There’s a change in the air.
Sociologists have a word for this dominant spirit or mood of a given time, they refer to it as ‘zeitgeist’.
There’s a zeitgeist abroad at the moment that has brought about sweeping political change across Europe in recent months.
Snap elections last September after the fall of the Draghi government swept Giorgia Meloni and the right-of-centre Brothers of Italy party to power, a result that was inconceivable a year previously.
Also in September, the Swedish general election resulted in the government being toppled and replaced by a right-wing bloc led by Ulf Kristersson who was elected Prime Minister on 17 October.
Earlier this month Petteri Orpo’s conservative National Coalition Party claimed victory in Finland’s general election that resulted in the outgoing populist Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Social Democrats relegated to third position.
Of greater interest to us in Ireland, is the meteoric rise of the Dutch farmers’ party who won almost 20% of the vote in last month’s election taking 15 seats in the Dutch Upper House, the Senate.
BBB (Boer Burger Beweging translating as Farmer-Citizen Movement) led by Caroline van der Plas whose Irish mother is Nuala Fitzpatrick, was formed in 2019 in response to farmers being scapegoated to meet climate change targets.
BBB is now the largest party in the Dutch parliament’s upper house having outperformed Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy.
Caroline van der Plas will address the historic launch of the Farmers’ Alliance at 1.30 pm on Sunday next, 16 April in the Athlone Springs Hotel.
Irish farmers, similar to their counterparts in the Netherlands believe that they are being disproportionately targeted in the drive to reduce greenhouse gases.
There’s a myriad of other issues causing rural dwellers to feel disenfranchised and disempowered.
A number of people from farming, fishing, forestry and rural communities are also lined up to speak at Sunday’s launch and declare their support for this exciting new initiative that aims to unite people across Ireland in protecting our rural way of life for present and future generations.
George O’Malley, Spokesperson for Farmers’ Alliance told M-Compass Media: “Ordinary Irish citizens need to think hard about where we’re headed as a country and do something about it before its too late. Its as serious as that.”
The Farmers’ Alliance has issued an open invitation to the launch which is the most promising grassroots initiative facilitating people power that we’ve been offered in decades.
In a recent radio interview George O’Malley and Pat O’Toole of the Farmer’s Journal speculated on the extent to which the rise of BBB in Holland could be replicated in Ireland to shake up the current status quo. The interview is available on this link https://m.soundcloud.com/kclr96fm/the-way-it-is-is-there-a-case-for-a-farmers-political-party-as-there-is-in-holland