Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

Early election or minority government?

Posted by Jason O on Dec 31, 2008 in Just stuff

Surprisingly thoughtful fella who keeps it quiet.
Various friends in political circles (And Fine Gael! Ah that’s mean!) across the spectrum have been speculating on a Green walkout of government in the new year, and a snap election.
I have my doubts about that. The numbers aren’t in the Dail for an alternative government that doesn’t include Sinn Fein, which means that an election would be likely. But would it?
Fianna Fail, given their poor poll ratings of late, would not be enamoured of going to the park. What’s to stop Cowen announcing that he will lead a minority government, as we have had in the past under Haughey and Lemass, where the government negotiates with the Dail on issues?
You know, the way the Constitution says things are supposed to happen? It is only in recent times that we have become obsessed with the British “Spank me matron!” approach to “strong” government, that is, a government that can ride roughshod over the legislature.
Cowen could actually say that he has no intention calling an “unnecessary” election, and puts it up to the opposition to call it themselves by voting no confidence.
That raises its own questions.
Do Fine Gael and Labour really want to take over now, and take the blame for making the tough decisions that are heading down the river, or have they decided that the Cowen administration has reached its John Major moment of being unreelectable, and so should let it ride until then, forcing FF to make the hard decisions as they march towards elecoral defeat?
Of course, all that assumes that Fine Gael has a strategic overview, which is a hell of an assumption.
Secondly, one can never underestimate the propensity of Irish politicans to sleepwalk into situations. Just look at Albert in 1994.
Finally, a politically astute friend of mine made a very salient point to me recently. How the hell would the parties pay for their election campaigns? The days of the easy donation are gone, and that may steady the more giddy enthusiasts for a snap election.


Poll shows Irish voters opposed Lisbon because of threat of Martian Invasion.

Posted by Jason O on Dec 30, 2008 in Lisbon Treaty, Not quite serious.

Take me to your treaty ratifying mechanism!
A new study commissioned by the Government has revealed that Irish voters voted against the Lisbon treaty because they feared it would lead to an intergalactic invasion of Ireland and our subjugation by Martian Overlords.
Pollsters revealed that although there is no actual mention of Mars in the treaty, or indeed any proof of life on the red planet, Irish voters still “felt” that the politicians were hiding the facts from them.
Pollsters also found that some voters believed that abortion, conscription and gay marriage were somehow associated with the treaty, and that the treaty would cause laundry to shrink, tape over last night’s Emmerdale, cause erectile dysfunction, and make women’s bums look big in the new trousers they got in the Christmas sales.


Elect the Social Partners?

Posted by Jason O on Dec 28, 2008 in Just stuff

Go on ye dead hand of consensus! Mr. Stephen Collins of The Irish Times (Put on your trousers when you read that, for God’s sake!) pointed out on Saturday the great unspoken doubt about social partnership. Who are these people? Yes, they say they “represent” their members, but how many ordinary trade unionists, whom themselves make up a minority of Irish workers, actually vote in ICTU elections?
The funny thing is that we have an entire house of parliament set up to represent those same interests. Dev, whose eye was caught by the fascist (And Catholic) thinking of the time set up the Seanad in what were then called corporate panels and what we would see as social partners now.
Why not just use it? Why not let every citizen register to the panel of their choice (Labour, Education and Culture, Culture, Commerical and Industrial, Agricultural and Public Administration) and vote for senators running in those areas?
There would be problems. Firstly, in the most dreaded words of the Irish politician who hates having to take political opinions on anything as opposed to getting the pension for the aul wans, it would be “divisive.” In other words, we would have an election campaign where the various sections of Irish society would openly go at each other. Would this be a good or bad thing? I’m not sure, but it’d be fun.
Secondly, and here’s the reason why our elected representatives would never agree: It would make the Dail impotent. Imagine the contrast: In the Seanad you’d have businessmen, farmers, trades unions and academics, elected from policy constituencies, kicking the crap out of each other, whilst in the Dail we’d have the usual ” I call forcefully on the minister for a full scale review of whatever it is we are debating today.” It would show up the shocking emptiness of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael who have managed to take the politics out of politics. Ain’t going to happen.
Still, was a nice idea.


