and their delightfully "helpful" plan to bail Ireland out with high-interest loans, on the condition we use a large chunk of our own savings to do it.
Anyway, I was impressed with Marc. His contempt for the mainstream political parties accurately reflects the anger of the public in general towards their inept political class, and his solutions are fiscally conservative and sensible, and most importantly, Capitalist. While bailing out the useless loan-retailers we call banks is the main occupation of the governing party, Fianna Fail, true Capitalists are calling for debt-equity swaps and other fancy ways of telling the creditors they may not get their investments back.
Criticisms of the National Forum? Just one really, but a very important one. They're not really very libertarian, in spite of the rhetoric. There's lots of nationalistic mumblings about a "new republic" and our language and culture being preserved and whatnot, enough to make the whole thing sound, well, like populism. Populism* is, of course, popular, but that's not reason enough to engage in it. You can't realistically be on everyone's side, as Coleman and his organisation seem to want to be. The section entitled "Our Vision" presents a point-by-point series of statements on the perceived shortcomings of the country, with a set of solutions that present anything but "Politics based on clear values rather than just catch-all consensus".
- People feel abandoned by government, politics and churches
- Our sovereignty and national pride damaged
- Taxpayers bailing out failed banks and an inefficient state
- A political consensus that backs an unaffordable Croke Park deal
- An electoral and political system unfit for purpose
- Contrary to the myth, a high tax economy
- The nuclear Family discriminated against in our tax and welfare code
- Consumers & taxpayers sold out to vested interests by consensus cop-out politics
- The clear failure of partition, north & south – especially in Donegal
- A criminal justice system overdue for reform
- Our native culture drowning in mediocrity. Our Gaeltacht heartland dying
- A ¼ million citizen unemployed. Immigration concentrated on too few sectors
Having said all that, they present some very good ideas which may at some point form the basis of a new political party, and one that I will look very closely at becoming a part of. Time will tell....
*You can't consistently believe in the Free Market and think that we need a strong welfare system as well, which is what a populist might claim to do. We need some good old Protestant simul justus et peccator, whereby we honestly tell people we don't like the welfare system but we won't take it down, that we believe in private healthcare but the public system can stay for the time being. It's pragmatic, and it's not perfect, and it's honest. It accepts the reality that too many people are dependent on the system for us to destroy it overnight. And while we have taxes, we might as well spend them on something that helps people rather than white elephant projects and Big Government Ideas.
In short, Ireland is going to have a mix of right and left for a while to come, there's no point pretending it's anything but. I'm not saying the National Forum does this, but it can be dangerous to stray into territory when you pretend that the differences between left and right don't exist - and the history of the twentieth century taught us that you can't claim to be both.