Clinton becomes 4th in line of sucession. Foodtaster, bodyguard costs soar amongst Pres, Vice Pres, Speaker.

Posted by Jason O on Dec 26, 2008 in Not quite serious.

I'm not taking my eyes of that woman!The news that Senator Clinton is to be appointed Secretary of State has resulted in the President, Vice President and House Speaker all rushing to enhance their personal safety. House speaker Nancy Pelosi, 3rd in line to the presidency, told reporters: ” I had my suspicions when Senator Clinton pushed me down the stairs after the announcement, telling me that she didn’t want me to be late for the press conference.”
Vice President elect Biden suggested beefing up food security at the White House after Senator Clinton sent him a freshly baked Scorpion and Puffer Fish pie. President Elect Obama is said to cautious of accepting Senator Clinton’s advice to “reach out” to the Ku Klux Klan, “preferably without the Secret Service.” She also reminded him to compliment them on how pretty their daughters were.


My Predictions for 2009

Posted by Jason O on Dec 24, 2008 in Not quite serious.

The Future! Where's me bleedin' rocket car, then?

Like everybody else, I shall be making a valiant effort to both eat my weight in turkey and singlehandedly reflate the economy ( I am, if not anything else, a patriot.) and so won’t be posting much over the Christmas period. So here are my predictions for 2009.

President Obama sworn in. Republicans in Congress propose bill to remove letters B,U,S,and H from computer keyboards. Hilary Clinton announces initiative to broaden the appeal of the Democratic Party in the southern states, by reaching out to people who thought that in the movie “Mississippi Burning” Gene Hackman played a baddie.
Richard Bruton blames the government for everything from the economic crisis to why those new jeans bought just before Christmas don’t fit.
Eamonn Gilmore angrily attacks the government for, well, everything.
Kathryn Thomas is on the cover of VIP.

As credit crunch continues and country struggles to pay its massive debts, Bertie Ahern appointed Minister for the National Debt to explain to our creditors where their money actually is. They are bamboozled for six months.
Eamonn Gilmore spills milk whilst opening carton, angrily attacks the government.
Glenda Gilson is on the cover of VIP.

Massive demonstrations in the streets against capitalism, the government, cutbacks, the moon, etc. Joe Duffy finds a single person who will admit to having gained from the Celtic Tiger. Fintan O’Toole demands his immediate arrest as an enemy of the people.
Eamonn Gilmore launches a CD of the collected speeches of Joan Burton, and angrily attacks the government.
A Seoige is on the Cover of VIP.

Leo Varadkar, clad head to toe in motorcycle leather, leads a demonstration against foreigners “Coming over here, working in Spar and paying their taxes, the cheeky bastards!”
Kathryn Thomas is on the cover of VIP.
Eamonn Gilmore forgets to put bins out, angrily attacks the government.

Country has vague recollection of “The Lisbon treaty crisis” whatever that was.
Glenda Gilson is on the copy of VIP.
National Museum launches its Forgotten Heirlooms series of lectures, starting with “1000 kilometres for a handbag? The forgotten glory days of the New York shopping trip.” Followed up by “ 1000 square feet and an erection: Irish Times property supplements 1997-2007”
Eamonn Gilmore gets jam on favourite pair of slacks, angrily attacks the government.

Large number of Fianna Fail councillors are re-elected as Independent-Jaysus-Aren’t-This-Crowd-Who-Are-In-Whoever-They-Are-Just-Desperate? Candidates.
Joe Higgins fails to be elected to the European Parliament as his Let’s Privatise The Banks policy is regarded as just too radical.
A Seoige is on the copy of VIP.

The entire country has beans on toast for its tea. Fine Gael realises that they have actually done badly in an election. John Deasy escapes from his cages and savages Enda Kenny, and is put down.
Kathryn Thomas is on the cover of VIP.
Eamonn Gilmore gets haircut, doesn’t like it, angrily attacks the government.

Whole country goes to Courtown for its holidays, including Eamonn Gilmore who angrily attacks a B&B owner when his hard boiled egg is a bit runny and his soldiers look a bit too NATOey for his liking.
Glenda Gilson is on the cover of VIP.

Kids back to school. Wallpaper covering of schoolbooks back in fashion, as are Big Time bars.
Eamonn Gilmore stubs toe, angrily attacks government.
A Seoige is on the copy of VIP.

Country outraged that when we rattle begging bowl at Brussels, USA, they rattle begging bowls back at us. RTE has a new hit reality show which follows the wacky adventures of a fella who got a job.

Country votes to ratify Lisbon treaty as Aren’t-We-In-Enough-Shit-Without-Irritating-the-Neighbours? message hits home
Kathryn Thomas is on the cover of VIP.
Eamonn Gilmore misses the bus, angrily attacks government.

Prime Time leads with an exclusive that someone in Artane has bought a house. It dominates national debate for a week.
Glenda Gilson is on the copy of VIP.
Eamonn Gilmore copies and pastes an angry attack on the government, as he’s busy doing his Christmas shopping.

The Late Late Show Toy Special involves a lot of plain cardboard boxes, sellotape and scissors. Pat Kenny causes a riot when he announces that there’s a loaf of bread and a fish for every member of the audience.
Eamonn Gilmore is left with a Topic bar in his Christmas selection box, and angrily attacks the government.


Amazon Carousel

Posted by Jason O on Dec 23, 2008 in Irish Politics



Great books you should read No.2: Things can only get better

Posted by Jason O on Dec 23, 2008 in Just stuff

D:ream to aisle seven! Spillage on aisle seven!If you’ve ever sat in the back room of a pub, terrified that a new member will meet one of the headbangers that seem to populate the local branches of every party, then this is for you.

John O’Farrell went from being a hard core Labour activist to a professional comedy writer ( Yes, I know. Insert joke here.) and tells the tale of how one starts out an inflexible idealist, and is gradually  worn down by a mixture of inevitable compromise but also the tempting comforts of  being middle class.

Regardless of one’s political background, any party activist will enjoy this. Especially the stories of canvassing and encountering that voter who seems to exist in every country who announces  “If voting changed anything, they’d abolish it!” as if it has dripped for the first time ever from his lips. Or the party member who brings everything back to the same issue: ” Well the Iraq war was tragic but what about the dogshit on Langer Avenue?”

TCOGB is also great on the simple isolation one encounters inside a party that keeps on losing. As power seems to get further and further away, the members become more and more obsessed with internal party totems and devote increasing energy not to winning elections but denouncing each other or feeling morally smug. Fine Gael please note.

Both funny and earnest, a must for the political junkie.  


Ah do declare! (As they say down south)

Posted by Jason O on Dec 22, 2008 in Lisbon Treaty

I'll show you my declaration if you show me yours. 

Mary Lou McDonald, writing in today’s Irish Times, has suggested that the proposed declarations attached to the Lisbon treaty aren’t worth anything.

I disagree, and here’s why:





Operation Freeflow

Posted by Jason O on Dec 18, 2008 in Not quite serious.

Step out of the vehicle, sir.Remember when you were young people used to joke about sending you out “to play with the traffic”?
Now, with OPERATION FREEFLOW, you can!
Not even fresh out of Templemore, perhaps not even able to drive yourself, we’re going to put you in charge of the M50, the most important traffic artery in the country!
Just imagine, with the flick of the wrist, you can stop 50,000 people getting to work on time! And then ring your mates on your mobile right there to tell them! Sure they’ll love hearing that in Borrisokane!
Operation Freeflow: Because in Ireland, we deal with symptoms, not solutions.


And it’s goodnight from them….

Posted by Jason O on Dec 17, 2008 in Events

If only those who agreed with them had voted for them.
Was at the last meeting of Dublin South East Progressive Democrats last night, and a curiously upbeat affair it was too.  Both Michael McDowell and Mary Harney spoke very graciously not just about the party but about the people who had campaigned for it over the years.
I am forever meeting people who supported the PDs’ policies, but never voted PD, assuming someone else would do it for them.
As with a lot of things, if you don’t use it regularly, it withers and falls off.
Speaking to FF people about it, they can’t comprehend the fact that although the party is dead, many PDs are quite proud of the party’s record.

To FF people, I suppose, the doing is not as  important as the being.

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